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Presenting the third, and possibly final, segment in my collection of ice fishing hole photos.  I can’t decide if this mini-project is interesting, or just stupid.  On one hand the holes, their variety and features, are interesting.  And scouting them is kind of an adventure, never knowing what each will show me.  I’ve seen some neat things, both in the holes themselves and peripheral to them.

On the other hand, I’m wandering around taking photos of holes drilled in a frozen lake.  Has cabin fever put me around the bend?  I’m sure that the ice fishermen themselves think I’m daffy.  After all, how many holes does it take before they all start to look alike?

Hit up the comments and let me know what you think.

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One feature I’ve noticed is the formation of beautiful ice crystals both on the re-frozen surface and the hole’s sides.  They look like hoar frost, although I’m not sure that’s accurate.  But if I do venture out again, I plan on throwing on my waterproof Frog Togs so I can kneel down on the ice and us the macro lens.

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One of the fishermen was using these guys as bait.  Based on a Google search, I think they are wax worms.  A number were spilled in the snow in the center of several abandoned holes, and as I explored the holes themselves, I found that a couple of them had the worms frozen in their new surface ice as well.

I’m not sure how a fishermen gets these guys on a hook – especially if they’re working in the cold withe gloved hands.  I’m also surprised that the spilled works were still sitting atop the snow, as a flock of crows was patrolling the lake, and descended to check holes almost as soon as they were abandoned.  These guys look like a good crow snack, but perhaps not…150228_LSP24 150228_LSP25 150228_LSP26

An aborted hole; the auger only got down an inch or so into the ice.  I’m curious why it was aborted, if there was some condition to the ice that made it difficult to drill out, or if the fishermen simply changed his mind and decide on a “better” spot.150228_LSP27 150228_LSP30 150228_LSP31

Another aborted hole, although this one was at least 8-10 inches deep.  Again, I don’t know why it was abandoned.  It was nearer to shore than the other holes I saw, so perhaps the lake froze all the way to the bottom here, and the fisherman realized that there was no open water to break through to.

In any case, it was interesting to see a sample of a drilled hole close up and non-submerged.  The layers in the ice remind me of rock strata, and I imagine that they form much the same, layers of water accumulating and freezing into a single, solid mass.150228_LSP32

It’s interesting being out on the ice; as I mentioned before, there’s a novelty to standing atop the middle of a lake, knowing that the other ten months of the year you’d be afloat, of in 30′ of dark water.  But for that moment, you’re able to walk out atop an otherwise inaccessible realm.

And perhaps that’s why this project is interesting to me, because even standing out on the ice, the water below is still inaccessible, save for these fishing holes drilled through to reach it.  They are temporary, rapidly returning to their frozen state, as if this barrier between the two worlds is determined.

The ice talks.  You can hear it from shore, but it’s somehow more meaningful when you’re out on it.  The ice pops and groans and grinds as it expands and shifts in response to snow and wind and changing temperature.  When you’re out on it, the talking is directional; you hear the whole conversation going on around you, and it almost feels like you’re a part of it.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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