One fish stands out in my mind.
I heard the yell - "FLAG". As I turned to see where it was, my heart skipped a beat when I saw it was the "camp hole" which meant it was my flag. I had only taken a couple of steps towards it when "ping" I saw another of my flags rocket upwards signaling other fish had taken the bait. As I neared the first trap, right beside our "base camp" I noticed the reel wasn't spinning on the tip-up, so I continued right past it to the second flag. I knelt to grab the line as the reel spun wildly, quickly setting the hook and starting a game of tug-o-war with the finned creature. It started to come up the hole and just before it was out of the water, it came off the hook and started back down. Reacting, I dove my arm down into the icy water and managed to grasp the slippery fish and fling him out reach of the hole. Looking down I realized I was now soaked to the elbow on one arm, but as I looked at the fish I forgot all about it. It was a beautiful 15" trout that had obviously eaten well as it was very thick. Shaking myself back to reality from enjoying the fish, I remembered I still had another flag to check. I ran back to the camp hole which by now had attracted a couple of my fellow fisherman to watch the spectacle unfold. Pulling the trap from the water, the line was not moving but distinctly angled to one side. As I increased tension on the line, it suddenly got heavy...real heavy! I could feel a slight head shake to confirm I had a fish and was not stuck on bottom, so I started pulling the line hand over hand. Reaching my leader I knew the fish was now close and I peered into the hole as the swivel on the hook slid into view and then a head that seemed to fill the hole. It started up the hole and I almost had the fish without a struggle, but all of a sudden it came alive and dove back down for its first run. After seeing the fish that rolled in the hole, Nick Pelletier stripped off his coat and rolled his shirt sleeves to dive in after the behemoth if necessary. I managed to turn the fish back to the hole and got him pointed up and with a sweeping motion Nick grabbed the fish and flung him to a secure spot. Still in shock, I stumbled over to the fish and couldn't stop admiring it. An 18.5" male brook trout that weighed 3lbs. 1oz. was laying in the snow. His belly was a deep purple, almost black that continued onto his jaws which were very dark in color. Moving up the sides the deep purple faded into a reddish orange color transitioning up into the silvery dark green speckled sides. The dorsal fin was centered on his humped back with the tiger stripes very evident on the translucent fin. Truly a beautiful fish, it was my largest brook trout to date that came through the ice. Check out the pictures below and a video is on its way!