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Article posted: 1/5/2013 4:07 PM

Ice fishing a family event in Cary

By Elena Ferrarin

The Gerner family's first attempt at ice fishing yielded just two little fish, but a lot of fun on Saturday in Cary.

Traci and her husband Ross Gerner, of Johnsburg, and their children Hailee, 13, Alexis, 10, and Ashton, 8, were among more than 150 people who participated in the McHenry County Conservation District's first Frosty Fishing Fair on Lake Atwood at The Hollows Conservation Area.

"My son is really getting into fishing, so we thought we'd try it," said Traci Gerner, who spotted a listing for the event in the winter issue of the conservation district's Landscape magazine.

"They're having a good time," she added. "They want to move around and caught two little fish. It's been neat -- even down to learning to how to drill a hole."

Ice fishing instructor Dave Lorier, of Uncle Josh Bait Company out of Fort Atkinson, Wis., gave ice fishing demonstrations, and instruction about things like jigging techniques.

Most people caught blue gills, even though the conservation district had stocked the lake with trout, he said.

"We've haven't had much success with trout at this event," Lorier said.

The lake was frozen under five inches of ice, which is plenty safe for a family event, Lorier said.

"When I go ice fishing, I'll go out on 2 inches, but I'll bring a life jacket and a safety rope," he said.

Participants also got to make their own safety device by stuffing rope into empty milk jugs, he added.

The only downside to ice fishing is the cold, Traci Gerner said.

"It's very cold and breezy," she said, "especially after the sun went to down."

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