Ice fishing provides winter fun for Milford seniors

Alex Tollis, Staff Writer

School closings and wind chills of 10 degrees below zero traditionally call for a day inside. Yet such conditions can be seen as a perfect opportunity to head out to the lake for three local boys. John Ernst, Nick Hartley, and Kevin Bufe, three Milford High School students, when not in school can almost always be found on a lake.

These three fishermen are bringing the art of ice fishing to the high school community this season. As interest in ice fishing continues to exponentially grow, the three boys decided to take it upon themselves to raise awareness and participation in the sport by starting a local club. Since the boys have been fishing for as long as they can remember, they figured what better what to help people learn about the sport then a hands on experience? The three feel as if the club could be a success in the community due to their convenient location. “Being surrounded by bodies of water has made it easy to do what we love” said 17 year old student John Ernst, “growing up in Michigan, outdoor sports and activities has always been a part of my life.”

 The three make it a point to go ice fishing just about any chance they get. “We’ll get out of school and start getting our stuff together almost right away” Stated Kevin Bufe, an 18 year old Milford student, “ If I’m not scheduled to work that day, you can bet I’ll be on the lake as soon as school gets out.” The three suggest this sport to any traditional fishing enthusiast, believing it helps utilize all seasons to enjoy this fine sport.

 Driving through the Milford and Highland Twp. Community, it’s not difficult to spot a body of water. A simple drive down local roads and you can see well known ice fishing hot spots. The three have discovered some of their own favorite locations. “We try to stay close to our homes especially on week days” said 17 year old Highland resident, and Milford student Nick Hartley, “But on days off we’ve been known to travel up to 3 hours away for a day on the lake.” The boys prefer a few local lakes that have been known to bring them success being, Harvey Lake, Upper and Lower Pettibone Lake, ranging all the way to distant favorite larger lakes. In fact this past Friday the 8th, while being a disappointing snow day for many enthusiastic students looking forward to their school pep assembly, the opportunity served as an ideal chance for the boys. With a now extended weekend, the three showed no hesitation to pack up their equipment, heading north to Houghton Lake for a weekend on the ice. The three when asked their favorite ice fishing memory agreed that what they’ll always remember is just relaxing and hanging out together. When asked if they plan to fish for life, it was a no brainer, followed by an inevitable simultaneous “of course.”

While seasonably appropriate, and locationally convenient, the sport continues to gain popularity in our community. The three are excited to continue doing what they love leading up to the following seasons of fishing. Knowing they can educate, and encourage awareness and interest in the sport grow, all while doing what they love is more than a sport to these boys, but a developing lifestyle.