Ice Fishing, Christmas Eve 2012
I have been trying to get sorted and get ice fishing for a while but have struggled to find the time to get my gear together. As well as the knowledge, the venues and preferable someone experienced to show me the ropes! That didn’t happen, so Katie and I eventually got sorted, went to our friend, local legend and hall of famer, Mo Bradley for the tips & jigs and other homemade bits and pieces like a gaff made out of a Halibut hook and a golf club, which is apparently essential! We went to Surplus Herby’s for the tent and Canadian Tire for the Sled. We then managed to cobble together everything else, with what I already had.
I won’t go into the finer points of the tackle right now as I really am just getting to grips with it all!
We had the venue info, we just about had the gear, we had the 4 x 4 and we were on our way. I know the road now as its on the same forest service road as Roche and as opposed to last time we were on this road, there was now around 10″ of snow around although the road itself is clear and packed, we see animal tracks everywhere. Mostly deer & likely Coyotes but also Big Cat tracks! Its a very humbling experience sometimes here, sharing your space with large predators! And judging by the size of these prints and the distance of around 8 feet between them, they were made by the big one, the Cougar.
It was a beautiful day again, cold but bright and we managed to get the truck lakeside and our gear in the sled and set out on the ice. Now, if like us you have never done this before, this where you get your nerves in check! Sometimes, like here, beneath the snow is a thin layer of ice and then slush before the “proper” ice. You don’t half drop a turd when you first go through that bit, let me tell you!
We headed out where the snow had been disturbed, obviously where someone else had previously fished (this lake is quite popular for ice fishing) which told me, a) it was likely a suitable depth and b) it was thick enough ice! Any fears about thin ice were now gone as I battled through 8″+ , with an old hand auger…….
After the first drop down we found the lake to be around 10 feet deep, seemingly a good depth from what we have been told.
I initially made two 8″ holes and Katie started with her outfit, tackle, jig and technique all provided by Mo which was basically a hand tied jig with a “bobber” to set the depth. I however, went with my intuition and on my $9, 2 foot rod, I mounted my 1000 stradic, 10lb braid and the smallest and most natural coloured jig & grub I could find.
20 minutes in, I brought in for a change of grub and dropped in again……… Bang! it gets nailed on the way down!
I am now in new territory, battling a decent fish through an 8″ hole in the ice on a cheap 2′ rod……. awesome fun though!
As I get it up we see its not a bad one, in fact Katie is proclaiming its “the biggest trout she has ever seen!” but after being unceremoniously gaffed and hauled through the hole it was a perfect specimen later weighed at 3lb exactly.
We soldiered on for a couple more fishless hours and as the temperature dropped we popped up the tent (these are fantastic, up in a minute!) but I could not stay in it, it was far too pretty a day to stay in! so we held on as long as we could and headed back to our friends to begin our festivities where the trout made for a much enjoyed starter to Christmas dinner.
I loved the ice fishing, certainly I will be doing as much of it as I can and hope to write more about it as I learn, its fascinating and fresh to me. I need to be better prepared in terms of cold weather clothing as being static is the thing that gets you.
I might have to even have a dabble with some bait too!
Click here to read about the Walloper Lake Family Ice Fishing Event at the beginning of 2013!