Thursday, 23 November 2017

It has begun!

November 19th marked our first day on the ice for the 2017/18 ice fishing season and what a start it was... We made it to the edge of the frozen lake with tons of time before daybreak, loaded our sled with gear and began to hike out. We found varying ice thickness ranging from 5 to 12 inches and were fishing with 45 minutes to go before sunrise. It was a quiet and chilly morning with no one in sight and fishing line was icing up within minutes. My beard was well on its way to a beardcicle so after missing a few bites and marking some good fish we decided this was as good a spot as any to set up shop.

The shack was up, heater running and our one tip up each were placed within sight and walking distance. It was time to jig in comfort and keep an eye on the flags, it was good to be back on the hard water again! Jays first fish on the ice was a snot rocket of a juvenile pike and I then proceeded to miss a few more bites due to my drag loosening with the warmth of the shack. After fixing that up, it was game on! My first three fish of the ice season were some nice eater sized walleye as a small school moved through and a few of them could not resist my spoon and minnow.

About 90 minutes after sunrise the flags slowly began to trip. The first two fish dropped the bait after the initial take but the third time was the charm. As I felt weight and heaved up, the fish was hooked and it didn't feel like a pike. There was no real run and after some head shakes and twists, up came a nice burbot! Tasty!! We wondered if the previous two fish could have been burbot as not a lot of line was taken. While checking the tip ups for bait and chipping out the holes Jay was able to trigger a few bites on the tip ups as well. This was some excellent positive reinforcement for frequent bait checks and hole clearing.

The pike action picked up over lunch followed by more walleye, a few of which had some nasty dermal sarcoma. The pike came on both tip ups and jigging rods, with the biggest being a little over 30 inches. Things slowed down for the afternoon and though we desired to stick it out for the "evening bite" we packed it in with 2 hours to go before sunset. Food for the table, a few good marks and ample space for exploration all sparked desires for a return trip, that I hope won't be too far off.