Carp fishing guide

Montreal carp fishing guide

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fishing fitness tips

Fishing and fitness aren't thought of as going hand in hand by most. The stereotypical fisherman has always been the overweight guy, sitting around on a boat or shore, munching on junk food and drinking beer by the liter. In fact, this would be an accurate description of myself a few years back, as well as many others I know.

Shortly after hitting the age of 40, I decided to get back into shape, as my weight had ballooned to close to 200 lbs. Standing under five and a half feet tall, my plan was to knock off 45 to 50 lbs, which I managed to do within a matter of about 12 months or so. Proper diet, eating habits and exercise were all part of my fitness plan.

5 years later, my weight cut has been maintained. I've tweaked my nutrition and workout routines over the years, as diets and fitness plans tend to get stagnant after a while. While a good mix of circuit training and cycling make up much of what I do to keep in shape, I've also learned to combine exercise with much of the solo fishing outing I do. Between saving time, gas, and combining to of my passions, it's turned out to be a win / win situation. At worst, I enjoyed a decent workout, and any fish I catch are a bonus.

General speaking, the primary fitness requirements for an active fishing lifestyle are:

1) Good cardio. Can't stress the importance of this one.
2) Mobility / flexibility. Regular stretching will keep you from getting sore.
3) Balance / agility. Being able to climb or scale a steep bank, wading in current, or running for a rod.
4) General conditioning. Upper body, core strength and legs.

Now, the question: What sort of exercise routines can you combine with sport fishing? Well, here are a few of mine, and rest assured, they end up being more of a workout than most people do at a fitness class or gym.

1) Cycling instead of driving.

For years, I have been cycling to my fishing spots on a regular basis from May to October every season. Living in the Cote Des Neiges district of Montreal, I can choose to ride South for 20-25 minutes, or North for about the same amount of time. In both cases, I'll hit riverfront trails, and being on a bike, I'm able to both run and gun from spot to spot without having to worry about parking.

The ride provides a good cardio workout, and keep my legs in shape as well. I tend to pack light, a rod, reel, few lures and bike lock go into my back pack. If I'm fishing South of my place, I have to contend with climbing some of Mount Royal on my way there, and most of the mountain on my way home. A decent workout on it's own, there is also the many kilometers of bike trail running from spot to spot.

Once at a given spot, I work the waterfront on foot, mainly casting lures for bass, pike, walleye and maybe an occasional musky, if I get lucky enough. All active fishing, so I'm actually constantly moving even when off my bike.

Average bike outing last 3 to 4 hours depending on where I go, and how good the bite is.

2) Hiking.

Hiking and trekking from spot to spot can be quite workout as well, especially when the terrain is rough. Mud, swampland, overgrown fields and forest all pose their challenges, and depending on the target species, I can be carrying anything from a light back pack, to heavy gear, a few lbs of bait, landing mat, net, and folding chair when I'm targeting carp in harder to reach areas.

Average hiking and trekking session will yield 1 to 3 hours of exercise.

3) Wading.

Wading consists of walking in shallow water to cast, drift or fly fish a given waterway. Most of the wading I do is in smaller river, mainly in the Adirondacks, for various species of trout, with the occasional bass, perch or fallfish being caught at the same time.

Standing knee deep in strong current and be quite challenging at time, and requires excellent balance. Providing a constant isometric lower body workout while casting with your upper body, between getting from spot to spot, and navigating slippery rocks in freezing water, you really end up feeling one with the river, not to mention getting quite a workout.

Average wading session with yield 4-6 hours of exercise.

4) Float tube fishing.

Last season, I purchased a float tube, in order to be able to fish spots that have limited access on foot, and none from a boat. While fishing from a float tube is extremely relaxing, it's actually quite the workout when covering lot's of water, especially when the wind picks up.

Propulsion and navigation is achieved by wearing fins on my feet, and using a steady up kick motion to move around from spot to spot (in reverse). I can slow troll on my way to any given area, or choose a slower pace and work shorelines by casting. I wear waders when the water is cool, and on warmer days, I stick with bathing suit and t-shirt.

Average float tube outings are in the 3-5 hour range.

5) Ice fishing.

Out of all the fishing related exercise I do, ice fishing is by far the most intense. Again, one may wonder how the stereotypical sitting in an ice hut or shanty drinking beer can be considered exercise.

Well, for starters, I don't use any shelter. Next, I rarely drive out onto a given lake or river; most of my spots are reached by trekking on foot with a sled filled with ice fishing gear. As I'm wearing many layers of heavy clothing and giant ice fishing boots, I probably weigh a good 20 lbs more once fully dressed. Pulling the sled through various depths and consistency of snow cover can get quite challenging at time.

Once I'm ready to drill, I opt to drill all my hole by hand. As opposed to using a heavy gas powered auger, or lighter battery powered drill, I prefer to stick with my trusty 6 inch diameter Fin Bore hand auger. Not having to deal with heavy, finicky engines that require pull starting and produce heavy fumes, nor having to deal with batteries that tend to freeze up very quickly in sub zero temps, makes the entire ice fishing experience more natural and enjoyable to me.

Hand drilling is relatively easy early on in the winter, when the ice is less than 10 inches thick. I can easily pop a goot 25-30 holes if need be.

Once you get into mid February or March, each hole will take a good 50-60 turns to drill into 22-24 inches of solid ice. As you get past the halfway mark though each hole, the resistance increases with all the built up ice chips.

Drilling more than 20 holes in 2 feet of ice, can get quote tiring. Maintaining a good pace with proper drilling technique is crucial, as is controlling your breathing throughout the drilling. I find it helps to count the turns of the drill, so you keep a mental count of your progress as you go along, it seems to make quite the difference. At this depth, each hole drilling will yield about 4-5 minutes of activity, between shovelling, drilling, cleaning and setting or resetting the line.

Average ice fishing session with yield a solid 1.5 to 2.5 hours of exercise between trekking and piercing holes, depending on the number of holes pierced.

6) Motorless boating.

Though I rarely use manually powered boats to fish from, fishing from inflatables, paddleboats, canoes and kayaks can all provide good cardio workouts. Whether one decides to troll or cast, maintaining proper speed (especially in wind) for hours at a time will yield better, and more enjoyable results than using a rowing machine at the gym.

So there you have it folks. Next time someone paints a picture of the stereotypical fat, lazy, beer swelling fisherman, challenge them to give any or all of the above techniques a fair shot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Memorial for my dad obm

By now, most of you are aware of my late father's passing on February 14th 2019. As he was the one to introduce me to fishing at the young age of three, you can imagine that we shared many good days on the water together, and I credit him with instilling within me, the passion for the sport.

My dad started fishing as s child growing up in North Africa. One of his uncles was a passionate angler, and introduced him to sport fishing somewhere around the age of five years old. They fished saltwater, mainly from the shore or piers, for various Mediterranean species consumed as table fare.

Though I don't know much about the Tunisian sport fishing scene in 1935, I do know that their tactics were crude, if not ancient by modern day standards. Their targets species were small enough to avoid the use of reels, which most likely weren't readily available or affordable to most people back then. My father mentioned using breadballs dipped in fish juice to catch mullets and porgies.

After moving to Canada in 1958, my dad took up freshwater fishing. He fished quite often for most of his single life here, until marrying my mother in 1972. He fished many of the same waterways as I do, often from his small 16 foot boat equipped with a 9.9 hp Evinrude. No fancy electronics of gear back then, and for the most part, he used live bait rigs fished either on bottom or under bobbers. Live minnows, fresh caught worms, and occasionally frogs or crayfish if he found them at the local bait shops.

Though he caught many of the various species found in Quebec and Southern Ontario, his passion was for bass, and especially smallmouth bass. He told of many campfire fishing tales of his exploits, his eyes twinkling with good memories. Like many fishing tales, the fish seemed to grow bigger every time the story was repeated.

Once my dad got married, he sold his boat and significantly reduced the amount of time he spent fishing, opting to spend time with his new bride, my mother. I came along less than one year later. Being the firstborn son, I was to be introduced to sport fishing by him a few years later.

My first memories of fishing with my father were back when I was a young child. I vaguely remember him baiting our lines with live minnows bought just outside the entrance to the Long Sault Parkway, one of his favorite shore fishing spots. I also remember him taking me worm hunting with red flashlights on the nights before outings. I remember catching some perch on the baited lines, but they were far and few in between hooking rocks on bottom and massive bird's nest tangles that mono line created in the hands of an inexperienced kid like myself.

Eventually, he introduced me to fishing lures, tying on a small red and white wooden Jitterbug. In addition to having me practice my casting, I was no longer worried about hooking bottom, nor getting fowled up in weeds. I still remember my first topwater fish, as if it were yesterday. I was casting shallow along a steep rock bank at the Mille Roches section of the Long Sault parkway. As usual, I watched my lure to try to make sure my retrieve was giving the crawling / gurgling action my dad suggested I maintain while retrieving the lure. In the gin clear water, I could see a smallmouth bass rise and chase my lure before exploding and crushing it at the surface. Not a big bass, it probably measured in the 10 to 12 inch range. But likely one of the most memorable bass I've caught over the 40 some years since then.

As a child growing up in Jewish school, we attended 6 days a week. Saturday was our day off school, but as orthodox Jews, it is forbidden for us to fish on the Shabbat. Instead, we spent it at the synagogue. Basically, we didn't have too much opportunity to fish during the 10 months of the school year, except for a few days off school during spring and fall holidays. Summers were better, if we weren't away at sleep way camp, we got to fish with my dad on Sunday's, as he had a tight weekday work schedule.

I have fond memories of saltwater fishing with my father on a few occasions while visiting Florida. We didn't have much cash to lay out for private charters, so we opted to fish either from party boats or piers. Not much fish landed most of the time, but he did manage a nice kingfish and some bonitas on one such outing.

Once my brother and I hit adulthood, it was out turn to re-introduce him to fishing. Equipped with much of the same gear we used as kids, he rediscovered his passion for the sport through us, and my children as well.

Between trips on my small boat during the 2006-2009 period, and our yearly family bass fishing  trips from 2005, until he was no longer to fish with us due to physical limitations around 2015, he enjoyed what turned out to be some of his best bass fishing days, especially for largemouth bass, which he hadn't targeted much earlier on in his heyday.

Though snapping digital pics is quite easy these days, earlier on, before we even had disposable cameras, shooting fishing pics was quite the ordeal. My dad loved photography, and as such, had a fancy Canon that required manually adjusting everything from focus, speed, light, etc. Which made for tough fishing photography. As such, we have very few fishing pics from that era.

I will have to go through old family pics to find earlier fishing pics with my dad, which I'll add here once I find them.

In more recent times, I got some nice of my own shots of him fishing with the family:

Shore fishing with his boys:

Some of the many nice catches on my 14 foot boat a bit over a decade ago:

And of course, many great moments during our week long family trips to Mijocama outfitter every summer.

Fittingly, my father was with us when I recited what was likely the first Kaddish ever recited at Mijocama about a decade ago, as it requires a quorum of 10 Jewish adults praying in unison.

God willing, I'll be reciting it there again for Him this summer.

I know that part of him will remain with me for the rest of my days, and every time I fish, he'll be there in spirit.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 ice fishing season

New year, new blog post to chronicle our ice fishing adventures and outings. Hope to do a lot of exploring, trying new spots, species and tactics this winter. Will be posting most of the season's ice fishing results here, sorted by date in reverse order, to make for easier chronological reading.

Mar 15th:

Winter coming to it's official end this week, with a few cooler days in the forecast, I headed out solo to try to catch another pike before the end of winter. As I was hand drilling in over 2 feet of ice, I set up 5 tip up lines baited with dead smelt and mackerels.  While waiting for pike to hit, I jigged deeper with the help of my Humminbird ice 35 flasher, hoping to catch some bass or panfish.

Unfortunately, no bass or pike came to play, all I landed was a few fat perch. As they were riddled with worms, I didn't bother keeping any.

At this point, I believe that's it for ice fishing this season. Will likely try to hit open water next week before the season for most game fish closes at the end of March. Looking back on my ice fishing season, it was another fun filled mix of prospecting new spots, as well as revisiting some older spots I hadn't fished in years. Panfish action was pretty good, as were stocked trout. Largemouth bass were off the charts, I landed more and bigger bass on ice than ever before.

I hope you all had a great ice season, looking forward to casting into open water next week.

Mar 15th:

Ari was off school, decided to change things up a bit and target pike for the first time in 2019. As opposed to the run and gun hand drilling I've been doing most of the winter, we brought along Ari's 9 inch Jiffy (gas powered auger) to punch large diameter holes through nearly 3 feet of solid ice.

It was my first time at that spot since last season, and as Murphy's law would have it, the Canadian Coast guard hovercraft was making it's rounds busting up the heavy ice along the St Lawrence seaway just as we were getting out lines set.

To make a long story short, fishing was extremely slow. We fished 10 tip up line baited with a mix of thawed smelt and mackerel. Only managed one hookup on a 6 inch mackerel, decent sized pike made it up the hole before doing a "death roll" and snapping the dacron tip up line above the leader.

With not much doing, I took Ari to the ice's edge , where large sheets were drifting off in the current all day. He was quite surprised that it was quite safe and stable all the way to the edge.

Mar 12th:

After landing what was likely to be one of Quebec's biggest bass ever caught on ice, there was no question that I'd be heading back for some more ice fishing for bass again. Having ice fished for bass there a few times over the pass three weeks, I'm getting used to the species, but not to the extent of being able to predict or anticipate their biting mood.

Despite each of my recent outings having very similar weather conditions, on this particular outing, the bass were more finicky than I've ever seen them. They needed to be teased and goaded into hitting more than ever, I probably wouldn't have managed any without the help of my Humminbird flasher. By mid afternoon, I'd landed a perfect 6 of 6 bass, and a lot more chasers. Nowhere near the sizes I hoped for, mainly from 10 to 14 inches.

I then drilled onto a nice school of juvenile bass, and managed to pull out 5 of them one after the other, followed by a fat perch.

Landed one more bass on the way out, after doubling back one some of the 16 holes I hand drilled throughout the day, making my total tally a perfect 12 out of 12 bass landed, my highest ever for bass on ice. 4 perch were iced as well.

As an added bonus, I ran into this big doe while trekking back to the car on my way out.

Mar 5th:

Having been on a roll with the bass on ice lately, I headed back hoping to top the past couple outing's results. Was dialed in early, managed to land 3 consecutive bass out of the first 3 holes I drilled, again, jigging a w3 Rapala tipped with a live mealworm.

On the fourth hole, I hooked up to something much bigger, that started making hard run, ripping drag and peeling line from my reel. When I eventually saw the giant bass though my 6 inch diameter hole that was in ice about 2 feet thick, my first thought was "I hope I can fit this monster up the hole without losing it!".

In nothing short of a miracle, I managed to get the lunker coming up, and once halfway up the hole, I plunged my hand into the icy water grabbing it's jaw.

This beauty is by far the biggest bass I've landed on ice, and likely my longest ever, at 22 inches. I was able to get an accurate weight, as my spring scale was frozen and not functioning properly.

As you can see, I was easily able to put my first into it's throat, I'm guessing it was over 5 lbs...

Ended up landing a total of 7 out of 8 bass in about 5 hours of fishing.

Feb 28th:

After last week's extremely successful out for largemouth bass on ice, I went back for some more. This time, it took my a good 1.5 hours to locate them / the bite to turn on, but once I did, it was game on!

I hooked 5 largemouth bass out of 5 consecutive ice holes drilled about 15 feet apart, landing 3 of them and losing 2 right after they hit. As opposed to last week, when I had to really tease them into biting for a while after appearing on my flasher, this time, they were suspended, and came out of nowhere.

After drilling the next hole a bit shallower, I decided to double down on the 5 productive holes. Sure enough, I landed bass out of both holes where I had lost them about 1 hour earlier.

Upon drilling again, I landed my final bass of the day, for a total of 6 out of 8 bass. Sizes ranged from 13 to 16 inches. Magic lures was the Rapala w3 tipped with a mealworm, same as last week.

As usual, all bass were released in top condition.

Hit 1 nice perch as well.

Feb 20th:

As you have likely heard by now, I lost my dear father obm on February 14th 2019. He an I shared a great passion for fishing, and I've put up a memorial blog post in his honor. After the traditional 7 day mourning period during which we stay at home throughout the day, I was more than ready to get out into the fresh air of the great outdoors to wet a line.

I only had a few hours to fish, so my plans to do more exploratory fishing on Lake Memphremagog were put on hold. I decided to stay closer to home, and target species for the day was largemouth bass, one of my dad's favorite species.

Having been the first time out since losing my father, I figured it would be emotional. I head out solo, got to my spot and drilled the first hole. Within minutes, I was rewarded with a nice hookup, a solid 15 inch largemouth bass.

I was glad to get hit my target species that quickly. I proceeded to thank my dad for having taught me how to fish, and invite his spirit to join me whenever I'm out fishing again. I then cried. A lot.

Back to fishing, I drilled another hole, and hooked another good bass on the first drop, unfortunately came off in ice hole on the way up. Roughly same size at the first one.

The next couple hours turned out to be the bass bass fishing I've ever enjoyed on ice. I ended up landing a total of 6 out of 9 bass, losing 2 of them in the ice hole. Most between 14 to 16 inches.

The lunker for day day was this nice bass just under 18 inches, in the 3 lbs range.

As usual, the bass were released to live to fight another day.

A few perch and a big sunfish were the icing on the cake once the bass bite died down.

My dad never did make it out onto the ice due to his dislike of the cold and fear of falling, but now that those issues won't hinder him, I hope he joins me again in whatever realm he's in. I felt my dad's spirit was with me throughout the outing, I imagined him watching proudly from up there.

Feb 12th:

Headed back to Lake Memphremagog with my 3 youngest kids, planning to catch some more yellow perch, and hoping for some white perch that apparently seem to be invading the lake. Plan was to try some new spots very close to the lake's Vermont border.

While the outside temp in the morning was a blistering -28 windchill, forecast had it warming up a bit during the day. While I'd normally stay home, especially with kids, having perfect ice condition to drive onto the lake nade it a breeze, as warming up is a simple as stepping in and out of the car. It also allowed me to change areas on the fly, as required. Ice conditions were perfect for driving, solid ice from top to bottom, over 24 inches thick. Hand drilling with my Fin Bore auger was a workout to say the least, but still managed to drill a good 20 holes throughout the day.

I gave the kids a quick refresher course on using a flasher to jig for panfish.

Kids all landed perch from the first hole I drilled, with Chaya landing the biggest of the day at 10 inches.

Unfortunately, none of the holes I drilled in various areas stayed too productive, just a few fish from each hole before the action died down.

Kids stayed busy running around, they we strayed into Vermont unknowingly for a brief time.

Kids had a blast, coolest of all, was the ability to catch fish out out of the heated car.

Ended up with 11 keeper sized perch for the day, unfortunately, still no sigh of any white perch after drilling 48 holes over a 5-6 KM radius over the past 2 outings.

Feb 7th:

Headed to a shallower section of Lake Memphremagog, closer to the Vermont border. Having ice fished the area a number of years ago, I figured I had a good chance at having a field day with perch.

For this trip, I was planning to scout some spots by car, as there is now snow cover on the lake. With drive on access and a solid 18-20 inches of ice in most spots, I was the only one with that idea.

As I'm normally on foot trekking with my sled when ice fishing most of my spots, it felt nice being able to leave most of what I need in my trunk. Having the liberty of roaming anywhere on the lake was a bit overwhelming, as I have no lake map in my car, but on the flip side, I had good 20 square km of ice to run around on if needed.

Drilled my first few holes over 25 feet, which is the depth I had success with the first time visiting that spot. No success, but something about being able to fish out of your heated car in cold weather (I didn't need to).

Worked my way shallower, and eventually landed my first of 3 rainbow smelt for the day.

Not much eating, but they make good bait for pike, so kept a couple for my freezer.

Around noon, I made move, drove out about 1 KM away from where I was, as I still hadn't seen any signs of perch. The move paid off, I found a couple small schools, that contained a few eating sized perch. At least the kids would have one of their favorite breakfast the next morning.

When the schools eventually moved off, so did I. Found some more at another spot, eventually caught a couple dozen perch, with a total of 10 keepers for the day.

Overall, I had a fun day. However, that entire region seems to be rapidly getting overfished. Between the govt only having a few open lakes their in winter, and all increased fishing pressure, especially with social media, the fishing quality has declined to a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. At that time, I easily caught a dozen jumbo perch on each outing, between 9 and 11 inches. Now, with all the running and gunning I did by car, all I managed were 10 keepers in the 8-9 inch range.

My consolation for the trip was that although I din't have much trekking to do, I hand drilled 28 holes into 18-20 inches of solid ice, even as thick as 22 inches. Seems like all this ice fishing is keeping me in shape and well fed.

Feb 5th:

Headed back for the first of 2 outings to lake Memphremagog. Chose to fish the same area where I fished for trout earlier in January, but brought along some tip ups this time. Baited them with frozen smelt, and fished them suspended at 5 to 7 feet over deeper water, hoping for some brown or rainbow trout, or possibly a landlocked salmon. Unfortunately, nothing hit the tip up lines all day.

As usual, I brought along my flasher with a couple jigging rods. Drilled about 15 holes at various depths, but kept my jigging suspended at around 7 feet, gain, trying to avoid catching out of season lake trout, and hoping for some of the other salmonid species in that lake.

First hit came around 11 AM, hooked a decent 4 lb lake trout at around 8 over 26 feet. Then another bigger 6 lb lake trout around 2 PM, at 7 of 26 feet. One missed hit in the shallower holes, and 3 of 4 chasers. No other trout or salmon came to play, think I've got that spot out of my system, as all I've caught there in winter are out of season lake trout.

Did see a small deer on my way out.

Jan 30th:

Second of 2 outings with the McGill environmental studies students. Weather was significantly colder  and windier than previous week, I had a hunch they wouldn't last too long out there. As we stocked up on enough panfish for the study on the first outing, this one was going to be all catch and release. I started off by setting out 8 lines for pike, baited with a variety of thawed smelt and mackerels. No luck on any of those all day. Drilled a few holes for panfish as well, and located some schools for the students, so by the time they arrived, all was ready to go.

Unfortunately, the fishing was slower than I've ever seen it at that spot. Despite marking good numbers of fish on the Humminbird, we only managed to land about 10 sunfish, a couple perch and a small bluegill. Either way, they were happy to get out for a couple hours, and by the time we were done, that vast majority of the group was already waiting on shore in heated trucks.

Without any more guided outing booked over the next couple weeks, I may actually get back to prospecting some new spots for new species. Stay tuned.

Jan 27th:

Headed over to a friend's country home with Ari, attempting to catch some nice sized pike that live in that particular waterbody. Though the pike population there is pretty low, the average size when you are lucky enough to get one can be quite big.

Got to his place shortly after 9 AM. Surface was covered in over 2 feet of snow. Luckily, I brought along a shovel, and we were able to dig large areas of snow away to reveal the ice's surface. Unfortunately, Ari's gas auger ran into issues with the pull cord, and he was unable to get it started. From past experiences, I always carry a spare manual auger when planning to use a gas drill, nothing worse than technical issues ruining a good day on ice.

Drilled a good dozen hols with my Nils Master, the 8 inch diameter large enough for decent sized pike. Unfortunately, the pike did not co-operate, and wouldn't hit the mackerels or smelts we used for bait. To make matters worse, the heavy snow put enough pressure on the ice to create big pools of water around the holes, we must have had 4 inches of so by the end of the day. That's where 100% waterproof and well insulated boots are a must.

I did manage to get into some large schools of perch. Many small ones, no jumbos, but did catch 10 keepers in the 8 to 9 inch range, most caught jigging a Rapala W3 to avoid smaller ones.

Along with some of the rainbow trout we caught earlier this month, the perch made a nice dinner for the family the following evening. Something primordial about catching dinner in the dead of winter.

Jan 23rd:

First of 2 guided outings for panfish with a large group of students from the McGill university department of environmental studies class. I showed up well in advance to locate schools of perch, bluegills, and pumpkinseed sunfish. Trekking in over a foot of snow, and hand drilling into a good 18-20 inches of solid ice, I was lucky to have found the spot on my first shot. Drilled a few more holes, and proceeded to find a mix of the 3 species in most of the ice holes.

Students and professor showed up early afternoon, and after giving them a general idea of what we were doing, most of the group of 12 managed to land some fish, The majority were kept for some studies they will be doing this semester.

Didn't bother trying tip ups for pike, between high wind , a mid size snowfall and blowing snow after the weekend storm, they would have been buried and ineffective in no time. Lack of decent pike numbers at that spot don't make it easier, but still fun trying. Maybe next time, weather permitting...

Jan 15th:

With my older boys going back to Cegep next week, we decided to try a new spot for stocked trout. The outfitter recently changed ownership, and though the new owners stock brook trout in the winter, there are some good rainbow trout left in the lake some previous summer stockings.

We were given 5 "brimbale" lines to use, and as usual, brought along our own jigging rods. I used a small spoon tipped with a mealworm, while Ari and Avi slow jigged a double worm rig to slow jig with.

20+ inches of solid ice on the lake, and we had to prospect and discover, so we had quite the workout drilling all over until we managed to locate the right area and depths. Avi struggled most of the morning. Keeping the 5 brimbale lines for himself, as well as 2 jigging rods didn't help much.

All the while, Ari and I caught a variety of brook trout and rainbow one after the other, a couple nice big ones mixed in with mainly stocked size fish.

Avi eventually manage to catch some as well, mainly jigging, only 2 trout landed on the brimbale lines all day. We ended up keeping 30 trout, and got my new yearly "year pic" of trout for 2019 with the boys.

Jan 10th:

Ari and I decided to stay local in zone 8 for the day. With generous allowance for 10 lines per person, I set up 8 lines with various bait hoping to lure in some carp under ice, while Ari jigged for bass with the flasher and set up a pike line as well. After drilling double 9 inch holes for the carp with Ari's Jiffy, I stayed mobile with the hand auger, prospecting for bass while waiting for carp to hit.

Morning was very slow, nothing at all. Just after noon, Ari's pike flag went up, but he fumbled on the hookset and ripped the hook out of it's mouth. The pike never returned. Not too long after, I managed a perch and small largemouth bass.

Ari landed a small sunfish, and lost a tiny bass at the hole, and I caught some more pumpkinseed sunfish. No carp hits, we left by mid afternoon to avoid traffic on the way home.

Jan 8th:

One of my main goals for the ice fishing season, is to explore and prospect new spots. Nothing more rewarding than figuring out and catching fish on a new waterbody.

For this outing, I headed down to the Eastern townships, to fish Lake Memphremagog. Though I have fished for perch on ice there in the past, this time my target species were brown and rainbow trout on a deeper section of the lake. I chose not to use any tip ups, as I prefered to stay mobile. After a bit of trekking form where I parked, I found a nice dropoff to prospect. Drill, jig for 5 minutes with a medium sized lure, then again another 5 minutes with a small lure. No hits, start over 30-50 feet further away. Rinse, repeat, etc.

Fishing was extremely difficult. After a couple hours, I managed to land a small lake trout jigging a small kastmaster spoon tipped with a capelin head. Lake trout fishing is closed in winter here, so didn't bother with a pic.

Another few hours without even seeing a fish on the flasher, until I got a nice hit from a good size fish in 7 over 10 feet of water, Came off after 2-3 seconds. Frustrating, as it could have been anything, brown trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout or pike, they all share the same areas from what I'm told.

Day ended with me landing a couple small perch.

Jan 3rd:

First outing of 2019, I decided to try fishing a spot where I enjoyed some good float tube bass fishing last summer. Being the first time fishing that spot on ice, I left the tip ups at home, and decided to "run and gun" a large area, drilling and fishing until I was able to hook up, hopefully with some decent bass and / or panfish.

Got to my spot and started fishing around 10 AM. Not much doing at various depths, so I trekked to the end point of where I planned to fish, then worked my way back, drilling various depths, and then fishing each hole, first jigging with a Rapala W3 jigging rap, then with a mini kastmaster spoon. Both were tipped with live mealworms, and with the help of my Humminbird flasher, I'd know when I eventually found the right spot.

With 13 inches of solid ice and outside temp of -10, the drilling was a bit tougher than normal, as 8 inch hand auger built up quite a bit of ice on the auger's fins. After 3 hours and 15 holes drilled, I had only landed one small perch. Stopped for a snack, and on my next hole, I knew I had found the motherload. The bottom 3 feet were heavily stacked with fish, to the point that it looked like a thick weedbed. 

First drop landed a nice 7 inch bluegill. 

After landing a small pumpkinseed sunfish and some perch, I finally hooked into my first bass of the day, a good 12 inch largemouth. Not quite the size I hoped for, but I was very happy to have accomplished landing my first bass on ice from that spot, as well well as my first bass of 2019.

Needless to say, I didn't bother drilling any more holes. Over the next 3 hours, I managed to land a total of 5 bass, 6 pumpkinseed sunfish, 11 bluegills, and 14 perch. No monsters, but the non stop action of constantly releasing cold, wet fish in minus -15 windchill had my fingers sort of frozen by  evening. Regardless, I was quite happy with the outcome of the outing, and Zev and I enjoyed a tasty and healthy breakfast of fresh caught perch the next morning.

Hope to get out for some trout next week, stay tuned...