First ice fishing outing of the season, we made it out for a local half day trip attempting to target Northern Pike. We got 25 centimeters of snow the day before, so trekking out onto the river was quite a trip. On our way out, 2 of us went through the ice near the shoreline in the weeds, not sure if it was due to the weeds or if it was a feeder creek that was covered in snow. Regardless, some water cam up and over my boot, luckily for me, only a bit got in to the back and down to my heel. The wind was picking up all day, and the temperature dropping, the conditions were more butal than originally expected, lots of blowing snow.
The fishing wasn't too great, my buddy hit lots of perch on the few tip up lines he set for them, I hit some on a jigging rod. The pike didn't touch our pike lines (which were tiped with lfrozen mackerels or live shiners) , but we got 2 hits on perch lines. First one snapped the mono leader, second one was landed, it was probably under 2 lbs. Just goes to show that bigger bait isn't always the magic bullet.
Although the fishing conditions weren't great, we got to try out some new gear:
1) I revamped my pike lines, trying them with 3 way swivels and rigging the leaders with smaller #4 double treble quck set rigs I tied myself using wire line with haywire twists. I learned that blowing snow is their biggest enemy.
2) I took out my new Stearns survival suit in real cold weather for the first time, it held up very well, only downside is the small hood which will force me to wear a ski mask with it on colder days. I picked it up slighty used on eBay for about $80, sure beats the sticker price of about $350 for a new one.
3) One of my buddies brought out his new pop up shelter for the first time. He got an amazing deal on craigslist, some dude was selling it after getting it as a gift, he paid $45. Though you need 2 people to put it together and take it apart, It is quite sturdy, and fits standing men or 2 sitting. It has a few windows where you can watch your outside lines, and also 2 trap doors that allow you to fish from inside the shelter. He brought along a small propane heater too, we all took advantage of it as the day got colder.
Next trip will likely be to an outfitter that rents heated cabins and has car access on the ice, probably Rigaud or the other end of Ile Perrot, possibly Bay of Quinte if I can get away for long enough.