2012 is here, made it out for my first outing with my eldest son Ari. After pushing off the trip due to blistering cold, I ended up with the same weather for this outing.
After trying a few outfitters that stock mainly speckled trout, we decided to try a new one that has some bigger rainbow trout as well.
We headed up to Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne it the same Come / Zec Lavigne region of Quebec. With ground temperature of -22 and a wind chill of -34 in the early morning, we were in no particular hurry. We got up there a bit after 10:00 AM after a 2 hour drive from Montreal. We parked, packed our gear and one of the employees drove us up the mountain to Lac en Coeur by quad.
While he drilled our holes for us outside, my son and I got to work in the small cabin I rented. I set up a fire, while my son baited the "brimbales", Quebec's version of a tip up (actually a tip down).
Once the fire was going, I went out to set the lines. Dropped my first one down. As I was dropping the second one a few feet away, the first one went down, fish on! Pulled out 12 inch rainbow trout through the small hole, my first fish of 2012.
As I only paid for one license/quota (10 trout), we only had 5 lines to fish with. After setting up the rest of the brimbales, I got to work rigging the 2 ice fishing rods we brought along. One they were set up, we got to swapping them for 2 of the brimbales, as fishing with my "special" 2 hook setup with jigging rods is way more efficient and fun than handling trout on heavy Dacron line.
As soon as my first line hit bottom, I had another hit, fish on again! I landed 13 inch trout, which had my son commenting about me leaving some fish for him. I reset the line, gave him the rod, and proceed to bait up my new 30 inch Ugly Stik ice fishing rod, the newest addition to my Ugly Stik arsenal.
Sure enough, I got another hit as soon as the line hit bottom, pulled up a nice 14 inch trout. The medium action made it better than my other fast action rod, and my son was now freaking out.
As I went back to re-bait the line, one of the brimbales went down. My son grabbed it, and hauled out our biggest trout of the day, a 19 inch / 3 lb beauty. I guess they weren't kidding about stocking nice sized rainbows in their lakes, nor about being able to fill a quota in a few hours, as we were almost halfway there after the first hour.
That was it for the brimbale action. The rest of our quota came on the 2 ice fishing rods we brought. Using a multiple hook/micro jig set up, I actually caught my first ever double header of trout, something never done before at that outfitter, as everyone fishes the single hook brimbales. I eventually filleted some trout for shore luch, they turned out delicious as expected.
The only drawback was the cold weather. Though were were properly dressed, our holes kept freezing up within minutes. The spatula they provided didn't have a chisel like mine, nor did they provide a chisel. The 6 inch holes quickly turned to 4 inch holes, but their employee returned later in the day and drilled us some new ones.
In addition to the holes freezing up, my beer turned to slush withing a few minutes, so I had to let it warm up in the heated cabin. No sipping beer in my folding chairs while "enjoying" the weather. On the bright side, I got to test my new Baffin polar proven boots, rated good until -100 Celsuis (-148 Farenheit). They held up super well as expected.
I definitely recommend Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne to anyone wanting to try ice fishing for big trout. They stock more trout than any other spot I've been to over the last 15 years, and their rates a reasonably priced for the quality/size of their fish. Apparently, they stock 80,000 trout in their lakes every year (most during the spring/summer), and are stocking a new trophy lake with rainbow trout up to 10 lbs. They also have a nice lodge, fully equipped with a restaurant and bar, etc.
For more information on fishing at or to contact Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne, click: http://freshwaterphil.com/pourvoiriecoinlavigne.cfm
Happy 2012 from Freshwater Phil and the crew!