With Spring on the way in a hurry, I headed out for a last attempt a catching my first carp through the ice. I know that tons of carp in all sizes spend the winter in that spot, as well as huge amounts of monster channel cats and big sturgeons as well.
However, just because they are there in big numbers, doesn't mean that they are there to feed. The spot is notorious for so called "fishermen" that spend their day snagging the big bottom feeders.
Yes, you read correctly. I wouldn't have believed someone could intentionally snag fish through ice until I saw it with my own eyes. These individuals use lures such as airplane jigs and Rapala jigging raps. Due to these lures circular darting motion and hooks all over, they are quite effective at snagging fish when they are densely congregated. Intentionally snagging fish is illegal in Quebec, not to mention unethical if you plan to release your catch, as it greatly increases the chance for fatal injuries to the fish.
I obviously wouldn't take part in such activities, so I opted to use 2 lines with hair rigs, one using corn, the other using a boilie as bait. Drilling my holes was quite complicated. The ice in some spots was over 2 feet thick. Using a 6 inch auger, I had to drill 4 holes side by side, then chip away the the center to open it completely. Tedious labor, the guy I was with barely managed a 3 hole combo and fished only 1 line. The huge holes we drilled were in anticipation of some big carp we were hoping to land on ice.
Unfortunately, the carp had different plans. They weren't interested in the least bit to touch our offerings, so we basically got a nice sun tan.
Highlight of the day was a visit from the conservation officers. They checked our licenses, then started lecturing us about how it was illegal to intentionally snag fish. I mentioned that I was well aware of the rules, and showed them my setup. The guy congratulated me for playing by the rules. I asked to get a picture with them, but was denied as usual.
They then made their way over to the group of 7 "snaggers", that had been snagging channel cats throughout the day. They were too far from us to hear what they were saying, but one of the agents kept making jigging motions with his hand, obviously alluding to their snagging. Eventually, after searching them, the other agent wrote out some tickets or warnings. As the agents were making their way back to shore, I noticed them carrying a camcorder. I then realized that they had been staking out the area, as it is a well known spot for ice fisherman that don't play by the rules.
It looks like my ice fishing season is just about over. While I managed my goal of landing some bass on ice, I failed to catch my first carp on ice. Needing holes big enough to land carp through the ice really makes it tough to fish multiple lines without a gas auger. As I don't plan to get a gas auger, I'm not sure if I'll pursue much carp while ice fishing. Good chance that I may be forced to target them in open water next winter.