The major cold front we experienced early in November made for below average water temps. Eventually, we ended up first ice in November for the second season in a row. So much for global warming...
First outing in the month turned out to be my last open water outing of the season. Headed back to a wintering spot for carp. After some major storms, the water level had gone up to where I couldn't fish my regular spot. Luckily, I was able to fish from the comfort of my heated car at the boat ramp nearby.
Bite started on fire, had hooked into 4 small carp within the first hour or so, and then bite died down completely. This smaller carp closed the book on one of my toughest carp fishing seasons in over a decade, for a variety of reasons. Hoping for a better one in 2020.
2 weeks later, I was finally able to hit first ice at one of my early season spots. The day turned out well, ended catching a mix of crappie, pike, bass, bluegill sunfish, and a perch.
Kept some for tastier ones dinner that evening, kids were happy dig in to the early season rewards.
I returned to the spot 3 days later, not being able to find safe ice at a spot I planned to hit for perch. Someone else had been fishing there the previous day, and seemed like the spot was close to being fished out. Only managed 3 small crappies and a bluegill as far as panfish go, and every time I marked a bigger fish on the flasher, it was too finicky to bite.
I finally got one of those big marks to bite by teasing it for a good 5 nerve wracking minutes or so, and when it finally did, I knew if was a big one. I though it may have been a small carp from the way it was pulling, until I fought it up to the surface. The ice was clear and thin enough for me to catch a glimpse at a big largemouth bass, with one of the biggest girth I've seen on one. As it was magnified through the ice, my first thought is that it must be in the 7 lb range. Eventually was able to grab it by the lip under the ice hole, and was very happy to have landed this superb largemouth bass that weighed in a exactly 5 lbs, despite being only 20 inches long.
A mandatory selfie with it using autoshoot on the camera that was prepped on my folding chair.
And released to it's home to hopefully spawn next spring and pass on those big fish genes.
A few days later, I made it up to fish 2 small lakes in Quebec's zone 9, which closes at the end of the month. Wasn't able to drill as many holes as I would have like due to auger blade issues, but did manage the winter's first smelt on one lake, while the friend I was with caught some perch on the other.
That ended my November 2019 fishing with only 4 outings. Still not bad considering the conditions. More than happy to have landed some tasty crappies, and especially that giant largemouth bass, which was my second biggest on ice, and tied for 3rd heaviest ever.
Funny enough, 2 of my top 4 largemouth bass have come on ice, including my biggest ever last February. Not what one would expect from what is considered a warm water species, but I'll take it any day.
With another cold front moving in, hope to have some more spots with safe ice next week.