February 19-20, 2021: Argo Ice Fishing (39 Photos)
Our weekend of ice fishing began on Friday afternoon when French and I headed just outside town for another crack at a few trout.
Today's Argo run wasn't all that far. We were back on one of the ponds from our last outing, today fishing a different section of water closer to the ATV path.
This inexpensive HT Rod Locker case is a great way to store my two automatic hook setting rigs, 28" ice rod/reels, a standard line, a couple spares, stick holders, scoop and even a couple tubs of worms! It keeps everything together and protected.
Another outing and we never got skunked, I managed a single keeper while French got a couple keepers and a few throw backs.
It was cold all day but got quite cold as darkness fell with the mercury hitting -11 on our way our of the woods (plus wind-chill). No complaints, temperatures like that will build ice on the ponds which is badly needed this year.
The following morning French, Terry and I headed back in the woods to cover a brand new (to us) pond which was a half hour Argo ride away. The trails were tight in spots but overall in great condition even for the wider 8x8's on 18" tracks.
Ice thickness today was an ample 10.5 to 11" which for this winter season was pretty decent. The thinnest spot I tested all day was on newer ice near the run in, it measured 5" of clear black ice.
I started the day off with the first trout on my automatic hook setter, a dandy healthy mud on a hole that would prove pretty epic all day long!
Even my traditional line didn't disappoint!
With 3 hands on deck we were again allowed 9 lines in total closely monitored, which allowed us to cover and survey a decent portion of the pond.
I later set up my ice shelter over this hole and swapped the standard stationary bait fishing line for this one equipped with a spinner. A spinner is a great addition on an ice fishing hole being actively fished and moved as opposed to plain bait.
This is Terry's version of the automatic hook setter. It's the same concept but utilizes a simple piece of ABS pipe screwed to a board to hold the ice fishing rod. It works great and is equally effective as the rest.
My honey hole was starting to pay out! I even had a few throw backs to put back in to swim again!
It was quite breezy and cold today so I broke out my Rapala ice fishing shelter which sets up in 2 minutes and provides instant relief from the cold just by blocking the wind. Even without a heat source I could comfortably sit inside without a hat or gloves.
I've been watching some videos on converting one of these shelters into a hot tent which I'm strongly considering with this unit or a slightly larger 8'x8' unit which would fit a sleeping cot better. Benefits over a traditional single peak hot tent includes lower cost, way faster set up time and full head room all over the inside of the tent.
I faced the door so I could keep a close eye on my two automatic rigs. Thankfully this also allowed the door to face downwind!
Midday I fired up the Argo for a quick tour around the pond, I found this clearing under a cliff which would make a beautiful spot to camp overnight.
This beautiful chunky mud tripped my automatic hook setting rig mid afternoon bringing the total keepers for that hole to 5 for the day!
Mid afternoon Terry and I began gathering some dry wood for a campfire to warm up and to cook our lunches on. I took my Council Tools No. 2 double bit saddle axe today, its a beautiful little chopper for gathering kindling and light splitting.
Work smart not hard!
For my lunch I cooked up a feed of marinated Moose, Mushrooms and Onions. Terry toasted up a couple bagels on the open fire for himself.
I also cooked up French onion minute rice on my GSI Pinnacle Stove. Today I tried out my new tin of Primus winter fuel which apparently has a larger mesh inside to aid in gas vapour boil off in low temperatures. I'm pleased to report that it worked extremely well, much better than all the other standard cans I've tried previously in the winter.
Needless to say dinner was amazing!
As usual we stayed until well after dark managing a couple more trout on French's lines. In the midst of all the craziness in the world these last few days it was great to unplug, get away, and enjoy a relaxing day in the country. Probably more beneficial these days than ever before!
French, his daughter Piper, and Terry headed back in the woods for a few hours Sunday and caught a couple trout while I stayed home and made preparations to make a couple dozen bottles of Moose for future lunches in the woods!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith