March 18, 2021: Monster Rainbow Ice Fishing (48 Photos)
With an impending forecast of warm temps and 50mm rain Friday, Bassan, French and I headed into the country on Thursday for what could be the last ice fishing trip of the season. Today's forecast was overcast clearing in the afternoon, windy and temps near freezing.
Due to the sketchier than normal ice conditions this year we once again stayed closer to home than we normally would, and headed to a pond we know had lots of consistent ice.
Bassan was the first to arrive riding his 1997 Honda Foreman 400 as seen recently on the Projects in the Shed page. He already had his lines set so French and I pressed on getting ours in the water and fishing.
I've caught quite a few trout on my new automatic hook setting rigs this year, outnumbering trout caught on standard lines by a wide margin. These things miss little other than very small trout, French and I are extremely pleased with how well they've worked so far.
We struck a few pan size mud trout almost right away starting the day on a good vibe!
The automatic hook setting rig sets the hook neatly in the mouth before the fish can swallow the hook. This makes releasing juvenile trout like this one harmless, quick and easy.
Mid morning French landed a dandy mud trout on the automatic hook setter next to his Argo.
My hook setters also continued to work well landing a few keepers and lots of smaller trout which I released.
Just before lunch I heard quite a commotion over by French's Argo so I headed over to see what all the fuss was about. As I approached I could hear the drag being pulled out on his rod and reel!
Thankfully Bassan was close by and ran over to film the action capturing the truly priceless moment!
Sometimes the embedded video doesn't play well so here is a YouTube link to the video: https://youtu.be/6dvY6Xp0y5E
In our area there are scheduled Rainbow waters which are closed to winter angling, as well as listed non scheduled Rainbow waters the latter of which applied to our location.
It was a proud moment for the entire crew, this football was by far the largest trout caught through the ice by our crew and will be put to good use by French and his family.
Lunchtime I chunked up a dead fall to make a stove table for Bassan to cook on. Today I brought my Coleman Hyperflame stove with me as it's easier to cook a larger quantity of food on than my small backpack stoves.
On the menu today was Bassan's homemade moose/tomato pasta sauce and some penne pasta.
Once the pasta was cooked it was strained and mixed in with the heated sauce in my oversize frying pan.
Bassan did an awesome job on lunch, even remembering to bring parmesan cheese!
As forecast the skies cleared lunchtime and it turned into a bright beautiful sunny day. It didn't get any warmer and the wind remained unrelenting.
The power of the late winter sun was evident in that it heated objects enough to melt into the ice even with freezing temps and wind-chill.
After lunch Bassan and I relocated our lines further down the pond, the area we wanted to try was blocked by open water spanning the full width of the neck so we placed our lines well back from the open water working back towards the centre of the pond.
Fishing wasn't crazy good but I did manage another few pan size keeper trout that afternoon.
My Buffalo Airways leather hat was sure nice and warm in the unrelenting wind!
My Mud Trout, not as exciting as French's catch but awesome all the same.
Sometimes the embedded video doesn't play well so here is a YouTube link to the video: https://youtu.be/EBbxXif23K8
Bassan packed up and headed home around 6pm while French and I stayed until dark. I relocated my lines from down the pond back to where we started out that morning.
For an evening snack I fried up a pack of fresh fish white puddings and boiled the kettle for a couple cups of fresh brewed coffee.
Just as it got dark we had a visitor, a beautiful silver fox who could surely smell our days catch sitting in bags inside the Argos.
After a 12 hour shift on the pond French and I headed back to the trucks around 9pm with no further luck on the lines. All and all it was an epic day on the pond, certainly one we will never forget!
Proof is right there on the scale!
As I've mentioned before, we don't go trouting for sport, we release a lot of trout of all sizes to comply with the rules and to maintain conservation for future outings. This big rainbow was no exception as French and his family thoroughly enjoyed a meal provided by its bounty.
Also important is to keep your equipment (that adds up to quite a few dollars) in tip top shape with a thorough cleaning immediately after each use. That way it's clean, sterile and ready for the next adventure!
Although this catch was smaller, it was enjoyed just as much by myself and Boomer!
Can't wait for the next adventure, but what that will entail will be largely dependent on mother nature!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith