March 5, 2021: Cape Shore Ice Fishing (56 Photos)
This week I'm heading back to the Cape Shore for an ice fishing trip, this will be my first time back there in 15 years. I'll be joined by Mark French for his first ever ice fishing trip down that way, and my Dad who regularly fishes that beautiful country. The last time I was down that way was 2006 with my uncle Wilson (now passed) and Dad. Scroll down the Crew Adventures page to 2006 for pics of my last trip to the Cape Shore.
The night before we left we did some mid-season maintenance on the Argos, Mark greased his while I partially dismantled mine to adjust the idler chains. This important service was completed due to the number of hours on them since the last adjustment. It's not a big job but requires taking out the firewall and loosening a few bolts. I also took advantage of the firewall being removed to adjust the main adjuster bolts on the brakes which take up slack from worn brake pads.
We arrived on the Cape Shore around 9:30am and were met with mostly clear skies, strong wind and nice cold winter temperatures. Minus the wind it was a near perfect forecast!
French and I ran our Argos carrying the bulk of our gear, while dad rode his 2011 Yamaha Venture Multi Purpose snowmobile.
This part of the shore is beautiful but pretty desolate, much like the northern end of the Witless Bay Line, or the Southern Shore near Trepassey. It's wide open, mostly treeless and more or less flat. This land is rough tundra and bog, this time of year it's frozen solid and snow covered just enough to smoothen out the ride for an easy trip in vs the tangly summer ride.
French grabbed a few shots of the ride in to the first pond of the day.
Sometimes the embedded video doesn't play well so here is a YouTube link to the video: https://youtu.be/gbvADD6ry9A
Before venturing out on the pond we drilled some test holes and found a consistent 12" of hard ice everywhere we planned to travel and fish.
Dad's machine continues to run well, he did some paint touch-ups earlier this year as seen on the Projects in the Shed page, he's logged over 700km so far during this very short riding season!
Fishing wasn't very good on the first pond so we packed up and headed further into the country to the next pond hoping for some better luck.
We found much better fishing at the next pond as I struck a beautiful pan size mud trout immediately after drilling my first hole.
Mark caught the biggest trout of the day with this beautiful bright red bellied mud.
The wind was unrelenting all day, thankfully I brought my pop up shelter which was especially handy for cooking lunch. It was the first time I had to use all 4 anchor points on the corners plus an anchor rope! There is very little natural shelter anywhere down this way.
The shelter let me cook up a scoff with ease, with the wind blocked my backpack ISO butane stoves worked perfectly even when turned down on low to simmer. This piece of black antislip drawer liner really made cooking a lot easier as the stoves stayed firmly in place.
On the menu today was some bottled moose French and I made a couple weeks ago, fresh fish white puddings and finally moose sausages French cooked on his new portable BBQ.
After lunch we soldiered on in the wind and cold tending our lines moving them here and there in search of the ever elusive hot spot.
I released this unharmed juvenile trout back into the water, he stuck around for a minute before heading back down to the darker depths.
As the sun began to set we started packing up our gear for the drive back out to the trucks. The only things left behind were some mounds of snow and holes drilled in the ice.
The country down here is spectacular in its simplicity.
Although quite cold especially with the wind, there is a lot of power in the sun now that March has arrived. There was a lot of snow melt sitting on top of the ice which can stick a machine if you're not careful.
Getting ready to head out I managed to find an Argo sized hole of loosely packed snow amongst the shrubbery. The machine sank and didn't want to move any further.
My Chinese CS2500 chainsaw made short work of one strong stunted spruce and my Warn 2500 winch did the rest to pull the machine back up on solid snow with ease.
The effort was worth it as a got a nice pic!
We made it back to the trucks before dark and loaded up the machines for the almost 2 hour drive home.
Although the fishing wasn't as good today as it was years ago, I think in part due to the much increased number of people fishing this area now, it was still an awesome day and great to be back to a place with so much history.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith