Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Ice Fishing

A few days before New Years, I got out to participate in launching a friend's Ice Shack out at Dominion Park in Saint John, NB. Being late December, it is early for typical start of the smelt season which is usually in the first or second week of January, but the ice conditions and weather was great to get the shack all set up. We only caught 4 smelt between us, so my friend John took them home for his breakfast.

On New Year's eve, as I was not planning any other holiday celebration, I took another trip out to the Ice Shack. As it happened I got there about 3:30, got the wood stove burning, and set up my lines at just the right time. Smelt were hitting the line immeadiately, and together with another guy, we quickly caught a good 30 - 40. Dale, Steve, and John showed up closer to dusk and we kept fishing till well after dark, though once the sun started to set, the smelt all but disappeared. Through the evening we caught a handful of Tommy Cod and a couple more smelt, but that was about it. Out of the catch I brought home 20 or so smelt to cook up for the family.

Cleaning them was a lot easier than I imagined, and in about 5 min had them all ready for the frying pan. Not having had smelt before I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, they taste great, and are a lot easier to eat for a small fish than I would have thought. The boys ate a few, Anna had some and I took care of the rest.

 From what I hear about ice fishing smelt, they freeze well, and when they really run it's no trouble for one person to catch 50 - 100 at a time. That means we should have a few meals tucked away before the winter is out, and I'll be able to catch a few meals for friends I know that don't get out to fish themselves but do enjoy a feed of smelt.

 This weekend I'll be heading up to French Lake for some pickerel fishing with John. There I'll get to experience a whole different type of ice fishing with tip ups spread around over several holes and no shack to keep warm in. 

 It isn't kayak fishing, but it's a great way to spend a few hours every now and them while waiting for the waters to thaw out!

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