Ice Ice Fishing…Baby! Having some winter fun in NB!

I am a little embarrassed to say that this Atlantic Canadian had never been ice fishing before. Growing up, we went fishing all of the time, but I’d never ice fished, lol, and to be honest, I don’t remember it being a viable activity before? Is ice fishing the new cool thing to do?? Are smelts now sexy?? lol

Lots of people seem to be doing it. I’ve been seeing their posts on social; I saw two of my Facebook school friends ice fishing a few weeks ago and decided that I needed to add this to my winter to do list. I reached out to Jeff, we went to elementary school together, he offered to take us, but then it rained and was very mild for the next two weekends.

I had almost given up on smelt fishing this season until I mentioned it to my friend Alie who told me that our friend’s boyfriend was taking her this weekend. I quickly reached out to her, her name is Mary Helen, and long story short, he is took all three of us out Saturday morning!

Here is the educational portion of my post: Smelts are a small sliver fish that are caught along the New Brunswick Acadian Coastline, they aren’t exclusive to NB. Apparently they are found in the North Atlantic, the Pacific Northwest and the Artic; says the girl who has never been ice fishing before, but I have eaten them before. They are sort of a delicacy in these parts. Oh and they are part of the trout family.

These are smelts, we did not catch these, I am not sure who did, I just wanted to show you what they looked like.

I am going to be 100% honest, the first thing that popped in my mind after finding someone who would take us ice fishing was; what am I going to wear?? And will their be snacks?

I dropped in at my mom’s, who is now semi-famous, since she was featured in my post last week; she gave relationship and romance advice leading up to Valentine’s Day. I dropped in to pick up a folding camping chair.

I asked her to guess what I was going to do on Saturday? She said she couldn’t even start to imagine what I may be up to, which is fair enough I guess? When I told her ice fishing, she was excited and said she would cook my smelts for me.

Feeling a bit of pressure to feed the fam, I told her she may want to have a backup just in case the smelts weren’t running. That’s smelt talk BTW, they’re either running or they aren’t.

Ice Fishing Fashion

Surviving the cold is all about layering, all my layers were, surprise, surprise black, except for my red tuque.

The weather when we first got on the ice was -11C ish with the wind-chill. We were fine for the first two hours, but then the wind picked up and we started to get cold. I am guessing it was close to -20C with the wind-chill when we decided to call it a day.

Here is my advice, dress warm and then add an extra layer, also bring an extra pair of mittens in case one of yours falls in the hole…Alie planned ahead so she had a backup pair when her mitten fell in the water.

Danny our local guide and MH’s boyfriend

Let the fishing begin!

Danny was our fishing guide, he was a great sport! He drilled three holes for us, while we cleared our spot on the ice. I am not sure he knew what he was getting into? Alie’s first request was that she didn’t want to kill any fish, lol. To find out if any fish were killed, keep reading.

Here I am helping my team…oh wait, no, I am taking pics, but someone needed to document our adventure, lol.

For the record, I did help put up our fishing tent/hut thingy, and I was in charge of straining the slush from our holes. For any none ice fisherman and woman, the holes, if left unattended will freeze up again; so you take what looks like a kitty litter scoop and you scoop the slush out so it doesn’t freeze back up.

Our pop up fishing hut. At first I wondered if it was necessary, but, yes it was, it kept us sheltered from the wind.

Fishing holes, we fished with rods, we jigged, which means you pull your line up and down every once in awhile. A jig is also a little dance in these parts, just a fun fact for you…you’re welcome.

Snacks

As soon as we were tucked away in our pop up hut, it was time for ice fishing snacks!!! From the look on Danny’s face his regular ice fishing buddies have never brought him a treat bag? He said they normally just bring beer, but Alie made treat bags for each of us. It didn’t take him long to crack his bag open and snack on his candy and chips. I do think this is a tradition that he may be adopting with his friends?? lol.

Visitors

Some of our neighbors had wooden huts with stoves, hut hopping would be fun, maybe next time? BTW under the snow is ice, that truck drove on the ice, we parked ours on the side of the shore. The ice was at least a foot thick, maybe thicker??

About an hour into our fishing expedition, we were visited by what, at first, appeared to be a polar bear!

Just kidding it was an adorable golden retriever. She already had hut hopping down to a science, I am pretty sure she knew we had snacks.

Northern Winds

It had been pretty mild, but at 11am the winds really started picking up, needing to stretch my legs, I left the safety of our hut to check things out.

Yup it was cold…really cold! The flaps on our hut were…well they were flapping, lol; with our feet starting to get cold, we decided to call it a day.

Sadly the smelts weren’t running, the word on the ice is that it hasn’t been a great season in southeastern NB, but better up north. We still had lots of fun, the snacks helped.

Depending on where you live, winter can be loooonnnnng, so it’s important to get out and enjoy it. What I love about social media, yes there are some good things, is that you get to see what others are doing and it can inspire you to try new things. I can check ice fishing off of my winter fun things to do list. What’s next? One of my readers, Kim, has been on a fat bike kick, that may be next on my list?

I wanna know

So have you ever been ice fishing? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to try? If you have, did you catch any? Scroll down to leave me a comment or question.

Thanks for reading, stay warm!

muah!

Liette

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