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Praise the Local Trout Scene

Praise the Local Trout Scene
Posted in: Fishing Articles

  I do a mental checklist. The JawJacker rods are ready. The lines are refreshed. The hooks are tied and sharpened, and the batteries for the auger are charged. I pack the rest of the gear into the truck, gather our babies, who are randomly chasing each other about the yard, and do one last look. “Yep, I think we got it”, I say to myself and we head off.


  The first stop is for coffee, which is welcomed and highly valued by mom and dad. We eagerly anticipate the leisurely and relatively peaceful 45 minute drive to enjoy our drinks. We pick up a pack of muffins for snacks and sub sandwiches to keep hungry tummies happy. With plenty of food on board, the drive is always enjoyable.


  At the lake my gear is packed into two sleds that are tied to together. Packing for a family of six means bringing a fair amount of gear, and it also means that one, two, or all three of them will be jumping onto those sleds for a sleigh ride. I don’t mind as the snow is slick and the sled ride to the lake with giggling children on top is always fun.


Pretty soon it will be time to go ice fishing

  We arrive at our spot and I’m happy to see that there is no evidence of auger holes where we want to fish, which means unpressured trout, and better fishing. With us are Vien and Marielle, plus a host of other friends. Vien has the routine down, and quickly we put together a plan on where we want to fish and decide on a pattern of holes that will cover an area the size of a hockey rink. Vien starts at one side and I begin at the other. At the same time Marielle and others are setting up the JawJackers, while others still are scooping ice from holes. 


  We look down our shallowest holes and see we are in about 3 feet of water over heavy weeds. I’m not afraid of the shallow water and immediately place two rods on JawJackers there, one with shrimp, the other with maggots. I check the deeper holes and find exactly what I am looking for: the transition from weeds to sand or mud. This is a trout highway and it looking down the hole we could see this transition as clear as day. 

JawJackers are excellent fish catchers

  I put a shrimp on this rod and announce, “This one will catch a fish,” calling my shot. With the weed line edge discovered, we follow it and drop a couple of more lines down. That’s when the initial weed edge rod snaps skyward, and plunges back to the hole. “Fish on!” I call out, adding, “Somebody get it.” Ryan races over and the fight shows that it is a good trout. In time he brings the fish to the hole and pops out a plump, silver rainbow of 15 inches. It’s an excellent start. 


  We place more lines out and we are running an assortment of bait. We have shrimp, maggots, frozen minnows, and worms on various rods. Another of the weed line rods pops to life. This time it’s the minnow that gets the bite. Kathryn grabs the rod and soon she has a twin to the first fish one ice. Cedar and her school friends gather around to get a close look and are thrilled that we are catching. Quickly the kids claim the fish and parade around the ice for all to see. They are very proud. 


  This is when Vien and Marielle get a bite. The trout shakes free before they can get to the rod, but minutes later the rod plunges downward and this time they connect, catching another plump rainbow. The action is steady and everyone is happy. In fact, we are all mingling on the ice, talking about our fall seasons, about how our hunting trips went, about upcoming adventures, and even making plans for new stuff. It is wonderful to be on the ice spending time together. Nearby, the sounds of kids whooping and hollering with glee fills the air, as Lee pulls them on the toboggan. It’s a wonderful moment.


Ice fishing is fun for everyone!)


  We get more bites, but the trout seem to have our number and shake free a few times in a row. Then the minnow baited hook gets hit and the hook sticks. The rod is fully bent from the weight of the fish and I see Cedar racing hard to get it. She expertly picks the rod out of the holder and in time, pulls another 15 inch rainbow onto the ice. This trout celebrated just as much as the first.


  Cedar and her gang of friends tend to their trout, until they are sure that their fish are all well cared for and strategically placed so that they are kept fresh on ice. That’s exactly when they discover the nearby shoreline cattails and eagerly grab a few and bring them back to the ice. First Jordan, and then the rest of them, smack the cattails down where they make a very satisfying splat on the ice, punctuated by an explosion of puffy fluffy white stuff that fills the air and covers every child within 10 feet. This is a tremendous amount of fun.

The happy result of spending a day on the ice with friends.

As evening comes on the anticipated evening bite does not materialize, and in fact, the action dwindles from steady action to almost no bites what-so-ever. But this is okay. The trip is all about friends, new and old, from very different backgrounds, getting together and spending a moment outdoors, enjoying a pleasant winter’s day. It was everything we hoped for and in the end, three trout found their way home with us. That evening I filleted our trout, and come the following day, there were fillets sizzling in a pan of hot butter, sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, oregano, and thyme. It’s a bit of an odd combination of spices for fish, but our kids and the rest of us grown-ups love it. In fact, it only took a few short minutes and all of the trout fillets were devoured. We ate our fish with thanks, and as lunch came to a close, the experience was complete, and that’s when both Cedar and Fraser asked, “When can we go out fishing again daddy?”  I couldn’t be happier.

Pan fried trout in hot butter is delicious!

7 months ago
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