Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Ice, Little Lake, Barrie


   There was a time when I bled blue and white for my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, the second most successful team in the NHL with regards to championships, and it's been 46 years since I've seen their captain hoist the Stanley Cup. So after another lockout I've finally decided to leave the "pros" and focus my Saturday's attention  to more pedestrian on-ice entertainment.
   The 2013 ice season started for me at sunrise New Years Day, hangover free, a newly issued licence in my pocket and walking out on Little Lake, Barrie with scores of others, hoping to make a positive impression on the local pike population. Tackle Shop and I followed a well worn trail in the snow and slush several hundred yards out from shore and, using his new power auger, cut a half dozen holes through seven inches of layered ice in mere seconds.
  After rigging our set lines with large shiner minnows, we sat back to wait for the action to begin... and wait...and wait.  All around us was pretty much the same story, anglers standing around in groups enjoying a crisp morning out on the ice with a noticeable lack of activity in the catching department. 

   The novelty of first ice wore off after three hours of idleness so we decided to pack up and go exploring elsewhere for safe ice. Several minutes later we found a group desperately working holes in the marina on Barrie's waterfront and to prove a point to TS about the availability of fish for an experienced angler...I walked out to catch some perch. It wasn't until I reached an existing hole that I realized these idiots were risking their lives on two inches of ice!
I got off the ice without incident and we headed for home, shut out but warm and dry, and questioning the probable life expectancy of some of the people we'd seen.
   The next day TS and the Russian returned to Little and had a bit of luck with a few bites, but nothing landed. Same with yesterday when we walked out...a couple missed opportunities with fish escaping right at the hole. On the way home we stopped in Gilford to check on the ice in lower Cooks Bay. As we scanned miles of deserted, unstable ice, a local genius rode by on a brand new tracked quad with his two young sons following on snowmobiles and almost immediately went through the ice. I'm certain there was no lesson learned because the water was only a foot and a half deep

   There was a change in the air this morning. Besides the rising temperature and lowering skies, we both felt today would be different. Instead of joining the subdivision of huts near the center of the lake, we followed the shore east and set up only a few hundred feet from the van. The milder temperatures  had little effect on the ice but the snow cover had melted in some places to a deep pool of slush.

   It didn't take long for TS to land his first fish of the year.
   Not a monster by any means...but a good start and it was quickly followed by two more. I had to wait longer for my first fish.
   I was expecting to catch something a bit toothier but the surprises weren't over.

   So there you have it... the first full week of 2013 and there's been a few shut outs, several goals [achieved], some acts of mindless death defiance and ... don't forget... a group of over paid gamers have successfully bargained for a larger slice of the puck. 


  1. Off and running in 2013. Not a bad start even if it took you a couple of tries to get it going.

  2. Hey John, this was the first year in a lot of years I was hang over free, other than what hangs over my belt of course.

    Jenny and I stayed home. She had one glass of wine and I had one beer. I didn't know New Years day came without blurry vision and headaches.

    Happy New Year and great ice fishing.

  3. I forgot to mention we were ice fishing salt water. But Casey and I were out there on the ice he was telling me about a couple of lakes where they are pulling out chain pickerel and smallmouth bass.

    That reminds more of fishing in Ontario than fishing smelts.

    I linked to my other fishing site from this comment.