Just a friendly reminder to everyone that the 7th annual Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby is this weekend. I will be on the ice and I look forward to seeing you out there. Check out the link below for details.
Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
Let the hard water exploration begin! January 1st marked the opening of ice fishing in my neck of the woods. The ice conditions were sketchy at best on opening day, so I had focused my attention on finding moose antlers (to no avail if you haven’t read my previous post). By the second weekend I had confidence that the ice thickness was sufficient to plan an expedition. I made arrangements to go with a couple of friends to a favored location on Long Lake. Arriving before daylight, we had all of gear lugged onto the ice and were getting the auger warmed up as daybreak struck. Making quick work of drilling 15 holes, we proceeded to start setting our tip-ups or “flags” as they are frequently called. After setting roughly ¾ of our tip-ups, we were rewarded with a flag. For anyone who doesn’t ice fish, this means that a fish has taken line, and triggered the flag to go up. As I approached, my friend had already set the hook and almost had the fish to the hole. The fish was a good one, a salmon probably around 3 pounds. The lake has a one fish limit over 16”, so we opted to release the fish and hope for a bigger one. Not removing the fish from the water (a key to successful release of a fish in the winter), we snipped the hook off close to the mouth and sent the fat, silver-sided beauty back down the hole. We re-baited that tip-up and finished setting the rest of our flags before settling down to wait. Luckily we hadn’t waited long when the action started. It was non-stop, with the salmon offering us little rest before chasing yet another flag across the barren ice. The fishing was the best I have ever seen, with a total of 19 salmon being caught! The largest was a beautiful 25” female that weighed in just shy of 5 ½ pounds. The second largest was a ridiculously fat 22” female that weighed in over 4 ½ pounds! That was truly a “football fish”. We had seven others that were in the 2 ½ to 3 ½ pound range, and 10 fish that were from 11-15” and in the neighborhood of 1 pound. The majority of these fish were released, with us keeping only the two largest, so there should be lots of fish to grow for next year. All in all everyone I talk to says the lake has been extremely slow, but for some reason we hit it just right that day, and reaped the benefits of a great day on the ice!
It is the time of year when the ungulate residents of Northern Maine begin shedding the excess bony weight on top of their heads that we refer to lovingly as “sheds”. Due to the diminished deer herd, I am predominately talking about moose antlers. I have had “shed fever” for over a month now, but despite my best efforts and hundreds of miles riding snow covered roads I have not a single piece of bone to show for it. The moose antlers have been dropping, as several people I know have been finding a few antlers, but all in all I have found the results to be very poor. I think one of the primary factors is the sheer amount of people out looking for the antlers. In the past there were always a few people that went out and scoured their favorite roads, but there was lots of opportunity to find a road that not a soul had traveled for at least a couple weeks. On my most recent excursions I was struggling to find a road that hadn’t been drove on in the last week. I will continue the hunt, but I am afraid my results will be limited by snow depth soon. Below are a couple of pictures from other “shed hunters” in my area. Take note of the one showing an antler hung up in a tree. This was the first time I had ever seen that happen! If you would like to book your own moose antler hunt, there are a couple of local guides that I recommend for your chance at success: Allagash Guide Service and The Legend Guide Service. See the page of recommended guides for links to their websites.
I apologize to all of my readers for my extended holiday hiatus! Despite my lack of an on-line presence, I have been out in the outdoors a lot trying to succeed in something to give everyone good new about. Christmas treated me very well, with lots of new gear to try out and write reviews about. I will be adding another page with my personal opinions on gear that I use. I have a wireless electronic caller by Johnny Stewart, a tote sled by Viking, two Wii games by Cabelas, a Wii game by Rapala, a slew of new lures by Rapala and a variety of other products that I will inform people of what I think about them. Stay Tuned!