So we decided to hit some later ice (being in January) up at Tettegouche state park and headed up to a lake we like to target walleyes, Nipisiquit Lake. Although we usually would hit this lake early ice, say late November, we didn’t think it’d be all that difficult of of a trip.
However, our hopes a relatively easy 2 mile hike in were quickly dashed as we headed up the trail.
The hike in to the lake is approximately 1.8 miles of horizontal hike, and add to that an elevation change of approximately 600 feet up.
Now, this hike with no gear can be challenging, however this time we got the chance to test our abilities by trudging through two feet of snow on a groomed trail. Great for cross country skiers and snowshoes, not as good for boot wielding ice fishermen. We should have been more prepared with snowshoes, but we weren’t. So, up the trail we went each towing about 100 lbs worth of gear each.
This trail must have been the one all of our parents took to school, because as best we can tell, it is uphill both ways and this time we had plenty of snow to go along with it.
While this was a partial solution, the water coming up through the now six holes in the ice was saturating the snow all around us, creating the areas largest slushy.
The fishing… well, not so good. We marked several on the vex and got a look at one (appeared to be a perch) on the camera. No strikes and nothing on the ice. Unfortunate.
At that point we had an executive decision to make. How much darkness did we want to deal with on the way out. After a few hours of fishing and watching our island of slushy snow be whittled away by the water, we decided to call it a day and track back out. However, we quickly found out the snow had become far less snowy and much more watery. Taking a step into what used to be three feet of snow, we found we now had a foot of water to trudge through, stow all of the gear back into the sleds and slosh our way out (adding 10 lbs of water weight to the legs of our overalls).
After the three hour grueling hike in, we got to drag all of the gear, plus the extra water weight back through the hills of Tettegouche, making the return trip extend by another hour. To say we were beat by the time we reached the truck as the sun was setting would be an understatement.
What did we learn from this adventure?
Note to self for next year… early ice only, as little snow as possible. There are 30” plus walleyes in there (as previously caught) but for the amount of work, there’s other, more easily accessible places to go and chase the fishes.RSS Feed
Ice Fishing Videos
Before your next trip to the lake or river, check out the fly hatch chart and get the right lures before hitting the water.
That's it, some of Ole Outdoors favorite products for the ice fishing season of 2018. If you have any other suggestions please drop us a line. (no pun intended) Thanks for reading!
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From ice houses to under water camera, here are some of the top picks to make sure you get more fish per trip this season on the ice.
Ice fishing season is just weeks away in northern parts of Minnesota, expecting some lakes to be ready by the 20th of November if we're lucky.
This only leaves a few weeks to lock down our gear for the season so here's the line up for our frozen sport...
Chats with the DNR officers can be a great time to find out about spots and tactics, unless you're doing something unknowingly (or knowingly) that is illegal. When I started fishing during the summer I failed to remember only one line per person can be used (unlike on the ice where two lines are allowed) and had a very nice officer not write me ticket after an honest conversation.
Clearly it's in your best interest to follow the regulations unless you really want to pay a large 'donation' to the wildlife fund.
Here's the bag limits for inland waters for the 2018 season. (This may not include ever regulation, so for more information you should go download the DNR PDF here)
I hope you find this information useful, for more fishing tips, trips, and gear check out our other blog posts and visit the Ole Store for more gear.
So Ethan suggested we put together the backyard foundry using the tutorial from Grant Thompson - The King of Random.
We did our bet to follow along and build as close to specs as possible. The foundry itself worked well however we did run into an airflow issue. We couldn't maintain enough heat to get the cans all the way to liquid and stay that way.
Ended up with aluminum sludge instead. After a closer inspection the blower was mostly clogged with mouse nest. We cleaned out the nests and will take another shot at it.
Unfortunately, the cover fell apart (did not add steel wool) and will need to another one before we will try another run through.
Over all we were quite satisfied in the trial run, learned a lot and look forward to trying again in the near future!
Thanks for reading,
Michael & Ethan
WOW! Northern Minnesota isn't necessarily the place for light camping in mid-October typically, but we lucked out and got a 60 degree day, 50 degree night, and stroked Brookies into the evening.
Although it's catch and release from now until the season ends at the end of the month, we enjoyed catching a hungry bunch of trout and enhanced our skills while taking in the natural beauty of the Superior hiking trail. Be ready for a hike though. We came to the trail off of a logging trail. Certainly not designed by for Kia Optima, but we made it most of the way back.
It'll take you about a 1/2 mile walk through back country, picking your way through unimproved land and logging slashing. Well worth the effort this day!
After several hours of successful fishing and a couple dozen catches we went to work getting camp set up and dinner made.
The campsites were outstanding, didn't look like anyone had bothered to bring a hatchet or ax back with them for some time. Good news is we did and had plenty of firewood for the evening.
The hike out was just as awesome with temps around 45 degrees.
Couldn't have asked for a better overnight adventure!
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