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