The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Ice Fishing Those Hardwater Smelts With Casey

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 05:16 AM PST

ice fishing hutI was raised in Ontario and only ever got to ice fish once. It was a lot of fun but we mostly drank and flew around the ice on our snowmobiles.

The fish hut we stayed in was more like a hotel on ice as it was huge and even had bunk beds.

Many years went by, 40 to be exact, and I had my first time ice fishing in New Brunswick. We fished from a ice fishing hut so it was pretty comfortable. The only thing about having a fish hut is that it's pretty much stuck in one place all winter.

This year we didn't use the fish hut, which has now been converted to a garden shed. We used an auger to drill a couple of holes where we wanted to fish and when that did pan out it's just a matter of relocating and cutting a new hole.

I first day out this year it was so cold and windy it was hard to stay out on the ice. We stayed for a while but nothing was happening so we headed back to shore to fish another day. That day was yesterday.

rextonCasey checked on the New Brunswick Fishing Forum to see where other ice fishers were catching smelt. Casey had a couple of places in mind and then checked the tide times so we would be there at the right time. We did our hardwater fishing at Rexton.

I guess others were watching the tides as well because when we arrived there were people who just arrived heading to the fish huts.

That Sinking Feeling

Before we carried all our ice fishing gear and supplies out on the ice we walked out to talk with some people and see what's happening. The first thing we notices was a couple of guys drilling holes behind their fish hut.

When we asked about it they told us their friends fish hut had sunk into the ice. They had dragged it out of there and set it back up on the ice. Because it was such a beautiful day they decided to just fish outside for the day.

sunken fish hutThen I noticed two fish huts that looked almost identical but one was about 3 feet shorter than the other. It wasn't until someone told me it was sunk in the ice that I realized it wasn't built so short.

Hmmm I thought it might be tough ice fishing while laying down because it was too short to sit on a chair and fish.

Not sure how they will get that out of there.

Time To Catch Us Some Smelts

casey ice fishingAfter chatting for a few minutes we headed back to pick up our fishing gear and pick a spot to start drilling for smelts. The ice was so thick that we almost ran out of auger before breaking through the ice.

When we cut through the ice it was about 3 feet thick and almost no water under it. The tide was out and when we cut through the last inch of ice the auger hit the bottom and stirred up a mess.

Achin' For The Bacon

smeltI was sitting on my comfy armchair watching the boob-tube a couple of weeks ago and something came on the tube about bacon and BAM I thought I might just bring some small pieces of bacon ice fishing and see if the smelt would like it and they did.

I would have been the first catching smelt if I wasn't setting the hook like I had a 3 pound bass on the end instead of a 3 ounce smelt. I was getting strike after strike but wasn't catching anything, until Casey suggested I set the hook a bit easier.

I also was putting too much bacon on the hooks making it hard for the smelt to get it in there mouth so they would just try and yank pieces off the bacon. I took most of the bacon off the hooks and left just a tiny piece on the hook. What a big difference that made.

Best Day of Smelt Fishing I've Ever Had

Everything was great. The sky was clear all day. There was not even a little breeze and the temperature was close to zero. The scenery was so nice I had my camera in hand most of the day. And we caught smelt. Who could ask for more. We didn't catch a bucket load of smelt but enough to keep us entertained and I'm looking forward to going back again, soon.

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