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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our 2016 fishing season

With our first snow on the ground, and forecast for the next week hovering around the freezing point, there is a good chance that my open water fishing season has come to it's end. Unless another warm front comes in, chances are that my next outing won't be until first ice.

As usual, I like to review our fishing season's most interesting catches, and 2016 was another spectacular season for us. I like to switch up the format of my yearly review every now and then, so the breakdown will be done by season, instead of by species.

Winter 2016 was successful. I didn't get out as often as planned, but did manage to fish some new spots and waterways I'd been thinking about for a while. While some didn't produce the desired results, 2 of our catches exceeded my expectations.

First, I found a wintering area for mooneye, a species very rarely caught on ice. I had never caught any mooneye up to that point, and managed a couple outings to the spot before the mooneye bite died down. Managed to land a few decent ones.

Later on in January, I took Ari for his first attempt at landing some pike on ice. The waterway we fished doesn't have much pike in at at all, but I had heard of some nice sized pike being caught there over the years. Our plan to target trophy pike worked out well, Ari landed his biggest pike.

Moving on to February, I took Avi and Levi down to Dallas to visit their grandparents for a few days during their spring break. Needless to say, fishing was on the menu as well, open water on a boat was a welcome change from ice fishing. Both managed to land their biggest catfish at 34 and 38 lbs.

March 2016 was a lot warmer than normal, which cancelled my plans for targeting big pike before the spawn, due to lack of safe ice. On the flip side, early ice out was a welcome opportunity to try to land our first ever March carp in open water. Sure enough the plan worked out, Eli managed this mid size carp towards the end of March.

April brought some more good weather, and I had the chance of finally fulfilling one of my fishing dreams. I headed down to Florida's southwest coast in search of some big goliath grouper and sharks. While we weren't lucky enough to catch a shark, we did have a few steal some smaller fish we were catching for bait on light gear. The Goliath groupers did come to play, I managed to land a couple, with the biggest one estimated at roughly 150 lbs. By far, the largest fish I've ever caught, and most brutal fight on heavy rod spooled with 450 lb test cable.

Also managed to catch a couple other saltwater species, gag grouper and snook were fun on light gear.

May signalled another opportunity that I was happy to experience with my kids. Being the last season where the use of dead bait is permitted in open water in Quebec, we took advantage and headed to Le Domaine Shannon to target some big pike using euro style still fishing methods. Rods pods, bite alarms, and big frozen mackerels as bait all come together to help us land some trophy pike.

Big pike weren't the only trophies of the month. Eli managed to land his biggest carp ever, a nice 30.25 spring carp gave him bragging right over his brothers, who have yet to break the 30 lbs mark for carp.

Chaya landed her first and biggest channel catfish at 11 lbs, on the last day of May 2016.

And I managed to catch this colorful bowfin in pre spawn stage while wading across a flooded field to get to one of my pike fishing spots.

June was another productive month, starting off with Eli's first ever walleye outing. Out with my friend Mark Currie, Eli managed to land a whopping 18 walleye, and some pike as well. Ari and I landed some as well. Biggest was in the 5 lbs range, a few double headers, and even 2 triples.

We then spent the last week in June bass fishing up North at Mijocama outfitter. Levi landed the biggest bass of the 5 day fishing trip, at 4375 lbs, his biggest up to that point.

Chaya managed her biggest bass at 3.25 lbs.

Chaya also learned how to cast, and how to fish a topwater lure. With a magical fairytale ending, she landed this superb 2.75 lbs bass a few minutes before dark and the last evening of our trip.

Big bass weren't the only species targeted during our trip. We spent some time sight fishing for giant pumpkinseed sunfish during the heat of the day, with some very nice results.

After spending the first couple weeks for July fishing around town, we headed down to visit family in Southwest Colorado. Staying up at over 10,000 of elevation, only fish available were small trout. The scenery was breathtaking, weather was superb. Fishing less spectacular than I had hoped for.

Avi and I landed some rainbow trout fishing at various small alpine lakes in the region.

We took a guide at lower elevation for a half day, and managed to land a couple bag limits of kokanee salmon, as well as some trout.

Both July and August were good for number of decent sized carp. My kids, as well as a variety of customers caught a decent number of good fish. 

Some of the notable catches were:

Eli's 24 lb car that spawned all over his t-shirt when he picked it up for a picture.

And Levi's biggest carp at 25.5 lbs.

Eli also landed his first musky in August.

And Levi managed another very nice largemouth bass while away at summer camp in the Laurentians.

September was another great carping month, had more customers for guided carp outings than ever before. Notable catches were 9 year old Griffin, who landed the biggest carp ever caught by one of my customers at 35.5 lbs.

And Ray, who landed a rare mirror carp on his first try.

Night fishing was still productive, here's a good 56 inch sturgeon I caught on September 1st, Nice start to the month.

Early October marked a noticeable slow down in carp fishing, though all customers still managed to land some. Month ended with Levi and Eli going sturgeon fishing for the first time.

Both managed to catch their first few sturgeon, though Eli need some help landing the big one.

This one was a tag team effort by Eli and Levi, after hooked it and handed them the rod.

Also managed a few incidental catches of other species on that outing.

My first drum in about 10 years.

Eli's first redhorse sucker:

And a decent chanel cat to end the day:

Didn't get to fish much in November, but had a nice day out on the river with Mark for a mixed species day of bass, walleye and some small musky as well.

All in all, another great fishing season with many great memories that will hopefully last a lifetime for my kids, and customers. Thanks again to all my customers, blog followers, friends and family, for all the outings we did together, and for putting up with this fishing addict.

Hoping for another great one in 2017.

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