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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Guided ice fishing for trout this winter

New for winter 2016, I've decided to guide exclusively for trout, at a well stocked outfitter less than 150 KM from Montreal.

Trout are stocked on a weekly basis, making fishing relatively easy. Great outing for kids or people new to ice fishing, heated log cabins to stay warm on colder days, generous bag limits of 10 delicious trout per person.

Mike and Khaled took advantage of their Xmas vacations to come up with me today (Dec 22nd). The lake yet been stocked since late fall, and the other group on the lake was having a hard time catching trout in the shallower water their holes were drilled over by the outfitter.

Having brought along my own auger as well as my Humminbird flasher to locate and help catch the trout was key to our success. For the first time, most of our catches came from 15 to 20 feet deep, significantly deeper than normal. With would not hit on standard presentation, only method that worked was ligging micro lures tipped with some mealworms I brought along.

In no time, they were well on their way to catching our limits, while the others looked on in amazement.

Shortly after noon, the stocking truck showed up with some fresh brook trout to stock into the shallower holes, managed to shoot a short video clip.

As the brookies got acclimated to their new setting, we started catching some as well, but the rainbow trout were by far the more active species.

We ended up with our 30 fish bag limit in about 5 hours of fishing, roughly 20 rainbow trout and 10 brook / speckled trout for the day.

Nice way to get winter kicked off, and I know what both of their families had for dinner.

Returned a few days later for another outing. This time, Robert and Daniel came for a father son fishing trip. Though it wasn't their first time ice fishing, it was the first time trout fishing on ice.

Hundreds of trout had been taken from the lake over the long holiday weekend. We got a very late start due to icy conditions on the drive up, and when we got to the lake, the ice was still to thin for the outfitter to drive their truck on it. That meant, that all stocking had been done right at the entrance to the lake, and unfortunately for us, their was a group of people there with a good 40 to 50 lines in the water.

We made our way across the lake to where another 2 groups of people were already fishing, knowing that there was virtually no chance of any of the stocked speckled trout to make it across the lake in such short time. We'd have to content ourselves fishing for rainbow trout, as they don't school up under ice like the speckled trout do.

In contrast to the previous week, the rainbow trout fishing was extremely tough, as most that were left in the lake from fall were probably caught, and the outfitter had not stocked any so far this winter. After finally catching one rainbow trout in about 1 hour of fishing, I walked across the lake with Daniel, and drilled a bunch of holes in shallower water, not too far from where they are stocked.

Success was almost immediate, we pulled 2 speckled trout out, back to back. We called Daniel to come join us across the lake, and sure enough, they managed a total 15 trout over the next 2 hours or so, leaving with a total of 19 trout for the day, just 1 trout shy of the 20 trout bag limit.

After not having fished for stocked trout all of January, February resumed to business as usual. First outing had me taking my oldest son and 3 younger ones out for their first outing of 2017. Bite was moderately tough, but we still managed another couple limits (20 trout).

One week later, I headed back with Cory, for his first attempt at ice fishing for stocked trout. Bite was on fire, he managed 2 bag limits of 20 trout in a couple hours.

Mid March, and I headed out with Gino, visiting Canada from Australia. A first timer to ice fishing, I was a bit worried about the -20 forecast for our outing. Luckily, I brought along some spare gloves, and the lodge provided him with some heavy snow pants for the day. Drilled though 40+ inches of ice to be able to fish, the Jiffy comes in very handy this time of the year up North.

Fishing started of with a bang, Gino managed to land 15 trout in the first few hours. We paused to take some pics.

After which I proceed to fillet 6 fat trout for shore lunch.

After enjoying his first Canadian shore lunch on ice, Gino got to jigging. Just in time too, as the still fishing bite slowed down. The trout had moved slightly deeper and got aggressive, hitting jigging lures and micro spoons. Was long before we had 2 bag limits, I prepared a few more trout for Gino's second helping, before grabbing a beer together on our way out.

About 2 weeks left to my ice guiding season, as lodge closes at the end of March. Have about 5 or 6 days left available until then, ice is over 3 feet thick, and still lot's of hungry trout in the lake.

Last chance to book for 2017 winter season!

Contact me about your guided outing at:


larry said...

Hi Phil,
I'm hoping you can clarify something for me. I'm new to fishing in the province and when I checked fishing seasons it seemed to me that fishing was prohibited between November and the following April and for trout, the season ends in September.

Clearly some of you are fishing in the winter. What am I missing? Answer here or via email ( would be appreciated.

Freshwater Phil said...

Some zones in Quebec are open during winter some are closed. In general, trout fishing in winter is closed in most zones, but stocked trout are always open, with no closed seasons, and increased bag limits. That is what we fish for during the winter.

larry said...

Thanks Phil. It was the stocked lake aspect that I was missing I guess.

Philmtl said...

Thanks to you blog, me and 2 friends had a great day at the trout lake, got mealworms and wax worms and it was the best bait, even helped a nearby family who started catching after switching bait.


Freshwater Phil said...

Glad my fishing methods worked out for you guys. Hope to return there again this winter.