Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Breaking the Ice: Lake Nippissing 2014 - Photo Journal

The 2014 Ice fishing season has been a long time coming for me, as January 17th is officially the latest my season has ever started, and it had nothing to do with ice conditions, just time

The wait was well worth it though as my buddies and I made the long trek to lake Nippissing to spend the weekend in one of Rob Hyatts ice fishing bungalows,  where ice fishing done right..  

It was a snowy 5 hour drive to Nippissing but when we arrived Rob and his team were ready for us and quickly helped us load up all our gear and get out to start fishing.

We rented a 4-man bungalow, they were nicely equipped with bunk beds, lanterns, propane heater and a double burner for cooking.. two BBQ's were provided outside and were put to some serious use.. there was also an outhouse and a outside urinal to keep us boys from peeing on the side of the hut.

no running water (though drinking water was provided) and no electricity, so card playing was a great way to kill the evening after the night bite died off

As for the fishing the bite was a bit tough.. or should I say light. We geared up with automatic fisherman's, and HT riggers, but at times the bite was so light it would not even trigger these fairly sensitive devices.. above Aaron is staring into his hummingbird screen and attempting to coax a jig bite.

Above one of my automatic fisherman units is rigged up for the walleye bite. I often avoid using the float that comes with the unit wanting an immediate reaction when a fish hits. to learn more you can see my review of this device  HERE

It's funny that this group of friends is very split when it comes to ice fishing electronics, above you can see Brad working his Vexilar FL20, while below Aaron is focused on a Humminbird.. Me I'm a Marcum guy.. LX7 all the way

Looks like these boys are reaping their flashers in matching colours as well, Brad in Vexilar red and Aaron in Humminbird blue

I had a few issues with my LX7 on this trip, as it was a bit tricky to get started, it is on its way back to the nice people at Marcum for a check-up

First fish of the trip belongs to Brad, and although it was a smaller (non-keeper) walleye it is always nice to break the ice.. this fish came while jigging

This pic was strictly taken to get that crazy ATV in the background, this was owned by another hut operator on Nippissing and was driving all over the place.

Kenny (the old guy) landed fish #2, another small walleye that lived to swim another day.. with two anglers on the board that left the race for last to catch a fish down to Aaron and I, and he who catches the last fish is officially the fish filleter for the weekend… oh the drama

Aaron was responsible for our meal on night one, and went with his standard meal of chicken wings, who can complain about chicken wings? lets hope the hot wings don't create a line-up to the outhouse

Day 2 started out looking pretty amazing, and within the first hour we had 4 flags tripped and two fish landed..

yep, that's me with the first fish of day  and my first of the trip and It got me out of fish cleaning duty, and all before breakfast!

Being the early bird of the group I usually take breakfast duty, but when chasing walleye on the ice, the fish come first, so each morning we set up our tip-ups and once day-broke I then turning on the BBQ and got the coffee brewing… breakfast sausage on the grill

My first walleye came on my new AubuGarcia ice series rod, I was jigging and put the rod down to check my second line.. moments later i noticed the rod was half in the hole and I had to make the mad dash back to grab it and set the hook.. from them on it stayed in the automatic fisherman when not in my hand

Shortly after my fish, Kenny hooked into his first of the day and second of the trip… the morning bite was officially on

Aaron was officially the last to break the ice, and since he is officially the "walleye guy" in our group you know he took some ribbing… now that we all bend a rod it was time to find some more eaters in hopes that we could get in a nice on-ice shore lunch

In the afternoon the wind picked up, driving some of us (mostly me) indoors to the warmth. I also took advantage of the cool title ultra-sensitive set-up Rob Hyatt had rigged up in his huts.

While in side I kept warm with a little hot chocolate and some Irish creme liquor.. not a bad way to keep the chill out.

Some of the boys stuck it out in the cold, and shared fishing tips, here is a good pick of Kenny sharing some info with Aaron.. Kenny was the most successful angler on this trip, landing more walleye then us as well as a surprise fish you will see below

Brad brought his ATV with us on this trip to ensure we could move around if required, it was also a great way to monitor the daily snowfall.. this little dusting was nothing compared to what we ran into on our way home

The Rob Hyatt special tip-up, Rob continued to push these babies on us, and I finally cracked and gave one a shot. They are ultra sensitive and detective every little move you minnow makes on the hook. I can't stress enough how lite the bite was over this weekend and if we used these all day we may have been much more successful

Marking fish on screen all afternoon I was having a hard time getting any to commit, so I decided to downsize my bait a bit and see what would happen...

after down sizing I ran into a few eater-sized perch, a great addition to our fish fry, these babies are always a blast to catch and even better to eat.. and now i know what i was seeing all morning

Speaking of Fish Fry's, our night two meal was cooked by Bradley and while he prepped it Aaron was put to work cleaning fish, and i broke out the butter and fish crisp to fry these babies up.. yep I'm still drooling

While settling down to our nightly card game of "asshole" aka "President" Kenny's automatic fisherman was set off and sending us all into a frenzy. The fish was not hooked when it tripped the rod, so we dropped a flasher down to see if we can jig him back up, we immediately marked a fish on screen and watched as it came up and slammed Kenny's minnow/buckshot combo…..

The result: Kenny's first ling, or burbot, or eelpout or whatever else you may call it. This was the fist one I had ever seen up close and personal and now I was dreaming of hooking my own (though not sure I wanted to unhook one)

Not a bad way to end the night.

Day 3 (Sunday) was only a part day with us scheduled to head for home around 11:30am.. so breakfast was served early in a heavy snowfall that  kept us all cooped up in doors trying to stay dry while packing up.

Kenny started the morning off right with a nice little walleye that was quickly followed with one of my own (see below)

I love walleyes this size, they are great fun to catch, and always look amazing

My last catch of the trip was also the oddest, imagine my surprise pulling in this 4-legged creature known as a mud-puppy. Sure it's one to scratch off the list, but I don't think it was ever on my list

With that out trip was officially done, all that was left to do was to make the long trek home in what was quickly becoming white out or snow squall conditions.

here is a nice father/son pic of Kenny and Brad, next to our nicely gift wrapped ATV.. this tarp lasted maybe 20 minutes prior to be ripped apart on the highway… just prior to the pins coming out of the tail-gate and the ramp dragging on the highway, yep it was an eventful ride home

What a horrible drive home, 6+ hours of single lane zero visibility, much credit is do to the driving ability of Kenny who got us all home safely

Lets end this Photo Journal off with some great scenic shots from our trip…..


  1. Looks like a fantastic trip. I might have to give that a try some day. Great post!!! Loved it!

  2. I haven't gotten up to Nippising yet but a warm bungalow, cooperative eyes, with the occasional burbot and mud puppy thrown in may just seal the deal before ice out. Enjoyed the read.