Canada > Ice Fishing North West Territories

Winter Camping North of 60*

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Well after 2 months of average daytime highs in the -30 range it finally warmed up to a reasonable temp for outdoor fun!!!!  ;)
In order to tell this story properly I have to recap our winter so far. Normally our lakes freeze up in late October or early November but this year we had above normal temps in October delaying freeze up on the larger lakes. This is however a good thing as the bulk of our snow fell before the big lakes locked up for the winter. There is only six inches or so of snow in most places which makes travel by 4x4 feasible.
In a normal year there would be 2 feet of the white stuff on the lakes at this time of year. So on the spur of the moment I decided that I may not be able to to this again I loaded up the truck with gear and dog. After a brief appearance at work on Saturday morning to address the Board of Govenors of the College I work for I was off to do three things I had not done before, 1/ Travel 100km off road across the 11th largest lake on the planet alone, 2/ Camp out in a tent in winter (in the Arctic no less)  :o  and 3/ scope out the lake for a trip to be taken during the summer. I would also need to drill a hole or two and even drop a bait down said holes.  ;)

Here is the route taken to get to my destination.

 I had planned on going to the next bay down but great walls of ice would quash that idea. Instead I would setup camp near an island close to the eastern shore of Campbell Bay.

On the first few kms of the trip I would take the ice road that connects Yellowknife to the village of Dettah a native settlement across Yellowknife Bay.

Near the end of the 5 km road I would turn right and follow and unplowed road used by cottagers to get to thier weekend cabins.
I ended up following a bombadier for a while.

Eventually we would part company and then it was just me and a pair of tracks leading off into the distance. Even they would dissapear soon enough and I would have to blaze my own trail.

It took about two hours to reach the end of my long drive. One made more difficult by the cloudy skies and flat light on Saturday.
While not a huge deal in the protected areas leading to the Hearn Channel once out in the open the snow drifts were compacted by wind and instead of breaking through them you were launched through the air if not carefull. I noticed on the the way home where my tire tracks stopped and then restarted when I landed. This was not good for me my gear or the poor pooch in the back seat. Thankfully the return trip would be sunny and easier to navigate.
Once I had decide I was going to stop short of my planned destination I quickly drilled a hole and dropped a bait down to soak while I set uo camp.

While setting up camp I look over and see my fishing rod jumping up and down like a four year old on a sugar high and run over just in time for the fish to come off!!!  :'( Oh well check bait and reset and continue setting up the tent. Not five minutes later the rod is again bouncing up and down wildly and again I get there too late to connect!!!!  :%$#!:
I finally get camp setup finished (it takes way longer in the winter.......go figure.

I ended up setting up on a flat just off the island in 35 FOW and as soon as I fired up the flasher the screen was alive with fish!!
Getting them to bite was a bit of a challenge (I figure they knew I was now ready for them)  ::)

Now it was time to get serious!!!! I go to fire up the auger and break the pull cord!!!!!!  :%$#!:
No problem it's still early, but with only my pliers I had to disassemble the top of the motor.
About 1/2 hour later the four screws are out and I can fix the rope. Next problem is low light and failing eyes.
It took me another 1/2 hour to rethread the rope and then 15 more minutes to reattach to the motor. I finally got a 1/2 dozen holes punched and started working them jigging a williams white fish looking for trout in one hole and dead baitng another. No hits on the williams but lots of lookers on the flasher.  :'(
I didn't catch much only a couple of small Burbot about 3 or 4 pounds on Saturday on the dead bait rod (They were tasty though).
I only ended up fishing for about 2 1/2 hours and managed to catch dinner which was ok. The drive out took a lot out of me and I was beginning to wish I had one of those nice light augers instead of my 3hp Strikemaster.

The days are still way too short at ths time of year with sundown before four oclock.

I had fresh fish and chips for dinner and sat in my car reading until 7 oclock and hit the sack (I was completely bushed)
Sleep did not come easily as the ice was quite active. The noise of the ice growing and cracking as well as pushing up the pressure ridges made it hard to sleep. I kept thinking what if the small one I drove over to get here grows and blocks my route home!!!  :o
Well that didn't happen (whew!!) but the one behind me grew about 6 feet overnight and as I was getting breakfast ready a big chunk collapsed.

After some food I packed up camp and fished for a couple of hours, managing a couple of small whities on Badd Boyz jigs tipped with a crappie tube.
I was expecting a couple of friends to show up in the morning and when they hadn't showed by 10 oclock I decided to start heading back as I wanted to make sure they weren't in trouble somewhere. (cell phone coverage sucks out here!!!  ;D) Well they were nowhere to be found and I haven't talked to them yet. Maybe they bailed or had car trouble.

I can tell you that the drive was quite rough and maybe they decided to call it quits. I kind wish I did because every muscle in my body aches from the trip.   All in all it was a decent trip and I got to see some awesome country and experience a cool adventure. I did get a little frost nip on the cheeks though. 

I almost forgot to mention that we have plenty of ice!!! I was drilling through 38 inches of clear black ice!!!!  :laugh:

that is freakin' awesome!!!!!!!! how do you heat that little tent??


--- Quote from: nypike on Jan 19, 2009, 05:37 PM ---that is freakin' awesome!!!!!!!! how do you heat that little tent??

--- End quote ---

HEAT????? You're kidding right?
No heat, just two good quality sleeping bags, 4" foamy and a furry Husky!!!  ;D

how cold while you were there? I see in your sig. its pretty decent there now.

What an adventure! Way cool!


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