Author Topic: Winter Camping North of 60*  (Read 14457 times)

Offline Drifter_016

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Winter Camping North of 60*
« on: Jan 19, 2009, 12:33 PM »
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:

Offline nypike

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #1 on: Jan 19, 2009, 05:37 PM »
that is freakin' awesome!!!!!!!! how do you heat that little tent??
If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in northern New York


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v17/camofish/IceShantyStuff/walleye22013_zpsbe2b0c13.png

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #2 on: Jan 19, 2009, 05:41 PM »
that is freakin' awesome!!!!!!!! how do you heat that little tent??

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

Offline nypike

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #3 on: Jan 19, 2009, 05:52 PM »
how cold while you were there? I see in your sig. its pretty decent there now.
If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in northern New York


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v17/camofish/IceShantyStuff/walleye22013_zpsbe2b0c13.png

Offline mud_n_fun

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #4 on: Jan 19, 2009, 06:03 PM »
What an adventure! Way cool!

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #5 on: Jan 19, 2009, 06:24 PM »
What an adventure! Way cool!
Yeah, it's warmed up about 10 degrees since Sunday morning. It was a high of -9C and low of -12C on Saturday.

Offline TGF

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #6 on: Jan 19, 2009, 06:25 PM »
Awesome report bud. Definately crazy sleeping on ice. Snow bank on shore is much quieter. You only have to sleep on the ice once then never again. Looks like you got the right 4 season tent for it. Glad you made it home safe. Got room for another adventurer one time?

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #7 on: Jan 19, 2009, 06:36 PM »
Awesome report bud. Definately crazy sleeping on ice. Snow bank on shore is much quieter. You only have to sleep on the ice once then never again. Looks like you got the right 4 season tent for it. Glad you made it home safe. Got room for another adventurer one time?

Any time Terry, I could use some one to motivate me!!!!   ;D
Come on up in March lot's of ice, sun, warm and long days.
Don't forget the sunscreen and sun glasses!!!!   :tipup:

Offline bigredonice

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #8 on: Jan 20, 2009, 11:55 AM »
I'm jealous.  Very jealous.  I wish we had that kind of wilderness around here.  It looks like it was quite the adventure!

Offline Got Ice?

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #9 on: Jan 20, 2009, 12:01 PM »
 Now that is what I call a good time. I can't wait to get back to the land of the pole. Sometimes I feel like a fox fearing for his pelt down hear in Northeast. Sure miss those endless summer days and long cold winter nights. ;D ;D Good luck fishing! :tipup:
In these tough times remember the ones who taught you your skills, give them some of your prize!

Offline brokenline

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #10 on: Jan 20, 2009, 02:39 PM »
this is a good story!! a tent with no heater burrrr!!

Offline Whitefish Slayer

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #11 on: Jan 20, 2009, 03:18 PM »
now that's what I call an adventure!!
I'm gonna pull the same stunt some weekend in Trout Lake area, but we have Mcpherson tents so it will be a good stay for sure!!

Nice to hear someone is finally nailing some fish..
did ya see any others out fishing at all??

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #12 on: Jan 20, 2009, 03:33 PM »
now that's what I call an adventure!!
I'm gonna pull the same stunt some weekend in Trout Lake area, but we have Mcpherson tents so it will be a good stay for sure!!

Nice to hear someone is finally nailing some fish..
did ya see any others out fishing at all??


Nope!!!
Didn't see another sole after I got 40 km from town.
I did hear a snowmobile heading into the bay at about 9 pm Saturday night though.
When I had to relive myself at 3 am I was greeted by a sweet display of the northern lights.  :laugh:
On the way back in I saw a couple of spots where the local fish guy had placed his whitefish nets.................. ............I marked them with the GPS for later!!!    ;D
Phill, you need to get out and let us know how you do.

Offline TGF

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #13 on: Jan 20, 2009, 07:22 PM »
Well said Drifter

GO PHIL  :flex: :flex: :flex: GO PHIL  :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

Offline WHITETAIL111

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #14 on: Jan 20, 2009, 08:45 PM »
I'm jealous.  Very jealous.  I wish we had that kind of wilderness around here.  It looks like it was quite the adventure!


Try where we live here in MA.  Atleast NY has some seriously large bodies of water you can icefish.  The 2 nice bodies of water we have here in MA you can't icefish on.   :%$#!:

Sounds like quite the adventure you had there drifter!!
That taxidermy man back home gonna have a heart attack when he see what I bring'em!!
,,

Offline Grumpyoldman

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #15 on: Jan 23, 2009, 04:26 AM »
Wow, that sounds like my kind of adventure. I envy the wilderness you have.   

Offline Salmon_Run

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #16 on: Jan 25, 2009, 09:40 AM »
I will say it again you guys up there are "hard core" I used to do winter camping the High Peaks region of New York state and been out in 20 below (F) and it was damn cold.

I love to read your Jack London type adventures and see the posted pictures!!

Rock on you guys.................. ...............
Fish hard and live long !!!!!

Offline PhatboyC

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #17 on: Jan 27, 2009, 07:09 AM »
Thanks for the story. Good read.

Offline Whitefish Slayer

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #18 on: Jan 28, 2009, 05:23 PM »
HAHAHAHAHA I know I know!!
I'm due to get out and get into some fish.. My sled is in Hay River getting fixed/serviced so as soon as it gets back and I can get a couple of days off I am going to take off.  Likely a trip into Trout Lake I think.. I hear stories of some tanks under the ice and I want to snag one!!!!

It's been work work work for me lately not much time to do too much else but when the warmer weather hits I'm not looking back!!

Offline argoholic

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #19 on: Jan 29, 2009, 01:43 PM »
Hell YAH!   Thanks so much for that. Here I sit on Canada's warm tropical west coast, Vancouver Island. I miss ice fishing. But I never fished aything like that in Ontario. -15 to -20 celsius tops for the day.

I know on Lake Nippising they stay over night in warn ice bungalows. Not sure I spelled Nip right?

One day I must hit the Territories and Newf as those are my only areas in Canada I have yet to see.
Need some ice imported to Southern Vancouver Island

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #20 on: Jan 29, 2009, 03:12 PM »
Hell YAH!   Thanks so much for that. Here I sit on Canada's warm tropical west coast, Vancouver Island. I miss ice fishing. But I never fished aything like that in Ontario. -15 to -20 celsius tops for the day.

I know on Lake Nippising they stay over night in warn ice bungalows. Not sure I spelled Nip right?

One day I must hit the Territories and Newf as those are my only areas in Canada I have yet to see.

I grew up in Mississauga and then moved to the Orangeville area before I finally got tired of Ontario life and got the heck outta Dodge!!!  ;D

Offline TGF

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #21 on: Jan 29, 2009, 04:45 PM »
I grew up in Mississauga and then moved to the Orangeville area before I finally got tired of Ontario life and got the heck outta Dodge!!!  ;D

You are wise beyond your years Drifter  ;D
I did the same.....tired of no bush ;) and I'm not talking pecker poles

Offline stripers77

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #22 on: Jan 29, 2009, 07:05 PM »
That is one sweet trip.;D What rating sleeping bag do you use, I've always wondered if my down -40 will do the trick?

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #23 on: Jan 29, 2009, 08:48 PM »
That is one sweet trip.;D What rating sleeping bag do you use, I've always wondered if my down -40 will do the trick?

I use a 4" foamy underneath me, then I climb into my -40 bag and last I put a -20 bag over top to cover up my head, arms and upper body. Toasty warm until it;s time to get out.  :'(

Offline icevader

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #24 on: Jan 30, 2009, 12:07 PM »
I use a 4" foamy underneath me, then I climb into my -40 bag and last I put a -20 bag over top to cover up my head, arms and upper body. Toasty warm until it;s time to get out.  :'(

I once spent a winter in the bush about 60 miles south of Churchill. Your story brings back vividly the memories of that frozen wilderness. One of the aspects of that winter I will never forget was waking up with a full bladder, laying there, trying to muster the courage to do what had to be done... in forty below temps!

That was a part of the trip I did not like, but, for some odd reason, I will never forget.

Life is different in the far north. Makes you appreciate the ammenities we have here all the more.

Given a chance, however, I' would go back tomorrow. Say goodbye to the "Civilized" world.

Fish on man. Fish on. 

Offline argoholic

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #25 on: Jan 30, 2009, 10:11 PM »
Hey Drifter where in Mississauga are you from? I grew up in what they used to call Lakeview/Lynnwood. Oh hell Port Credit area but I did my high school time at Cawthra and one semester at Graydon. That goes back a while as I'm 46. We only moved west going on 7 years back. I'm having issues of this area though and really miss icefishing. I spent a ton of time trout fishing the Nottawasaga. Hell my Cairn Terrier we got out here is named Hockley and my dads ashes are in that valley.
Just showed my wife the your post. We both love your adventure.
Need some ice imported to Southern Vancouver Island

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #26 on: Jan 30, 2009, 11:18 PM »
Spent most of my time growing up in Credit Woodlands area. Went to Springfield Public School and High School was Woodlands. Moved to Erin Mills for a while and then to The Dixie Mall area. A short 5 minute drive from my place to the boat launch.  ;D I caught my first steelhead in the Credit 30 years ago in the falling rock hole, when it was a hole. Chased steelies from Shelter Valley to the Notty to the Niagara, NY, PA, Ohio.

Offline argoholic

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #27 on: Feb 01, 2009, 02:39 PM »
So you saw Mississauga grow nuts just like myself. Growing up you would have been very close to open fields just north of there. It grew from this great little place of towns to one big sprawl. I'm a landscaper and have been self employed since 88 so I made money but still hated the growth. Will always love Ontario but i could never live in built up Southern Ontario again.
You must feel like your in paradise now. It must be hard to not catch fish.
Need some ice imported to Southern Vancouver Island

Offline Drifter_016

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #28 on: Feb 01, 2009, 10:03 PM »
When I grew up in Credit Woodlands there was a beautiful field right across the street from me. It connected with the river valley up near the falling rock hole. Sadly they decided to put up Public Housing and in moved the drunks, dealers and other low lifes. It ruined the whole area.   :%$#!: :%$#!: :cookoo: :cookoo: :nono: :nono:

Offline bart

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Re: Winter Camping North of 60*
« Reply #29 on: Mar 18, 2009, 02:19 PM »
I once spent a winter in the bush about 60 miles south of Churchill. Your story brings back vividly the memories of that frozen wilderness. One of the aspects of that winter I will never forget was waking up with a full bladder, laying there, trying to muster the courage to do what had to be done... in forty below temps!

That was a part of the trip I did not like, but, for some odd reason, I will never forget.

Life is different in the far north. Makes you appreciate the ammenities we have here all the more.

Given a chance, however, I' would go back tomorrow. Say goodbye to the "Civilized" world.

Fish on man. Fish on. 





I winter camp every year, -25 is my personal coldest. A solution to a full bladder is a urinal, not to bad on the rainy nights too.
"Many fish their entire lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."-Henry David Thoreau
  Keep America Godly...

 



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