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Thursday, March 10, 2011


Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador to be exact.  I'm up here working for a month.  Labrador puts the "L" in NL.  I've lived in Newfoundland for over three years, and it's taken me this long to make it up to "the Big Land" as they like to call it.

[Labrador flag found here]

There is a lot to be learned in a place like this.  For you, dear blog readers, I would like to share one learning experience in particular:  ice fishing.

The day started bright and early (well, at least bright).  The temperature was about -23 degrees Celsius... or something a bit lower when you added in the driving wind that found us about halfway through the day. In retrospect, I was slightly chilly in my outfit, although it included three layers on bottom and five on top.  But it was the kinda day where you're having too much fun to really dwell on something so simple as a cool breeze.  And the sun was shining, glinting off the fresh snow.  A great day.

The first order of business were the snowmobiles.  This is me (really, it is me under there) trying one on for size:


Our group of five took three of these machines for a 20 minute ride: through the streets of HV-GB, over the hill and through the woods and finally onto Lake Melville, a massive (3069 square km) brackish body of water that is covered in a sturdy sheet of ice this time of year.

[courtesy Google Maps]

How sturdy?  Well, we had to drill two to three feet into it to make our fishing holes.  So it was pretty sturdy.  How do you drill a hole in ice that thick, you say?  You use an auger, a very large hand operated drilling tool.


Did I drill my own ice-fishing hole?  No I did not.  But I did drill part of it, so that counts.  This is what the drilling process looks like:

Drilling a fishing hole

Once the hole is made, it's time to fish.  You don't want to waste any time at minus 23 degrees.

This is the tackle.  We baited our hooks with smelt.

Hook and line

This is me fishing:

Fishing hole

And this is me about 30 seconds after I caught my first rock cod!

The catch!

FYI:  I think 'rock cod' is sort of a loose term - different people have told me that that is not the actual name of this type of fish.  He did look like a cod though, with all the fins.  He was too small, so we did a catch and release.  Yes, sadly, this foodie did not get to cook the fish. But I am a little bit happy that he is still swimming around Lake Melville under the ice.

No more fish were to be caught that day, so we decided to walk to a shelter on the shore.


Walk to shelter

My roomies in the awesome shelter:


We had a lovely day on the ice.  I'm hoping to get back out again before I leave.



Hogie said...Best Blogger Tips

I am so entertained after seeing these photos for the first time! You should phone up John Furlong and tell him tall tales of ice fishing lore.

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

great adventures ! So glad you are getting out of the town. !

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