This is me setting up my fishing line and making knots. My boyfriend and I go through this ritual every year in early spring. We LOVE fishing. We both started out with catch and release fishing only. We didn't have it in us to keep a fish for dinner. We still have a few more months until the lakes thaw out, but this ritual lifts our moods in mid-winter!
These are my favourite lures! I mostly use crawfish (the first box) and when we've been lucky enough to be in a boat, I use the bigger lures (the second box) to try to catch bigger/different fish. The choice of lure depends a lot on where you are, the weather, the season and if it's day or night. We've learned a lot by trial and error over the years. My boyfriend has boxes of his own favourite lures too. We also have a huge amount of plastic worms and once in a while we'll get some real worms from the backyard as well. We want to start a worm farm if we have time this summer.
Last year we bought some fly fishing lures. My boyfriend's father used to fly fish and gave him his old rod. We don't really know the technique but it's something we plan on doing in the near future. I have to get a fly fishing rod at some point down the line too. We also want to do some ice fishing once we're settled into our new home in a few years. We mostly fish for bass but sometimes we catch some perch and once a few summers ago, I caught this monster:
You can't BEGIN to imagine how I was shaking during this catch lol...these muskies (muskellunge) look so prehistoric and those teeth aren't anything to play with. They are strong! It was quite the workout when I caught this guy and I was very happy to release him back. Given the chance I'm sure he would have made one of my fingers a nice afternoon snack! I kept murmuring under my breath "Hurry up! Hurry up!" while my boyfriend was taking this picture!
But last summer, one of our neighbours brought us out trout fishing and we kept a few for our dinner. It's not easy transitioning from sport fishing to actually keeping them and eating them! But in my quest to become as self-sufficient as possible, I thought I'd give it a go. Notice I still say "keeping" a fish? Why can't I just be realistic and use the proper term, sigh? Our boating friend did the deed but at one point, we'll both have to learn how to humanely kill the fish. Our friend is 78 years old, an old sea dog and he does it like it's nothing. I need to build my confidence. I wonder how people do it? How do you become someone who hunts for your food, or butchers your farm animals? Has it always been in you or did you learn as time goes by how to do it and be okay with it? I struggle I have to say! But being purposely ignorant about how food gets to my plate doesn't serve me well anymore.
These three trout would have cost between $60 to $75 here if I got them at the grocery store, and who knows how fresh they really would have been? Our yearly fishing permit costs $29 for the two of us, so it had already paid for itself. These are gray trout (or lake trout). The lake in our town also has Rainbow and spotted trout, which were a little more difficult to fish for last summer. We caught some spotted, but they were tiny little fish and after tasting one, we opted not to keep them anymore. They're kind of...let's say..."sea-weedy" tasting. My boyfriend caught a Rainbow, but it was just too small so we put it back. We are rule-followers, so we can only have 2 trout per fishing license in our possession at one time and they have to fit the length requirements to be keepers. If we freeze one and keep it, that's considered part of our daily limit. Since we had three, we gave one to our neighbour. She gave us fresh lettuce in return...how cool that we practiced bartering! :) These fish are so good when they're fresh. After a lot of nervous anxiety, we just gutted them and baked them whole...and they were delish! I got over my fear of catching, (not killing), but gutting and cooking a live fish and I actually enjoyed eating it. This got me thinking about hunting too...but that will be for future consideration! I don't know that I have that in me at all!
This was the biggest fish I caught last summer. It's a small-mouthed bass and not big enough for a keeper. Fishing off the local dock brings in smaller fish and sometimes we have to give up going because it's also a local hangout for teenagers who want to smoke and drink beer all night (we were all young once...). Finding spots where we can fish off the shore has become a big challenge for us. Either the public docks are overfilled or the property is private. We spent many hours just scouting out locations within driving distance and couldn't find a good spot.
This is me last summer on my favourite fishing boulder! This lake is called Bass Lake and we got lucky a few years back and met the caretaker of a kid's camp that sits on acres of land by the lake. He lets us come and fish there when the camp is closed. It's a gorgeous spot, but we can only go at the beginning of May; and then after Labour Day. Also, it's an hour's drive each way and it's just not feasible anymore to go there often. We did the drive a lot for the last few summers, but our priorities are changing a little bit - we want to drive less and be outdoors more.
We've made a very big decision lately. We decided to invest in a little row boat this spring. The store where we plan to buy has a one year no interest, no fee equalized payment plan so we are going to take advantage of that offer. We both love that it'll give us more fishing time and together time doing something outdoors that we truly love. Not only will we save a bundle on gas money, having a row boat will allow us to catch a bigger variety of fish for our dinners - whenever we want to be out on the lake. We didn't fish as much as we would have liked last summer. Our goal is to pay back debt and save money; and after talking about it, we feel this little boat will be a great investment not only to enjoy our summers, but also to catch our dinners! After one season of fishing, the boat will have paid for itself. Spending a lot of money is difficult for us since we want to buy a property in a few years, but sometimes you have to spend to save right? If we can, in a year's time we might buy a little trolling motor so we can go farther into the lake for that yummy Rainbow trout!