Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fishing!


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!

14 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

thanks for visiting my blog! i just love your blog and added it to my sidebar so maybe you will get some more followers! i'll mention it on my blog if it's okay with you so some of my followers can check it out! joyce

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I appreciated your comment.

About 20 years ago, I got heavily into fly fishing and catch and release. I traveled up to New England to take a course from Orvis and when I came home I was "hooked". After working all day, I would come home, grab my waders, rod, and flies and go down to this beautiful creek nearby and practice my casting and try to catch a trout or two. I gave it up about 10 years ago when the rushing waters almost took me with them. I slipped on some rocks and went down. I was able to get myself out of the situation, but it scared me silly. I garden now but look back to those wonderful times when I stood in the water with my rod and let my line dance over the water. They were good times. I know you will enjoy this sport also.

Mama Pea said...

You know a lot more about fishing than I do! Hubby and I used to fish a bit, but haven't done much of it in the last several years. A problem is that so many of the lakes around us have been ruined -- contaminated with mercury, run-off from poisonous sprays, etc. -- that we don't feel comfortable eating the fish. They're still beautiful for canoeing or boating though so we hope to do more of that one of these years soon.

Goatldi said...

Sounds like a plan. Fresh air, fresh fish and time with each other always well spent. And yes you are wise your steps are well thought out and in the end you may find you are in the black with your books. Sounds as if fun has just become profitable!

Kristina said...

My husband and I enjoy taking the kids fishing, but we have had zero time (or just haven't made the time) to fish together. We had permission once to fish someone's pond for bluegill, but never went (and I can't remember why). I am down to one salmon in my freezer. I know what you mean about rules. We have limits here in our area on fish too.

Rain said...

Thank you Joyce! :) That's very sweet of you! :) I think your blog is fabulous.

Rain said...

Starting Over: How interesting that you mention Orvis. My boyfriend and I got their brochure last summer, but it wouldn't be feasible for us to travel to the States for a course, we're trying to find something more local. Can't leave the 6 fur kids alone that long! The way you describe your evenings fly fishing is very poetic and makes me dream of summer. It's a wonderful pass-time. My boyfriend taught me to fish when we first met and now I want to try all of the methods. Though ice fishing WILL require a shelter with hopefully a heat source - I'm not all that rugged ;)

Rain said...

Mama Pea...yes we've had a few lakes contaminated in this area as well, mostly blue-green algae...caused chemicals in the lake (human foolishness) of leaky septic systems (yuck). People can't even swim in those lakes and most people have abandoned boating as well. It's a shame that your lake isn't fish-able. I hope you can find time to spend out on the lake in a canoe! I used to kayak a lot and it was so much fun!

Rain said...

Goatldi: the dream of books in the black...I did have that once in my life! It was a good feeling and one of my goals. But it seems to always be short-lived! We're okay though and I am really looking forward to spending time out on the lake with my boyfriend. Now if we could just get rid of those adrenaline junkies who love to speed past smaller vessels, it would be perfect.

Rain said...

Hi Kristina :) I would love to fish for salmon, but they aren't any rivers in this area where we could find them. If I could manage it, I'd eat fish every night for dinner. I love it! My boyfriend is an occasional fish eater, but loves the fresh stuff. Blue gill is fun to fish for, they remind me a bit of the Rock bass in this area. I hope you can get out fishing with your hubby. Load up the motorcycles with your gear and take an afternoon together! :)

Nicole Thomas said...

It will be an awesome summer...enjoying your boat.
I always ask myself the same thing. How do I become the farmer that butchers his own lifestock ... i honestly think I will never get there

Rain said...

Nik, I never thought I'd be okay with keeping fish, but I guess I'll be tested this summer! Hunting...we've talked about that a lot. We even went to check out guns and permits at the hunting/fishing store. I'm not sure about it, but that'll be for a few years down the line I think. First I have to tackle the fish!

Nicole Thomas said...

We talk about it a lot as well. Fish ... if we ever get tk go is t a problem. We also talked about hunting. We both like to eat wild game and we live in an awesome area for moose bear and deer hunting. I am not sure if I wouldnt "accidentaly" sneeze just before I pull the trigger.
But then there is the farm animals wich is a while different story to me. My chickens are nore like my buddies ... lol I dont even dare to get pigglets or cattle with the attempt to throw it in the freezer after a year or so ... i would like to tho ... it just makes so much sense.

Rain said...

Nik, I would too, accidentally sneeze! :) That's another thing, farm animals. You know I want chickens for eggs and fun pets, and goats for milk...but I don't know that I could butcher them. But who knows right? I have to be in that situation to really know. The cost of buying meat is outrageous. Pork is cheaper than fish. Organic meats...I can't afford that.