BSL's Blog

This winter, I'm trying... ice fishing

Fri, February 9th, 2024

Do the whimsical tales of fishermen, who have all at some point let escape a "monster" landlocked salmon, make you burst into laughter? This winter, you could create your own anecdotes by trying ice fishing.

In Bas-Saint-Laurent, you'll find several spots to go fishing, near the river or on a lake. Before you pull out your hand warmers and drop your line, we'll answer your most common questions.

So, is it biting? (I can't wait to hear about your adventures already...)

What species of fish can I catch in winter in Bas-Saint-Laurent?

If you drop your line in a lake, you can hope to catch a brook trout (also known as speckled trout) or a yellow perch. At the mouth of a river, near the river, it's more likely to be rainbow smelt wriggling underwater. In any case, it will make an excellent dinner.

Is it certain that I'll be able to bring fish home?

There's nothing certain in life. And even less so when it comes to fishing! The abundance of fish can depend on several factors, including the tide and the weather. It's the unpredictable nature of this activity that makes it so enjoyable.

At best, you might be able to slip up to 60 smelts into your cooler. At worst, you'll stop by the supermarket on the way home!

Credit : Smelts @Mathieu Dupuis
Credit : Ice fishing @Mathieu Dupuis

Do I need my own equipment?

No, you don't. At some sites, all equipment is provided with the rental of a cabin, including tip-ups - those little poles used specifically for winter fishing - and baits. It's also possible to use your own equipment if you're superstitious. Since they vary from one place to another, it's important to check weather conditions before booking or traveling.

Is it a safe activity?

At organized sites, the thickness of the ice is carefully monitored and activities are halted as soon as any danger arises. To practice ice fishing independently, one must always be vigilant. It's better to be overly cautious than not enough. Unfortunately, climate change is making the seasons shorter, as observed in recent years.

What's the point of spending hours waiting over a hole in the ice?

It's a perfect activity to break away from the ordinary and slow down the pace. Spending long hours in a small heated cabin in the middle of nowhere is called quality time. Accessible, ice fishing allows everyone to enjoy winter, regardless of age or physical condition. And you can't measure the satisfaction of pulling a fish out of the water until you've experienced it yourself. (Those who know, know.)

Credit : Ice fisherman @Mathieu Dupuis
Credit : Ice fishing in L'Isle-Verte

Where to try ice fishing ?

You can try the experience on Lake Témiscouata by renting a cabin at Écosite de la tête du lac Témiscouata (Saint-Cyprien) or by opting for an excursion in Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac. In the same region, L'Étang de pêche Lac-du-Repos (Saint-Eusèbe) also allows you to discover this activity, but cabin reservations are required.

In Isle-Verte, you can stay in one of the cabins that appear every year on the ice at the mouth of the Verte River. Unfortunately, the season is fully booked. (Set a reminder for next year immediately!)

In the Rimouski area, fishing takes place in the ZEC Bas-Saint-Laurent, on Lake Chic-Chocs, but on an independent basis. No equipment is provided.

Smelt fishermen also gather every winter at the mouth of the Rimouski River. Late freezing has complicated the current season, but you can stay informed about the conditions by joining this Facebook group.

Credit : Ice fishing in Rimouski @Mathieu Dupuis

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