As we barreled across the snow and ice towards the village of fishing shacks I glanced back at the ladies all cozy in the bombardier and smiled. We had just started our ice fishing day and we were having an amazing time. I was certain this was one of the best ways to enjoy a snowy Saturday in Manitoba.
I had signed up for a day of guided ice fishing with a group of women and our instructor was Sticky’s Bait and Tackle in Dauphin. I was a bit apprehensive, I had been fishing many times, but never in the winter and never through a hole in the ice. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I didn’t know anything about ice fishing, but being the adventurous type I decided to give it a shot.
We met up with Sticky at the edge of Dauphin Lake. We were also greeted by this very captivating 1950s bombardier snowmobile capable of carrying a dozen people. We piled in and set out for the shacks. Our group of women felt like royalty being shuttled in this restored and unique Bombardier, we giggled as we hit snow drifts and plowed right on through with ease.
When we made it to the fishing shacks the real fun began. Sticky introduced us to his helper guides and gave us some demonstrations covering the basics of ice fishing. We were encouraged to pick a hole with gear already set up and give it a try. As we claimed our fishing holes we started waging bets - who would be the first one to catch a fish, who would catch the biggest fish, how many fish would we catch? Sticky just smiled and laughed and said we would not be disappointed. And we weren’t. Within minutes a scream of delight was heard and Sticky went running to help one of our novice fisherman pull in her catch with ease. It’s a keeper! The first fish of the day was tossed into a container and bets were back on as to who would catch the next one.
We fished for a couple hours, sometimes out in the open air where we could admire the beautiful view and sun as it danced on the frozen lake, and sometimes in the toasty warm shacks which offered a break from the wind and chilly temperatures. We all caught multiple fish, and with Sticky watching closely and helping us learn the tricks of the trade we handled it like old pros.
Halfway through the day it was time to take a break and feast out on the ice. Sticky‘s Bait and Tackle had prepared a catered lunch, cooked right there by the shacks. Salads, barbeque steak, french fries, shrimp and cheesecake filled our bellies and replenished our energy. As I sat there with the sun beating down on me on the brisk winter day, surrounded by a great group of women and guides, I was happy. Happy to be outside in the frigid winter weather, happy to be trying something new, and happy to have caught some fish to take home for supper. I knew I was hooked. Hooked on ice fishing, hooked on experiencing winters in Manitoba to the fullest, and hooked on Sticky’s Bait and Tackle.
After a few more hours of fishing, our catches of the day were cleaned and filleted by Sticky’s Bait and Tackle and packaged for us all to take home. As the sun started to set we piled back into the bombardier and headed for land. We cheered and thanked each other for a great day of ice fishing and proclaimed we simply must do it again. It was one of the best days I’ve ever experienced in winter in Manitoba. Laughs with friends, learning new skills by guides, great food out in the fresh air picnic style, and of course catching some fish.
Are you interested in getting a group together and booking a guided ice fishing trip to beat the winter blues? It’s a great way to experience winter in Manitoba and enjoy life to its fullest. For more information on Sticky’s Bait and Tackle and guided fishing trips in the Dauphin area visit www.stickysbaitandtackle.com.