Today’s post comes from multi-species angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com, as she recounts her 2017 trip to Silent Lake.
I think any angler will agree that it is almost impossible to sleep while waiting for an upcoming fishing trip. This was the case for me and my friend Lori, who joined me on a recent adventure in Silent Lake Provincial Park.
This trip was especially exciting since Lori was chasing her first lake trout and we would be exploring a new body of water. We were also looking forward to staying in a yurt, something neither of us had experienced.
We made the three hour drive early in the morning from the Ottawa area to the park located outside of Bancroft. As the sun began to light up the sky, we began our walk towards the ice. I brought my dad to check the thickness of the ice while Lori followed behind me, towing our gear on a sled.
I had printed a bathymetric map to see the depths and contours of the lake. This would help us determine where to drill our holes. The park only allows hand augers and only one line per angler is allowed. Lake trout season is open from January 1 to September 30 and there is a gap size (in 2017). Be sure to check fishing regulations before visiting the park, as changes may occur from year to year.
During the warm months, lake trout are generally found in the deeper holes where the water temperature is lower. As the water cools, they can be found at various depths, usually along contour lines, not far from baitfish, which use these areas as a travel route. Lakers, being a cold water species, become quite active during the winter months, unlike many other species that decrease their activity.
We spent the first half of the day covering water and looking for fish. Although we drilled holes in water from 12 feet to 70 feet, it was a spot in 40 feet of water that showed the most activity on my MarCum flasher. A few fish ran up to our baits and tubes, apparently very interested, but scurried away after teasing us a bit. We decided to hold out to see if we could convince any of these fish to bite.
Late in the morning a fish came running in and destroyed my bait! After bringing this fish to the hole, it jumped out before I could see it. I’m still obsessed because it put up a great fight with my medium-heavy spinning setup and a good bend on my rod.
It was a little discouraging, but I was glad to see a fish that would commit and was hopeful there would be more action to follow.
Shortly after, another fish showed interest and after a little coaxing, I was able to catch my first lake trout of the trip! Wow! We were both excited and happy to have spent time looking for fish and staying at this place. Lori was amazed by the magnificent colors of this lake. After a quick photo, the fish was released. She was hoping Lori would participate in one next.
After the excitement died down, I was jumping in the area when Lori went silent during our conversation and I knew she was marking a fish. I watched her set her hook and reserved it to help her land. After a good fight, she brought him to the surface and I grabbed him. We were both ecstatic, high-fiving and screaming.
His fish was bigger than mine and the orange color of the fins was dazzling. He couldn’t have been happier to see her catch her first lake trout. She was impressed by the battle these fish fought and how aggressive they can be. We took a quick photo before she released the fish from her.
Check-in for the yurt was at 3:00 pm, so we headed off the ice to unpack and get settled. We loved the yurt!
It was very spacious, cozy and quaint but modern. Equipped with propane fireplace, lights, electricity, as well as a terrace, fire pit, parking space for vehicles and barbecue; We both agreed that we would definitely visit Silent Lake again. I can’t believe I hadn’t camped in a yurt before.
We finished the night by cooking a delicious meal of chicken breast marinated with garlic and herbs and vegetables fried on the barbecue. There’s nothing like a hot meal after spending a full winter day outdoors.