A year of fishing -- by the numbers

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Mike B
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A year of fishing -- by the numbers

The past year I did something I always wanted to try but was either too lazy or sudsy to execute – I counted and recorded every fish I caught and every day I went fishing. I’m definitely more latter era Gordie Howe than Bobby Orr these days but, over a period of one year corresponding with the commencement and expiration of my 2016-2017 NWT sport fishing licence (April 1 to March 31), I still managed to bag 528 fish. That’s 493 freshwater fish, 35 saltwater, and 45 species (27 fresh water, 18 saltwater).

I added 14 lifelisters during this time, having fished on 58 days, whether for 15 minutes or eight hours (mostly short sessions). This constituted 218.25 hours fished and 2.4 fish per hour of fishing (does not include travel time, lunch breaks, etc., just fishing).

I also recorded notable catches (large fish, unusual catches) and some elements of the weather, which proved kind of irrelevant in places such as Florida and the Bahamas. No surprise but the most caught species was northern pike at 107. They’re in every fishable body of water in my area. The runner-up was burbot at 90, even though I only caught them on five occasions. I suspect the previous year’s catch of burbot surpassed even pike as they’re easy to catch in large numbers and I was trying more often then. Number three is inconnu (55), all caught on a single weekend during Hengelaar’s visit last September. I’ve hit this spot three, four times a year in the past so you can imagine how high this number would’ve gone before.

A downward trend for sure was my catch of lake whitefish (22). I know I have caught more than 22 in a single day in the years before and on multiple occasions. Lake whitefish were just complete dicks last year that’s all I can really say. I had more luck than Moose I suppose so that’s a blessing.

Historically, in my pre-marriage/pre-children prime, my catch volume would’ve far exceeded last year’s, although the number of species caught would’ve been much smaller. Ten years ago I spent almost every summer weekend in the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, catching mainly lake trout and Arctic grayling. As you can see by last year’s paltry numbers on those species I haven’t been doing much of that lately. In fact, I didn’t visit the East Arm once last year. It’s just too damn far away for a quick outing.

Of course, with tons less money spent on beer (and other things) and a family that wants to see stuff, I’ve been travelling more. I’ve also become keen on lifelisting, even for something kind of stupid, like mimic shiner.

Anyway, here’s my list. I think I’ll do another one this year. I can’t say it’s 100 per cent accurate. There were times when I was standing on the river bank asking myself, “am I at 16 creek chub or 17?” I had to make my best guess a couple of times. If you find these numbers don’t quite jive, that’s because I suck at math.

 

* REDACTED means I don’t wants peeps to know these spots

 

SPECIES:

90 burbot

35 lake trout

9 mountain whitefish

8 arctic grayling

107 northern pike

10 walleye

22 lake whitefish

34 smallmouth bass

6 largemouth bass

3 river chub

3 hornyhead chub

2 rainbow trout

1 muskellunge

36 bluegill

1 pumpkinseed

2 sauger

2 channel catfish

1 rock bass

5 northern redbelly dace

25 striped/common shiner

1 mimic shiner

1 spotfin shiner

3 golden redhorse

1 greater redhorse

27 creek chub

3 lake chub

55 inconnu

1 longspine squirrelfish

2 common squirrelfish

2 slippery dick

1 great barracuda

2 mutton snapper

1 yellowtail snapper

1 schoolmaster snapper

6 white grunt

3 blue-striped grunt

1 French grunt

6 sailor’s choice

1 porkfish

2 jolthead porgy

2 coney grouper

1 queen triggerfish

1 rock hind

1 gulf toadfish

1 gray reef angelfish

 

Burbot came in second for number of fish caught from one species in 2016-17. I imagined to sneak a few waiting for my son to be born last year.

April 2 -- REDACTED: 20 burbot, one lake trout, -18 C, 4.5 hours

April 6 -- REDACTED: 10 burbot, -20 C, 4 hours

April 13 -- REDACTED: 10 burbot, -4C, 4.5 hours

April 23  -- Kakisa River: Six mountain whitefish, two Arctic grayling, 4 C, 8 hour, water quite low

April 24 -- Kakisa River: three mountain whitefish, 6 C, 3 hours, water quite low

May 1 -- Tibbitt Lake: zero fish, 17 C, 20 minutes, water low

May 2 -- Martin Lake: two pike, one walleye, 19 C, 3 hours, water very low, opening from ice about 50 feet wide

May 6 -- Martin Lake: three walleye, two pike, 11 C, 2.5 hours, still low, still some ice and drifting ice pans

May 14 -- Martin Lake: two pike, including one over 40 inches, 20 C, three hours, 15 minutes, water low, no ice

May 21 -- Kakisa River: no fish, 18 C, one hour, water very high

May 22 -- Stagg River, 18 C, 30 minutes, water fairly high, caught no fish but saw white suckers spawning

I had an incredible day of fishing May 29, landing 12 pike over 40 inches long. The one I’m holding here, a really fat 46 incher, wasn’t even my largest.

May 29 – REDACTED: 13 pike, 12 of them over 40 inches, three lake whitefish, one walleye; 14 C, 5.5 hours, water levels normal, maybe a bit high

June 8 -- REDACTED: 5 lake whitefish, one pike: 19 C, 3 hours. Suckers were spawning in the rapids, with huge numbers of whitefish interspersed eating the eggs

I always bring a fishing rod when I travel. The keiryu rod I received as a gift last year proved particularly handy while fishing for smallmouth bass and other stream fish during a quick family get-together in June.

June 12 -- Bighead River, Ont: nine smallmouth bass, three river chub; one hornyhead chub, one rainbow trout: 16 C, 2.5 hours.

June 13 -- Bighead River: two smallmouth bass; 1.5 hours; 13 C

June 18 -- Trout River; no fish; 1.5 hours; water high; 19 C
              -- Redknife River; 2 pike; 2 hours; water high; 19 C

June 19 -- Axehandle Creek; 1 pike, 20 minutes, 23 C; Kakisa River, 1 pike, 1 hour

June 20 -- Great Slave Lake, REDACTED; 15 pike, 22 C, 4.5 hours

June 25 -- Kam Lake, 17 pike, 2.5 hours, 16 C

July 3 -- Great Slave Lake (Drybones area), 2 Arctic grayling, 6 pike, 5.5 hours, 27 C

July 15 -- Rideau River, Ont., 3 smallmouth bass, 1 muskellunge! 4.5 hours, 25 C

Had some more fun with the keiryu rod fishing for bluegills and largies with Eli in Quebec.

July 16 – REDACTED, Quebec: 36 bluegill, 6 largemouth bass, 1 pumpkinseed, 4 hours, 22 C

Caught a couple beauty sauger last summer.

July 17 -- Gatineau River, Que., 2 sauger, 2 channel catfish, 1 rock bass, 1 smallmouth bass; 3.5 hours; 23 C

July 19 -- Lac la Chip, Que.: 4 smallmouth bass, 1.5 hours, 23 C
Ottawa River, no fish, 5.5 hours, 26 C

July 20 -- Lac la Chip, Que.: 1 northern red belly dace, 10 minutes, 24 C.

July 21 -- Lac la Chip, Que., 6 smallmouth bass, 2.5 hours, 29 C

Golden redhorse was one of 14 lifelisters I caught during the 2016-17 sport fishing year.

July 25-- REDACTED, Ont., 9 smallmouth bass, 1 striped shiner, 1 mimic shiner, 1 spotfin shiner, 3 golden redhorse, 1 greater redhorse (26 inches!), 6 hours, 31 C, water low.

July 28 -- Bognar Marsh, Ont., 9 creek chub, 4 common shiner, 4 northern red belly dace, 90 minutes, 26 C

July 30 -- Beaver River, Ont., 18 creek chub, 20 common/striped shiner, 2 hornyhead chub, 1 rainbow trout, 2 hours, 25 C

Aug. 7 -- Yellowknife River, 4 lake whitefish, 3 lake chub, 6 hours, 16 C

Aug. 11 -- Giant Mine boat launch, 2 pike, 45 minutes, 18 C

Aug. 13-14 -- Buffalo River, REDACTED, Kakisa River, 16 hours, temps mid-20s, zero fish, lost three spectacular rainbow trout at REDACTED

Aug. 22 -- mouth of Yellowknife River, 2 hours, low 20s, skunked

Aug. 28 -- Prosperous Lake, 7 hours, 13 C, 1 whitefish, 3 pike, including one over 40"

My family and I was invited to McKay Lake Lodge last fall to watch the tundra change colours … and catch some lake trout and grayling.

Sept. 2 -- McKay Lake, 1 hour, 6 C, 1 lake trout

Sept. 3 -- McKay Lake, 7 hours, 11 C, 11 lake trout

Sept. 4 -- McKay Lake, 4 hours, 8 C, 4 lake trout; King River, 1 hour, 3 lake trout, 3 Arctic grayling

Sept. 5 - Cossack River, 2 hours, 8 C, 8 lake trout, 1 Arctic grayling
 

46 inconnu is a actually a pretty slow day at the Pike Jam.
Sept. 11 – Pike Jam, 10 hours, 15 C, 46 inconnu, 7 pike, 1 lake whitefish

Sept. 12 – Pike Jam, 2.5 hours, 16 C, 9 inconnu, 4 pike

Sept. 13 -- Yellowknife River, 3.5 hours, 3 whitefish, 11 C

A fine 44-inch pike from my son’s namesake, Mason Lake.

Sept. 15 -- Mason Lake, 1.5 hours, 2 pike, 9 C

Sept. 16 -- Mason Lake, 5 hours, 11 pike, 13 C

Last fish of the open water season – a nice sized lake whitefish. These fish were dicks all year.

Oct. 9 -- Yellowknife River, 2.5 hours, 5 lake whitefish, River heavy with ciscoes, 3 C

Winter came Oct. 30. 3.8 mm of snow

Dec. 11 -- Madeline Lake, 4 hours, 1 northern pike, -26 C

Dec. 26 -- Walsh Lake, 5 hours, 2 lake trout, -14 C

Jan. 17 -- Grand Cayman, 1 hour, 1 longspine squirrelfish, 2 slippery dick, 24 C

Coney grouper and queen triggerfish were some of the cooler fish I caught during a brief visit to the Bahamas earlier this year.

Jan. 19 -- Castaway Cay, Bahamas; 3 hours; 1 great barracuda, 2 mutton snapper, 5 white grunt, 2 jolthead porgy, 2 coney (grouper), 1 yellowtail snapper, 2 squirrelfish, 1 queen triggerfish, 24 C.

Jan. 20 -- Key Largo, Fl; 2.5 hours; 1 rock hind; 1 porkfish; 6 sailor's choice; 1 French grunt; 3 blue-striped grunt; 1 white grunt, 1 schoolmaster, 24 C.

-- Key Largo, different location; 1 hour; 1 gulf toadfish; 20 C

Jan. 22 -- Duck Key, Fl., 15 minutes; 1 gray angelfish, 25 C.

Jan. 25. -- unnamed lake, Ont., 7 hours, no fish; 0 C.

Feb. 19 -- REDACTED: 5.5 hours, 3 walleye, 7 pike; -11 C.

March 15 -- REDACTED, 3.5 hours, 14 burbot, -16 C, gale force winds!

March 19 -- REDACTED, 7 hours, 2 pike, -19 C, high winds again

March 24 -- REDACTED, 4 hours, 5 lake trout (no burbot), -12 C

I didn’t do a lot of ice fishing this winter but I did catch some nice pike while checking out a winter road last month.

March 26 -- REDACTED, 6 hours, 2 walleye, 6 pike (including a couple hogs), -1 C

March 29 -- REDACTED, 2.5 hours, 36 burbot, -3 C

mike b

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Numbers

I'm doing the same thing this year, your numbers are just more impressive than mine. I've fished thirty-one days so far this season. Here are the other numbers: 

78 bluegill

23 white suckers

8 largemouth bass

6 creek chubs

4 black crappie

3 rainbow trout

2 redbreast sunfish

2 smallmouth bass

1 fallfish

1 brown trout

1 channel catfish

Maybe I'll post my totals at the end of the year. There'll be another probably eight or ten species by then and a LOT more smallies and fallfish.

It's a pretty interesting experiment and  it would be really interesting if some other people put their catch totals up. Not as a competition, just to see what we all catch in a year.

Susquehannock

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
I keep a fishing log every

I keep a fishing log every year. It's been interesting to see the trends and how one year's numbers can be affected by just a few rainy weeks. I used to try to keep track of every fish, but it's tough to keep count of chubs, bluegills, etc. I use a Google spreadsheet that has columns for things like time started, time stopped, water body, specific spot, water temp/clarity, weather, species caught, lifers, other species observed, notes about the place/day, water flow data if available, lat/long coordinates, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. And now I'm also including my daughters on it, with their own set of columns. It's kind of out of control. I think I have 6 years of it now. 

It's useful when planning an outing to be able to look at what sort of results I got at a particular spot in past years and compare past flow rates with current data to see what's optimal. 

Hope to enter some inconnu in my fishing log some day...

 


Redhorse ID cheatsheets & sucker obsession: moxostoma.com


2017 so far: 44 days, 50 species, 13 lifers. 2016: 48/33/5 2015: 51/43/11 2014: 43/49/16

Mike B
Mike B's picture
I'm going to try and keep it.

I'm going to try and keep it. It's definitely valuable information and I imagine five years worth would really give me a sense of pattern I cam use to predict angling success .. or failure. It is a pain though, especially when I just want to relax and de-stress by the water. I can only imagine howe crazy it would be if I get my kids involved too.

Susquehannock, something tells me you're going to catch far more fish than me this year. I wish I had done this back before I had kids.

mike b

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Fishing logs

Yeah, it kind of sucks having to count every stupid fish. Sometimes when I really catch a ton, I lose count and just tally up a very conservative estimate for the day. For example, I'm not 100% sure that I've caught 78 bluegills so far, but I am 100% sure that I've caught something within ten fish of that.

Thanks, Mike, but you certainly won't be seeing any inconnu or burbot in my log this year. There might be a muskie if I really luck out.

Susquehannock

Waxworm
This is a great idea for

This is a great idea for collecting general species demographic data for personal, and conservation use. I assume this is done already for gamefish species, so is/are there places on the interweb where anglers can contribute their non-gamefish catch data to help study the overall health of particular watersheds, and/or specific species in specific areas? Folks who fish as often as Mike, of course, are the first to notice any changes in the fish and their habitat, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and any correlating long and short-term effects.Of course this is what university students earn credits and degrees for, and DNR fisheries biologists get paid to do using traps and electronic fish zappers,, but keeping personal catch logs seems like a great way even very low experience anglers like me can keep better track of trends in even smaller areas, and maybe even help contribute data to local DNR conservation programs and studies?

Deftik
Deftik's picture
Thats awesome Mike. Love

Thats awesome Mike. Love seeing your pictures dude.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
- Isaac Newton
Hengelaar
Hengelaar's picture
Slow Times at the Pike Jam...

Now this is some cool stuff.

I've thought about doing this once or twice, but I reckon the number of blanks that would be put in black and white would be too bumming to look at.

 

Considering your growed up responsibles, you still managed to get a lot of good fishn in!

 

Are you sure you only got 3 Whitefish that one day? I thought you mighta had a few more. Cos you got that one downstream of the rapids (that was a cool spot!), and it felt like you had more than 2 at the other spot... Or maybe it just seems that way, cos we missed and lost so many. And because they were dicks.

Anyway, I was cramping your style during that session, locked in the struggle of getting my lifer.

Fishn sure is neat

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Already noticing a trend over

Already noticing a trend over last year Waxworm -- a downward one. The burbot are way down from this time last year. Maybe I'm just hitting them too hard. These are big lakes and we're fishing mostly catch and release and I don't know of anyone else who targets them other than me and my crew but we really put the hurt on them the last couple years. I think I'll give these spots a break and try and find some new ones.

That's all I got that day Hengelaar. I lost about 10 which was really frustrating but I only landed two upstream and one downstream. You weren't cramping my style. The whitefish were making me feel stupid all summer.laugh

 

mike b

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Trends

I've seen some trends in the fishing logs too. Mine have actually been pretty positive over time. The most obvious is the white sucker tally; between a ridiculously warm winter this year and simply learning to catch them more effectively, I hadn't caught one yet this time last season and the sucker count is up to twenty-eight now. Bluegill and trout numbers have gone down, though.

Susquehannock

Waxworm
Mike & SusQ: Any theories as

Mike & SusQ: Any theories as to what's causing the lower burb, gill and trout numbers?

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Fish statistics

My trout count is down this year partially because I didn't have any chances to ice fish for them this time around and partially because the streams were a mess for most of the season up to this point. I have caught less bluegills so far because I usually have a couple of really good days ice fishing for them, and there was only about a week of good ice this year in Central PA. Overall though, this season is on track to be my best ever for a lot of things.

Susquehannock

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Either the burbot have mostly

Either the burbot have mostly moved off the areas I'm fishing, have been driven off by fishing activity or are suffering high post-catch mortality that isn't seen after they're released. I'm planning to talk to a biologist friend about it.

mike b

Waxworm
Concerning burb trend, Mike.

Concerning burb trend, Mike. Be interested in what your biologist buddy theorizes too - please post here when you find out. SusQ. Encouraging to hear your low numbers were because of less angling time - like me - hoping to increase my angling hours this summer and start a logbook myself

Graceclaw
Graceclaw's picture
Data!

I love statistics and data, so thanks for putting this together for us. I'm keeping a digital log as well this year with the help of the Anglr Tracker app and device (full review/recommendation forthcoming; the app is still very much in development).

Your fish/hour ratio is crazy! Mine was like 2:1 when I fished Wisconsin with Tony in Summer '15.

Thanks for sharing your data with us!

2017 Goals:
Flathead Catfish (Check*)
- Subgoal: 10#+
Muskellunge
50 Ice Hours
More River Redhorse (Check*)