Well, we had one of the latest freezeups we can recall, did not get the below-zero temps typical of latter October until just at the end of the month. We did get about 5" of snow from a couple of storms though. I was able to finally get out on the ice with the dogs on Halloween for the first get-in-shape run. Got bait and traps etc ready for opening day, took a walk to see if I could possibly cross the river below us, was a no go above us.
Here is the scene opening day just below us, looking downriver. I had just crossed here above this lead, really wanted to go farther downstream and cross and continue on river but didn't think that would pan out:
There is overland trail right here to left that cuts across flat and comes out nearly a mile down, so gave that a try:
Huge tussocks though, and with such little snow it really kicked my butt, then it gets into an old beaver slough complex with a series of huge dams we had a helluva time getting over. Have a couple marten sets there, here's one of them after being set:
The debris on the birch is from the big flood of 2010, river went all through these beaver sloughs. Here is the team at the set, note all the grass etc on the brake:
Managed to get back out to the river without too much more physical pain <grin>, good going until about a mile and a half down where we ran into a long section of green ice and overflow, and I didn't feel it was safe to give that a whirl yet, wouldn't really be sure if I was breaking through onto firm ice underneath or not. Here is the team turned around there:
BTW, these "ice walkers" really are great to keep from slipping on the ice:
Well since that flat kicked my butt so bad I figured I would try coming back on the river to see if I could cross at bottom end of that open lead. It ended right where it crashes into a bluff at a spot we call the Big Eddy. And it was overflowing out on good ice. Hawed the team right up against the rock bluff on other side and Molly led us right along the bluff as it went around the corner...it's deep there...some of the dogs started to punch through and my butt was puckered pretty good but we made it back to good ice and were across. Whew.
Chores the next day, hauled in some wood, then back out yesterday upriver, and managed to get upriver four miles and put in some more sets. Was -25 when I took off, coldest so far. Saw some marten sign, some bunny sign but not much, but that was about it. Chinook was blowing in on the way back, was -6 when I got home and then hit +16 two hours later, blowing pretty good. Dogs are j***ed but not in shape yet, they were pretty tired after putting in 8 miles yesterday. And by God they sure do remember that the open leads sometimes have mink in them, just wished they'd realize that just because they can pull up and stop before going in that doesn't mean I can <grin>!
Good luck to everyone this season, be safe, stay warm, and may your lines be productive,