I booked the trip for myself, husband, and his best friend for the last day of March. I was a little unsure what to expect and the office staff was a mixed bag so far as helpfulness (one woman was helpful, the other really wasn't and gave us some wrong information). We arrived at 8AM the morning of the trip to purchase our one-day fishing license, and meet our guide, Matt. Rent the insulated bib overalls if you don't have insulated waterproof gear of your own, you're going to need it! Gloves that are waterproof and easy to remove are also a good idea, as are waterproof shoes that are at least calf high.
Matt was AMAZING! My husband and I are both from very small, outdoorsy, southern towns and we couldn't have asked for a better guide. He showed us how to work the snowmobiles and we loaded down a sled with snacks we brought. Matt also brought snacks and coffee. You'll depart around 8:30AM.
You ride the snowmobile out about 6 miles to the fishing hut on the lake (I'm assuming the location changes slightly depending on where they think the fish are at the beginning of the season).
Matt then walked us through drilling holes and setting traps. We took turns doing this part and he explained what we would try to catch in each area and why. We took a break in the middle of the day for lunch, which was beef stew Matt made. The stew was GREAT!
While we waited for the traps to go off, we did some jigging with rods Matt gave us. I can't describe what a great guide he was. He was very knowledgeable and patient when I asked to (inefficiently) dig out the snow for the next hole. This part isn't required, but I don't see a point in someone teaching me to fish if I can't participate in all the different parts of the fishing experience, but I understand this isn't for everyone.
Matt offered to cook the fish we caught, but we wanted to take them home with us and cook them there. We already knew how to gut the fish, and a few other basic fishing skills, but I'm sure that Matt would be a great guide even for someone who has never fished before. You DO need to want to be outdoors, or least understand that ice-fishing takes place in the middle of a large lake away from people. There isn't a bathroom and only a small camp stove, so keep that in mind. If you like being outdoors and doing outdoor activities, you'll LOVE this.
We all had such a great time we plan on booking Matt for fly-fishing lessons, and maybe even a guided camping/canoeing trip this summer too. I had such a great time that if it wasn't the end of the season, we would be going ice-fishing again! We are definitely going again next winter.
Other tips: Moose Mountain Lodge isn't that far away, and is very reasonably priced. There are only a few places to eat in town and all but one close very early, so keep that in mind when planning dinner. I have separate reviews on all the places we ate and the lodge since it's not appropriate to put it here.
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