There is something about ticking over into another year – on one hand, the new year is a celebration of all the adventures, trials and tribulations of the year past; on the other, it’s a chance to pull out the calendar and map books and begin pencilling out plans for the upcoming season. Fishing, foraging and hunting can keep a person busy year-round if that’s what you want, and it’ll never get boring.
January, February and early March are for predator control, jigging for lake trout through the ice and, my personal favourite, putting out set lines for burbot. (Be sure to check the fishing regulations for your region to make sure it’s legal where you live.) Bitterly cold temperatures have frozen dozens of lakes in our region, so we can fish close to home or load up the snowmobiles for a day trip if desired.
April brings shed hunting season with it; the perfect way to spend a day when the ice is getting too rotten to fish on, but the region is stuck in that late winter/early spring limbo that makes other outdoor activities tricky. First ice off the lake means the boat gets dunked in for the first run of the season, in preparation for an early season saltwater trip; king crab and spot prawns await.
May is when Mother Nature bursts into life – bear season kicks up, little lakes with big lakers beg to be trolled in the little 12-foot aluminum, the morels are some of the first we can forage for. If we’re lucky, another trip to the west coast is in the books, where the powerful chinook salmon have moved in once again and perhaps a tyee is in the books.
June, July and August bring a whirlwind of activity. Freshwater fishing, berry picking and countless other foraging options abound; strawberries, saskatoons, rose petals, huckleberries, blueberries and fireweed flowers are carefully harvested to turn into jams, juices and other tasty treats.
September is the starting line of hunting season. If the odds were favourable, your pocket will be filled with limited entry draws; for those not so fortunate, hiking forward into the open seasons offers a mixed bag of results. Bird hunting, both upland and waterfowl, tides us over from elk rut to moose rut; the search for mulies and whitetails picks up after the first good snowfall of October.
November wraps us in a slower pace that is welcomed after the non-stop action of the last several months, maybe a bit of predator hunting and perhaps preserving the many harvests of the year. Celebrate the year in December and sneak out for a bit of ice fishing. And there we are, once again wrapping up another year of living with the seasons.