Fishing the frozen fjord.

For the last few days I've been telling the story behind 5 videos I made for Saguenay Lac Saint Jean tourism in the middle of winter. Today's video is on ice fishing. You've got to love a winter activity that involves sitting around a fire, even if it is on a frozen fjord. 

Red fish caught at La Baie

Ice fishing is so popular in Quebec they have their own term for it - Pêche à Blanche. The Saguenay River, when frozen, houses many new fishing villages which exist only from mid January to mid-March. The cabins, some of which house up to 16 people, are basic, but the good news is they often have wood-burning stoves. La Baie is the biggest ice fishing centre on the Saguenay Fjord and cabins as well as fishing equipment are available for hire. Here you wait a while for your bait to sink to the bottom as the fjord is so deep. But if you're lucky you could catch rainbow smelt, Greenland halibut, cod or red fish for your supper.
Eleanor and Ray fishing on the fjord

I joined Eleanor and Ray Perry-Morissette as they spent an afternoon fishing. They told me they prefer La Baie as the village is so well organised and you can drive onto the fjord right up to your fishing hole. They normally fish inside an open tent with a heater.  I also peeked in one of the cabins for rent. The stove was pumping out heat and you would never know the outside temperature was below freezing. All around you are signs of winter sports. Kids play hockey on the fjord rink, snowmobilies cruise past and above you the microlights buzz as they float over the river.
Ice fishing huts on the Saguenay River.

A quieter option might be to stay at Auberge de la Riviere Saguenay with the lovely Pauline Gagnon and Léon Girard and fish in one of the cabins you can see from your room . It's a short walk onto the frozen river in the wonderfully named Baie des Ha!Ha!. I joined Pauline and her girlfriends for a fishing trip. Leon was kitesurfing at the time. Pauline tells me they are experienced kayakers too and this is their summer activity. Every corner inside the hut (pictured below) has a hole cut in for fishing.

Going fishing. Pauline sets off for the hut.

 It's comfortable and there are great views across the fjord as you sit, fish and chat. Later we decided to ski around the fishing huts which felt like you were at the end of the earth. Nice to warm up with a drink in front of the beautiful old wood-burning stove in the auberge. It's a good end to a day's wintry activities to fall asleep gazing at the lights in the little fishing huts on the frozen fjord below your room - a sign that for some the day's fishing is still not over.
Skiing on the frozen fjord.

For more information visit saguenaylacsaintjean


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