Testing a new ice fishing rod/reel

Today I have been out ice fishing (surprise surprise!).  I wasn’t just using my reindeer horn ice fishing rod, I was also testing a new ice fishing reel/rod that I have made using an old snuff container, which I call “The pocket fishing kit” (will be writing a tutorial to make this next time).

pocket fishing kit

The snuff container has a winder on the back to reel in or out the fishing line.

snuff container fishing rod

But did I catch anything……….?

Of course I did!!  I caught a nice Arctic Char with it and a Rainbow Trout and Arctic Char with my Reindeer horn rod.

arctic char

To cook coffee on the lake, I made a Swedish Fire Torch using four pieces of Birch.

swedish fire torch naturallore

The fire burns between the four pieces and your cooking pot is placed on top.

swedish fire torch kevin warrington

Once you have finished cooking, separate the four pieces and lay them down to stop the fire burning, and when you want to cook again, stand them up and start the fire again.

stopping fire torch burning

Testing my reindeer horn ice fishing rod

On Saturday I went ice fishing with my neighbour Folke.  The snow is very deep and it was not easy to travel with snowmobiles.

folke with snowmobile

It was 12kms to the lake where we intended to fish and once we arrived there we started boring holes in the ice to fish through.

ice fishing

After only a few minutes of fishing (using a worm and a piece of shrimp for bait) Folke caught an Arctic Char!

arctic char

I was fishing with my Reindeer horn fishing rod

fishing with reindeer horn rod

It took a little longer for me to catch my first fish; a Rainbow Trout

trout and reindeer horn rod

We made fire and cooked some coffee

coffee break

We then continued fishing.  Folke caught 2 Arctic Char and I caught 2 Rainbow Trout and 1 Arctic Char.

days catch

Busy weekend

The temperature was -22 on Saturday, but it was a lovely clear blue sky, so I decided to head out on the snowmobile.

snowmobile nattavaara

In the forest and along the rivers edge the sun was shining on the tops of the trees

rane alven nattavaara winter

On the marshes the sun was shining brightly!

winter marshes nattavaara

On Sunday it was cloudy, but only -6 degrees, so we decided to go ice fishing.

kevin warrington snowmobile

It was also a chance for Emma to try out the new kelka I am building, so that she can come with us when we go out on the snowmobile

kelka naturallore

It’s not yet completed because I do not have enough money the buy all the materials and so the back section in made from scrap pieces of wood.

skoter och kelka

The inside is lined with reindeer skins so that it will be warm inside.  I will write more about it once completed.

reindeer skin

This was also a chance for me to try out my homemade ice fishing rod

kevin warrington ice fishing

Emma also fished and Teres made fire

emma fishing

We cooked coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches

coffee and grilled cheese

I learnt a valuable lesson while fishing……I actually caught a nice sized Arctic Char, but I picked it up to remove the hook I dropped it and watched helplessly as it disappeared back down the ice hole!!!!  The lesson is to move the fish away from the ice hole before doing anything with it!!!

Spring is here….hopefully!!!!

The last 5 days have been sunny and although night time temperatures can still drop to -20, daytime temperatures have been reaching up to +6 degrees and the snow has started melting.

Great Tit, Willow Tit Bullfinch and Siberian Jay are singing during the day and at dusk Tengmalm’s Owls are singing.

We were out yesterday to enjoy the warmth and sunshine

and of course we made fire, cooked coffee and grilled sausage.

A busy week

It’s been a busy, but interesting  week  for me.

On Monday I was involved in a Finnish radio program about Arthur Leidgren and our new nature center in Dokkas.  It was an interesting experience for me as an Englishman to have to talk in Swedish and have my answers translated into Finnish.

If you are interested to hear my friend Alf talking Finnish and me talking Swedish you can listen here.  Select 17:30 – 18:00 and listen from 05:30 minutes on the player at the bottom of the screen.

I was back to Dokkas again on Friday to meet with representatives from Gallivare kommun, to discuss designs and costings for repair/construction of the bird towers and walkways for the nature center.

There was a nice variety of birds there including; White-tailed Sea Eagle, Whimbrel, Tufted Duck,

Wigeon,

House Martins and Waxwings

On Saturday myself and Teres joined a group of local birdwatchers in Hakkas for a mornings birdwatching.  Our sightings included; 3 Little Gulls, 1 Arctic Tern, 4 pairs of Slavonian Grebe, 1 Rustic Bunting, 1 Smew, several Ruff, and Wood Sandpiper

We ended the morning with a warm fire, coffee and sausage.

Goldeneye and Smew nest boxes

Yesterday we had two Yellowhammer in the garden and three Whooper Swans flew over calling.

I drove to the small village of Dokkas yesterday where I was helping Dokkas Hunting & Fishing Club with a nest box project which has been running for many years.  The project was originally started by this man

Arthur Leidgren,

but more about him later.

There were 10 of us there

to clean out about 60 existing boxes around the edge of Dokkas lake

and put up 25 new ones.

The boxes are especially for two species of ducks; Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Smew (Mergus albellus) which used to be very common but due to more intensive logging, there are very few trees large enough for them to nest in now.  We travelled around on snow-mobiles, but both the snow and ice are melting very fast now and driving conditions were very difficult.

It took two and a half hours to complete the work.  We put dried moss in all the boxes for the birds to lay their eggs in.

This is the original type of box Arthur made (he cut them from trees in the forest and carried back great distances on his back).

Some of the new boxes we fixed up with nails

and some were fixed with two webbing straps

In two boxes we found Red Squirrel when we cleaned them out and in this box we found a Tengmalm’s Owl sitting on eggs

After we had completed the work we gathered around a fire on the shore of the lake for coffee, buns and sausage.

We are currently seeking funding to create a nature center in Dokkas in memory of Arthur Leidgren and if anyone reading this knows of any funding sources within the EU, please get in touch.

I am also creating an extra page on my blog about Arthur and the work we are doing to create the nature center.

Training with skis

I’m still not that good on skis so I’ve been out in the forest training.

The weather and scenery are beautiful just now

The Birch trees are sheding their winter coat now and I am collecting the thin, pappery outer bark for teachingfirelighting later in te year.

Of course I made fire I cooked coffee.  I collected resin rich, standing dead wood to use for making fire

I used a thick layer of Pine as a base to build the fire on

It ignites easily and burns very well due to the resin

Soon the snow was melting

and coffe was made