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Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

 

"We came back from Calling Lake yesterday with 24 perch and some gooder's," exclaimed Ayr Miller, a good fishing buddy. "The whites are going great at Gull," is the message left over the phone by Wally Warawa, a terrific guy from the Edmonton Oldtimers Fishing Club. "March is almost here," Arnold Carlin tells me excitedly, "the burbot should be moving into the shallows at Lac St. Anne". That is always a good time. That's the thing about ice fishing in March, the fishing is getting good everywhere. It's all about making choices.

On Ayr's good news, we headed back out to Calling Lake, along with Trevor McLeod and Kevin Wilson. It's Kevin's first time fishing Calling. We hit the lake before the early morning sun and had to drill holes using the extension on the ice auger. The ice is over three feet thick. A pattern is drilled from deep to shallow and back again until there was enough holes for everyone to fish.

Trevor was first to connect. The bend of his rod showed it to be a good one, but as it neared the hole, the hook shook free and away went the fish. Trevor then got into another fish and this time pulled a solid three-pound walleye to the surface. Kevin puts up the tent and the commentary starts almost immediately. "I just saw a pike and two walleye." He moves to another hole and sees a chunky walleye move into view and it inhales his crippled herring and minnow combo. The fight is on, then it gets off. He puts the jig back down and another, or it could be the same walleye, comes back in for another go. It's a gentle bite and Kevin's off to the races. We hear hoots and hollers and the rest of the gang comes over where he pulls a 5.4-pound walleye to the ice. "This is the biggest walleye I've ever caught through the ice," he states.

Ayr, not to be deterred, pulls out his tent and starts seeing fish. He sees a big walleye, then several more. A big walleye strikes, but Ayr misses him on the hookset. "That must have been five pounds!" he moans. Outside I get a good bite on my setline, which has a minnow on a small single hook, no leader. By the time I get to the bucking rod, it snaps to attention and the fish is gone. I pull up the line to see the hook was cut cleanly off. A pike's trademark. I tie another hook direct to my mono and send it back down. That's my trade off. More walleye will bite a hook on line, opposed to one attached to a steel leader, but if a pike hits, unless I'm lucky on the hookset, it's game over.

Trevor is continually getting hit, but none are sticking. A pike then thumps Kevin's line. It takes several minutes before an eight plus pound pike is pulled into the air. Kevin has a grin that a grizzly bear couldn't shake off. "I really needed this day," he says. "This is fun."

The morning bite has tapered off, so we head out to deeper waters about 30 to 35 feet, and set up shop for perch. We know they're down there because I brought my Aqua-Vu camera and they're swimming around everywhere. Most are small, but some are decent and we catch around 15 to 20 for our efforts. As a bonus we get several hits by walleye, but manage to release every last one before we could get them to the hole. That's fishing!

It's now four and the sun has starting to drift towards the horizon. We met a nice fellow at our perch spot and he invited us over to another spot he fishes for walleye. The group consensus, however, was to return to where we drilled our holes early in the morning. Well sometimes it just doesn't work out. There were no walleye to be found, but we did manage to hit a couple more pike with Kevin landing another beautiful pike around 8 pounds. Although the bite was not going gangbusters, it was a good day. Looking forward, I think I'm going to hook up with Wally and see if we can tame some of those Gull lake whites.

It seems in March, fishing through the ice gets better everywhere. The trout are turned on. The whites really get cooking and the walleye and pike fishing can be unbelievable. I never know myself where I'll be from one outing to the next, but you can be sure that whatever lake you or I decide to drop a line, fishing will be good.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) Fly Selection for Beginners

(2) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(3) New Waters

(4) Big Bad Burbot

(5) Looking Back

(6) Out of Africa

(7) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(8) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(9) The Browns of Autumn

(10) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(11) Walleye Town

(12) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(13) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(14) Going With The Flow

(15) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(16) Swinging The Fences

(17) A View From The Aerie

(18) Dixieland Delight

(19) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(20) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(21) Montana's Cool Missouri

(22) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(23) Toothy Critters

(24) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(25) Top Ten Flies

(26) Northern Exposure

(27) Home Water Lessons

(28) Chicken Of The Sea

(29) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(30) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(31) Keep It Up!

(32) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(33) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(34) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(35) Hawg Holes

(36) Saltwater Salmon

(37) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(38) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(39) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(40) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(41) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(42) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(43) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(44) Fall Walleye

(45) Wet Flies

(46) Versatility the Key to Success

(47) Grayling of the Boreal

(48) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(49) Size Matters

(50) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(51) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(52) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(53) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(54) The Point Of It All

(55) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(56) Fall Fly Fishing

(57) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(58) Big River, Big Fish

(59) Bottom Bonanza

(60) Fishing Small Flies

(61) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(62) Four Seasons of the Bow

(63) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(64) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(65) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(66) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(67) Edge Walleye

(68) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(69) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(70) Four Corners – Four Waters

(71) Chasing Pothole Trout

(72) Springtime Stoneflies

(73) The Torrents of Spring

(74) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(75) Bust Them With Bait

(76) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(77) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(78) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(79) Terrestrials

(80) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(81) Rocky Mountain High

(82) Reading the clues

(83) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(84) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(85) Fly Fishing 101

(86) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(87) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(88) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(89) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(90) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(91) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(92) Trust Your Electronics

(93) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(94) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(95) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(96) Walleye can be Humbling

(97) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(98) Winter Flyfishing

(99) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(100) Hot Fall Pike Action

(101) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(102) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(103) Frequently Asked Questions

(104) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(105) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(106) Deep Water Perch

(107) Post Spawn Brookies

(108) A Fisher's Life

(109) The River's Last Stand

(110) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(111) Coho on the Coast

(112) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(113) Summer in the Mountains

(114) Peak Walleye Season

(115) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(116) Last Ice Rainbows

(117) The Burbot Event

(118) Tackle Matching

(119) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(120) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(121) The Lure of Brook Trout

(122) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(123) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(124) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(125) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(126) The Vesatile Plug

(127) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(128) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(129) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(130) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(131) Daily Fish Migrations

(132) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(133) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(134) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(135) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(136) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(137) The Fun in Ultra Light

(138) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(139) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(140) Never Stop Learning

(141) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(142) Jigging through the Ice

(143) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(144) Rainbows on Ice

(145) The Season of Ice Begins

(146) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(147) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(148) Facts On Cats

(149) West Coast Adventure

(150) June Walleye Frenzy

(151) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(152) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(153) "Northern Exposure"

(154) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(155) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(156) Man Overboard