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Good Fishing at Last Ice

 

Circle at least a couple of the weekends in the month of March and make plans with your friends to head out to your favorite lakes for some good ice fishing. All lakes at this time of year will be fishing well and it is at this time of year that I set aside a couple of days to head out walleye fishing. This past weekend I did just that and went to Pigeon Lake with my friend Bob. Pigeon Lake happens to be one of several lakes I go to when I think of walleye, but the good fishing for walleye holds true at most every lake come last ice.

February 26th, Bob and I picked the very windiest, coldest day to take the drive out to Pigeon Lake and go fish. Pigeon has captured my interest, for Alberta's Fish and Wildlife department will launch a new type of fishing regulation. This lake will be one of several to be governed by some form of a draw-based fishing system. To retain a walleye anglers will need to make application for and subsequent purchase of a tag to keep a walleye. It will be interesting to see what happens. I am certain, however, that with the availability to keep a walleye this body of water will receive much more attention.

The new regs aside, we were going to Pigeon to get a jump-start on perhaps the best ice fishing of the season. Typically, the month of March is pure gold with fish of all species out feeding and up and about. The bite goes from sporadic to good to strong and can last throughout the day. Such was the case on our trip.

In the early morning light we set up shop and I got to put an extremely valuable tool to work. The drop is 500 to 800 meters off shore and it is hard to find just driving around in the snow. So when we got somewhere close, I pulled out the Polar Vision, which tells water depth through the ice, there is no drilling required. Out on the lake I put a little water to the ice, placed the Polar Vision on it and hit the on button. It flashed 8.7 feet. I moved out and continued to do this with the depth progressing to 10 feet over the next hundred meters. But after it hit 10 feet, it rapidly dropped through to 14 feet, in one short move and continued deeper to 19 feet. That's when we pulled out the auger, drilled our holes and set up shop.

Rather than report on all of our trials and error for the day I'll go straight to good stuff. We found the fish stacked in 16.6 to 17.5 feet and we were getting hit steady all day long. In the morning a larger minnow on a quarter ounce jig was the ticket, but as the day progressed, the bite got softer.



We were still getting hit, but more fish were dropping the bait. To get around this we moved to lighter jigs, which helped, as more fish were able to suck in the minnow and lighter jig. But then Bob pulled out an innovative all finesse rig that was truly impressive. It was nothing more than the slip bobber, but it worked like magic. On the end he had a single hook and up a foot or so was a split shot. He'd let the line down near the bottom prop the rod up and then do something I hadn't thought of. He'd leave the bail open. After that he'd clear the hole of ice every ten minutes or so, so the bobber wouldn't freeze in. The system was pure magic. Every fish that bit would hold on. The fish would pull the little bobber beneath the ice and with the bail open, the line would pay out with no resistance. This give Bob the time to get over, pick up the line, close the bail and catch the fish, which he did quite well. I'm happy to say I was a quick learner and converted over to the same system and started catching all of my bites.

Throughout the day using some form of minnow, be it on jig or under a slip bobber, we caught plenty of walleye, a couple pike and a bonus whitefish.



One of the pike and the whitefish made the trip home and provided the base of a very good supper the following night.

This type of fishing at Pigeon, however, is typical of the type of action you or I will encounter on pretty much any other representative walleye, pike and whitefish lake throughout the month of March. The fishing will be generally good and if you can cover a couple areas with a couple of presentations, there will be some catching going on.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) Small stream BT fishing

(2) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started

(3) In The Walleye Zone

(4) Zoo Trout

(5) Fly Selection for Beginners

(6) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(7) New Waters

(8) Big Bad Burbot

(9) Looking Back

(10) Out of Africa

(11) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

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

(13) The Browns of Autumn

(14) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(15) Walleye Town

(16) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(17) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(18) Going With The Flow

(19) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(20) Swinging The Fences

(21) A View From The Aerie

(22) Dixieland Delight

(23) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(24) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(25) Montana's Cool Missouri

(26) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(27) Toothy Critters

(28) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(29) Top Ten Flies

(30) Northern Exposure

(31) Home Water Lessons

(32) Chicken Of The Sea

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

(34) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(35) Keep It Up!

(36) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

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

(38) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(39) Hawg Holes

(40) Saltwater Salmon

(41) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(42) Down a Lazy River –
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(43) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(44) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(45) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(46) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(47) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(48) Fall Walleye

(49) Wet Flies

(50) Versatility the Key to Success

(51) Grayling of the Boreal

(52) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(53) Size Matters

(54) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(55) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(56) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(57) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(58) The Point Of It All

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

(60) Fall Fly Fishing

(61) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(62) Big River, Big Fish

(63) Bottom Bonanza

(64) Fishing Small Flies

(65) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(66) Four Seasons of the Bow

(67) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(68) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(69) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(70) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
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(71) Edge Walleye

(72) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(73) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(74) Four Corners – Four Waters

(75) Chasing Pothole Trout

(76) Springtime Stoneflies

(77) The Torrents of Spring

(78) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(79) Bust Them With Bait

(80) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(81) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(82) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(83) Terrestrials

(84) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(85) Rocky Mountain High

(86) Reading the clues

(87) Where the Trout Are
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in rivers and streams.

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

(89) Fly Fishing 101

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

(91) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(92) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(93) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

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

(95) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(96) Trust Your Electronics

(97) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(98) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(99) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(100) Walleye can be Humbling

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

(102) Winter Flyfishing

(103) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(104) Hot Fall Pike Action

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

(106) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(107) Frequently Asked Questions

(108) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(109) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(110) Deep Water Perch

(111) Post Spawn Brookies

(112) A Fisher's Life

(113) The River's Last Stand

(114) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(115) Coho on the Coast

(116) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(117) Summer in the Mountains

(118) Peak Walleye Season

(119) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(120) Last Ice Rainbows

(121) The Burbot Event

(122) Tackle Matching

(123) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(124) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(125) The Lure of Brook Trout

(126) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(127) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

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

(129) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

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

(132) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(133) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(134) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(135) Daily Fish Migrations

(136) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(137) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

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(139) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(140) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(141) The Fun in Ultra Light

(142) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(143) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

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(146) Jigging through the Ice

(147) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(148) Rainbows on Ice

(149) The Season of Ice Begins

(150) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

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