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The Burbot Event

 

If ever there's a time to get on the ice for some great fishing, this has to be it. The burbot event, as I like to call it, is starting. I was at South Buck, a newly discovered favorite lake catching all kinds of pike by day and walleye by night. The fish were biting strong right into the night and then "bump". I had hooked a heavy, heavy fish that didn't run, but pulled real hard. Burbot have a habit of doing that.

In a minute or so I got him up. He was a large seven to eight-pound burbot, complete with spots from head to tail. Seeing my old friend, the leopard fish was a most welcomed sign. It's the indication that the burbot spawn is starting and over the next few weeks burbot, big and small, will be flooding the shallows looking for partners to do their spawning ritual. Now with a proliferation of burbot invading the shallows depositing their eggs there will be legions of whitefish following them in for those tasty little burbot treats.

So now a condition sets up where there are love struck burbot along with happy, fat and extremely well fed whitefish dancing around the shallows doing their thing. Well, it's not long after this that huge and I mean the largest of the large northern pike move in. They come shallow for one reason. Their favorite foods are in season and on the menu.

These pike eat fish and that's all their looking for. To catch them, I give them what they want, a big fish. I'll go to the Fishin' Hole and purchase the largest of the large herring. I'll stick it on a tip up and drop it down so it's just a few inches above bottom a good 50 to 70 feet away from where I'll do most of my active fishing, Once it's set, I'll walk away and there's a very good reason for this.

Big pike are sensitive to sound and outside disturbances such as people walking overhead on the ice really bugs them. That's why I set the tip ups off to the side. This gives these big fish have all the time they want to look over the bait and make a decision to attack.

When the flag springs to life, it's time to get on my horse and run as fast as I can. When the burbot are in full spawning mode the pike fishing can be frantic. On any given afternoon I can pick up a half dozen or more bites. While this doesn't seem like a lot of action, consider the size. These fish average 7 - 15 pounds and there's a very real shot at a twenty. My best pike through the ice came during the burbot spawn and measured 42 and a half inches.

We're allowed two lines while ice fishing so I'll drop a tip up down one hole and jig in another. To catch burbot, pike and walleye, I'll tip a three eighth ounce jig with a minnow and jig from hole to hole making sure to bump my the bottom. The burbot respond to this action and I'll often catch more than a dozen burbot per outing. The bonus is usually a pike or walleye while using this rig. If you really want to catch a bunch of burbot, hang around into the night. Their activity peaks after the sun sets and I've had evenings where Id drop a glow jig down and get hammered all night long, never having to count beyond ten to catch a fish.

Beyond burbot, I'll bring my whitefish gear and key in on the aggressive whites. I like to use wireworms, but instead of the traditional set ups, I'll use wireworms that have beads representing eggs. These hooks seem to get a lot more action. I'll bring it up and let the hook slowly drift right onto the bottom where I'll let it rest for several seconds. If nothing comes by, I'll raise the hook back up and do it again. I suspect the beads on the hook imitate eggs drifting to the bottom. This system works real well and I've come to expect most bites as the hook is lying in the sand.

When the burbot spawn is over the fishing is done. Shallow sandy, gravelly flats that held all kinds of fish one weekend will become a veritable desert the next. There are no fish to be found. When this happens, the burbot bonanza is over. Take the cue and move back out to the weedlines to pick off whites and pike. Just be thankful for the great fishing that was. While the burbot are spawning, the fishing is fun, frantic and there'll be a whole lot of catching going on.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

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

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

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

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

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

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

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

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

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

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

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

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

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

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

(87) Fly Fishing 101

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

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

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

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

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

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

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

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

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

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

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

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

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

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

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

(155) "Northern Exposure"

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

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard