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Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot


It's important to have a good fishing hole or two in your back pocket and I do. This is equally convenient in summer or ice fishing season as it allows me to bring friends out and pretty much be guaranteed some great action. I know where to go, what to expect, and how to fish it. All that's required is the simple act of going out and the fish pretty much take care of the rest. Who needs complicated and hard fish? Not me. Carson Lake and the rainbows that call it home is one such lake.


Since first ice this winter trout fishing at Carson has been unbelievable and it has continued right through the New Year. I've had nothing but great fishing for rainbows. Some days were a little harder to cash in on the bite, but none were all that difficult. Carson, located near Whitecourt, AB, has been my most consistent trout lake by far. It has been pumping out rainbows like crazy. On an ordinary day I can normally bring home a limit of good sized trout averaging 12 to 15 inches, plus I'll have released a number of others.



On my most recent trip to Carson, Adam, Fauve, Lukas, Chris and I couldn't keep the rainbows off our lines. From the time we arrived it was steady bites and after two hours we had landed some 20 rainbows with a half dozen beauties on ice that were perfect for the frying pan. Pan fried winter trout with a little freshly squeezed lemon is a personal favourite.



There is really no secret to catching Carson Lake rainbows. Drive yourself to the lake, drill a hole 50 to 100 meters in front of the expansive boardwalk. This is where most everyone sets up and sooner, rather than later, your rods will be bent with a scrappy trout on the other end. This is easy fishing and the list of effective baits or hooks I generally use are maggotts, trout worms, pieces of dew worms, small black jigs, bead head woolly buggers, bead head pheasent tail nymphs, and shrimp. They have all worked well, with the bait slightly out producing the jig or the fly, but not by much.


In the evening we usually get into a slightly bigger bite, so it normally pays to stay until the sun gets very low in the sky. I have found that the set line most often out fishes the jigged lines. I fish over 14 to 18 feet of water when the sun is high and, as the sun gets lower the fish come shallower and so do I. It also seems that the fish have food preferences that differ from one day to the next. That is, one day they would be all over trout worms, while the next day they had a taste for maggots, or shrimp. Because of this, at the very minimum, I bring a container of worms and a bag of maggots with me and let the trout tell me what they want.


Carson Lake is a great trout fishery, but it is not the only great producing trout lake around. In my neck of the woods I have a number of stocked trout lakes that have been hot producers. All it took was getting familiar with a few of them and now I can pretty much be guaranteed good fishing most every time out.


Good fishing and favourite lakes, however, is not limited to trout. For example, Gull Lake can be counted on to offer up good fishing for whitefish. There I fish in about eight feet of water over weeds and use a wireworm, a very small marabou jig, or a fly slowly jigged from the top of the weeds to the bottom. If I get to the lake for the morning bite I can pretty much count on whitefish for dinner. I also put out tip ups at Gull because the pike fishing is generally decent and the action gets better as we close in on spring. A windlass tip-up with a 5 inch anchovy set a foot off bottom will pretty much guarantee a bonus pike or two.


At other times I have a hankering to catch a walleye. That means a trip to another favourite, Pigeon Lake, where good walleye fishing is all about finding a drop off. The walleye will be on or near this drop off all day, with a pronounced bite in the morning and again in the evening. Much like the Carson Lake rainbows, walleye will be deeper during the day, moving up onto the shallows in the morning and the evening.


A tip up with an anchovy is a great bait choice while I jig with my main line (2 lines are allowed in Alberta). The tip-up will also pick up any pike or burbot that happen to be around. With the main line I love slow jigging a glow jig tipped with a minnow. I drop it to the bottom, then slowly lift it an inch or two above and just hold it there. If there's a walleye around, in short order there will be that tell tale tug on your rod and the fight is on.


So there it is, three of my favourite ice fishing lakes. They have become my favourites because they provide a diversity in fishing opportunities, they are not too far from home and I visit them often enough to know what's going on and how to catch fish. Where ever you may live, I'm confident there are a number of lakes near you that, if given the time to get to know them, will produce well and become your favourites to.


Previous Fishing Articles
(1) It’s OK to Be Little Bitty
(2) Exploring Tundra Waters
(3) The Jewel at First Ice
(4) Fly Fishing Bucket List
(5) Guided or DIY?
(6) Pond Power
(7) Caddisflies
(8) In the Good Old Summertime
(9) A Southern Escape
(10) Springtime in Alberta - Can Thrill You to the Bone
(11) Sunny Day Rainbows
(12) New "Fishing" Year Resolutions
(13) Five Fine Places to Find Trout
(14) Catfishing Revisited
(15) Discover Squamish, an Outdoor Playground
(16) Falling for Cutthroat
(17) New Water and Old Friends
(18) My McLeod
(19) Temperature and Trout
(20) On the Road Again
(21) Tips That Will Make You a More Successful Fly-Fisherman
(22) 5 Ways to Catch Your Trout
(23) The Difference Maker - Reading Trout Stream Waters
(24) Rollin’ on the River
(25) Windy Day Pike
(26) Cures for Cabin Fever
(27) Snowbirding with a Fishing Rod
(28) Alberta’s Spring Creek Browns - Blessings and Curses
(29) A day on our foothill streams
(30) Fly Fishing Crowded Waters
(31) Fly Leaders
(32) In the Zone
(33) Learners Permit
(34) Flies of Summer
(35) Selecting the Right Boat
(36) The Italian Job
(37) Making a difference
(38) Pass the Salt
(39) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(40) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(41) Fall brings the big walleye out
(42) Hoppertunity Time
(43) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(44) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(45) Early Season Fly Fishing
(46) Walleye Logic
(47) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(48) Grammy’s Fish
(49) Top 10 Trout Lures
(50) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(51) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(52) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(53) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(54) There’s No Place Like Home
(55) A Golden Opportunity
(56) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(57) Un-matching the Hatch
(58) Alberta Super Bugs
(59) Glass is Back
(60) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(61) Speed Kills
(62) Entering the Twilight Zone
(63) Old Man River
(64) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(65) Small stream BT fishing
(66) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(67) In The Walleye Zone
(68) Zoo Trout
(69) Fly Selection for Beginners
(70) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(71) New Waters
(72) Big Bad Burbot
(73) Looking Back
(74) Out of Africa
(75) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(76) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(77) The Browns of Autumn
(78) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(79) Walleye Town
(80) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(81) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(82) Going With The Flow
(83) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(84) Swinging The Fences
(85) A View From The Aerie
(86) Dixieland Delight
(87) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(88) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(89) Montana's Cool Missouri
(90) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(91) Toothy Critters
(92) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(93) Top Ten Flies
(94) Northern Exposure
(95) Home Water Lessons
(96) Chicken Of The Sea
(97) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(98) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(99) Keep It Up!
(100) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(101) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(102) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(103) Hawg Holes
(104) Saltwater Salmon
(105) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(106) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(107) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(110) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(111) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(112) Fall Walleye
(113) Wet Flies
(114) Versatility the Key to Success
(115) Grayling of the Boreal
(116) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(117) Size Matters
(118) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(119) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(120) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(121) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(122) The Point Of It All
(123) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(124) Fall Fly Fishing
(125) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(126) Big River, Big Fish
(127) Bottom Bonanza
(128) Fishing Small Flies
(129) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(130) Four Seasons of the Bow
(131) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(133) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(134) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(135) Edge Walleye
(137) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(138) Four Corners – Four Waters
(139) Chasing Pothole Trout
(140) Springtime Stoneflies
(141) The Torrents of Spring
(142) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(143) Bust Them With Bait
(144) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(145) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(146) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(147) Terrestrials
(148) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(149) Rocky Mountain High
(150) Reading the clues
(151) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(152) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(153) Fly Fishing 101
(154) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(155) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(156) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(157) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(158) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(159) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(160) Trust Your Electronics
(161) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(162) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(163) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(164) Walleye can be Humbling
(165) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(166) Winter Flyfishing
(167) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(168) Hot Fall Pike Action
(169) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(170) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(171) Frequently Asked Questions
(172) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(173) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(174) Deep Water Perch
(175) Post Spawn Brookies
(176) A Fisher's Life
(177) The River's Last Stand
(178) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(179) Coho on the Coast
(180) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(181) Summer in the Mountains
(182) Peak Walleye Season
(183) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(184) Last Ice Rainbows
(185) The Burbot Event
(186) Tackle Matching
(187) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(188) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(189) The Lure of Brook Trout
(190) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(191) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(192) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(193) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(194) The Vesatile Plug
(195) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(196) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(197) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(198) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(199) Daily Fish Migrations
(200) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(201) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(202) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(203) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(204) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(205) The Fun in Ultra Light
(206) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(207) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(208) Never Stop Learning
(209) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(210) Jigging through the Ice
(211) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(212) Rainbows on Ice
(213) The Season of Ice Begins
(214) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(215) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(216) Facts On Cats
(217) West Coast Adventure
(218) June Walleye Frenzy
(219) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(220) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(221) Northern Exposure
(222) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(223) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(224) Man Overboard
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