Last Ice - Best Ice Action

Last Ice - Best Ice Action
The ice fishing season is winding down across Central Canada but regardless of where you live and fish, you're likely experiencing some of the best fishing of the entire winter.  

Even though the snow is melting quickly and daytime temperatures are well above freezing, there is a ton lot of ice to melt on most lakes, so fishing is generally in high gear.  So it is unquestionably the best time to be outdoors.  

In southern Ontario, ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly but there is still a ton of hot action if you plan carefully, put together a good game plan and execute it flawlessly.  That is what buddy Michael Tamburro did recently on Lake Simcoe's Cook's Bay.  Simcoe may just be the best big yellow perch fishery in the world and Michael got into the jumbos big time.  
Even though he could see the perch on his sonar screen he says they were biting tentatively.   As a result, Michael was working his Shiver Minnow horizontal jigging baits every so slowly and pausing them for an interminable amount of time.  It was the presentation the perch wanted though.  Feast your eyes on these photos of Mike's catch.  And talking about "feasting" there is a dinner or two here fit for a king.  

Much further west, out in Saskatchewan, the conditions have been perfect.  Buddy Ted Cawkwell tells me the ice is still metres thick and the temperature, at last, is warming up.  Whenever that happens the big pike start flooding the shallow waters where they will shortly be laying their eggs.  

This makes it prime time for fishing big dead baits on quick-strike rigs under tip ups.  There is something about a fresh, foot-long herring, ciscoe, tulibee, mackerel or sucker hanging perfectly still in the water column that simply trips the trigger of big northern pike and causes them to go berserk.  

The thing I especially like about quick strike rigs is that when you rig your dead baits properly, using two tiny #4 or #6 Gamakatsu treble hooks on a thin wire leader, you simply starting pulling in line the moment you see a flag start flying and you always hook the fish in the lips making for a simple and easy release.  

We're going to be targeting gigantic gators this way this coming week, so hopefully I'll have some great photos for you in the next blog.  

By the way, last year around this time, Doug Stange and I filmed an In-Fisherman Ice Guide television show highlighting the technique and I landed the biggest northern of my life.  It was 52-inches long and though we didn't weigh the big-potbellied-pike, we're pretty confident it was in the 32- to 34-pound range.  If I re-capture her this week, I'll be sure to get her weight before I let her go.  

Ted, in the meantime, has been fishing drop-offs in the 8- to 18-foot range on the Petaigan River on Lake Tobin.  He says the best bite has been happening between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm which means you can sleep in, eat a big breakfast and then go fishing.  I like that idea!  
By the way, Ted is the General Manager of Milton Lake Lodge up in northern Saskatchewan, just under the Northwest Territory boundary.  I was lucky enough to be among the very first anglers to ever fish Milton when it first opened a few years ago and the lake trout and pike fishing was superb.   

In fact, one of the highlights of that trip was wading the shallow shoreline, casting big streamer flies with fly gear and nailing gorgeous big pike.  We also spotted a goliath norhtern we nick-named "Miltie" that struck my lure, not once but twice, and I failed to hook it.  Talk about operator error.  I guarantee that gargantuan was approaching 35-pounds.  You can contact Ted at www.miltonlakelodge.com or by phone at 1-855-FISH-BIG (1-855-347-4244).  

Now, for a housecleaning item. 

I met Jay Millar at the Spring Fishing Toronto earlier this year and as soon as we started talking I knew this guy was a keen "fish head" who enjoyed ice fishing as much as me.  

Jay recently sent me a few photos of his personal best walleye, a giant of a fish that he caught earlier this winter while ice fishing on Lake Temagami in Northeastern Ontario.  Jay caught the 34-inch long, 22-inch girthy walleye at the magic hour of sunset using a pink and white Northland Tackle Whistler jig tipped with a minnow.  
Using the Walleye Central weight conversion calculator he reckons the fish weighed 16-pounds.  Well done, Jay!  

Finally a heads up for all the anglers living in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Buddy Bob Duncan is hosting the second annual Tacklerama in two weeks time, on Saturday April 16, 2011 at the Nor-Villa hotel.  

Tacklerama is an event where anglers come and sell their "gently used" or brand new fishing equipment.  Last year's inaugural event was so popular with buyers and seller that almost everything was gone by noon hour.  

Over 500 people were waiting when the doors opened and it was a huge success.  So much so that this year, Bob has added more space, improved the lighting and extended the hours so Tacklerama will run from 9:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon.  

This is a great opportunity to sell fishing equipment (it only costs $25.00 to rent a table) and also a great way to pick up some great bargains.   

For more information contact Bob at (204) 774 3250 or (204) 334 2547 or by e-mail bob.duncan@hotmail.com
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