Last Ice Jumbo Perch!

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Anglers in southern Manitoba always look forward to the last two weeks in March. While ice conditions can be a bit tricky, usually the fishing is very good, not to mention the weather. Friends and I managed to get out last week before the season closed. We had originally planned to hit Lake Manitoba but when we arrived on the south shores of the lake, a couple of other anglers came over to talk to us. They warned us not to head out unless you wanted to get stuck. Seems there was a double layer of ice with slush in between. Three times their ATV had gotten bogged down while heading back down the lake.  As we surveyed the frozen vista behind us, we could well believe what they were saying as the first 100 metres of ice was pockmarked from vehicle tracks. Two days previous a number of these vehicles had got stuck in this bad ice. Even though we had a Razor ATV we all agreed that it wasn’t a wise move to head out. These two local residents had another suggestion for us though. Why don’t you go over to a lake a short distance away that has been hot for perch?

Quickly putting the ATV back on the trailer we headed across country and arrived at destination two a short time later. As we headed out across the huge body of water, we could see a few vehicles and ATV’s scattered over the lake. Heading a bit south and east we stopped and talked to a couple of anglers who seemed to be out in the middle of the lake. They assured us the fishing was good!

Heading a 1/4 mile further south we soon had our first line in the water.  Marking fish on the Humminbird 55, we quickly had perch on the ice, all a nice eating size. After spending a half an hour in that spot I took the Razor for a ride to check out other likely looking fishing areas. There was an ice ridge fairly close to where we had stopped, along with a couple of isolated group of anglers a distance away.  I decided we should move west about 500 metres closer to the ice ridge. After drilling six holes to test the new spot, we started catching fish immediately. As the day wore on the wind died a bit and the sun came out, making the day pretty special. A short time later Hooked Publisher Kevin Stobbe hooked into a large fish.  As I came over to help, a jumbo perch popped out of the hole. A quick measure indicated the fish was 14.5 inches long, a true trophy and Kevin’s first Master Angler perch.

As the afternoon wore on the fishing remained awesome with four more jumbo perch landed. I managed to just edge Kevin out with a 14.75 incher as the largest.

All of those large fish were released, a key component in sustaining a trophy fishery. We packed up close to five p.m. with enough eating size perch and a couple of pike to make for feast that night.

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About Author

Don Lamont - The Complete Angler Don Lamont has been a full time professional angler for 34 years, hosting and producing the award winning “The Complete Angler” television series for fifteen of those. Don has received several awards for his commitment to public education and the future of recreational fishing in Canada. Those include a 2000 Canadian Recreational Fisheries Award for his work with Manitoba’s Urban Angling Partnership. In 2003 he received a Manitoba Tourism Award for his promotion of Manitoba and western Canada. In 2004 he was a finalist at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada National Award for Tourism Excellence, presented by The Globe and Mail. Don has been a regular fishing columnist in the Winnipeg Free Press since 1992 and is currently editor of Hooked Magazine.

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