With the ice season now closed in the southern division of Manitoba, many folks are packing up the ice gear and getting ready for open water. For those willing to drive, there are plenty of destinations within the province with reasonable accommodations and stellar fishing near by.
I’ve just returned from five days of fishing up at Cross Bay on Cedar Lake and I can assure you that there is still plenty of ice and snow up that way. Pike, burbot and whitefish were our target species while up there and when using an underwater camera we spotted more than a few trophy sized specimens beneath us throughout the trip. The visibility under the water in many northern lakes this time of year is almost unbelievable and an underwater camera can aid in locating structure and fish, along with seeing how they react to different presentations, often increasing catch rates.
Although the fishing and weather left something to be desired (I will spare the details of agony and defeat), we were still rewarded for all the time put in with a few personal best fish landed in our group. My highlight was a 23.5 inch lake whitefish and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a possible return trip this month to test my luck again.
This time of year northern pike and lake trout are often out on the prowl fattening up for the spring spawn. While Cedar Lake is loaded with pike of all sizes with a real chance at a trophy, it doesn’t hold lakers. Reed and Clearwater Lake are known for trophy pike and lakers (burbot too) and a good friend has been doing quite well up there. From dead bait on quick strike rigs to heavy jigging spoons and Bondy baits, try to match the forage and when conditions are right many lakes in the north can be lights out action.
There’s still a few weeks left of the ice season up north and the weather is bound to warm up sooner or later. If you have the urge for one last kick at ice fishing before open water hits, load up the sleds and head north, there are still plenty of lakes to fish!