It has been a fabulous February with more great action on the way. Temperatures near freezing this weekend will make for some great ice fishing conditions. If it stays like this we also might have an early ice out in western Canada.
Perch action is really starting to heat up, with Lake Manitoba enjoying a resurgence with these tasty critters. The fishing on the big lake for perch used to be unbelievable, then died off for reasons unknown. With more stable water conditions the last few years, things are looking up once again as populations rebound. Walleye action on the lake, meantime is slow.
Lake Winnipeg walleye bite has been good though, as has the mighty Red River. Current flow is next to nothing on the river right now and the walleye and sauger bite is very good. Access is still tricky but lots of anglers are driving on.
The Lac du Bonnet ice fishing derby is underway tomorrow, Saturday February 29th. There is $55,000 cash & prizes available with a $10,000 1st prize. Get tickets & info here.
Eric Labaupa and his Filipino Angling Association members (FAAM) have been heading east for trout, crappie, and tullibee action with great success. One of them, Chris Yap, caught his first ever lake trout through the ice on Lake of the Woods on the long weekend. The fish was in 50 feet of water in Ptarmigan Bay. He was using a white tube, jigged low-mid column until one would show up on the flasher. He had never been out that way before and relied solely on access information from fellow group members (Rush Bay). Ice roads were easily navigable, and they hiked it through some snow to get to spots they wanted to drop a line.
Meantime anglers out west have continued to enjoy some great stocked trout action in the Parkland region. The lakes include East Goose in Roblin and Footprint just to the southeast. Clearwater Lake has been kicking out some monster lake trout over the last week. Linwood Williams was out on the big lake the third week in February and had a trip of lifetime, landing several Master Angler fish including this 40 inch beauty!
Lake of the Prairies, meantime, is still on fire for big pike. Master Angler fish are being caught all over the lake. Please take care to look after these fish. They are very susceptible to damage while handling. Make sure you don’t vertically hold the fish as it damages internal organs. If it cold outside, make sure you don’t have them out of the water for more than 30 seconds. Take the hooks out in the hole while the fish is in the water. Have your camera ready before you do a horizontal hold. Then get that trophy fish back down the hole! Proper handling will maintain this fishery for years to come.
Friend Brett McComas and the Target Walleye Team recently put a licking on some Lake Winnipeg walleye. Brett loves catching greenbacks and he is pretty darn good at as you will see in this video. The part I like especially is when Brett shows you how to “rock” a Golden Shiner Live Target” which is my favourite lure on Lake Winnipeg as well. Great stuff Brett
It’s been nice to be back on the ice over the past couple of weeks. I’m headed back out on the road this week and have the Bassmaster Classic coming up next week followed by three Elite Series events before I make it back home later in April. So it’s going to be a short ice fishing season for me. I was supposed to be home for about three weeks in March but the recent cancellation of our Lake Chickamauga event moved it to mid-March so I’m staying down south. The good news is I will be in my boat!
Ice fishing has been pretty good for the most part. Catching a bunch of walleyes and perch out on Lake of the Woods, 27-34 feet on main lake humps.
Lake trout fishing has been good as well, fishing some of the smaller lakes east of Kenora. Just be sure to keep up on the regulations. Some of these lakes are barbless and don’t allow the use of meat for bait.
If you are thinking about a Sunset Country ice fishing trip, you can check out visitsunsetcountry.com
Crawford’s Camp in Sioux Narrows and Five Lakes Lodge up in Red Lake are both owned bay friends of mine and both offer some excellent ice fishing opportunities, especially later in March. Check them out if you want to plan a top-notch ice fishing adventure.
Glenn McDonald- Vermillion Bay
With the return of seasonal weather the past couple weeks, the lakes have been busy with anglers. Overall ice conditions have been great, with most lakes reporting little, to no slush. I was fishing Eagle, and surrounding lakes this past weekend, and noticed very little slush. Even the trout lakes southwest of Eagle were all in great shape. Portage trails were also in excellent shape between lakes. While fishing on Eagle, the walleye bite was slow but we were able to get into some jumbo perch. The hot bait was the Forage Minnow by Northland Tackle. Tipped with frozen shiners, the Forage Minnow was a great bait just slow jigged off the bottom.
Walleye were picking up the same bait, as well as glow jigs tipped with shiners. A morning of backcountry trout fishing was successful, with 7 fish between two of us inside a couple hours. A Northland Tackle Rattln Inner Tube jig with an Impulse tube, with a custom made stinger hook, tipped with frozen sucker meat was the bait of choice. Jigging in front of active fish, located on my Lowrance graph was critical. Getting fish to chase was easy once we seen them on the graph. Looking toward the next couple weeks, weather looks great, the lake trout bite has been fantastic, no reason not to get out fishing. Just be mindful of changing ice conditions as temps warm up.
Good luck out on the hard water!
Last Mountain Lake –Layne Maier
South end has been good for perch and pike, walleye are fair. Mid section is good for walleye and pike, perch can be good if you locate a school but most have gravitated towards the ends of the lake. North end is fair for walleye and pike, perch are biting well and fair sized.
Small spoons, dropper rigs, rattle baits and teetots (available at Pokeys tackle) have been the ticket for walleye and perch, while tip-ups and larger baits are working well for pike. Fish are getting shallower and moving towards spawning areas. Lake travel is easy but warmer temps will bring more unpredictable ice conditions, proceed with caution near all heaves and shore lines. Tight lines!
Layne Maier, Mtn Man Outdoors
Wes David- Fishing the Wild West television show
The Burbot Spawn is On!
The burbot spawn is on across Alberta and with it comes an incredible burbot bite. On almost every lake or reservoir across Alberta, schools of burbot are moving into common spawning areas of their home water body and have begone their mating rituals. There are many great things that take place with the burbot spawn, but my two favourites are, burbot are willing to feed aggressively or willing to bite an anglers offering out of aggression. Either way, anglers are setting the hook. The second thing is, with the release of burbot eggs whitefish move into the spawning areas and begin consuming the high protein burbot eggs. Matching the hatch as they say, will produce non-stop whitefish action. In Alberta, during the burbot spawn, the burbot are catch and release only, however, whitefish limits are still in play.
Hooked Contributor and expert angler Dave Shmyr chases jumbo perch in the central part of the province. Action has been steady. For more information on catching perch in western Canada check out the article by Dave and Hooked Editor Don Lamont here.