Hard to believe but ice fishing has started on the small ponds in the south and bigger ones up north. Aaron Wiebe (Uncut Angling) has been out already on the ponds of Lac du Bonnet. These stocked ponds north of the town of Lac du Bonnet have been a big hit with anglers thanks to the hard work of the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association.
The Wildlife Association Pond is located on PTH 11, 1 mile North of the junction of PR 313. It consists of 75 acres of crown land!
The Red River kicked out some beautiful fish this fall but one of the largest belonged to avid fly fisher and Hooked Contributor Joel Wiebe. Here is his story about the fish of a lifetime
MIRACLE ON THE MILE
By Joel Wiebe
It was the middle of October, 2020 when I launched my boat from Selkirk Park for the very first time. Not knowing the lay of the land, my dad and I scouted the closest spots first. We made our way up river close to the mouth of Cooks Creek, where we found some relief from the northwest wind and anchored on a deep hole next to a shallow flat. The sauger bite was non-stop, mixed in with a couple nice eater greenbacks. I hooked up with a fish that doubled over the rod and once it was about 4 feet below the boat I saw the long silhouette. I could not make out what species it was and then it made one last hard dive, breaking the line with one of my few remaining Live Forage lipless rattle baits. After 5 hours of fishing and the sun setting it was time to head back to the launch. The whole drive back my dad tried to convince me that it was a big greenback by the way it stubbornly fought down deep. The better part of me felt like it was a large pike, probably because I refused to believe that I spoiled my first chance at a monster walleye. All I knew was that I would be back for redemption.
BACK ON THE RED
Seeing gray skies and a temperature hovering around the freezing mark I was in no rush and made time to enjoy a hearty breakfast this Saturday morning. It also gave me time to recruit a boat partner. I sent my brother-in-law a few texts to see if he was interested. He said something about me being crazy and that I could come over and help him chop wood. A little desperate, I reminded him that he always catches the biggest fish when he is in my boat. He didn’t budge. Who else would be down for a spur-of-the-moment fish? Dad, of course.
DAD COMES THROUGH
FORTY-FIVE minutes later, the boat was in the water. Dad had talked to some anglers the week before and had mentioned they had good luck fishing south of the launch. We made our first stops around the steam plant. Catching a few small saugers and walleyes, we noticed that most of the boats were flying by us headed upstream. Shortly after, we followed suit.
We came up to those first shallow S turns in the river and the boats were starting to reappear. Careful to not disturb anyone’s spot, we zig zagged until we found a boat–less section. Looking down at my Helix 5 there were all sorts of marks, bait clouds, large humps hugging bottom and a few suspended marks several feet up. “Okay we must be in business now!” Not sure if my anchors were heavy enough, I spot-locked with the bow mount trolling motor and we were set to fish at 1:20 pm. Dad stuck with the reliable jig and minnow presentation while I prefer to stick to aggressively ripping a lipless rattle bait. Exactly 20 minutes later I had a hard thump. A beautiful 26.5” greenback hit the net.
TONS OF BAIT
I looked back at the fish finder to see constant schools of baitfish moving below. I knew there had to be more big fish around. Thirteen minutes after the first greenback I had another hard thump. I could feel the weight. I yelled back to Dad, “NET!” The fish shot up to the surface with its mouth wide open and crashing its head on the surface like a mad bass would. Dad slipped the net under the giant head, and as the tail flopped on the rim of the net the two trebles managed to pull free. With a final scoop the hog was in the net! I took a second to gawk at the fish. It was the biggest walleye I had ever seen. On the bump board it measured 32 1/8”. I think I clocked out after that fish, even though we spent another 3 hours on the water. I could not get over what had happened.
After returning home I searched the internet to find the name of the spot. Miracle Mile, how fitting.
STOCKED TROUT BONANZA
There were also plenty of nice stocked trout caught this past fall. Beautiful Lake in the Ducks produced some mammoth rainbow trout. Hardcore angler Nolan Phew has his share of Master Angler entries including this monster rainbow from Beautiful.
Petro Hrynda is another young gun that has caught his share of trophy fish in the province. Check out this beautiful brook trout from Hunt Lake.
Open water fishing season for 2020 is all but over in Northwestern Ontario. Recent cold weather has smaller lakes and creeks freezing over. Boat launch areas are starting to ice up. The end is near. Yet every year at this time you will see the last of the fishermen risk it all for a shot at a giant. The musky hunters are still out there.
I have been out every day for the past week. Weather has been our number one concern, conditions change quickly this time of year. I wrote an article last year about fall fishing and stated that it is a lot like ice fishing, but from a boat. That is a true statement.
EAGLE LAKE GIANT LANDED
I recently spent a weekend on Eagle Lake with brother in law, Richard Madussi and friend, Dave Chaval. I was fortunate to land a true Eagle Lake fall giant, one I will write about in an upcoming Hooked Magazine article. Overall the fishing on Eagle has been tough. We did land some absolute huge pike, and had a great time despite blizzard like conditions.
Earlier this week Dave, my wife Kyla and I had the pleasure to take a fishing industry rep out for his first musky hunt. Using live suckers we had a great day going 6 for 10. Remi Raamat got his first of two muskies only 30 minutes into the day. These kinds of days keep you going through the cold and slow periods.
NOT DONE YET
As I write this report the weekend forecast is calling for strong winds and slightly warmer temps. This combination may keep the larger lakes in my area open for another week or so. I am heading out this morning ( October 30 ) and fully expect to encounter ice in back bays or narrow channels. The allure of a fall musky is so strong that we keep going out until the launch is frozen over. Anyone brave enough to still be fishing, be safe out there.
Happy Halloween from the McDonald’s.
THUNDER BAY AND AREA
Although fall fishing has been in full swing for the last few weeks, I have sadly not been taking part. Work has taken me away for a few weeks so I’m missing out on opportunities along the North shore of Superior. The tributaries that dot Lake Superiors North shore offer some great opportunities in the fall, often running well into October and November. Salmon run up may tributaries, large and small, and there are plenty of opportunities, whether you’re fishing from your boat or wading from shore.
For those living in the northern half of the province, there has been some anglers venturing out on newly formed ice. Here are the rules for ice safety.
Colby Paydli caught this big walleye as part of Saskatchewan’s Walleye War III put on by Anglers Atlas. It measured 83.5 centimetres and could win him $9500 if no one else get a bigger one by the end of November 1!
BY WES DAVID, HOST OF FISHING THE WILD WEST T.V. SHOW
Late October can be a very tough time of the year for Alberta anglers, especially with the early cold weather Alberta has experienced this October. Ice now coverers most of Alberta’s waterbodies but that ice is not yet thick enough to venture out on foot but to think for our boats and float tubes. At this time of the year, anglers are forced to the shorelines. Right now stocked trout ponds with a little open water near the shorelines are drawing in big rainbow trout due to light penetration and oxygen created by wind and moving surface water. A little research and a simple 1/8oz jig tipped with some Power Bait under a slip-bobber and open water is all that’s needed.