Master the Seasons- Part 1

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After two years of fishing together, I would say that Robert and I have learned a lot about each other, have both grown significantly as anglers, and that catching master angler sized fish all year long is something that we are just absolutely obsessed with! 

I don’t think either of us realized how deep we sunk into the sport of fishing until we actually sat down and looked back through our photos from the last couple of years. Virtually every weekend spent out on the water or ice mostly in our home province of Manitoba. One of the best parts of living here is experiencing such definitive seasons. With the seasons come changes in temperature and weather, and in turn, environment, which translates to all living creatures. Spring, summer, fall and winter, there is always a fish to be targeted thanks to our seasons.  

MARCH MADNESS

As you are reading this article, us anglers are gearing up for what is known as March Madness! Having spent enough time cooped up in our ice fishing shacks trying to avoid the -40 degree temperatures, we are ready to spend some time basking in the sun on top of the ice targeting a number of different species. 

This is such a magnificent time of year which finds walleye, perch, and pike, stacking up in the mouths of rivers feasting non-stop on bait fish in order to store enough nutrients for spawning once the water reaches that perfect temperature. This natural process provides ice fishermen the perfect opportunity to target trophy size fish. The most difficult decision is deciding what fish to target as the hot bite is so short lived.

When targeting walleye at this time of year, don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your presentation by using oversized lures and rattle baits. The fish will have their feed bags on and will not be afraid to chase and chomp! Robert and I like to use jigs and live minnows (where permitted) on our dead sticks and a rattle bait for our jigging rods.

For perch, we find a small 1/16 oz jig tipped with a piece of worm, minnow, or plastic yields success as well as small spoons or forage minnows to add a bit of flash in the water. How do you tempt those finicky perch? When fishing with electronics, jig just off the bottom and once you see a mark on your screen, pull the lure slowly away from the fish until it chases and hopefully connects. This process can require a bit of trial and error to decipher how the fish are reacting to the bait on that particular day. Haven’t we all seen a mark come up from the bottom, chase your lure up a couple of feet, and then head back down to the safety of the lake bottom over and over again and shout; “That has to be a perch!”  

Pike are furiously feeding on other game fish until the creeks open up, so it’s no wonder large flashy spoons or a big bait fish set on your tip-up are the classic go to method(again, be sure to check the regulations where you are fishing regarding bait).

WILDCARD APRIL!

April is a bit of a wild card as the fishing season closes in most areas of the province as well as for most of May. We are all trying to squeeze those last few trips in before the season closes so consider a trip to the Northwest region where the season is open a little longer and the ice tends to stick around a little longer.

  

May is when we spend our time anticipating opening weekend and planning. Getting the boat ready, stocking the tackle box and thinking about what fish to target first. It’s also the time of year that brings all types of species into the shallows to feast on the “new life pouring into the lakes from the spring spawn. By the end of May and into early June, there is no better time to pursue what are known as “rough fish”. Carp, suckers, buffalo suckers, bullheads, and outside this family, freshwater drum are hands down some of the most aggressive bang for your buck fish you will ever catch right here in Manitoba 

SPRINGTIME DATE NIGHT

Did you ever think you would be off to a fishing spot for date night on a Monday or Tuesday only to catch multiple masters in a short window of evening fishing?  The spring runoff that pours into Lake Manitoba creates an ideal feeding ground for carp and freshwater drum. This lake is a great drivable destination with shore fishing for those who are not water mobile. A weighted bobber rig tipped with a night crawler or salted minnow is sure to lead to an evening or day of romance…I mean fun

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About Author

—Robert Karpiak spent his childhood hunting and fishing under the influence of his parents, grandparents and extended family, and became a professional outfitter and hunting guide at the age of 19. —Robyn Grant  threw her first cast three years ago in 2014, and once that lure hit the water she was hooked. Spending her summers in the Manitoba Whiteshell Provincial Park and Western Ontario, it didn’t take long for this casual weekend activity to morph into a full time passion.

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