This is the holiday edition of our bi-weekly fishing report. I would like to thank all our contributors for their support over the course of this crazy year. Without your input and dedication none of this would be happen. As Wes David states in his report below, the outdoor community is a tight-knit community that wants to inform, educate and look after our resource. It is so much better when we can see each other in person to share ideas and stories. We look forward to 2021 and better times ahead with our friends and family and many more adventures ahead.
— Don Lamont, editor of Hooked Magazine
It has been a wild week on Big Windy. A couple anglers got stranded on the lake when a pressure ridge separated from the shoreline ice on the west side of the lake. The Matlock Fire Department headed out with a boat to the edge of the ice but four foot waves on the lake stopped them in their tracks. A helicopter was able to rescue the two stranded anglers.
A friend of mine, who lives nearby, says it is extremely dangerous on the west side of the lake with huge pressure ridges making things unstable. He says near the ridges there are spots of ice less than an inch thick. People have been crazy enough to try and drive over these areas.
Extreme caution is advised and now with a heavy snowfall things are not going to improve. Instead he has been fishing the Red River with some success. He and his son caught some sauger in the 16 inch range, an unheard of feat in two years. He believes in the increase in mesh size for commercial anglers is already having a dramatic impact on this species.
Local angler Melissa Nault found some walleye gold on the river recently.
The Red is not the only river in the province producing some quality walleye angling. There have been Master Angler sized fish registered in the last couple of weeks from the Assiniboine including this beauty by Mac Mulligan.
Many of my friends have been out on the south end of Lake Manitoba. There is decent access on the lake from Delta Beach. Lake ice has been good for the last month and a bit of recent snow has smoothed out the drive somewhat. Anglers have been driving but recent snowfall might slow things a bit. The walleye fishing has been consistent with fish in water three to eight feet deep.
ON THE FRONT LINE FOR TOO LONG
Friend Jim Price is the head of the ICU unit at Portage Hospital. Given the pandemic, he has been fishing on his own for the last three months and pretty much since March. Earlier this week he landed a number of big walleye on the lake using a set line and minnow. He believes that because the fish are so shallow any above ice noise will spook fish. He says the key is to get the set lines away from any noise and wait for the bite.
ROBERT KARPIAK AND ROBYN GRANT
For many of us 2020 has brought forth a whole new list of challenges. Robert and I have been very fortunate that we continue to be able to get up and go to work every day, and we can still run off to the lake or bush on the weekends. We have certainly had to adapt beyond just having to wait in line for groceries but we have tried to focus on the positives in our lives and remind ourselves of just how much we have to be thankful for.
When we head off into nature, we breathe that much deeper, we listen that much more closely, we tune in with all of our senses and have been able to be more present as of late. There is nothing like a global pandemic to really bring you back to basics and remind you what our “survival” is really about.
HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY NEED?
Robert and I have been trying to simplify our lives, avoiding needless spending, finding enjoyment in the simple things, and reducing the amount of “stuff” we tow around. We appreciate the function of tools, hard work, doing things by hand, and harvesting for sustenance. Don’t get us wrong, we live in a modern home which offers electricity, water, a slew of appliances, and more bathrooms then we need, but we appreciate these conveniences rather than rely on them.
This holiday season, we will be heading out to the middle of a lake, setting up camp, and getting back to nature. Our “holiday” celebrations often include long drives, starry skies, and instant coffee in the morning and these are the things we look forward to most.
SHARE WHAT WE CAN
Of course we miss our family, and we miss our friends, but this too shall pass. We can pick up our phone, call our parents and loved ones, talk for hours like we used to back when we all had land lines, really listen and cherish those relationships through other means with everyone’s best interest in mind. There have been so many air hugs exchanged.
We would like to wish all of the Hooked family a peaceful and mindful holiday season. The Human Race has overcome far greater feats and has become stronger as a result. Our current situation is no different. May we all take pleasure in the simple things that we CAN DO like playing a board game with our children, Zoom dinners with our extended family, and just enjoying some peace and quiet. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays and Go Play Outside!
ROGER AND SUE GERES
It has been a hectic week before Christmas but we managed to get out a few times. Fishing is fantastic at Lake of the Prairies and hopefully it stays like that. We did spend some time on East Goose in Roblin and got one Master Angler rainbow along with a heart break loss of a brown trout that was out and somehow did a flop and flip and went back in! It happened so fast I was devastated- I love browns! :
Merry Christmas and stay safe!
As 2020 comes to a close, my family and I are grateful for a safe and healthy year of living through the Covid pandemic. Although we are still dealing with the effects of this terrible virus, we all hope the end is in sight.
The upside of having less American tourists and guests with my guiding service was having much more family time. Spending time outdoors with my wife and kids was a highlight of the season.
Heading into the holiday season, the countdown is on for the opening of Laker season, January 1st. We’re hoping to get out and enjoy some multi species hard water days. Trout in the morning and walleye in the afternoon. Nice weather is in the forecast for Northwestern Ontario, I hope everyone can enjoy some of the great fishing our area offers.
We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and a happy New Year! We look forward to continuing to share our fishing experience with the readers of Hooked Magazine in 2021. From our family to yours, goodbye 2020 and Hello 2021!
Cheers, The McDonald’s
It has been a busy month for my wife Shelby and I. We haven’t had much time to get out ice fishing as she is writing an exam and I have been building a garage. Late fall and early winter means time spent in the bush for me so we had to get some wild game in the freezer. Shelby and I did manage to get out one evening nearby to catch some walleye for supper.
THUNDER BAY & AREA
While we have had a great start to winter, thankfully it is still making ice. Many area lakes are forming safe ice, and there are plenty of opportunities for ice anglers. We have ventured out several times, to some close to home stocked lakes, trying to fit fishing trips around our toddlers nap schedule. It’s a bit of a challenge, but we are making it work!
We’re very lucky to have a multitude of stocked lakes all across Northwestern Ontario, with rainbow trout, brook trout and splake stocked in many area lakes. Some of these are ultra-remote lakes, that require some serious effort to access, and others allow you to drive nearly to the shoreline. We chose a small lake, with easy access, that has decent numbers of fish stocked. The OMNRF publishes stocking data online, on their Fish Online website. This allows anglers look and plan where they may want to go. This lake gets decent numbers of fish, but also gets significant angling pressure, due to easy access.
Other local area lakes are freezing up as well, with many walleye anglers having good early season success. Several area lakes are popular ice fishing destinations, especially for those that put out ice shacks for the winter. Lac Des Milles Lac is a popular walleye lake west of Thunder Bay, and is home to hundreds of shacks each winter. Now that we are starting to see consistent colder temps, it won’t be long before the ice roads are fully operational, and with minimal snow it should make for good ice, and travel conditions.
I’m looking forward to Lake Superior freezing over, so I can get out to some of my favourite spots, looking for trout, whitefish and herring, and waiting for lake trout seasons to open on inland lakes. These are some of my favourite things to do, and it will all be happening soon!
Hopefully all our readers are keeping well during these challenging times, and are taking the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors. With time on our hands, it’s the perfect chance to do some exploring and get outside! It’s still a nice way to do things with friends and family, while still maintaining your distance. Drive separately, meet at the lake, and enjoy the outdoors and each others company, especially during this holiday season! Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, and good luck on the ice!
As the 2020 ice season starts ice conditions in the south east very quite bit. Please be careful check ice if not sure with the weather constantly changing ice conditions. Boundary Dam walleye action has been good but better towards evening. A chartreuse jig and minnow seemed to work the best and the ice was 8” to 10” where I was.
Rafferty Dam fishing has been fair. Depending on the day seems 3pm till dark is best. People are starting to move around on the ice. The ice fishing varies from 12”to some open water, so be careful and check the ice. Alameda Dam report about 12”ice. Fishing is reported to be good. Kenosee lake report catching some perch with the odd good walleye. Small jigs with minnow heads.
Hope you can get out and enjoy the great fishing we have in SE Sask. Merry Christmas to everyone from myself and my wife Kim and all the best in 2021.
Hooked Contributor Layne Maier of MTN Man Outdoors has teamed up with Pokeys Tackle in Regina to produce a series of videos on different ice fishing products. Layne guides on Last Mountain Lake north of Regina. In this latest vid Layne talks about snap jigging and finding winter walleye with the Auto Chart Live feature on his Helix 7 Gen 3. Some good stuff.
Ice on Tobin is thickening up, though still variable in current areas. 12-16 “downstream and little snow is making travel easy with snowmobiles. Trucks are starting to head out along with the permanent shacks in the usual villages. Ice nearer the mouth is varying by 6” from the thickness’ mentioned above…in short it’s not even and not ready for anything but cautious travel.
Fishing has been quite good, with sunup and sundown bites consistent. Setting up off the river channel has been showing action from predawn until 930 and then 3pm until 5pm. Don’t be afraid to move around and find some deeper flats for a mid day bite. At this time of day fish drop back into deeper water but they are still feeding. Big fish are coming off the drop off suspended chasing bait. Don’t ignore those high marks on your flasher.
WES DAVID-FISHING THE WILD WEST T.V. SHOW
It’s been a crazy year, to say the least. We have all experienced something that I pray we or our children never have to experience again. You could say, COVID-19 “Sent us up the river in some uncharted waters without a paddle”.
Through it all with some challenges and schedule changes, Fishing the Wild West TV was able to shoot all our 2020 TV episodes and meet our network commitments, sponsor obligations, and a variety of other projects, and a boatload of office work that comes with shooting a TV show.
However, what kept us going the entire 2020 season was the kind words and encouragement from many of our viewers and supporters. Fishing the Wild West TV received countless emails, texts, and social media messages, supporting us through some tough travel restrictions and the uncertainties of 2020, and we responded to every one of them.
One of my greatest pleasures is talking hunting and fishing with other outdoorsmen and women (in person). Each year we met so many amazing people on our travels and have some great conversations, and this year was no different. However, 2020 was definitely missing that personal connection and due to the restrictions, it looks like there will be limited to no sports shows this winter. What I enjoy most about the sports shows is shaking hands and meeting new and old friends and talking everything outdoors.
CONSERVATION AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Outdoorsmen and women are a tight community with a common goal. Spend more time on the water and in the field and through hard work, conservation, and promotion, we do everything in our power to be sure the next generation can also spend time on the water and in the field and for everyone that has done this even if it’s the smallest thing to protect and promote our outdoor sports, I/we thank you. You are the true champions of the outdoors. Also, thank you to Hooked Magazine & the Hooked Fishing Report for supporting us all, not only in 2020 but with all our outdoor adventures!
Myself, and the Fishing the Wild West TV team wish you all a Merry Christmas, a safe and happy New Year! Good riddance to 2020!
Until we can shake hands and talk hunting and fishing in person again! Tight lines and Fish ON!
Wes David & Fishing the Wild West TV team
I would like to wish all our friends and families of Hooked Magazine a very safe and fun holiday season. Hope we can all make the best of these trying times and stay safe throughout the holidays. Would like to thank you all for your support and comments throughout the year and wish you all a successful winter on the ice .
TAKE A YOUNG PERSON FISHING!
Although I had many special moments throughout the year one stood out the most . I finally got to go fishing with a friend and his son recently and got to witness him land his first ever tiger trout as well as his personal best rainbow trout. It was a very special day for all 3 of us . Bringing back a lot of memories from when we were kids. There isn’t anything more special to me in the fishing world than to be a part of that kind of moment . Take care and tight lines my friends