Author Topic: My ice fishing reports for 2022.  (Read 1436 times)

Offline Water Wolf

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My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« on: Feb 15, 2022, 07:14 PM »
Hi Guys,
Attached are my reports for the 2022 ice fishing season.

Ice fishing season, for me, started at the end of Jan. this year.
This winter's extreme weather swings have given us days where it's - 30 deg C / -22 deg F one day, and, the next day it can be - 1 deg C / 30 deg F.  We have had some pretty severe winds and blowing snow with huge snow bank deposits, usually right where you want / need to go.
The day before Christmas Eve (Dec. 23rd), the temp dropped to - 51 deg C / - 60 deg F with the wind-chill - bone chilling!
The only days I had off in Dec. and Jan., were either too cold to be out on the ice, or, a whiteout blizzard, where travel was not recommended. :P

I did get out to do one scouting trip in mid Jan.  None of the lakes around the Fishing Lake area looked like they would be very easy to get on, even at that time, and, that was before the heavier snow falls we have had. The access spots at Fishing Lake had large snow banks across them, and, folks were getting stuck right at shore. There were residents trying to clear a path, but were also getting bogged down in the drifts.  Several shacks close to shore already had snow piled half way up their walls. It might be challenging to get some shacks off this year. There was a slight trail at the N end of Fishing Lake, heading out to deeper waters, but, there were deep banks that, if you strayed from them, might see you involuntarily staying there, so, I didn't venture out. :whistle:

Margo Lake appeared to have winter killed last winter, so, no one has been going out there much this year.

I heard Stony Lake had no one on it, and, the boat launch was blown in.

I did not check Whitesand / Pelican Lake at this time.

The best way to access the lakes this year is either walking on or with a snow machine. :P

We should have enough snow now to fill most sloughs, and, bring water levels up some in our lakes and rivers, plus, enough moister for the farmers, hopefully. This deep snow is really hard for the wildlife.  The deer, elk and moose are really having to dig to find anything to eat now.

This cold is hard on the bird life as well. All the little birds are really making use of feeders that people are putting out for them.  If you have any ornamental fruit trees in your yard, you are treated to a very busy show of all the birds in the area that benefit from the left over fruit and seeds they can scavenge.

Despite the weather woes, I did get out 1 day at the end of Jan. It's a late start, but, better than nothing. ;)


Here is my fishing report for January 2022.



Jan. 30th.
I have been anxious to get out for a while now, but, finally, I am able to try my luck at ice fishing for the first time this season.

My destination for the first trip out is Whitesand (also called Pelican) Lake.
This area is generally a bit easier to access in winter, due to the protection of the trees on the N and NW sides of the lake blocking some of the snow and allowing for a bit easier access onto the lake.

The big game were out in force.On the way to the lake, and coming home, I counted 41 deer, ( mostly white tail, but, with a good mix mule deer as well), 3 moose, (1 moose by itself and 2 together bedded down), and, 1 elk near the road.
I saw the same 2 moose on the way up, and, on the way home. They had only moved 20 yards or so, over the afternoon. :woot:

When I got to the lake, I saw that the access spot to the lake was plowed out, and, the make shift ice road extended a good stretch out onto the lake. The ice road was not quite as far as I usually set up on the lake, but, it sure made driving alot easier, and, I was very happy to see it - thanks to some good samaritan with the equipment to move that much snow. :angel

I set up a short distance off the ice road, so as not to block the access for others.

I count 10 other vehicles in the general area, and 2 vehicles across the lake to the S. The ones to the S made their way onto the lake through private land right beside the cabins. There were several shacks way out in the middle of the lake, but no one was at them, and, it looks like the snow in their direction, from where I was located was really deep. Off the ice road, the snow was a foot to 3 feet in the bigger drifts.

The weather was a mix of sun and cloud with some wind from the SW.  The temps were nice at - 4 deg C. / 25 deg F.  On and off during the afternoon I got a whiff of wood smoke and cooking hot dogs, setting the mood for a day of fun and relaxation. ;D

I fished from 2:40 pm - 5:30 pm.

The spot I found was a bit deeper than I though at 11.7 feet, with a mix of silty sand, and large rocks - good structure for fish to hide and move through.

The ice was thick, almost the full length of my ice auger. Note to self: "next time out, bring the auger extension".

I noticed a bit of flood water after drilling the holes, but, it was not a big issue, yet.

1 angler stopped to chat with me on his way off the lake, and, he said that Whitesand / Pelican Lake has been very slow all winter so-far, as in, 0 to 2 / trip out.  Not the best news, but, I guess that's why it's called "fishing" and not "catching". :P

I had the camera set up, and, for the most part, the most common thing spotted on screen were small perfectly round jelly-like creatures that pulsed and twitched through the water column. I think they were some sort of zoo plankton. Some of them even seem to pulse a lite blue on camera, oddly enough. :-\

I did see some fish - 3 pike to be exact.
The fish all showed up later in the afternoon, just before sunset. The first pike came in and hung around my jigging spoon and smelt for 20 min or so. It would circle, come in for a look, and follow my lure up and down in the water column, but that was it. It did finally get a bit bolder as time wore on, and nipped at the smelt on the hook twice. I was gracious to give it a strike three, and, set the hook when I saw the smelt and spoon disappear as it swam by the camera, chewing as it went. 
After a decent fight, I ice my first fish of the new ice fishing season and new year, this pike. ;D



The 2nd pike came in only 10 min. after I caught the first one. It came in slowly, and, circled the hook a few times.  With each circle, it came in closer, looking a bit more tempted to bite. It was just nosing up to the bait, when it spotted something, stopped, and slowly backed down, waiting off to the side. The next thing I see on camera was a streak, rocketing in from R to L on my screen, inhaling the jig and minnow, and, bolting past the other pike, spooking it away. I set the hook, stopping it in it's tracks. This one took a bit more time to finally get up the hole. It was a slightly larger pike, and was quite wrapped and twisted in my line. This one came up tail first, so that's all I had to grab to get it out. Not the easiest of thing to do (slippery when wet). ;)
Pike #2.


After that brief flury of action, everything went quite.  No more fish were seen, but, I did have 1 bait stolen from the set rod. Who knows, maybe it was that 2nd fish I seen on camera that was so frantically displaced while it too considered whether to bite or not.

Pike 1 hit a small smelt on a jigged frostbite dinner bell spoon, and, the 2nd pike hit a PK spin-a-jig and a dyed blue minnow. The bait that was taken was a dyed blue smelt.
They seemed to like the blue dye job that day.

I decided that I would keep the 2 pike this time as I have not kept any fish in quite some time. They will make a good future meal for me and the family.

While I was there I didn't see any other anglers run for tip-up set rods or even indicate they had or seen or lost any fish.

I left the lake when everyone else started to leave, around sunset.  Speaking of which, look at the sunset I was treated to...

To me that cloud looked like a creature from the past. :blink:

I left the lake to the sound of croaking ravens who were checking out the angler's shacks for spoils that could be their meal before dark.

All in all I was happy with the afternoon I had on the ice, and, hope for a fish or 2 each time out this season. :tipup:

I was glad I got out ice fishing when I did because the next day, Jan. 31st., most of SK. was blasted by an Alberta clipper blizzard. We had winds up to 90 kph in some places. It was 50 - 75 kph in my area with 10 cm of snow. When the blizzard was raging at it's worst, I could not see more than a few yard outside my windows. :o
I am now snow bound at home and will have the long process of digging out.
I don't know what our SK lakes will look like after that very nasty blizzard (one of the worst I have seen for some time), but, my fear is that access will be difficult. ::)

Frigid arctic air is now making it's way in for the next few days, so, it will be a while before I am out and about again. :-\

Here are a few non ice fishing photos from the winter so-far. :)
I like to feed the bird life around the yard all year long, but, it's really especially important during the cold months.
I have chickadees, redpolls, house sparrows, downy & hairy woodpeckers and the odd time a nuthatch checking out my feeders off and on all winter.
This chickadee is feeding from the sunflower feeder.

The chickaddees are getting so calm now in my presence that they are right there as soon as I refill the feeders, waiting impatiently for their treats.

3 ruffed grouse have moved into in the yard.
They clean up the old ornamental crab apples and chokecherries until they are all gone, and then they eat willow and poplar buds.
[

Snowy owls have returned to this area as of mid Dec.,but, I have not been able to catch any on camera this year yet. Hope to get another photo of a snowy owl before they leave for the N in late March.

These 2 photos are of the same moose I saw going ice fishing on Jan 30th.



Even the moose are starting to have a bit of trouble tramping through the deep snow in areas.

WW

Offline icefishman

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #1 on: Feb 16, 2022, 04:56 AM »
Sounds like a crappy winter up there, but at least you got out.
Catching Any?

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #2 on: Feb 24, 2022, 07:51 PM »
Thanks icefisherman, :)
Yeah it's been a tougher winter than most in my area of SK.
For a good part of the winter it's been, below, or, way below the normal temps. Venturing out for the essentials is tough, let alone trying to ice fish out in the cold, no shack here. The few above normal days usually result in high winds and raging blizzards, making travel not recommended. The few really good days we had this winter, I was busy. ::)

Here's hoping that March will offer better ice fishing days and a bit more active fish. :tipup:

WW

Offline merk42

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #3 on: Mar 10, 2022, 07:34 AM »
We put out a feeder as well, as out hardside is close to shore to avoid wind...Our bird list really jumped this year from on 2 species... Chickadees and red breasted nuthatches...
this year we added juncos, downy wp and bluejays, ravens and crow.

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #4 on: Apr 19, 2022, 11:46 PM »
Nice going merk42 for feeding your local birds, they do need the boost in winter. :thumbsup:
Over this winter I have had chickadees, red polls, dark-eyed juncos, woodpeckers, nuthatches and house sparrows visiting my feeders. :)

With this newly discovered avian flu here in SK. ,and, other parts of Canada some birds are turning up sick with it. :P
It's mostly in the waterfowl at the moment,but, a few chicken barns have had cases., but, this avian flu could easily spread to the other bird species too.
Not good news for our feathered friends. :unsure:

Hi Guys,
Attached are my ice fishing reports for Feb. and March 2022. :afro:

Feb. was a very cold month in general, with not many days that I wanted to be out.
My area also got heavy amounts of snow and frequent blizzards. This made for some tough fishing conditions.

I only ventured out once, on the 26th of Feb., to Fishing Lake.
At the time, someone with a skid steer had ploughed some snow out towards the closer ice huts, by the main boat launch. It was sure nice of them to do that. I fished in that area for the afternoon.
I saw 1 pike on camera, but, it would not bite, and, had no luck after that, a skunk for the day, and, a first for this ice fishing season. uggg. ::)


I did chat with someone who lives at the lake and he said his nighbour went ice fishing for 5 days straight, a few hours each day, without a single fish caught. Now that's SLOW ice fishing! :o

That would be it for my Feb. ice fishing adventures. Next stop, March, and, hopefully warmer weather with more active fish. :-\





The first 2 weeks of March were on the cold side with below normal temps for this time of year. March came in like a cold lion. Once we got past the 15th, in this area, it started to get nice, a bit more spring like.

The first signs of spring were the arrival of the horned larks in early March. Next came the first sighting of a Canada goose on March 13th and crows on the 15th.

On the last week of March we had seasonal temps for a few days, but, the very last day  of March went out like a windy lion, no lambs this year. :P

In March I was chatting with someone from around the lake area who was keeping track of the larger snow fall amounts this winter. They said they were up to 60 inches / 5 feet of snow so-far and that's not counting the small skiffs of snow we received in between. This is the most snow I have ever seen in my life. :blink:
My older family members say this is what it was like when they were young.
If we get a quick melt now there will be alot of flooding going on.
I hope all this snow fills the lakes, rivers and sloughs back to, at least, normal levels.




March 19th.
This would be my first trip of the month. I thought I would give it a good while for the weather to get better and maybe improve the ice fishing a bit, fingers crossed.


My family joined me on this occasion. We went to Fishing Lake and set up in what I hoped would be a promising looking area, due to it's close proximity to where the fish spawn in spring.

At the lake shore there was a trail out onto the ice down a fairly steep bank. It looked like a few folks had removed their ice shack on this trial as it was fairly deeply rutted.
We though we would try it anyway and just go a short distance from shore.
We stopped before the tracks ended and set up.

I set up the gear for everyone and we ice fished from 3:10 pm - 5: 15 pm.
I was the only one activity jigging everyone else was happy to watch their set rods.

We were set up in 5 - 6 feet of water with just over 3 feet of ice ( good thing I had my extension on the ice auger). The bottom was a bit sandy and silty.

When I put the camera down I could see the bottom of the lake and the bottom of the ice at the same time. There was nowhere the fish could hide now.

There was no one else in the area this time. I did see a family out fishing a good long ways W of us, and, I could hear an ice auger from across the lake, but that was it.

I had one angler and his son come by on a snow machine and chat as they were leaving the ice. They said they saw several fish on camera, but, none of them would bite. They wished me good luck and kept on going.


It was a nice afternoon out on the ice with a mainly sunny sky, lite wind from the SW to calm at times and + 3 deg C / 37 deg F temps.

It turned out to be a decent day fishing-wise for me. I was able to catch my limit of pike for this lake.
After a quick look and picture, they went back.
They all looked to be female, so, I wanted them to complete their spawn.

I saw 3 pike on camera. The first fish in was the most aggressive of the lot. It passed by the camera and was heading off into the distance when I dropped my lippless rattle bait down and gave it a single shake. This made the fish turn right away and come right in and head for the lure. I slowly raised and jiggled my rod tip, with the fish following behind. It hit just inched from the bottom of the ice, and, the fight was on. After a run or 2 it came up and out of the hole.

Once we got a photo, I released it down the hole by the camera to see it's reaction. The pike shot to the bottom and settled itself there for a few minutes. It then slowly swam towards the direction of one of the set rods and was off. I think the fish must have had a short rest after it's fight before moving on.

The next fish that bit, hit my set rod that was baited with a small smelt.
The last and largest fish of the day went for a chunk of a hot dog. :laugh:
They were both rigged with a circle hook and it neatly hooked the fish in the corner of the mouth.
The circle hooks were good as there was no blood nor were the fish hooked too close to the gills or teeth.

I have had the package circle hooks with me for a while, but, have not really used them until now.
I think I will use them more now for ice fishing, when I see how well they worked.

I placed the rods in their holders with the bail closed. I let the fish grab the bait and hook themselves when they went to swim away, and only picked up the rod when it was fully bent.

The other family members had 2 fish hit their set rods and remove the bait without being hooked. They were still hitting quite lite for the most part.

A photo of the fish. :)
This is the one I saw strike on camera.

She is longer, but, a bit thinner.

This one is shorter, but alot thicker around. It looked like it was eating well, plus eggs.


This is the big one of the day at 36" x 13". @)

She is also my largest of the winter so-far.
She really gave me a good tussle with several longer runs and had a large full belly.

Once we packed up, the trail off the lake was a bit steep indeed, but the 4x4 was able to get us out OK. 
From here on out though I will be walking on just to be safe, don't really want to waste ice fishing time shoveling.

All in all it was a perfect day on the ice in all areas. I am hoping for a couple more like that before season end. ;)



March 23rd.
This would be my next trip out. With the sucess I had at Fishing Lake last time out, I though I would try the same area again and see what was biting.

There were ever increasing numbers of Canada geese and crows around the lake now, a sign spring has sprung.

To and from the lake there are still large herds of deer, 20 - 30 on average in each herd. They are trying to find any food they can find, and that is not much, some of them are so thin, and, may not see the warmer weather to come. :(

When I got to the lake I decide to leave the vehicle on shore and walk down. The ice is still fine, with no signs of deterioration yet, but, don't want to risk not getting back up the steep shoreline there. 
There is only one group of anglers way out in the middle of the lake and they got out there with a side by side.

When I got to the lake I noticed a Canada goose nestled amongst the reeds right by the shore line. It stayed there the whole time I ice fished. I don't think it was injured in any way as I saw it walking around and flapping it's wings. It may have been staking a spot for it's nest in the open water, not quite sure.

My ice fishing partner for the afternoon. :D


The weather was mainly cloudy with a stronger wind from the S to SE, and + 4 deg C
/ 39 deg F temps. It didn't feel that warm at all, and I was glad to be well dressed.

I set up in the spots where I had action before, and, ice fished from 3:30 pm - 6:31 pm.

During that time, I only saw 1 pike on camera. It came right in, and, bit without hesitation. It came in fast and attacked the rubber swimbait I was using, unfortunately, all it had was the tale section, just behind the hook, and, when I jerked it part way up the hole, it let go, and, sped past the camera, kicking up sand as it went.

I did have a bit of luck on the set rod, icing the only fish of the day.
This pike. :)


The set rod did get 2 more taps and it did have the bait stolen once, so, there were a few fish around.

All in all there was not as much action as the other time, but, at least I was not skunked, and, had a nice quiet day on the ice. ;D


March 30th.
This would be my last trip of this ice fishing season. I planned on spending it where I started the season, Fishing Lake. I had one last try and was hoping for some results.
I went back to the same area as I ice fished the last 2 times out.
The theme for this trip would likely be the song  "The Final Countdown". :whistle:

When I got to the shoreline, I could see a group of anglers and 2 side by sides out in the middle of the lake, and, a snowmobile travelling W pulling a pop up shack. The ice was still fine with no sign of deterioration, but, I was not sure if the vehicle would make it up the slippery, rocky shoreline. I decided I would just leave the vehicle on shore and walk, pulling my gear out onto the ice.

I ice fished from 3:20 pm - 6:30 pm.

It was a nice day on the ice with just a lite / calm wind at times. The sun was shining, and, the temp was just at 0 deg C / 32 deg F.
I went bare-handed most of the day, something I don't do that often.

The water was still colder than normal for this time of year. It was 33 deg F on the camera, just above freezing. :wacko:

Only 1 pike was seen on the camera for a brief minute before it was gone, but, I was fortunate to have the best day all winter long in the terms of numbers and size of fish - at last! :icefish:

The biggest fish of the day (a pike) was the first to hit  at 4:15 pm. My set rod was hit so hard that it knocked the rod holder over, and, would have pulled the rod down the hole, had I not made a safety attachment that kept it above the ice. One minute it was up, and, the next time I looked up from the camera, all I could see was the bottom of the stand. I ran over and could only see the rod handle above the ice. I though for sure it was gone, but relieved to see it was not.

Once I get the rod up out of the hole, I feel the pressure of the fish on the other end of the line. It's so shallow ( 2 feet of water with more than 3 feet of ice) that the fish has no where to go but sideways and it did that well, with several long powerful runs, before I was able to get her back to the bottom of the hole. Part way through the battle I thought she rolled off under the ice as the line went completely slack, and, with pressure felt tight like the hook was stuck in the ice at the edge of the hole instead. I placed the rod back in the holder and was going to walk away to go for a tool to free what I thought was my stuck hook. Wrong, the fish was still there and was mad as ever. I realized that when the fish initially came up the first time her lower jaw had grabbed the lower edge of the ice and hung on, hence the feeling of having the hook stuck in the ice, but, once she let go, the fight was on again with another big bend in the rod.

The next time I tried bringing her up, I could see that she opened her mouth to try that same trick again, but, I waited, and then slid her up the hole quickly when she closed her mouth. This big beauty had a mouth wider than my 8" hole. After a photo and quick measurement she went back quickly. I released her by my camera so I could see how she was. Once free she shot past the camera and left it spinning in her wake, so all was good there. @)

That big fish made my day, and, season, right there, but, I was not done yet and in the end, caught my limit of pike for this lake + 1 extra if I was keeping them. ;D

The the fish caught were all pike and I made sure to release all the female fish.
I kept 1 male in the end for a future meal. ;)

The diagram below explains how to tell a male from a female fish. This time of year the females look alot thicker as well.
These are muskellunge / musky, but, Northern pike, and the different types of pickerel would be the same.


I pack up before sunset to avoid all the deer that are around.  I counted 100 in total on this trip. I leave the lake for the last time to the serenade of coyotes to the E of me and Canada geese calls echoing across the lake.

Here are the fish from the day. :)
This was the male that was kept at the end.


The others went back.


This was a decent fish at 32" x 13".


This is the big girl at 38" X 16". ;D


The bait of choice today was a small 3" smelt dyed bright green, on a circle hook. :woot:
The circle hooks did their job again hooking the fish right in the corner of the mouth. Like before, a tight line, with hardly any drag, set the hook for me.

All in all, it was a bit more of a difficult ice fishing season this year with the prolonged bouts of cold weather, tons of snow, and, frequent blizzards blocking roads and trails, but, despite all that, I am happy how it worked out in the end.
I am now looking forward to what the new open water season will bring.

I want to thank all of you for coming along with me this ice fishing season.
I hope to chat again with everyone again on MyFishFinder, this open water season.

Until then, be safe out there, and have fun. ;)2

Water Wolf Out!




Offline filetandrelease

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #5 on: Apr 20, 2022, 07:17 AM »

 Thanks for sharing Water wolf always a pleasure
 

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My ice fishing reports for 2022.
« Reply #6 on: Apr 24, 2022, 06:38 PM »
Thanks filetandrelease, happy to share the reports. ;D
Have a good open water season. :)

WW

 



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