Author Topic: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.  (Read 2439 times)

Offline Water Wolf

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My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« on: Feb 06, 2023, 06:52 PM »
Hi All,
It's ice fishing time again.

I was not able to get to the lake on the the few decent ice fishing days we had in Dec./22, so, 2023 ice fishing season began for me in Jan., which, in Saskatchewan, will still be a good amount of time to enjoy the season. ;)

January 2023  -  Happy New Year to everyone, and, best wishes for a healthy and happy year, with lots of fishing opportunities. :icefish:

Jan. temps, in my area., for the most part, were above, to seasonal, both day and night. It was like a vacation from the cold. Reality set in the last few days of Jan.,(27th - 31st.),and, our winter vacation from the cold was over. We were dealing with polar vortexes and very dangerous wind-chill values. ::)

There were a few really windy days, but, a good number of the days with just lite winds.  High humidity( 95% and above), resulted in lots of nice thick frost on the trees and some fog that lingered day and night.

I continue to feed the few winter birds that are still around, mainly the happy little chickadees, but, have also spotted the hairy woodpecker, nuthatches and house sparrows visiting the feeders.

Despite a busy schedule, I did get out ice fishing a few times.




Jan 14th.
This would be my first time out ice fishing this season. ;D
I decide that I might as well start at Fishing Lake again.

Snow fall had been quite heavy by this date, and, I wondered about getting onto the ice with a vehicle.
Much to my relief, however, some kind person, had plowed paths for anglers to get out on.  That was very much appreciated.  :thumbsup:

There were a dozen or so shacks already set up along the pathway.
There were 2 trucks just coming off the ice, and, another 2 trucks parked by some shacks, and, 2 others far to the N of me.
I follow a path a little ways away from the main access spot and set up there.
This is the general area where I have had luck ice fishing in the past. :tipup:

I set up and ice fish from 3:10 pm to 6:15 pm.
The ice in this area was 20" thick, nice and safe.
The holes did flood an inch or two from the weight of the snow.

The weather at home, before I left for the lake, was nice, with just a lite wind and only - 6 deg C / 21 deg F temps. By the time I got to the lake it was very different. It was cloudy with a fair wind from the SE and -10 deg / 14 deg F temps. The high humidity kept things damp to the touch.

Half an hour after setting up, a truck pulls up right behind my vehicle, and, it's the conservation officer. :callcops:
After his routine checks we chat for a bit. I ask if he has heard how the fishing has been this winter so-far. He said, in Dec., just at safe ice, the fishing was OK., but, once that really cold weather set in for the month the catching stopped. Now there are very few catches reported. He asked how was I making out, I said, nothing yet. With that, he wished me good luck, and, was on his way to check the other anglers.

As I fished I also had another angler stop to chat. He said that they had been out a few times this season, but had not caught a single fish yet, and, hoped this would be the day.
The reports I have been getting do not paint a promising outlook for the day, but, as they say, even a poor day of fishing is better than a good day at work.

It wasn't looking good as the day wore on. I hadn't spotted a single fish on the cam yet.
The only aquatic life I seen were really good numbers of fresh water shrimp or scuds that went by every couple of minutes.

It was not until sunset when I had my first fish encounter.
The water was quite dark by then. I could see a fish shape emerging from the gloom, and I could see it was a walleye. That white tip on the tail really stood out in the dark water. It came in slowly but deliberately, right up to the lure, took a close look and left.  It returned for 2 more really close up inspections of the lure before deciding that was not really what it wanted, and, was off. :P 

A few minutes later, I see my set rod, which is close to me, bend down and stay down. I walk over and lift up. A fish takes off with the bait in it's mouth,but, not the hook. I suspect that might have been the same walleye I saw on camera earlier. It got away with a free lunch - one for the fish! Even though it got away, it was still nice to at least have a bite. I re-bait the set rod and go back to the camera and jigging.

My last lure change to the jigging rod was a small rattlebait (a Frostbite Tantrum). Not too long into the jigging sequence I get a strike from the dark. All I saw was a grey streak shoot across the screen from left to right and my lure is gone. I wait until I feel the weight of the fish before I set the hook.
A brief fight ensues, I maneuver the fish up the hole and out. I am now looking at my first fish of the new ice fishing season and first fish for the new year, this walleye, yes! ;D

After a photo, I let it go.

Pumped to have landed the fish, I stay for 20 more min, but, alas, that would be the action for the day. That one fish must have been the only one around, at least it was hungry.

While packing up I am treated to a chorus of coyotes howling in the distance.
The fog also began to settle in softly over everything.

In the end I was happy not to be skunked, and hope to give it another try soon.





Jan. 21st.
This would be my 2nd time out this season.

After having a bit of luck the first time out I though I would try Fishing Lake again in the same general area, I get set up,and, ice fish from 2:35 pm - 5:40 pm.

The weather that afternoon was cloudy with a few fog patches that rolled through from time to time across the lake. It was interesting to see those grey walls approaching, envelope you for a time, and, then move off. The fog kept things really damp.
The temp - 10 deg C / 14 deg F with a lite wind from the NW switching to W near dark.

It was a fairly busy day on the ice with 8 other vehicles, be it trucks or snow machines, in the area + 2 more vehicles far down the lake.

Fishing started off slow, and, for most of the afternoon all I saw on camera were schools and schools of freshwater shrimp or scuds going by. Lots of food down there, the fish may be full. :whistle:

I did see one angler walk out from his shack to a set line, set the hook, but, no fish.
It appeared that the fish may have been there, took the bait, and, was gone.

I did finally have some action at 4:40 pm as it got darker above and below the ice.
I too had a fish come in, (probably a pike), that stole the smelt right off my hook and was gone. :P

A short time later, I have a nice sized pike come in, probably the same bait thief from before.  Without hesitation, it smashed my small lipless rattle bait. I set the hook, it went crazy on camera, and, somehow managed to grab the line above the leader. As I was maneuvering it up the hole, it surged back down and bit through the line above the leader, like a hot knife through butter.  :blink:
It took off with my only Frostbite Tantrum rattle bait. I was a disappointed to lose that lure - it had proven itself as a good bait...
I have only had 2 other fish (pike) bite me off in the winter as I always use leaders, darn. >:(

I tie on a new fluorocarbon leader, and go back to my jigging, with another lipless rattle bait. This one is a PK ridge rattler'.

In a few min, I see a walleye come in out of the now black background, with it's dorsal fin up. It doesn't hesitate to strike the rattle bait as I slowly move it up and away.  Fish on!
After a short fight I guide it up the hole and out, yeah, no skunk today. @)
First fish iced.


Not long after that walleye, I see an open set of jaws, coming right at the lure, from the darkness.
This was a pike. It too is iced. :)


A bit of time passes, and, it's now quite dark out. I give myself another 10 min to see if there is any more action. Right at the end, with 1 min to go, I have a walleye come up at my lure, perfectly vertical, and, just inhales it. This walleye is a bit bigger fish, and, puts more of a bend in my rod.  It also takes a bit more time to get up the hole in the now, fading light, I don't want this one to come off.
I after a few fair runs I work it up the hole and out.

This walleye is quite chunky, and, is one of the bigger walleyes I have caught through the ice for a while.  ;D


I end the trip with that catch, and pack up.

All the fish are released today, after a quick photo.

As I am getting everything loaded, I am treated to a pack of coyote's serenade.
No doubt, they will be out on the ice, after all the anglers leave, to see what bits and pieces they can find.

In the end, this day turned out to be one of my better Jan. ice fishing days for a while, with 4 fish caught and 3 iced.
 If I had been keeping the fish I would have had my limit of walleye for this lake. :)

I think the impending snow storm that rolled through the next day may have spurred that bit of fishing activity.
Here's to more days like that. ;D






Jan. 25th.
After the bit of action I had on my last visit, I was eager to get back to Fishing Lake and see what was biting, so, on this particular afternoon I did just that.

Very close to the lake, next to the local golf course, I spot 3 moose bedded down in the bush. One was near the edge and the other 2 were a bit further back almost on the golf course itself.
No photos of the moose this time, as I had the camera phone out of reach.

Once I got to where I wanted to be on the lake, I set up, and, ice fished from 3:15 pm - 6:00 pm.

The temp was decent at - 8 deg C / 18 deg F,but, the fair wind from the NW cooled things down a lot   + there was high humidity. The sky was cloudy all day.

There were 4 other vehicles on the ice + 2 more a long ways down the lake. 1 angler packed up and left the lake just as I set up, not the best sign, folks leaving early.

After some time spent trying to entice a bite, I was beginning to understand why he left, lol. :P
Fishing was slow that afternoon, and, it appeared that no one went for their set rods or lines the whole time I was there.

I did have 1 fish that hit my set rod, and, like the trip before, stole the bait off the hook without getting hooked (sneaky fish). ::)

Not too long after that, I had a pike leisurely swim in and check out what I had to offer. It was mildly interested, and, hung around for several minutes, coming and going in and out of the camera screen, and, even giving the camera a look as it swam by. After that, it flipped me the fin, swam off into the distance, and, was gone.

Once it got quite dark out,when I could just barely see, a walleye came in with it's fin up, and, hit the lure as I raised it up and away. I hooked into it, but, my reel handle came loose and folded up against the reel, what a horrible time for that to happen! I fumbled with the reel as best I could, and, actually had the walleye up and to the top the hole, only to loose it when I reached down to grab it, creating the smallest amount of slack on the line,  NOOOO... :o

That would be it for my action that day. It wasn't much, but, I did feel the fight of a fish, and, was inches away from icing it. No photos today. :blink:

While I fished, I also noticed that there were a few less shacks out than before.
As I was packing up, I saw another shack leaving the lake, for greener pastures. ???

As it turned out, this would be the last trip for Jan. Not sure what to expect the ice fishing will be in Feb. as it's usually a slow month. Whatever it may be, I'm still hoping for better results next time out. ::)

I can't complain about Jan. as I did finally ice some walleye. 
Last winter, I went the whole ice fishing season without bringing a single walleye topside, so that has been a + already for me. :)

Good luck to all of you as well. :tipup:



Here are a few non ice fishing photos from the month. :)

The hoar and rime frost days have been plentiful this month, resulting in some nice winter scenes.

This was taken by the lake.


This was at home.


WW

See you all on MyFishFinder!

Offline ran7ger

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #1 on: Feb 06, 2023, 07:23 PM »
Right on W.w great post.   That frost was really something and held on for a long time!

Offline canada

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #2 on: Feb 07, 2023, 05:51 AM »
thanks for that   great read,   was wondering where you were.   good luck out there, the best is yet to come

Offline farmboy

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #3 on: Feb 07, 2023, 07:42 AM »
Great pics WW! Thanks for sharing 👍

Offline Hatandboots

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #4 on: Feb 07, 2023, 10:13 AM »
I always like reading these. Nicely done WW

Offline speckspotter

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #5 on: Feb 07, 2023, 10:43 AM »
Good to see the Wolf is still howling. Nice that Walter has been providing you some entertainment.

Offline cerndo

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #6 on: Feb 07, 2023, 11:21 AM »
Good read, thanks for taking the time!

Offline ToonFisher

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #7 on: Feb 08, 2023, 01:49 PM »
Fun to read. I've read all for 10+ years.

Offline eddiebear54

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #8 on: Feb 08, 2023, 02:01 PM »
At least you got out. I guess it was a good time for me to have surgery.

Offline Ragman

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #9 on: Feb 21, 2023, 02:00 PM »
Always enjoy your fishing reports...looking forward to see how February was for you!

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #10 on: Mar 11, 2023, 01:32 AM »
Thank you, ran7ger, canada,farmboy,Hatandboots,speckspotter,cerndo,ToonFisher,eddiebear54 and Ragman, for your positive feedback, much appreciated. ;D
I enjoy following all of your reports from the various lake all across SK as well.

Yeah, Water Wolf is still howling, lol :whistle:

eddiebear54, I hope your surgery went well, and, you are now on the mend. :)

WW
See you all on MyFishFinder!

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #11 on: Mar 11, 2023, 02:05 AM »
Hi All,

February ice fishing reports... :tipup:

Hope you all had a good Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day & Family Day. :)
The ground hogs, in most locations, predicted an early spring.  Here, in SK., we are lucky if we only get 6 more weeks of winter. :wacko:

It's Feb., and the temps have been all over the place, in my area, as well as most of SK. It started off cold for the first 3 days, with frigid temps, polar vortexes and high wind chill values. From the 4th - 13th, temps were normal to above normal with most days in the - single digits, and, even a few days of + temps. Valentine's Day to the 16th, went back to cold wind chill values, and then dropped even further from the 17th - 19th , and yet again, to dangerously low chill values from the 20 to the 25th. The 26th - 28th gave us what seemed like a break when temps returned to just "seasonal".

A few spring migrants are starting to show up already, namely, the horned larks. Couples to small groups can be seen flying along the edges of roadways. Those guys really get here early. Snowy owls have been spotted occasionally. We qualify as part of their wintering area.

On the ice fishing front, I started fishing a bit later in the month, but, from the reports I was hearing on the lakes around my location, I was not missing too much, despite the mixed weather. I heard from several folks that there was a fair number of days reported with 0 - minimal fish caught, and, again, just lite bites, without hookups. :P



Feb. 18th.
My first time out this month.
I though I would change things up a bit, so, this time, I went ice fishing at Whitesand / Pelican Lake to see if I could find some fish action.

As I get closer to the lake, there are quite a few deer out in fields, among the trees and feeding on bales - everywhere I looked, I seen more.
In the bush near the lake shore, I spot  a moose that was bedded down not too far from the road. I make a mental note of their locations so I stay vigilant for them on my drive back home later on.

When I arrive, I see that there is quiet an ice fishing community set up on the lake. :blink:
There are a fair group of shacks close to the access spot. A few shacks down the lake on the main point, and, even a few right in the middle of the lake.

There was a freshly plowed ice road out onto the lake, all around the shacks by the access spot, down the lake all the way to the point, and off to the middle.
It was very nice of whoever did that. It would have taken a considerable amount of time to plow all that out. They even plowed little stalls off the main ice road for folks to fish at, or, turn around in.  Very much appreciated. :thumbsup:

I found a promising looking stall and set up there, ice fishing from 3:10 pm - 6:12 pm.

Being the weekend, there were a fair number of other vehicles out on the ice.
I count 15 vehicles + 2 snow machines here and there along the trails and amongst the shacks and pop up tents. There were a 3 groups of other anglers set up down the trail from me and another just across the ice road.

The weather was decent at - 8 deg C / 18 deg F with mostly cloudy skies. There was a fair wind from the NW, and, the high humidity levels kept things cool.

The ice was nice and thick. It was a good thing I had my extension on the auger or I would not have made it through.

On this trip, I would be trying 2, new-to-me, soft plastics.
They came from Hitch and Fish in Neepawa, Manitoba. I came across their site by chance, and, saw they did custom colors, so, I requested 2 custom colors I though could work.
I had them make a 3.25" Rattle Leech in  "Gold Dust" color (black with gold sparkle) and a 3" Ned Rattle worm in "Creamsicle" color, (glow white and neon orange).
What makes these soft plastics intriguing to me is they have rattles added to them.
They are fairly loud, and, should attract the fish.

The 2 lure types I will be testing. ;)


I was in an active area.  I seen fish passing by the camera quite often, the whole time I was there.

Throughout the afternoon I saw 5 pike, 5 walleye, 2 perch, plus, several schools of tiny minnows.

Right at the beginning, with my first drop of the underwater camera, I lowered right beside a pike. When I turned the camera checking out the area, I was looking right at it's tale.
The fish turned, slowly facing the camera, head on.  Not wanting an attack on the camera, I quickly lowered the rattle leech. It was mildly interested in the bait, so, slowly left the camera, to go and inspect the new offering. The pike hung around the area for a few minutes, going back and forth between looking at the camera and the lure. It was deciding if either one was worth the effort to attack, and, if it was hungry enough for the challenge.  Eventually, satisfied with the inspection, it decided it didn't want either one, and, slowly swam off into the wild blue yonder, and, was gone! ::)

The next bit of action was on my set rod. Something small kept nibbling on the bait.  It bent the rod twice, but, was not strong enough to get the bait off the hook.
I think I found out who was there when I saw perch in the area. One of the larger perch tried to eat the entire rattle leech in one go. It sucked the lure in, right up to the single hook in the back, but, was not quite large enough to completely wrap it's lips over the hook. It looked like it had a wad of chewing gum in it's mouth, it gave it it's all, but just couldn't do it. After a few tries it spit the lure out gave it a close look and swam off. Had to chuckle at that one. He was obviously more hungry than the Pike before him. :laugh:

Not long after the perch left, I had another pike come in and take 2 attempts to grab the lure. I generously gave it a 3rd chance and it was hooked. After a few runs it was iced.
Woo Hoo, no skunk today. ;D


This pike whacked the new rattle leech well, that color appears to have worked.

After a photo I send it on it's way.

As it started to get dark, both above and below the ice, walleye began to materialize from the now dark waters. They came in and showed interest in the new Rattle Ned worm I was using. Most of them took a close pass or 2 and left, but, I did have 2 that would have bit.
The first walleye came in hard, right at the lure, but, was passed by a speeding pike with the same intent, and, beat the walleye to the hook! I hook into the pike, but, it's jaw hooked on the ice, and it was able to roll off, darn. :-\

The 2nd walleye that showed interest was a fair sized fish. It came right in and followed the lure up and down a few times like a yo-yo. Just as it was going in hard for a strike, with it's dorsal fin up and everything, it suddenly bolted like it was shocked. :o It must have sensed a much larger fish that I could not see.  Maybe it was that same pike from earlier just making sure nobody got that lure - who knows, but, maybe he will bite again yet - "patience is the name of the game"... ;)

Towards the end of the trip I see another streak on camera come in from L to R and my lure disappears. I set the hook, tussle with the fish for a bit, and, ice it.
It's another pike - ah ha - I thought so!  It could be the guard fish from before - must have just got off duty and decided that lure it was guarding might make a nice lunch...  :laugh:


This proves even fish like creamsicles, lol. :woot:

This fish goes back too.

I wait around for another 15 min after the 2nd fish, but, by this time it's getting quite dark, alot more windy, and colder, so I decide to pack up too.

Most of the other anglers have left quite a while ago, but the 1 angler across from me comes over to talk after he packs up.
He said he had several perch around from time to time, but, none of them would bite. He said that he iced 1 small walleye.

From what I could see, it looked like we were the only ones who caught fish in the general area. I didn't see anyone else go to their tip-ups or set rods.

I leave happy not to be skunked, and, to have seen that many fish on camera. :)

I will be giving Whitesand / Pelican Lake another try for sure. ;)2

As it turned out this would be the only trip of the month, but, there will be more ice fishing opportunities in March.  By then, hopefully, milder, stable weather and better bites,
Fingers crossed.



Here are a few non-fishing photos from the month. :)

This photo was taken not too far from Whitesand / Pelican Lake.
The the hay bales are for the resident cattle and horses, but, these deer are happy to
have found an easy supply of food too.

Both mule deer and whitetail deer were seen in the general area.

This photo was taken out of my window one Feb. night in the wee hours of the morning.
The northern lights have been quite active this winter.


I have heard we are in a more active solar cycle now, that may last a few years.


WW
See you all on MyFishFinder!

Offline Burbot Master

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #12 on: Mar 11, 2023, 12:44 PM »
Love reading about your adventures and always enjoy your pics. Keep up the great posts!
BM

Offline SirCranksalot

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #13 on: Mar 12, 2023, 08:55 PM »
Thx for posting such a detailed report. I liked the 'play by play" :laugh: :clap:

I found this little tidbit interesting :  "The only aquatic life I seen were really good numbers of fresh water shrimp or scuds that went by every couple of minutes." I thought scuds went dormant, hibernated or whatever in the wonter. I tried to Google it but found little info----mostly about fly fishing with scuds etc. A lure called the Simcoe bug is becoming quite popular here in Ont and elsewhere. It's crescent shape and is supposed to imitate a scud(I think). It was intended for perch but some, incl my bud, have caught some good lakers on them.
Keep yer stick on the ice!

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #14 on: Mar 22, 2023, 09:00 PM »
Thanks Burbot Master & SirCranksalot.  :)

SirCranksalot, yeah, the fresh water shrimp or scuds are active in the winter as well, they just move quite a bit slower than in the warm water.
Our crayfish are the same way, still active, but, slow moving.

I have observed that the shrimp can be seen at all depths, but, they are found in the greatest numbers near weed beds followed by rock rubble, and, least amounts on just sand or mud bottoms.
I have even seen a couple that were almost lime green in color, wild colors on those ones. :woot: 
The shrimp move by in loose schools, some singles, and, some as pairs, one holding onto the other one, must be a mating behavior.

I have also found that the pike who eat shrimp tend to have a bit darker red fillets than a normal fish eating pike.

That Simco Bug, lure sounds interesting.
A good one to have when the fish are eating shrimp. ;)

WW
See you all on MyFishFinder!

Offline Water Wolf

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Re: My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.
« Reply #15 on: Apr 19, 2023, 07:59 PM »
Hi All,

Here are the ice fishing reports for March. :tipup:

Hope you all had a good St Patrick's Day, and hope that March came in like a Lamb in your area.:)

Here, in my area of SK., March came in like a lion, with stronger winds and cold temps.
It stayed cold for the most part, with just a few days at normal temps. We did have one day (the 14th) with fleeting above freezing temps for half an hour or so.  After that though, that same afternoon, the temperature began to dip again. A real prairie blizzard began with very strong winds (50 - 70 km / h) and high snow fall rates, creating near zero visibility.  Slippery, dangerous driving conditions were reported here, and, in most areas of SK. ::)
Usually by month end, in March, it begins to look a bit nicer, with above freezing temps, but, not in my area this year. We had 2 nights where the temps were dangerously cold. The 27th, had temps falling to - 28 deg C /- 18 deg F, and, the 28th, went to -27 deg C / - 17 deg F, and, those are without the wind-chill factored in. :o

Needless to say, signs of spring were slow to show this year. On March 1st 2 crows were spotted, then 2 more on the 15th, and, finally 6 more on the last 2 days of the season.  I never seen any Canada geese or robins this month, which is unusual.  March left, as it came, like a lion.

Ice fishing wise, I was able to get out a few more times this month, with a few trips at the beginning, and, a few trips at the end of the month.




March 4th.
This would be the first time out this month.
It's been a while since I have been out, and, I was eager to try it again.
After the bit of luck I had before, I thought I would try Whitesand / Pelican Lake again and see what was biting.

On the drive up the wildlife was out in force, with coyotes, Hungarian partridges, sharp tailed grouse, a snow owl and many many deer spotted.

Once at the lake, I saw that there were a good number of anglers out and about. I counted 15 other vehicles, 4 snow machines and 1 Bombardier.
I enjoyed seeing the Bombardier traverse the frozen terrain presented without any issue.

I set up in the general area as before, and, ice fish from 3:10 pm - 6:12 pm.

Not too far from me, a group with several smaller children, were out having a blast.  Proof the lake can be a fun place in any weather.
Part way through the afternoon, the smell of cooking hot dogs floated towards me on the breeze from the same group. The way the catch has been going, hot dogs was a wise "just in case" idea.

All the folks out were enjoying a decent day on the ice with - 8 deg C / 18 deg F temps. The wind was lite from the NW, to calm, at times. It was mainly sunny, but, the skies got a bit more cloudy toward sunset. As predicted, a snow storm moved in that night.

The fish were around the area I set up in, but, this time it was a different cast of characters. Today it was mostly yellow perch, 13 to be exact. I only saw 1 pike and 1 walleye this time.

The pike came in and made a few strikes at the soft plastic. It seemed to keep biting behind the hook, and, after a few more half-hearted strikes, it moved off.

The yellow perch were out and about, presenting in 3 sizes, medium, small and tiny. Most of them were too small to be able to wrap their lips around the walleye and pike sized hooks.
A few of the medium sized perch closely inspected the lures offered, but, would not bite.

By near sunset, I finally had a perch convinced enough to bite.
It went for a large sized minnow, 3" long and rattle jig. I would have guessed that would have been too big a meal for a perch, but, hay, it worked.

The yellow perch. :)

After this photo it went back, in a flash.

After sunset I had 1 walleye shoot into view. It came in fairly fast, but would not bite. It followed the lure up and down once and was gone, back into the darkness.

After seeing the walleye, I stay for a while longer, but alas, the 1 perch was all the action this time out. I am happy to have found that perch however, as, I have never caught a perch out of this lake before, nor have I caught perch, in general, for several years now. ;D

I leave as it gets darker, windier and colder.







March 6th.
This would be my next trip of the month.
I decide to go back to Fishing Lake again and see what action is happening in an area that I have not tried yet this season.

On my way to the lake, I saw a bald eagle eating something in a field. This was a mature bird with a white head and tail. Not sure if it is a very early arrival, or, if it stayed for some reason, all winter long. :-\ Either way, it was definitely an unexpected sight this early in the year.
I have heard seeing an eagle can bring you good luck, so, I was hoping  it would be the case for me on this day. ;)
I wish I could have got a photograph of that one, but, it was a busy highway and a fair ways into the field.

Once I get to the area of the lake I want to try, I see there is a partly ploughed trail out onto the ice, but, most of it was now blown in with snow. I was hoping to get a fair ways out onto the ice, but, feared I might be stuck, so, I opted to fish just off the main trail in a slightly blown in stall.

It was a chilly day at - 15 deg C / 5 deg F, but, what saved me, this time, was there was not a breath of wind that afternoon. The 1 time I felt a lite breeze it came from the E. If there was any wind I would not have been able to fish outside like I did.
The sunny day helped warm things up, just a little bit.

I set up and ice fish from 2:48 pm - 7:00 pm.

As I look around the lake I notice that I am the only one out fishing. One man in a truck come out near sunset took a drive to a shack, but never stayed to fish.

For the whole time I was there, all I heard was, "The Sound of Silence", and, it was nice. :)
I did hear a few croaking ravens near dark, but, they are always a welcoming sound of nature in winter here.

There were not too many fish around that afternoon, but, the ones that were there were quite aggressive.

At 5:14 pm I finally ice the first fish of the day, a pike.
During one of my jigging sequences I see a pike shoot past the rattle bait, turn on a dime in the distance, and, shoot back towards the lure.  When it opened it's mouth, the lure disappeared in a flash. It hits hard and kept going. No need for a hook set this time, it does a fine job of hooking itself. I set the hook for good measure, and out of habit, and after a few runs, it's iced. A quick photo and it's on it's way.
No skunk today, yes. :)


At 5:37 pm I have another pike come in hard, just like the first one. This one hits the lure hard,on the first try. It's also hooked, and iced. @)


This pike really wanted that bait.


This is turning out to be an OK day after all.

At 6:10 pm, just as it's getting dark on the camera, I have a 3rd pike come in. It hit the bait, but, with a closed mouth, just more of a ramming action. When it feel a hard bait instead of a soft fish, it keeps on going.

That would be the action for the day. I stay for a bit longer, hoping that walleye might come in, under the now rising, full moon, but, nope, no walleye show up.

The full moon for March is called the" Full Worm Moon". Obviously it was named in a part of the country that's alot warmer in March than here. No active worms yet. :P


I leave the lake as the wind slowly begins to blow enough of a chill in the air to feel it biting my nose.

Not far from the lake, there stands a corn field for cattle, and, amongst them, I spot an entire heard of deer, along with 1 moose - trying to blend in. That's the first time I have seen all 3 species feeding calmly together in the same area. They were all giving each other their own space. Interesting to see.

I did snap 2 photos of the moose in the corn field.


I knew deer and of course cattle liked to eat corn, but did not know moose did too. :o

Never know what you will see. :woot:

In the end, it was a better day on the ice than what the temps showed.
Here's to the next trip out.




March 30th.
I decide to ice fish the last 2 days of the season, and, try both lakes I fished this winter, one last time. First up, Fishing Lake.

I decide to try an area where the pike and walleye should start staging for their run up the creek this April.

On the way to the lake, I see a bald eagle again. It has a white head and is only a few km's up the road from where I seen one on my last trip out. I have a feeling it's probably the same bird.
Maybe seeing it will bring me some luck again. ;)

When I get to where I want to setup I see that the slope down to the lake does not look the best. I could probably get onto the ice easily enough, but, I am not sure how easy it would be to get back up and out. I decide to not risk it, and just walked out instead, pulling my gear in a sleigh.

I set up, and ice fish from 3:30 pm - 7:20 pm.
I am sure liking those longer days. :)

It was a sunny afternoon, but, fairly windy from E, out in the open. Where I was, it was quite sheltered and the wind was just lite to calm at times. The temps was a bit below normal at -2 deg C / 28 deg F.
The warmer sun did feel good, and, a person could have almost dozed off with the calm surroundings. Good thing I had the underwater camera to watch.

This late in the season, I was a bit surprised to see so many shack still out on the ice in that area of the lake.  :o
I counted 12 shacks that still had to come off, and, only 1 more day to do so. None were taken off while I was there. It's going to be a busy last day tomorrow.

There were quite a few other anglers out. I counted 10 other vehicles on the ice with a mix of snow machines and trucks.
A group of 4 anglers where fishing not too far from me.

The most common sounds were again that of nature with 2 crows heard, a few ravens croaking and woodpeckers tapping. The only louder sounds heard were that of snow machines coming and going.

It was calm under the ice as well. For most of the day, the only action seen on camera were from the schools of freshwater shrimp / scuds, a few water boatmen, and, backswimmers.

It was not until 5:30 pm when I get my first fish sighting on camera.
I am jigging a spoon and minnow combo, when I see a pike shoot past the lure at high speed, turn on a dime, and, take another run at it. On the 3rd attempt it connects and hooks itself. I am only in 2 feet of water under the ice, so, all it can do is go sideways and it does that well. After a brief tug of war, I win, and, ice the first fish of the day, yes.

At least there will be no skunk on this day. ;D
After a quick photo, it's off to spawn this spring.

I release the pike near my camera and see it shoot off horizontally, just under the ice.

At 6:48 pm I get another hit, but this time, on my set rod. I walk over and carefully maneuver the fish up and out of the hole. It's another pike.

This one is also released after a photo. :)

At 7:00 pm, I see a pike cautiously come in and inspect the lure. It's not sure about the bait offered, and stays tight lipped. Maybe it's one of the 2 fish I released earlier.
I don't know for sure, but, it was of similar size to the others released.

I stay a bit longer hoping that some walleye will come by, but, nope, not this time. :P

The group of 4 anglers ice 1 pike at the end of the day as well.

I pack up to the sounds of coyotes all around me, and, say, good by to Fishing Lake until May. :blink:

On the way home I take the same road as I did last time out, and, again, in the same corn field in the same general area I see a moose again. It could be the same one as before, it looks to be the same size. Along with the moose, I see a very large herd of deer. The herd stretches from one end of the corn field to the other, wow. :o

A picture of the moose as it slowly walks along.




March 31st - Last day of the season.
It's the final count down now. :whistle:
I decide to try my last day of the season at Whitesand / Pelican Lake and see how it goes.

I get to the lake, set up in the same general area that I used all season long, and, ice fish from 2:45 pm to 7:30 pm.

There were a good number of folks out on the ice for the last day, and, I count 15 vehicles, that include trucks, snow machines, and, the same bombardier I saw before.

There were 2 trucks and several anglers set up not too far down the lake from me.

It was a sunny, but, windy day on the ice. The temp were only -2 deg C / 28 deg F, but, the wind was really whipping across the ice from the SE, and, where I set up, there was no bush to shelter me this time.
The high humidity of 97% did not help either making it feel like a much colder day. Not spring like at all. :P

It was a slower day on the ice. I did not see the group beside me ice a single fish, nor did they run for their tip-ups and set lines. The group beside me, and, a good number of other anglers pack up early.
I on the other hand, stayed to the bitter end. :blink:

For most of the day, the only fish life I saw on camera were good sized schools of spot tailed shiners. They would come in and investigate every lure that I put down and would occasionally peck and bite at a few. They showed no fear of lures that were bigger than themselves.
It was like watching an aquarium and passed the time. @)

Half way through the trip, I did get a hit on my set rod, but, by the time I got to it the fish was off.  It must have been something like a small perch, as the frozen minnow showed no bite marks at all.

As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, so did my hopes of icing a fish this trip, but, at 6:22 pm, I see my set rod get hit again. This is a better yank down, but, it comes back up quickly and stays there. I walk over and see no movement of the rod tip. I think it's probably off, but, feel for weight anyways. Humm, there is weight after all. I set the hook, and, after a brief fight, ice the first fish of the day, a pike.

Good to know there will be no skunks on this last day. ;D

I take a photo and let it go to spawn again.

After that fish, others start to show up on camera. They must have been looking for a meal before dark.
In that short period of time I see 3 yellow perch, 2 are medium sized and 1 is tiny, no bigger than the shiner minnows.
I also see 3 walleye and 1 pike.

One of the medium sized perch swam right up to the lipless rattle bait, and, bit the lure right in the eye. It then flared it pectoral fins, and, raised it's dorsal fin. That must have been a threat display toward what it though was a competitor. It then swam off seemingly pleased with itself. :woot:

The 1 pike that came by just move on through, never stopping to take another look.

The 2 walleye came in together looking like they were doing a synchronized swimming routine. They both came in at the same time, and both did a few pirouettes around the lure in perfect sync before leaving at the same time a few minutes later.

The 3rd walleye was more aggressive. It came in fast, hit the spoon and minnow combo, but, misjudged, and, hit the spoon near the top. When it got a taste of hard metal instead of a soft squishy minnow it kept on going. :-\

With the increase in action below the ice, I wait for another 20 minutes,but, in the end that would be it.

I pack up and am off the ice before it gets too dark to see all the wildlife in the area. :o


And so, as the sun sets on the last day of this ice fishing season, I am thankful not to be skunked one more time. I am happy to have had the ice fishing opportunities I did this season. ;D


I have a few more non-fishing photos from the month.
March seemed to be moose madness this year.
I have seen more moose this month than usual. Wherever I have gone I see moose somewhere. :o

Here are a few of those photos.
This is a photo of a mother and calf. They were close to the road.
Mom.


The calf.

They are starting to look a bit shabby as they loose their winter coats.

This moose was spotted in a country church yard.






I also got a photo of a snow owl, before they returned back to the arctic for the year. :)
This female snowy owl posed for me from the top of a power pole.


She was gracious enough to give me a 2nd photo.



Well, that concludes my ice fishing reports for the 2023 season.
I would like to thank all of you for coming along on this winter journey and hope you all had a good ice fishing season too.

I am now eager to start the new open water season, with longer days, warmer temps, blue water, and, hopefully more fish to come. :woot: :whistle:

See you all on MyFishfinder. ;D


Until we chat again, be Safe and Have Fun. ;)

Water Wolf out!

See you all on MyFishFinder!

 



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