Canada > Ice Fishing Saskatchewan

My 2023 Ice Fishing Reports.

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Water Wolf:
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.


Right on W.w great post.   That frost was really something and held on for a long time!

thanks for that   great read,   was wondering where you were.   good luck out there, the best is yet to come

Great pics WW! Thanks for sharing 👍

I always like reading these. Nicely done WW


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