Making It Work
The first ice adventure of 2013 is in the books. My good buddy Graham came up to visit and do some ice fishing. Graham is no stranger to the area, having lived in Sioux Lookout for a winter in 2009. We checked out some of our old favourite spots and did some new stuff too.
We put our time into chasing lake trout, walleye and whitefish. We fished 4 different lakes and caught fish everywhere we went. Overall the bite was a bit tough and we had to work for every fish we caught. Some areas that were excellent this time last year just weren't holding fish.
The first thing we did was camp out for an afternoon on a Lac Seul walleye spot that's known for kicking out big fish. We didn't catch many walleye, but Graham did ice this big fat Lac Seul 'eye.
Over the course of the trip it seemed that walleye wanted smaller and simpler presentations. It was hard to beat a 1/8 oz jig and minnow, but I did manage to catch a handful on a Lindy Rattlin' Flyer Spoon.
On a day we decided to target lake trout and whitefish, that same Rattlin' Flyer Spoon was on fire for the whities! We put a hurting on some big-big whitefish. They'd hit it sitting still, they'd chase it and hit it while moving - I even had one intercept it on the free-fall.
Take a look at these monster 'humpback' whitefish!
After having fun with the whitefish we switched gears and targeted lake trout. When it comes to winter lakers, I love fishing soft plastics. It wasn't 5-minutes after putting on a white tube jig that this big laker inhaled it only 15-feet under the ice.
I marked this fish on my Humminbird ICE55 flasher - without that tool I never would have known this big laker was flying high in the water column.
What a great fish to break in my new 36" St. Croix Premier ice rod with.
Another day we made the trek into a backcountry lake trout lake that's about an hour south of Sioux Lookout. We broke trail into the lake no problem, but getting out was another story. Big hills, unpacked trails, sugary light snow and heavy sleighs meant everyone was getting stuck. After 2 hours of sweating, swearing and back-breaking pushing/pulling/lifting we were back at the trucks.
It's a good thing the fishing was on and everyone took home a nice limit of 3-to 4-pound lakers for the table.
It's a long winter here in northwestern Ontario so look for more ice fishing reports to come soon.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.