The weather we've had here in NW Ontario this March will go down as the warmest in memory. The snow disappeared so quickly and the ice is already unsafe. And to think, last year we were ice fishing well into mid-April. Now my snowmobile is put to bed for the summer and my short rods are stored for another year. Looking back, though, it was an awesome season on the ice - short as it was.
I snapped this shot on March 22nd at the Deception landing boat launch on Lac Seul. The ice is breaking down quickly and any current areas are already open water.
The whole lake is probably going to be ice free before walleye season closes on April 15th. This unique situation will result in some great opportunities for catching 'pre-season' walleye from a boat.
There are a lot of things to look forward to in the spring - particularly ice out lake trout fishing and turkey hunting. Stay tuned for more reports.
One of the great things about living in NW Ontario is that friends like to come up for a visit and get out fishing. Winter is no exception, and this year I've had some awesome trips with friends of mine.
A couple weeks back Trent and his GF Jessica made the long trip from southern Ontario to Sioux Lookout for some ice fishing. We had a great time and the weather cooperated too. We put in some quality time on the ice and came up with some really nice fish for our efforts.
Jessica got us started with a really nice lake trout. Having grown up on Lake Simcoe, she's no stranger to pulling fish up through the ice.
In fact, she landed the biggest fish of the trip - check out this awesome pike!
Lucky for Trent and I she let us get a few that were worthy of the camera.
Trent lives on the Bay of Quinte in SE Ontario so he's used to pulling big walleye through the ice. He showed us how to get it done in NW Ontario with the big jigging spoon.
Trent's big lake trout was the first fish we caught on one of the days. Great way to start a day!
I used my home field advantage to land a few nice fish myself.
Next up, my friend Dave was driving out west from southern Ontario and made a pit-stop in Sioux Lookout for some hard water action. We landed some nice fish, but the highlight of the trip was this big pike Dave caught.
Dave really wanted to catch a big lake trout as well - so first I had to show him how it's done.
Then Dave got his lake trout too - his first one in 15 years.
It's a great feeling to be able to take friends out fishing and share memories that will last a lifetime.
In other news, the long range forecast is showing unseasonably warm weather here in NW Ontario. Looks like ice fishing season will be cut short this year. We've still got a couple weeks at least to fish so stay tuned for my late ice wrap-up report.
Looking ahead - spring means two things: ice-out lake trout fishing and turkey hunting.
Until next time, good fishing.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.