After reading this please leave a comment, tell us what you prefer in ice fishing, where you prefer to fish or anything else you want to say.
DECEMBER, watching for the ice to form, waiting for the snow to come, dreaming of ice fishing, that is hard to take , more so if all your gear is in tip top shape, or you are retired, so what do we do; look at pictures , travel or enjoy family and friends so we can get serious when the ice is thick enough. Very few of us are hardy enough or have the desire to be out there in the blistering cold day after day.
Fall bear hunt is all but forgotten, chasing of calf moose is long gone, deer are in the freezer, and only a few days left in the season for ruffled grouse and spruce hens.
With all this said and done my favorite time of the year is just about upon us and I cannot wait for the ice to be thick enough on the lakes to get into my daily routine of ice fishing 5 days a week. Most of my ice fishing is for the trout family, lakers, splake and specs. When we are on the right lake we will also work at catching northerns, white fish and walleye. Obviously we practice lots of catch and release, you can only eat so much fish.
While I am not as far north as some of you and the fishing here may not be as good , it is great to be retired and be able to jump on my snow machine or ATV if there is not enough snow and just get out there even if its only for a few hours a day. Some days I do not even drop a line in the water, just socialize with many of the fishermen out there.
I not only change lakes frequently, in the winter months, many of my friends say following me around a lake on any giving day say it is like trolling in the summer months. Yes, I drill many holes at many depths. I use a Vexilar Flasher everywhere I go and 95% of my time on the ice is jigging, therefore most of the time I only use one line. The only time I really still fish is when we are going for trophy Specs. I am hoping this winter a couple of my buddies from other zones will invite me for a day or two of fishing in their areas.
With the restrictions MNR have placed on lake trout in FMZ 10 a couple of years ago, like the slot size and reducing the limit I firmly believe there are fewer recreational fishermen out there for a couple of reasons. Cost is a huge factor with many of us and many fishermen I talk with find when they have to release a 16″ or larger lake trout from depths of 20′ or deeper the fish will not or does not survive.
There is so much more to say on ice fishing no matter what species you fish for , what you use for bait, lures, where you fish on any given lake,depths you like to fish at, early morning fishing vice mid day fishing, what type of equipment you prefer from snow machines,ATV’s, to rods, reels , hand line and so on.
The pictures with this article were taken on Rocky Island Lake in March 2012
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This brings many memories for me. Fishing all winter in Elliot Lake back in 1978-79 and then Hawk,Chapleau , Wawa and White River since then .
Also sad memories of MNR closing Trump Lake,Little Missinabie in the Chapleau district. Placing signs that read no motorized access to these lales,but allowing planes and outboard motors to be used by outfitters. This is still in effect since 1987.
I too spend most of my days off on the frozen lakes. I go from lake to lake with my vex fishing for Trout or Walleye. As you some of the days I just explore the back lakes. I hope that when I retire I can still afford to spend a day fishing on the ice.