As I looked at the long range weather forecast for the middle of March I started to panic. It stated that we were going to get weather near plus 20 Celsius! Yes that’s right we live in southern Manitoba and we were going to be golfing the weekend of March 17th. So I got on the phone to my friend Steven Wintemute and organized an ice fishing adventure to Shoal Lake Ontario for Sunday, March 12th, then a another trip the next day to Shoal Lake Manitoba for perch with friend Jim Price. I figured it was now or never and boy was the weatherman right on the money.
Sunday was also the day the clocks got moved ahead so we really had to get up early in the morning to make it out for the long trip to Shoal. By the time we got to our spot near the middle of the lake on the winter road, it was three hours from home. Never mind, the sun was beating down from a cloudless sky, the temperature plus 5 Celsius already. Along with us this day was Kevin Siemens, a friend of Stevens. I had already fished once with Kevin for lake trout, so it was a fun crew to be around. We soon had a number of holes drilled along a drop off in the standard forty five feet of water. On this day I managed the first two fish but after about two hours with sporadic action we decided to move. We headed around the island to the back side, a spot Steven had fished before with good success. It was a point off an island that dropped from twenty five to fifty five feet in a series of stair steps. It was here we had some great fishing, better as the day wore on. By three in the afternoon we were in a whitefish frenzy with triple headers at times.
In the end we caught the majority of the fish on jigging spoons, though we tried a wide variety of lures that had worked in the past including all the ones from my blog from March 2011, titled “Whiteout.”
I started getting hot on a ¼ ounce silver “Rattle Snakie”, then Steven put on a similar sized Buckshot Rattle from Northlands. Kevin then switched back to this spoon, though he had been using it with some success earlier in the day. I had my most success by dangling my jigging spoon at the 33 foot mark over 49 feet. I would then wait until I saw a couple marks on my flasher rise off the bottom, or come into the cone at a similar depth. Once spotted, I would open the bail on my spinning rod, a drop the jigging spoon through the fish. In almost every case, the fish would grab the lure on the drop as it fluttered through the strike window.
If you have never caught a whitefish through the ice you will be amazed how these fish fight! Up next, huge perch on Shoal Lake, Manitoba.