Still the best to come!

Russ with a nice one!
Pike fishing gets really exciting in this part of the world in March and for those of you further up north April as well. In Manitoba, northern pike are one of the most sought after trophy fish for anglers from all over the world. Most prefer to try for them in open water but if you want a really big fish, last ice can be the ticket. On this particular day we were fishing a large reservoir with extensive mud flats which averaged about two metres in depth.
After we arrived at the spot we had chosen to fish, two of my friends took a snow machine, sleigh, and auger to drill twelve holes around the perimeter of the guide shack, about fifty metres away. There was method behind their madness because they knew when fishing this shallow how critical it is to spread out and be quiet once you are setup
Resting against the side of a ice shack, the strong March sun warming me, I heard the unmistakable beep of a tip up going off. That’s right, technology is a wonderful thing and the group of anglers I was fishing with this particular day had all the best equipment in their quest to catch trophy pike. This included a wood shack set up on metal runners which allowed quick relocation to the latest hotspot. Inside that shack, there was a workbench, stove and couch, all to make the experience more memorable. What impressed me the most, though, was the wall of tip-ups, all designed to make ice fishing for trophy northern pike as efficient as possible.
They included the latest model, those that had a battery powered beeper that triggered when the flag was tripped. When I heard that buzzer go off, I knew we were in business!

Yes, at this time of year, the big pike are moving towards the back bays to spawn and shallow water troughs are a key place to find them. As the day wore on we landed and released ten nice pike, the largest forty two inches. All were caught on tip-ups, using either ciscoes or Portuguese sardines rigged to sit upright on ultra sharp quick strike rigs.
In shallow water at this time of the year, the tip-ups were the most effective way to cover water.
There are a variety of different tip-ups out on the market right now.
In cold blowing snow conditions it’s nice to work with those that cover the hole, like a HT Enterprises Polar Therm or the new Frabill Arctic Siren that gives off a big beep when a fish takes the line.

Still variety is good and we also had a number of the Frabill Big Foot Classic models that got the job done. Some tip-ups now have an extension for the tip-up flags so you can see them in deep snow. There will be days when all the fish will come on holes that are covered.
For ease of operations when setting up and storing at the end of long day, tie a snap swivel on the end of your Dacron line. You can open this snap swivel to either rig up or break down your quick-strike rig and leader which should have a heavy duty ball bearing swivel on the end. When storing your quick strike rigs using a round tackle tamer like you would for your walleye spinner rigs. This prevents tangle and keeps sharp hooks out of the way. Setting the tip-ups properly is the key to getting bit. If you are fishing deeper water it’s a good idea to have snap- on weight to quickly find bottom, then a bobber stop to allow you to find that depth again. You can also use a split shot if need be. For a leader I prefer Berkley Sevenstrand, just under a metre in length. A long trace is a must to prevent cutoffs when pike roll in the line.
Home made quick strike rig that positions the bait upright
Spring ice fishing for pike with tip-ups can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Give it a try this year but remember to carefully release all those big fish.

Boyd with another one!