Late-season ice action hot

At this point in the winter, it’s always exciting for those of us who live in Northwestern Ontario to think about another great summer that’s just around the corner.
I’m certainly looking forward to the summer. But if you’re like me and you enjoy ice-fishing, the latter part of March is one of my favourite times of the year because the longer days and warmer weather make it so pleasurable to be outside–and the fishing is as good as it is all winter for virtually every species.
I’ve caught some of my biggest walleye, lake trout, crappie, and pike all during this timeframe!
I leave at the end of the month to head back down south for my next bass tournament in Kentucky. So between now and then, I’m spending a bunch of time on the ice, both guiding and fishing for fun.
Over the past few days, I’ve had a small group of friends from Minnesota visiting me to go fishing so it’s been fun–despite the up-and-down weather. We went out Sunday afternoon and it was so nice, then Monday was completely the opposite with some of the strongest winds I think I’ve ever ice-fished in.
We did manage to catch several big fish over the past few days so it was fun.
One thing about fishing during this late-ice period is some species of fish start to show up in predictable locations as they prepare to spawn after the ice goes out.
Both walleye and pike spawn shortly after ice-out and many of those fish are moving towards those spawning locations as we speak. So if you can intercept these fish as they migrate towards these places, you’re sure to find some good fishing.
We caught several lunker walleye, as well as a few large pike, this week at the mouth of a small, shallow bay where walleye and pike both are going to spawn.
Crappies still are occupying the same wintering holes where they have spent much of the winter, only now they seem to have more energy than they did early in the ice season. I think once the snow melts and a little bit more light starts hitting them, their activity levels increase.
We caught some crappies this week, as well, on some new soft plastic baits that are coming out next year. The guys who were visiting me this past week were from Northland Fishing Tackle, one of fishing sponsors, so they were here testing out some of the new baits they’re planning to release next year.
There are four new soft plastic baits in their Impulse line of products and they were working well! I was rigging them up on the Bro’s Bling Jig, a jig that I had not really used a lot before but it is a sweet crappie jig, for sure.
You can check them out on the Northland website.
In addition to the soft plastic baits, Northland has a cool new spoon it is planning to release next year that was working great for walleyes.
As for lake trout, I think they like the light getting through the ice a little more, as well. As visual feeders, I’m sure it makes life easier for them when they can see a little better.
It’s to the advantage of the angler because they probably can see our lures from farther away, putting us in contact with a few more fish.
We caught a few lake trout this week, as well, which is always fun. They are the toughest fighting fish that we have in this part of the world, in my opinion, so it’s fun for me when my friends who don’t get to catch them very often get to have a battle with one.
We didn’t catch any giant trout but they tangled with a few 10-pounders, so that was good.
Ice conditions still are pretty good on most area lakes but any areas with current should be avoided.
Conditions do change rapidly at this time of year so be safe out there if heading on the ice over last couple weeks of the season.

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