Spring is on its way

With the warmer weather that finally showed up this past weekend across Sunset Country, it finally feels like spring is just around the corner.
The snow took a pretty good hit these past few days and it actually was nice to be outside after many months of nasty winter weather.
It’s about time!
This is one of my favourite times of the entire year, likely because we have so much to look forward to in this part of the world. Our summers are some of the nicest on the planet—at least if you like to participate in outdoor activities.
The other nice thing about this time of year is that it’s quiet around my place. Once the fishing season starts, it’s go, go, go with tournament competitions, guiding trips, and travel commitments, all of which I’m absolutely blessed to get to do.
But I really love the down time at home right now.
For the local outdoor enthusiasts, the woods and waters in Northwestern Ontario are quiet right now as there are very few tourists around. If you like to shed hunt for dropped deer or moose antlers, get in that last ice-fishing trip, or get on the hunt for the first open water, there is plenty of good stuff to do.
Shed hunting has become one of my favourite pastimes over the last seven or eight years. When our deer population was very high during the mid-2000s, it was very easy to hit the woods and find an armload of deer antlers in a three- or four-hour walk on ridges throughout deer country.
After several tough winters, our deer population has taken a major hit so shed hunting is going be a little tougher—at least for finding the big numbers. That being said, it’s still fun to spend time in our beautiful, quiet woods looking for whatever treasures may be out there.
Beyond deer and moose antlers of all shapes and sizes, I’ve found all kinds of interesting things, like old pop bottles from the early 1900s, old logging campsites, as well as the skulls of every type of animal you can imagine, most of which have died from old age.
We still need a little bit of snow to melt in the woods to make walking easy but it’s getting close. I love being in the woods this time of year and it’s a great way to get some top-notch exercise.
If you still haven’t put away your ice-fishing gear, there are a few options out there but you should be well aware of the conditions wherever you plan to fish.
Avoid those areas near any type of current and try to stick to the deeper lakes where the ice will last a little bit longer.
Walking out on the ice is the safest option, especially as conditions continue to deteriorate.
Remember that walleye season is now closed until the third Saturday in May, but fishing seasons remain open for pike, lake trout, whitefish, and crappie. My wife, August, and I got into some great crappie fishing this past weekend.
Though we’re still at least a couple of weeks away from water opening up enough to get a boat launched, it is coming. But if you’re dying to get in a boat, the Rainy River remains a good option from the Minnesota side if you’d like to wet a line for a sturgeon.
Friends of mine have been having great luck over the past week.
Sturgeon are protected on the Canadian side of the river but the season is open on the U.S. side. So if you get a Minnesota licence, there are a lot of big fish to be caught.
As for lake fishing, the first open water that you’re going to find will be in the shallower lakes, which will warm up the quickest.
Pike will be the first fish to be found back in the shallow bays on these lakes as they look for the warmest water where they will spawn.
On water that has bass populations, they will not be far behind, also looking for warm water.
Spring is almost here, folks!