Holiday ice fishing

For many of us who enjoy ice fishing there have been a bunch of great memories created on the ice over the Christmas holidays.
While I was going through school, the two week Christmas break was always one of my favourite times of the year because it meant there would be plenty of time spent on the ice.
Through later years it meant a chance to get out fishing with friends and family who no longer reside in Northwest Ontario but were back visiting over the holidays.
For me, outside of time spent with family, when I think back to my best memories from the Holidays, many of them occurred on the ice.
Some trips and locations are more memorable than others because of the fishing, maybe the scenery or because of the adventures we take to get there.
Crappie fishing in Nestor Falls was always high on the list of favourite places to fish in December.
It was good because Sabaskong Bay always froze early and would have good ice by the time the holidays rolled around.
Many of the most popular spots had not yet been pressured so the fishing was usually excellent.
This was where I learned how to fish for crappies and today I spend much of my time on smaller bodies of water closer to home but I always enjoy when I get a chance to explore the Nestor Falls area.
There are still plenty of undiscovered sweet spots out there where you can catch a bunch of fish.
Walleye fishing on the north end of Lake of the Woods is always good in December once the ice conditions are safe.
Many of the same spots that were good throughout the summer and fall still hold fish and since the fish haven’t seen a lure in a couple of months, the fishing is typically really good.
My friends and I used to wait until people started taking ATV’s and snowmobiles out from the ice road access in Kenora and when it was safe to go we would fish out in the Manitou, usually between Wolf and Whiskey Island. Even today, that is still a great area to fish.
Now that I live west of Kenora most of my walleye fishing takes place on the west arm of the lake.
I can leave from my house on snowmobile and usually get on some good fish in the afternoons, a short ride from my house.
After a bout with some cold weather recently across Northwest Ontario, the weather over the holidays looks pretty good with relatively mild temperatures expected and not too much snowfall expected.
Both make the experience ice fishing much more enjoyable. It’s easier to get around and simply be outside.
When the lake trout season opens on Jan. 1, many of us can be found on area trout lakes.
While I was growing up, we would fish many of the inland lakes north of Kenora. Williams and Wonderland were some of my favourites.
Nowadays I most often trout fish on Lake of the Woods out of convenience.
The numbers of fish might not be as good as the smaller lakes but the shot at a big fish over 15 pounds is better.
If I have the time and some buddies that are up for an outing, I do enjoy the adventure of getting into these back lakes.
Because of the cold weather that we’ve had, the ice conditions seem to be decent but until they open the road up to vehicle travel I would advise sticking to ATVs or snowmobiles for travel on the ice.
If you go fishing in the new year, here is your reminder that you may need a new fishing license if your current one expires at the end of 2019.
If you have a few days to get out fishing over the holidays, get out there and make some memories.

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