This has been one of the coldest winters in the past few years here in Southern Ontario, with lows reaching -30C. This is good news if you love ice fishing! I am now a resident of Ottawa, and it’s even colder here than back at home on the Bay of Quinte. The colder temps have allowed me to get out on the ice much earlier than usual, with ‘first ice’ being late November this year. Life has brought on a few changes in the last few months, but I am happy in my new city and looking forward to all of the fishing adventures that await. I still visit ‘home’ on the Bay of Quinte as much as I can, because I can’t miss out on the opportunity of the trophy walleye fishing on the Bay!
A walleye caught on the Bay of Quinte from one of my recent trips back home.
My first few ice fishing experiences this season took place on the Ottawa River, targeting black crappie, and bluegill.
Evening fishing on the Ottawa River.
First fish through the ice this season – a black crappie!
Next, venturing outside of Ottawa, I got the chance to target splake. A splake is a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout and this was my first time ever targeting them. It’s always fun to learn about targeting a new species!
Beautiful markings on these fish!
Next up, lake trout! There are several stocked trout lakes in the Land O’ Lakes Region, which is just where I headed in pursuit of lakers. These fish can typically be located on steep break lines cruising and actively feeding on smelt. The depths I found success were in 50-60 feet of water, where I set up on contour lines using my Navionics app on my iPhone and my MarCum LX-9 flasher. This enabled me to set up precisely on the drop and put myself between deeper and shallower water where fish would be passing through.
First fish of 2014 – a lake trout!
Another lake trout outing in the Land O’ Lakes Region.
The Luhr-Jensen Krocodile spoon has been treating me well this season and has worked on both lake trout and walleye. The fluttering action that occurs when I drop it down seems to fire up the interest of these fish and they smash it! For walleye, I have tipped it with a live minnow which is a must on Quinte.
Targeting splake and lakers got me thinking about all of the trout fishing opportunities around where I live. There are several stocked trout lakes throughout Southern Ontario and there are 5 species of trout within a few hours of driving. I decided to make a goal this year and aim to accomplish a Grand Slam trout goal; to land 5 species of trout through the ice.
So far I’ve been successful with splake and lake trout, but I still need rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout. I’m looking forward to targeting the 3 species I haven’t caught yet and learning more about their winter habits. Wish me luck!
Please be safe on the ice!