The month of March is highly anticipated and can’t come soon enough for ice fishing enthusiasts. The highlight of the season for many, this time of year is often referred to as March Madness around these parts. And much like the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, the action can be fast, exciting, and downright bonkers when the end of winter is in sight. With the early arrival of spring this year however, the focus has shifted to preparing for open water fishing much sooner than usual.
The ‘madness’ this season is the fact that in all likelihood, anglers will be casting lines into soft water before the end of season date of April 4th. You read that correctly, new for 2016 is the closure of general angling being changed from the long standing April 1st to instead coincide with the last day of grade school spring break. Anglers can legally fish this year, on ice or otherwise, up until 11:59pm on Sunday April 3rd. Keep in mind that when fishing from on top of actual ice you may still use two rods per angler, but if you are fishing into open water then the one rod per angler regulation applies regardless of the calendar date.
From now until then, however, there is still plenty of ice fishing to be done. The enormous annual Falcon Lake Winter Fish-Off takes place on March 19th.
This event draws dozens of local Fil-Can competitors every year and I hope to report one of our own winning the top prize of $10,000 in the next issue. The entire length of the Red River is not recommended to go ice fishing on anymore. The popular Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba waterways can still be utilized although anglers should restrict access to walking on, small off-road vehicles, or snowmobiles. Many lakes out West in the Ducks and out east in the Whiteshell are prime at this time of year for targeting all species of trout, panfish, and huge northern pike for those looking to venture off the beaten path.
Send me by email your favourite March Madness fish pictures to be included in the ‘Ang Galing Wall of Fame’ article in a future issue. The best judged picture will win a fabulous fishing prize package.