The annual fishing frenzy that is known as ‘March Madness’ is upon us once again. This time of year can yield some of the best ice fishing trips of the season. With the mild temperatures this winter the ice conditions on many lakes and rivers in Manitoba have been unpredictable. There is still solid ice in most places but wide fluctuations in weather cause snow cover melts, pressure cracks, heaving, and other shifting or variations in ice thickness and integrity.
The Red River is all but done for outdoor activity as ice cutting up at Breezy Point is well underway and flood waters from down south are making their way up as we speak. The popular River trail in the city is already closed for the season. The popularity of driving vehicles onto the ice at places such as Lake Winnipeg has also taken a hit in recent weeks as a good number of trucks have gotten into trouble breaking through wide cracks in the ice. These pressure cracks are relatively few on the lake but the ones that are there are not safe to drive over although many have attempted to do so at their own risk. With more cracks opening up if we were to get a snowfall of any sort in the next while, the snow could also potentially cover them up to any unsuspecting drivers out there. Other than using a sled or quad, walking out with a pull-sled is the safest option at this time of year if driving-on conditions become too risky.
Once the snow starts to melt along the shorelines and runoff starts to hit the water, this signifies to the fish to start coming in shallow anyways. The last three weeks of the season are my favourite times to park on shore and walk out to spots that are only 5 to 9 feet under the ice. Anglers employing this strategy will often find large schools of greenbacks that are active and ready to hit any lure or bait. If you plan on heading out to ice fish this month, please use common sense and caution with your decisions. There have been several unfortunate accidents in other places this season due to unsafe ice or unsafe practices. Safety first, catch fish second. Send us your fish pictures this month to firstname.lastname@example.org The winning picture will be featured in an upcoming issue and will net you a nice prize!