First Ice Fishing Trip of the Year

Last Saturday I went out ice fishing with my buddy Nathan. We went to high school together but I never went fishing with him I always knew he had a passion for the outdoors that was similar to mine which is always a good thing. The best part about going fishing or camping with new folks is that you get to share all your best stories and they are fresh and new again. The plan was to head out to Jack-Fish Lake early, smash some fish and come back before dark. However, we got a bit of a late start given the blizzard that was raging in and around the Edmonton area. I heard one stat saying that in those two or three days we got as much snow as we had in the entire month of January 2004, when the last big storm hit. And we were going ice fishing – PERFECT!


I rolled over to Nate’s at about 8am and was feeling pretty sleepy, I had gotten a decent night sleep but I wasn’t sure how he was going to be. Nate got off work at around 5 am but when I got to his house he was busy getting his truck prepped. I joined in and soon we were on the road after a quick fuel and coffee stop. The roads were garbage to say the least and we managed to get the truck up to 70 kph on the highway. Pretty impressive, considering the conditions. Once we got onto the secondary highway we got stuck behind a snowplow and were doing about 35 kph. After about a half hour pulled up to the lake. The only problem was that the drive down to the water was so bogged down with snow it was up to my knees. After finding a place to turn around we cut our losses and headed toward Hasse and Spring Lake.


All I wanted to do was to catch some fish. That was my goal. 2010 was a crappy fishing year for me, so I wanted to start 2011 with a fish on the line. I had been to Spring Lake last season with Eric, but I had no idea when to drill a hole. Nate mentioned he had been to Hasse lately and it was good for Yellow Perch, along with some Northern Pike and Trout hanging around. The real gamble was access and not wanting to get stuck we drove down and were pleasantly surprised to find the road had been plowed. The parking lot on the other hand was another story but we went in and had little trouble getting out.


The night before I had had terrible dreams about falling through the ice, and although improbable, the warm weather the week before had created a nice layer of water under the foot of freshly fallen snow and above the foot of frozen lake water below. After getting over it, we drilled a few holes, setting the shack up and putting a Tip-up for Pike a ways away we threw on some maggots and dropped our lines.


It didn’t take long before I landed a nice little Perch. I must say, I love Perch. Even though they don’t get that big, they always bite and a fish on the line is a smile on the face. I was using a two hook system with a Forage Minnow on top and a Black Chironomid on the bottom as I had for the Salter’s trip, but the perch were loving my Chironomid, and hammering it like crazy. It really put a smile on my face knowing that something I tied actually caught a fish.


Even though not many of the fish we caught were keepers it was excellent and I recommend ice fishing for Perch for anyone in a slump or needing a confidence boost. We left at around 3pm, the temp had started to drop and it was getting windy. I was getting a bit chilled and as a result, was getting crabby and hungry so we packed up and made the trip back. It took a bit longer than expected but it was uneventful. When I got home from Nathan’s I noticed I had a flat which was the only downside but other than that it was a pretty perfect day.


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