Ice fishing season has come to an end on the Bay of Quinte, the waters are beginning to open back up, and walleye are getting nestled into their spawning grounds to prepare for the spring spawn. With a later start this year (late January), the ice fishing window was a bit shorter than usual but still had plenty of fishing time and fun with friends enjoying the hard water action!
Walleye are the primary target for me in the wintertime, along with a bit of pike and perch as well. The Bay of Quinte is world renowned for trophy walleye. These gorgeous fish make their way into the Bay from Lake Ontario over the fall and winter months to prepare to spawn in the spring. Each year I see fish landed at over 10 pounds through the open water in the fall, and through the ice. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to target fish of a lifetime.
Ice fishing has evolved dramatically from permanent wooden shacks or sitting on a bucket. These methods are still used, however with the new technology available – ice fishing is mobile and comfortable yet affordable. A portable shelter is lightweight, holds all of your gear and cuts down on wind. If you’re anything like me and not a huge fan of the cold, throw a propane heater into the mix and you’re fishing with your jacket and gloves off!
Other essential items for me include, a Mustang floatation suit and a MarCum flasher (ice fishing sonar). Being mobile is great, and making sure you can remain warm while moving to different locations allows you to be alert and focused. Ice safety can never be stressed enough! Fish with friends and use a spud. There is a lot of current on the Bay of Quinte, which can mean hourly changes in the ice conditions. Areas without current will typically have more ice, but it’s always best to check. An ice fishing sonar is helpful in so many ways; you can check the water depth, locate fish on your graph and see the type of mood they’re in. Walleye can be very finicky, and having a flasher can teach you a lot about lure presentation effectiveness and help you land those trophies!
Spring has officially arrived, which means crappie, bluegill, sunfish, perch and many more early-season fishing opportunities are just around the corner!