Regarding March weather, they say “in like a lion, out like a lamb” or visa versa, but in northern Minnesota’s case it’s a lion the whole darn way and I’ve about had it.
Last Saturday morning had me wishfully thinking that I would be able to drive my truck out onto the lake and why not? After all, it’s nearing the end of March. That’s what normally takes place, along with great late ice panfishing. Oh what a mistake that turned out to be.
Realizing the latest snowfall had added a little more of a challenge to my next ice fishing outing, I opted to leave the snowmobile trailer in the backyard and go for it. Halfway to my jumbo perch destination, I began to plow snow with the bumper and ended up getting stuck.
I might have been okay, if I hadn’t run headlong into an unprotected area that is prone to offer significant snow drifts. Yup, they were there like every other year. It was shovel time and I had to drive out backwards until finding a suitable area to turn around.
On the way back to the access, with my oncoming tracks clearly visible, slush pockets could be seen here and there and a few of them almost stopped me from making it back to town.
Once home, I happily hooked up the trailer and returned to the “scene of the crime.” I wasn’t going to give up that easy.
Back on the lake, with a proper means of transportation, Blake and I reached our pre-planned destination and started fishing. Perch were present but only the smallest fish wanted to bite on this day. Both knowing it would be fruitless to spend the entire day there, we drove back to the landing, loaded up, and headed another hour to a better fishery. Never say die. That’s my motto and I’m surprised at my age that I still refuse to quit, when it comes to fishing anyway.
Reaching the next lake, we found the public access not plowed and had to park on the main road, taking our snowmobiles from there. Out on the main lake, we tried a few spots that worked well for me about ten years ago. Yes, it had been that long.
Perch were caught but once again they consisted of the smaller variety. Trying spot after spot, we finally ended up on a good crappie bite. It wasn’t the species we were after but I’ll take nice crappies any day and I did.
The next day, even though we had just discovered a great, current crappie bite, we headed a different direction for, once again, jumbo perch and yes, the snowmobiles were in tow.
This time, we landed a few very nice perch before I accidentally latched onto a true slab crappie pushing 14”. I followed up with a few more and suggested Blake move over near me, as close as possible, as the fishing spot had a reputation for one angler catching a bunch of fish and another not catching a thing, even though fifty feet away.
Making the move, Blake began cashing in on the crappie action and every once in a while a true jumbo perch would “get in the way.” Now we were more concerned with the nice slabs and not worrying a bit about Mr. Jumbo. It’s funny how that works.
This lake, like all others I’ve been on this winter, was rough and slow travel was advised. I only had to stop once to pick up something that fell out of my back storage compartment and that was my new “Cold Snap” auger cover. Normally it would be on the auger but when “running and gunning”, looking for fish, I keep it off. The auger, by the way, is securely strapped down in an auger rack of the front of the snowmobile.
Speaking of securely strapped down, ahem, one of us, and I’m not mentioning any names here but we were down to only one auger on Sunday because someone didn’t tie his auger down on Saturday and accidentally ran it over, rendering it useless for the next day.
Gee, that story sounds vaguely familiar? Oh yeah, that was me on Lake Winnipeg a few years back when I was late for breakfast.
However, if this was a “normal” winter, we wouldn’t still be running snowmobiles.
~ Greg Clusiau, HSM Outdoors