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Ice Fishing with Dad on Last Mountain Lake

When dad and I decided to take the day to go ice fishing together, there was no way to know what we were about to experience.  It’s not often I get the chance to go ice fishing with dad, just the two of us. The opportunity to get outdoors, catch up, tell stories, relax and even just sit in peace and quiet while keeping close eye on our tip ups, seemed like the perfect way to spend the day. 

We packed our lunches, snacks, chairs, fishing gear and headed to Last Mountain Lake. We were excited as It was March and the Northern Pike were hopefully getting hungry to prepare for their spawn.  An early morning drive under a clear sky filled with stars and the change of colour on the horizon at daybreak made my heart rate climb and I became anxious to bring on the day.  As we access the lake, butterflies turn in my stomach with excitement while rounding the corner to set sights on our spot and then relief seeing there is no one else there.  Peaceful, silent and an instant weight off my shoulders the second we step out of the truck. I’m ready for the day.  

It was calm and warm in the city when we left, but cold and breezy on the ice. Funny how that works.  First things first, we get the lines in the water and then we will set up the rest. There’s something about the sputter of an ice auger on a cold, brisk morning while its warming up. These simple things stand out to me. With just two tip ups each, it’s always the questions of where to drill and at what depth. Closer to the shallows or more towards the steep drop?  Mixing it up, we set up from 6’ to 20’ to start things off.  

Much colder than expected, we fired up the truck to quickly warm up. And then it all started… “Flag!” Dad was up first. Out of the truck, on the run and like a pro he set the hook. It takes time, patience and caution to land Northern Pike. Get there quick, don’t panic, grab the line, slowly tighten it up between your fingers, feel for good weight and drive it home! The sight of a wide open jaw and the razor sharp teeth of a 23 lb Northern Pike filling the width of the auger hole is always incredible. We took out the hook, captured a quick picture and then released her back into the lake. What a way to start the day! While resetting the bait, another flag goes and dad lands another. Then a second flag pops and we have a double header! It didn’t matter the depth or time, the Northern Pike were hungry and they didn’t stop all day. 

Our hands were raw, cold and stinging from the small gill plate cuts, but the fishing was hot so we kept setting the baits. A brief afternoon pause allowed our hands to finally warm up. Dad reached for his sandwich and before taking his first bite, another flag popped. He sighed, we laughed, he ran and set the hook.

Dad and I caught 15 Northern Pike between 13 and 23 pounds, two other small eaters for supper and a Burbot in the mix kept us going all day. The colors on the fish were amazing and the smiles on dad were glowing. We never set up the tent and we didn’t sit in our chairs. Our coffee got cold and we didn’t eat our lunches. We didn’t even talk about much and there was no time to relax or sit in silence, but it was awesome!

 

Author: Greg Toogood

On the side of work and family life, Greg Toogood is a Host for the Television series Bushnell presents Prairie Pursuit that airs on Wild TV. As an avid outdoorsman, downtime is spent outdoors with family and friends exploring Saskatchewan! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'ice fishing' OR 'last mountain lake' OR 'saskatchewan' OR 'sask' OR 'northern pike'

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