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Pushing Bucks and Breaking Ice

Over the last few winters despite what the climate change gurus are touting, we’ve been getting earlier and earlier ice forming in much of Northwestern Ontario.

This is my favorite part of the late season fall in the north woods. One of my favorite things to do is get out and roam the woods checking ice conditions and taking in what Mother Nature has to offer at this point in the season.

Undoubtedly you’ve seen others out already fishing on thin ice this season thus far. Wanting to be the first on the ice is always a somewhat dangerous game that people like to play. Mitigating that danger with the latest and greatest gear can help, but it doesn’t replace common sense at this time of year. Always use caution, like many of my colleagues do at this time of year.

Different lakes form ice at different rates and each season it’s always different, you simply can’t trust any given lake, EVER!

Everyone has their personal limits for safe ice. Whenever I’m asked I always say 5” to walk on and 7-8” plus for ATV’s and sleds. While this may seem ludicrous to some, it’s my personal limit that I simply won’t waver from. No fish is worth a swim in cold water. That’s just how I feel.

Ice is starting to form nicely at this point in the season, but it’s just not ready yet on the smaller lakes in Northwestern Ontario. With the temps in the 10 day forecast however, it’s not going to be very long to wait.

One bonus to the early ice in the last few years is the walk in the woods and to see the signs that Mother Nature has in stride at this point in the season. Seeing buck rubs, scrapes and big buck tracks are just a bonus that one can’t overlook. The rut is just starting here, at one point I could even smell that unmistakable smell of a rutting deer in my travels. I really should hang a stand and spend some time in a tree instead of dreaming to be on the ice catching early Ice Crappies, some of my favorites! Please be safe this season and get out to enjoy the water and woods.

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