When I offered to host Ruffie on a fishing adventure, I knew that a late season ice fishing excursion would offer the best chance to show him something unique. Ruffie crossed the border without issue and arrived with perfect timing during the middle of March to kick off his first Canadian ice fishing experience.
Only two weeks of the fishing season were left before closure, so we had no time to waste. Our first outing brought us to the Qu'appelle River chain of lakes in Saskatchewan.
Ruffie's first day on the ice was a cold and windy one, so we both agreed that it would be best to set up a portable shelter rather than risk Ruffie being blown clear across the lake. Ruffie was content to monitor the electronics as I watched for the delicate take of a tullibee.
It was a tough bite, but we were able to put a handful of decent tullibee on the ice for Ruffie's first taste of ice fishing in Canada.
On our next outing, we fished the same lake, but at a new location where we found a mixed bag of walleye, yellow perch, and tullibee in water less than 10' deep. Ruffie was a bit reluctant, but I promised him that nobody would think any less of him if he had his picture taken with a walleye.
The weather conditions were harsh, and we kept on the move to find fish. Ruffie unfortunately missed out on a few of the photos.
However, he later got in on a group shot with a few of the "guests" that we invited over for supper.
This brought us right to the last few days of March. The weather finally began to heat up, and we were ready to show Ruffie the late season ice fishing action that he came all the way to Saskatchewan for. We spent two separate days on the ice patiently watching tip-ups for northern pike, while jigging for suckers that were gathering in the area.
I don't think that Ruffie realized what he was getting himself into when he asked if there was anything that he could do to help.
I'm sure he won't get caught in this predicament again...
Ruffie made sure everybody was released strong and healthy as he waved goodbye from a safe distance.
During the downtime between tip-up flags, Ruffie made friends with a couple of species that he found a bit easier to relate with.
We couldn't have asked for much more. The weather cooperated, and so did the fish.
That was it for the Saskatchewan season, but there was still more fishing to be had. Just over the border in Manitoba, things were sure to be heating up on a few select salmonid lakes still open to angling, so off we went at the first chance we had.
Along the way we passed over the Assiniboine River, one of my favorite multi-species rough fish waters. I promised Ruffie that if he ever visits again, we will be sure to fish this river.
Our destination, the Duck Mountains, is an elevated section of boreal forest located in the middle of the prairies. It contains dozens of spring fed lakes stocked with several species of trout/char, as well as inhabiting native species. We arrived with high anticipation of what was to come, as late ice trout fishing can be fantastic.
We chose to fish at Childs Lake, a lake most noted for it's lake trout, it also inhabits some nice burbot. Unfortunately, the only fish to be caught on this first trip was an out of season walleye... it was not Ruffie approved.
Our next trip took us to Gull Lake, a two mile long lake stocked with several trout species, along with a population of elusive lake whitefish. I chose to work the depths in hopes of locating suspended whitefish, while my dad worked the clear shallows and sight fished for trout. Other than one good hit, I came up empty handed, but my dad fared much better and landed several colorful brook trout for Ruffie to pose with.
Whatever the outcome, our next outing was to be the last, and I wanted it to be memorable. By late afternoon on our second lake, with several missed and lost fish, but none to the hole, I was beginning to lose hope. It was in the final hour of fishing when it finally all came together, and a nice lake trout smacked my grub and stayed hooked. Ruffie, keeping warm in my pocket, jumped out in excitement at the first flash of green and silver below the hole. Success!
Ruffie took in the sunset, looking satisfied as he began to wonder where his next adventure would take him.
Before I sent Ruffie on his way, we checked out the sucker run on my home creek and reservoir.
Ruffie was excellent company, and I hope that we may someday fish together again. Catch ya later!