|Early morning on Lake Saimaa 4 January 2020|
In this article you can find stories of ice fishing season 2020, tips for active ice fishing of pike as well as an introduction to preparing small perches for cooking by removing the skin.
Early winter season started in mid-November, when first ice was formed in to our cottage pond. Both cottage pond and small bay area formed ice cover safe to walk before December, but big bay area was safe to walk near New Year 2020. Early winter season until mid-January was good for catching perches and pikes in shallow water areas of less than 4 meter deep. First ice trips in November and beginning of December were the best for catching perches.
Due Corona virus quarantene I had great possibility to visit our cottage and do ice fishing by myself during mid-winter 2020. I have collected some information & short fishing reports of my experiences. First of all, it is very important to understand that period from mid-January to mid-March is very challenging for catching. I wanted to create this blog article to help our visitors to understand how to find target fish for catching near our cottage. Most likely I do describe very same mistakes but also success our visitors have gone through while visiting our cottage winter time. The most important lesson is to believe there is allways some fishes in near by areas of our cottage and to be precise enough to find them.
|Early morning 11 Janury 2020.|
Fishing report of week-end 15 - 16 February 2020
|Picture of fishing area used near our cottage on Lake Saimaa|
|Snow situation on Lake Saimaa 15 February 2020.|
|Air temperature of January 2021. Blue line indicates the coldest part of the day and red line indicate the warmest part of the day.|
This diagram is very useful for understanding weather conditions of one of the coldest months of the year here in Finland. First we can learn yearly patern in temperatures. Almost every year we do have a cold period of 7 to 10 days having max temperatures between -15 degrees and -30 degrees. Quite often we do have this period in the middle of the month. In the year 2021 it started 8th Janury and ended 18th Janury. Max temperature in our cottage area was -28 degrees of celsius.
|Snow situation of 17th Janury 2021. There was approximately 10 -15 cm snow on hard ice. Moving on ice by foot was easy. Ice cover was 25 - 30 cm thick.|
|This pike of 4 kg was caught in 14th December 2020 in water depth area of 2 meter deep by using Ismete gear and dead bait fish. In this very same area we caught pikes by using active ice fishing gears as well.|
Fishing report of week-end 29 February – 1 March 2020
Weather was beautiful and sunny, which made my little over 6 km long route and fishing on it great experience. Some young couple did even drive on ice by bicycle`s. There was - 6 degrees of celsius in the morning. It went down to - 1 degrees of celsius before sunset. Beautiful but challenging fishing day which made me think that fish must be located in water depth area of 10 – 20 meter deep in this area.
Sunday 1 March:
|Ice fishing sonar is very important device for locating the fish. Picture was taken 1 March 2020.|
First 2 holes of the morning were the best. They gave me 20 – 25 fishes in time of less than 30 minutes. It was balms for wounds. Later same day I did found a flock of small fish in very same area and water depth area as I was able to do catching in the morning. Water depth of this first fishing place was only 4 – 5 meter deep. Why did I not find fish during Saturday even I was fishing the same depth areas as Sunday? Answer is water area profile and differrences between bay areas 1 and 2. during saturday I was fishing much more bigger bay area which do have deepest depth areas of 30 meter deep. Average depth of this complete area is 15 – 20 meter deep. In February we should try catch and find in this average depth area. Later in spring, after mid – March and in the beginning of April fish do move to areas I went through in Saturday.
|Flock of small fish found sunday 1 March 2020.|
Fishing report of week-end 6 – 8 March 2020
|Sledge, 6 inch auger, ice fishing sonar, seat, rods & lures are all you need for happines on Lake Saimaa.|
Friday 6 March 2020
|6 March 2020 on Lake Saimaa|
I reached my first spot in distance of 700 meters (10 - 15 minute walk) from our cottage. There was active perches in that area. I did catch 20 pieces before bite ended at 11.30. I moved to my next spot and reached big flock of small fish in my sonar. Most of these fish were rudd`s, which we Finns do not like to use as food but there was also perhes among them. I did good catching in this spot, but eating period of the fish was ending and finally they were just teasing me. A lot of fish under me but no bite. I decited to finalize my day trying to find fishes from big bay area near our cottage, but it was total waste of time. I did not see any fish in my sonar or get any bute either.....read further to sunday description and you will learn why?
|Sunday 8 March 2020|
|Flock of roach found 8 March 2020.|
Fishing report of week-end 15 – 17 March 2020
|Snow conditions 15 March 2020|
Fishing report of week 26 – 30 March 2020
|Spring is coming and fish do eat well. Ice cover thickness was varuing from 15 cm to 25 cm. Average thickness was 20 cm.|
|You can catch bigger perches starting from 150 gr when using balanced jigs or softbaits for ice fishing.|
|Total weight of these fish in picture is 1.5 kg.|
|In this picture you can see small flock of perches.|
|We caught big roaches up to 25 cm long.|
|In this picture you can see big flock of perches.|
|Monday morning 6.30 am. There was a lonely swan walking on ice when we started our final fishing morning.|
|In this picture you can see 2 kg of fillet size perches.|
Fishing report of Easter 10 – 12 March 2020!
|Swans on ice of Lake Saimaa, April 2020.|
|Perch 500 gr|
|Pike 3 kg caught 1st of May 2020.|
Tips for winter time pike fishing on Lake Saimaa!
If there is no even layer of snow on ice, pikes seem to favor dark, snowy or rainy days for eating. Both sunrise and sunset are good periods for catching pikes. If we have thicker layer of snow from 5 to 30 cm thick, pikes seeem to prefer sunny days better. Thickness of ice and temperature of water do have big effect on bite. When first ice form, water is not yet evenly cold in shallow water areas, which do attract fish. As the winter progresses both ice get thicker and water evenly cold, having temeperature fro 0 degrees of celsius to 1 degrees of celsius. During this period of so called mid-winter from mid-January until mid-March warmest water layers of 3 to 4 degrees are found from pools or deep water areas having 6 to 15 meter depth. Bait fish flocks are most often found from the same water depth areea in which the warmest, 4 degree of celsius water layer is formed, as well as big predators. We can easily understand that small fishes do escape predators if present. When whe locate bait fish flock, there must be bigger predators present in 100 meter radius of the flock waiting for time to eat. Pikes do prefer cover to lay for smaller fishes. Inactive pikes are most often found from underwater hill slopes, deeper rocks or humps and also shorelines located close to deeper pools, which do give them cover of grass and stones. If inactive pikes are laying on the bottom, they are reatively difficult to notice by using sonar. If they are laying little bit above bottom, you can notice them for sure when using sonar.
Best ice fishing spoons for catching pikes
Introduction to preparing small perches for cooking!
|Jari preparing small perches for cooking in the warm storage space of our fishing cottage.|
|As you can see, all skin from the back of the fish is removed with the fins.|