Location: Erie Lake
Weather: Overcast with sunny periods
Temperature: 0 degrees Celsius
With the recent cold weather Erie Lake just outside of Salmo is nicely frozen for ice fishing. To get to the water there is about 12 inches of slush and 12 inches of ice. We used a hand powered ice auger and also chipped the ice off a few holes others had cut earlier. I highly recommend bringing heavy, lined rubber boots, something to sit on, and maybe something to stand on.
The day’s fishing started out around 10 am. The first few holes and few hours of fishing were not very productive. We talked with another ice angler with a fish finder, and he also said he was not seeing any fish. In all we tried about 6 different holes throughout the day before finding “the hole”. When we finished fishing a hole I made a pyramid out of sticks to mark the hole for others. It was around 1:00pm when we found the “magic hole”, and the action started right away.
The first fish out of the magic hole was the largest rainbow trout I’ve seen in Erie Lake. It was a little over 20 inches and made me work hard for it. Just as it cleared the hole it snapped my line and made me dive into the hole madly swishing around trying to grab it. It took a while, and I got very wet, but I managed to grab the bow, quickly get a pic, and then let this beauty go.
For the rest of the day I stayed in the magic hole. I pulled three perch out and a very nice 15 inch Brook Trout. Both trout were caught about 10 feet from the surface, and the perch were caught right near the bottom. I lost quite a few bass, perch and another trout in the magic hole. Most of them came right up to the hole before they got off, so it turned into a great day of ice fishing.
I used 3lb test line and a tiny Len Thompson spoon with no hook. About 18 inches down from the spoon I used a small 12-14 size bait hook with a pea-sized piece of fresh shrimp. Don’t even try shrimp from a can. They are way too soft and will fall apart right away. I dropped the lure to the bottom of the lake and spun the reel 3-4 times so it was just off the bottom. I then started twitching and jigging to call the fish. I would jig for about 8-10 minutes, then spun the reel another 3-4 spins and repeat the process until I had worked my way up the entire water column. Just like the Columbia river, you have to work the water until you find the fish. In the late afternoon the fog rolled in and we packed up for the day. Another great day of fishing in the West Kootenay!