The allure of catching large Alberta walleye through the ice had not worn off during the work week. So, off again to the frozen waters of Lake Newell in the wee hours of the morning. The beautiful and dramatic sunrises in Alberta did not disappoint as we sat in front of the freshly drilled holes. Thick ice and little snow cover made the driving easy. Most ice anglers on the lake seemed to be grouped together in the back bays amidst their trailers, huts, and make-shift shelters. More than one angler was seen fishing out of the drivers seat of their “lifted” pick up trucks. A few more adventurous anglers broke from the packs and ventured out into deeper water . Next to them, a substantial pressure crack extended for kilometres like a fence separating the shore from the middle of the lake. Pressure cracks and ridges form as the ice expands and heaves similar to the movements of the tectonic plates that give rise to mountains. Even more dangerous can be the gaps that form when ice sheets pull apart leaving in some cases a thin layer of ice freshly formed during the night. For those reasons we kept a safe distance, but you can see the heave in the photos.
The fishing wasn’t “bad” considering fish were actually caught during the trip and only a few lures were lost. Quite a few pike and a couple whitefish were brought to hand which rewarded our angling efforts and kept our hopes high. Northland Fishing Tackle Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon in gold seemed to be the lure of choice. As for the real target – Alberta Walleye (aka … the Unicorns of Lake Newell)… no luck this trip.
Bitter cold and high winds drove us off the lake a bit early, but a day on the water (even thought it was hard) is still better than a day at the office!