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Trip Report – East Pit Lake – March 21, 2021

Late spring sunrise over a frozen East Pit Lake, Alberta.

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Spring is definitely in the air! The last few weeks have been unseasonably warm but, personally, I’m not quite done with winter yet. My last few trips have been for walleye and whitefish but since I’m tired of getting skunked, I opted to chase rainbow trout. Although I like finding, and more importantly, eating walleye, trout are definitely my favorite species to fish for. Trout are considered a cold water species and because of that they remain active all winter long.

The weather forecasted a beautiful spring day with temperatures reaching 0 and hardly a breeze in the air. Atmospheric pressure had also been stable so I was expecting to find feeding fish. One of the great things about spring is that melting snow and ice introduces warm, re-oxygenated water back into the lake. This revitalized water brings life back to the shorelines and you can often find trout cruising along the shores in as little as a foot of water in search of food.

I parked the truck and started unloading my sled at 6:30am, just as the sun started coming up. I’ve always found the fishing at East Pit to be best early in the morning. As I made my way from the lot and up the trail, the overnight frost made my pull over the grass and gravel fairly easy. I enjoyed this reprieve as I knew it was going to be tough going once the ground had a chance to warm up and get muddy again. 

Once on the ice, travelling from spot to spot was as easy as it gets. There was no snow cover so dragging the sled couldn’t have been simpler. In fact, it was so smooth I wish I had brought skates. Since it was so easy to get around and considering how busy East Pit has been all year I decided to walk to the very west end of the Lake to see if the fish were any less pressured. 

Finally at the other side of the long narrow lake, I started drilling holes along the shores in 3-6’ of water. The shore’s of East Pit are quite steep all the way around so even though I was only a few feet from the shoreline, it can end up being quite deep.

The fishing action was hot from 7:30 am to about 11 am. I had so many bites on the JawJackers that I quickly lost count. I managed to land a number of trout but they were all in the 12-13 inch range. Each time I visited East Pit in the summer the shores were lined with anglers. There’s no doubt in my mind that the pressure this lake experienced had a big impact on the fish population. I don’t consider it bad though, the main reason trout stocking exists is to give anglers near urban areas a chance to catch and keep a few fish for the table. 

From 11 am on, the trout were non-existent. I maybe saw one other fish for the last few hours of the day. After moving around and drilling holes for a few hours I packed up and started for home. The end of the day also signified the end of my 2020/21 ice fishing trip. I can’t say I’ve had enough of ice, but I can hear open water and kayak fishing calling my name.

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