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> Great Day of Pike Fishing on Balsam!
dmorrs35
Posted: Jan 19, 2022 - 08:34 pm


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Having a great season so far, a few buddies and I planned to continue having a great time on the ice on Saturday.

I headed out to Balsam lake where i accessed from my buddy's shorefront property.

5am, receive 3 texts from buddies saying "too cold today. im not going. if you are, good luck and stay warm. maybe next weekend"

head out from my house being careful not to wake my wife and drive over to my buddy's place.

parked the car on in his driveway and looked down at the car display "-27 better throw on a few layers"

i walked out to the target area in South Bay, and drilled 18 holes before i could pin-point the weedline and drop-off. set a tip-up a little bit back from the weedline with a frozen minnow from last year's season. drop my jigging bait 10 feet from tip up and start jigging furiously to ring em in. Marked my first fish around 7:15am. not a big mark but it flew off the bottom and crushed my jigging spoon. after a quick fight, released a small 10" walleye. and dropped back down. before it got to the bottom, it got crushed again. another 10" walleye released. changing baits to a slab grabber, the depthfinder lit up right away and after a few minutes, released a small 8" crappie. good start to today. tipup still taking a nap. drilled another hole on the weedline and reset the tipup on the weedline.

walleye and crappies disappeared as quickly as they came and the depthfinder went silent. changing baits to different colour and sizes of spoons, i finally start marking bigger marks at 10am. i look down the hole, and theres a decent pike or muskie starring at my spoon. turns away. another comes in, turns away. couple hours go by, moving my tip-up a few times, "maybe the cold front shut them down." noon rolls around, with a constant flow of pike/muskie rolling through to look and swim away. switched to a plastic jig with a small twister tail that i use for spring walleye. just about to drop it down the hole when my mom calls. "where are you are you outside!?" yes mom, im on balsam lake ice fishing! "YOURE NUTS!!! ITS FREEZING OUT!!! i hope you're warm..." conversation goes on about the goings ons *dingding* tip-up flys up. "Hold on mom, tipup went off!" nothing there. reset it, goes off again. nothing. reset it, and stays down for a bit.

"ok mom im back, so whats going on?" "well [your sister and brother-in-law] have covid, got it from [her daughter] and they are doing well" "GOT EM! hold on mom, pike just came out of nowhere and smashed my bait" quick fight, and a couple runs, i pull it through the ice. 24" pike. good eating size. placed it on the ice and dropped my bait back down the hole. jigjigjig BANG! another one no more than 30 seconds after the drop! another quick but violent fight, 25". few minutes go by and another smash. put this pike on the ice and drop down quick. another and another! 5 pike on the ice in a 30 minute span! all great fights! biggest being 26" smallest 23" pic 1

seeing its now 12:35, leaving the tip-up out, i filleted the pike right on the ice and separated the fillets into ziploc bags and the carcasses right into a garbage bag to put out on the curb for pick-up. 2:30, with a 45 min drive home and a quick grocery stop, "i got another 20 minutes to fish quickly" drop my bait down and gave it a couple big jigs and a few taps. dead stick for 10 seconds before beginning another large jig. at the top. my bait is only 2-3 feet below the ice, a fish flies right by, missing the bait. "thats the biggest one ive seen today!" keeping the bait no deeper then 5 feet below the ice. i see the fish turning back, taptaptap, charge! misses again! looking at the angle through the ice again, its turning back around. big jig, slow drop, SWIPE, misses a 3rd time!!! ITS TURNING BACK AROUND!!! big jig, jig jig. deadstick 2 seconds. taptaptap, jig, slow drop, SMASH! HOOK SET! GOT EM!

this pike starts thrashing hard, barrel rolling, and takes off, peeling line. bring it back to the hole as its thrashing even more. ZZZZZZZZZZ takes off for another run. 5 runs in total, as it is thrashing and thrashing and rolling non-stop. what a fight! this thing is going CRAZY!!! get it up to the hole, my line is wrapped around its gut. "OH NO! how am i going to get this thing out of the hole!?" took my hoodies off, rolled up the sleeve of my under shirt. shoved my arm through the hold and barely grabbed hold of its tail! pulled it through the hole. 31" pike and my biggest fish ive caught through the ice! (pic 2) quickly put it out for my limit, and filleted it. packed up the sled and took off to head home.

What a crazy day of pike action and awesome haul of an invasive species.

I have never eaten pike and was excited to try it! i fried up the backstrap of one of the pike in butter for dinner and it is definitely good eating. This morning before work, i fried up half the back strap of the 31" pike and made some breakfast potatoes (my morning being noon working night shifts) i didnt even eat the potatoes. I was stuffed! the rest of the fillets were freezer packed for later this summer as i welcome my first child in July and target muskies all summer and fall.

Last weekend beat down and released a ton of Largies, but this past weekend hammered the pike! every fish was a great fight and going to taste delicious in many different recipes.

Dmorrs

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dmorrs35
Posted: Jan 19, 2022 - 08:34 pm


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Pic 1

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dmorrs35
Posted: Jan 19, 2022 - 08:38 pm


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31"

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crappeeeman
Posted: Jan 19, 2022 - 10:30 pm


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That is just a great day on Balsam ice, really nice looking fish you caught. I have heard many people say the fishing is just average on Balsam, soft or hard water. Balsam is a incredible lake for fishing any season. My biggest crappie, walleye, muskie ,LM bass, SM bass, and rock bass were all caught on Balsam, as well as many, many big pike. The panfish fishing is great as well. I just gave a couple people directions to a few good spots on Balsam for ice fishing. Now we only fish the east side of the lake, never really needed to go any where else. Why waist fuel if you know where the fish should be. Just fish your spots, if the fish are hungry catch them, clean them, then eat them. Great Balsam report, good luck on your next ice adventure. Stay safe.

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EsoxWanderer
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 08:26 am


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Hey looks like an awesome day of fishing!

Those pike in the 30" range are underrated sport fish.

Though I'll confess the invasion of pike into the Kawarthas saddens me because of the musky impact.

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mamona
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 11:18 am


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What a report those pikes are just perfect eaters

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flexkk
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 12:06 pm


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Wow looks like a great outing. Those are some nice pike. We have a trailer on balsam and i spend a lot of time fishing the open water. This makes me want to take a trip out ice fishing as i usually go to simcoe or some northern lakes. Thanks for sharing your descriptive adventure

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Jerkbaiter
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 01:22 pm


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Great looking pikes and great report!
Never fished Balsam in winter and your report makes me wanna try it.

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bassmasterrr
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 03:13 pm


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Some good eats there ! Its too bad there’s so many pike on balsam now but it is what it is , keep your limit everytime if able. I just hope not too many incidental musky get caught in the process.

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Flukes
Posted: Jan 20, 2022 - 09:32 pm


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Nice going with getting onto some nice pike. Agree with bassmasterrr about keeping as many as the limits allow with invasive (to that lake that is) species. Pike can do a number on musky so good to keep them to help the musky out. Haven't fished Balsam since before pike started invading the lake so maybe it's time to try again someday. I fish Chemong and haven't heard of anyone getting pike but they are in some of the other Kawartha lakes so it's a matter of time I think.

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theskydiveguy
Posted: Jan 21, 2022 - 11:11 am


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Rice is full of them - although I couldn't get any to commit last week!

Nice fish!

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Flukes
Posted: Jan 21, 2022 - 01:27 pm


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Yeah, for sure they are in Rice. It's interesting to see how any invasive spreads into the other lakes. Just a matter of time. If anyone catches one in Chemong, please post....would love to know when it happens (or as close to it happening as possible) to see what happens to the species in there now. And if I am not wrong, I think black crappie are also invasive in most of the larger Kawartha lakes but they have been in there so long now that no one really sees them as invasives.

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Jerkbaiter
Posted: Jan 21, 2022 - 02:10 pm


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I have been catching pike in Balsam for at least 20 years now (I am keeping my limit if I catch them) but I am afraid it's too late to stop their spread now as they spawn earlier than muskies and more aggressive.

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Rook
Posted: Jan 24, 2022 - 01:49 pm


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Glad to know you did well and that Crappeeeman knows the east side. I tried the west side south of the park on the weekend with sort of the same techniques and nothing. I tried twice last winter and got skunked both times. Was pretty sure I was on the deep side of a weedline as well. May have to walk across the lake next time Rook

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Flukes
Posted: Jan 24, 2022 - 04:52 pm


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QUOTE (Jerkbaiter @ Jan 21, 2022 - 02:10 pm)
I have been catching pike in Balsam for at least 20 years now (I am keeping my limit if I catch them) but I am afraid it's too late  to stop their spread now as they spawn earlier than muskies and more aggressive.

JB, you may be right about it being too late to stop the pike. But maybe that is only because there is a limit on them. If they were considered "coarse" fish as pike once were in some of the tributaries of Lake Erie (I remember going dip-netting for pike in the spring down there when I was young because they were considered "coarse" fish) and they took the limits off them, the muskies may get a helping hand. It really makes you wonder, if they really want this invasive out of the system or not. If they really want to help the musky, then the rules aren't really doing a good job at getting rid of pike. Love to keep musky lakes, musky lakes but if that's too hard, then pike is a great eating fish as well as great sport fish too.

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Fishing Kawartha Lakes
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