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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year I was asked by my buddy Don Lamont of The Free Press to share my thoughts on the up and coming ice season. I stuck my neck out and predicted the east side would be best for numbers because of the dirty water from the Red's high flow. The dirty water back-eddy down the west side kept the zooplankton bite from distinctly setting up.

This year's situation is 2 fold. The Red ran high all summer and is just back to normal flows for the last 3 months or so. I am not sure if the west side is being still affected or if it has flushed out. If not the east side may shine at early ice. Hopefully it has cleared up, but there is another concern that I have.

I cannot remember the last time that Lake Winnipeg beaches went all summer without a beach closure for heavy Algae blooms or for whatever other reasons they closed the beaches for. I do not recall one closure in 2011 but maybe I missed one. I do recall seeing a picture of an algae stricken Patricia Beach last year and the same beach being pristine this year. It has to be because of the high flow all summer.

The south basin got a big flushing out. If this is the case I would think a lot of zooplankton and other minnow food also got flushed out as well. Without big pods of zooplankton the suspended bite may be marginal at best. The scenario may be scattered bait relating to bottom. The minnows will be scavenging anything they can off bottom as they need to continue to feed. A bunch of bait relating to bottom means they are spread out and moving along more quickly. It is not like they can set up on huge pods of zooplankton that only moves at the speed any current pushes it. With bait moving all the time it makes it more difficult knowing which way they went if they are not relating to zooplankton caught up in the back eddy's. We have been fortunate the last 5 years on being able to stay on top of fish. This year our work may be cut out for us. Fish could be vacating areas more quickly. It could also be a year where a little bit of structure saves the day. There are little patches of different stuff out there you just need to have put in some hours to have found it.

On another note with all the flow this year there must have been a lot of additional nutrient loading as well. Add another spring run-off to the equation and next year there could be some very serious blooms if water levels go back to normal. It could also be the biggest zooplankton producer of all time next summer.

As always when we make observations/predictions about fishing we risk being wrong. Just remember part of the fun in fishing is trying to make the best decisions we can. If you go home after a bad day of fishing just ask yourself if you think you made good decisions all day. After a good day of fishing ask yourself why you did so well. Recording dates, places, weather, and conditions such as ice thickness in a journal can help with any species you are after. When you talk to other angler's and they are telling you all about their day, sometimes you learn more by thinking about what they did not say........

Thanks for reading........
Roger Stearns.
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