The ice up in the Kirkland Lake district took forever to melt this year. Even in mid May there was ice on the lakes. I had tried to fish this Northern Ontario lake on two separate days, and I had no takers. I know there are A LOT of panfish and fat pike in this lake, but the water was ice-cold and water level was EXTREMELY high as compared to normal.

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Finally, I had to change my tactics and suddenly I was catching fish!

Enter Catch #1! I decided to fish the evening bite - I got out to the lake-side by 8pm, and the dusk light was already starting to show. Attentive views may recognize the plus-sized spinner that I have used. It is an old Rockstar spinner that I had kept in the box for this special occasion. Bright chartreuse colour on a slow, steady retrieve, in cold and stained water. Perfect combination. About 25" but he's a fatty - more than 3lbs.

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Then I landed a second pike just minutes after the first one, and was 23.5" and nearly 3lbs as well! The pair of these looked good enough to eat, so I did!
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The weather next day turned out to be pretty awful - spitting rain since noon, and thick and variable clouds rolling in constantly. Despite the cold water and lack of sun, I decided to get back out to the lakes to throw some lines. Turns out it was a great decision!
I had 7 or 8 hits in total and brought in 5 of them. Two of them were medium sized 20"+, and I used a FF favoured lure: #11 Rapala Clown X-rap.

Then I decided that the large lure was still too gawdy, and so I brought out my ultra-light for pike - just because I can. And it turned out well. I threw several lures - small 1/4 oz lipless rattle, 1/2oz @ 2" custom Rockstar spinner, and a #5 Mepps Agila. Ultra-light rod threw these lures out FAR out into the bay, and so I was able to cover a great amount of water. With such small lures, the medium to large sized pike often inhale them straight into the gills (which could be a bad thing if Catch and Release is your thing), but also meant that I didn't have to "set the hook" with a wimpy ultra-light. At the end of the day (which basically was because the rain was too much), I brought home 3 more pikes for the table.

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So the end moral of this story - cold, murky and high water does not mean lakes are un-fishable. Just have to change tactics - go out at dawn or dusk (because pike will be too lethargic and lazy when they sun themselves during the day), and use gawdy coloured lures, or, downsize to mini-sized lures. Always remember to slow down your retrieve, and use a slow and steady spinner, or long sweeping strokes on the plastic plugs.