Spring is now officially here. In reality, the arrival of Spring is highly variable across the prairie Provinces. Southern Alberta has anglers reaching for their rods and tackle boxes as seasons open up on some of the mountain streams while others will remain closed in May/June. Make sure you check your regulations for what waters are open. I have a number of flies and my fly rods at the ready to go join a buddy from Lethbridge and catch some fresh mountain trout in the foothills waters. As you move further east and north, most lakes are still covered with a health coat of ice but thin ice conditions in some southern zones are dangerous and in need of caution. I was fishing central Saskatchewan last week and buried the ice auger shaft at one point meaning the ice is still 3-1/2 feet thick. The later half of March is often the peak of the ice fishing bite. All the shacks should have been removed by now but portable huts are still usually permitted as long at they are removed when you leave the ice for the day.
Spring also brings the Snow Goose flock control exercises. March 15th is the season opening date in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, although you may not see any huntable flocks of snow geese until mid-April. Early season flocks of snow geese can be hunted in Alberta often as early as the beginning of April. Snow geese will rise and fall in latitude with the availability of large open water and food supply. Because flock sizes are typically in the 10’s of thousands, both of these need to be in large quantity or the birds will simply hold where the food and water is available. It’s not uncommon for birds to move north, even all the way to central Saskatchewan, then retreat to North Dakota if there is a significant early to mid April snow fall. Canada geese have been making their presence known in Central Saskatchewan for several weeks already, but in small flocks of 10 or less so open water can be sheet water in a field or a slough edge and food sources only need to support a few beaks, not thousands. of course, only snow geese (including Ross’s Geese) are legal to hunt in the Spring.
Bear seasons don’t open up until mid April so no need to get out the rifles and bows, unless you want to shoot some target practice.
Because of the highly variable conditions, Spring hunting and Spring fishing can be dangerous times of the year. So get out there, be careful, and enjoy the Prairie Outdoors.