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Don’t Overlook the Pike’s Reflexive Response

Wawang Lake 47" northern pike
Wawang Lake 47″ northern pike

Northern Pike are impulsive and will often at times strike through reflexive responses even when they’re not hungry or actively feeding. They are susceptible to being provoked into striking a fast moving lure that crosses their field of vision.

A favorite blue and silver Rapala Husky is a great lure to cast as far as you can with the wind, then proceed to retrieve the bait with a rapid crank, crank, crank, …pause, rip (and repeat) motion back to the boat. Soon by the second cast you’ll begin to see the fruits of your efforts.

Within an hour you’re sure to experience rewards with this frenzied cast and retrieve method of fishing. It is something many know and witness before but for whatever reason some anglers avoid this technique never fully understanding how powerful this approach really is . It’s only natural to fish more carefully when things turn slow and you may have to remind yourself to break out and try something loud, large and fast to get the fish to strike again. Take advantage of a fishes’ evolutionary response to strike reflexively the next time things get slow on the water. It’s sure to reawaken their feeding response and put more fish in the boat.

 

 

 

 

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Italian Style Walleye – Delizioso!

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Highly recommended – Give it a try!

Want a great tasting walleye dish that’s
quick and easy?

Well, you don’t want to miss trying this recipe.

This walleye dish is loaded with flavor
and sure to be a hit
with family and friends.

For groups large or small
you’ll be sure to impress them all!

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Walleye fillets (about 1 1/2-pounds)  (and white fish will do)

15 oz Tomato sauce

2 tb Fresh parsley, chopped

1 ts Italian seasoning

1/2 ts Dried basil

1/4 ts Salt

1/8 ts Pepper

4 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Place walleye in a greased shallow 3-quart or 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Combine tomato sauce, parsley, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper; pour over the fish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

ENJOY!

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Trish
Be sure to check out ‘wild game recipes on our
Hunting Blog:  ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Malcom Group – IL

Malcom
Malcom 2014 001

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Storlie Group – Doug-Jim-Al & Steve

Storlie Group – Doug-Jim-Al & Steve

Storlie-WawangLake

From a page in our testimonials book:
Storlie

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Walleye Lures – Use and Tips

Here is a good variety of some excellent and proven lures for catching walleye.

Rapala Flat Rap

rap flat rapBalsa wood construction

Flat-sided hard flashing action

Triangle lip enhances action

Slow-rising response on retrieve

VMC Black Nickel Hooks

At first glance you’ll see similarities between the Flat Rap and other members of Rapalas Rap lure family, but then you’ll notice the difference in the flat sides and triangle lip. Although the Flat Rap has a few different features from other Rap lures, its strike drawing power is right on par with the rest of the family. Made from balsa with a slow-rising response on retrieve pause, the Flat Rap swims with a hard-flashing modification of the classic Rapala “wounded-minnow” action. The Flat Raps triangle lip enhances action while letting it deflect of timber, rocks and other obstacles. Each Flat Rap is hand-tuned and tank-tested to ensure it embodies the fish-catching action Rapala is known for.

STORM ThunderStick with MadFlash
storm deep jointed

UV Bright or MadFlash finish

Original ThuderStick swimming actions and rattle

External scale pattern

3-D holographic eyes

The Original ThunderStick with the added appeal of STORMs brilliant MadFlash holographic or UV Bright finish and external scale patters for maximum flash. Just like the Original ThunderSticks, the ThunderStick with MadFlash delivers the same proven fish-catching action, integrated lip and high-volume rattles. Whether you cast, troll, twitch, rip or jerk the ThunderStick,it will produce the results youre after in most fishing situations. Complete Premium VMC hooks.

STORM Deep Jr. ThunderStick with MadFlash
storm deep jr

UV Bright or MadFlash finish

Original ThuderStick swimming actions and rattle

External scale pattern

3-D holographic eyes

STORMs Deep Jr. ThunderStick with MadFlash offers the same proven fish-catching action, integrated lip and high-volume rattles as their classic Original Deep Jr. ThunderStick stickbait, but with the addition of a stunning holographic MadFlash finish for maximum flash. Whether you cast, troll, twitch, rip or jerk the Deep Jr. ThunderStick with MadFlash, it will produce the results youre after in most fishing situations. Complete with premium VMC Barbarian hooks.

STORM Deep Jointed MinnowStick Model DJMS Minnow Lures

storm deep jointed

 

STORMs Deep Jointed MinnowStick Lures suspend, rattles and entices the strike with its hypnotic swimming action and lifelike external scale pattern with holographic body and eyes. When walleye are suspended deep, the Deep Jointed MinnowSticks attract like walleye magnets when cast or trolled. Red VMC Barbarian hooks. Dives 6-10.

Rapala Jointed Minnow
rap jointed minnow

Attention-getting, baitfish-in-distress action

Premium balsa wood construction

Articulated broken back design

Classic minnow profile

VMCBlack Nickel Hooks

Rapalas Jointed Minnows are the answer when fish are extra wary and water conditions are difficult. The Jointed Minnows unique body works to produce a livelier, attention-getting, baitfish-in-distress action that usually fits the bill when all other lures come up short. Well suited for super slow retrieves.


STORM WildEye Live Series Lures – Walleye

storm wildeyeNatural color patterns

Holographic WildEye

Rigged with a superior VMC needle-point hook and treble belly hook

Lifelike swimming action

Holographic swimmin flash foil

Strong soft body with internal lead head

STORMs WildEye Live Walleye is pre-rigged with a premium VMC needle-point hook and treble belly hook. The realistic walleye color pattern and body shape makes this lure irresistible and perfect for clear-water presentations.

So on your next fishing trip up to Wawang Lake drop a few of these lures in the tackle box.  You’re in for a BIG surprise!

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ON TARGET

Hosted by:  Trish Austin
Wawang Lake Resort

 
 

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Jigging For Pike In Spring

2014-08-30 04.28.02

Jigs catch just about anything that swims, but excel with certain fish – northern pike being one of them. Jigs are an excellent bait to work along the bottom when pike are shallow in spring. Here’s where to find spring pike and how to fool them with jigs at the start of the season.

Spawning Moves

Northern pike are considered a cool-water fish. Their mating ritual takes place immediately following ice out sometime between April and early May depending on latitude; the optimal temperature range for spawning is between 40- to 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring flooding and high-water levels contribute to pike spawning habitat. Typical zones include marshes, swollen creeks, back bays, sheltered shorelines, and flooded land. Pike prefer soft bottoms for spawning, such as sand or silt, mixed with new, emerging vegetation or plant debris, such as bulrushes.

basic jig

A basic jig and grub combination works well for shallow-water pike.
Knowing the location and timing of northern pike spawning will help you catch them come season opener. Fish will linger in the shallows in close proximity to these mating locales for a few weeks. They bask in the sun and are drawn to shallow, warming waters. Here, pike replenish their strength after the rigors of spawning while also taking advantage of various food items found in the “skinny” water.

Bays And Flats

The first few weeks of pike season, I concentrate my casting efforts on shallow-water regions. Protected bays off of rivers and lakes are one of my top spots. The best bays will be near spawning areas. Bays in front of a marsh or a feeder creek are classic early-season producers. Pike will recuperate in the bay after spawning in the flooded shallows. Northern may also hold on sand areas near shore or the bay’s entrance points. If the bay has a deep hole, pike will often station in it during foul, cold weather and at night. Shallow flats, between 6- and 12 feet deep will also hold northern.  Again, these areas are best when close to spawning grounds.

Jig Options

SBTJBSBlueShadSmall jigs work well this time of year. Pike don’t discriminate against little baits. I regularly catch northern when targeting other species, such as walleyes, using jigs. Spring is the time of year when 3- to 4-inch grubs, shads, and soft-plastic jerk baits on a 1/4-ounce jigs catch plenty of spring-time pike. Buck tail jigs with the same characteristics are just as deadly.
Be sure smaller-sized jigs have a strong hook. Thin wire hooks could bend under too much pressure when battling large pike. Also, a drop of high-strength glue applied to the jig collar before completely treading on the body holds plastics in place, preventing them from sliding down the hook shank.

Drag ‘Em

When pike are sluggish during early, cool mornings a drag-pause retrieve along soft-bottom areas works well. Sand and mud don’t hold many snags so maintaining bottom contact isn’t an issue. Dragging the bait also kicks up a silt trail, which often attracts pike. Pike eat anything appearing vulnerable. They feed on frogs burrowed in the mud, so dragging baits along soft bottom bays, flats, and shorelines is an excellent spring tactic.

Sight Fishing Tips

mallard-point-blog-02In spring, you can sight-fish pike in calm conditions. Toss jigs past the fish. Then work it into the strike zone. Hoping the jig might trigger a reaction strike, while in other situations pauses and jiggles are better for sluggish fish.

Always look for structure and cover. Sunken logs, small dips in the bottom, weed edges, and boulders all offer ambushing advantages. Cast jigs to these zones even if you don’t see pike near them. Last year during an early season outing in ripple-water conditions a friend of mine tossed his bait to what he thought was a log. Well the log had teeth and an appetite! It ended up being a decent pike worthy of a few photos.

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Deeper Water Holds Fish, Too

Don’t neglect slightly deeper water near spawning sites. Good zones are entrances to weedy bays and their bordering points.  Concentrate on areas up to about 15 feet deep around spawning sites. Cast jigs into the shallows and work them along bottom. Also count-down jigs, and then swim or hop them through the water column for cruising, active fish.

 

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Best Spring Jig Fishing Outfits

To cast light jigs at the start of the season, use either a medium-heavy spinning or bait cast rod as you’re rarely fishing near heavy weeds or wood cover. Going with a ultra-fast or fast-action rod ensures you can toss these jigs a considerable distance while maintaining accuracy for sight fishing scenarios. Be sure though the blank has plenty of backbone to muscle big pike. On my spring outfits, I use 30 to 40 pound test teamed with 9 to 12 inch, multi-strand wire leaders. Fluorocarbon leaders in the 60-pound range are also effective in clear-water scenarios, but check regularly for nicks that will weaken the leader material.

 

Hooking Followers

Pike often follow baits. The best scenario is spotting a fish a distance from the boat. If it looks aggressive, try speeding up the retrieve or adding some snaps. This imitates escape moves and sometimes triggers bites. If the fish appears lazy, slow the retrieve slightly. If working the bait along bottom, leave it still and work in short drags and pauses. If you spot a following pike close to the boat while your jig is traveling upwards, letting out line so the jig falls is your best option.

The Throw-Back Bait

If you’re not sure where the fish went, fan cast the area using a yo-yo swimming retrieve or work the bait along bottom. Pike that followed, but were uninterested in striking a fast-moving, horizontal presentations can often be fooled into biting a jig.
Spring is an exciting time to angle for pike. So try some different jig options this season to score plenty of fish at the start of the season.

Good luck on your next northern pike fishing trip!

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When Walleye Don’t Bite & Video

When They Just Won’t Bite

All of us have had tough days on the water – bad weather, equipment failure and fish that just refuse to bite. Walleye fishing is often a game of chance, and when these fish shut down, you’ll find yourself cursing all the way back to the lodge. There are a number of techniques and adaptations that anglers can use that can turn finicky fish into biters, and with practice and patience, you can turn that bad day into a good one, and fill that live well up to the limit in the process!

Weather Conditions
weather coming inWeather plays a very important role in walleye activity, and a lack of optimum conditions will usually result in a sub-par day. Due to their light-sensitive eyes, a walleye will be most active during overcast days. They will also be more likely to roam and feed while the wind is blowing, as this causes wave action that breaks up sun penetration.  Unfortunately for anglers, these variables are not always the most comfortable to fish in – they will, however, provide positive results.
If you happen to be out, and the sun is shining and the wind is still, what should you do to ensure that you get bit? If you happen to be fishing in the shallow section of the lake, then your best course of action is to search out the lushest, greenest weeds available and present a jig to the walleye that will be seeking shade and cover underneath. Slow, methodical lifts of a buck tail or twister tail will do the trick, and the addition of live bait may coax the inactive walleye to become more co-operative.
During very sunny days your best option is to fish deeper, while keying-in on productive structure areas. Searching out break lines and drop-offs and jigging the area thoroughly, or running a live-bait rig or bottom bouncer, will do the trick.   A key to remember is this – the more miserable the weather, the faster the retrieve.   Sunny, beautiful days call for a slower presentation and added searching to find those inactive fish.

Location
It is common knowledge that walleye are fish that relate to the bottom structure and will be found hugging the lower part of the water column the majority of the time. This is true in most cases, but there are times when walleye will suspend mid-way through the water column.
Walleye are feeding machines, and will follow baitfish when actively feeding. If the resident baitfish are ten feet from bottom, then the rapalaTrollsToMinnow_v1opportunistic walleye will be close at hand.

Experimentation is the key, and jigging a spoon (similar to ice fishing) at different depths, or trying different models of diving crank baits will connect you to fish quicker. Many of the better-quality fish finders will display baitfish schools on their screens. Some effective technique when   running the lake, is to throw out a marker buoy to mark the baitfish, then drift back over the area with the above mentioned lures. It is a different dimension to walleye angling that is worth trying when the fishing becomes fruitless.

Be Versatile
One of the biggest mistakes a walleye angler can make is to stick to a technique when it isn’t working. Changing things up are key to putting more fish in the boat, and essential in turning “sniffers” into “biters.”

When out on the water, make sure that you carry a large assortment of crank baits. Be sure to include different color combinations and in varying weights and sizes in order to test what the walleye wants that particular day. There have been days out on the water when the

only color that the walleye would show any interest in was red, and if you had the misfortune of not owning any cranks in that particular color, then your day could prove to be a disaster.
If there is more than one person in the boat while trolling, it is best to run completely opposite crank baits. Troll with different color combinations, shapes and sizes, in order to see what the fish prefer. If one angler has a run of two or more fish in a row, then you have stumbled upon a pattern, and at this point it is best to change over to match their lure.

Relying on live bait is not always the best option. Although many may believe this statement is false, there are times when live bait will hinder your fishing.  An example of this occurred during one season opener on the lake was with two fishing buddies and one was slow trolling a crank bait and a worm rig. Attached to the spinner rig was a fat, juicy night crawler. Although it was hooking into numerous perch, the walleye were just not co-operating.   The other person, on the other hand, had two fish in on the stringer already that was caught on the crank.   So the guy fishing with live bait did the unthinkable (to him) and removed the live bait while replacing it with a plastic worm in a motor oil color. Two trolling passes later and he had two nice sized walleye on the stringer as well.  They soon figured out what the walleye were looking for that day. Experiment with different lures and techniques until you find that one that works best under the conditions that you are faced with.

Walleye fishing is a tough game to play at times, yet the resourceful and smart angler will always figure the puzzle out. Pay attention to details while out on the water and don’t be afraid to try something new – the results might just surprise you!

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Hosted by:  Trish Austin Wawang Lake Resort

 
 

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