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WALLEYE – Lures & Baits

To get a fish to bite, you need to know how, where, whe­n, and what it eats.

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Walleye are most active in morning and evening. They feed on small yellow perch, small northern pike, lake herring, other small bait fish and you can often find them around schools of these smaller fish. They eat a lot, they’re aggressive, and they’re not picky, which is good news for you. Because walleye eat by sucking in water around their prey, you’ll probably want to try smaller bait.

Look for walleye around submerged rocks, weedy flats, bars or other underwater barriers in the lakes.  Wawang Lake is known for all these types of great structure.

Many predators like such obstructio­ns, which help them ambush their food. Walleye locate their prey by sight, which means you’re not likely to find them in sunny waters; they retreat coyly to the shadows or the darker depths, often in groups. walleye’s strong vision also means you’ll have better luck with brightly colored lures, and you might even want to experiment with different colors.

­In the case of walleye, to seek out their location, you’ll also need to consider the time of year. Walleye like water between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and they move to follow it. In spring and fall, you’ll find them in the shallows of lakes. In summer, they’ll be a bit deeper — though you’re not likely to find them in very deep waters (more than 50 feet).

Now that you know those basics, let’s find out how you can choose the right baits and lures.

Types of Walleye Fishing Lures

Nature-Jigs-1-WhiteLures are designed to mimic a fish’s natural prey, so think about­ walleye’s eating patterns and food. Lures that move quickly will attract these aggressive hunters. Additionally, lures should be similar in size to the smaller prey fish.

If you’re fishing with a jig head, choose the jig head based on water depth — the deeper the water, the heavier the head. For deeper walleye fishing, you’ll want a jig head of about ½ ounce. In shallower waters, you can go as light as a 1/8-ounce jig head. If conditions are rough or windy, a heavier jig can help.

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Depending on the time of year, you may want something that sticks close to the bottom, like a small but heavy jig (with a lead head) or a crank bait.   If you go with a crank bait, again, choose one that mimics walleye’s natural prey — narrow, and between three and five inches long.

In various fishing conditions, you might want to try:

  • High-action lures:  designed to go deep (especially in warmer months)
  • Crank baits:  such as shad raps, jointed shad raps, or glass shad raps (with built-in rattles)
  • A balsa lure: such as a rapala
  • Live bait jigs: (for casting or trolling at the beginning of the fall season)
  • A #3 or #4 spinner
  • Trolling crank baits with more subtle action (better for the colder months

Finally, you can key your color choice to the sort of water you’ll be fishing. Use brighter colors for weedy or muddy waters.

Obviously, your bait depends on your choice of lure, as well as the fishing conditions. Read on.

Types of Walleye Fishing Baits

182Remember that walleye’s behavior and location chan­ges seasonally — so, the b­ait that worked so well at the beginning of September might not be the best one for May. Come prepared to try a few different kinds of baits, and remember that every angler works by trial and error.

When the weather is cold, you may find the best results with live bait. In cold water, walleye are sluggish. The movement of live bait will likely be most effective at stimulating them to bite. Walleye are more aggressive in warmer weather, and that can sometimes let you get away with plastic bait, especially plastic worms.   But many anglers swear by minnows year-round.

If you’re using a live bait jig, try minnows, worms, leeches or red tail chub. With a spinner, try a piece of worm.

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One approach you may want to explore is coordinating your bait fish to whatever is schooling in the water. If you see a school of perch, for example, walleye are probably feeding close by, so use a perch colored lure tipped with live bait. Then let your jig drop a few feet at a time, the better to imitate the movement of the bait fish.   Obviously, this requires a bit more observation, flexibility and patience on your part. But isn’t that why you go fishing in the first place?

WEATHER TIP
Try to time your walleye fishing expedition so that it’s not coming right after a particularly cold snap. You can often have good luck during the turnover – the time when the weather is getting colder — because walleye follow their food into shallower waters, and often into less protected areas. But a particularly cold snap changes a lake’s temperature patterns so dramatically that it tends to put walleye into hiding until they’ve adjusted. Gradual changes are likely to offer better fishing

How To Cook Walleye
Now that you know how walleye eat, it’s time to learn how you can eat walleye. Walleye makes for a delicious meal, and depending on the preparation, it can be quite healthful as well. Try grilling walleye with fruit chutney, horseradish or pesto for a low-fat entrée. You can also bake, broil, fry, smoke or blacken walleye. Walleye is flavorful on its own, so you don’t need to do anything elaborate or complicated. Take a look at sites for walleye recipe suggestions — and don’t forget to clean the fish before cooking!

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Fishing Regulations: Ontario Zone 4

Fishing Regulations

Wawang Lake Resort is located in Ontario Fishing Zone 4

ZONE 4

Please Note:

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Walleye Fishing Regulations

  • Open Season Summer: 3rd Saturday in May to Dec. 31
  • Limit – Sport License: 4 in your possession
  • Limit – Conservation License: 2 in your possession
  • Size Restrictions: Only one greater than 18” and under 21”.  Anything over 21” has to be released back into Wawang Lake.

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Northern Pike Fishing Regulations

  • Open Season: Open all year
  • Limit – Sport License: 4 in your possession
  • Limit – Conservation License: 2 in your possession
  • Size Restrictions: Anything over 27.6” has to be returned back into the lake.

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Early Season Walleye Jigging Tactics

Jigging for Walleye

Using jigs can be very productive but too many anglers aren’t fishing them correctly. Just starters, understand that you won’t always feel the thump of a walleye when it strikes a jig.

TwoToneJigsGuys expect that sure bite or hit. Many times you don’t feel it. So often you  drop the jig down and it stops. Maybe you’ll just feel some extra weight.

Concentrate on your rod, and don’t wait too long to set the hook.

The right rod helps here. When jigging, use a 6-foot, 8-inch or 7-foot rod when jigging with a light-action and fast tip. This really helps increase the number of bites he detects, which translates into more fish.

Use a short shank jig for live bait and a long shank jig when combining that live bait with a dressing. The latter can be plastic, Gulp, or maribou. If you face a tougher bite, use less bulk and movement in the water. Don’t vibrate your offering as much. Listen to the fish to extrapolate their mood, then up size or downsize properly.

Under most conditions, avoid stinger hooks. If you’re missing strikes, however, and want to try a stinger, use it properly. Just let it free-fall behind the lure.4595-fireballs

You get fewer bites with a stinger, so if you’re missing fish, drop that rod tip first, and let them take it.

As for jigging actions, think beyond just lift-drop. That’s fine if it’s producing, but often just holding it at one depth, say 3 inches off bottom, is enough. Let that minnow work.

If you want to get creative, try quiver jigging (gyrating the rod ahead of the reel), snap-jigging, dragging, or just casting and retrieving jigs.

Also, use a heavy enough jig to contact bottom, but not so heavy that fish blow it out. Vertical jigging should offer just the right weight to tick the bottom.

And if you feel a bite, set the hook hard. Really swing that rod tip up.  Always tie your jigs directly to the line. Suspend it periodically out of the water and let it unravel to eliminate line twist and tangling.

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Trolling for Walleye

Scenario: Warm, misty overcast evening in August. Mid lake rock humps topping out in the 16 to 22 foot range.

 

Usually, by late August many walleyes in deep clear lakes begin to leave their summer home ranges,suspended over deep open water, and migrate onto nearby rock and gravel humps. More often than not, the best humps top off at a range near the lake’s thermocline. For example, if a lake typically thermoclines at 22 feet, humps in the 18 to 22 foot range are most apt to hold fish, while shallower cropping structures will be less productive.

When these mid lake humps are small, one can usually do quite well jig fishing them, but more so these humps tend to be large. This is when board trolling a spread of crawler harnessed spinner rigs anchored to bottom bouncing weights off planer boards is the key way to catch them.  The mid lake rock/gravel structure is very large with a number of smaller “spines” topping out in the 14 to 18 foot range; however, most of the rock/gravel structure is much deeper at 22 to 26 feet.
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The small spines are holding the fish, but they are somewhat difficult to stay on top of and pinpoint precisely in open water. This problem is easily solved by repeated trolling passes using this board/bottom bouncer/crawler harness system. Trolling ever so slowly, once any bottom contact is made, you can literally drag an armada of tempting tidbits across these spots and find these small groups of walleyes that are utilizing these spines.
imageThe rigging trick here is to set out just enough line below the planer board so it will catch, or better termed “tick”, the top of these spines, yet not get hung up. The best way to accomplish this is by staying as vertical as possible with your set up. Using a larger weight, in the 2 ounce class, in order to stay as vertical as possible, let out just a tad more line than the spine depth tops. For example, measuring out around 20 feet of line between board and the bottom bouncer (Rock Runner) weight is nearly a perfect setting for 16 to 18 foot humps. It might require a bit more line length in strong winds and big waves, but not in soft winds and slow trolls. Troll very slowly across these humps; just fast enough to activate the spinner and keep the spinner/crawler harness suspended off the bottom. Watch the board closely and you will notice when the Rock Runner weight is touching bottom. It will make the board bounce back. boardThis is a key time to watch for a strike. Strikes, by the way, will respond on the board by the board jerking back in a tug-like fashion. Within a few seconds, the weight of the fish will then start to drag the board out of its original position destroying its side ways angle, and placing it more directly behind the boat. Then, it’s simply a matter of crankin’ the fish in and re rigging.

Throwing a floating marker off a reef after a fish is caught is a good idea for reference, as is punching in the coordinates on your GPS system. As soon as I get a strike, before pulling the rod from the rod holder, I immediately reach for a floating marker and pitch it over the side. Also, on purpose, I’ll usually heave the marker just past the outside of the planer board that’s showing the strike. This places me as close to the exact location of the strike as possible. All return trolling passes can then be made precisely close by the actual spot where the strike occurred.
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Summer trolling reefs with bottom bouncers, spinner harnesses and a crawler rigged off planer boards is a super hot tactic. It is especially good over large mid lake reef structures that may be more difficult to fish by casting and jig fishing. At the very least, this system enables you to cover a great deal of water very efficiently, and quickly eliminates the dead sections of a large reef. You can then refish the spot more slowly with finesse jig fishing presentations if you wish.

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DEEP WATER WALLEYE FISHING

 

When you catch a big Walleye, big meaning over 6-pounds, there is a 95% chance that it’s a female. The big females generally only go into the shallows in the spring where they are up along the shore, in rivers or over sandbars, which are their favorite places to spawn. The smaller males seem to stay in the 2 to 15 foot range all year. The bigger females tend to go deeper then 15 feet. When fishing deep for big mid-summer Walleye fish between 20 and 40 feet deep.

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Check out the impressive slide show above:  Billy Hayes with trophy size walleye from 25″ to 30″ and all accomplished in one week of fishing at Wawang Lake.

Why do the big females go deep? There are several explanations depending on the size of the lake and how far north the lake is.

1) Bigger females have a larger air bladder, which makes them hyper sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure. Being deeper makes the adjustment a little easier when the weather changes.LOTM-rapala-ice-jig

2) Bigger females spend too much energy chasing small bait fish that are found in shallow water. The bigger bait fish that are found is shallow water like perch etc., are hard to swallow as they have defensive spins in their fins. Sucker Minnows, Whitefish, Lake Herring  are all found in abundance down deep AND this food source is abundant in Wawang Lake. They are easier to swallow and more rewarding when considering the amount of energy needed to catch them. These deep water bait fish, especially Whitefish, have more oil in their meat thus more calories.

3) A walleye metabolism speeds up in shallow warm water. As a result, the bigger they get, the more food they need to maintain their weight. If the food is not there, they go to deeper cold water so their metabolism slows down. The dangerous thing about this is there is a fine threshold between eating more or conserving energy. If a big Walleye gets to the point where they can not find enough food to maintain their weight, they do get smaller, then they die. As soon as a Walleye gets to the point where they are starting to weaken from lack of food energy, they do not have the energy to catch bait fish and starve to death.

4) In smaller northern lakes, there is a larger population of Pike regularly attack walleye and bigger slower moving females are an easy target. This is another reason why they go deep right after they spawn.

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Some Types of Lures to Use on the Big Lake:

When you are Walleye fishing on big water like Wawang Lake, the walleye tend to stay suspended along with the schools of bait fish. Lets say you were on a big  part of the lake, , the best thing to do is troll until you come across a deeper school of bait fish and then keep trolling over the bait school.

These schools of bait-fish can be 15 to 40 feet deep and the walleye will be there too. The most popular lures are the Rapala Husky Jerks and the Rattlin’ Fat Rap.

–> 10 to 20 feet deep – Regular Husky Jerks
–> 20 to 40 feet deep – Down Deep Husky Jerk or Down Deep Rattlin’ Fat Rap

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Just troll around and use your depth finder to spot schools of fish. To determine how deep you are, the Regular Husky Jerks go down about 1 foot for every 10 feet of line out. The Down Deep Rapalas go down about 3 feet for every 10 feet of line out. So using a Down Deep Rapala, getting down 30 feet deep means you need 100 feet of line out. This is just a general estimate. The speed of your troll will affect how deep the lures will go.

3-Way Swivel Rig:

 The best way to fish down deep for Walleye is with 10-pound test line and a 3-way swivel rig. This technique is also excellent for other fish that are right on bottom in the 20 to 60-feet of water.

You need 8 to 10 pound test because thicker line has too much friction with the water and it will be hard to find the bottom. You also need a 1-oz or 2-oz weight, a 3-way swivel and a lure that does not sink. Use an Original floating Rapala, Junior Thunderstick, Countdown Rapala or a worm harness with small spinner blades and a big fat worm. 

This rig is smaller than the standard type; You need a 3-foot lead line from the 3-way swivel to the sinker. Then you need a 5 or 6-foot lead line to your lure.  Get a strait slow troll going and slowly let out line until your sinker hits the bottom. Then reel up a foot and wait.. Keep those lines tight!

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Fishing Maps Is The Key to Success

No Other Resorts, Homes or Cottages on our 5,000 acre lake.

No Other Resorts, Homes or Cottages on our 5,000 acre lake.  This fishing giant is for our guests only!  Join us at Wawang Lake for some incredible fishing!

Catching fish starts with preparation! Yes, a big statement…but in the end successful anglers have discovered a tool more important than custom fishing rods,   “secret” lures or state of the art depthfinders. Preparation spent   studying quality contour fishing maps is always important. This time spent reading and learning from researched fishing maps is the most significant key to improving skills so fish are caught on most outings- for gamefish in our lake such as walleye and northern pike.

Wawang Lake - Spring Walleye FishingIt has been said before but deserves repeating. A quality fishing map has been compared to the pirate’s treasure map, leading us to the spot that yields our special prize…treasure in the form of the fish we want to catch. Good anglers take that next step in skill by challenging themselves with new waters – whether a family vacation to northern Ontario or serious fishing trip to Wawang Lake located in NW Ontario. And going to new water without studying the contour map is like going to fight a grizzly bear armed with a pen knife.In the last 30 years hydrographic maps (with contours) have come into their own as fishing equipment has moved through a sea change of technology – quality depthfinders, GPS, underwater cameras, along with huge   changes in rods, reels and terminal tackle. Much of the push has come from the incredible success of walleye tournaments and further enhanced recently by other fishing organizations promoting tournaments. While all of us can get swept up in the latest fad, lure or gadget, fishing maps and map books provide the basic knowledge for everyone -  from novice angler to the pro’s.Satellite mapping is now being used but remains limited because of the inability to “see” and map below the surface of stained water. New computer created mapping technology has enhanced accuracy, but  most fishing maps remain based on Ontario or Provincial efforts, which originally came about not for fishing but boat navigation.

A quality fishing maps  starts with the fundamental framework – an accurate representation of the lake outline and contours. Contours are no more than a series of NaturalStructurelines that depict the lake slope from the shoreline to the deepest basin.   With contours in place, quality fishing maps providing superb clues to fishing success – displaying submerged islands, reefs, humps, flats, elongated submerged   points, flats, and more. These basic components are loosely called “structure” – a term dear to the hearts of any fisherman – beginner to expert.

Each map – no matter whether detailed or hand- drawn will  have some form of legend and compass direction – the arrow pointing north.   The contour map is far from the whole story. Most lake maps get to the contour stage, including some of the newer computer generated on the market…but won’t take the next steps, which require research, study and   understanding of the relationship of fish to their environment throughout the seasons.  This fish migration of information that we’ve gathered for over 40 years has been detailed on our lake map specifically for our guests.

All of us quickly discover the fundamental law – no   “food” – no fish. With the sole exception of spawning, gamefish will always – and “always” is a strong word – be relating   to “groceries” and weedlines tend to be the most important attracting cover. Fish will never be far away from their next meal…except for the most unusual circumstances, not important to our discussion. The forage or prey ranges through the whole cycle – from   microscopic zooplankton for fingerlings to juvenile fish and large minnows for gamefish. All are available on the weedline cover and the legend of a good map must display the symbols of the three basic weed types.

verticalChanges in bottom  materials can be everything to fishing success. As anglers ourselves and host to many fishermen, we know where one component transitions to another is and where fish will be caught. The change from shoreline sand to gravel or gravel to broken rock, or sand to mid-basin muck, for example, creates edges attractive to all fish. Walleye will often move loosely along transition zones of gravel merging to broken rock or cobble. All pertinent bottom materials and shoreline structure is shown in detail on our lake map.

Let’s pause for just a moment. Everything said before   indicates that gamefish are creatures that relate to objects –   boulders on the lake bottom, humps, submerged points, weedlines, docks,  well you get the idea. Let’s think of “edge” as the key concept….fish relate to anything that provides an “edge” and all of these structure and cover elements provide something different…our “edge.”

With that said, contour lines are the tools that allow us to visualize the slope and shape of the lake bottom. To visualize we have to “see” below the two dimensional world of the lake surface. One must create a mental image of what lies below…the gradual slope that drops sharply to the lake bottom; a hump that rises from a bottom of 20 feet and tops out at 10 feet; the long underwater point that is shown by the contour lines, a lake hole surrounded by shallower Mark%20Courts%20-%20Shorline%20Jigdepths; an inside turn depicted by the contour lines, and so forth. For example, a submerged point – usually an important lake structure for a variety of gamefish – will appear as a series   of contour lines pointing away from the shore like a finger or knife blade.

Remember the basic rule   – the closer the contour lines the steeper the drop-off edge…or conversely the wider the interval the more gradual the slope…perhaps to even a region very flat. The numbers on the contours tell us the contour interval – if one line indicates five foot depths and the second line 10 feet, we have a five foot contour interval. This interval again helps develop the visualization of how steep the slope.

When a good fisherman sits down to study a fishing map, they are looking for those “edges” already mentioned.  An edge or change in bottom or cover (weeds, drowned wood, docks, etc.) will attract and hold fish for a number of reasons although the most important one usually revolves around attracting forage.   While looking at the contours try drawing the hump, inside turn, submerged point, basin hole, etc. depicted by the contour lines. This exercise really helps in learning the visualization process.

But a restrained comment about angler behavior is needed.  Pulling out a map book or fishing map while motoring away from the dock is too late…unless serious time has been spent studying the map to formulate a plan for fishing.   They will plan every detail, including favorite “secret” lures but not look at the map to formulate a game plan based on the basics – what species and what season.

Catch fish by solving the location puzzle. The basic parts are quite simple:

A. Study your favorite species seeking several answers. When do they spawn, what is their forage, what is the water temperature preferred, where are their locations on a seasonal basis. Significantly, where does your favorite species live in the   lake – weeds, drop-off edges, drowned wood, docks, cribs, deep underwater   points….well, you get the picture. Expert anglers are knowledgeable about the fish to be pursued.  It can’t be said more forcefully – know the habits of the fish you’re after.

B. Obtain a quality map book or fishing map that shows species and forage available and describes structure and cover (weeds, drowned wood, etc.)

C. Learn the map and mark areas to begin fishing…again based on where fish should be located based on the season – spring, summer, and fall. If provided marked fishing areas, fish them and add to the areas by marking the map with information important to you.

D. Seek information –   ask questions for the lodge host. Are the fish in the shallows yet? Is spawning complete? Are the walleye still relating to the shallow weedlines…or have they moved deeper yet? What are the lake levels….because if down 3 feet;   we have to be aware of possible “new” hazards because of the change in depth. Go over a map with the lodge personnel, asking good questions on location of your favorite fish.

New Wawang Lake Map2 (2)

A researched product -  map – is a library of information – far more than a mere depiction of contour lines. It starts with species…is there a good walleye population on this water.  Our fisheries is sustained by natural reproduction and YES, we do have a slot policy on the lake   What are the trends – is the fishery up, have   populations improved…or have changes occurred? What are the growth rates –   fast or slow. Each question answered opens the door to success – fish caught.

Successful anglers use a combination of tools for success. Obviously, a quality depthfinder is a must…as is learning to interpret what is being shown. However, knowledge about your favorite gamefish coupled with location details and the fishing map – is the real key to success. No secret lure, new rod or reel, or gadget can match knowing your fish and their aquatic world. The location question is easily solved when equipped with great information based on solid research and analysis.

We at Wawang Lake Resort believe our lake map provides the absolute best combination of years of researched fishing information with accurate details showing fish species migration for the different seasons and contour lines accurately showing depths that many fisherman have found to be quite helpful during their fishing trip.

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MORE BOTTOM BOUNCING TIPS

Bouncing – A Little Trick
RR-Slip-Bouncer-CardAs the water temperatures rise to (some of the highest levels of the year) the fish’s metabolism is really mounting and they will chase baits to a much greater degree than any other time. At this time you can really slam some nice fish and do it quickly. Add two 2 ounce bouncers and run a willow leaf blade. Here we are not going to worry too much about following contour but more relevantly described as being in a depth range. The reason fish are occupying more of the water column is because the temperature is more equally distributed. Some will be deep, some shallow and some in between.  Run this method in about ten feet of water. You are probably wondering about why so much weight, because you’re going to crank up the speed.   Remember that speed and weight determine line angle. We want to be able to feel the bottom and we don’t want to get hung up by having too much line angle. The fish will really hit on this type of presentation and you can nail some real beauties too.  Speed or the lack of it can provoke strikes.   In the summer, fast is better as a rule. The key here is speed, being relatively shallow (especially in stained water), and not worrying about the exact depth. You will be amazed on the amount of territory you can cover working your bouncer like this.

Bouncing – Another Trick
Target the fish that have laterally suspended off a hump. A fish has two choices when moving off a hump, move down or move out.   Most move out, rather than down. However most fisherman move down that could prove unproductive. This is regarding the deep water humps, something in the 20′ range for example. Anyway, when you are bouncing a hump or a shoreline and you come to the end or the drop off to deep water, just hold your bouncer at the same level you did when bouncing the hump and tool around out over deep water. You will be amazed at the fish you will catch suspended, they usually run fairly good size and hit like a ton of bricks. So just run right off the edge and hold the bouncer at the same level as the hump. Make a figure eight type of maneuver with your boat, and then go back on the hump and repeat. It is good to mark the edge of the drop off with a marker.


Bouncing – In the Spring
northland-fishing-a-bottom-bouncerSpringtime is a time of change from hard water to cold water to warmer water. At first when the water is very cold, just after ice out, the fish are deep because it is warmer and more consistent. However, as water warms as opener arrives, the eyes have moved shallow to eat, spawn, rest, and eat again.   Now in the early morning as the water has been cooling, they may be a little deeper, but as the sun warms it up they will be shallower.   What is shallow, this would be around ten feet to as little as six inches. Using bottom bouncers in the spring, it was the best way to find constantly moving fish.

Fish will hold to a spot as long as there is food. However, once that diminishes, they are on the move again. The best way to find them quickly is to pull a bouncer. Use Colorado’s (medium to small) for this. For weight, something in the 1 oz range works nice. Fish the flats and points and hit the bays, the shorelines between bays and key on fish holding spots. The main shorelines are the ticket as the off shore humps are not going yet. That happens a little later on. Once fish are found, you can crank them or jig them or just keep bouncing. This works so much better than randomly checking areas with a jig which is way just slow.   Use live bait the rest of the season as well. However, live bait is a personal preference and we don’t discount the successes of artificial baits. They all can work well. Leeches can be iffy in the early spring because they have a tendency to curl and a little trick is to step on them to make them run straight in the cold water. Minnows are great, use one hook snell’s with a stinger (if needed).

Late spring in Canada is June, which is summer in the lower 48 states. However, it still can be brisk up Ontario. Fish start along the shorelines and move to the center of the lake as the water warms up. So the first humps to get action are the ones closest to the main shorelines. Check these as the shoreline action begins to tail off. The water should be in the mid sixty degree range and the walleye will really be turned on.

Bouncing In the Summer
As the water warms up even more, and the water temp becomes more equal from surface down into the depths, the fish have more options for food and comfort, and safety of course. It is this time of year that the fish have moved to their summer haunts. The majority have now moved from the main lake shorelines and utilizing the off shore humps, flats and island shorelines. However, a few will still be along the main lake shorelines and bays.  Find the 20+ depths to be quite important at this time of year. Not to say that some won’t be shallower, but the bulk of the population will be deeper most of the time. However, it depends on the forage base. Walleye will be feeding on whatever is easiest, so if they are keying on shallow bait fish, then they will be 222Page2_GregHargraves_pitch-361x430shallow.  However, this is more of an exception then a rule.  Some years, a shallow bite will be stronger than other years, and some years it seems that they are all shallow. You can actually site fish them with cranks or light jigs. But once again, this is the exception. Work the main lake shorelines and off shore islands. Especially the ones with round rock about basketball size as opposed to hard granite shorelines. These round rock shorelines give the forage places to hide and the eyes are there –  looking for them. With a bouncer, you can quickly cover ground and locate the active fish. Then work that area. Speed can be increased as the fish are now willing to chase a bait, and it will trigger inactive fish in many cases. Speed will be more productive than going slow. Slow is for early season and late fall.

Flats – the Walleye Secret Structure
One of the most common areas that are almost completely overlooked by anglers are flats. One of the best spots can be a long flat surrounded by deep water. Sometimes they appear to be featureless, yet from the beginning of summer until fall, these spot hold an abundance of walleye. As an example check for islands that hold a lot of gulls.

Anyway spots like that can be very productive. There is almost always fish on them. Flats are never totally devoid of structure, they just look that way. But there are little depressions, troughs, a boulder here and there, maybe a clump of weeds. Usually soft bottom, they also hold all kinds of bugs and worms which the eyes will root out. Flats are easy to find, they are the areas on the map where the break lines are spread quite a bit a part as compared to the sharp breaks where the break lines are close together. Ideally fish flats in the 15-20 foot range. Once you find one of these flats, it is almost certain that you will have it all to yourself.

Now, how is a jig guy going to cover a flat?  He’s not. You might think that some anglers over doing the bottom bouncer presentation.   You are right, it’s the best search tool for walleye.  However, jigs, spinner rigs, and cranks all play apart in obtaining the best success. There is a time for each and fisherman who only fishes on way is only playing with half the cards and will be consistently out fished by a versatile angler who uses all methods.

 

Bouncing – When doesn’t it Work
Bottom bouncing will not work well when you are fishing very shallow or need a horizontal presentation. You are better off fishing with jigs or crank baits in those circumstances. Jigging can work better when the fish are tightly grouped on a piece of structure, like an inside turn for example. Of course, the bouncer is probably what found them for you to begin with. Bouncing is not the way to go on very small humps, however very small humps don’t hold many fish anyhow.

 
One might say that bouncing is about as exciting as watching ice melt. However, catching fish is very exciting and bouncing allows for catching.   It was very rewarding and makes a remarkable difference to any fishing trip.  Remember to be versatile, keep it simple, and have fun!

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Keeps away flies, wasps …

Zip Lock Baggies………..who knew?

We went to a restaurant and sat in the patio section. We happened to notice zip lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with… …water, each contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we were curious! The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again. And there were no flies in the eating area!

repellent
Below are comments on this fly control idea. I’m now a believer!

Zip-lock water bags: #1 Says: I tried the zip lock bag and pennies this weekend. I have a horse trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping. I put the baggies with pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer.The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but it does!

#2 Says:Fill a zip lock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away. Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and are threatened.

#3 Says:I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and basement. We saw these in Northeast Mo. at an Amish grocery store& have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection& won’t come around.

#4 Says:Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much perceived action. I moved to a rural area and thought these “hillbillies” were just yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn’t hang around long.

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ON TARGET

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Wawang Lake Resort

 

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About Wawang Lake

About

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No Other Resorts, Homes or Cottages on our lake - just us & YOU!  As a matter of fact our nearest neighbors are 28 miles south of us.  Our post office is further yet at 50 miles south of us.  So if you’re getting the impression we are secluded – you would be right.

Terry came to this magnificent area in 1969 and I soon followed a few years later.  One day he said to me, “We should build a resort’.  What he didn’t know about me and soon would learn is that when I have a goal – I’m determined to see it through.  So – Wawang Lake Resort is here today because of our efforts and shear determination –  it couldn’t fail.

Now let me tell you a little about our lake and our resort…….

Wawang Lake is a 5,000 acre spring fed lake with  miles of  irregular shoreline,  which offers  the fisherman great fish  habitat to explore, such as sandbars, shoals,  weed beds and  islands and many of these areas are adjacent to deep water making them attractive and popular fishing spots for both walleye and pike & perfect  for exciting  fishing for the fisherman.

Our  lake is  easy to navigate and offers a variety of lake structure that is excellent  for both walleye and northern pike and better yet it’s nearly stress free for mishaps for those that bring their own boats.

IMG_0037

We have seven cabins that have a spectacular view of our magnificent lake.  You  will  be sure  to enjoy the beauty  of our 1,500′ tropical like beach with gradual incline, and, the resort’s shoreline bottom is all sand for an afternoon swim or just relax tanning on the beach.  Our lake also has many other sand beaches that are  perfect for a private swim, or the traditional shore lunch.

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Upon your arrival we offer a detailed map of the lake and will highlight areas showing where the successful fishing has been prior to your arrival.   Our main objective for the angler is to catch fish.  Our main objective for the hunter is to be successful.New Wawang Lake Map2 (2)

 

Wawang Lake is well-known for its trophy sized walleye and northern and over the years has brought many great memories of the action and the numbers of these large fish have offered.  For instance, the largest walleye  caught & released was 37”  15 1/2 lb, and, the largest northern also caught & released was 52.5”  38 1/2 lb.  Guests have stated that they have caught and released many trophy fish during their stay in fact our records show that one guest caught over 40 trophy fish in three visits to Wawang Lake.  Nice!

20 x 24 (4)    48.5    26.25

 If you follow this blog you’ll find that the fishing is utterly spectacular.  So why pay for the expense of fly-out services, or, the longer trip of boat-in services when you can simply drive up to Wawang Lake Resort with the comfort of knowing that your vehicle is just outside your cabin door.

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Spring & Summer Mayfly Hatch

walleye teeth 2Take a close look at a walleye’s mouth and its teeth tell the story – they have evolved to feed on fish. Yet, walleye don’t survive on fish alone. Ever the opportunists, these marble-eyed predators will snatch up meals whenever they get the chance, and there are few underwater appetizers as easy for them to eat as may fly nymphs.

Mayfly nymphs are more than simple snacks for walleye. They’re a main component in walleye diets at certain times of the year. In the spring, gluttonous post-spawn walleye will cruise soft-bottom areas feeding on nymphs and in the summer walleye will target emerging nymphs during a hatch. To effectively catch walleye feeding on nymphs, anglers need to understand the predator-prey relationship between these two species. This includes where to locate nymph-eating ‘eyes and downsizing lures to imitate these immature may fly morsels.

The life cycle of mayflies is;  egg to nymph, followed by nymph to adult. A may fly spends the majority of its life as a nymph, also called larva. Classified as benthic (bottom dwelling) nymphinvertebrates, nymphs crawl along the bottom, hiding in debris and vegetation while some create burrows. Flats and bays with soft mud or silt bottoms are prime nymph habitat. Some nymphs live in deep water, but most stay shallow to soak up sun which is crucial for their growth.

In spring, maturing nymphs become active as they prepare to emerge from the water. Once conditions are right, mature nymphs swim to the surface or crawl on land, shedding their casings and molting into winged adults. As adults their lifespan is relatively short, with their sole purpose to mate before dying. As with any migration in nature, increased activity and concentrated numbers of organisms will attract predators. The mayfly-walleye relationship is no different.

may_fly_life_cycle

“Primarily the time of year when a fish like walleye zeros in on may fly nymphs is the early to late spring period when the organisms are emerging from the mud in fairly concentrated areas, especially the types that burrow into the substrate,” says the experts.

Given their post-spawn predisposition to binge-feeding, catching walleye targeting may fly nymphs can be easy – if you know where to look. The first step is finding soft-bottomed flats comprised of mud, sand and silt that hold may fly nymphs. Some sonars display soft-bottom areas as a thin line as mud or silt absorbs and scatters the sonar’s signals.

Once you’ve found some soft-bottom areas, fish those that are close to spawning areas first, as these spots are natural transition zones and resting points for recovering fish. Also consider the light preferences of walleye. Shaded flats or ones containing weeds and wood will hold walleye better than ones in sunlight and void of cover.

3fbabdf5_hooksSmall 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jigs in both dark and light colours can be deadly when walleye feed on nymphs during early spring. Try to make jigs mimic a nymph’s erratic movements during the retrieve. If casting, slowly crawl or subtly hop it along bottom. If vertical jigging, thump the jig in place to kick up debris. This tactic appeals to a walleye’s curiosity and can trigger hits.

Walleye often suck-in nymphs and hits can be subtle. Stay focused on watching your line for the slightest twitch indicating that a walleye has sucked in your bait. You need to set the hook immediately or the fish will blow the bait back out. You will often find that tipping the jig with a small piece of worm will entice more bites and gives you more time to set the hook, as the fish hangs on to the jig a little longer. A rod with a sensitive tip and low-stretch line will also help you detect hits.

If fishing slows, a slip bobber and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or leech can tease out a few hits. “After you cast out, let the jig and float settle for a few seconds and then slowly pull or reel in approximately three to four feet of line, then pause again.” Continue this style of retrieve until you have covered the area.

During spring feeding binges walleye are not as selective on baits matching-the-hatch as they in the summer. When spring fishing this season pay attention to water surface activity and look for isolated hatches. If near post-spawn staging areas, these spots might serve as feeding zones for recovering walleye. Fish them with jigs or slip bobbers and live bait.

Here is a good example of the rewards reaped when following a few
tips when fishing during a May-fly hatch.  The King group
caught 57 trophy sized walleye 25+ and boated 150+ fish per day.

8 Lake Map & Stats

In the summer, the early stages of a may fly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.

Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. “The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging may fly nymphs,” experts say. Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.  During the may fly hatch,  walleye are generally up shallower. You can catch walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.  When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes. Walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats!

Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. Bucktail or marabou jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Deadsticking a bucktail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

black bucktailWhen walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, ago-to bait is a bucktail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats aggressively jigs these baits.  This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the bucktail a life like appearance.

To fish hatches, start with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve. It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key. If these baits do not produce,  switch over to jigs. Swim jigs and  scale down to using two to three-inch grubs with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads. Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a may fly rig.

A more subtle variation of the may fly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of worm, anywhere from an half to two inches in size.

mayflyrigDragging may fly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable may fly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning may fly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Fishing, Mayfly, Walleye Fishing

 

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