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SPRING SECRETS – Spawning Walleye

Nick 27 Walleye 6-3There’s a great reason to look forward to the spring with ice melting and rivers running. About 80 to 90 percent of the walleye across the country move from main lakes into the rivers to spawn. Unlike during the summer when trolling for big fish can be hit or miss, big walleye become more catchable when they migrate upstream with the masses.

These fish can often be monsters, which is exciting. You’ve got a better shot at the ten pounders as well as numbers of fish during the spring pre-spawn run.

Rain and melting snow will fill rivers at various times and produced strong current. Fast-moving water draws walleye upstream to spawning areas like a magnet.

The smaller part of the lake can also be a blessing because hills protect you from the cold winds that may continue to blow hard in late April and May when the spawn takes place.

As good as all that sounds, high water and spring fishing present their own problems. But, attention to detail and modifying presentations to meet conditions can overcome the obstacles.

Locating Fish
Finding walleye during the spawning run isn’t always easy. It may seem simple to look at a map and predict where walleye will spawn – on hard-bottom areas of gravel and sand as far upstream as they can go until it stops.

After laying their eggs, females start back to the main lake while males wait near spawning areas for late-arriving females. When convinced the spawning run is over, males head to normal areas too.  As a result, walleye are constantly on the move in the small part of the lake. Anglers must be, too, if they want a chance to connect with one of these monster walleye. Still, you’ll often see boats hovering at spots that produce for a while long after the bulk of the fish have passed by.

You really have to be mobile when it comes to fishing spring fish as they won’t hold in one area. That’s the problem. Many anglers get too hung up on one spot.  Do not overlook the seams of slower water where current from feeder creeks or inlets. Water can be clearer there, which is an important detail when high water can dirty the main section of the lake.

Run and gun until walleye are located. Spring fishing can often result in “pack fishing”, where several boats crowd onto the same spot. But, walleye will eventually respond to fishing pressure by moving away or shutting down their activity. Don’t be afraid to go your own way. Being a loner can pay big dividends.

LINDY MAX GAP JIGSpring Tactics
Anglers can often “over-think” their approach to fishing. Big catches can be had by using a keep-it-simple philosophy while paying attention to details that others overlook. A jig and minnow combination can accomplish the task of catching multiple fish while having a chance at the trophy we all like to brag about.

Vertical jigging while slipping with the current is an extremely productive and enjoyable technique. Instead of waiting for fish to come to you, you can go to them. You never know what’s in store for you.

While most people might stick with monofilament, try using 10 pound test (2 pound dia.) Power Pro braided line. This switch to braided line can transform your jig into an extra “eye” beneath the water. Its sensitivity telegraphs the type of bottom content that lies below, whether gravel, sand or mud. Its sensitivity also helps detect light bites common in cold water, an edge that can be critical when water is high. Power Pro’s thinner diameter cuts through the water and permits use of lighter jigs.

With fast-moving current, it can be important to fine-tune your presentation by adding a small number 12 barrel swivel in line to prevent line twist. If you don’t use a swivel, you’re likely to feel a “thump” and set the hook, only to miss the walleye. In that case, it’s likely the jig was spinning and the hook was pointed away at the crucial moment when the fish attacked the bait. A Lindy Max Gap jig, with its custom, super sharp hook, can also help you catch more fish.

From the barrel swivel, try adding a two-foot Gamma fluorocarbon leader to the lightest jig that will reach the bottom and allow you to stay vertical as the boat moves downstream with the current. If your bait isn’t on the bottom, you aren’t in the walleye’s strike zone. The angler in the back of the boat usually must step up a jig size or stay as close to the front of the boat as possible to stay on the bottom.

Color of your jig can always be a key factor. Think about how many times you’ve been in a pack of boats and everyone seems to be netting walleye. Then, suddenly, the action stops. The fish quit taking the Chartreuse or orange jigs that everyone is using. Most anglers will assume conditions changed and the bite is off. Or, the fish moved away. These anglers will stick with the same jig, stay in the same place and hope for the best. Make the assumption that the active fish have been caught. More walleye probably lurk below, but they are the more inactive ones. Rather than trying to trigger a feeding strike, try changing colors, change your jigging motion, and go for a reaction bite. Even try something off of your normal color chart.

It can be amazing that the simple things you can do that will make a difference. You might only get one or two more, but by the end of the day that can work out to a lot of fish.

Anglers often have one mind-set. If they aren’t catching fish on chartreuse, they often believe that the fish aren’t biting. But, change is big. Try using blue, pinks, purples’ just something different. Techni-Glo colors can be hot as well. Try adding a plastic body like a Munchies Thumpin’ Grub tail.

In addition, try switching your live bait choice from the standard minnow to a leech or half a night-crawler. This typically happens a little later in the spring and when temperatures warm up.

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Anglers also overlook the importance of scent, a factor that can be important when the water is cold. Jigs with hair, like Fuzz-E-Grubs, hold scent longer than jigs without it. There are a ton of commercial scent products to add to your jig.

Still not working? Fishermen also have the option of taking off the jig, adding a clip and snapping on a blade bait, like a Heddon Sonar. The vibration can help hungry fish locate it or trigger a reaction bite from inactive fish. Rip it hard three times and follow it down each time, then rip it half way and let it drop until it’s just off the bottom, then hold it there.

Anchors Away
High water can sometimes create boat control problems and springtime cold fronts can sometimes turn action sour. Anchoring can help.

3 WAYHave you gone back to the spot where slipping with jigs was producing for you the day before and you get stymied first thing in the morning? Did they move overnight or are they still there and just less interested than they were the day before? One way to find out is to anchor upstream from the spot and cast or work a Wolf River rig slowly on the bottom. Use a 3-way swivel with a short dropper and a sinker heavy enough to stay on bottom, a 3-foot leader to a simple hook, orange bead and a minnow. This can be a deadly technique during cold fronts on the river.

Instead of a 3-way, you can also use a jig as well, but use enough weight so the jig returns to the same exact spot every time you pump, pump, pump it so fast you wonder how a fish could hit it. The goal is to entice reaction bites. Follow the jig back down each time you snap it. Put your 3-way rig on the bottom and put the rod in a rod holder. Jig a jig on other rig ready to go. However, you are only permitted to have one rod fishing in Ontario.

The same tactic works if walleye simply moved closer to the bank on sharp turns to escape strong current. Some fish will go right into the trees, so position your boat right next to them and anchor.

After the walleye have spawned, food becomes more important as they begin moving back downstream to the main lake. As a result, walleye can be caught first thing in the morning by trolling crank baits on shallow flats. Don’t waste time. If they are there, you’ll catch them right away.

Capitalize on the action as long as it lasts. Boat traffic and sunlight will push them deeper soon.

Got cabin fever? Fishing is the cure.

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Pickled Northern Pike

Pickling is a quick, easy way to prepare northern pike for year-long enjoyment, particularly when accompanied by crackers, mustard and a strong  Ale.

Other fish can be used here, but pike works the best. Be sure to freeze the fillets to be used for a minimum of 5 days prior to pickling – this helps to kill cysts that may be present in the meat.

Pickled Pike Ingredients

5 pounds of pike, chunked
2.5 cups of canning salt
1 gallon of bottled water
1 quart distilled vinegar
5.5 cups of sugar
4 teaspoons pickling spice
1 cup dry white wine
1 onion cut into pieces

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In a plastic container dissolve the 2.5 cups of salt in the gallon of bottled water and add chunked fish. Refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours. Remove fish and rinse in cold water. Cover fish with white vinegar for 24 hours and refrigerate.

Remove fish from vinegar and pack in jars with pieces of onion. Cover with the following solution.

–1 quart distilled vinegar
–5 1/2 cups sugar
–4 teaspoons of pickling spice
–1 cup dry white wine

Bring all ingredients to a boil except the dry wine. When solution has cooled add the dry white wine and cover fish. Seal with lids that have been scalded. Refrigerate at least one week before eating.

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Early Spring Trophy Pike

Wawang pikeScouting for pike
Cattail bays may hold fish but last year’s weed is a better spawning habitat and more easily functions as a good place for pike to spread their eggs and offers a high degree of protection after the hatch has begun.

The ambient air and water temperature will dictate the degree of hunting that pike may pursue during the spawning phase. Experience has shown that a mid, to late afternoon bite is the norm in these very early seasonal conditions.

Scouting in the evenings or early morning pays dividends in huge pike. Map out several good bay’s and creek arms noting the best wind direction for fishing each individual area. Many times the wind will change direction cooling a bay and sending the pike off to hunt for warmer waters nearby.

By scanning the water you can actually see large black shadowy hunters slowly moving through the water!

Equipment options
For shore casting baits use the long  predator rod such as a St. Croix equipped with a good spinning or baitcast reel in order to make long cast’s with larger baits with relative ease and precision.

A favorite rod and reel is the 11 foot ABU Boron graphite ABS 110-3M 20-60g #3 F-11 (913971) rigged with a Shimano Baitrunner 6500 reel.

The long rod allows you to make effortless cast with float or slip rig and also aids in fighting a big fish from heavy cover or steering the fish away from big trouble like logs or brush.

The Shimano Baitrunner reel is a great tool for bait fishing situations. Well engineered with two separate smoothly operating individually adjustable drag systems. One is the main drag and the other a running drag designed to allow for a fish to take the bait with the least amount of resistance and run.

The running drag is adjustable and easily activated by a flick of a lever after you have made your cast.

After a strike and the fish is on the bait and into a run you simply begin the retrieve and this disengages the running drag while simultaneously engaging the main fighting drag.

Line choice is a personal preference thing, but as long as it is Berkley XT or Big Game, you should be all right. Abrasion resistance is the key factor to consider in your personal choice. A little stretch is a good thing on these bruiser pike, no stretch may lead to hooks pulling free on a thrashing head shake bank or boat side.

Rigging for bait pike

Mood dictates an appropriate presentation, and in this case bait choice too. Live baits do work well, such as 6-12″ white suckers, but dead baits offer more appeal to hungry cold pike.

Fresh water frozen smelt and herring has consistently proven to be the right bait under these conditions.

These oily baits secrete a scent trail that triggers a pike to feed readily when live bait is greatly restricted in appeal to action.

Since the water temperature is not far from freezing, action presentations is a low percentage game at this point in time.

In conditions were the temperature is rapidly and steadily rising crank baits such as:

  • Salmo Whitefish SW 13 SX BS
  • Salmo S-12 Sting
  • Count Down Rapala #11
  • Rapala Husky # 13 Jerk

Fan casting crankbaits over mud flats can be a very effective method of covering ground and locating active pike plus the action can turn explosive if the pike are on the feed.

An abundance of food may increase pike feeding activity but a glut of forage will often make bait sets a low percentage game becoming lost in the crowd of available food.

Slip Rigs
Two basic bait rigs work well under most pre-spawn conditions, the slip float rig, and the bottom slip rig. The slip float rig is much the same as others you may have used in past months while ice fishing. A float set to slide from the leader section to a point where a stop bead and slip knot has be placed allowing ease of casting and depth control. The big difference is size, these floats will need to suspend a bait that may exceed 1 ½ lb’s, such as a large sucker minnows.

The 6-8″ long 5/8″ diameter Styrofoam pencil style slip float is a good choice as it can be weighted to alow for differences in bait and can be pulled under with little effort thus not spooking a wise old pike.

“Thill” floats in the 4-6″ cigar style makes for an excellent choice in springtime conditions. They offer a high amount of buoyancy combines with a minimal overall size but yet enough weight to make casting less cumbersome in wind.

images514NWBCLAdding Flash
A crafty option that is new to the pike game is the addition of flash to a suspension rig above the bait to entice a pike into the bait offering hanging below.

One ideal flash rig is the Mack’s smile blade Flash Lite system. The Mack’s smile blade is innovative in that the construction of the blade is such as to be adjustable while extremely light in weight so it will turn emitting a flash in a 360 degree radius with as little as a ½ mile an hour push upon its reflective surfaces.

This can easily be achieved by the slightest wind or currents producing a bobbing motion to stimulate the Smile blade and trigger a pike.

The Flash Lite blades are rigged on a steal leader with a high quality snap on one end and an equally high quality swivel on the other. This can be easily added to a quick strike leader below a float to produce additional attraction and bite off protection when the need arises.

Individual blades can be pre-rigged on leaders if a more subtle flash is desired. Originally designed for trolling scenarios they are extremely effective with live and dead bait presentation.

Leaders
Leader choice for both the suspension rig and the bottom set rig should be constructed from quality leader materials; such as Bait Rig’s Quick Strike rig or a Titanium leader.

Longer the better is the thing to remember as bite offs and high abrasive conditions will raise havoc on the first 3 foot of leader or line above the bait itself.

Hooks
Quality hooks are a must, hooks such as Partridge Vb quick strike hooks, 6 o/t circle hooks and a stinger, or Excallaber treble hooks.

Preferred is the Partridge Vb.’s or the circle hook and a stinger as they will not harm a fish as much and a released fish shows less stress, wear, and tear.

Dead baits should be thawed prior to use or they tend to float up. On a bottom set rig frozen may be advantageous, but not so on a suspension rig.

Proper hook placement on these jumbo baits is crucial to insure a good hook up.

The head should be hanging downward on a suspension set. Place the first hook in the bait just above the tail and the bottom hook at the base of the head. A helpful hint is to carry a bag of small dental bands to aid in holding the bait to the wire leader while casting.

One band worked over the first hook and placed about midway between the first and second hook will greatly help prevent bait loss on long hard casts.

Bottom slip set rigs are much the same as the float rig with the addition of an egg weight just above the leader to hold the bait in position.

Welter Group

Spring proves to be very rewarding for the Welter group – first timers fishing Wawang Lake

Bait set placement
Putting this all together we know to look to creeks feeding into bays to locate pike. Look also for likely runs that hunting pike may follow with careful consideration given to inside corners and points.

Large mud bays are a crapshoot so just get the bait out there and see if they cruise on by. You can up your odds by studying our lake map carefully noting where creek channels brush up against shoreline areas, flooded timber, or brush.

Often these old creeks are like highways to pike moving in and out of bays, most certainly a high percentage area worth staking out and making a few sets.

Necked down areas funneling into creek runs is a choice location and should be sought out if available. Suspension rigs in these areas may be best run high off the bottom.

If the estimated depth of the creek is 8′ set the bait at 4′. Many of these huge old pike ride mid water column as they cruise the bays and channels.

A good plan is to mix it up, one high, one low, and be sure to experiment. This flexibility will pattern their preference much faster and up your odds considerably in landing that trophy pike of your dreams.

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Slot Size
The slot size for northern pike in Wawang Lake is:

  • All pike 27 ½” must be released back into the lake
  • Sportmen’s License: 4 northern (under our slot size) in possession at all times
  • Conservation License: 2 northern (under our slot size) in possession at all times

Guests are welcome to eat as many pike under our slot size while at the lodge and providing they are within their possession limit. Guests are also welcome to take their limits home as well.

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Walleye Lures and Baits

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

1 Dave

 

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. 

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How to HOOK a MINNOW

Many of you have probably fished for walleye using live minnows and found that they didn’t stay on the hook for long or died fairly quickly. Let’s see if we can fix these problems.

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SHARP HOOKS……
First of all you want to make sure the hooks that you are using are not too large for the minnow, and secondly, that they are sharp. A small hone or sometimes a good nail file will touch up the points on hooks enough to penetrate a minnow or a walleyes mouth without a problem. Placing the hook against the top of a fingernail will tell you if it is sharp. If it seems to stick to the nail under its own weight, then the hook is sharp. Hook sizes 2/0 3/0 and 4/0 are preferred choices.

SPINNER RIG, single hook……
182Spinner rigs can be used for live minnow presentation if you hook the minnow in the mouth, out through the gill and then turn the hook back around through the top of the minnows back just in front of the dorsal fin, but, be sure not to break the backbone of the minnow. This allows the minnow to look natural in the water and still get oxygen through the gills. When trolled or retrieved it will not be as apt to pull off the hook. Being in a natural position in the water the walleye have a better chance of taking it as part of its feed. Some make their own rigs for this type of fishing, use only one hook on the rig and experiment with different colored beads. A #5 blade is my choice to start with and if it works well, leave it, otherwise go to a bit larger blade. Use a different color bead at the hook, usually yellow or green.

castingThis seems to entice the walleye a little more and usually results in a good hook set. If the area you are fishing supports a good concentration of walleye, then try using a simple rig consisting of a small bell sinker on bottom ¼ or 3/8 oz. and two hooks set about eight inches apart on the line. Place the first hook within two inches of bottom and the second about eight inches above the first. Tip both with a medium size live minnow as suggested as above. Keep a snug line or use a float, but keep in mind that walleye will usually bite softly. A small amount of movement on the float or rod tip is your cue to set the hook. Do this by dropping the rod tip slightly and waiting for one more little tug on the line, then set the hook. This method works well from a boat while sitting over a hole inhabited by walleye. Also, you can practice a slow retrieve to cover just a bit more water.

Another productive method is to use only one hook and a live minnow, with a small sinker about one foot above the hook, allowing the minnow to float up, just off bottom. This is a favorite for just plain lazy cast and retrieve. Dont try to get too much distance on the cast as you will tear the minnow off the hook with the fast flicking motion of the rod. A slow retrieve works best and the minnow brings a lot of curious walleye to the bait.

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Slow down and enjoy……
Not everybody enjoys the hectic pace of covering an entire lake or at fast speed looking for constant action and throwing hooks at the rate of lightning flashes. So on your next trip out on the lake, slow down, relax and thoroughly enjoy the fishing time. That’s what it’s all about!

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The Traditional CANADIAN FISHING Shore Lunch

Do you dream of…

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The sizzle of fresh fish over an open fire at a shore lunch spot?  Or, the heart pounding excitement as the waters of a calm bay explodes with the first fish of the day?

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One of the highlights of your trip will be the traditional shore lunch served in the great Canadian Wilderness!   On many occasions throughout your trip your group will meet up with other party members for lunch. You will gather at a picturesque sight outcropping on one of the most famous lakes in Ontario –  Wawang Lake.

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The anticipation of a delectable lunch of fresh caught fish will having your mouth watering far in advance of the prepared food upon your plate.  Sit back, relax with a beverage, and enjoy the sights as you and the group prepare the most mouthwatering fresh food EVER!

Sometimes preparation of the shore lunch is interrupted by the excitement of a member of your party hooking into a lunker while casting from a boat anchored nearby .   Party members scramble for nets and plenty of advice is offered as the drama plays out!

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The traditional  shore lunch consists of potatoes, baked beans or corn, bread, and maybe even dessert, if there’s any room left in those bellies. The fish is normally fried in lard or liquid shortening; however, for the health conscience, you can use your own favorite oil.

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Don’t be afraid to streamline the batter or coating with some of your favorite spices. All in all it will be a outdoor dining experience that you aren’t likely to soon forget and eaten in the outdoors with a view to remember doesn’t get any better!

So is it any wonder that folks comment that the shore lunch was the best part of the trip they talk about most when they get home?  Good food and good friends in the most spectacular setting at Wawang Lake will implant a memory that will last forever!

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LATE SPRING-EARLY SUMMER WALLEYE

imagesCASP58SMOne of the biggest keys to finding late spring/early summer walleye on major lake is the presence of perch & Wawang Lake holds plenty of perch; especially smaller young-of-the-year ones. Walleye will key strongly on this perch forage throughout most of the season. Newly emerging weeds are amongst the strongest locations to find schools of small 3 to 4 inch perch. Find new weed beds on top of bars or in bays or even along flats and you’re bound to find both perch and walleye.

You’re bound to find the best weed growth initially along northern sections of any given body of water simply because they get more sunlight. Bays and cuts, protected from wind and wave action, which allows the water temps inside these spots to crank up far above that of the main lake, are apt to be the first spots to hold good weed growth and perch concentrations. In fact, the combination of warmer water and weeds is a sure winner in the early season.

Eventually, adjacent points outside warm bays with shallow tops will be the next hotspot, and seem to peak about the time that bays peter out. Mid lake spots with a shallow top and the right bottom content should be next in line to produce fresh new weed growth and attract a school of bite-sized perch. Sometimes, these mid lake spots will produce all summer long. And finally, southern locations that support weeds will sprout growth much later on.

The best way to find these weeds initially is to simply idle along a potential spot with a keen eye on your depth finder, as well as a periodic look over the side of the boat. If you spot short weed growth on your depth finder, or better yet, see weeds by peering into the water, throw out a marker buoy for a reference point. Then, let the area settle down for a few minutes while you set up to fish it. Of course, polarized sunglasses will further aid you in visual detection of the best weed clumps.

The best way to check weeds for walleyes initially is with a jig. use a simple jig baited with a plastic grub, but sometimes you might have to bait that jig with a minnow or leech in order to trigger finicky fish. Keep the jig light weight so it lands on top the weeds and doesn’t plummet into them. A 1/8 ounce version is most commonly used, although some like a 1/16 ouncer even better in real shallow weeds of 6 feet of water or less. Also, unless the walleye are running larger, above 20 inches, the smaller two inch grub tail is a better producer than the more commonly used three inch version.

IMG_2259_slip_bobber2Once you find and catch a walleye or two, the next approach is to pinpoint their precise location, and still fish the spot with slip bobber rigs. The advantage of slip bobber fishing at this point is it tends to disturb the area a lot less; resulting in a more prolonged bite – more fish caught before they spook. In other words, you’re apt to spook the fish after jigging a spot for a while since you’re going to tear up weeds. Also, the jig presentation is a more horizontal style that moves a bait in and out of the walleye’s lair quicker. That works on the hot fish, but not the spooky, less aggressive ones.

Once you notice a drop off in your action, stop jigging the spot, and “break out the bobs”; the slip bobs that is. Set your offering to hover inches above the weed tops, or alongside weed walls. Bait it up with a leech (or minnow) and pitch it into a likely spot. Check various spots along that weed patch until you score. Also, try experimenting with a variety of depth settings on your “slip bob” rigs until you find the magic depth number. Duplicate that, and you should be able to take a lot more fish from that weed patch before they quit all together.

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