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Jigging For Weed Walleye with BUCKTAILS

 30.5 inch wawang lake walleye

When walleye head to the shade of the salad, or cruise along the edge of vegetation, a bucktail jig can be your greatest tool for seducing them to strike. Not only is the undulating hair a visual stimulant, but also the erratic cadence of the bait as it is ripped and jigged with vigor.  Working bucktails is a different game than with regular jigs, but the technique speaks for itself with the big results you’ll be rewarded with. A standard bucktail jig is comprised of a lead head, with layers of bucktail tied and glued to the collar of the bait. Strands of tinsel are often interwoven, adding an additional aspect in terms of visual attraction. When moving, the hair forms a streamlined body, replicating a baitfish perfectly.   At rest the hair fans out, adding a different dimension in terms of appearance.  In comparison to a jig and plastic, the bucktail is far superior in terms of weedlessness, making them an excellent choice when the cover becomes thick and the walleye go into hiding.

The   Laws of Rip Jigging

bucktailRip jigging is a specialized technique that can produce astounding results.   The premise is simple:  flip a bucktail jig out twenty feet or so.   Let it make contact with the bottom vegetation, then give a quick and sharp snap of the rod, breaking the jig free from the snag and sending it up and above the cover. Repeat process. Depending on the mood of the fish, rips can be positively violent or more controlled.   You will find that the warmer the weather, the more aggressive you can be. Walleye are an opportunistic feeder. They will conceal themselves in the thickest of   cover, waiting to ambush an unsuspecting baitfish as it swims by. Ripping a bucktail jig through the salad will easily get their attention (due to the   commotion it causes) and make them commit to the speedy meal before it gets away. Depending on the mood of the fish, they will either smack it as it breaks free from the green stuff, or rise to engulf it as it slowly falls back down. This is one technique that has worked well is the fall period. Fish will raise their activity level and feedbag at this time, and when the wind howls and the fish move shallow, you can definitely get into a bunch of them – BIG ones too! In terms of tipping options for rip jigging – go the route of none.   Minnows and worms won’t last long with the constant weed contact, and due to the speed of the retrieve (and split second reaction time),  it doesn’t makes much of a difference in terms of catch rates.

  Dunking For Fish

Although it may seem unsuitable dunking the weed pockets for walleye is a tried and true technique. Shallow water and expansive weed flats make up the playing field for this tactic, and a stout rod and bucktail jigs round out the arsenal. Pounding depths between four and 10-feet is your best option, and clear water is always your best bet. Work weed flats and clumps with the wind or an electric motor, lowering a heavy bucktail jig into every hole and edge you drift over.  Let it sink directly to bottom, and give it a few lifts and drops before moving on. (leave the bait in each hole for at least ten seconds before trying the next.) Walleye will situate themselves on these edges, both inside and out, pouncing on any bait that free falls into their lair. Visually, this is a fun and exciting tactic to employ, as most fish are actually observed sucking up the bait in the blink of an eye, and quickly charging back into the weeds! A lightening quick hook set and medium-heavy rod is recommended if you hope to put a net under the belly of any of them. Tipping your jig with a minnow or worm is an excellent choice for this short-line tactic, as the fish has more time to be convinced to strike, and scent can be a contributing factor for that.

 Walleye Wawang Lake

Swimming Them In

When walleye are scattered over weed flats, and the vegetation is low and uniform in height, swimming a bucktail jig back to the boat can be a hot ticket. The rules are simple: cast your bait out and start reeling in, keeping your jig just above the weeds, and imparting the odd lift or two into your retrieve. This will allow you to cover large areas of water, and help you pick off those fish that are actively cruising while feeding. Your presentation will resemble a minnow making its way along bottom, and an easy meal in the eyes of our yellow predator.

Top Ten Tips For Bucktail Fishing

1.  For clear water conditions, match the hatch when it comes to colour. Murky water requires brighter hues.
2.  Braided line gets the nod for working bucktails in the weeds.
3.  Check line regularly throughout the course of the day.
4.  Apply ample amounts of scent to the hair of the bait.
5.  Choose high quality jigs that sport strong and laser sharp hooks.
6.  In rough conditions, choose brighter colours that will aid in attracting fish better.
7.  Lighter jigs work better for swimming, while heavier jigs work best for ripping and dunking.
8.  Heavy equipment is key. This is no place for ultralight combos or low diameter line.
9.  Watch for line movement or “bumps.” This can often signal a fish.
10.  Take note of where fish are found. Then search for other areas on the lake that are similar in make up.

Contact us to book your next exciting walleye fishing trip!

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Proper Clothing Makes the Difference

Back at the landing and ready to head back to camp.

Back at the landing and ready to head back to camp.

Fishing certainly doesn’t have to be a fashion show, but the clothes you choose to wear can have a direct impact on your comfort level when out on the water. And in my mind, the more comfortable and relaxed you are, the greater your chances for finding fishing success.

ribcapHead Covering
The most important part of a fishing wardrobe has to be the hat. The reason for this is twofold — protection from the harmful rays of the sun and as a barrier to stop any blinding glare and reflection. With the cases of skin cancer rising rapidly, covering your head is your best defense to thwart it.

A stocking cap and thermal underwear are an excellent investment for cold-weather fishing.

Hats come in all shapes and sizes, although the most popular and obvious has to be the regular fishing cap. A ball cap will provide ample protection from the sun for the top of the head, while also covering the top half of the face. The downside to ball caps is the lack of protection offered for the ears and back of the neck — two prime spots that can get scorched by the sun.

For those looking for more protection, a switch to a cap with a convertible sun protector flap is a step in the right direction. These hats allow the angler to “roll” down a flap at the rear to nicely cover the neck and ear areas.  Another choice could be the good old ‘bucket hat’ that has grown quite popular over the past few years.

Not Any Old T-Shirt Will Do
Although a simple T-shirt is still a mainstay on many boats and waterways, many of the new shirts that have hit the marketplace offer additional value for the money. A favorite style of shirt to wear is a short sleeve, button down, with a collar to boot. These garments are light and breezy, allowing the body to stay cool during the hot days of summer, and some are built with a material that is designed to wick moisture away from the body. Some are also manufactured with a built-in vented cape back — this will allow the cool breezes to air condition the body.

Storing nail clippers, glasses, or a package of plastic tails is a cinch with these shirts, as many come standard with a variety of large Velcro or zippered pockets.

Newer to the market are shirts designed with built-in sun and insect repellent, an excellent choice for those that spend a great deal of time outdoors.

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Selecting A Sweatshirt
 One sweatshirt to be a mainstay on any boat would have to be the one that is commonly referred to as a “hoody.” These garments sport a large, cozy hood with drawstrings — a great addition for extra heat when blasting down the lake during the early mornings.

A “hoody” provides warmth on those cool days out on the water.  Most hooded sweatshirts also offer large pockets at the front, making them useful in terms of storing bits of tackle, or your chilly hands whilst your partner is driving the boat.  In terms of overall warmth and comfort, these sweat tops can’t be beat!

Covering Up The Bottom Half
When fishing during the warm, summer months, anglers are looking for lightweight garments that are cool and comfortable to wear. Whether it is shorts or pants, the features are interchangeable with one another.

For the best of both worlds, how about choosing a pair of pants that can be converted into shorts? This style is one of the most popular, and for good reason. There is no more struggling to change from your pants into shorts anymore, as this can be easily accomplished with a quick pull of the zipper. I have found these to be great for the chilly mornings (full pants), and equally good as the sun starts to heat things up (shorts).

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Most of these styles are lightweight and help dissipate body heat. When conditions are more inclement during the spring and fall seasons, a heavier and warmer pant is definitely needed. Some materials to keep an eye out for are 100 percent cotton or fleece. Both provide added warmth, and can be updated by wearing thermal underwear underneath.

Thermal Wear
Thermal underwear is one of life’s greatest inventions. This state of the art fabric has the capability to keep the body cool and dry on hot days, yet also warm and dry on cold days. The ability to wick moisture away from the skin will leave you feeling dry and refreshed, even on those days when you’re sweating up a storm.

They can be put to many uses, and you’ll find yourself slipping them on time and again whenever heading out the door. Depending on the severity of the weather, most thermal underwear can be purchased in a light, medium, or heavyweight fabrics.

Sheltering The Feet
Socks come in a wide range of fabrics, cuts, and styles. Depending on the season (or the weather conditions), you will either need a pair to keep you warm, or to keep you cool.

For maximum heat, nothing can beat an insulated wool sock. These will keep your feet feeling nice and warm, on even the most bitter cold of days.

When faced with summertime temperatures, a switch to a light and breathable pair would be your best bet. Most summer socks are blended from a selection of different fabrics, allowing the sock itself to wick moisture away, ultimately keeping your feet dry and comfortable all day long.

Whatever style you choose, keep an eye out for those offering a cushioned sole — these can be a godsend for those long days spent standing up in the boat.

Keep these clothing tips in mind when you plan your next fishing trip.

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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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Early Spring Pike Excitement!

English: Northern Pike - picture taken with So...

Trophy sized northern pike swim freely in Wawang Lake

Northern pike is a top predator in Wawang Lake, and, a favorite game fish for anglers to catch.  Nothing excites a pike fisherman more than the quick, sharp jerk of a lure and the zipping sound of their line unspooling as they chase one of those monsters of the deep! What many of you DON’T know is that early spring can yield some of the best success for catching some of the largest pike with the greatest of ease!

At any time of the year, pike can be found lurking awaiting an opportunist meal at any turn. Often times, anglers latch onto one of these ‘logs’ when in search of a walleye on Wawang Lake, but there are also the few dedicated, hardcores that scour the lake for hours at a time looking for that tape snapper!

Wawang is synonymous with trophy fish and tagging onto a 40″+ pike is commonplace for our guests but what most of them have yet to experience is the thrill of early spring pike hunting!

BOOK your Spring Pike Fishing trip today:  RESERVATIONS

Fishing pike in the early spring is a whole new experience as the pike have just finished their spawn and are coming off of a lethargic period of rest. Targeting them during this phase takes planning and a good grasp of your surroundings as they are often, but not always going to be isolated to shallow bays (contrary to popular belief!)

These fish are creatures of habit and during the spring often prefer the soft bottomed areas as opposed to the rocky depths. Rick’s Bay is one of our most productive areas during the whole season and spring will not disappoint but one spot that can often be overlooked would be Mud Bay in the southern most part of Little Wawang. This area is shallow and has a dark muddy bottom (clever name eh?).

Peter Welter from Colorado enjoys the spring pike fishing at Wawang Lake with many to his credit!

peter-welter
Mud bottomed water, followed by sand and finally rock, heat up to make a comfortable habitat for our vicious water wolves. Based on this rule, Wawang is comprised of countless opportunities to catch something jaw dropping at any moment.

BOOK your Spring Pike Fishing trip today:  RESERVATIONS

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As the ice melts and the water warms, the pike will be much more active but spooky and can often be found ‘on the move’ through the warmest regions. A properly presented bait is crucial to successful lure in your prey.
Casting to the edge of any covering as opposed to directly into it will yield the best results. A nice red and white daredevil in 1-1.25 oz correctly placed with the right action will send great distress vibration that will drag them from thier hiding and give you one heck of a fight!!

Make sure to analyze our map an acquaint yourself with all the great structured locations and mark the week of May 10th on your calendar as Wawang will be opening up one full week earlier exclusively for those die hard, northern hunters ONLY with a discount of 25% off per person – a treat for joining us!

For those of you looking for more “Wawang Specific” tricks for your trip at any time of the year be sure to read through our ‘Fishing Blog’ as we have many articles that are quite helpful on your next fishing trip up to Wawang!

Enjoy the excitement of fishing Wawang Lake rated #1 for the MOST Trophy Northern Pike OVER 40″ (with pictures to prove it!) by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters OFAH for 7 years straight!

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Broiled Walleye with Herbed Lemon Butter

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Nothing is better than catching fish all day on the lake and then thinking of how to prepare your fresh caught fish for the evening meal, once back at camp.


You’re in for a yummy treat with this fish dish for sure!

Ingredients:

4 pcs. 6/8 oz. portions fresh walleye (or pike) fillets (about 2#)
1/4 cup melted butter
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped parsely
1/4 t. dill, rosemary or marjoram, crumbled
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. coarsely ground pepper

Directions  first be sure to remove bones.

Line broiled pan with foil and place the fillets on the rack. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients and use to baste the fish. Place the broiler pan 4 inches from heat and broil, allowing 10 minutes cooking time per inch of thickness. Do not turn the fish. Baste several times during cooking. Makes 4 servings.

“No angler merely watches nature in a passive way.
He enters into its very existence.”

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Trolling the Right Way

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Trolling can be one of the most productive ways to scour a lake for fish. However, for those that believe it’s simply a matter of tossing out a lure and cranking up the motor, it can also be one of the worst.

Like everything in fishing, the art of trolling takes specific knowledge and techniques in order to catch our aquatic friends on a consistent basis. Adhere to the following fundamentals, and watch your trolling prowess grow in leaps and bounds.

SNaturalStructuretructure Is The Key
Although it is possible to catch fish by “blindly” trolling a lake, paying attention to certain structure areas is fundamental in finding real success. No matter what the specie of fish you are chasing, they all relate to change. Change can mean anything from open water turning into a weedline, humps and underwater saddles, points and islands, and certainly breaklines. Finding these fish magnets on your home lake, and fishing each one differently is the name of the game.

Experimenting when out trolling is the key to success. Zigzag patterns and S-turns vary the movement to your bait, while also attracting added attention from the fish below.

Weedlines
Weedlines are just as the name suggests — a distinct edge or line of vegetation that meets open water. Always troll parallel to the green stuff, following the distinct changes you’ll come across, and try to keep your lure within 10 feet of the edge at all times.

hump1Humps
“Underwater islands,” or humps as they are commonly referred to, are great for attracting and holding a variety of game fish.  Make trolling passes across and around the actual hump, starting with your first pass in deep water and progressively working shallower, until the final pass is directly over top of the hump itself.

Points, Islands
Both of these areas are dynamite trolling spots, but definitely come into their own during rough or windy conditions. Approach points by making a trolling pass directly in front of the tip itself, and also along both edges as it relates to the land structure. If the island you come across has a point, pay all of your attention to that structure area. Islands without points can be simply circled, starting in shallow water and working deeper, depending on the overall size of the island itself.

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Breaklines
Breaklines are one of the most prolific structure areas that cough up fish trolling on a consistent basis. What these areas represent are sudden depth changes such as 10 feet to 14 feet, or 18 feet to 24 feet. The key is to present your bait right on the breakline, always trolling parallel to the break and not across it.

Using Your Underwater Eyes
On-board electronics are a must for trolling, allowing an angler to see precisely what is below the boat at all times. Finding those subtle depth changes, locating schools of baitfish and their prey and staying right on the edge of a weedline is impossible without these digital dynamos.

Keep a close eye on your electronics for visible signs of baitfish or structure areas. Electronics are your underwater eyes for what lies beneath the surface.

Although fishfinders run the gamut in terms of price, even the most basic of units will greatly improve your trolling success.

Spend a day zipping up and down the lake while watching your screen, making a mental or physical note (preferably on a topographical map) of all the breaklines, points and humps you come across. Having this information at your disposal will make it as simple to come back later and fish these hotspots.

Another important tool for trolling is a GPS unit. Punching in the coordinates of things such as schools of baitfish, the precise spot an underwater hump is located and where the weedline starts and stops, allows you to come back time and time again to fish that exact same waypoint.

Here are 10 trolling tips to increase your chances when out on the water.

Ten Tips For Trolling Success

1. Experiment with lures. Try everything from shallow to deep divers until you connect with a fish.  Carry a large assortment of diving crankbaits. Different colors and lip lengths will add variety and different qualities to your arsenal.

2. Vary your speed. Constant speed can trigger fish, but changing your speed from faster to slower can result in a fishing frenzy.

3. Never troll in a straight line. Zigzag patterns, circles and L-patterns cause your lures to run at different speeds and in different directions — both excellent triggering factors for following fish.

4. Apply a scent product. Coating your bait with a commercial scent will leave a scent trail in the water, enabling fish to find your bait and strike it.

5. Run your lure at different lengths. The more calm the water, the longer your leader to your lure should be. This wisdom should also be applied when fishing shallow water.

6. Bump the bottom. Making contact with the bottom occasionally will stir up fish and entice them to strike. This is especially productive when targeting pike and walleye.

…….Use A Marker Buoy

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7. Use a marker buoy. Tossing out a marker when you connect with a fish, or when you find a productive hump, will allow you fish the area more thoroughly and will usually mean some extra fish.

8. Use an electric trolling motor. If the fish are extremely spooky, or the water is crystal clear, switch over to an electric trolling motor for a quiet and unobtrusive approach.

9. Use downriggers. For fishing deep water, or for fish that suspend deep, a downrigger can be the key to catching fish. Look for a small hand model that is easy to use and inexpensive.

10. Never give up. Although trolling can be boring and uneventful at times, for those anglers that adhere to these principles and put in the time, the rewards will outweigh the wait.

As you can see, trolling is a specialized and productive technique for connecting with fish. Follow these do’s and don’ts, and be content in knowing that the mighty “trolling gods” will always shine down on you!

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What’s the BIG Deal About Fishing?

Is there a better place than a lake to relax and clear your mind? I don’t think so.  When we fish, the world and our troubles just seem to melt away and give us a chance to reflect on family, friends and answers to our questions.walleye

A few weeks ago, I was enjoying that kind of tranquility while anchored on deep weedline point. It was classic early summer structure and the walleye were stacked up there as I happily caught and released them on virtually every cast. In my mind I kept telling myself “OK, just one more and then I’ll go.”

But you know how that goes… you get that “one more” and feel unwilling and unable to leave. So you repeat the pledge “OK, just one more and then I’ll go.” This got me to thinking: Why can’t I just leave? I’ve literally caught thousands of identical walleye in my life, but am powerless to the desire to catch another one. Why?

So I decided to stay there for a while and try and figure out why fishing is so addictive. The first addictive factor is the feeling of being out in nature. Even if the fish don’t cooperate on a particular day, it’s still great to be out on the water. Of course it’s a lot better if the fish ARE biting. But the smell of the water and sights and sounds of nature are always captivating. It never gets old.

The next thing I thought about is the allure of the underwater world. Hunting is intoxicating because you see your prey and go after it. Well, fishing is hunting too – but for prey that’s hidden beneath you in a mysterious underwater world. There’s something thrilling about the challenge of that. Using your wits to unravel a lake’s structure and find where the fish are; why they’re there; what their mood is; and figuring out the bait and presentation needed to catch them. Once that feeling of accomplishment gets in your veins, there’s no way to shut off the drive to do it again and again and again.

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The bite is something you get hooked on too. That simple, subtle feeling of a fish taking the bait is amazing. And bites come in so many styles. My favorite has to be the feeling of a walleye taking a jig on deep structure. But a close second is a topwater smash by the top predator – the northern pike. And let’s not forget the magic of a fish pulling down a bobber. The sight of that, especially with children, is something that keeps us coming back for more.  Adding to the allure of “the bite” is the element of the unknown. You never truly know what’s taking your bait. You could be trolling crankbaits for walleyes and catching ‘eye after ‘eye when suddenly it’s a monster northern pike that falls prey to the wobbling bait. Bonus!

Don’t get me started on the feeling of the fight! Having a strong fish at the end of your line is as good as it gets. It’s the reason I couldn’t bring myself to leave  that got me thinking about the addictiveness of fishing in the first place. And there’s something that happens with each and every fish that takes a lure. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each fish allows us to hone our hook-setting and fish-fighting skills. They’re critical skills for converting bites into fish in the boat. Becoming proficient hook-setters and fighters is extremely rewarding.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that another reason we fish is to satisfy our primal urge to put protein on the table. My family and I absolutely love to eat fish. There’s nothing as delicious and healthy on the planet in my opinion. OK, a moose backstrap comes close. But eating fish never gets old.

Which brings me to my final revelation about the magnetism of fishing… family. There are plenty of activities you can do with your parents, siblings, spouse and children. But nothing brings a family together like fishing does. So do yourself a favor: round up the fam and go get a fix of the finest, healthiest addiction a person can get… go fishing!

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