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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Aside
The good old reliable spoon.  You may have one in your tackle box faded and worn over time.

The good old reliable spoon. You may have one in your tackle box faded and worn over time and possibly a little rusty after sitting in your tackle box for years.

The metal fishing spoon lure was believed to be first used back in the 1840’s. Spoons are a simple design, an oblong shape, concave on one side that catches water producing a wobble and light reflecting flash imitating a fleeing or crippled bait fish. Because spoons appeal mainly to the sense of sight they work best on clear or lightly stained water conditions.

The long standing popularity of spoons results from ease of use as a fish usually will hook itself when it grabs a spoon. Spoons work best for larger predators such as northern pike and walleye that are our main fish species on Wawang Lake. The action of a spoon is based on it’s shape and thickness. A long spoon will display a wider side to side wobble than a shorter spoon. A deep concave spoon will also produce a wider wobble than a flatter spoon. Thin spoons used for trolling have an erratic wobble compared to thick spoons but thick spoons have advantages as well, the extra weight casts better, sinks faster and will run deeper than thinner spoons.

There are five types of spoons:
Casting, trolling, weedless, jigging and the surface spoon.

Spoons are stamped, forged or molded from brass, copper, steel, lead, plastic or wood. Most are painted on one side with a polished metallic surface on at other side to reflect the sunlight making the spoon visible. Some spoons have a hammered or rippled finish that transmits light in multiple directions such as baitfish scales scatter light.

When casting or trolling a spoon the speed is critical for success, if fished too slow or too fast the spoon will not wobble properly, you should experiment to find the precise speed for each spoon to perform its best. When casting a spoon anglers will cast 10 to 20 feet beyond the area they believe the fish are and retrieve through the strike zone. For flat line trolling from behind a boat the speed and amount of line out should be the main consideration, as well as in using depth control rigging such as downriggers and dipsey divers.

rattle_spoon Rod Action with Spoons
Dependent on the species you’re targeting, small spoons for stream trout, larger spoons for bass, pike and salmon or vertical jigging for walleyes the preferred choice when casting/jigging spoons is a stiff tipped fast action rod. Ultra sensitive, soft action rods are not recommended as they do not telegraph the fish strike as quickly a fast action rod will accomplish. Your success in using spoons is to immediately set the hook upon feeling a fish bite.

Spoons & Leaders
Anglers using casting, weedless or trolling spoons should attach their lines via a leader with a ball bearing swivel and snap or a combination snap ball bearing swivel.This allows freedom of movement for the spoon and will keep the fishing line twist to a minimum. For surface and jigging spoons the best is to tie directly to the eyelet or snap. Both will work better without too much play at the lure line connection.

pike1Spoon Attractors
The main fish attracting component on a spoon is the flash, some spoons have additional attractors placed on the spoon or are added by the angler, they are: Clickers: Two small willow spinners on split rings located the end of spoon for vibration and noise. Flippers: A small oblong piece of plastic (red or yellow) for added color attached on the split ring and hook. Trailers: For added color and profile Feathers / Tied Tail / Soft Plastic or Pork Rind.

Spoon Colors
If you ever had the opportunity to open Grand Pa’s old metal tackle box it would be safe to say you would find quite a few of the traditional red and white casting spoons that where popular back in the 1940’s – 50’s. Following the same path as crank bait lure companies spoon manufactures have over the years introduced hundreds of new colors patterns and finishes using prism, holographic, glow and glitter all to enhance  vibrant colors and flash of spoons.

In selecting spoon colors to build your tackle assortment, the choices can be overwhelming but some colors have been tried and true over the years. For casting spoons in clear or slighty stained water the classic colors of red and white with nickel back, black and white with nickel back, yellow five of diamonds in red with brass back, and combinations of nickel/silver – gold/brass are your best bet. On stained or darker water use, firetiger with brass back or orange/yellow and nickel combinations.

For trolling spoons on Wawang Lake the universal best color is all silver or gold with including combinations of red/white, yellow or green hues to mimic the forage of perch or herring.  Listed below is a reference guide to help you identify the common types of spoons and how they are used:

Traditional Casting Spoons

CASTING

Stamped metal casting spoons are also known as Traditional or Canadian spoons. All display the distinctive back and forth wobble action as they run underwater based on their oval shaped cupped bodies. Casting spoon sizes range from ultra light 1/36 ounce for panfish up to over 3 ounces for big muskies, pike and lake trout. The most popular sizes are 1/4-3/4 ounce used for bass, walleyes and pike. All casting spoons have either a treble or a single (siwash) hook attached with a spilt ring which allows the hook to swing freely as the spoon wobbles.

Trolling Spoons

TROLLING
Trolling spoons are much thinner and lighter than casting spoons, a typical 3″ trolling spoon only weighs about a 1/8 ounce which makes them too light for casting.. They are designed to be fished using a depth control trolling system such as off a downrigger or diving plane. With the wide fluttering action they are an excellent lure choice for walleyes.

Weedless Spoons

WEEDLESS
When fishing in thick cover, aquatic weeds, wood and logs, you can’t beat using a weedless spoon to provoke a fish strike. Most feature a single hook design welded on the body with a wire guard to prevent most snags. Experiment with different retrieve methods. Try twitching and pausing letting the spoon settle into open holes. Or straight retrieve over and through the cover. Tip the hook with a trailer for added attraction using a soft plastic grub or pork rind. Weedless spoons come in 1/4 ounce up to 1-1/8 ounce.

Surface Spoons

SURFACE
When conditions are right during the summer months, large predator fish like pike will take refuge in thick cover. This is an ideal situation for using surface spoons. When cast over heavy matted vegetation the spoon floats with the hook riding upward avoiding being caught up on snags. Most surface spoons are made from plastic’s with a few in wood with having an added attractor, mainly rubber skirts. When fishing surface spoons point the rod tip directly at the spoon whether you’re retrieving straight or using a jerk pause method. Upon a fish strike, never set the hook until you feel the pressure of the fish, then set the hook. As with all surface lures fish have a tendency to miss the lure, keep the lure moving even if the fish misses usually they will come back to strike again.

Jigging Spoons

JIGGING
When you locate a deep water school of fish such as walleye on your electronics, one of the best presentations to reach them is vertically jigging. Jigging spoons are made of metal or tungsten, are flat, thick and heavy and flash when jigged. They are designed to get down quickly reaching the deep water holding fish. When fishing jigging spoons all of the action is applied by the angler using short jerks to encourage strikes, but keep in mind many strikes happen on the fall of the jigging spoon as well. Keep a watch on your line as it falls, if it stops or twitches set the hook. The best tackle for jigging spoons is low stretch line of 12-20 lbs with a medium to medium heavy fast action rod.

FISHING SPOONS

 

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The Spin Crazy Pike – When To Use Them

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43″ northern pike

The #5 Mepps’ steady throb pulsed through the 30-pound spiderwire, down the length of the medium/heavy-action graphite rod and directly into the anglers hand. Just as the lure reached the edge of the cabbage weeds, the blade’s thrum came to an abrupt halt.  He set the hook hard into what felt like a concrete wall! But then the wall began to move, and he knew it was into a trophy. Five minutes and four desperate boatside runs later, he boated the 20-pound northern pike.

images

Big pike LOVE spinners!

Weeds are the keys to spinning big pike crazy as these predators use vegetation to ambush any aquatic creature smaller than themselves.

The Baits

Spinner choices abound, but not all are created equal when it comes to enticing jumbo “scissorbills.” The angler should select certain sizes, shapes, and colors, over others.

imagesCAL1L4BOLesson No. 1 in choosing spinners for Esox lucius: bigger always is better. Pick magnum-sized offerings as even hammer-handles attack huge lures with abandon, and to catch true monsters, you MUST have that big profile.

Fat, deeply cupped blades throw out big vibrations that ring the dinner bell for monster pike. While sometimes thinner shaped blades (such as willow-leafs) that spin faster turn the trick; usually the slower-turning Colorado-type blades prove to be the ticket to a pike bonanza.

Because big flash stimulates lunkers, polished silver and gold blades work great.   Another killer color combo is orange blades with a black trailer.

 

 

In-Line vs. Offset Spinners

Spinners for northerns come in two basic designs, and both work effectively, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Terminator

Terminator

Rooster%20tail%201_18In-line spinners (such as Mepps, Worden’s Lures Rooster Tails, Panther Martin, and Blue Fox’s Vibrax), with their terminal trebles, have higher hook-up and catch rates than their safety-pin brethren, but they also hook vegetation and other underwater structure, too.

But lures such as Terminators and Stanley Jigs’ Rick Clunn 4-Blade Willow Spinnerbaits, with their single, upturned hooks surrounded by   manmade skirts, slither through the weeds, logs and stumps. In-lines also cast like bullets, while offsets can catch the wind and lose momentum.

 

Line, Leaders

Any of the new “super-lines” such as like Berkley FireLine, Spiderwire Fusion, or Remington’s Power-Lokt, are superior to monofilament for spinning pike angling. Their low stretch and high-abrasion resistance benefit pike anglers.

One suggestion is to flout convention and tie on a snap/swivel instead of a leader because leaders inhibit action and deter wary trophies, while the snap swivels provide two major benefits: quick lure changes and   eliminating/reducing line twist. True, you’ll lose lures to the razor-sharp choppers of aggressive mounters, but you’ll get lots more bites without leaders!

41.5" northern pike

41.5″ northern pike

Speed & Delivery

Often northerns will attack even jet-powered offerings, but slowing down, pausing, or herky-jerkying that spinner, especially when it reaches the “Pike Zone,” reaps big rewards. Even lazy fish will smash a spinnerbait dangled in front on their out-sized mouth.

Always cast beyond where you think the pike lurk, because while “scissorbills” are legendary for their aggressiveness, they don’t like being bombed. Landing a bait on top of one’s head will likely result in spooking it.

Spin-Crazy Times & Spots

Primetime for driving pike spin crazy depends upon the season, time of day, and prevailing weather conditions. Early spring, right  after ice out, brings spawned out northern pike shoreward (where they’re most  vulnerable). Spinner rigs elicit savage strikes from hungry pike during spring.

graph-weed-pikeINFS-110026-WEATH-05a

Because northerns sight-feed, mid-day piking makes sense.   Following that logic, clear, blue-sky days with lots of sun create perfect pike angling weather.

The spinner’s flash and large profile, easily visible to cruising whoppers, prove irresistible.


Look for inlets and concentrate your efforts just off the edges of weedy drop-offs. Weeds are the keys to spinning  big pike crazy, as these predators use vegetation to ambush any aquatic creature smaller than themselves. Position the boat on the deep side of the drop-off, and cast the spinner up onto the flat itself, cranking just fast   enough to keep the lure above the weeds, and pause when you get to the weed edge. Allow the bait to drift down and find the waiting lunkers, and hang on!

Using spinners to drive northern pike stir crazy is fun, easy, and productive.

 

 

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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.

catchIt 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.

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.

Wawang NEW Map

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.

Join us for some OUTSTANDING Fishing

AT  WAWANG LAKE RESORT

RESERVATIONS

RATES

 

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New Barbeque Deck for the Lodge Kitchen

Now we can keep from roasting inside the kitchen this summer and grill steaks and other meats/vegetables on the barbeque instead. This will be so much more pleasant for the kitchen staff!

BBQ2

SavedPicture-201372323368.jpg
NOW, onto the lodge (lakeside) DECK.  The one we’ve all been waiting for.  We’re starting small but the plans are for a large, multi-tiered, landscaped deck with walkways lined with bistro table sets, small garden ponds and gazebos  Project timline:  Four years

 

 

 

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LIKE Us on FACEBOOK & FOLLOW Our BLOG

Okay, only a few more LIKES and we’ll be drawing for our next FISHING TRIP giveaway. Once we reach 3000 likes we’ll draw for the WINNER. Let EVERYONE you know…….SHARE, SHARE, SHARE

Free Trip Collage

LIKE us on FACEBOOK. Once we reach that 3000 mark we’ll be drawing the winner for the FREE Fishing Trip for two people. Tell all your fishing buddies, friends, family and co-workers. They won’t want to miss out on their chance to WIN!


Join us for some OUTSTANDING Fishing

AT  WAWANG LAKE RESORT

RESERVATIONS

RATES

 

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Weather & Fishing

weatherThe earth consists of two pressurized environments (Air & Water). Sensible weather, the day-to-day weather that we experience everyday is one of many factors that affects fishing as well as our daily lives. Weather changes are caused by atmospheric changes in pressure (barometric pressure) driven by the fast moving river of air called the jet stream located at about 30,000 feet in the atmosphere!

A basic rule is that rising air (falling pressure) produces clouds and even the possibility of rain and snow. Sinking air (rising pressure) means clouds and precipitation development is suppressed, and usually brings clear skies and fair weather. Weather conditions do impact the catch rate indirectly of the species you are pursuing, and will depend on various interdependent factors such as: availability of fish, water depth, temperature, clarity, wind, and barometric pressure (The measurement of weight of the atmosphere above us)

Water Systems are pressurized environments. Water is much heavier than air. A cubic foot of air weighs 1/12 pound (lb). A cubic foot of fresh water weighs 62.4 lbs and a cubic foot of sea water weighs 64 lbs. Water pressure, like air pressure, is a function of weight; the deeper one goes the greater the surrounding water pressure. Therefore, the direct effects of changing barometric pressure (air) is greater on fresh shallow water species than deeper lakes or oceans where the depth of the water inhabited by deep water species makes the air pressure variations insignificant.

 

Air pressure and other variables:

imagesCAQSKW9DThe air that surrounds the earth is constantly placing pressure on the earth’s surface. As the jet stream drives the large areas of high and low pressure on the surface of the earth, these large pressure systems then in turn, drive the large-scale wind flows at the surface levels. As air inherently wants to move from higher to lower pressure (the reason why air wants to escape a bike tire and not vice versa) it will converge in a counter clockwise manner around low pressure, and diverge in a clockwise manner around high pressure. This is because the Earth is rotating and the Coriolis force (the deflection to the right of one’s motion on large special scales) results in the observed surface winds. These resulting surface wind flows create weather fronts, which are distinct boundaries from say cold-dry Canadian air, and warm-moist Gulf of Mexico air. There are three basic types of fronts: Cold, Warm, and Stationary.

Typically, low pressure is the “parent” system for these frontal systems, with cold fronts often extending from the center of low pressure and orientated to the south and west of the low center. Warm fronts often extend from the low center and are positioned to the east and north of the low center. When a warm front passes, pressure still tends to fall as the warm front is often out ahead of the low, meanwhile, when a cold front passes, pressure tends to rise because the low center has already passed, and high pressure is building. Understanding a front’s make up and the weather they bring is key to predicting weather events.

 

Cold Fronts: (High Pressure)

cold_front

As a cold front passes the air pressure tends to rise (air sinks) as colder and drier air typically resides behind a cold front, which is more dense than warm-moist air, this can be recognized by clearing skies after inclement weather. Also, you may notice strong northerly winds after a cold front passes. This is because of the clockwise wind flow around higher pressure, coupled with a large change in pressure between the relatively close area of lower pressure, and the impending area of higher pressure. These abrupt weather changes disturb the environment, and most game fish will seek deeper water and or cover becoming inactive. The cold front effect on fishing lasts 1-2 days before another front moves in or the weather stabilizes.

If your fishing in a cold front here’s a few suggestions: If possible fish small darker water located on the small section known as Small Wawang, and if fishing the clear, deep part of Wawang Lake then it’s advisable to go deeper than 25′. Live bait is the preferred choice with a slow presentation; vertical jigging or slip bobbers are the best. Fish near the bottom or in weeds, around cribs and rock piles. As cold fronts bring lower air temperatures reducing the water temperature fish during midday when the water is the warmest.

 

 

Warm Fronts: (Low Pressure)

imagesCANYF207When a warm front approaches the air pressure is low, warm, moist air is rising and moving counterclockwise toward the center, creating less pressure. Because of this, a barometer usually shows falling pressure as a storm system approaches. Fish sense the drop in air pressure and become active, some fishery biologists attribute the increase of feeding behavior from atmospheric reduction in pressure that affects their air bladder another opinion is fish use vision as a primary feeding sense, as a storm hits with heavy winds this churns the water making it cloudy and more difficult to feed.

Here are some fishing tips during a low-pressure front: Cloud cover and rain is associated with low-pressure fronts, these reduce sunlight causing fish to move higher in the water column. Use surface and shallow running lures over weed beds, weed edges, and over open water if schools of baitfish are found. Faster retrieves are recommended, as fish are active. If storms become intense with thunder and lighting fish will become less active or “spooked” by these conditions and move to deeper water. From a safety point you should never fish during a lighting storm. Lighting may strike many miles from the center of the storm. Take shelter upon an approaching storm fishing rods make ideal lighting conductors.

 

 

Stationary Fronts:imagesCAQ8FKX7

A stationary front is a weather boundary between two different air masses (fronts) in which neither is strong enough to replace the other. They tend to remain essentially in the same area for extended periods of time. A wide variety of weather can be found in a stationary front ranging from sunny and fair to cloudy and even prolonged rain. Stationary fronts can focus lift in the atmosphere and can actually help develop areas of low pressure along them. This process results in the stationary front morphing into a warm front on the east side of the newly developed low and a cold front on the west side. This means that even stationary fronts can change with time and should be monitored for future implications on your luck out on the water.

Fishing during a stationary front rates good to excellent. Barometric pressure remains stable for an extended period of time. Fish develop a comfort level and a feeding pattern. Find the pattern of the specie your pursuing and your catching fish. Most fishing presentations work during this period. Best Fishing Times (Solunar – Moon Phase Tables) are based on using stable weather conditions.

 

 

imagesCA38RWSQWind & Clouds:

As the wind related proverb says “When the wind is east the fish bite the least, when the wind is west the fish bite the best.” Wind is an influential factor in fishing behavior as it stirs the food chain, provides oxygen and cover from the sun with wave action. Constant wind blowing from the same direction over days will migrate game fish on the windy shoreline to feed on baitfish. Water temperatures will increase also as the surface water is pushed by the wind. This is especially helpful in Spring and Fall seasons as the angler seeks the warmest water. Westerly and Southern winds are proven to produce the best fishing results as the proverb states. Clouds and cloudy conditions have similar effects as wind by reducing sunlight on and near the surface. Light sensitive fish will become more active, a combination of light wind (chop) and cloud cover condition is excellent for surface lures.

 

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What’s the BIG Deal About Fishing?

walleyeIs 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.

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.

IMG_0004The 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.

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! Family Group - These are the moments to live by......

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41″ Trophy Northern Pike – RELEASED

Mike (of the King group) caught 6 trophy walleye (including a 30.25″) but he wanted to prove he was multifacited and latched onto this lovely 41″ gal!
What a nice release shot!

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FAMILY FUN!

What a great way to meet new friends and especially with the Nottestad Family!!  We had so much fun with all of them and it was a pleasure to have children visit us in Canada, who I might add were very polite and well-behaved.  Have a great rest of the summer Emilee, Shane, Dylan, Ty, Brody, Pam, Ken, Katie, Jackson, Bruce, Tiffany, Madeline and Ella!  We hope to see you all again soon!

The Nottestad Family Group

The Nottestad Family Group

 

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Jigging Up Walleye

Nice 27" walleye caught by Kevin during the week of July 13, 2013

Nice 27″ walleye caught by Kevin during the week of July 13, 2013

Walleyes are much harder to pattern in fall than in summer because most lakes stratify during the summer months, forming distinct temperature layers. The shallow water is usually too warm for walleyes and the deep water often lacks sufficient oxygen, so the walleyes hang out in the middle, where optimum temperature and oxygen levels exist. But that all changes in fall, when the temperature of the shallows drops to that of the depths and the entire lake circulates, resulting in adequate oxygen from top to bottom. Now the fish can go anywhere they want to find a meal.

On lakes with low water clarity, you can find fall walleyes only a few feet deep. At the same time, walleyes in a clear lake might be 40 feet deep or more.   No matter the depth, late summer and fall jigging can produce some of the year’s best walleye fishing, especially for trophy-caliber fish. Here’s a quick rundown of the equipment and techniques needed for success in both shallow and deep water.

Shallow-Water Jigging

Fall walleyes are in the shallows for only one reason: to eat. When you find them shallow, they’re aggressive and will often respond better to an intense jigging action than to a subtle one. That’s why rip-jigging (also known as snap-jigging) works so well.

WORK IT RIGHT: When rip-jigging, you work the jig with sharp jerks and then throw slack into the line so the jig plummets. The jig never hits bottom, however, because you make another jerk just before it touches.

Most rip-jigging is done as you slowly troll at about 1 mph, but you can also do it while drifting or still-fishing.

With a little practice, you’ll discover how hard to rip and how long to pause after throwing slack, so that you

keep the jig moving erratically while almost, but not quite, touching bottom. The most difficult aspect of rip-jigging is getting used to the fact that you might not feel the usual tap or twitch that signals a bite because of the slack in the line. It doesn’t really matter, though, because you’ll set the hook with the next rip.

Like any other fishing presentation, rip-jigging doesn’t work all the time. There will be days when the fish are in a less aggressive mood and prefer a slower, more subtle jigging action. Experiment with different motions and let the fish tell you what they want.

When the walleye are fussy, slowly drop your rod tip and let the jig fall back to the bottom and rest for a second or two. To catch these picky fish, I like to tip my jig with live bait, usually a minnow when the water is cold (less than 50º F or 10ºC), a leech when it’s tepid (52ºF to 68ºF or 11ºC to 20ºC) and half a crawler when it’s hot (warmer than 68ºF or 20ºC). But that rule is meant to be broken-bring all three baits and let the fish decide what they want to eat.

trilene xtGEAR: To snap the jig with minimal effort and take up slack line when setting the hook, you’ll need a fairly long rod. A 7-foot, fast-tip spinning outfit is ideal. Spool up with an abrasion-resistant line such as 8- to 10-pound-test Trilene XT. Lighter or softer line won’t stand up to the sharp ripping action. Even tough line might fray from abrasion on the guides, so it pays to check your line often and respool when necessary. Because you’re usually fishing depths of 10 feet or less, a 1/8-ounce jig should be sufficient, but if there’s a strong wind or heavy current, you might have to step up to a 1/4-ounce jig. Tip the jig with a 3- to 4-inch minnow and hook it through the mouth and out the top of the head.


Deepwater Jigging

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Once the lake de-stratifies and surface temperatures drop to around 50 degrees, baitfish will head to the warmth of deeper water, and walleyes will follow. In gin-clear lakes, you might find them as deep as 70 feet, but 30 to 45 feet is normal. Any kind of structure with a firm, rocky bottom might hold walleyes in late fall, but big, rocky main-lake humps offer your best fishing.

WORK IT RIGHT:  Rarely are walleyes super-aggressive in cold water, so a slow jigging presentation works best. A jig-minnow combo fished with short 2- to 4-inch hops will usually do the trick, but there are times when a slow drag with no hopping action is better.

Many anglers make the mistake of using a jig that’s too heavy. They’ll tie on a 3/4- to 1-ounce jig, thinking they need that much weight to get down in the deep water. But a heavy jig sinks too fast, resulting in fewer strikes. The idea is to use the lightest jig you can, taking into consideration water depth and wind conditions.

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In calm weather, a 1/4-ounce jig will easily get down to 35 feet, but on a windy day you’ll have to add another 1/8 to 1/4 ounce to stay down. When fishing deep water, it’s important to keep your line vertical. If you’re dragging too much line, you won’t feel the strikes.

GEAR:   A sensitive rod is a must for jigging deep water walleyes. I use a G.Loomis GLX 722, which has the extra-fast action necessary to detect the slight nudge that often signals a deep water walleye bite. Mono simply has too much stretch for fishing this deep; use no-stretch line, like 6- to 10-pound-test Fire line, to help you detect light bites and get a firm hook set. Splice on 10 feet of mono or fluorocarbon leader to reduce line visibility and dampen the sharp jigging action that you get with no-stretch line. Late-fall walleyes generally hold in tight schools and don’t move much, so once you find a pod of fish, chances are they’ll hang around that area through the rest of the fall.

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