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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weight Forward Jigs: WF

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Weight Forward Jigs, most commonly referred to as lead heads or ball jigs have been with us for decades.  These classic W.F. jigs are by far the most used and abused jig in the industry. A common error that anglers make is casting ball style jigs into weed, wood and rock structure, losing one jig after the other as if there were no better alternative. REMEMBER THIS:  Ball jigs are not designed for casting.  All W.F. jigs, including ball heads, power heads and the alike were designed to do one thing well and that’s vertical jigging. Granted, you can pound a nail with a screw driver, but using a ball jig for anything other than up and down is to severely limit your effectiveness as a jigger.

VertStandA personal favorite Weight Forward Jig is the Odd’Ball Jig from Bait Rigs Tackle Co. This performance W.F. jig has a counter balanced head that produces a unique teeter totter action when vertically jigged. Additionally, this head design will standup on bottom.  Some prefer a one, two punch of vertical jigging and a standup presentation over bottom.

Regardless of your choice of W.F. jig, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses inherent to this design. It is important to note that the major strength of W.F. jigs is that they hang in a horizontal position at rest. To gain a better picture in your mind see the illustration of the Odd’Ball Jig.  Note that the long portion of the hook shank will moddballartcome to rest in a horizontal position. This places the hook point in the ideal position for bait inhalation and hook setting. Conversely the W.F. jigs biggest weakness is that it plunges head first on the fall, placing the hook point in a vertical position. This is a very poor position for hook setting. What happen here is you feel the fish, he feels you, but you don’t have a good point of contact with the hook. The end result is you roll the jig in the fishes mouth and if your lucky, rip some lips on the way out. Unfortunately, as we all know, fish love to hit jigs on the fall and this is another major reason why W.F. jigs should be avoided for cast and retrieve presentations.

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Italian-Style Walleye

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Highly recommended – Give it a try!

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

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

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

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

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

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

15 oz Tomato sauce

2 tb Fresh parsley, chopped

1 ts Italian seasoning

1/2 ts Dried basil

1/4 ts Salt

1/8 ts Pepper

4 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded

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

ENJOY!

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Taking Orders – Wawang Apparel

GOOD NEWS!  After such a HUGE reponse from our Give-a-way on FACEBOOK, and, with so many requests to purchase our FishBum apparel line –  we now have these items online for sale.

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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Northern Pike, walleye, Walleye Fishing

 

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Trophy Walleye

       Diane Rohl – Buffalo, MN & Brenda Rundahl – Coon Valley, IA show just how it’s done.

All dedicated walleye anglers seek to catch a walleye over 10 lbs, considered by many as a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. To accomplish this challenge one must recognize the selection of waters that produce big walleye, using the proper fishing presentations and fishing the best times of the year which increase your chances of landing a trophy walleye.

The walleyes range from reservoirs in the South to abundant lakes and rivers in the North. In the South walleyes may reach 2-3 lbs in 3-4 years versus in northern waters where growth is slower and may take over 5 years to reach 2lbs. Walleyes in the North tend to have a much longer life span even though their growth rates are not as high as in the South, but the North still produces many more walleyes of 10lb plus.

Large walleyes are exceedingly cautious and wary, if they hear or feel anything unusual they stop feeding and head for deeper water. This why only 2 of 1000 walleyes reach this magic 10 pound size. Pro fishing guides know this and use big fish strategies that result in catching many huge walleyes annually.

Big Water Big Walleye:

When considering trophy walleye waters big is best, a large body of water (5000 acres+) is more likely to support big walleye populations than smaller lakes (500-1000 acres). Competition for food, living space and angling pressure reduces the possibility on smaller waters for walleyes to achieve trophy status.

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

Wawang Lake is a metropolis for HUGE Trophy sized walleye and swim freely in the 5,000+ acre giant.

Large lakes and flowages provide an abundance of usable forage (minnows, ciscoes & shad), open space and due to large size angling pressure is reduced.

Best Times to Catch Trophy Walleye:
There are four major periods during the year when the odds increase to catch a trophy walleye:

SPRINGPre Spawn: During the pre-spawn period, large numbers of big females stage into a relatively small area. Although they are not feeding aggressively, you may be able to catch a fish or two due to the sheer numbers present. The pre spawn bite is good until spawning begins.

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Sam Costanzo – Omaha, NE 29.5″ walley. One of many trophy fish that Sam caught over the years fishing Wawang Lake.

Post Spawn: A few weeks after spawning the big females recover from and start to bite again but finding them is difficult as they are scattered. You may catch an occasional large walleye, but seldom more than one. Your chances of finding a concentration of big walleyes are much better after they have settled into their typical deeper water summer locations. The best fishing begins about five to six weeks after spawning and generally lasts two to three weeks.

Catching massive walleyes in the spring is exhilarating with that cold water and extra fight.  The best  results over the years have been from two methods.  The first is crank baits – think rapallas and rattle traps. both casting and trolling often where the shallow water meets the deep. When you have some good action in a spot try a few casts with a rapallla towards deeper water.  The second method is to go big and go deep –  try 1/2oz to 1 oz jigs with large baits in 25 to 30 feet of water throw on big double tails of the largest rubber worms you got. Jig it and troll it 25-100 feet (make sure the depth is not more than about 35 feet) from where the break to deeper water is.

32.5 walleye

Jason Reber from Central Iowa caught this beautiful 32.5 walleye in late July on Wawang.

SUMMER

July and August walleye fishing when most trophy walleyes are caught. The transition happens sometime in early to mid July and depends on temperatures and weather patterns. In July the fish move to deeper waters 12-18 feet. Reefs and structure off shore and islands offer the best results. The walleyes are still in large schools at this time and may “come up to feed ” into shallower water at dusk. If its a windy day the fish may be pushed into shore on the windy side of a bay or deep on the calm side. Pink and white as well as gold and orange and chartreuse are the best colors. Jigging in the morning and evening and back trolling with spinners during the day. A depth finder can be helpful to stay on top of a school and to find the breaks and structure. We have depth finders available at the camp. On bright days on the main lake you can spot the walleye schools, so polarized sunglasses are a must. The biggest trophy walleye come off of big water on sharp cuts, sunken islands are best fished “on the cut” where the depth suddenly drops off. With the average depth of Sydney Lake being 65 feet there is lots of Walleye action at deeper levels too. Fishing humps that are 50 feet deep can often be filled with walleyes as well as Lake Trout. The best times of day to fish are mornings until about 1:00pm and evenings after 5:00pm. A good strategy is to fish mornings and evenings and relax or go swimming during the afternoon. It gets dark about 11:00 in early July and about 10:00 in late August.

FALL

Late-fall: Fishing is unpredictable, the toughest part is to locate the walleyes, but if you do find them a high percentage will be big. The majority of large walleyes caught in late fall are females. Their feeding for the development of eggs for the spring spawn, females must consume more food than males, up to six times more according to feeding studies.

In waters that stratify, after the fall turnover is completed. The depths are warmer than the shallows. Big walleyes may swim into shallow water for short feeding sprees in the evening, but during the day they may be found as deep as 50 feet. Although difficult to find, they form tight schools, so you may be able to catch several from the same area.

September Walleye Fishing is nearly the same as August with the fish Deep at 15-30+ feet and flats and narrows heat up. the chute through the islands to the south side is a great example. This is a narrows between 8 and 25 feet deep with deeper water on the south side. The walleyes sit on the flats on on the cut waiting for a meal. During the last week of September the Fall fishing is a blast with spots like this you can catch walleye, and you don’t even need to move 10 feet to catch them.

Mike Turner - Davenport, IA with a HUGH Walleye beauty caught in September on Wawang.

Mike Turner – Davenport, IA with a HUGH Walleye beauty caught in September on Wawang.

Fall fishing is a little different, follow these guidelines for maximum results. First get deep and on the bottom. the best average depth range is 18-25 feet. Drift slow or back troll slow. Slow moving targets are best. Pink and white 1/4-1/2 oz jigs and a good sensitivity rod. Lift your rod slowly when you feel a bite and give it a good tug to set the hook when you feel the weight of the fish is there. A depth finder can be helpful to spot areas with lots of fish – but don’t be fooled walleye often sit right on the bottom and might not register on your depth finder.

Winter

There is no winter pressure on Wawang Lake whatsoever.  This contributes to our fisheries management success and allows for our fish to rest & grow during the cold months providing a great fishing experience to our guests.  IMPORTANT:  The absence of winter pressure is important to any lake the holds an abundance of HUGE species in order to retain them.

Early Ice: First ice accounts for a major share of big walleyes caught. The best times are during the evening or early morning, just after the ice is safe enough for fishing.

Big walleyes will move shallow during this period hunting the baitfish populations that remain from summer time predation. This action occurs for only few weeks as the walleyes use the thin ice and shallow water to herd their prey. As the ice becomes thicker big walleyes will retreat to deeper water and become dormant as winter progresses.

Trophy Walleye Presentations:

Locating big walleyes is half the equation and other half is the proper fishing presentation. Here are a few tips to help you land big walleyes.

The first and most common mistake made by anglers is noise, whether it be dropping the anchor on top of the fish, running the outboard over the spot you wish to fish, dropping anything in the boat while fishing or drilling holes on the ice. For position fishing, idle or use an electric trolling motor past the spot you’re fishing and set your anchor at a distance, let the wind drift you over the spot. For trolling use inline planer boards that spread the fishing lines off to the side of your boat. Ice fishing, drill the holes an hour beforehand and let the spot rest. Remember large walleyes are exceedingly cautious and wary, if they hear or feel anything unusual they stop feeding and move.

imagesCAAALRUVMost often large female walleyes will relate to a piece of structure similar to the smaller males, but will hang 10 to 15 feet deeper this is attributed to a walleye’s increasing sensitivity to light as it grows older. In addition, bigger walleyes prefer cooler water, and they can usually find it by moving deeper.

Increase your chances for big walleyes by fishing in the shallows during low-light periods, especially in spring and fall. If the water is very clear, or if there is a great deal of boat traffic, big walleyes will feed almost exclusively at night. During the daytime they prefer relatively deep water, deeper than the areas where you typically find smaller walleye.

In deep northern lakes, the shallow water temperature stays cool enough for big walleyes through the summer. If the walleyes can find boulders or other shallow-water cover to provide shade from the sun they may spend the summer at depths of 10 feet or less. In these lakes, most anglers fish too deep.

Increase the size your live bait or lures, they maybe too small to interest a trophy walleye. Many times large walleyes are caught on musky/pike baits in the 6″ – 8″ range. Larger baits will draw far fewer strikes than small ones, and most anglers are not willing to fish all day for one or two opportunities. But if you are intent on catching a trophy that is the price you must pay.

Big walleyes are extremely cautious, especially in clear water. You don’t need to over-rig your set-up. They’re more likely to take a bait using a size 6 hook using 6-8lb test line than 12-17lb test with a 1/0 or bigger hook. A small hook will allow the walleye to swallow the bait without feeling anything unusual and will not pull-out or break. Most large walleyes are caught away from snags and take your time to bring the fish in allowing the rod, reel and drag to do it’s job.

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Driving on Gravel/Logging Roads

“The Graham Road up to Wawang Lake is made up of a finer gravel and the speed limit is 70 km/h, although remember that speed is for ideal conditions only. If it’s rainy or snowing or you just don’t feel comfortable, slow down.”

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Visibility can be an issue due to the dust clouds kicked up by yours and other vehicles although mornings, high humidity and rain will reduce dust dramatically.  The majority of the Graham Road up to our lodge has a dust control chemical put down which keeps the dust to a minimum.  Without that control, the dust can be as thick as fog. It can be difficult to drive through therefore it’s advisable to slow down and drive over to the right as far as the road will allow safely, without mishap.   Sometimes you need to put on your four-ways just so the other vehicles can see you coming.

u3ntitledFlying stones are another hazard to be aware of, especially if you don’t want to lose a headlight, or windshield. If there is a vehicle travelling in front of you, allow plenty of space between the vehicles. Because it takes longer to stop on gravel roads, and dust can impede your visibility, road safety experts suggest a minimum of six seconds of following distance instead of the three seconds usually recommended on paved roads.

The Graham Road is wide and built to government standards allowing for two-way traffic of large profile vehicles.  The road also has a shoulder but keep in mind that larger rocks, logs and other debris are pushed over to the edge and could pose a danger to tires if driven over.

The most important thing to keep in mind on gravel is: slow down. To avoid skidding, when accelerating or turning a corner, do so gently, and brake gradually when slowing down or stopping.  But what if you do begin to feel like you’re losing control?

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Diagram for single vehicle

It comes back to remaining calm. You want to have both hands on the wheel so you are in control of the vehicle. It’s normal for the vehicle to feel like it’s wandering slightly on gravel, but just don’t fight your vehicle – try not to over steer. If your vehicle does begin to skid, don’t hit the brakes. Take your foot off the accelerator and stay calm.

For a more comfortable ride it’s advisable to reduce the air in your tires.  Another important reason why to do this is to avoid flat tires.  Low pressure (softer tires) will roll over rocks and other small logging road debris easier without the mishap of a flat tire.  Normal paved road tire pressure isn’t as fogivable.

Remember, on the Graham Road you’re more likely to see wildlife so be ready for a close encounter along with an approaching vehicle or logging truck.  You’ll want to keep your camera ready because the wildlife our area itself has to offer can make your entire trip to the lodge a great memory.

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Tips For Buying A Fish Finder

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The game of fishing has embraced technology full-steam, turning the art of finding and catching fish into a modern-day science. High-tech electronics have replaced the, “that spot looks good over there,” mentality with the fish finder leading the way in terms of functionality and definite angler advantage.

The Nitty Gritty

A sonar works by sending out an electronic impulse from the unit to the transducer. This impulse is transmitted into a sound wave by the transducer, at which point it is beamed through the water column. The sound wave will now travel downward until it reaches the bottom structure — it is at this point that it will be bounced back to the receiving unit. The sound wave will also “travel” through any objects found between the lake bottom and surface of the water (fish or baitfish.) When the signal is received, the unit will then make its interpretations, finally showcasing the results on the screen.

There are ton of quality fish finders on the market — many at a very affordable price!

Power/Wattage

The power of a sonar unit is described in watts. The term “peak-to-peak” is used to describe the overall power of the transmitter. When dealing with fish finders, the higher the wattage, the more efficient and powerful the overall unit.              

The bare minimum peak-to-peak power would be 600 Watts, although 2,000 to 3,000 is certainly recommended for most anglers.

Pixels

Simply put, a pixel is a dot — on some fish finders. The screen is made up of a series of many dots, which in turn produce the picture or readout. The more pixels present on the screen, the better the picture will appear. 160 x160 pixels is the bare minimum when it comes to choosing a fish finder (that uses pixels). This will appear somewhat “blocky,” so going higher is recommended. 240 x 240 would be a great starting point, and if your wallet will allow you, keep going higher.

1354023211_459709656_1-New-Lowrance-HDS-Gen2-Touch-Fish-Finders-MorningsideTransducer

A transducer is the part of the unit that sends out sound waves in order to see what is below the surface of the water. When dealing with transducers, the most important aspect is cone angle. The wider the degree on the cone, the larger the view of what lies beneath you will receive.

Transducer cones can be purchased in ranges from 9 degrees upwards of 60 degrees, with most units falling somewhere between 16- and 20 degrees. In my mind, a cone of 20 degrees is a perfect starting point for anglers fishing a variety of water.

Frequencies also come into play with transducers. Most will come with 50-, 192- or 200-kHz, all in direct relation to the cone angle. The higher the frequency, the better the unit will perform in shallow water.

Another interesting aspect of transducers is the ability to have more than one cone transmitting from the same starting point. In other words, the standard transducer will have a single beam. Moving up the scale, you can then progress to a dual beam, triple, side beam, and so forth. What each of these does is cover more water — a very efficient option to have when scouring the lake for fish.

$(KGrHqRHJBIE7)0fnHpuBPHSQ+Rsrg~~_8Display Screens

There was time when black and white was the only option when it came to your fishfinder’s display screen. With the advent of new technology, color screens are bursting onto the market like wildfire. Although black and white will work for most anglers, color will give you a greater screen definition, making fish and structure literally pop out in different shades of color for easier identification.

Back Lit Display

For those that like to fish the graveyard shift, or anglers up before the sun, having a back lit background, making viewing possible under dark and non-existent light conditions.


Temperature, Speed, Distance

Although standard on some units in the market, many finders will offer these as options. For those that primarily troll, the speed and distance feature certainly is helpful.

Having a temperature gauge on board is extremely important for finding those warm waters, which are holding fish. (Keep in mind that this is only a surface reading, and not from deeper water.)

A fish finder will help you quickly find fish and increase your odds of hooking them

Portable Or Fixed?

Anglers have the option of purchasing a fish finder that will be affixed permanently to their craft, or one that can be taken in and out of the boat with ease.

For those that rent boats, ice fish, or go to places to “fly-in” fish, the portable option is one to look into.

Fixed fish finders certainly get the nod for boat owners, as they can be mounted in the exact position they desire. The transducer can also be attached to either the stern, trolling motor or hull — giving the angler many options. (Portable units often use a suction cup for attachment purposes.)

The GPS Option

With the advent of the GPS, anglers are finding many uses for this revolutionary technology. GPS or Global Positioning System uses satellite signals to pinpoint your exact location while out on the water. This feature allows you to mark productive spots, (and come back to them time and time again!), find your way back to shore in the case of an emergency, and also map out co-ordinates for your home lake through the use of mapping software. It’s a great feature to have on any fish finder you purchase!

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WALLEYE PATTERNS

27"

Steve King – Marion, IA 27″ walleye (Lots of BIG fish & action with the smaller fish)

To become an accomplished walleye angler, the first step is to understand the walleye behavior and seasonal movements in order to shorten the learning curve of where the walleyes will be. Take into consideration all factors, including type of water, weather conditions, time of year, water temperature, wind speed and direction, and time of day. Then choose the appropriate presentation suited to the habitat of feeding walleye. This is the process of developing a pattern, if the presentation you choose is not working but your marking fish on your graph or LCD try something different versus moving to another spot. Usually subtle changes in the presentation will make a big difference, suggestions such as down-sizing minnows or switching from a minnow to a leech, or a slip bobber to a jig and minnow, which allows the bait to hang in the feeding zone, all can change your success.

The topics listed below will help you understand many of the situations you may encounter when fishing for the elusive walleye.

Pre Spawn & Spawning Walleyes:

Almost all Ontario inland waters are closed for the walleye spawning season with the exception of some rivers systems. During this period fishing for walleyes can be the best or worst with the critical factor being the weather. Stable weather for a few days with any increase in water temperature, even a degree or two, can trigger active walleyes to bite. But if a cold front moves in dropping the water temperature this will have the opposite effect and shut down the bite. If you’re walleye fishing during the spring season your best bet is in the afternoon when the water temperature is at the highest point for the day.

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Kevin Makinster – Marion, IA 25″ walleye (great fishing at Wawang Lake)

In the early period of the spawn walleyes will stage off spawning areas in deeper water (15 feet plus), and because of the cold temperatures will not be aggressively feeding. You can still catch them by using slow vertical presentations such as jig and minnow or a vibrating blade lure, the key again is very slow and vertical. Later in the spawning period they will move more actively towards the shallow gravel areas, if the water is muddy or dark they can be in water as shallow as 2-3 feet even during the day. For very shallow water try using a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a small fathead minnow or a number 5 floating Rapala.  For best results these presentations should be twitched or retrieved slowly.  Little Joe spinner rigs very well too with a minnow or leech.

During the pre-spawn and spawn your will catch will be mostly all small males, the big females will not bite once they start to spawn but all of them do not spawn at once. Those that have not started to spawn can still be caught, but as the spawning period progresses fishing for females is a waste of time. However, females that have spawned early will recover and begin to feed. Each body of water system has different spawning cycles, stream based walleye spawn first then shoreline and finally shallow reef walleyes spawn last. Knowing this will allow early season walleye anglers to move to different areas or a new lake where the timing of the spawn has not occurred, completed or is in the process.

Spawning Temperatures:

The spawning migration of walleye begins soon after the ice goes out, at water temperatures of 38-44ºF, ordinarily peaking when water temperatures reach 42-50ºF.

Walleye in Weeds:

Normally when you think of fishing for walleye it’s associated with deep water, rock piles and humps that walleyes prefer with hard clean bottom structure. But the few anglers that fish weeds for walleyes know how much time walleyes spend in and around the edges of weed beds.

Walleye will move into the weeds seeking baitfish that use the protection of cover. They also use weeds for shade and cooler temperatures instead of deeper water. The best weeds are submerging broadleaf types such as cabbage next to or in deeper water, than emergent (cattails, bulrushes) or floating (lily pads) that live in very shallow water.

26.6" walleye

Diane Rohl – Buffalo, MN 26.6″ walleye (2013 Fish Derby $2500 Grand Prize winner)

You can catch walleye in weeds almost any time of the year but weed fishing is best during the summer and into fall once the weeds are established. Fishing for walleye along the weed edge is easy, use a slip sinker rig with a weed less hook or a weed less jig tipped with a minnow, leech or a piece of night crawler keeping it as close as possible to the weed edge. But when walleyes are actually in the weeds or suspended above, use a slip bobber rig or weed less jig in 1/8 to 3/8 oz. by twitching it through the weeds.  Other tactics are 1/8 oz. spinner baits cast into weed pockets and allowing it to helicopter down before retrieving, if the weeds don’t grow to the surface try a shallow running crank bait twitching the lure just above the weed tops.

Walleye on Rocks:

Most wildlife artists that paint walleye portraits will have them displayed over rocks and boulders. The main reason being this one the best places to consistently find walleyes, it is also one of the most difficult lake bottoms to fish especially when using live bait rigs or jigs. Here are some suggestions to catch more walleyes when you find that hot rock pile, mid-lake hump, or rocky point.

  • Bottom Bouncing Artificial Lures:

Deep diving floating crank baits, select a crank bait that will run just off the bottom or bump the rocks, if the lure should get hung up let the line go limp, it should float up.

  • Suspend your Live Bait:

Use a slip bobber rig and position the bait just to hang above the rocks

  • Float your Live Bait:

Use a floating jig head, for night crawlers inject a shot of air from a crawler inflator for slip sinker weights try a No Snag tube weight instead of an egg or walking sinker.

  • Trolling with Sliding Sinker Live Bait Rig:

Keep your line as vertical as possible, by adding weight to this set-up you reduce the angle of your line and therefore reduce your chances to get hung up.

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Choosing the Right Fishing Lodge

For anglers of any age, nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the wonder and adventure of staying at a fishing lodge or fishing camp.

Whether you are hoping to find easy-to-catch fish, or just some rest and relaxation, there is a lodge or camp available that is right for you. But how do you choose the perfect lodge, and what are the criteria to follow when making that all-important booking decision? Follow these tips and be prepared to experience your own wilderness utopia.

Defining Your Needs
When picking a lodge or fishing camp for the first time, you must decide what you want to experience and enjoy during your stay. If fishing is the sole reason for taking the trip, then your search can be immediately narrowed down. However, if your family is taking part in the excursion, you have to make sure that the establishment has activities that cater to the entire family.

Planning is the key to a successful fishing lodge vacation.
Making a list of what you intend to do while you are there will make the job of finding a lodge even easier. Once your list is full of your needs and wants, then it is time to contact a random selection of lodges to find out if they can satisfy all of these particulars.

To Stay or Go?
One of the big thrills of getting away to a fishing lodge is precisely that — getting away. But important decisions must be made on how far away from home you can afford to go.

  • Fly-in lodges are always more expensive than drive-to for obvious reasons.
  • Fly-in’s do offer the remoteness, solitude that many of us crave, although it does come at a price. However, some remote drive to’s & boat in’s offer similar options as fly-out services without the expensive cost.
  • If you are looking for that “once-in-a-lifetime” experience similar to a fly-out then a remote drive to or boat in would definitely be the way to go.
  • A remote drive to or boat in lodges are destination that you could make an annual event since it’s less costly.

Time Of Year
Depending on the time of year or season, rates for lodges can vary drastically. Peak summer months will always be the most expensive, while spring and fall trips will generally offer considerable savings. Fishing can often be best during these off-peak times, and the weather can frequently be more comfortable and refreshing.

Early spring walleye fishing is an example of fishing being better during off-peak periods, as is fall monster northern pike fishing. Investigate the species you are after and the weather history for the area you intend to travel to, and reap the rewards of lower rates during the “other” seasons offered.

Add-On Prices
There are numerous ways to save money while heading to a lodge, and I have taken advantage of some of them for added discounts in the end. If you own a boat, and the lodge is within driving distance, savings can be incurred by simply taking your own boat instead of renting one during your stay.

Another tip is to take your own food if you are staying in a self-sufficient HOUSEKEEPING accommodation, instead of paying the extra cost of having your meals prepared for you.

Although many anglers enjoy these “luxuries,” of the AMERICAN PLAN PACKAGES and find that these perks are one of the reasons for going, my aim is to point out that those that think they can’t afford a trip away can readily do so if they pass on some of the fancy trimmings.

Ask Many Questions
My best advice for choosing the lodge that is right for you is to do some thorough investigating and to ask many questions. Lodge owners are more than happy to answer any of the concerns or queries you may have. Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. How long have you been in the business?
  2. What activities do you offer, for both the fisherman and family members?
  3. May I bring my own boat?
  4. What are the fish limits, slot restrictions?
  5. What species of fish are found in your lake and what is the success rate of your guests?
  6. Do you offer a cancellation refund in case of an emergency?
  7. What were some of the memorable catches from the previous year?
  8. What’s included in the rate, and what’s not included?
  9. How much is bait and gasoline?
  10. Do you offer ice, freezer space?
  11. What makes your lodge different than most others?
  12. How old are the cabins/units? Do they have electricity, appliances, bathroom facilities?
  13. Are pets allowed?
  14. Can a fishing license/tackle/groceries be purchased on site?

Ask a ton of questions before you book a fishing vacation … it will eliminate any unwanted surprises! And the memory of your trip will last a lifetime.

By asking these types of questions, you will get a better feel for the lodge itself and what it can offer you in terms of a get-away.

Experience the thrill that fishing lodges or camps offer by finding one that suits your needs. By putting in a bit of homework and pre-planning your trip, there will be no surprises.

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Wawang Lake – Great Horned Owl

great-horned-owl-closeup2The great horned owl is one of Ontario’s most common owl species, and the largest (in overall size). Seeing the Great Horned Owl in and around Wawang Lake is very common but you will need to keep a keen eye open for them as they are camoflaged so well into their surroundings that they are hidden to the human eye.

This owl is quite distinct in size and features. It has large yellow eyes, and prominent ear tufts (horns). It has a broad face, curved beak, visible facial disk (darker feathers around face) and large talons. The great horned owl is a brown-grey, with distinct barred underparts and their markings help them camouflage (blend) in trees. Females, as with all raptor species, are significantly larger than males. This is a nocturnal owl, meaning it is most active at night. This owl makes a booming call, whoo-hoo-ho-o-o. Also, this bird DOES NOT migrate.

Habitat:
Great horned owls are found in a variety of habitats. They prefer to live in open woodlands, with secondary-growth forests or around agricultural areas. They are commonly found in boreal forests, or mixed forests with both deciduous (leafy) and coniferous (needle) trees.

31 Great Horned Owl_artusoBreeding:
The great horned owl does not make their own nests; instead they find nests from other animals to use. Nests are usually only used for a single mating season because they are easily destroyed by all the hatchling activity. These owls will take nests from red-tailed hawks, crows, and even squirrels. This owl may also nest in tree cavities, or rock ledges.

This species is territorial, and on average there will be one pair per 7-10 km2. Great horned owls will pair with a single mate for their life, unless that mate is killed, and will return to the same territory for a number of years. This owl will not breed until their second year, although occasionally younger birds breed if food is abundant.

Great horned owls breed during the winter months (January-February). The eggs are incubated by the female for one month. Females will lay 1-5 eggs with food availability being the biggest factor that affects the number of eggs deposited. Hatchlings appear mid-April to early May, and the mother will brood (sit on young and keep safe and warm) the hatchlings continuously for 2 weeks, with the male being responsible for bringing food to the mother and hatchlings. Owlettes (baby owls) are covered in down feathers (fluffy) and will not be able to leave the nest until 2 months of age. The young will remain within their parent’s territory until the fall.

Time before fledging, the period of first flight, is critical for the owlettes to learn how to hunt, fly, and be an owl (if owlettes are raised by humans during this time, they will be human-imprinted, meaning they will think they are a human as they aren’t born knowing they are owls…they imprint on the first thing they see-which would be their own parents). Death rates are high, with 50% of young that leave the nest dieing during their first year.

imagesCAB3LUNEDiet:
Great horned owls are a top predator and are strictly carnivorous. They eat different sized prey, ranging from the size of a mouse to as large as a goose. One of the great horned owls favourite meals is skunk, and they are the only natural predator to skunks-they don’t have a sense of smell, so skunks have no defenses against this owl. Small prey, such as mice, are swallowed whole, while larger prey are dismembered before eaten. Owls eat ALL their prey; however, not all is digestible. Fur, feathers, teeth and bones are not digested and are compacted into a pellet which the owl will regurgitate before their next meal.

Threats to species:
The biggest threat to the great horned owl is humans. They are commonly hit by cars, due to their nocturnal hunting, collide with buildings, fly into power lines, and are shot by farmers.

Threat to humans:
This owl is really no threat to humans. They will aggressively protect their nests, so don’t bother them during nesting season, but otherwise, if you see one count yourself lucky.

Fun facts:

  • The great horned owl will hang large prey in trees and will eat it for a number of days.
  • Crows regularly harass great horned owls, so if you see a tree with a ton of crows flying into it, there is most likely a great horned owl there.
  • Great horned owls will eat porcupines, and commonly have porcupine quills stuck to their body.

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LAST DAY to Sign Up For a FREE Hoodie?

This is the last day for your chance to win an exclusive Wawang Lake Resort Hoodie go to our FACEBOOK page for other contests & giveaways.

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