Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fall Fishing for MONSTER Northern Pike


Catch one big northern pike and you fall in love with these magnificent predators. Their willingness to chase and crush baits is amazing. The fight for which they’re capable is thrilling. It’s no wonder that in Europe where pike reach epic sizes, they’re commonly referred to as “water wolves.”

In addition to all the reasons northern pike are revered for their aggressiveness and tough attitude, they’re also wonderful table fare when they’re in that 3-4 pound class. With a little practice in removing the pesky Y-bones, you’re left with a fresh, flaky fillet that’s tough to beat and northern pike are best to eat right after being caught. They just don’t seem to freeze as well as walleyes or perch.

All summer long, northern pike are among the easiest fish to catch. This is due to their voracious appetite and the fact that pike are keen impulse strikers. I believe they’ll lash out at a bait for the sole purpose of doing it harm. They’re just plain MEAN!

During the warm summer months, you’ll find them predominantly hunting anywhere where there’s weed growth. But as summer surrenders to autumn and the water temperatures cool, things change. The weeds begin dying, and when they do they actually become noxious to fish. The first weeds to go are typically in shallow areas with muddy bottoms. The weeds that hold out the longest are usually related to hard bottom.

When fishing in the fall, if you find weed growth that hasn’t laid down yet and it’s still green, then it will continue to hold fish. Baitfish, perch, walleye, and you guessed it: pike. But as these last holdouts of vegetation finally wane, the pike will change their haunts.



This time of year happens to coincide with the fall turnover. This is the period when a lake’s thermocline disappears. The warm upper water cools with air temperature and ultimately trades places with the once cooler water below the thermocline. Pre-turnover fishing is great. During the turnover, fish generally get negative. But after the turnover is complete and the lake stabilizes, pike fishing gets good again. But don’t look for weedline fish anymore. Instead, search for cover in the form of rocky reefs, points, saddles and edges where flats fall away into deeper water.

A great way to locate fish in the fall is by trolling big crankbaits, swimbaits, spoons or inline spinners. If you pop a couple of fish trolling, pay attention to your sonar and lake map to get a reading of the depth and bottom constitution that’s holding fish. This will help you identify other spots on the lake that match those conditions.

Now trolling is great, but most popular is catching pike on the cast. So once you figure out a location and bait that gets results, start to work these areas by casting. Boat control and casting direction is essential here. You’ll want to position your boat on structure that allows you to cast down the line on productive water, thereby keeping your bait in the strike zone for the longest possible time.

pike2Remember that northern pike are notorious for chasing baits and have no problem smacking a lure right by the side of the boat. So on every cast, keep the retrieve going all the way back to the boat. If you see a pike following but not chomping, give the bait a slight pause or a sudden twitch. Sometimes that change in the action will flip the bite switch in a fish.

If a giant follows but doesn’t eat, you can try this trick too. Have a second rod set up with a quick-strike rig hooked to a big sucker minnow in your livewell or bait bucket. If a jumbo pike follows and gives up, you can be sure that he’s still very close to the boat. Set down your casting rod, pick up the quick-strike rig and pitch that minnow to the last place you saw the fish. Very often, the introduction of a live minnow will be just the thing that fish wants.

Fall is a fantastic time to be on the water. You’ll have the lake all to yourself and no shortage of hungry pike just waiting to pounce. After just one memorable battle with a big water wolf, you’ll fall for autumn pike too.

Join us for some OUTSTANDING Fishing




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Monster Pike After Large Bait


Talk about HUNGRY!!! This has been happening over and over in the last couple
of weeks! No stringer has been safe from those gators!



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Jigging For Walleye Tips

Jigging for Walleye

walleye_habitatUsing 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.

Guys 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.

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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.

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 and 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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Baitfish and Fall Trolling For Walleye and Pike

Walleye Wawang

You marking any bait? is a popular question many anglers ask when talking about trolling for walleye or pike. Finding baitfish schools being attacked by predators is an important angling skill for autumn trolling. Speaking with guides, our walleye & pike experts, about fishing large pods of baitfish as a piece of fish-holding structure gains perspective on your next trip on the water. Here are some of their observations on the importance of baitfish and tips on autumn trolling strategies.

The Walleye-Baitfish Autumn Migration
“In large lakes a large population of nomadic walleye live their whole life following and feeding on schools of bait,”   Baitfish, and following walleye, migrate in autumn from the main lake to bays and other winter-holding areas on our lake.  Walleye start aggressively feeding on baitfish when the surface temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


In large lakes walleye-baitfish relationship is an example of how baitfish can be seen as a type of holding structure for walleye. Walleye will follow baitfish schools, gorging on them to build up energy reserves for the winter. Although bait is not structure in the truest sense of the word like that of a reef, conceptualizing schools of baitfish as a piece of structure will improve your catch rates this autumn.

Wawang walleye catchSonar and GPS to Find Baitfish
Rely on your GPS fish locator to locate baitfish and determine if the area holds walleye. While surveying the water, mark baitfish with waypoints. Once you locate plenty of walleye and gather sufficient data on their location in the water column,  set up a trolling strategy accordingly.

Walleye-Baitfish Trolling Tactics
In the fall on the our lake run large crank-baits like Rapala’s Deep Tail Dancer and Reef Runner’s 800 Series as the fish are looking for a big meal…. run cranks above the arcs and schools of bait showing up on the sonar screen.

Working the outside edge of a school of bait catches more walleye. The lure is isolated and not hidden in the baitfish, making it an easy target.

Large walleye hunt in small packs. They wait for individual baitfish to fall out of line from a school and then pounce on the prey. Trolling crankbaits on the periphery puts them in an ambush zone.

Use planer boards to present baits with out spooking walleye. The in-line board gets the bait out and away from the boat, and into the face of actively feeding walleye.

Wawang Lake northern pike (2)

Baitfish, Mid-Level Predators and Pike
Being a different predator, pike don’t relate to baitfish schools exactly like walleye. Walleye and other mid-range predators likely attract pike more so than small-sized baitfish.  When trolling, look for pike in the vicinity of other, smaller predators feeding on baitfish schools.

Marking Pike on Sonar
Baitfish are one of many details to constantly observes on your sonar, when marking plenty of shiners and perch schools in autumn. Pay attention to schools of shiners in relation to perch & walleye….Large, collected schools generally are a sign of peace and tranquility.

Take interest in an area when electronics display broken up bait. Usually this means predators like walleye are feeding on the bait, which in turn attracts pike looking to ambush the baitfish hunters.

Autumn Trolling Tactics
When identifying pike,  go after them by running baits slightly above marked fish. Uninterested pike often move out of the way of the boat, but when aggressive they often bite on the first pass. Try a few trolling runs around the bait. Pattern is often one run outside the bait on the shallow-water side. Next, pass thought the pod of baitfish. Lastly, troll on the deep-water, outside edge of the pod.  Repeat this pattern a few times before moving onto another spot.


When it comes to trolling baits, use Muskie Mania 13-inch Jakes and Ernies, Legend Perch Baits, and Hi-Fin Trophy Divers and mix it up between small baits and big baits. Fish often go on a pattern where they bite a certain size of bait for a few days. Then they suddenly won’t touch them anymore and you need to change to something different to get the results your looking for.

The similarities in angling tactics between fishing for walleye and pike demonstrates finding baitfish and feeding predators are critical to autumn angling success. Yet, finding bait isn’t enough. You must learn to effectively troll the large schools of baitfish and properly position baits in the strike zone. For many successful trolling anglers, this starts with seeing baitfish schools as a type of structure.



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Pickled Northern Pike

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

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

Pickled Pike Ingredients

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


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

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

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

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



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Deep-Water Tactics for Monster Pike pt 2

Wawang Lake northern pike (2)

Deep-water pike sometimes turn off, and start ignoring fast-moving artificial lures.   Smart anglers take the hint and switch to real baitfish. Fished slowly, live or dead bait is a tantalizing, easy-to-catch meal for stubborn northern pike.

During   the summer months, live bait usually out-performs dead fare for pike. Fish   the live bait around those rock piles or bars in 35 feet to 40 feet of water.   Start by plotting the structure with your depth finder, marking the edges and shallowest point with marker buoys. Then, search every nook and cranny around the edges, and don’t forget the top.

The old theory of big bait catches big fish is very true. Sucker minnows 10 inches to 12 inches long are just right. If the cover isn’t too heavy, the best hooking system going is a quick-set rig. This twin-hook system, with one stationary hook and one that can slide along the leader, allows you to set the hook the instant a fish takes the bait. Hooking ratios climb, while the number   of deep-hooked fish falls. Quick-set rigs almost ensure that the fish will be hooked in the mouth, making it possible to release the fish unharmed. As soon as a strike occurs, it becomes a matter of tightening the line and setting the hooks.sucker

Live bait in numerous ways can be presented with a quick-set rig. One is to put enough weight ahead of the leader to sink the bait to the bottom. While watching the depth finder and following the preset marker buoys, use your electric trolling motor to slowly troll the bait along the bottom. Stop here and there, allowing the bait to rest each spot for a short time. Start by working the bait across the top of the structure, then along the edges and finally into the surrounding deeper water.

Every few feet, slowly lift the rod tip about 3 feet, then allow the bait to fall back to the bottom where it remains motionless for about 30 seconds before moving on. When a fish strikes, point the rod tip at the fish and set the hooks hard when the line tightens.

Suspending live bait over deep-water structure with a slip bobber is another productive method. A live sucker minnow suspended a couple of feet above the bottom, over a deep-water rock pile, can be extremely effective at taking big muskies or pike, especially when the predators are not actively feeding. Once again, offer this presentation with a quick-set rig. With a slip bobber, you can set the quick-set rig at any depth. The large, European-style slip bobbers, made of balsa wood, are perfect for this kind of use. They can easily support up to a pound of weight.

Deep-Water   Jigging

Vertical jigging has proved to be a solid and sound fishing method for walleyes, but knowledgeable pike hunters also know that this method works on their favorite fish. The techniques are basically identical, except for the size of the bait presented. All you need is some heavyweight jig heads, in the 2-ounce to 6-ounce range, with large, verticalstout hooks. Six inches of uncoated wire, at least 30-pound test, should be used to attach a stinger hook to the jig. Use a No. 2 treble for the stinger. Either live or dead bait works well on the jig-and-stinger combination.

The most productive jigging spots are rock bars, humps, rock piles or the ends of deep-water points. Experienced anglers, using a depth finder or graph, can even locate and catch suspended deep-water pike. Simply lower the jig (you can see it on a flasher screen) to the fish. Remember, however, that most fish like to swim up to a target from below.

When jigging, rely on the lift and fall to attract the fish, but be ready for a   strike on the fall. Lift the jig 3 feet or 4 feet and let it drop. Twitch the rod tip a few times, then let it rest about a minute. Follow with a shorter   lift, about a foot; let it fall, twitch and rest again. Repeat the process   until you connect with your trophy.

The strike, when it comes, can be vicious, but more often it is very subtle. Even huge pike can take a bait without the angler feeling a thing. Stay alert and keep a sharp eye on the line. If it twitches or if the lure seems to stop falling, set the hook.

Fishing the deep water for big pike is unfamiliar to a lot of anglers, but the trophy fish are there if you just take the time to look and learn.



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Deep-Water Tactics for Monster Pike – pt 1

Wawang Lake northern pike (6)

Pike head out for deep-water areas for various reasons.

Weather conditions

water temperatures

food availability

fishing pressure

All of these can all play roles separately or in combination as to why they leave the shallows. Successful anglers that troll, have ways of dredging up those deep-water fish, however, they run a variety of lures into the strike zone.

Crank Baits And Wire Line Trolling over, around and through schools of suspended baitfish is also effective when it comes to locating deep-water pike.

Once again, the angler should use a fish finder with depth to find schools of suspended forage fish, and to determine how deep to run the lures.

Deep-diving crank baits are excellent for working depths of 15 feet to 35 feet. If you use wire or lead-core line, you can work at even greater depths. There is no doubt that deep-diving lures work. The drawback to these giant deep-divers is that you need arms like an Olympic weightlifter if you plan on trolling for more than a few hours. A set of high-quality rod holders can be invaluable in this situation.

They make deep-water trolling more comfortable and fun, extending the hours you’re willing to devote to trolling. In most cases, the boat’s forward movement will even set the hooks. Of course the hooks must be honed to perfect sharpness so the barbs will penetrate the pike’s bony mouth. Wire line is the choice when the fish are holding deeper than the trolling lures will reach.

Deep-water weed beds or the deep edges of shallow weed beds are perfect examples of this type of situation. Using a depth finder, you can maintain trolling position along the edge, and allow the wire to take the lure to the proper depth. Another advantage wire line has over monofilament is that it will slice through vegetation. If you’re line is caught in vegetation, you need only give a good jerk or two on the rod. You don’t have to reel it in. This saves time and energy.

If wire-lining doesn’t suit you, a simple three-way swivel, rigged with a heavy sinker at the end of a 6-inch drop line, will sometimes suffice. The three-way rig works much like a downrigger, except that you’ll have to fight the sinker’s weight, as well as the fish. Normally, you’ll fish a three-way rig in the 20-foot or 30-foot depths. The 4 ounces to 8 ounces required to sink a small lure to the desired trolling depth is not enough to hinder an angler who is using heavy tackle.

RapLate fall is prime time for using a three-way rig to take trophy northern. Weather transitions and falling water temperatures push pike into dtfatdeeper water. The fish will be feeding, but you’ll have to reduce trolling speed and run the bait right over them. Baits such a: • Fat Raps • Rat-L-Traps • Rattlin’ Raps • No.13 Floating Rapalas -often work best. Colors vary

such as chartreuse, fluorescent orange, bright yellow or combinations of these colors really turn on late-fall pike.



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Summertime Eyes

Wawang Denise WalleyeIf Ontario is best known for one fish it is without a doubt the delicious walleye. Trophy walleye fishing can be had at both ends of the province. In NW Ontario, Wawang Lake is a world class trophy walleye producer that rivals any other trophy walleye waters North America has to offer. Wawang Lake is a true gems of Northern Ontario and gives any angler a realistic shot at a fish of a lifetime. Rigging, bouncing bottom and casting or trolling minnow baits are extremely productive methods for catching big summer walleye.

Many different styles of sinkers for rigging are available to anglers:

  • Banana shaped sinkers are most commonly used and often have internal rattles to imply extra vibration and sound to attract more walleye.
  • Slip sinkers such as the bell and egg styles are  also good choices for any rigging techniques.
  • A Bait casting setup will work well but many prefer a spinning rod and reel. Preferably use a 7 foot medium action rod spooled up with 12 pound fire line. Next, attach a barrel swivel to the mainline and add an 8 pound fluorocarbon leader to your bait. Lengths of your leader will vary from 2-10 feet depending on bottom structure and where the fish are holding in the water column.
  • A great option during windy days is to deploy a drift sock and use your electric or even the main engine for small speed bursts to give yourself complete control of your drift.

When targeting walleyes with a rigging technique bites are most likely going to be very subtle. If you are constantly missing fish or if you find yourself losing fish immediately after hook up, open your bail and feed line to the fish when you detect a strike. As you are feeding the line accelerate your motor and quickly move your boat towards the fish and try to place yourself as vertical as possible to the fish. This will increase your hook up percentage by giving the fish a few extra seconds to totally commit to eating the bait and will also give you a much stronger hook set into the fish.

Bottom Bouncing
One of the most productive methods to cover water and locate schools of walleye is to drag a bottom bouncer followed by a colourful crawler harness. Work these bottom bouncers in an S pattern along rocky shorelines or sand flat when searching for early summer walleyes. Often these fish can be found exceptionally shallow and a bottom bouncer would be best switched to a split shot in 5 feet or less of water. Use either your main engine or electric motor to cruise these areas at speeds of 0.5 – 1.5 mph. When fish become finicky or pressured areas are targeted, incorporate speed bursts and neutral drops on turns to entice more strikes from docile fish. When selecting the right weight for your bottom bouncer, always use the rule of 1 oz for every 10 feet always use heavier weights in waters with current.

Another great method used to determine the weight needed is to always have your line in the water at a 45 degree angle. Using a heavier bottom bouncer is always a better choice rather than using a lighter weight. If the bouncers you are running are your heaviest and your bait is not making bottom contact simply add ¼ ounce split shots above the weight that is already in place on the bouncer.

John 29

Three-way rigging is another option for pounding the bottom of water bodies in search of walleyes. You can turn to this rig when electronics are indicating fish higher in the water column usually between 3-6 feet off bottom. Also be sure to match the length of lead to the sinker to the distance fish are appearing on screen. Often these are snag filled locations where walleye often roam. Remember to tie on a lighter line to your sinker than you have spooled on your mainline. This will result in only losing your sinker and not your entire rig resulting in loss of time and frustration over the course of the day or night. Crawler harnesses, leeches and minnows are but I find minnow baits to be most effective behind a three way swivel rig.

Minnow Baits
Anglers who use minnow baits on a regular basis will agree that big walleyes love them. Most have developed confidence in these plastics baits with hours of practice fine tuning the presentation. When targeting large walleye in use a very slow retrieve with small twitches. This has become a favorite method for hooking walleye along the shore especially fish that are tucked away in the rocks waiting to ambush schools of unsuspecting baitfish that swim by, on  darker overcast days, along the rocky shoreline. Match your colors to forage available and when nothing seems to work switch to a bright color.


Monofilament line is recommended with a fluorocarbon leader when battling shore hugging walleye in areas that are riddled with rocks. The reason behind this method is that super lines such as Berkley’s Fire line will drive the bait much deeper than monofilament and the fluorocarbon leader is much stronger for rubbing on rocks than monofilament. When walleye are in these areas twitch these baits just over the heads of the fish and you’ll be seeing a BIG difference on the amount of fish you’ll be catching.

On you’re next trip out on the water try some of these tips and be sure to observe safety.



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imagesCAI0OI51Though it can get cold – make that, very cold – during the fall, you don’t need rocks in your head to chase late-season walleyes. Even more than spring, autumn can be the best time to hook the trophy of a lifetime. The fish are big and hungry and unlike spring when they are spawning, eating is the only thing on their minds in fall as they fatten up for winter. Weather and water levels can also be more stable later in the season than earlier in the year.

But, whether we’re targeting rivers or lakes in fall, we certainly should have rocks on our minds. The biggest walleyes (and highest concentrations) will be schooled around places with hard bottoms. Take the time to find rocks, then locate the spot-on-the-spot and hold onto your rod. That chill in the air just might signal the hottest bite you’ve seen all year.

Many walleye fishermen will head to Wawang Lake in spring when the spawning instinct sends huge numbers of walleyes and saugers to their regular, shallow spawing beds. But the savviest walleye anglers know the spawning migration actually begins in fall. The fish that were scattered and hard to find all summer begin schooling and traveling toward hard-bottom spots where they’ll spawn when the combination of temperature, daylight and current is right, come springtime. Conditions can be better in August to November than they are in May and June.

You’re also not dealing with the crowds you see earlier in the year. By this time, many anglers have set aside fishing rods and picked up their guns or bows to hunt deer. If they head to the water, it’s only to down geese or ducks. Points and where current strength lessens offers fish places to rest, are key. But where inside bends were best in spring, outside bends may hold fish in fall. Check for places where hard bottom areas feature gravel and clam shells.

Hard-bottom areas at the mouths of bays and narrows are also key spots.  As colder nights lower the water temperature and kill vegetation in the shallows, baitfish move toward the main lake.   Predators station themselves at the openings and make a killing – literally. The mouths of creeks or inlets offer the same scenario.

Keep it simple. Slip jig with a Fuzz-E-Grub jig just heavy enough to maintain bottom contact. Lindy’s new X-Change jigheads allow you to change the weight to match the depth, current and other factors like wind. They also let you change up colors to see if walleye show a preference, and they often do. Use braided line to increase sensitivity, so you can feel transition areas from mud to rocks. Turn up the gain on your sonar. When you see a double bottom (‘second echo’) appear on the screen, you know the bottom is hard.

Pull three-way rigs as an alternative. Use a Lindy NO-SNAGG sinker with a dropper and enough weight to keep the line at a 45-degree angle while slowly moving or hovering with your trolling motor. Use a floating shallow diving crankbait or plain hook tipped with a lively minnow. Add color with a bead or a floating jig.

30.5 inch wawang lake walleye

Shoreline points and islands that feature fast drops to deep water are key spots on Wawang Lake. Walleyes in areas like that can hold in deeper water for security and swim to shallower water to feed without much effort. Use Lindy Rigs with big chubs and NO-SNAGG sinkers to move up and down the dropoffs. Keep your bait fresh and tail hook it so it struggles to attract nearby walleyes. Try using 10-pound braided line, like Power Pro, for your main line, with a fluorocarbon leader on a rod rated for 8- to 14-pound-test line. The rod must have enough backbone for good hooksets in deep water but have a limber enough tip to vibrate when the forage reacts to an approaching walleye. Be ready when the chub starts to struggle a walleye is close by.

imagesCA9GUKSFA soft tip also lets the rod absorb the shock of a big fish, a must when using no-stretch braided line. Don’t overlook rock piles. But, it’s important to realize the impact of turnover on fish location. Lakes stratify in summer with walleyes and other fish trapped in the water above the thermocline when oxygen content below it drops too low to support life. But that changes when water temperature drops down into the low 50s F. Water becomes heavier at that point and the water on top sinks and allows oxygen to mix at all depths again. Fish are free to travel downward as water near the surface dips below their comfort zones.

As a result, rock piles at ever-increasing depths start to hold walleyes. If you aren’t catching fish on rock piles that held walleyes in the warm months, go deeper.

It’s not all about hard bottoms in autumn. Walleyes will converge on mud flats if an insect hatch occurs. But at the same time, turn up the gain on the sonar and watch for places where a double bottom appears, signaling a transition to harder bottom. Travel around the area slowly. You might stumble across a peak (slightly higher point) in the rocks, where walleyes are gathered as if they were invited to dinner.  Just because it’s cold and deer season is open doesn’t mean that fishing in autumn requires rocks in your head. But, you sure should have rocks on your mind.



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Summer Pike Points

Wawang Lake 47" northern pike

Wawang Lake 47″ northern pike

Some points are definitely better than others when fishing for BIG pike! Reading water and being able to carry out a logical fishing approach is the most important part of the process. You can have the sharpest hooks, make the perfect cast and work your lure correctly but if you’re fishing dead water, not much will happen. On structure like points especially, making good use of lure depth and fishing angles is really important. For the most part, points are things that stick out, with more than one side. A shoreline wall, for example, has only one surface. Depending on their shape and layout, a point can have four, five, even six ‘lanes’ or sides to work.

No matter the lake type, it’s amazing how good points almost always have a similar mix of elements. For pike in the middle of the summer, the formula is actually really basic. So much so that is really has become cliché. We’ve heard it that many times! Put some deep water near it, on at least one of the sides. Add in some kind of lead-in cover like weeds or jumbled rock, and put it in a favorable location on the lake as it relates to travel, food and safety and you can hardly go wrong.

Some points are steeper than others, some deeper, some weedier and some shallower. Some have extended shelves or ledges and some drop much quicker into basin-type water. Like any other kind of spot, make sure you have a mixture of them to test out during the trip. If we had to pick six places to fish on a summer evening, at least three of them would be directly facing water as deep as forty feet with a big shelf and lots of new cabbage weeds. It seems like the longer summer drags on, those spots on the main channel side, main lake side or windiest side produce best. They’re prominent, normally large and normally directly fishable with the boat over deep water the bulk of the time. You might swing the boat up into or near water that’s 12, 14 or 16 feet deep, but water twice that depth is always a cast away.

It’s been our experience that the largest, most noticeable projections with the most varied bottom type are the best. Smaller, more out of the way points produce big pike on occasion, but almost all the best big fish spots jump right out at you on a good map. They intersect spans of deep water, form travel barriers and just plain look ‘fishy.’ Are there spots on maps that look dynamite and turn out to be poor?  We’ve fished lots over the years, for sure. But for the most part, good points are not hard to locate. Isolated, offshore structure with no shoreline links or spots for suspended pike take a lot more work to find and learn. Even a topo map of a lake with no depths will show you the major points to start checking.

Speaking of other types of spots (shoals/humps, open water, narrows, walls) good points are almost always the sum of their surrounding parts. In addition to the cover they have themselves, like weeds or boulders, they almost always have good and different areas very close by. Points where a lake branches off or narrows down are a good example. Points that stick out into deep water where you always mark or catch other kinds of fish like trout or walleye are another. With enough work and attention, you’re going to find that the best points might not actually have pike right on them, but reasonably close by from one visit to the next.

Always try to fish a spot from a new direction or angle every time you come back to it. On points, you’ve normally got at least three choices: the tip of the point, the port side and the starboard side. Ideally, each should have it’s own special character.     Fish close to the rock itself, the bottom is like you’d expect: smooth, less than 20 feet deep and featureless. As you continue out towards the main lake from there, though, the bottom comes up to 15 feet, and suddenly gets rougher with more boulders, slabs of rock and lots of mixed weeds. That’s normally the spot. Points are like any other fishing area in that they take time to learn once you’ve found a handful to try.

Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are two excellent choices for feeling around a spot and learning what it’s like while keeping your boat off them. They cast a long way and generally come through rocks and weeds cleanly. With a crankbait, fouling it in weeds while you’re learning your way around a point isn’t a bad thing at all. Ripping it clean and/or letting it back out is a great trigger. With lures like Ernies and DepthRaiders, you can walk around cabbage and hit rocks over 15 feet down. Coontail weeds have always been harder to fish lures through than cabbage, even with weedless baits like spinnerbaits. If the weeds are thinner, weighted bucktails with smaller blades and less dressing also work well for working deeper parts of points. In the summer, you’re normally better of fishing 15 feet and down for bigger pike, and all three lure types will get you there. As a bit of a sidebar, for cranking, long rods and long leaders really work best for me. Long, ‘bullwhip’ tosses with a leader 16 or 18 inches long saves your knot, saves your lure and saves big fish. It takes some getting used to, but long, tough casting leaders are the way to go for all-day bottom bouncing with crankbaits. Rods in the 8 to 9 foot range make it easy. That last couple feet of your line takes a lot of abuse cranking rocks and other cover.

Jigs are another good bait for picking points apart and feeling their ups and downs. A one ounce flippin jig with a trailer of some sort is great where weeds are thicker. Bucktails or twisters like you’d use for walleyes are just as good. Simply lifting the jig along and pausing it on bottom is a simple retrieve that works well. Popping a jig off a rock snag or ripping through weeds produces lots of pike.

points and barsYou’ll know you’ve got a winning point to revisit, invest time in and learn if you see or catch other types of fish off it. Walleye like the same points as pike. Without exception, the best pike points fished are also awesome spots for other species and in Wawang Lake this would be perch.  Good points are naturally attractive to all kinds of fish, and in Ontario lakes are rivers, they’re all over the place.  Lots of favorite points will also produce great water fowl and wildlife photos. There’s usually a diving duck, loon, kingfisher, heron, bear or other guest around for you to enjoy.

If you figure out that one part of the spot has a rocky ledge down 15 or 16 feet along one side, set up for long casts with a crankbait. Drive the lure down over a long retrieve, keep it moving and keep your rod tip low. Suspending lures like the Triple D are great here, running deep and staying deep.

If you find a small arm or finger of deep weeds off to one side, maybe try dropping a heavy spinnerbait or jig near it. Any type of presentation-related requirement is very case-specific. It’s going to be your call to make as you learn the spot and what pike like on that type of water at that time of day or season. If size, cover, depth or wind warrants it, troll the spot. There are some days on big points in open water when it’s simply blowing too hard to stay put and cast around. Trolling can be better. In the fall, this and freezing temperatures make the choice easier for you.

Good points for pike are almost always the same from lake to lake, and more than one type of point can be good and worth checking. As a final thought, and back-tracking a bit to investing time, reading and studying water, some great points are totally hidden. Underwater weeds that form a line that bends or juts out awkwardly are still very much ‘points’ in mind. So are extended rock flats off islands or shorelines. When you think about it, any and all types of structures have ‘points’ or ‘pointed’ elements to them. They may or may not be easily picked up watching the shoreline, islands or maps. A poor-looking rock face, weed bed or island might have a magic area sticking out from it. You’ll only find it by putting in the time. GPS and even the best maps are pretty general.   If things got missed. Drawing and marking on your own map is a quick fix.

With big pike, always remember that they’re not going to be up and snapping every time you drop the trolling motor to fish. They’re a tough fish to catch consistently in the summer. But when they do show up on a point and are active and in range, the results can be pretty awesome. Check your winners a lot, fish them at prime times, learn their ins, outs, ups and downs and you’ll hit a big one.



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