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Monthly Archives: March 2015

THE OUTBACK

Include THE OUTBACK  as part of your trip at Wawang Lake this year.

http://wawangresort.com/OUTBACK.htm

Outback

It’s an experience and a true wilderness adventure you won’t want to miss out on

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Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Adventure, Guide, Remote Fishing

 

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CATCH – PHOTO & RELEASE

Catch Photo & Release Catch and release is a practice within recreational angling intended as a act of conservation. After a fish is caught it is unhooked and returned to the water before exhaustion or serious injury.   Over the years anglers have accepted the idea fishing for fun rather than food.

Wawang Lake northern pike (8)In Canada catch and release is mandatory for some species and require the use of barbless hooks to facilitate release and minimize injury. Today catch and release is practiced by most all anglers, fishing guides, and promoted by fishing based organizations for Muskie, Walleye and Bass ensuring healthy fish populations for the future.

Here is a guideline for the key aspects of catch and release use the correct tackle:
Fish with appropriate rod, reel and line for the species of fish your targeting. When catching a fish you want to minimize the fight time. The greater the time playing a fish the more lactic acid build up and exhaustion sets in for survival. If fishing in cover (weeds) or warmer water use a heavier line than normal to reduce stress for the fish.

Bring your release tools:imagesCAHBYCEU

  • Always carry needle nose pliers,
  • hookouts, jaw spreaders
  • and a small bolt cutter for larger fish.

When landing a fish leave the fish in the water for the unhooking process to avoid any handling, if lip hooked a simple flick of the needle nose pliers should remove the hook. If a landing net is used, leave the net in the water when removing or cutting hooks. If the fish has multiple treble hooks embedded from a artificial lure, use the bolt cutter to cut the hooks, replacement hooks are inexpensive. If the hook is lodged deep in the gullet, never pull on the line or try to rip a hook out. Cut the line as close as you can to the hook or the hook itself. Jaw spreaders come in very handy for larger game fish aiding in the cutting or removal of hooks.

Catch and Release Nets:
All quality net manufacturers today have catch and release nets in their product lines. When selecting a net, hoop size, depth of net bag and type of mesh need to be considered for practicing catch and release and the assurance of fish survival after releasing. Using a larger hoop size and deep net bag will reduce the margin of error during the netting process and the extra net bag depth will allow for a portable live well during hook removal. The type of netting (mesh) is important in reducing the removal of the fishes protective slime layer while the fish is in the net. Today there are soft micro fiber knotless mesh, ideal for trout, bass and walleyes. Rubber mesh is an elastic soft molded rubber also used by bass and walleye anglers. Dip treated extra strong knotless mesh with a protective coating is used for musky, pike, salmon and large catfish.

Barbless Hooks:
barbleess-hookUse barbless hooks for quick easy hook removal and reduced handling times. Some anglers believe that using barbless hooks will cause too many fish to escape. When fishing barbless hooks concentrate on keeping your line tight while fighting a fish. You’re catch rate with barbless hooks will be as high as those achieved with barbed hooks. Barbless hooks can be purchased from several major manufacturers or can be created from a standard hook by crushing the barb(s) flat with needle-nosed pliers. If fish are removed from the water for a photo or measurement, key aspects of proper handling include:

  • Keep it wet:  Avoid touching the fish with dry hands or putting them down on dry surfaces ( boat gun whales or boat bottom, docks, shoreline rocks and sand) Dry hands and surfaces removes the scales and protective slime layer leaving the fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections. Only touch fish with wet hands or using a wet towel.
  • imagesCAT78X00Use proper holding techniques:  Never hang a fish from their jaws/mouth/gills vertically. Hold all fish horizontally and support as much of its body as possible to avoid injuring its internal organs especially larger fish. Never grip a fish by the eye sockets if you intend to release it. By doing so you abrade its eyes, injure the surrounding tissue and may cause blindness Learn the proper hand placement for holding fish under the jaw bone not in the gills. If you never held a large fish have a experienced angler or fishing guide show you, or have the guide hold your fish for the photo.
  • Measuring the Fish:   When you catch that trophy fish and your desire is to release it to fight again, but you wish to have the measurements for a fiberglass replica here’s what to do. If possible measure the fish in the water using a floating ruler or a tailor’s tape. Measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and around the girth of fish at the widest point of body. If you’re bringing the fish onboard for a measurement using a bump board (ruler with a stopper at one end) wet the ruler before you use it. The time for measuring and photo’s should be minimized to under 15 seconds (start counting as soon as the fish is lifted out of the water).

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  • For the sake of survival of the fish we discourage the use of conventional scales where the fish is hung by the jaw for weighing the fish to be released – it can damage the jaw or gills and places extra stress on the backbone and internal organs of the fish. If you’re wondering how much you’re catch and released trophy weighed. We have a handy fish weight calculator to determine the approximate weight of your catch.
  • Releasing the fish:   Place the fish gently back upright in the water, holding the tail and supporting it’s weight by placing your hand under the belly, gently roll the fish side to side allowing it to get its bearings and catch its breath until it is fully able to swim off under its own power. If current is present it is important to face the fish into the current thereby allowing fresh, oxygenated water through its gills. Do not try to release or revive a fish using a thrusting forward/backward motion, the backward motion will suffocate the fish.
  • Photo Tips:   As catch and release fishing is growing in popularity amongst anglers, photography has become the most important way to record a trophy fish or a memorable moment from a fishing trip. A good quality photo will give you a reference for the fish’s exact coloration and particular markings, a skilled taxidermist can create a fiberglass lifelike replica mount or commission a custom trophy portrait that encompasses the entire story behind the catch, both are worthy of “fine art!”

Try to land fish as quickly as you can.  The more time they spend fighting, the more lactic acid they build up. In fish, lactic acid is toxic. Fish also use up oxygen, become out of breath, if you will, during the exertion of the fight. Just like us, the shorter the time of exertion, the quicker they will recover. Landing the fish as quickly as you can becomes even more important as the water temperature rises.

The following few tips will help you take better pictures the next time you go fishing.  Before lifting the fish out of the water, have your camera turned on and ready to shoot. Don’t hurt the fishes chances of survival by keeping it out of the water for too long.

 

  • Rick Lahrman caught this nice 29" walleye at Wawang Lake.

    Rick Lahrman caught this nice 29″ walleye at Wawang Lake.

    Shooting angles, always have the sun behind the photographer, natural sunlight provides the best light with rich warm uniform colors and tones.

  • Always use the fill flash, even during mid day when the sun is at it’s peak. Using fill flash will add light to shadowy area’s of your photo.
  • Push back the hat and take off the sunglasses to remove the shadows hiding the anglers face, and remember that SMILE!
  • Don’t have the angler hands obscure any portion of the fish especially the head 
  • Take a few photo’s to ensure that you get at least one good shot.

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Excellent Fishing in JULY

Only a couple OPENING left for July:
Well, it’s not always about trophy fish at Wawang Lake but catching a few of those can really get that adrenaline rushing for any fisherman.  A week of July proved to be an EXCELLENT trip for Bill and Chuck for sure.  They caught a total of 393 fish – with only catching a few northern pike.  Primarily they were fishing for walleye and obviously were very successful finding them.  Here are a few photo’s of some of their great moments.

bill-and-chuck

 

“A reel expert can tackle anything”

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Fishing Walleye in the Weeds – with Video

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Now that you know why weeds attract walleye, whether it’s cabbage, milfoil, or your local variety of pondweed, how do you catch them?

Three Tips for How to Catch Walleye in Weeds
Obviously fishing walleye in the weeds presents its own set of problems. Some people get annoyed by continually stopping to remove vegetation from their bait. If that’s you, this might not be your best technique for how to catch walleye. But if you’re willing to put up with this little inconvenience in exchange for a nice batch of walleye, then read on.

1.
Fish walleye vertically.
 This might mean sneaking up on an opening in an otherwise congested weed bed to drop a jig into the hole as vertically as possible. In fact, that’s the way I catch more walleye from weeds than any other technique. Drop the jig to the bottom, bounce it up and down a few times, and then move on to the next spot and drop the jig again. Usually, if the spot holds a fish, it will hit the jig in the first 15 seconds. They tend to hit it on the drop, so keep a tight line as you drop the jig down.

2.  Target the cruisers. Walleye in weed beds tend to be loosely schooled and
cruising through the area, looking for a pod of bait fish. When you find one fish, work the area over well – others are sure to be there. This is where you can often taken a limit, or enough for a shore lunch, in an area the size of the hood of a pickup.

3.  Aim for ambushers. Another great spot to catch walleye is along the deep edges of weedlines on a steep drop-off. The steeper the drop, the more distinct the weedline will be. You can search the area with a deep-diving crank bait, then spin around and drop your jig down when you contact a fish. In this case, walleye tend to be ambush feeding rather than cruising. They find a good-looking spot and back themselves into the edge, facing out. When something that looks like an easy meal comes by, they slide out and grab it. Again, catch one and a half-dozen more walleye are likely to be there.

Reelin’ ’em in
Once you catch a walleye in thick weeds, you might have a challenge getting it out – especially if it’s a big one. Using a stiff fishing rod with lots of backbone and a fast tip has its advantages. Spool it with 10- to 20-pound super line so it won’t stretch. (Care must be taken when using this technique since damage to the walleye or other fish species is certain.)  Crank your drag down pretty tight and when you hook a fish, quickly wrestle it to the top. The key is to lift it as straight up as possible to avoid getting wrapped around the stems of weeds.

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The best time of the year to catch walleye in the weeds is late June and through July and August. If you are looking for a meal of tasty walleye fillets, go snooping around a bed of cabbage this summer.

Catching Walleye in the Weeds – Video

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Fishing Walleye When it’s Sunny


hot-thermometerWhere to Find the Walleye?

Hot, penetrating sunshine and the sensitive eyes of the walleye can make for a frustrating and energy-draining day out on the water for the enthusiastic angler. Fish become scarce during these trying times and without the proper locations or techniques needed to find and catch these fish, a fisherman can quickly get depressed.

Green, healthy weeds, a handful of jigs and a technique called “dunking” are all that are needed to find success during these “dog days” of summer.

During the days of summer when the humidity and sun become scorching hot, the intuitive walleye will begin his retreat and search for cooler climates for a more comfortable existence. Although common knowledge tells us that walleye and rocks are the perfect pair, the green vegetation that is on Wawang Lake is also a preferred habitat for a walleye seeking shelter. Shallow areas are the number one choice for patterning walleye this way, and plays host to weed-wandering walleye. Water that is relatively clear and is less than ten feet deep are the most ideal characteristics to target for certain success.

Green weeds lure walleye in for a number of reasons. They provide a cooler environment, shade from the sun, oxygen, safety and comfort and an abundant food source with an added ambush point for attack. When you put all of these pluses together, you get a sure-fire plan for putting walleye in the boat.

weed diagramWhen the sun is beating down, there will be certain weeds and areas that will draw fish in more than others.  Look for the greenest, most lush vegetation that you can find. These weeds can take the form of coon tail, milfoil or a variety of other species, but they must have a base or openings for the walleye to lurk under and through. Also, try to pinpoint weed areas that are relatively close to deeper water. Walleye feel safer when deeper water is in the vicinity as it provides an escape route – the shallow weed flat, in turn, provides an ideal feeding shelf. One last thing to keep an eye out for is isolated weed clumps in the area you are fishing. Huge expanses of vegetation will hold good numbers of fish, but isolated weed clumps provide a hiding area in a vast space of “coverless” water that roaming fish happen to stumble upon and call home.

  
 

Dunk till you Drop
Dunking is a close-range fishing technique that involves lowering your lure vertically down from your boat into a weed pocket. The maximum amount of line you will use in most situations is ten feet, so be prepared to for some excitement when Mr. Walleye takes a fast swipe at your jig.

There are two ways to approach a weed pocket for dunking – drifting and by using your electric motor. If the winds are calm and you are fishing a large expanse of weeds, simply allow your boat to drift with the breeze and dunk all of the pockets that you can as your boat slowly drifts over them.

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NORTHERN PIKE

Length and Weight (general information)

Pike grow to a relatively large size; lengths of 59 in and weights of  55 lb are not unheard of and have been recorded in Wawang Lake.

The heaviest specimen known so far was caught in an abandoned stone quarry, in Germany, in 1983. She (the majority of all pikes over 18 lb are females) was 58 in long and weighed 68 lb. The longest pike ever recorded was 60 in long and weighed 62 lb.

Reproduction

Pike are known to spawn in spring when the water temperature first reaches 48 °F.  The males are first at the spawning grounds preceding the females for a few weeks. The larger females tend to be earlier than the smaller ones. Mostly a female is followed by several smaller males. When a pair starts slowing down the male will put his tail under the female’s body and release it’s sperm that is mixed with the eggs due to the tail movement.  The spawning consists of a great number of these moves several times a minute and going on for a few hours a day. Every move between 5 and 60 eggs are laid. A female can continue the mating for three days in a row. After the mating the males tend to stay in the area for a few extra weeks.

The color of the sticky eggs is yellow to orange, the diameter is 2.5 to 3 mm. The embryos are 7.5 to 10 mm in length and able to swim after hatching but stay on the bottom for some time. The embryonic stage is 5 to 16 days, dependent on water temperature (at 66°F and 50°F, respectively). Under natural circumstances the survival from free swimming larvae to 2.9 in. pike is around 5 percent.  Pike can reach the reproductive stage in a year, femails being 11 in., males 7.4 in  Pike normally live 5 to 15 years but can be as old as 30.

herring size

Typical Lake Herrings

herring 2

School of Lake Herring

Life expectancy and growth are dependent on circumstances. Some Canadian populations grow to great lengths in a short time while eating nutrient rich herring.  Wawang Lake is abundant in lake herring and support many  trophy sized northern pike.


Feeding

frypike_swimuplg

Northern Pike Fry

The young free swimming pike feed on small invertebrates starting with daphnia, and quickly moving on to bigger prey like isopods like asellus or gammarus. When the body length is 1.5 to 3 in. they start feeding on small fish.

The pike have a very typical hunting behavior; they are able to remain stationary in the water by moving the last fin rays of the dorsal fins and the breast fins. Before striking they bend their body and dash out to the prey using the large surface of tail fin, dorsal fin and anal fin to propel themselves.

Pike-having-just-caught-a-frogThe fish has a distinctive habit of catching its prey sideways in the mouth, immobilising it with its sharp backward pointing teeth, and then turning the prey headfirst to swallow it. It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. Young pike have been found dead from choking on a pike of a similar size.   Northern pike also feed on frogs, insects and leeches. They are not very particular and eat spiny fish like perch and will even take sticklebacks if that is the only available prey.

The northern pike is a largely solitary predator.  It migrates during a spawning season, and it follows prey fish  to their deeper winter quarters.  Sometimes have observed groups of similar sized pike that might have some cooperation and it is known to anglers pike tend to start hunting at the same time, so there are some “wolfpack” theories about that.

Large pike can be caught on dead immobile fish so it is thought that these pike move about in a rather large territory to find the food to sustain them. Large pike are also known to cruise large water bodies in shallows, probably pursuing schools of prey fish.

Pike-feeding-on-another-pikeSmaller pike are more of an ambush predator, probably because of their vulnerability to cannibalism. Pikes are often found near the exit of culverts, which can be attributed to the presence of schools of prey fish and the opportunity for ambush.

Sport Fishing

40 inch pike 08Lake fishing for pike from the shore is especially effective during springtime, at which stage the big pike move into the shallows to spawn in weedy areas, and later many remain there to feed on other spawning coarse fish species to regain their condition after spawning. Smaller jack pike often remain in the shallows for their own protection, and for the small fish food available there.
For the hot summer period and during non-active phases the larger female pike tend to retire to deeper water and/or places of better cover. This gives the boat angler good fishing during the summer and winter seasons. Trolling  is a popular technique.

More and more pike are released back to the water after catching (catch and release) and on Wawang Lake it’s mandatory, but northern pike can easily be damaged when handled. Handling those fish with dry hands can easily damage their mucous covered skin and possibly lead to their death from infections.

Since they have very sharp and numerous teeth, care is required in unhooking a pike. It is recommended that barbless trebles are used when angling for this species as it simplifies dehooking. This is undertaken using long forceps, with 12 in artery clamps the ideal tool. When holding the pike from below on the lower jaw, it will open its mouth. The pike should be kept out of the water for the minimum amount of time possible, and should be given extra time to recover if being weighed and photographed before release. If practising live release, it is recommended to call the fish “caught” when it is alongside a boat. Remove the hook by grabbing it with a pair of needle-nosed pliers while the fish is still submerged and giving it a flip in the direction that turns the hook out of the mouth. This avoids damage to the fish and the stress of being out of water.

Compared to other fish like the eel, the pike does not have a good sense of smell, but it is still more than adequate to find the baitfish. Baitfish can be used as groundbait, but also below a float carried by the wind. This method is often used and best done in lakes near schools of preyfish or at the deeper parts of shallow water bodies, where pike and preyfish tend to gather in great numbers.

Popular Lures

Pike make use of the lateral line system to follow the vortices produced by the perceived prey, and the whirling movement of the spinner is probably good way to imitate or exaggerate these. Jerkbaits are also effective and can produce spectacular bites with pike attacking these erratic moving lures at full speed.

A collection of popular northern pike lures - but not limited to.

A collection of popular northern pike lures – but not limited to.

For trolling, big plugs or softbaits can be used. Spoons with mirror finishes are very effective when the sun is at a sharp angle to the water in the mornings or evenings because they generate the vibrations previously discussed and cause a glint of reflective sunlight that mimics the flash of white-bellied prey. Most fishermen tend to use small lures but often that is not advisable because pike have a preference for large prey. When fishing in shallow water for smaller pike, lighter and smaller lures are frequently used.

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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Fishing TIPS, Northern Fishing

 

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SPRING SECRETS – Spawning Walleye

28.5" walleye

28.5″ walleye

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

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

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

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

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

Locating Fish

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

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

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

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

LINDY MAX GAP JIGSpring Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anchors Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got cabin fever? Fishing is the cure.

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Fishing for Walleye

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Brandon and Jaime Guptill (5th generation Guptill clan Anglers) with their beautiful walleye caught on a remote lake near Wawang Lake Resort. Grandpa Jim Guptill was the guide!

Vertical jigging can be an invaluable technique, especially when it is placed into the mix with trolling, casting and static-line methods. It can be another powerful weapon in the angler’s arsenal, but, unfortunately, it is perhaps not used as frequently as it should be.

The advocates of vertical jigging state that not only is it a fun-filled way to while away the hours, but it is also a highly productive way to fish. Many anglers dramatically increase their success rate when they begin to use a vertical jig.

In fact, in some locations, vertical jigging is not simply one of the beneficial tactics, but it is the most productive method of fishing for walleye. The advantages of vertical jigging are numerous. For example, it is widely accepted as a cost-effective technique. In addition, it only requires a small amount of physical exertion and, most importantly, it is a basic approach that can be adopted by anybody.

imagesGFPQKYIDThe success of vertical jigging is made possible through the accuracy of the technique. Rather than trolling wide expanses of water, it is required that the angler does a little research first. By establishing the structure of the lake or river that you are fishing in, you can locate the positions that are most likely to contain the walleye. Of course, if you have radar equipment, then you will find pinpointing the walleye spots even more easy, but this is not necessary and a comprehensive map of the water should be sufficient.

There will be times when establishing the position of the fish leads you to the deep sections of the lake or river. If you are fishing for walleye in particularly deep waters, you may wish to consider using a partial glow head and spinner blade on your jig, as this is a great combination for deep fishing or trolling.

In terms of bait, when it comes to vertical jigging it really is a matter of choice. Any bait can be used, so, if you find that minnows, crawlers or leeches work best for you then, by all means, use any of those. Personal preference is such a large part of successful fishing.

More good news for beginners is that vertical jigging can allow for a margin of error. In other words, if you have let a walleye get away, but you know it is still Nature-Jigs-1-Whiteunder your boat, the vertical rig allows you to get right under the boat to try for a second chance. With many presentations, you may not expect to get a bite until the bait has reached the lakebed. However, with the vertical jig, you are just as likely to find success as the bait is on its way down. Subsequently, it is always a good idea to be prepared for those walleye.

Vertical jigging, or V-jigging as it is sometimes known, is an extremely enjoyable way to fish. It relies heavily on skill and technique, which is hugely satisfying for an angler. However, that does not mean to say that it is difficult to learn. Even beginners can take to vertical jigging and can be extremely successful with this method

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Understanding – Wood & Weeds

Wood and Weeds
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

Drowned wood, lay downs, brush plies composed of fir, pine, oak and maple typically lasts for years. By contrast birch, aspen and poplar provide cover for two to three years before decomposing to remnants. Drowned wood is terrific cover. The more complex the branches below the surface the better for fish. More branches more cover for a game fish to ambush prey. Finding “good” drowned wood means finding good  walleye fishing.     

Weeds and weed line edges are important throughout the fishing season as they (along with gravel bottoms) are used for spawning in spring; shelter, cover and foraging in summer/fall and feeding in winter for all game fish.  When fishing the weeds always keep in mind the “cover within cover” principle – weed points, edges, deep weed lines, transitions from one weed species to the next, channels, clumps and inside turns among others.

Types of Weeds
The presence of aquatic plants is one of the best indicators of whether a lake or a stream will be a good producer of fish. Most aquatic life which fish feed upon requires these plants for food. Plants also provide a fishery with protective cover and life-giving oxygen. Aquatic plants are classified into floating, emergent, submerged and algae varieties as each type has slightly different features.

Floating
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Floating plants are not rooted and are free to move about the water’s surface. The main habitat for floating plants are backwater areas on rivers and streams where the current slackens and protected bays on lakes and flowages. In limited water movement area’s floating plants can be mixed in with other emergent and submerged plants forming what is commonly called “slop” by creating a surface mat that attracts largemouth bass, in deeper waters slop will hold northern pike and muskie. Fishing slop is extremely fun when the fish are on and you have the right set-up and lures. Fishing the slop requires heavy tackle and line to horse the fish out of cover. Baitcasting reels spooled with low stretch 17lb to 30lb test line, rods rated heavy with fast action are recommended. Lure choices include weedless soft plastics, worms and lizards using heavy sinkers to penetrate the thick vegetation, top water frog and rat imitations are excellent for surface slop fishing, there is nothing more exciting when a bass explodes on one of these. The common North American native floating plants are Duckweed, Bladderwort and Watermeal.

Emergent
An emergent plant are a rooted shallow water plant found along shorelines areas, which grows in the water but the stems stand above the surface. All emergent plants flower which allows the reproductive process through pollination by wind or by flying insects. Emergent plants provide an important function on the water’s edge that creates a network root system which resists erosion, where wave action and water flow might undercut banks and a barrier for shoreline sediment. These plants create habitat and food supply for many species of insect, fish, bird, and mammal. The most common North American emergent plants are Lily Pads, Bulrushes and Cattails.

White Water Lily Pads
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
The lily pad is a perennial flat leafed flowering rooted plant that grows in groups. For the most part they are found along shallower waters in sandy or soft bottomed areas. In clear water that can grow up to six to eight feet. The lily pad leaves are more rounded than heart shaped, bright green from 6-12 inches in diameter with a slit about the 1/3 of the leaf. The leaves float on the surface, the flower grow on separate stalks displaying brilliant white petals with a yellow center and are very fragrant. The flower opens each morning and closes as the sun goes down. A favorite habitat for largemouth bass. However many other species such as northern pike and muskies can be found in the lily pads as well. 

Bulrushes
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

There are several species of bulrushes known as reeds and pencil reeds. Bulrushes are perennial rooted grass-like plants and can grow to 10 feet tall in shallow water or in moist soils. Reeds generally grow on firm bottoms, bulrush grows in softer mud bottoms. The bulrush brownish flowers appears just below the tip of the stem. Reeds and bulrush provides excellent fish habitat and spawning areas for northern pike and, in early spring, provide nesting cover for largemouth bass and bluegills. Bulrushes attract marsh birds and songbirds. Seeds of bulrushes are consumed by ducks and other birds.

Cattails
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
Cattails are found in marshes, ditches, shorelines, shallow areas of lakes, ponds, and slow streams, quiet water up to 4 feet deep. They have slightly twisted rounded leaves, and can grow to 5 or 10 feet in height. Cattails are easily identified by their fuzzy brown cigar shaped flower (called the catkin) near the top of the stalk. Cattails spread rapidly when the catkin releases the seeds blowing in the wind or floating on the water’s surface. The cattail habitat helps stabilize marshy borders of lakes and ponds; helps protect shorelines from wave erosion; northern pike may spawn along shore behind the cattail fringe; provides cover and nesting sites for waterfowl and marsh birds such as the red-winged blackbird, stalks and roots are eaten by muskrats and beavers.

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Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Fishing, Fishing TIPS, Structure, weeds

 

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Understanding Submerged Plants

Submerged plants are completely underwater and are generally rooted in the bottom sediment. If flowers exist, they may extend above the surface of the water. Submerged plants exchange carbon dioxide for dissolved oxygen during the periods of photosynthesis which provides a relatively stable source of oxygen for a water based ecosystem. Submerged weeds make up the majority of fishing cover (weed flats and weedlines) that will attract  walleye and northern pike.   The submerged weed family consist of hundreds of species many introduced or exotic that grow prolifically and are considered to problematic in many lakes, rivers and streams. An example of this is Eurasian Watermilfoil   

Most fishing articles relating to weeds refer to names such as cabbage, coontail, and eel grass. The following information is a guide for identifying the most common submerged plants that will attract game fish.

 
Claspingleaf Pondweed (Cabbage) Underwater World of Freshwater Fish

This plant is known to anglers as cabbage and has over 50 varieties in North America. Cabbage is both a deep and shallow water weed that has broad leaves and a brittle stems. They vary in colors from brownish red called tobacco cabbage to a light green leaf. Cabbage is the preferred choice of many large game fish and the most productive. Cabbage is also known as pike weed, muskie weed, and celery.

 

 

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Coontail

Coontail or also know as hornwort, is a dark olive green bushy submerged perennial plant that grows in clumps or dense colonies that forms a canopy type cover in shallow water. The tips of branches are crowded with leaves giving it a “coontail” appearance. The submerged colonies of coontail provides excellent habitat and cover for bait fish as well as other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.) which attracts most predator game fish. The fruits of coontail are consumed by ducks and it is considered a good wildlife food.

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Eelgrass
Eelgrass is a rooted shallow water plant found in flowing water. It has long, thin, ribbon-like leaves (1/2 – 3/4 inches wide) that are commonly 3 to 4 feet long. The vein pattern in the leaves of eelgrass is very distinctive and resembles celery. Eelgrass forms dense colonies dominating other submerged plants to grow. The submerged portions of eel grass provides dense underwater structure as an excellent habitat for bait fish and invertebrates. Northern pike  favor eelgrass during the summer months. Other common names include: Tape grass and wild celery.

 

Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
Elodea

Elodea is a rooted multi-branched perennial submerged plant that grows in cool fertile water to depths of approximately 10 feet. It is identified by its deep green color with 3 to 4 leaves attached directly to the stem. This weed develops quickly and provides good early season action, it attracts bait fish and bass along with other large game fish. Elodea has no known direct food value to wildlife but is used extensively by insects and invertebrates. Other common names include: Waterweed and walleye weed.

Algae
Algae are a basic water plant, some are composed of tiny single cells that float or suspend in the water giving a green, brown, or at times a red color to the water known as “bloom.” Others are multi celled that forms a thin and stringy or hair-like dark green slime commonly know as pond scum. While still others resemble submerged plants but without a true root system this is known as sandgrass. Algae although primitive, provides benefits to water systems by stabilizing bottom sediments and giving cover for small animals such as aquatic insects, snails, and scuds, which are valuable fish food.

 
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Planktonic

Planktonic algae, are floating microscopic single celled plants usually existing suspended in the upper few feet of water often reaching bloom proportions during the summer months based on temperature, light, nutrients making the water appear brownish or pea soup green.

 

Filamentous
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish
Filamentous algae are multi-celled that form into a mat of long chains or threads called filaments that resembles wet wool. Filamentous algae starts growing along the bottom in shallow water appearing fur-like, attaching to rocks, drowned wood, and other aquatic plants. As the production of oxygen increases it will float to the surface forming large mats, known as “Pond Scum.”  Filamentous algae has no direct food value to wildlife.
Underwater World of Freshwater Fish Chara (Sandgrass)

Chara is the most advanced plant of the algae family though often confused with submerged plants. Chara commonly know as “sandgrass” is gray-green, branched with no root system, it grows in short thick mats, covering the lake bottom like a carpet. It can grow to depths of 30 feet, but is more common in shallower water. The stems/branches are brittle and hollow with rough ends, when crushed it emits a foul musty garlic like odor, often why it is called muskgrass or skunkweed. Sandgrass is beneficial promoting water clarity and lake bottom stabilization. During the mid summer through fall, walleyes and perch will be found on sandgrass flats.

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Fishing, Fishing TIPS

 

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