Monthly Archives: August 2015

Deep-Water Tactics for Monster Pike pt 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

pike_tPike 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.

pike2Deep-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 deeper 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 varydtfatsuch as chartreuse, fluorescent orange, bright yellow or combinations of these colors really turn on late-fall pike.




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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.

27" walleye

27″ walleye

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.

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

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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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Barometric Pressure


Understanding barometer reading to fish by

The effect of barometric pressure on fishing feeding activity is one of the more interesting theories. In short,  the theory proposes that a dropping air pressure brings on feeding activity, rising pressure turns the fish off feeding, high pressure results in the fish moving to shallower water, and low pressure results in fish moving to deeper water. This article will provide an overview on barometric pressure, summarize various theories about why atmospheric pressure affects fishing activity, and then summarize in tabular fashion the generally accepted fish behaviours with various barometric patterns.

Barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us. A barometer is used to measure air pressure.  The earliest barometer consisted of a glass vacuum tube inserted into a container of mercury which was exposed to the pressure of the air.  Increased air pressure would force the mercury up the tube in a height proportunal to the pressure. The height was measured in inches (inHg) or in millibars (1 inch = 33.864 millibars). Although new types of barometers are now used, these measures are still in place. In general, 30 inHg or 1016 millibars is considered to be normal air pressure. In normal weather, 30.5 is considered extreme high, and 28.5 is considered extreme low. The measures are taken at sea level, a higher elevation has less atmosphere above it, so a correction factor against the normal measure is needed depending on altitude.

It is believed that the effect of barometric pressure is greater in shallow water than deep, probably due to the pressure of the weight of the water in deep water being so high, that the air pressure above it is not relatively significant.

There are many useful gadgets on the market that can help the fisherman today.

There are many useful gadgets on the market that can help the fisherman today.

The principal theory, is that the effect of changing pressure on the swim bladders of fish makes them uncomfortable or dis-oriented. In this theory, the fish will move to feel well, or they feel bloated or full. With a lowering barometer, it is believed these fish move into deep water seeking higher water pressure and ride out the low pressure around structures.  The theory suggests that just prior to change from a high to a low, fish will bite like crazy until the low hits and then stop. The difficulty with this theory, is that water is 900 times more dense than air, and generates signicantly more pressure than air. In fact,a 3 foot wave will produce a variation of pressure more significant than can be expected from a change in atmospheric pressure through a dramatic change, and the wave effect is happening every few seconds, rather than the hours or days that the atmospheric changes takes to occur.

imagesCA1344Y9Frankly, given that the pressure of water depth is such a significantly greater factor than the pressure of atmosphere, it seems likely that the weather conditions created by changes in barometric pressure, such as clouds, rain and wind, have more effect on fishing than the barometric pressure alone. So in the opinion of the author, barometric change is a good indicator of fishing change, but it’s not because of the pressure change by itself, as much as what other weather conditions are likely to occur because of the pressure change.
The following table attempts to summarize the barometric pressure, and observations on fish activity and fishing techniques.

Pressure Trend Typical Weather Fish Behaviour Suggested Fishing Tactics
High Clear skies Fish seek cover, look for logs, weeds in shallows. If water too warm, will stop biting. Fish structure close to surface, with shallow crankbaits, poppers, etc..
Rising Clearing or improving Fish start to move out of deeper water.  After a day or so, go to normal feeding. Fish with brighter lures and near cover, moving from deeper water to shallower water.
Normal and stable Fair Normal activity. Experiment with your favorite baits and lures.
Falling            Degrading Most active feeding. Range of different methods. Surface and shallow running lures may work well.
Slightly lower Usually cloudy Fish seek deeper water, with water temp maybe also slowing them down. May need to settle before feeding again. Use deep running lures at a moderate speed.
Low Rainy and stormy Fish move to deeper structures, may not feed. Fish deep structures, vary your methods.

Of course, the longer a period of high feeding activity, the more likely the fish are to stop feeding and the longer the period of inactivity, the more likely the fish are to start feeding.


Draw your own conclusions on the effect of a changing barometric pressure on fishing activity. Whether pressure changes by themselves cause feeding changes may be in question, but the patterns seem to be there regardless.

‘There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a
serenity of the mind’




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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Barometer, Fishing, Fishing TIPS, weather


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Spoons For Walleyes

When using spoons for walleyes, most anglers assume the method is vertically fishing heavy jigging spoons in deep water. With apologies to the heavy-metal brigade, when it comes to trolling spoons, thin is in.

spoonsFlutterspoons–thin, lightweight, flexible spoons commonly used by trout and salmon anglers–have superb applications for walleyes. Their use for walleyes originated among Great Lakes trollers pursuing salmon and trout, whereupon anglers began stumbling upon excellent catches of lunker walleyes. From there, the technique evolved into full-fledged systems for giant ‘eyes.

Flutterspoons have three main characteristics separating them from other lure families commonly used for walleyes: (1) they’re thin, lightweight, and have no diving characteristics of their own; therefore, some type of weight, diver, or diving lure is needed to take them down to the desired depth; (2) spoons run at higher speeds than most walleye presentations, with many performing admirably from just over 1 to about 3 mph, sometimes faster; and (3) spoons feature attractive combinations of wobble, flash, and color to trigger walleye strikes while quickly eliminating unproductive water.

Unlike wide casting spoons or thick casting spoons, flutterspoons are thin and flexible with little weight. Most are also relatively narrow. Minor size, shape, and thickness variations give each manufacturer’s models a unique blend of attributes.

While trout and salmon anglers frequently use a range of flutterspoon sizes, walleye fishermen tend to prefer the smaller sizes. For example, the standard size Michigan Stinger (Advance Tackle) is 3 3/4 inches long x 3/4 inches wide; the smaller Scorpion, a popular walleye lure, is only 2 1/4 inches long x 1/2 inches wide. Pro King Tackle offers the standard Pro King and smaller Pro Spoon. Wolverine Tackle’s Silver Streak features numerous models including the standard 300 series and the smaller Mini Streak 200 series. Day in and day out, the smaller versions of these spoons seem to trigger walleyes best, although, at times, slightly larger spoons, like the Silver Leaf Spoon now marketed by Erie Dearie, can be dynamite.

spoon2Flutterspoons also come in an extensive range of colors and hues with exotic names as colorful as their patterns. Two of the current rages on Lake Erie are Monkey Puke (green and gold) and Kevorkian or Dr. Death (a purple-pink combo considered deadly in deep water). Other areas, like Saginaw Bay, might favor different combos. As always, hot color patterns change throughout the seasons according to available forage, water clarity, and weather conditions.

Delivery Systems
Spoons allow faster fishing than spinners and most crankbaits, and they easily cover larger areas and at varied depths with the same rigging. Directional divers like Luhr-Jensen’s Dipsey Diver are perfectly geared to spoons. Angled divers tied in-line to your main line, with a 5- or 6-foot leader, will dive down at a preset, adjustable angle, either straight below the boat or at some angle to either side. This allows you to set out numerous rods, with planers set to dive down and out at different angles, to strain the water column.

illustration Wawang Lake

Anglers also troll small spoons on a three-way rig, removing the traditional sinker and replacing it with a deep-diving crankbait like a Hot’N Tot. This takes the spoon down to the desired depth. Different crankbaits sizes can be used to target different depths. And obviously, it provides the chance to simultaneously trigger fish with two different lures and to experiment with different lure styles, colors, and actions. Some folks even squirt or rub a little scent on the spoon to, in their opinion, enhance its effectiveness.

illustration2 Wawang Lake

Obviously, any weighting system can be used to take spoons down to desired depths, though some form of diving system–be it a three-way crankbait rig or a directional diving planer–seems to be the method of choice when trolling lightweight flutterspoons for walleyes on the Great Lakes.



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Fall Rigs for Late Walleye Fishing

From late summer though fall, live-bait fishing catches walleye every day in Wawang Lake. Other methods may catch more, but don’t count on it.   Especially when that weight sliding on your main line is perfectly in tune with depth, wind, bait type and size.

A leader separates a struggling live bait from that weight, giving it room to swim, squirm and attract fish. Simple. Beautiful. Deadly. But the key is putting that living minnow, leech or crawler on a target below the boat. Like a bombardier, rigging experts know how to triangulate their targets and allow for current, velocity and depth.  But being a rigging bombardier doesn’t require magic or genius. Triangulating, in this case, is simple. As you move deeper, use a larger weight. As the wind picks up, go with a larger weight. And as the size of the bait increases – well, you get the idea.

There is no doubt that it’s a proven system, and the most efficient live-bait delivery system possible.  Success is really about location, followed by time of year and bait selection. Carefully considering these ups your odds. The key to success with rigging is placing live bait precisely on a small target below the boat, and to do that it’s better to use a weight that is too heavy than one that’s too light.

  • What are bass anglers good at – Accurate pitching to visible targets.

  • What are walleye anglers good at – Putting a sinker in a 12-inch circle 25-feet down.

  • That’s why sinker size and type is critical.

Leaders testing 4- to 8-pounds and 4 feet long (from swivel to hook) are optimum most of the time. Some anglers primarily rigs with two types of sinkers from late summer on: Lindy Walking Sinkers – the most popular rigging weights ever – and Lindy Rattlin’ No-Snagg Sinkers.

Lindy rigs really shine on main-lake points and humps from late summer through fall.  They maintain bottom contact to cover those critical transitions from hard to soft bottom that attract baitfish. Transitions are classic rigging zones.  Transitions show up on sonar – the hard bottom showing bright and dense while soft substrates return a weaker signal.

Use a sensitive, medium-light, 7-foot rod with braided line on the reel.  Braid doesn’t stretch, so it transmits vibration and feel much better.  You can tell when your bait is almost to that point where the bottom changes, helping you visualize exactly where it is.

During late summer, walleyes move out on main-lake points and humps to depths of 20 to 25 feet. By late autumn, it’s common to find them 35 to 55 feet down.  Follow them down through fall with heavier sinkers.  If it’s windy, go even heavier. Again, it’s better to go too heavy than too light. If you can’t feel bottom, go up a notch in weight.


Weekend anglers often forget that rigging isn’t just dragging baits around on bottom.   Criss-cross transitions, moving from shallow to deep and back again.

When marking walleye on the edge of a break at 25 feet, snake from 27 to 23 and back down.  When the bait’s moving away from them, going shallower or deeper, they react as if it’s trying to get away.   vertical-jigging-1Also lift the rig off bottom as it approaches a marked fish.  Using the Rattlin’ No Snagg Sinker, shake it. Raising it off bottom can trigger a reluctant fish. It’s that escape trigger – making walleye think the baitfish is moving away.

Which brings up another important point, after every bite, try to remember exactly what you were doing before it happened – what direction you were going, how fast you were moving, how high or fast you lifted the bait. All those factors become pattern identification. That’s how you go on to catch four, five or a dozen more. And once you catch a few fish off a point or hump, try to find the same kind of spots. That’s how you create patterns with Lindy rigs in the fall.

When a fish bites, feed it line for at least 10 seconds while slowly maneuvering the boat toward the fish.   Sometimes wait up to a minute.  If they really whack it, it’s 10 seconds.  If they barely pick it up, let them take it longer and point the rod right at the fish and move the boat over it, slowly picking up slack. When you feel tension, set. If you miss,  let them take it longer next time.

The sinker selection is the key element that many anglers overlook for late-summer, early fall walleye rigging.

It’s all about striking a balance between wind, depth, and bait size. You want to stay relatively vertical in deep water. Mostly use 1/2- to 1-ounce weights late summer through fall because walleyes are 25 to 45 feet down. And use bigger minnows in fall, lip hooked on size 4 to size 1 octopus-style hooks. You want to be right below the boat when you’re on fish, but you have to keep moving to find them, so you have to strike a balance that way, too. Once you start marking fish, zero in on that depth.

Sometimes it helps to pulse your trolling motor and change direction and speed.

That’s what triggers strikes when Lindy rigging – slight variations in speed and direction. And if using that Rattlin’ No Snagg sinker, lift, drop and shake it a lot to activate those rattles. That triggers strikes, too. But choose the shape and type of sinker based on bottom type, cover and conditions to be efficient.

  • The classic Lindy Walking Sinker is perfect for sand, gravel and subtle transitions in clear water.
  • The No Snagg shines around broken rock, wood and boulders, and the Rattlin’ No Snagg is right whenever the water is cloudy.

Another bonus is that No Snagg wobbles a little bit, which moves the bait. It twitches a leech, crawler, or minnow just a little bit. That’s all it can take to trigger a walleye.

But don’t forget to zig-zag. And pause when you mark a fish. Lift the bait, too. And shake it. Just dragging bait around won’t cut it most days.



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Cranky Summer Walleye

In this, the hottest part of the season, a walleye’s metabolism is running as high as it’s going to run all year. That’s what makes now such a great time of year … aggressive fish that are eating all the time. For years we have heard old tales about how tough fishing can be during these “Dog Days”, but in reality, if you’re not catching fish, it’s because you’re either not in the right place or you’re using the wrong approach. To find them, find their food source. Most of the best summer walleye fishing will key on either Open Water Basins or Deep Structure. While these are vastly different locales, your best choice of presentations will be the same for each … trolling crankbaits.


Open Water Basins:
Open water walleye relate to baitfish roaming basins in the summer. In most cases fish will be suspended in the water column, but will occasionally be found hugging bottom. No matter where they are, keep in mind that these fish feed in an upward direction. This is important, because when running your lures, you’ll need to target depths at the same level, or above where the walleyes are located. Experimenting with lure depth will zero-in on the walleyes’ “feeding zone”, which is the depth at which they will most likely attack your bait. Many anglers make the mistake of marking fish at a particular depth, say 20 feet down over 35 feet of water, and run all their lures at 20 feet. The actual “feeding zone” of those walleyes may be at 15 feet, thus, by putting the baits below that level, they go untouched.

diving luresThis style of fishing calls for covering vast amounts of water, so it only makes sense that by spreading your lures out as you troll would greatly increase your chances of contacting more walleyes. For this reason, in-line boards like Off Shore Tackle’s OR-12 Side Planer are considered essential gear for trolling. These boards are well designed and work flawlessly pulling deep diving crankbaits under the toughest of conditions, whether that’s bouncing through rough water, or trolling at higher-than-average speeds. The fact is, if you’re trolling open water without boards, you’re severely handicapping yourself.

Deep Structure:
Walleyes that inhabit large lakes are occasionally caught in open water, but are more likely to spend the late summer period relating closer to deep water structure such as the old river channel, main-lake points, or deep flats. These fish may be sitting tight to structure, or hanging in what we call “the fringes”, where they’re suspended just off structure. Although considered to be “structure related”, these walleyes tend to be scattered, calling for techniques designed to cover water in order to contact good numbers of fish. Contour trolling is a deadly tactic for these fish, yet, as with the open water trolling scenario, it’s important to be reminded that these are aggressively feeding fish, and finding the fish’s “feeding zone” in relation to their location is key. Again, plan on running your lures just above the fish for best results.

The Right Baits:
The warm waters of late summer call for crankbaits that can really draw attention to themselves. Lures that exhibit a lot of “wobble” and vibration, as well as plenty of flash are the ones that will serve you best. The Berkley Flicker Shad has all these traits along with a great rattle system and has proven itself a great late-summer walleye producer in both open water and deep structure trolling situations. Trolling with no-stretch Berkley FireLine in 10 pound test will enhance your depth coverage, allowing you to add as much as 30% to a crankbait’s maximum depth range.

Color can be a big factor for success, and one key color stands out no matter where we troll in late summer … aggressive walleyes like seeing bright colors! A splash of red on the head or bill of a lure has proven to be an effective attractant, as has adding red to the belly of a lure. Red is a color very visible to walleyes, and since you are presenting the bait above the fish, in his “feeding zone”, it makes sense to give him something he can easily see from below. As the crankbait wobbles back and forth, the red belly also gives a good contrast to the lure’s side color (be it silver, gold, chartreuse, etc.) adding to the bait’s appeal.

Don’t get caught thinking that the “Dog Days” of late summer mean slow walleye fishing. This is a hot time of season, calling for aggressive trolling tactics. Cover water with a bevy of high action lures trolled in the walleyes’ “feeding zone” and you’ll have some scalding action on those hot summer fish.



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Herb-Crusted Walleye

This is a quick and easy dinner solution that is a big hit at the table. You can use perch, walleye, tilapia, and probably any other kind of fish you’d like.herb

Everyone likes certain tastes, so feel free to spice it up however you like.  Sometimes we’ll add more of the ingredients on top of the fish before putting in the oven for more flavor.

READY IN – 35 mins

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup finely crushed saltine crackers

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound walleye fillets



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place butter in a 9×13-inch baking dish and melt butter in the oven while it heats.
  2. Mix crushed crackers, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, salt, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and dip walleye fillets into butter; gently press fillets into crumb mixture to coat both sides of each fillet. Lay the breaded fillets into the baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until fish is opaque and flakes easily, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • PREP 10 mins
  • COOK 25 mins
  • READY IN 35 mins



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Northern Pike Fishing Tips & Techniques

Where The Pike Are:
There are many places where you will find Northern Pike in Northern Ontario Lakes. Generally, you will find small to medium size pike in the back of bays where there is thick weeds, lily pads and wild rice. The small to medium size pike are feeding on small minnows, bugs, frogs and each other. When you come out to the edge of the weeds, the pike will get bigger because the pike have the food of the bay to their back and also have the chance of taking a small Walleye swimming by the outside of the weeds. So where are the big pike?

Wawang Pike Kelly

Big pike generally do not bother with small minnows, frogs and bugs. Their main food is Walleyes, small hammer-handles, Suckers, Chub and Whitefish. The big pike will hang out where they can ambush Walleyes. The prime ambush area is points leading into bays. They will also hang around rocky points, shoals, islands and other places where there are Walleyes. The best place to get a big trophy pike is at the mouth of a stream or river, narrows between islands and water-flow between lakes. The big pike just sit there waiting for Walleyes to swim through. Walleyes tend to migrate around a lake all year, whether it’s moving to find cooler water, deeper water, more food or even finding their spawning grounds.

The classics, red-and-white Daredevil, Five of Diamonds, and a black and white Daredevil

The classics, red-and-white Daredevil, Five of Diamonds, and a black and white Daredevil

Of all the game fish you can catch in Ontario, Northern Pike are the easiest. Pike will hit just about any lure. The most popular lures for Pike are the “red & silver” and the yellow “five-of-diamonds” DareDevles. Pike also hit jigs, Rapalas and Thundersticks. Some of the biggest pike are caught with small jigs while Walleye fishing. It makes sense because the big pike will patrol the outer parameter of the schools of Walleyes.

Play with your bait:
Pike will play with your bait. It’s not uncommon for a big Pike to hit and let go several times before the bait is taken. With this in mind you have to show some patience. If you get a big pike on and then lose him, just wait a little while and he will hit again. Their appetites are so ferocious that they forget quickly and start to feed again. There are many reports by fisherman of catching the same pike over again.

Casting A DareDevil:
One very effective way to maximize the attraction of a DareDevles or other spoons is to slap them. What you do is cast towards your target zone but cast up high so your lure falls into the area you want to fish. When the lure is about 2 or 3 feet above the water, jerk your line towards you. This makes the lure slap on the surface. If you are doing it right, you can hear the DareDevle slap. The sound of a spoon slapping on the surface seems to attract pike and/or trigger a feeding response.

In Northern Ontario, there are generally three types of water. Some lakes are so clear that you can see the bottom 80 feet down. Other shallow lakes can me murky or muddy for days or weeks after a big storm. Many lakes have a wine-red color, which is caused by dissolved iron in the water. With clear water, the red and silver color works best. With muddy or iron-rich water, a yellow Five-of-Diamonds DareDevle seems to work better. In muddy or iron-rich water, rattle baits are even better as the pike can locate the lure by sound.

Muskie and Northern Pike look very similar. Did you know that they are not genetically related? They look the same because they evolved in similar environments. Walleye (Yellow Pickerel) and the Yellow Perch are related even though they look very different.

Using Old Rapalas with your DareDevle:
Do you have a Rapala that’s all chewed up or the little plastic fin broke off? You don’t have to turn it into a key-chain or throw it in the garbage. It’s still very useful.

rap dd

Nothing gets a big monster pike more aggravated than watching another fish trying to eat. Northern Pike are extremely competitive and like to assert their dominance in the food chain. When a pike sees a fish chasing another fish, it’s time for lunch.

With this in mind, take the hooks off your broken Rapala. Then attached a black steel leader. Then attach another leader to the back of the Rapala with a spring-slip-ring. Then attach your DareDevle or what ever you want to use.

Kawartha Muskie Rig With Big Minnows:

This rig is another way of triggering that animal feeding instinct. It’s an old Muskie fishing trick.

wawang lake pike rig
The big trophy Northern are not feeding on bugs and little minnows. They are feeding on 1/2 to 2 pound Walleyes. A big pike will spend too much energy chasing little bits of food. With this in mind, it’s time to look at your bait. Most bait stores will not carry 6 to 8 inch chub or suckers but that’s what you need. Get some 4 pound test line and really tiny hooks and find a small stream. Walk down the stream until you come to a hole and fish for chub/suckers with a little piece of worm. Just about every small stream in Canada has Chub or suckers in it and they are easy to catch.

A big chub on a traditional Kawartha Muskie rig is how you catch the big ones. To make a Muskie rig, you need two steel leaders and two medium size treble hooks. Clip the hooks onto the two leaders. Then clip the two leaders together so that you have a hook at one end and a hook where the two leaders are joined. Tie your line to the eye of the top leader. Next you want to get a medium size float and put the float about 1 foot above the rig. With the end hook, put the hook through the bottom lip of the Chub. With the middle hook, hook the Chub at the base of the tail. Make sure you do not hook the Chub at the end of the tail or the fish will not be able to swim around.

How To Hold A Pike:
The best way is shown above by supporting their belly as holding them lengthwise causes undue stress on the midsection where they can suffer and eventually die.  If you hold a northern pike or walleye up by it’s eye sockets like they use to do in the old days, you squeeze their optic nerves into their brain and they die a slow death.  Be kind and don’t do this.

Gas and Bug Spray:
If you have touched a gas tank, gas line or get gasoline on your hands, scrub (wash) your hands with sugar. After you have put bug spray on, wash your hands with salt. Do this before you touch your lures to minimize transfer of undesirable scents. This will maximize fish strikes.



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