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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Walleye Lures and Baits

To get a fish to bite, you need to know how, where, whe­n, and what it eats.

1 Dave

 

Walleye are most active in morning and evening. They feed on small yellow perch, small northern pike, lake herring, other small bait fish and you can often find them around schools of these smaller fish. They eat a lot, they’re aggressive, and they’re not picky, which is good news for you. Because walleye eat by sucking in water around their prey, you’ll probably want to try smaller bait.

Look for walleye around submerged rocks, weedy flats, bars or other underwater barriers in the lakes.  Wawang Lake is known for all these types of great structure.

Many predators like such obstructio­ns, which help them ambush their food. Walleye locate their prey by sight, which means you’re not likely to find them in sunny waters; they retreat coyly to the shadows or the darker depths, often in groups. walleye’s strong vision also means you’ll have better luck with brightly colored lures, and you might even want to experiment with different colors.

­In the case of walleye, to seek out their location, you’ll also need to consider the time of year. Walleye like water between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and they move to follow it. In spring and fall, you’ll find them in the shallows of lakes. In summer, they’ll be a bit deeper — though you’re not likely to find them in very deep waters (more than 50 feet).

Now that you know those basics, let’s find out how you can choose the right baits and lures.

Types of Walleye Fishing Lures

Nature-Jigs-1-WhiteLures are designed to mimic a fish’s natural prey, so think about­ walleye’s eating patterns and food. Lures that move quickly will attract these aggressive hunters. Additionally, lures should be similar in size to the smaller prey fish.

If you’re fishing with a jig head, choose the jig head based on water depth — the deeper the water, the heavier the head. For deeper walleye fishing, you’ll want a jig head of about ½ ounce. In shallower waters, you can go as light as a 1/8-ounce jig head. If conditions are rough or windy, a heavier jig can help.

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Depending on the time of year, you may want something that sticks close to the bottom, like a small but heavy jig (with a lead head) or a crank bait.   If you go with a crank bait, again, choose one that mimics walleye’s natural prey — narrow, and between three and five inches long.

In various fishing conditions, you might want to try:

  • High-action lures:  designed to go deep (especially in warmer months)
  • Crank baits:  such as shad raps, jointed shad raps, or glass shad raps (with built-in rattles)
  • A balsa lure: such as a rapala
  • Live bait jigs: (for casting or trolling at the beginning of the fall season)
  • A #3 or #4 spinner
  • Trolling crank baits with more subtle action (better for the colder months

Finally, you can key your color choice to the sort of water you’ll be fishing. Use brighter colors for weedy or muddy waters.

Obviously, your bait depends on your choice of lure, as well as the fishing conditions. Read on.

Types of Walleye Fishing Baits

182Remember that walleye’s behavior and location chan­ges seasonally — so, the b­ait that worked so well at the beginning of September might not be the best one for May. Come prepared to try a few different kinds of baits, and remember that every angler works by trial and error.

When the weather is cold, you may find the best results with live bait. In cold water, walleye are sluggish. The movement of live bait will likely be most effective at stimulating them to bite. Walleye are more aggressive in warmer weather, and that can sometimes let you get away with plastic bait, especially plastic worms.   But many anglers swear by minnows year-round.

If you’re using a live bait jig, try minnows, worms, leeches or red tail chub. With a spinner, try a piece of worm.

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One approach you may want to explore is coordinating your bait fish to whatever is schooling in the water. If you see a school of perch, for example, walleye are probably feeding close by, so use a perch colored lure tipped with live bait. Then let your jig drop a few feet at a time, the better to imitate the movement of the bait fish.   Obviously, this requires a bit more observation, flexibility and patience on your part. But isn’t that why you go fishing in the first place?

WEATHER TIP
Try to time your walleye fishing expedition so that it’s not coming right after a particularly cold snap. You can often have good luck during the turnover — the time when the weather is getting colder — because walleye follow their food into shallower waters, and often into less protected areas. But a particularly cold snap changes a lake’s temperature patterns so dramatically that it tends to put walleye into hiding until they’ve adjusted. Gradual changes are likely to offer better fishing

How To Cook Walleye
Now that you know how walleye eat, it’s time to learn how you can eat walleye. Walleye makes for a delicious meal, and depending on the preparation, it can be quite healthful as well. Try grilling walleye with fruit chutney, horseradish or pesto for a low-fat entrée. You can also bake, broil, fry, smoke or blacken walleye. Walleye is flavorful on its own, so you don’t need to do anything elaborate or complicated. 

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Northern Pike Handling, Filleting & Take the ‘Y’ Bones Out

catch
When it comes to caring for Pike that you plan to use at home, the first and probably most important step in assuring a quality meal is to keep the fish fresh prior to cleaning.   Compared to other popular game fish, the flesh of Northern Pike is among the most likely to deteriorate if care is not taken to keep the fish fresh right up to the cleaning table.   When you plan to save some for the table, one great approach is to wait until later in your fishing trip before you start saving fish to take home.

After filleting it’s best to freeze your filets properly for transportation back home from the lodge.  All your hard work out on the lake could be confiscated by a game warden for the following reasons:

  • frozen in one big blob is considered ‘unidentifiable’
  • failure to keep one square inch patch of skin on the filet
  • packaged improperly (the correct procedure is one fish per package, layed out flat – side by side)

Keeping fish frozen during your stay allows for easy transportation all the way home.  Frozen fish takes the place of ice, however, midway you may want to check the cooler to inspect your filets and add fish accordingly as this could  make a difference at the dinner table.

Another key factor in preparing gourmet meals using Northern Pike is to avoid saving Pike in the freezer for periods of time.  Pike flesh contains a particular Amino Acid that breaks down fairly quickly while fish are stored in the freezer too long. So even if you’ve taken great care to keep the fish fresh up to this point, you could be disappointed when you pull out a package of fish that you’ve been saving for that special occasion.  Because Pike are not well suited for long-term storage, at the simple rule of thumb is Pike are to be eaten within a couple of weeks. 

Removing the “Y” bones from Pike fillets is part of the mystery that has kept lots of otherwise willing anglers away from using these fish in recipes and removing these small bones is really easy! Even the smallest Pike can be easily de-boned by anyone who can fillet a Walleye or most any other fish. In fact, even the term “Y” bone is a misnomer because this so called “Y” bone really isn’t much different than the strip of bones that you’d remove from a Walleye or any other fish caught in our waters. It just happens to be sandwiched into the grain of the fillet where it is protected from “frying out”. 

This is one of those times when it would be easier to do the job than it is to describe how to do it, but look at the picture of the finished fillets and you’ll get a good idea of how to follow these instructions.

npBegin by filleting the fish and removing the rib bones as you would a Walleye or most other freshwater fish. Once you have taken the fillet, study it for a minute. Take a look at the centerline that divides the fillet horizontally and notice the row of light bones visible halfway between this centerline and the top (fishes back) of the fillet. You will be making one cut on each side of this row of bones. You’ll also see that the flesh has a “grain” much like the grain of a nice oak board. The “Y” bones run with this grain and you can use this grain as a directional guide when making your cuts.

COMPLETE DIAGRAM BELOW:

Cut 1:
Start by making a cut just above this row of bones that you can see (and feel). This first cut will be shallow (about ¼ inch) and it is perpendicular to the fillet. This simple, straight cut is used mostly as an access cut to get your knife into position for the next step. Using the tip of your fillet knife, you’ll be able to feel the edge of your knife contact the bones at the inside corner of this “L”  where the bones turn toward the top of the fillet. When you feel the knife contacting those bones, take care not to cut through them.

Cut 2:
Turn the edge of your knife toward the top of the fillet at about a 45-degree angle and follow this edge. You’ll be able to see the bones as you gently slip your knife-edge along this edge. Stop the cut before you reach the top edge of the fillet.

Cut 3:
This is the finishing touch. Start this cut below the row of bones on the side nearest the centerline and simply follow the same angle that you used to make cut 2. As the edge of your knife moves toward the top of the fillet, you’ll begin to feel this strip of bones peeling away from the rest of the fillet. Trim along these edges as needed to remove the strip and voila, you’re finished.

ybone


So There you have it, all you need is a little faith in yourself, a fairly good fillet knife and a little practice. You will soon learn that there is really no trick at all and before long your family and friends will be standing in line at dinner time waiting to sample your newest Pike recipe.

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Posted by on January 30, 2016 in Fishing, Northern Pike, pike

 

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Early Season Walleye Jigging Tactics

Early Season Walleye Jigging Tactics

Jigging for Walleye

Using jigs can be very productive but too many anglers aren’t fishing them correctly. Just starters, understand that you won’t always feel the thump of a walleye when it strikes a jig.

 

Guys expect that sure bite or hit. Many times you don’t feel it. So often you  drop the jig down and it stops. Maybe you’ll just feel some extra weight.

Concentrate on your rod, and don’t wait too long to set the hook.

The right rod helps here. When jigging, use a 6-foot, 8-inch or 7-foot rod when jigging with a light-action and fast tip. This really helps increase the number of bites he detects, which translates into more fish.

Use a short shank jig for live bait and a long shank jig when combining that live bait with a dressing. The latter can be plastic, Gulp, or maribou. If you face a tougher bite, use less bulk and movement in the water. Don’t vibrate your offering as much. Listen to the fish to extrapolate their mood, then up size or downsize properly.

Under most conditions, avoid stinger hooks. If you’re missing strikes, however, and want to try a stinger, use it properly. Just let it free-fall behind the lure.4595-fireballs

You get fewer bites with a stinger, so if you’re missing fish, drop that rod tip first, and let them take it.

As for jigging actions, think beyond just lift-drop. That’s fine if it’s producing, but often just holding it at one depth, say 3 inches off bottom, is enough. Let that minnow work.

If you want to get creative, try quiver jigging (gyrating the rod ahead of the reel), snap-jigging, dragging, or just casting and retrieving jigs.

Also, use a heavy enough jig to contact bottom, but not so heavy that fish blow it out. Vertical jigging should offer just the right weight to tick the bottom.

And if you feel a bite, set the hook hard. Really swing that rod tip up.  Always tie your jigs directly to the line. Suspend it periodically out of the water and let it unravel to eliminate line twist and tangling.

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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Fishing, Fishing TIPS, Walleye Fishing

 

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How to Release Monster Pike

42-2Pike fishing is one of the fastest growing areas in sport fishing today. Ask any long-time pike angler if fishing pressure is increasing, or look at the growth of Pike or Musky lure manufacturers, and you’ll be convinced that pike fishing is on the rise.

With more anglers pursuing these predators every year, the need for proper releasing techniques is crucial to ensure the survival of post-release fish, and to sustain the sport fishery.

The Right Tools And Gear

You need the right tools to play, and to release a big pike without exhausting or over-stressing the fish. The right tools begin with your fishing equipment. Your set-up should include heavy-action rods, and reels with high ratios and large spools to quickly retrieve line. Spool reels with quality line with a minimum rating of 65-pound-test. The terminal end should have steel leader with strong snaps and ball bearing swivels.

tools

Here are some common tools for releasing pke: (left ro right) hook cutters, measuring tape, long-nose pliers, and jaw-spreaders.

You will need the right tools to land and release these big predators. Opinions vary on the best device to land a muskie, but nets and cradles (large enough to comfortably hold, or pen, a pike) are two popular options. You will also need tools to help cut and remove hooks from the fish’s mouth, including long-nosed pliers, hook cutters, jaw spreaders, and hook-removers.

Remember, cutting hooks can be faster than removing them with pliers, but it is critical to remove all the hook pieces. Pieces left in the fish can lead to infection and, potentially, death.

 

Have The Knowledge

You’ve just spent a couple hundred dollars on a quality net, a rod and reel combo, a dozen lures, and the latest release tools. Better yet, you’re on a beautiful lake and have a good population of monster pike. Adrenaline rushes through your body, but are you prepared to safely land this fish? This is an important question anglers new to muskie fishing need to ask themselves before fishing. Netting a fat walleye, requires skill and confidence, but handling big, aggressive fish is more demanding. The good news is there are many ways to learn how to land and release pike properly.

One of the best ways to learn is by doing.   Joining a club will connect you to a wealth of pike information. Hiring a credible guide is another way to gain first-hand experience. Reading publications specific to pike fishing and attending seminars at fishing shows are two other ways to boost your release know-how.

Confidence And Patience

“Zen and the art of pike fishing?” you ask. No, but confidence and patience are two traits that will go a long way to ensure you properly release fish. When working in close quarters with pike, you must be confident in your actions; this is where the right tools and knowledge will really pay off. For example, if you’re leaning over to grab a trophy sized pike and you hesitate just as the fish thrashes in the net, the situation could quickly get dangerous to both you and the fish.

Most multi-season, pike anglers know stories of hooks in hands and fish freak-outs. Being confident when handling pike will likely save you a hospital visit, but it can’t guarantee it.

Being patient comes into play on many levels in fishing, but let’s focus on how it relates to releasing these toothy brutes. After hooking a pike you intend to release (which should be almost always), you’re responsible to do it properly. Pike that battle hard during the fight may require time to recuperate before swimming away. It may take only 10 minutes or 20 minutes, but some pike may need more than an hour of boat-side support.   One thing to remember is to avoid shallow water during hot months as this water doesn’t hold much oxygen.  Bringing the fish out to a little deeper water will be advantageous to the fish.  As a responsible angler, you must be patient enough to hold and support that fish as it regains its strength before being able to strongly swim out of your hands. If you’re not prepared to spend the time to properly release a fish, you shouldn’t be fishing in the first place. It’s that simple.

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Be Organized

Being organized is more than just having the right tools and gear accessible in a tidy and hazard-free boat. It’s also fishing with a partner and knowing your responsibilities once a fish is hooked. While one battles the fish, the other should ready the release tools, camera, measuring tape, and landing device.

Having a plan for playing and releasing fish, and keeping all tools needed within reach, reduces handling time and overall stress to the fish. Furthermore, a planned and properly executed process for landing, handling and releasing fish will ensure the fish is kept in the water as much as possible.

Release Methods

Key to any successful release is keeping the fish (especially its head) in the water at all times, and only removing it for a quick photo if necessary. Some anglers let the fish recuperate in a net or cradle after the hooks are removed before handling the pike again to take a picture. When photographing a fish, a good rule of thumb is to hold your breath as you lift the fish out of the water. When you need to breathe, so does the fish, and it should quickly be returned to the water to minimize harm.

Try these tips the next time you’re on the water to protect this outstanding resource.

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Understanding Your REEL

spincast2 Spin Cast Reel:  The spincasting reel is also known as a closed face reel because the spool and line are beneath the spool cover.  A simple press of the line release button and a flick of the wrist is pretty much all it takes to cast with this type of reel.  This is why spincast reel is probably the reel you started with as a kid.
Pros: This reel is a great teaching tool for anyone learning how to fish as it is by far the easiest reel to use.  As well the fact that it’s inexpensive gives you the flexibility of starting a kid out in fishing without breaking the bank on a hobby they may eventually cast aside.

Cons: Unfortunately because spincasting reels tend to be considered entry level reels they’re often not made for high intensity usage.  As a result many, not all, spincasting reels are not very durable as they are made of inferior materials.  As well this type of fishing reel is often not the best at long distance casting and suffers from a low hauling power which is needed for hauling big fish out of heavy cover like lilly pads and submerged vegetation.

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spinreel2Spinning Reel:  Spinning reels are probably the more widely used reels due to the relative ease of use as well as there moderate expense.  Spinning reels are also known as open faced reels because the spool and majority of the moving parts are located externally rather than behind a spool cover.  This makes the spinning reel ideal for surf fishing where there is a high likelihood of the reel getting wet with either fresh or saltwater.  The “open face” makes most parts of cleaning much easier than with other reel types.

Quick Tip: When picking spinning reels some tend to opt for reels with front drag systems rather than rear drags.  As the front drag has large washers that exert force on a flat surface which makes the front drag system smoother than the rear.  Where as the rear drag pushes against the drive shaft of the reel which has a smaller surface area.

Pros:  Overall the pros of using spinning reels are as follows.
1. You can get a decent spinning reel for a moderate price.
2.  Due to their open spool design spinning reels tend to hold more line that the other reel types.
3.  Spinning reels are relatively easy to use and are easy to learn to use.
4.  They are great for casting long distances and are very accurate with practice.
5.  Spinning reels are great reels when using light baits.
6.  Not prone to birds nest.

Cons:  The cons of spinning reels are as follows.
1.  Spinning reels are prone to line twist unlike baitcasters which are prone to birds nest.
2.  Spinning reels come in very limited gear ratios which limits your options for reel speeds.
3.  Unfortunately spinning reels are not powerhouses like their baitcasting cousins.  Because spinning reels actually wrap line on the stationary spool upon retrieval rather than the spool spinning hauling the line on like a wench, spinning reels are limited when it comes to hauling power.

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baitcast2Baitcasting Reel:
Baitcasting reels are quickly becoming just as widely used as spinning reels.  Where in the past you mostly saw more experienced and pro anglers using baitcasting reels now there isn’t a day that I’m out on my local pond harrassing the bass and there isn’t at least one other person out there using a baitcaster.

This is because more and more people are recognizing the benefits of using a baitcaster.

Pros: The pros and cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.  Baitcasting reels are wenches, of the different types of reels baitcasters have the most hauling power.
2.  Baitcasters work very well with heavier baits.
3.  Baitcasting reels offer many more gear ratios (retrieval speeds) so choosing the gear ratio that’s more fitting for specific baits is far easier.
4.  Baitcasting reels also have very smooth drag systems.
5.  Baitcasting reels work great with heavier lines and super lines like braid.

Cons:  The cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.   Baitcasters are the most difficult reels to use easily getting birds nest on bad cast.
2.  Because of the steep learning curve with baitcasters it takes a bit more practice to be able to make longer cast.
3.  Baitcasters are not the best choice for lighter baits.
4.  As said before baitcasters are prone to getting birds nests in the line upon casting if not thumbed correctly
5.  Prices of bait casters can easily surpass a budget friendly place for the average person who doesn’t fish that often.

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Overall the different types of fishing reels are then to aid in different ways.  No one reel type is better than the other however they all just have different purposes.  As well with the technological progressions being made fishing reels are all being made with lighter and stronger materials as technology improves.  So choose wisely when choosing your next fishing reel and enjoy it for all it’s worth.

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Tasty Broiled Walleye

broiledwalleye

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 lb Walleye Fillets

Combine the following to make a paste:

2 tb Lemon juice

2 Garlic cloves; minced

3 tb Soy oil

2 tb White wine

1 pn Fresh chopped sweet basil

Leave skin on and place fillet skin down on broiler. Brush fillet with paste. Dust with paprika. Broil one side 10 minutes per each inch of thickness. If sauce is desired, use marinade of fresh garlic, dijon mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise and soy oil. Garnish with lemon wedges, chopped parsley or chopped green onion.

ENJOY!

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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in recipes, walleye, walleye recipes

 

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Ice Fishing Hazard

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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Adventure, Fishing

 

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