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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Herb-Crusted Walleye

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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.

I find that everyone likes certain tastes, so feel free to spice it up however you like.

I will sometimes 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

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Directions

  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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CATCH – PHOTO & RELEASE

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

  • 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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Keeps away flies, wasps …

Zip Lock Baggies………..who knew?

We went to a restaurant and sat in the patio section. We happened to notice zip lock baggies pinned to a post and a wall. The bags were half filled with… …water, each contained 4 pennies, and they were zipped shut. Naturally we were curious! The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away! So naturally we were even more curious! We actually watched some flies come in the open window, stand around on the window sill, and then fly out again. And there were no flies in the eating area!

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Below are comments on this fly control idea. I’m now a believer!

Zip-lock water bags: #1 Says: I tried the zip lock bag and pennies this weekend. I have a horse trailer. The flies were bad while I was camping. I put the baggies with pennies above the door of the LQ. NOT ONE FLY came in the trailer.The horse trailer part had many. Not sure why it works but it does!

#2 Says:Fill a zip lock bag with water and 5 or 6 pennies and hang it in the problem area. In my case it was a particular window in my home. It had a slight passage way for insects. Every since I have done that, it has kept flies and wasps away. Some say that wasps and flies mistake the bag for some other insect nest and are threatened.

#3 Says:I swear by the plastic bag of water trick. I have them on porch and basement. We saw these in Northeast Mo. at an Amish grocery store& have used them since. They say it works because a fly sees a reflection& won’t come around.

#4 Says:Regarding the science behind zip log bags of water? My research found that the millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much perceived action. I moved to a rural area and thought these “hillbillies” were just yanking my city boy chain but I tried it and it worked immediately! We went from hundreds of flies to seeing the occasional one, but he didn’t hang around long.

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NORTHERN PIKE Spring Tactics

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Northern pike is one of the most aggressive predators swimming in North American waters. Typically known for their aggressive nature, fast paced fight, and large size, they are an incredibly popular game fish, particularly in the  Canada. Although pike can be caught all year round on a variety of lures and presentations, one of the most exciting times to fish pike is immediately after ice out every spring. Compared to many other species, pike remain fairly active even in cold water. This, coupled with the fact that they have just finished spawning and are beginning to feed aggressively, makes them a terrific choice for an early spring target.

Spring pike offers an angler many techniques and presentations that allow for a variety of angling methods. Your choice of tackle largely depends on your technique. Typically, lighter pike presentations can easy be accomplished with medium to medium-heavy action spinning gear, whereas heavier presentations require medium-heavy casting or even flipping rods. Your presentation is largely dictated by the location of the fish, and the water temperature. There are times where the fish are very shallow and you can easily sight-fish them and target individual fish, and there are times where whether conditions force those fish into the adjacent deep water.

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Sight fishing is by far the most enjoyable, and it requires stealth and sometimes patience to coax the fish into biting. When sight fishing, a good set of polarized glasses is a must have item. You’ll also want to be as quiet as possible while moving in the boat, and be sure to use an electric trolling motor to approach the spot. Soft plastics really shine at this time, because it can be fished fast or slow, and really resembles an injured baitfish. Swim baits in the 5-7″ range rigged weedless work well and can be swam in front of the fish, or you can hop and pause it across the bottom. Medium sized Bulldawgs are another good option, particularly the shallow models. If you find fish in the shallows and they are more aggressive, then try smaller buck tails or spinner baits. Inline, French, or willow leaf blades seem to work better than larger Colorado blades. The subtle vibration and flash are all it takes to close the deal on aggressive pike. Shallow running crank baits can also be used with great success, particularly suspending models. Use them like a twitch bait and include many long pauses in the retrieve. Baits like X-Raps work great for this presentation.   Another great option is to fish a sucker minnow on a quick-strike rig under a bobber. Simply cast it out to areas holding the pike and set the hook as soon as the bobber is pulled under. You really don’t want to give the fish any time to swallow the hook, an immediate hook set will typically land the hooks in the mouth, not in the gills or throat.

As far as tackle in these shallow water situations, spinning tackle is ideal for the spinners and crank baits, but you’ll want to throw the plastics and the bobbers with a bait casting or heavy flipping rod. These baits are typically heavier and require a heavier rod to get a proper hook set. If you’re in or around areas that hold post-spawn pike and you’re not finding them shallow, don’t be discouraged. Chances are the pike are still in the immediate area, however some variable has caused them to slide deeper. Perhaps a cold front moved in, or a strong wind has pushed the baitfish out over deeper water.

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Regardless, you have to pay attention to the deeper adjacent water. Deeper water pike fishing can be a little trickier because you have to determine exactly what depth the fish are holding in. Typically, deeper pike are not that aggressive this time of year, and so slower finesse presentations are usually needed. Luckily, many of the same tackle options for shallow water also work in deeper water, just with a few modifications. Plastics are hands down a favorite technique for deeper water. Bull dawgs and Tiger Tubes can be used as a jig or cast out and hopped slowly back to the boat. This has accounted for some of the largest fish in our annual photo albums.

Slowing down and paying attention is critical as these fish rarely slam your bait. Rather, you’re looking for a small tick on the line and when you feel it, set the hook hard. Braided line is a must in this situation. Crank baits also work well, but sinking or “countdown” models are best unless you want to modify your shallow running models to sink deeper. Again, fishing as close to the bottom as possible is what you’re aiming to do. Let it hit the bottom and give it a solid rip to stir up the bottom and dart the bait forward. Finally, spinner baits can be slow-rolled across the bottom, however it’s far less success in this technique than the others.

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So now that you know how to catch the fish, where do you start looking for them in the first place? Well, pike spawn immediately after ice out in roughly 36 degree water temperature. They seek out shallow areas with emergent vegetation. Areas with an incoming creek are even better as it will typically be a little warmer and therefore hold more baitfish, and more active pike. Often these areas will have a mix of mud or sand, rock, timber, and generally dead weeds. Many times you’ll see baitfish or other species spawning in these areas following the pike spawn. Naturally, some fish will stick around while others will move out of the bays. Fishing smart, knowing the pike’s movements, and experimenting with baits will no doubt provide you with an exciting start to your open water season!

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The Benefits of Early Spring Fishing

Fishing for walleye early in the spring offers two undeniable benefits – the fish can be fairly easy to find, at least compared to other times of the year, and the fish can be the biggest you’ll catch all year. Do you need any other reasons to fish in the spring just as soon as the weather will let you?

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Walleye fishing can sometimes be a tough proposition at other times of the year. But after ice-out, the biggest fish with the most advanced metabolisms begin to stir first, and that means big hens that have been forming up their eggs over the winter. “Pre-spawn fish can be the easiest of the year. Basically, that’s because the bigger females are starting to stage, starting to go into their spawn patterns.

Deeper water in the spring usually means looking for fish in 15 to 35 feet of water.  They’re feeding when they can, but they’re not feeding as much as they do in warmer water.

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So, you’re concentrating your search out and away from, but in proximity to, places where the walleyes will eventually spawn. Deep water close to a gravelly shoreline, for example, or deep water adjoining a hard-bottom reef or island with a gravel shoreline, are all good places to start looking in lakes.

Pre-spawn and spawn periods vary according to how far north you are. In northern waters, walleyes need warming water temperatures to mature their eggs. Water in the mid-40 degree range is about when they start the spawn proper, so pre-spawn is taking place in that period when the water is less than that ideal spawning temperature.

Spring methods
Methods that work in the spring aren’t all that difficult to figure out, either. Keep in mind that the water temperature is still low, producing somewhat sluggish, lethargic fish. That means you have to fish slowly and deliberately, really working over an area and being patient and fishing slow.  You really have to change your methods to match the water temperature.  That means using smaller baits and slowing down your presentation. Take it easy a little bit. Even the active, bigger fish are lethargic.

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The recommended method for this time of year is vertical jigging. Use a short, 6-foot, medium-action rod with a fast-action tip for sensitivity but with plenty of backbone for bigger fish, spooled with 8- to 10-pound-test line. It’s a slow presentation and when you get bit, a lot of times you’ll only feel the slightest tap, even from a 10- to 12-pound walleye. Sometimes it just feels like a little bit ofa added weight. What’s happening is they’re coming up and inhaling the lure.”

A favorite lure is a Jiggin` Rap chrome/blue, or a Swedish Pimple. Tie the lure with a duo-snap, and then, 18 inches up, attaches a ball-bearing barrel swivel.  Use a swivel because what you’re doing is vertically jigging and letting the bait rest.  Jig it, and let it settle for five to 10 seconds. Then jig it again. The barrel swivel prevents line twist and imparts so much more action to the bait at rest.

Time of day?
Does it matter when you fish in the spring, in terms of the time of day?  Not really. Spring fish can be active at just about anytime, from dawn to dusk. Time of day and light penetration or the warmest parts of the day versus the coldest parts of the day seem moot, because most of these fish are going to be deep anyway. As our guests can testify they’ve taken BIG fish and limits of fish at all times of the day.

What can play a role, of course, are currents. Current is obvious on a river system, but it can be less obvious on a lake system but still present, particularly on reservoirs with an inflow and outflow that can be pretty heavy in the spring. Slack areas with deep water around points, islands, reefs and shoals can be real hotspots at this time of year.

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Perhaps more critically, incoming currents can highlight areas where walleye are heading later to spawn, and by fishing off these areas now, you’ve got a good shot at finding pre-spawn fish.  This would include our spring-fed outlets.

“Most of the lakes have an inlet and outlet, have at least some place or places that are a current source. On a lot of systems, walleyes go up those places to spawn, a big walleye factory. They’ll make their spawning runs up creek arms. At pre-spawn, they’ll be just off those areas, staging. Look for any place with an influx of current, and fish off of it to find the pre-spawn walleyes.

Spring can produce some astonishingly big fish. The bigger females can add a couple of pounds purely with the weight of their eggs.  The further along they get toward maturity and spawning, the bigger their weights.

Vertical jigging a top spring method
Walleye love a trolled crank bait, stick bait or worm harness. But in the spring, trolling may be just too fast for big, lethargic walleye to respond. That’s where vertical jigging really comes in to play.c

bJigging allows you to fish slow, thoroughly working an area, putting your jigged offering right on their noses and tempting them to move an inch or two, flare their gills, and inhale what’s in front of them.

Top choices include jigging spoons, roundhead jigs with bait (minnows, leeches or night crawlers), Whistler jigs and even blade baits. “Rest” your jig on the bottom in intervals of 5 to 10 seconds, and jig with an easy motion, not too fast. The strike can be very subtle – just added weight or the jig stopping – so stay on your toes.

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A Great Solution to Cooler Ice

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Getting ice is always a problem or inconvenience. This will show you how to make Polar Bear tubes for your cooler. These modification are to help you keep your fish fresh and chilled while saving money on ice and worrying about where to find ice when you go fishing. The cooler is shown with a false bottom to keep your fish from laying in a pool of water or blood while you are out fishing, especially should you purchase additional ice. The modification includes a strap for keeping your cooler safely closed while in transient with out the lid blowing open. The setup includes Polar Bear tubes made from 2 inch PVC pipe with standard end caps cut to fit your freezer space available to freeze the tubes.

Safety strap of 2 inch webbing with quick release buckle using screws to attach to cooler.


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First measure your freezer space to see what is the maximum length your tubes can be and see what your maximum cooler length is so you can custom fit your Polar Bear tubes. Make Polar Bear tubes from 2 inch PVC pipe available at your local hardware store. Includes a 20 foot 2 inch PVC pipe end fittings and PVC glue. When assembling, fill with water but not full (88% maximum) as you will need a buffer space for expansion so you wont bust the Polar Bear tube when freezing. Keep everything clean in case you need these Polar Bear tubes as an emergency water supply. Glue end cap on one end of Polar Bear tubes and let it setup for a hour. Fill with water to 88% and glue on other end cap. Keep it vertical so that cap can set with out being in the water.


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I made 6 Polar Bear tubes for my big cooler that are 21 inches each. Make as many Polar Bear tubes you like.


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False bottom to prevent fish laying in blood, or water should you add addition ice.


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False bottom made by attaching 2 pieces of 3/4 inch PVC pipe to a plastic sheet. Custom fit to cooler bottom. Wood not recommended.


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Polar Bear tubes. These are 21 inches as that the maximum length that my garage side by side refrigerator/freezer will take. Hopefully yours may match your cooler length.
Ok lets go catch some fish.


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Polar Bear tubes. Custom fitted for the lunch cooler box.

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in CAMPING, DIY, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Tips for Walleye Fishing

No matter what your preferred fishing technique is;  jigging spoons or trolling baits you’re bound to find a bit of knowledge here that will help up your walleye fishing skills for the upcoming season.

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TROLL DIRTY
Vertical jigging is probably the most productive technique for walleye fishing, but high winds or rains that dirty the water can put the fish off the jig bite. When water conditions change for the worse, try trolling near bottom. Use a three-way swivel and tie a sinker on a 6- to 12-inch dropper, or use a bottom-bouncing rig and trail a floating/diving minnow. Troll upstream and cross-current.

Three WayDOUBLE DOWN
Three-way swivels allow you to double your trolling offerings. Attach a deep-diving crankbait to a 2-to 3-foot leader tied to the bottom of the swivel. Then add to the top of the swivel a leader twice as long as the other and a floating/diving minnow-style bait or a light, thin spoon. When putting the baits out, drop the deep-diver in the water first and let it start diving before letting go of the second leader. This will keep them from tangling and ensure a proper presentation of both baits.

 

SINK SPOONS
Trolling spoons is an effective way to catch walleye, but getting them deep enough can be a challenge. Use the same techniques that big-water salmon anglers employ to attain appropriate depth—downriggers, snap weights, in-line sinkers, diving planers or lead-core line. Walleye are often gear shy, so increase the length of the leader off a lead-core line or the distance behind the cannonball on a downrigger. Fluorocarbon leaders will help, but be careful, as they have no stretch.

goldhead-mayfly-nymphDOWNSIZE THE BAIT
One of the toughest times to catch walleye is during a significant mayfly hatch. To increase your odds, use what guides call a mayfly rig—a small spinner with a portion of a night crawler on a small hook. Cast the rig out and count it down, then retrieve it slowly, experimenting with depth until you find the strike zone; walleyes often hit mayflies as they’re on their way to the surface to emerge. Keep the rig small; mayfly larvae are rarely longer than an inch.

BE VERSATILE
The rule of thumb for jigging is to use minnows in cold water and night crawlers, leeches or soft-plastics as the water warms.   BUT you’re making a mistake if you don’t take all types of live bait with you. Although leeches and crawlers may be hard to find in the fall, they’ll sometimes out produce minnows in cold water, especially if it’s dirty. Other times, even in the heat of the summer, fish want minnows more than other offerings.

HIT THE WHOLE COLUMN
Walleye fishermen usually concentrate on the bottom, but often the most active fish are suspended in the water column. When trolling, vary the depth of your offerings by changing your diving bait or adding weight to your lines if trolling with spinner rigs. Sometimes the ‘eyes are out on the prowl, foraging on minnows or shad that are schooled somewhere between the top and bottom. Watch your depth finder for clues to their whereabouts and fish accordingly.

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JIG A PLUG
Spice up your jigging offering by substituting a chatter bait—such as a Rat-L-Trap—for a spoon. Cast it out, let it drop to the bottom, then yo-yo it back to the boat. Don’t snap it up as high as you would a spoon, as the hooks can foul on the line. Rattling baits fall more slowly than spoons, but you can fix that by adding a slip sinker to your line before you tie on the bait. The extra weight tightens the plug’s wobble on the fall.

WORK THE SHALLOWS
Most walleye anglers concentrate on moderate to deep water, but there are fish in shallow water that are generally ignored. This is especially true during periods of high water when the predators move shallow to forage. Jigs tipped with live bait produce in the weeds, often in water not much deeper than a walleye’s back. Jig spoons near cover. Night crawlers on harnesses with spinners work when cast around the edges and in cuts, but they’re tough to fish in thick stands of vegetation.

HEAD DEEP
One of the toughest bites walleye anglers face is immediately after a weather front passes. With a high, clear sky, the fish often sulk in the depths. The key is to concentrate on deep water structure and fish with live bait, either slowly trolling or drifting around humps and break lines, usually right where the bottom begins to flatten out.

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PLANE OUT
Planer boards that carry lures or bait away from the boat are especially important in ultra clear water. Anglers who troll many lines usually use large boards that are tethered to the boat, and they clip their lines to the tether line. Anglers in small boats can easily fish up to three lines per side with small in-line planers. The key is to set the far-running lines first and position those rods closest to the bow; set near-running lines last and toward the stern. Allow more line out before you attach the outside boards, so the baits trail farther behind the boat. That will let you reel in fish on an outside line without getting tangled.

LOWER A LEECH
Leeches are a terrific bait for walleyes, especially when presented on slip bobbers or jigs. To make them easier to grip, carry a rag or rub them against your pant leg to remove some of the slime. When hooking them, insert the point of the hook into their suction cup—this will let them swim freely instead of balling up on the hook. Keep the leeches in some sort of container in the live well to acclimate them to the lake temperature before you bait up.

LURK, DON’T JERK
Floating/diving minnow lures are known as “jerk baits” because they’re fished with a dramatic, erratic action. A quieter retrieve is often more productive for walleye, which tend to trail baits rather than simply lunging and striking. Neutrally buoyant baits are especially suited to walleye, as they sit still or rise ever so slowly when you stop working the bait. Walleyes take these lures during a pause in the action, so stop your retrieve often.

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GIVE ‘EM OPTIONS
When it comes to trolling with artificial lures, increase your odds by adding soft-plastic trailers to your crank baits. Use small twister-tail grubs or short plastic worms. Attach a 2- to 3-foot length of monofilament to the back hook of the crank baits, tie on a hook and attach the grub. Make sure the hook is exposed, and if you’re using a worm, run the hook through at least three quarters of the soft-plastic; that way you won’t miss short-striking fish. Don’t add any weight to the leader or you’ll interfere with the crank bait’s action. And use opposite colors when trailing crank baits—dark grubs with light-colored plugs and vice versa.

TRY A NO-SLIDE BAIT
When jigging with live bait, try adding a piece of plastic to the hook shank. A body from a grub or a section of plastic worm helps keep the bait on the aft end of the jig and prevents it from sliding up the hook shank. That way, when a walleye grabs the bait, it’ll also get ahold of the hook.

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Spring & Summer Mayfly Hatch

walleye teeth 2Take a close look at a walleye’s mouth and its teeth tell the story – they have evolved to feed on fish. Yet, walleye don’t survive on fish alone. Ever the opportunists, these marble-eyed predators will snatch up meals whenever they get the chance, and there are few underwater appetizers as easy for them to eat as may fly nymphs.

Mayfly nymphs are more than simple snacks for walleye. They’re a main component in walleye diets at certain times of the year. In the spring, gluttonous post-spawn walleye will cruise soft-bottom areas feeding on nymphs and in the summer walleye will target emerging nymphs during a hatch. To effectively catch walleye feeding onnymph nymphs, anglers need to understand the predator-prey relationship between these two species. This includes where to locate nymph-eating ‘eyes and downsizing lures to imitate these immature may fly morsels.

The life cycle of mayflies is;  egg to nymph, followed by nymph to adult. A may fly spends the majority of its life as a nymph, also called larva. Classified as benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates, nymphs crawl along the bottom, hiding in debris and vegetation while some create burrows. Flats and bays with soft mud or silt bottoms are prime nymph habitat. Some nymphs live in deep water, but most stay shallow to soak up sun which is crucial for their growth.

In spring, maturing nymphs become active as they prepare to emerge from the water. Once conditions are right, mature nymphs swim to the surface or crawl on land, shedding their casings and molting into winged adults. As adults their lifespan is relatively short, with their sole purpose to mate before dying. As with any migration in nature, increased activity and concentrated numbers of organisms will attract predators. The mayfly-walleye relationship is no different.

may_fly_life_cycle

“Primarily the time of year when a fish like walleye zeros in on may fly nymphs is the early to late spring period when the organisms are emerging from the mud in fairly concentrated areas, especially the types that burrow into the substrate,” says the experts.

Given their post-spawn predisposition to binge-feeding, catching walleye targeting may fly nymphs can be easy – if you know where to look. The first step is finding soft-bottomed flats comprised of mud, sand and silt that hold may fly nymphs. Some sonars display soft-bottom areas as a thin line as mud or silt absorbs and scatters the sonar’s signals.

Once you’ve found some soft-bottom areas, fish those that are close to spawning areas first, as these spots are natural transition zones and resting points for recovering fish. Also consider the light preferences of walleye. Shaded flats or ones containing weeds and wood will hold walleye better than ones in sunlight and void of cover.

3fbabdf5_hooksSmall 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jigs in both dark and light colours can be deadly when walleye feed on nymphs during early spring. Try to make jigs mimic a nymph’s erratic movements during the retrieve. If casting, slowly crawl or subtly hop it along bottom. If vertical jigging, thump the jig in place to kick up debris. This tactic appeals to a walleye’s curiosity and can trigger hits.

Walleye often suck-in nymphs and hits can be subtle. Stay focused on watching your line for the slightest twitch indicating that a walleye has sucked in your bait. You need to set the hook immediately or the fish will blow the bait back out. You will often find that tipping the jig with a small piece of worm will entice more bites and gives you more time to set the hook, as the fish hangs on to the jig a little longer. A rod with a sensitive tip and low-stretch line will also help you detect hits.

If fishing slows, a slip bobber and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or leech can tease out a few hits. “After you cast out, let the jig and float settle for a few seconds and then slowly pull or reel in approximately three to four feet of line, then pause again.” Continue this style of retrieve until you have covered the area.

During spring feeding binges walleye are not as selective on baits matching-the-hatch as they in the summer. When spring fishing this season pay attention to water surface activity and look for isolated hatches. If near post-spawn staging areas, these spots might serve as feeding zones for recovering walleye. Fish them with jigs or slip bobbers and live bait.

In the summer, the early stages of a may fly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.

Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. “The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging may fly nymphs,” experts say. Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.  “During the may fly hatch, I find that walleye are generally up shallower. I have caught walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.” When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes. Walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats!

Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. Bucktail or marabou jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Deadsticking a bucktail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

Nick 27 Walleye 6-3When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, ago-to bait is a bucktail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats he fishes, Evans aggressively jigs these baits. “This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the bucktail a life like appearance,” he notes.

To fish hatches,   starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve. It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key. If these baits do not produce,  switch over to jigs. Swim jigs and  scale down to using two to three-inch grubs with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads. Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a may fly rig.

A more subtle variation of the may fly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of worm, anywhere from an half to two inches in size.

Dragging may fly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable may fly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning may fly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Fishing, Mayfly, Walleye Fishing

 

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Weather Dictates the Fishing

sunset with orange clouds

We cannot stress enough on how the weather is the biggest determining factor on the fishing outcome on any fishing trip. Below is a good read on how weather affects the fishing and tips on what to watch for along with getting the upper hand on the situation.

The earth consists of two pressurized environments (Air & Water). Sensible weather, the day-to-day weather that we experience everyday is one of many factors that affects fishing as well as our daily lives. Weather changes are caused by atmospheric changes in pressure (barometric pressure) driven by the fast moving river of air called the jet stream located at about 30,000 feet in the atmosphere!

A basic rule is that rising air (falling pressure) produces clouds and even the possibility of rain and snow. Sinking air (rising pressure) means clouds and precipitation development is suppressed, and usually brings clear skies and fair weather. Weather conditions do impact the catch rate indirectly of the species you are pursuing, and will depend on various interdependent factors such as: availability of fish, water depth, temperature, clarity, wind, and barometric pressure (The measurement of weight of the atmosphere above us)

Water Systems are pressurized environments. Water is much heavier than air. A cubic foot of air weighs 1/12 pound (lb). A cubic foot of fresh water weighs 62.4 lb. and a cubic foot of sea water weighs 64 lbs. Water pressure, like air pressure, is a function of weight; the deeper one goes the greater the surrounding water pressure. Therefore, the direct effects of changing barometric pressure (air) is greater on fresh shallow water species than deeper lakes or oceans where the depth of the water inhabited by deep water species makes the air pressure variations insignificant.

imagesCA1344Y9Air pressure and other variables:
The air that surrounds the earth is constantly placing pressure on the earth’s surface. As the jet stream drives the large areas of high and low pressure on the surface of the earth, these large pressure systems then in turn, drive the large-scale wind flows at the surface levels. As air inherently wants to move from higher to lower pressure (the reason why air wants to escape a bike tire and not vice versa) it will converge in a counter clockwise manner around low pressure, and diverge in a clockwise manner around high pressure. This is because the Earth is rotating and the Coriolis force (the deflection to the right of one’s motion on large special scales) results in the observed surface winds. These resulting surface wind flows create weather fronts, which are distinct boundaries from say cold-dry Canadian air, and warm-moist Gulf of Mexico air. There are three basic types of fronts: Cold, Warm, and Stationary.

Typically, low pressure is the “parent” system for these frontal systems, with cold fronts often extending from the center of low pressure and orientated to the south and west of the low center. Warm fronts often extend from the low center and are positioned to the east and north of the low center. When a warm front passes, pressure still tends to fall as the warm front is often out ahead of the low, meanwhile, when a cold front passes, pressure tends to rise because the low center has already passed, and high pressure is building. Understanding a front’s make up and the weather they bring is key to predicting weather events.

coldfrontCold Fronts: (High Pressure)
As a cold front passes the air pressure tends to rise (air sinks) as colder and drier air typically resides behind a cold front, which is more dense than warm-moist air, this can be recognized by clearing skies after inclement weather. Also, you may notice strong northerly winds after a cold front passes. This is because of the clockwise wind flow around higher pressure, coupled with a large change in pressure between the relatively close area of lower pressure, and the impending area of higher pressure. These abrupt weather changes disturb the environment, and most game fish will seek deeper water and or cover becoming inactive. The cold front effect on fishing lasts 1-2 days before another front moves in or the weather stabilizes.

If your fishing in a cold front here’s a few suggestions: If possible fish small dark water lakes or rivers rather than clear deep lakes. Live bait is the preferred choice with a slow presentation; vertical jigging or slip bobbers are the best. Fish near the bottom or in weeds, around cribs and rock piles. As cold fronts bring lower air temperatures reducing the water temperature fish during midday when the water is the warmest.

imagesCANYF207Warm Fronts: (Low Pressure)
When a warm front approaches the air pressure is low, warm, moist air is rising and moving counterclockwise toward the center, creating less pressure. Because of this, a barometer usually shows falling pressure as a storm system approaches. Fish sense the drop in air pressure and become active, some fishery biologists attribute the increase of feeding behavior from atmospheric reduction in pressure that affects their air bladder another opinion is fish use vision as a primary feeding sense, as a storm hits with heavy winds this churns the water making it cloudy and more difficult to feed.

Here are some fishing tips during a low-pressure front: Cloud cover and rain is associated with low-pressure fronts, these reduce sunlight causing fish to move higher in the water column. Use surface and shallow running lures over weed beds, weed edges, and over open water if schools of baitfish are found. Faster retrieves are recommended, as fish are active. If storms become intense with thunder and lighting fish will become less active or “spooked” by these conditions and move to deeper water. From a safety point you should never fish during a lighting storm. Lighting may strike many miles from the center of the storm. Take shelter upon an approaching storm fishing rods make ideal lighting conductors.

imagesCAQ8FKX7Stationary Fronts:
A stationary front is a weather boundary between two different air masses (fronts) in which neither is strong enough to replace the other. They tend to remain essentially in the same area for extended periods of time. A wide variety of weather can be found in a stationary front ranging from sunny and fair to cloudy and even prolonged rain. Stationary fronts can focus lift in the atmosphere and can actually help develop areas of low pressure along them. This process results in the stationary front morphing into a warm front on the east side of the newly developed low and a cold front on the west side. This means that even stationary fronts can change with time and should be monitored for future implications on your luck out on the water.

Fishing during a stationary front rates good to excellent. Barometric pressure remains stable for an extended period of time. Fish develop a comfort level and a feeding pattern. Find the pattern of the specie your pursuing and your catching fish. Most fishing presentations work during this period. Best Fishing Times (Solunar – Moon Phase Tables) are based on using stable weather conditions.

imagesCA38RWSQWind & Clouds:
As the wind related proverb says “When the wind is east the fish bite the least, when the wind is west the fish bite the best.” Wind is an influential factor in fishing behavior as it stirs the food chain, provides oxygen and cover from the sun with wave action. Constant wind blowing from the same direction over days will migrate game fish on the windy shoreline to feed on baitfish. Water temperatures will increase also as the surface water is pushed by the wind. This is especially helpful in Spring and Fall seasons as the angler seeks the warmest water. Westerly and Southern winds are proven to produce the best fishing results as the proverb states. Clouds and cloudy conditions have similar effects as wind by reducing sunlight on and near the surface. Light sensitive fish will become more active, a combination of light wind (chop) and cloud cover condition is excellent for surface lures.

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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Barometer, Fishing, Fishing TIPS, weather

 

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Candle Heater

candle Heater

Here’s a useful and nifty idea to keep you warm in your home when it’s cold outside and the power has gone out.

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