Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall Feed

This time of year Big Hook Camps in the Opasquia Provincial Park both pike and walleye are aggressively feeding to pack on pounds for the coming winter months. Larger fish can weigh several pounds heavier in late August versus early June. The declining water temperatures and shortening days both trigger this feeding frenzy. The outside air temperature has been cool this week, hanging around the mid fifties with dark skies. The water temperatures have followed suit and have declined to around 60 degrees. The last four days dense lake fog has limited boaters visibility until about 9 am.
For current weather in the Opasquia Provincial Park/Sandy Lake area visit:

During the fall feed fish are more apt to strike larger baits. For pike, big baits like Suick's, Bulldawgs, Top Raiders, Tadem Bucktails, Swimmin Joe's, and Bomber Magnums are all common to use this time of year. Bigger baits mean you need to bulk up on bigger gear. Medium heavy 6'6" rods are a minimum. I like to use 50# Power Pro with a 9 inch titanium leader. For walleye, larger Reef Runners, Rapala Shad Raps, and jigs with 4" tails are great baits.

It is often a pike will strike a large walleye boatside and will refuse to let go. Guests last week at West Lake even had a 41" pike jump in the boat after a walleye! The Pomilia group was fishing weed bed in the fish bowl (southern half of West Lake) when David Pomilia hooked a 16" walleye and proceeded to lift the fish into the boat. As he was hoisting the walleye over the side, a huge pike exploded from the depths in hopes to strike this walleye before it disappeared into the boat. David recoiled quick enough and stared in disbelief as a 41" pike was flopping at his feet. Grateful he didn't loose a hand to this fish, David got a quick picture with his "semi caught" trophy and a prompt release was made.

Every camp last week was lucky enough to boat and release a pike over 43". More proof the big boys are looking to pack on some winter weight.
Walleyes are prowling deeper waters 15-25ft are average depths. Jigging is the easiest way to reach these deeper waters. The dark skies this past week have made darker lures more effective.

Good luck on the water everyone. Remember to throw the big ones back. All walleye's over 18" must be thrown back and all pike over 27.5" must be released.
Big Hook Wilderness Camps

Friday, August 21, 2009

Deeper Waters

The walleye's here in the Opasquia Provincial Park are beginning to descend to deeper depths. Most fish are being caught in 15-25 ft. Dark skies have dominated the past week, meaning darker colors have been very effective. Pumkinseed, brown and black twisters have all out fished traditional white, yellow and orange.
Water temperature's have been driven down with the dark skies and cooler temps. Temperature's are hovering in the lower 60's down from the low 70's last week.
Pike are scattered in all depths. Fishing rocky points with deeper diving crankbaits or burning a topwater bait over the weed beds have all been effective techniques for catching nice pike.
Lure's of the week: for walleye I still can't turn down the 3/8 oz jig with a dark twister. YUM baits make great dark color twisters. For pike, the surface bite has been great with the dark skies and calm waters. The Hog Wobbler boated the 43" pike pictured below on Tuesday at Central Lake. The Mepps Agile #5 copper blade has been another top pike producer.

From the Big Hook outposts
Central Lake : walleye's are deeper 15ft+. Many nice 24" fish have been caught on reefs on the north end. Several pike over 40" have also been boated and released, mainly in the weeds. (Pictured below: a nice 39" pike I boated last Friday on a black bulldawg on the south end of Central.)
South Lake: Guests last week caught 40 walleye's over 25" and many of those were between 29" and 30". (Pictured above is a awesome walleye measuring 30" caught the 5th of August.)
Southwest Lake: reported boating over 100 fish a person almost everyday of the week. "The weather certainly didn't slow the fish down" quoted one guest.
Burnt Lake: Walleye's were stacked on the windblown shorelines in as shallow as 6 ft. Many nice pike were caught in the weed bed on the NW end of the lake.
West Lake: The fish bowl continue's to produce monster pike. The north end of the lake has been a consistent producer of huge walleye.
Favourable Lake/Lemonade: Guests reported amazing fishing for the week. A great balance of large walleye and big pike were reported.

Good luck on the water everyone. Remember to put the big one's back. All walleye's over 18" must be released and all pike over 27.5" must be released.
Big Hook Wilderness Camps

Sunday, August 16, 2009

5000 fish! Guest testimonial

Written by Jack Woolsey

Kath Woolsey---Milestone 5000th Big Hook Fish
In 1990, a week before our first trip together to Big Hook I taught my new bride how to use a spinning reel in our back yard. In 30 minutes she was hitting the middle of a tire from 75 feet nine out of ten times and I knew she was going to do extremely well at Big Hook. However, I never could have dreamt that she would one day amass over 5000 boated fish. Over the years since 1990, we missed one year when Kath was thrown from a horse and shattered her knee 3 days before we were to leave for the trip. Since then we have now totaled 19 trips and I've kept stats for every day of every week we've spent for all of the trips. I can tell you what lures or rigs we were using on every big fish we've ever caught and the times of day when we caught them. As for Kaths 5000th fish this year it was a 20" Walleye caught at Burnt Lake on a green,quarter-ounce,Thumper jig. Her all-time Big fish are a 44" Northern caught on a gold Johnson Silver Minnow and a number of 26" Walleyes. This year she caught her 120th Northern over 30" and 92 of them have been 35" and over. Next Year she will boat her 3000th Walleye. This remarkable woman is a 5 foot, 105 pound beautiful blond with blue eyes and a smile that melts your heart and the personality to go with it. I would seriously doubt that there's been any other woman to date who has caught as many fish at Big Hook and in my book its an unbelievably amazing feat. One more thing for the record, over the years she has out fished me by 680 fish but she does give me credit for running the boat, netting her fish and being her guide. My hats off to my wife, my best friend and the Best Lady Fisherman I've ever seen or heard about. See you all next year and lets hope for better weather in 2010.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heat Wave

August is letting us know that summer is still trying to hang around. We finally have had some sunny skies and warm temperatures. Weather has been hot the last three days, hanging around 85-90 degree's in the sun. It is amazing how fast the water temperature's sky rocket after just a few days of sunshine. Water temperatures have blasted up from 64 to about 72 on the surface.

The fish have responded to the warmer temperatures by sinking to deeper depths. We have been catching walleye's from 12-25 ft. Some of the bigger female's have been caught in the deeper waters by trolling larger crankbaits such as: White reef runners and Rapala fire tiger husky jerks. Otherwise, my favorite method is still vertical jigging on the deeper reefs. The wind blown shores are mainly where the fish are congregating. Just try to find a reef or point that has had the wind pounding it for a couple of hours. Pike are scattered between deeper weed beds and rocky reefs. During these hot hot days pike action has been better from 2 pm to 7 pm, when the sun is off the peak. We have had some tremendous surface bite's when the wind calms down in the evening. Effective lures this week have been: Mepp's Agila #5 copper blade and a Swimmin Joe, oh and I can't forget the Shallow Dawg for pike. For walleye, 3/8 oz jig and a pumkinseed Gulp tail and a blue and silver Hot N Tot.

We just wrapped up filming a TV segment for Real Outdoor Desinations. We filmed for two days and got some great footage. Several big pike were caught and many many walleye. I mostly jigged with a 3/8 oz pink head and a pumkinseed Gulp tail, while Tas (the host) casted a Swimming Joe for pike. The show is looking to air around the beginning of January on the Sportsman's channel and the Persuit network. I'll keep everyone posted on the details. ( Picture right: Tas, hostess of Real Outdoor Destinations, and I work on filleting fish for a shorelunch.)

On the fishing front.
Guests last week at West boated many pike over 35" up to 40.25". Most fish were caught in the horseshoe near camp. South Lake had a great night shortly after a thunder storm boating and releasing a 28" and a 30" walleye back to back. Two gentlemen at South West Lake tallied 597 walleye for the week. Central Lake found many honey hole's of walleye's in the 21"-24" range. The weeds in the narrows on Central are holding many big pike.

Good luck on the water everyone. Remember to put the big one's back. Please note Big Hook has a NO TROPHY TAKE OUT policy, meaning all walleye over 18" must be released and all northern over 27.5" must be released.
-Big Hook Wilderness Camps

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Top Water Bonanza

It is getting to that time of year where the top water pike action can be amazing here at Big Hook Wilderness Camps. The month of August is a great time of year where pike are actively seeking prey so they can pack on pounds for the winter months. Calm cloudy days are my favorite time to unleash my top water lures. Evenings around 5-8 pm is another time where the pike are really focusing on the surface.
One factor to keep in mind while utilizing surface lures for pike is that strikes are often erratic and not to set the hook too quickly. I'll be the first to admit that I have many a time sent my lure whizzing past my head setting the hook to early on a splash. The key thing is to feel the fish before your hook set.
A couple of my favorite lures are: Top Raider (loon color), Dancing Raider, Zara Spook Magnum (white), Buzz Bait (any color). Most of these lures are "walk the dog" styles.
They take a little practice to get the optimal slash and dash action if you haven't fished this style of bait before.
Weed bed are the best place to start a top water feeding frenzy. The thicker the weed bed the better. Once that fish strikes, get ready to haul and torque that fish through that underwater foliage. Heavier line can help you combat those thick weed beds.

From the fishing front.
South Lake: is still producing big female walleyes in about 12-20 ft of water. Guests the past few weeks are using jigs and Berkley Gulp. Guests yesterday boated and released an impressive 39.5 inch pike on 6 pound test and a jig. That's a fun battle!
Central Lake: Walleyes are hanging a bit shallower. I guided yesterday and found many fish hanging on the edge of wind blown weed beds, around 7 ft. The only problem with jigging the edge of weed beds is you have to be ready to get bit off by the random pike.
West Lake: Guests last week boated and released many walleye in the 24-28" range, mainly on jigs. A dandy 43.5" pike was caught in the fish bowl (pics soon to follow).
Southwest Lake: Fishing within 1/2 mile of camp has been hot. Several points just to the east of the camp are holding massive amounts of fish.
Burnt Lake: "Fish are everywhere on this lake!" was the response of one of the guests. Many fish are hanging in the entrance to the north narrows in about 10 ft of water.
Cocos Lake: Fish are stacked up under the first set of rapids on the left or the right. Fishing in the current is a little difficult right now due to the high water levels. The second set of rapids is high and flowing fast, be careful shooting this set with the high water cause the current is extremely strong. Guests boated many impressive walleye just on the edges of weed beds near the rapids.
Favourable Lake: Pike alley is still a great spot to track down that next trophy pike. Guests are having lots of luck trolling deep diving crank baits along the south edge of the Three Sisters.

Weather has been cool and rainy the past three days. Winds have been blowing steady out of the north at about 10 mph. Water temps have actually cooled down during this time to the lower 60 degree range. We are still waiting for summer to show up, future forecast for later this week looks good.

Good luck on the water everyone. Remember to put the big ones back.
Big Hook Wilderness Camps