Monday, October 19, 2009

Change of Pace

The two dominate species that inhabit the Opasquia Provincial Parks waters are Esox lucius aka northern pike and Sander vitreus aka walleye. These two species are commonly targeted by anglers, however there are several other species that are often overlooked at Big Hook. These other aquactic species are perch, whitefish and sauger.
Granted, the populations of these species are not as plentiful as walleye and northern. However, fresh perch, whitefish and sauger offer a unique change in flavor for an original Canadian shorelunch. Targeting these species require just a slight change in angling tactics.

Perch (Perca flavescens)
Perch exist in every lake in the Opasquia Provincial Park. They are most plentiful in Burnt Lake and Southwest Lake. Perch is a tasty cousin to walleye and often run smaller in size. A good sized perch is anything over 10 inches. Targeting perch throughout the year usually requires the angler to scale down in tackle. 6# line or less is recommended. Paired with an ultra light rod offers great senistivity. Effective lures are Mepps #0 Agila spinners, Beetle spins and small jigs with twisters. Worms placed on bare hooks and a bobber is another great way to boat perch. Perch are most commonly found around weed beds and creeks. A popular way to fish perch is called "perching". "Perching" is a technique where an angler situates himself in a thick weedbed and places his lure in an opening in the foilage. This is most effective using a bobber and a worm. Since perch are most commonly found in the the thick weeds, targeting them is best in July and August.

(Coregonus clupeaformis)
Whitefish is another species that exist in lakes where depths reach deeper than 30+ ft. Whitefish is most often caught in the spring when water temperature are cooler. 60 degree's or less is ideal for this species. Later in the summer, whitefish will descend to deeper and cooler waters. Targeting whitefish at Big Hook can be a little more challenging. This species is often caught by accident while fishing in rapids and shallows in the spring time. Lures that commonly boat whitefish are jigs with worms and small spinners. These fish have soft crappie like mouths that often tear when hooked.
Whitefish makes are great meal. The meat is white and flakey when cooked. When filleting a whitefish make sure to take out the row of Y-bones. Smoked whitefish is also a popular way to prepare this fish.


Sauger is most often mistaken for a walleye. They may be distinguished from walleyes by the distinctly spotted dorsal fin , by the lack of a white splotch on the tail fin, by the rough skin over their gill, and by their generally dark color, sometimes almost black or copper. This species exists in most Big Hook Lakes, however they are most commonly found in Favourable and Lemonade Lakes. Targeting a sauger is the same as fishing for walleye. They strike the same baits and prowl similar areas of lakes.

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