Guests last week had to bear down and brave some tough weather. Winds howled from the NW carrying ample amounts of rain. The barometric pressure sank to a summer low of 29.18" as a wicked low pressure sat over northwest Ontario for two days. Water temperatures began the week at 72 degrees only to plummet to 62 degrees. Fortunately, the system passed and we have been graced with warm temperatures, light winds and cloudy skies the last several days.
Even with the warm temperatures this week, Mother Nature has started the fall patterns early. Birch and poplar leaves have begun turning yellow, weeks earlier than normal. Another sign that fall is coming early are wild rose hips turning bright orange. Wild roses can be found everywhere throughout the Opasquia Provincial Park, and are dominant where a forest fire have recently burned. Bulbs from wild roses contain extremely high amounts of Vitamin C and with a little honey make an excellent tea when dried out. Rose hip tea is one of my favorite remedies to knock out those wicked fall and winter head colds. With late summer and early fall also comes the blueberry harvest. Unfortunately, the blueberry crop was rather disappointing this summer.
Wecould only scrounge up a half gallon of berries. However, tons of raspberries flourished in recently burned areas. In my opinion, there is nothing better than waking up to fresh blueberry pancakes with a hand full of picked raspberries on the side.
As I mentioned before, we witnessed some drastic pressure changes last week. Over the 20 years of fishing here at Big Hook I have encountered hundreds of weather systems and recorded their effects on the Opasquia Provincial Park fishery. As the barometric pressure falls before a front, fish often respond with aggressive feeding. However, once the front is upon the area, fish (walleye especially) become very timid and bite incredibly light. These days you will often find walleye nibbling the ends off your twister tails. Steady barometric pressure is the key to excellent fishing. I have found three days of constant pressure will yield the best results.
The wind last week, in my opinion, was the toughest element to battle. Howling winds make it incredibly tough to back troll and jig. Water will constantly breach the transom and soak your feet while fishing the wind blown shoreline. When this occurs, I will often switch to forward trolling crankbaits along 16ft banks for both walleye and pike. In late August, pike can be found everywhere and trolling is a great tactic locating them. They spread from the weed beds and aggressively feed to bulk up for the winter. Northerns will often hold along wind blown rock shelfs and wind blown points hunting walleye and whitefish. Late season trolling I will often run one line out with a larger crankbait like a Baby Depth Raider or a Rapala Original F18 for pike and another line out with a Shad Rap, Reef Runner or Wally Diver for walleye. Remember walleye can be leader shy, so to prevent getting bit off from a pike, try splicing a 30# flourocarbon tippet for your leader.
Burnt Lake won the weekly fish bragging rights for pike with an impressive 42" fish and South continued it's amazing streak, photoing and releasing an awesome 30" walleye. (Pictured above: Heidi with an impressive Central Lake walleye. Pictured right: wild roses opened. )
Good luck on the water everyone. Please remember Big Hook has a NO TROPHY take out policy. Please release all walleye over 18" and all pike over 27". These fish are our primary breeders and help maintain a healthy fishery for future generations.
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