Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer is holding on

Summer is still holding on here at Big Hook.  The mercury has been holding strong in the mid 70's in our final week of August.  In the past once September arrives, it's a crap shoot for the weather.  I have witnessed temperatures up to 90 degrees and been blanketed in snow.  One can tell the fall is about to grasp the area.  The birch trees are now yellow and just yesterday I had to avoid a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying south for the winter.  Several strong storms pushed through last night providing howling winds, a tad of hail and a ton of rain. Every bit of moisture that falls from the sky is rapidly absorbed into the ground.  I have yet to see any run off this summer.
The lake levels have been holding steady.  Albeit, lake levels are still 2-3 feet lower than normal.   The surface temperatures have been hovering around 64-68 degrees, which is quite warm for this time of year.  The warm water has been creating some odd fishing patterns for pike.  They are holding primarily in the deeper water but guests have found them in the weeds in short bursts.   It seems the fish are just coming into the weeds for short periods to feed and quickly darting back to the deeper water.  Trolling deeper running cranks was an effective technique to boating larger fish.

Walleye are best found in 20 ft of water. Jigging has been the most productive on reefs and shoals.  With walleye holding in deeper water it is crucial to have a depth finder to locate those rock humps.  Fishing without a depth finder in August can be extremely difficult.

Burnt Dad and I finished construction of the most crucial part of this outpost yesterday...the outhouse of course.  The new cabin is en route to Red Lake as we speak and will be shipped up via Wasaya's Hawker on Friday.  15000 pounds of lumber, roofing, nails, etc. will then need to be transferred to float plane.  I feel a sore back coming soon.  The sauna will be getting some use regularly next week.

27" walleye released on Central's East Portage

Central The east portage was a hot little lake last week.  A fat fat 27" walleye was boated and released, the lunker fell prey to a blue and silver Hot N Tot.  Several 30-35" pike were boated while trolling.  The narrows is beginning to heat up.  The weeds are starting to fall allowing fisherman to cast baits.  I see some intense top water action starting soon.

Cocos The Sagawitchewan has been the hot spot.  More particularly the SW section of the river towards Burnt Lake.  The weed beds near camp have been frustratingly slow.  In my opinion, as the cooler weather approaches pike will once again prowl these weeds.

South Who says you need to go far from camp to catch fish? Some of the hottest spots were just a stones throw from the dock.  The island just 300 yards north of camp held the most fish.  Weed beds in the NE bay from camp were also dynamite.

Southwest Hundreds of 16-20" walleye were the story from SW last week.  As usual, every rocky point and deeper hole held fish.  Four moose were also spotted roaming the lake.  The NW arm held the larger fish.    

West The "fish bowl" was for once the slow half of the lake.  The deeper north half was hands down more productive.  Larger fish were boated while trolling rock reefs and ledges.  The Horseshoe has still been producing quality fish.

Good luck on the water everyone! Remember to practice catch and release.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Big Baits Do Catch Big Fish

For us at Big Hook camps fall is quickly approaching.   Considering we are just 200 miles south of Hudson Bay, fall arrives early for us.  Typically, around the end of August Mother Nature starts sending signals that fall is on the way whether we like it or not.  The trees begin to change color and nights cool down into the 40’s with ample visions of Northern Lights dancing in the north sky.  Soon we will hear the honk of the Canadian geese migrating southbound. 

One of my favorite aspects of the approaching fall is the aggression in pike.  As the temperatures cool, the gators of the deep awaken with a sense of urgency that winter will soon arrive.  Pike often turn into feeding machines this time of year.  Their primary objective is to put on weight before the freeze occurs.  No bait is too small for trophy caliber fish.  I'll begin to raid my tackle box for Bulldawgs, Depth Raiders, Reef Hawgs, Bomber Magnums, Williams Whitefish, Musky Killers, Top Raiders or any bait of size to throw.

When targeting late season pike I'll begin my efforts on my favorite weed beds.  Within 20 minutes I'll know whether pike are feeding in the weeds or focusing on chasing schools of walleye around reefs.  Last week pike were shunning the weeds up until a couple of days ago.  With a couple of cool nights under our belts the pike have rose from the depths back into the foliage.  

Weather Patterns 
As mentioned earlier in the blog, the weather is showing signs of fall.  Days are ranging from the 60's-70's while the nights having been dipping as low as 45 degrees.  The westerly winds have dominated for the past three days pushing fish into the east shoreline.  A couple days of rain are forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Water temperatures are beginning to cool as a result of the cold evenings.  

Walleye are hanging in 17-20 on many of the reefs in the north end of the lake.  Several hotspots were in fact just a golf club swing from camp.  Many 16-20" fish were caught jigging and trolling along Frisco Bay.  Today (August 22nd)  a 27" walleye was boated and released on the East Portage.  
Late last week, Thurs and Fri, the big pike turned on.  Most big fish were found in the SW section of the Sagawitchewan River.  The rapids continued to churn out ample amounts of walleye.  Many fish 35"-41.5" were boated and released, the majority hanging in deep weed beds.  
Lemonade is on the slow down, which is typical for this body of water late in August.  Favorable has been notching some big pike in Pike Alley and Sandy Bay.  The north arm was also a hot spot for big pike in the weeds.  
South had the numbers last week and five walleye over 25" were boated and released.  An impressive night bite occurred with the full moon in effect.  Worm harnesses over 20+ of water were the most effective bait for the week.  Trolling Reef Runners Lil Rippers also produced. 
Southwest surprisingly produced the biggest walleye of the week last week at 28.5".  The deeper water in the north arm is where the larger fish were located.  Several points to the east of camp held hundreds of walleye 16-18".  
The Horse Shoe held a number of nice fish, while the NE side of the fish bowl was also productive.  The north end of the lake kept producing walleye 25-27" on the eastern shore.  Look for structure rising to 15'.  Yesterday, a 45" monster was released.  

Good luck on the water everyone. 
Big Hook Wilderness Camps 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mid August Monsters

And boom just like that we are in the middle of August.  It is head spinning how quickly the season blazes past.  It seems like I was just flipping boats and battling frost heave's.  Fortunately, the end isn't here just yet, there are still 4 great weeks of fishing left in the 2011 season.

The daylight is getting shorter and the birch trees are even beginning to change color.  Temperature wise the days have been warm with cooler nights.  Great sleeping weather! It has been very common to see lake fog for a bit every morning.  The Northern Lights have been astounding on the cool clear nights around midnight.  Just peer to the north and look for the dancing colors.

The weather the past several days has been warm 75-80 with calm winds.  Water temps have been hanging in the 68-70 degree range. The water is heated through quite deep.  I personally believe the nice weather is for the dogs for fishing.  The nastier the weather the better the fishing, or am I just a glutton for punishment?  I love days just before the leading edge of a low pressure front.  Because on bright, sunny, calm high pressure days those pike will become following machines.  More often than not they will just follow to the boat, smile and turn away teasingly.
Fishing Patterns 
Walleye patterns have been fairly consistent throughout the lakes.  Most walleye are hunkered down in deeper water.  The sizable females are holding in 20+.  Plenty of fish can be caught between 15-20 ft but those big girls are prowling in the depths. Wind blown shorelines and points have been effective locations.  Anything with deeper water nearby.  With the water temperatures  I have been pulling lil ripper Reef Runners, which dive about 16-18ft until I catch a fish, then immediately turn around with jigs.

At least on Central, the pike have been boycotting the weed beds.  Guests were skunked on every attempt.  However, the rock piles were on fire.  Pike are chasing walleye throughout the water column.  With cooler nights coming the pike will eventually return to the foliage.  Other lakes had more positive reports with boating pike from weeds.

This time of year the narrows on the north end will be the go to location, however that hasn't been the case.  8 fish between 35-39 inches were boated on BIG crankbaits all off of rock piles.  The rolling reefs throughout the north end of the lake have been prime locations.
The deep water in the SW end of the Sagawitchewan river was the prime location for ample walleye.  The rapids remains navigable.  Water is still dropping throughout the lake.  The rapids will hold fish throughout the year into the fall.
39" was the big pike for the week and 27" was the big walleye.  Lemonade lake has begun to get weed choked as is usual for this time of year.  The deeper water on Favorable close to camp is my prime stomping grounds for big walleye this time of year.
South put together another impressive resume not only for big walleye but also big pike.  Three thirty inch wally's were boated and released along with pike topping out at 40".  Those big fish were boated in deep water around 30 ft.  Rattle Traps and jigs were effective baits.
The boys at SW were able to find the big pike notching many over 30" up to 38".  The fish factory pumped out the usual plethora of walleye 16-18".  Points nearby camp held many fish, whereas the deeper water on the north end of the lake held some of the larger fish.    
The big fish of the week was caught right off the dock, go figure.  Who says the best fishing is on the far end of the lake?  The fish bowl was slow with the fish harboring in deeper waters.  Reefs east and north of camp were the hotspots.  The Horseshoe was a producer in the evening hours.

Hot Lures
Walleye: Rattle Traps, lil Ripper Reef Runners, as usual jigs
Northern:  Depth Raider, bulldawg, bucktails, suicks, Bomber Long A Magnum (gold)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Big Hook News and Fishing

Last week brought plenty of wind and water to the Opasquia Provincial Park.  Numerous rain fronts doused the area heavily.  Fires are still burning to the south around the Red Lake area.  However around the park, 99% of the fires are out.   Guests traveling into the Red Lake area will notice smoke in the air.  As of right now, smoke is undetectable in the Opasuia Park.  With the several days of rain, the water levels have remained stable the past two weeks.

Dad and I have been extremely busy making preparations for the Burnt Lake Project.  We are hoping to begin building within the next two weeks.  Aircraft's are lined up and ready to haul in the cabin once we receive clearance from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on the new building site.
Some fishing tidbits
I wish I could say fishing was simple last week, however Mother Nature provided some challenging winds.  Those who could hold a boat on the windy shorelines in about 15' of water were rewarded with ample fish and wet feet from waves over the transom.  The winds had both walleye and pike pinned to the rocky points and shorelines.  If a spot contained several walleye, a big pike was guaranteed to be prowling the area.  A great technique for catching both species was having the motorist jig while the other fisherman tossed a deep diving crank bait for pike.
Weed beds were on the slow side last week.  The fish preferred the rocky points with deep water nearby.
Water temperatures are still very warm, hence the fish have been descending to deeper depths.  Start fishing walleye at 12 ft and work your way deeper for best results.  A depth finder is essential this time of year.

Wreck Island and Frisco bay yielded numerous quality walleye.  The windblown shoals topping at 12 ft on the north end of the lake were also effective.  The north  narrows should start producing trophy pike any day.  The east portage will continue to produce trophy walleye until year end.  

The rapids is low and very navigable.  Trolling deep cranks along the rapids channel will boat quality fish.  Heading southbound down the Sagawicthewan river seemed to be the most productive.  The deeper holes two to three miles down the river were holding plenty of fish.
Pike alley will hold some nice pike this time of year.  Trolling the south side of the Three Sisters in 15-20 ft of water is effective for walleye.  Walleye  Point is another productive spot.  The outflow of the Severn River before Shallow NO Go has been producing awesome pike action.
The deep water near camp has been hot.  The small island on the west shore a stones throw from camp had fish everywhere.  Look for windblown points with 15 ft of water for those trophy's.
As usual the fish factory produced.  Fish really truly are on just about every point.  More sizable fish have been boated around the Twin Towers and the north finger.  It has been difficult navigating the east end of the lake due to low water.  Weeds are extremely thick and choke the propeller instantly.
Visited the guests this morning 8/7 and as we taxi'd up with the airplane they were releasing a 40" pike boated right from the rock.  Many many nice fish have been boated and released there. The fish bowl has been somewhat disappointing with fish seeking deeper water.  A couple of cool days will return fish to the area.  Reefs on the north end of the lake along the east shoreline have been hot for trophy walleye.

Hot Lures: Walleye: 3/8 oz jig with flouro orange or pink twister, 15' Reef Runners  Pike: Depth Raider black, black bucktails, bulldawgs.