Sunday, July 28, 2013

Staying cool

One of the top factors affecting a fishing trip is the almighty Mother Nature.  Here in the north country you can have sunshine and temperatures in the 70's one minute followed by 40's and rain the next.  As close as the Opasquia Provincial Park is to Hudson Bay (about 200 miles), weather can flip like a coin.  This summer has been no different and predicting the weather has been downright maddening.
25" wally (July25); notice the three layers
 of clothes

Overall, the 2013 summer has been cool and extremely dry; two uncommon elements together.  Generally, rain is associated when the temperatures dip. The past two weeks weather has brought winds from the north with days in the 60's and cool, almost frigid nights.  I cannot remember the last July where we encountered nights dipping into the 30's and 40's.  Water temperatures have dropped considerably; into the lower 60's.

Our days have been a mixture of sun and clouds with very little rain.  The lack of rain has most lakes sitting 2 to 3 feet below normal.  One positive from the low water is weed growth.  Cabbage beds this year are probably the healthiest I have witnessed in years.  The pike and perch are loving the dense weeds.


Walleye- Time to start the descent for walleye.  The bigger fish are now being found in 20' of water, so get ready to get your jig on. 3/8" oz black headed with pink, orange, or pumpkinseed tails have been hot.  Pick that windy shoreline and start bouncing bottom in search of  schools.  Reefs associated with open water have been holding nice fish.  This time of year a portable depth finder is your best friend.

To contradict everything I just wrote, don't forget to try weed edges from time to time.  Walleye love coming out of the deep waters to chase bait fish throughout the foliage. Trolling some shallow diving crankbaits along the weed edge can yield some big fish.  Don't forget to splice on at least a 30# mono or fluorocarbon leader to thwart the toothy pike from biting off your $8 crankbait.

Pike-Most of your efforts for pike should focus around cabbage weeds.  Try to find 6-8' weed beds associated with open water.  Small bays with shallow water this time of year will yield smaller fish.  Two of my favorite baits remain the Johnson silver minnow and the orange bladed #8 colorado blade with black skirt bucktail.  Navigating these through the thickest of weeds will produce great results.

Now what should you do when you hook a monster in the dense cabbage?  First, set the hook, HARD! A good hook set will ensure your trophy remains on the line.  Second, get ready to PULL...but not too hard.  The dense cabbage is going to become your biggest opponent; getting your monster out is going to require some finesse as they dart, roll and wrap your line every which way.  A gentle tug to uproot or slice the weeds while the fish is docile is necessary.  Finally, no slack EVER! Never let that fish wrap you through the weeds to where your line goes slack; that my friends, is game over should it happen.  Obeying these rules should help you land, smile, photo and release your trophy.

Notable catches and hot spots from last week:

Burnt- The Ridge was electric holding lots of walleye and pike.
Central- 41" pike off of Beaver Hut bay. Nice walleye holding near airplane island.
Cocos- North on the Sagawithcewan towards east lake held many 38"+ pike.
Favourable-42" pike near the dock.  Lemonade was hot on the windy shorelines.
South-Loads of 23-25" walleye and a monster topping at 30".
SW- Hoards of 18" walleye caught near the Twin Towers.
West- The rock next to the dock is the best overlooked spot on the lake. Two 38" fish in thirty minutes boated and released there.

Good luck on the water everyone.

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