Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon Over Big Hook

43" West Lake beauty, released

The title of this blog could very well be a good title for a movie someday. This Friday, there will be a once in a blue moon occurrence. If you step outside, you might find yourself gazing out at a brimming, full moon. Disappointingly, it won't actually be blue; the term is a misnomer. In fact, a blue moon isn't any different to any other full moon. In the past, a blue moon was used to mean "rare," but now the name is given to any full moon that is the second to appear in one calendar month.

According to some fishing/lunar calendars, and take their advice with a grain of salt, fishing should be slow during this time. Now after talking with the majority of our clients today on the round of camp checks, fishing is by no means slow.  Good numbers are being boated at just about every outpost.  
However, the big trophies for both species have been a little shy this past week and maybe, just maybe, the moon does have something to do with it.  

40" West Lake released
SW Lake porch all painted and completed 
 As a guide, I can understand the effects of a full moon.  When I used to fish in the Gulf of Mexico all winter, a full moon absolutely meant that fishing was going to shut down, as the fish fed during the evening hours.  Up here at Big Hook, I believe fish will feed during a moonlit night but not to the same extent.  This week, we had a huge low pressure track right over the top of NW Ontario.  This drastic barometric change will affect the fishing.  The front side of a low, as the barometer is falling, is a fisherman's friend.  However, the backside of a low and a skyrocketing barometer, in my opinion; is a fisherman's enemy.



Pike are being found just about everywhere throughout the bodies of water.  Most fish are prowling through thick weeds chasing perch. Ripping bucktails and johnson silver minnows though the cabbage are a favorite technique of mine.  Remember not to cast in the same place twice, work your casting pattern like a clock.  First cast at one o'clock, then two, three and so forth.

 Contradicting my previous paragraph, several lakes like Central for example, the bigger fish have been located on deep rocky humps while walleye fishing.  Big open water baits are in order to reach those deeper fish. Depth raiders and bull dawgs are two of my favorite lures to reef fish.  Black is always a good color.  You'll need to beef up your tackle as these lures pack some poundage.  
A Cocos Lake monster pike

Last week, Cocos was the hot outpost with 30 northern released over 35".


Walleye are beginning to descend as the summer progresses.  Most fish are hovering around 15 ft on reefs and points.  Trolling is still effective along ledges.  However, jigging is still king.  The wind blown shores have been dominant.  This week we have had west winds about every day and looking at the extended forecast, our westerly winds should continue for several more days.

A steady west wind is good news for walleye fisherman, as the fish should be stacked on the eastern shores. The majority of the time, bait fish will congregate along the windy shores chasing bugs and other sources of food. Toss 3/8 oz jigs with various tail colors or slowly back troll and jig next to the boat (my favorite).  Try to match the colors with atmosphere; light days, use light light colors and conversely with dark days.

Last week, the big walleye lake was non other than South.  Although the boys didn't crack thirty numerous 25-29" fish were boated and released.

Good luck on the water everyone,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beautiful Summer Days

Time to practice glassy water
takeoffs and landings
The weather in the Opasquia Provincial Park has been absolutely gorgeous this past week.  Daytime highs have varied between 70-80 degrees with plenty of sunshine.  Bring your swim trunks as the water temperature has been hanging around 73-75 degrees.  There is nothing more refreshing than a dip in the lake after a hot day on the water.

The weather has been, well, too nice.  I hate to wish for rain on fisherman's vacations, however it has been several weeks since we have received a good ole dousing.
The lack of rain has resulted in water levels dropping somewhat throughout the park.  Nothing drastic, but they keep creeping lower and lower due to evaporation and out flowing rapids.  The lower water has allowed guests to navigate the Cocos lake rapids much more effectively.


SW Lake walleyes were loving the echotail
Wind is always a key element to note when searching for fish.  Having a dominant wind for a week of fishing is terrific.  Focus on hot spots that fall on the windy shorelines.  Yes, it may be a bit more difficult to hold a boat but the dividends will be great. 

The typical summer patterns are now in full effect on the majority of the lakes. Walleye are now beginning to hang on windblown rocky points and shorelines in about 10-15 ft of water.  Rock reefs and humps in the middle of the lake will hold plenty of fish this time of year.  However, don't limit your hunt to just the rocks, after chatting with West and Burnt today, they were slaying walleye on the edges of weeds.  Jigging with 3/8 oz head and 3-4" white, pink, yellow, pumkinseed and flouro orange tails have all yielded great results.  Worm harnesses are also great rigs.  My personal favorite technique this time of year to locate schools is trolling a Shad Rap #5 or #7 along a 12 ft break, then turning around and jigging once I get a strike.  

Other hot walleye lures include: echotail blade baits, flicker shads, tube jigs.  

Pike have been blowing up on top water baits.  Central, West, Cocos reported lots and lots of action fishing the surface in the late afternoons.  Zara Spooks, Dancing Raiders, Giant Jack pots and Top Raiders are all great baits in my book. 

The edges of weeds are a primary focus for trophy fish. The best lure to navigate the weeds is the Johnson Silver Minnow.  The weedless action will result in a lot less down time pulling grass from your bait.  Remember the twister tail trailer! Thats is a must. The tail makes the bait 100% more effective.  Bucktails are also great bait to jockey around and blast through thicker weeds.  Burn them as soon as they touch the water.  

On sunny calm days I'll often postpone my pike hunting until after 5 o'clock.  Still, glassy days will result in a lot of follows from big fish and a little light distortion from a setting sun is just enough to encourage a bite.  However, after about 9:30 pm the bite will completely shut down.  

Other hot lures for pike this week:  five of diamonds, delong killer eel, doctor spoon. 

Good luck on the water everyone! 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heat wave

The heat is on! The past several days have been scorchers in the Opasquia Provincial Park.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday all surpassed the blazing 30 degree, thats about 86 farenheit mark.  Coupled with high humidity, light and variable winds, makes for a muggy day.  But hey, a great way to cool off is a jump in the ole pond.

West Lake rapids 
As many people in the States have heard from the news and seen in the sky, is smoke from Canada,  There are a lot of fires in Western Canada at the moment particularily Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Fortunately, none are in the vicinity of the Opasquia Park. Conditions are very dry, as we have received minimal amounts of rain over the past month.  As of right now, no fire bans exist but we are advising customers to use extreme caution when preparing shore lunches and bonfires.

SW Lake porch
Last week Dad and I managed to knock out some summer projects.  Southwest and Burnt were the two outposts we focused on.  Southwest Lake now has a 16 x 8 screened in porch while Burnt received a new cribbed dock and walk way paired with a 16 x 8 floating dock.  See pics on the right.


Burnt Lake dock and walkway 
The big question everyone is asking, "What's happening with the mayflies?" The answer: the hatch occurred several days after my last post on most lakes.  Walleye fishing was slow at the beginning of last week and slowly returned to normal at weeks end.  Many fish are traversing into deeper waters and rock piles with the water temperatures on the rise.  Trolling Shad Raps, Flicker Shads, and Reef Runners are great ways to cover ground and locate schools.  If you are struggling to find fish on rocks,  they can still be found on the edges of weeds.

Pike are now primarily stalking in weed beds. I truly enjoy chasing them with top water baits late in the afternoon and early in the evening.  The dancing raider is probably my favorite bait to toss.  It is a frustrating bait to use as the fish miss A LOT of strikes.  Half the enjoyment of top water action though, is just the boil.  The sound of the fish smashing the surface gets my heart pumping.  

Hot lures

Walleye:  Shad Rap #7 chartruese/white, jigs with pumkinseed/flouro orange/white tail 3"
Pike:  Johnson silver minnow 1 1/4 oz with a white twister trailer, bucktails, top water baits

Good luck on the water everyone!