Friday, June 24, 2016

Walleye Bonanza

It has been quite a week here at Big Hook Wilderness Camps.  The Saturday (June 18th) began with stiff winds and warm temperatures. The fish were responding extremely well to the warmth and stable conditions. However, things quickly changed last Sunday evening with a wicked storm front.  Our entire area got pounded by a massive 12 hour downpour with plenty of scenic lightening to boot.  When the skies finally cleared Monday afternoon over 2.5" of rain had fallen. 

Needless to say, the lake levels immediately shot up and have been still rising here at Central Lake.  Rapids throughout the Opasquia Park are gushing torrents of water.  Following the deluge of water fishing, as expected, took at hit for several days.  The cool rain knocked the water temperature down considerably on most bodies of water.  Fish turned lethargic until about Wednesday.  However, Wednesday the walleye bite came back with ferocity.  

A beauty 31" walleye released on South Lake Wednesday
I managed to guide several times this week and got a great feel for the fishing patterns on Central Lake.  Also, after chatting with numerous guests at the outpost, my diagnosis for the patterns were reaffirmed.  Walleye at the moment are staging heavily in current or quick moving water and around the weed beds.  Although we still have not witnessed a single mayfly, I believe the walleye have begun feeding on some early larvae coming out of the mud today June 24th.  

Burnt Lake baby moose. 
The walleye bite today was absolutely electric on Central.  My clients notched over 142 fish and we left them biting in every single spot.  The most effective lure today was without a doubt a 1/4 oz jig head stuffed in a pumkinseed tube jig.  Some notable walleye were also caught at the outposts, South Lake in particular.  The guests there boated and released many between 24-27 inches, along with a 31" behemoth.  Most fish were caught while trolling Hot N Tots.  Also, SW lake on Thursday had already tallied over 3000 walleye, incredible! 

Basically targeting techniques for walleye until we see the major may fly hatch is to look for weeds, muddy flats and areas that have current (ie rapids or quicker moving water).  Pitching or slow back trolling 1/4 oz jigs with a black, brown, chartreuse orange, or yellow twister works effectively.  Heck,  the walleye are aggressive enough at the moment to smash bucktails and johnson silver minnows.  

I have heard of catching "snakes" but never the real thing!
Pike fishing on the other hand has truthfully been disappointing the past several days.  The big boys have been timid and quick to dart away from sight.  It hasn't shut down, it has been just slower than usual.  However, not to be discouraged, several nice fish have been boated and released, most notable a 39.5" and a 44" pair of beasts caught on jigs at Central. Burnt Lake and West have tallied several nice fish in the 36-39" range also.  Some success for the big boys has been found trolling along rock shelves with larger crankbaits, like jakes or bomber magnums.  The big fish just haven't been as aggressive in the weeds recently.  It's as if the walleye have kicked them out of their own stomping grounds. 

However, don't fret.  Northern are creatures of habit and will surely return to the weedy flats after a brief hiatus.  I'll keep pitching those bucktails and silver minnows in the weeds, the fish will be there soon.  As the water keeps warming, current surface temperature is around 66 degrees, top water action should begin to take hold.  It is by far my favorite way to attack trophy nothern, nothing is more exhilarating that witnessing a 40" fish explode from the depths. 

Good luck on the water everyone!

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