Friday, August 26, 2016

Fall Approaching

38" Central Lake, boated on a silver bladed bucktail
I say it every year, "Where did the summer go?" It seems just days ago I was just landing the Cessna 185 in May on a half frozen Central Lake and now we are already approaching the end of August.  You can sense a change in the seasons as we near September.  Fall comes pretty quick here in northwest Ontario, without much transition from summer.  The days don't slowly cool, one day is 80 degrees and suddenly you have frost the next night.  If you look closely throughout the Opasquia Provincial Park, the birch trees are showing flecks of yellow in their leaves, the best tell tale sign fall is imminent.


Summer is holding tight as fall looms.  We have had numerous calm days in the mid 70's over the past week.  Nights are descending into the 50's, perfect sleeping weather in my opinion.  As the days grow shorter (we lose approximately 4 minutes of daylight everyday till December 21st),  the stars and northern lights grow more and more vibrant in the evening hours.  In the past we typically receive an August frost.  Water temperatures are holding around 65 degrees on the surface.  


Nice catch! Central Lake walleye
 Walleyes continue their descent into deeper waters.  Best techniques for success has been SLOWLY back trolling and vertical jigging 3/8 oz or 1/4 oz (my preference)  jigs, in 20 ft + of water, with a white, pink, orange, black or pumpkinseed tails.  Blade baits such as Echotails or Zips are also catching fish.  Trolling deeper running crankbaits are a great way to locate where the schools are present.  Perch colored reef runners handily out fished all others last week, however color preference seems to change daily.

Pike are still favoring the smaller baits.  I have thrown and thrown my arsenal of big stuff at them only to be out fished by a jig or small spoon.  More and more big fish are being found on reefs and wind blown rocky points vs weed beds.  This means pike are chasing walleye and white fish in attempt to bulk up for fall and winter. Big billed crankbaits are a great way to get into the pikes strike zone in deeper waters.   Northern however, seem to move back into the weed beds in the late afternoons. Spoons, 3/4 oz johnson silver or gold minnows, buzz baits and bucktails are best to throw when fishing foliage.  

Fisher women have been dominating the scene over the past week with some awesome CPR (catch, photo and releases).  See photos attached.  Just about all the fish were boated on jigs, yes the pike are still favoring jigs.  Just a couple nights ago a dandy 41.5" pike was boated on a spoon at Central by Mrs. Rae Nigh, hopefully we will see pics soon.

Back to back fish, a 38" pike and a 23" walleye below


Good luck on the water everyone!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August Waters

A nice 39" released at Central
This week has been a prime example of the typical Canadian weather scenario,  "Wait six hours and the season will change."  That phrase could not be more true the past several days.  The beginning of the week brought us misty, cloudy and still waters only to be followed by blazing hot and wind.   Weather has been hot/humid littered with passing thunderstorms the last three days, hanging around 85-90 degree's in the sun. It is amazing how fast the water temperature's sky rocket after just a few days of sunshine. Water temperatures have blasted up from 64 to about 72 on the surface in just a couple days.

The walleye have responded to the warmer temperatures by sinking to deeper depths. Most guests have been catching walleye's from 12-25 ft. Some of the bigger female's have been caught in the deeper waters 20'+.  Trolling crankbaits such as: White reef runners, Rapala fire tiger Shad Raps, and clown wally divers along 15-20 ft breaks has been effective. Prime example is from the current guests at SW lake. Three gentlemen trolled blue and silver hot N tots for three hours one afternoon,  boating over 75 walleye often with double and triples. If trolling doesn't strike your fancy, my favorite method is vertical jigging while back trolling on the deeper reefs and wind blown shores. A reef or point that has had the wind pounding it for a couple of days will always produce fish.

Pike are scattered between deeper weed beds and wind blown points. Trolling larger cranks like 6" Jakes and Rapala F18 Husky Jerks are a great way to cover ground when casting gets to be a bit tiresome.  Burnt Lake boated a dandy 42" fish just trolling to the south west of the cabin.  During the hot days pike action has been better from 3 to 8 pm, when the sun is off the peak. We have had some tremendous surface bite's when the wind calms down in the evening.  Buzz baits and dancing raiders are always entertaining.  
Rule have to kiss fish #100 of the day. 

MVP lures of the week have been:

For pike: #8 silver bladed/black skirted bucktial, and the smaller 3/4 oz johnson gold minnow has trumped the 1 1/4 oz silver minnow as pike continue to chase smaller baits this summer.  Black and orange 6" jake. 

For walleye, 1/4 oz jig and a pumkinseed or white Gulp tail, orange bladed worm harness and a blue and silver Hot N Tot.

Good luck on the water everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Walleye Domination

One of my favorite August lures, the 1/4 oz echotail


The reports from most outposts and Central lake are in and the consensus is pretty unanimous, walleye fishing has been superb.  Trolling, vertical jigging, or casting have all been effective techniques the past couple days for NW Ontario's bread and butter species.  Most large schools of walleye have been harboring around 12-16 ft rock reefs.

However, while guiding this past week I found an alarming amount of walleye in the weeds.  As guests targeted pike along weed edges I'd drop a jig boat side and try for walleye.  Quite often, most anglers in the boat quickly switched to walleye after witnessing frantic action.   Central, SW and Burnt lakes seem to be the top for walleyes in foliage.  Whereas, South, West and Cocos seem to be catching more fish on traditional rocky shorelines and reefs.
Another great NW Ontario sunrise

Northern fishing has been a bit more sporadic the past several days.  They are hot one day and a bit reserved the next.  Guiding last Tuesday and Wednesday resulted in several decent fish but the high sun and calm waters caused many of the big fish to follow and not strike.  I found smaller fish camping in the weed beds while the bigger pike are prowling rocky drop offs and windy points.  Tossing a Bomber Magnum Long A was the bait that resulted in quality fish.  Any lipped large crankbait will do.  Gold, black or perch were hot colors.

Projects Happening   

West Lake drainage basin 
Digging, lots of digging.  Most of you will notice new septic trenches being dug next to the outposts.  According to government regulations, grey water pits next to cabins are no longer an acceptable form of drainage.  New concave plastic weeping drainage basins have been installed at all the outposts over the past month.  My shovel and arms are in a need of a break after tackling thousands of pounds
of densely packed clay.

Other projects, such as remodeling the interior of Cocos and a new solar shed at main camp are on the horizon.

Nature Shots 

Mother good warming her chicks at West Lake
We have received some great photos lately from our guests of nature around Big Hook.  Thanks to all who have submitted photos.  Here are a couple of my recent favorites.  

Keep the photos coming in. 

Good luck on the water everyone! 
A great Canadian shore lunch next to a falls