Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mid June Report

Bog Labrador Tea blooms early June
It truly feels like I arrived in camp just yesterday, and here we are already half way through the month of June.  June is behaving, well, like June in the far north.  Weather wise, the first several weeks of June are quite unpredictable.  Prime example, last week was 75-85 degrees with sunny blue bird days and we were envisioning a hot dry summer ahead. However, that promptly changed last Saturday and Sunday with a cold front bringing chilly temperatures into the 30's and copious amounts of rain.  Furthermore, today a low pressure system has bestowed 30-40 mph winds upon us with more rain. The several day forecast also predicts....lots of rain.  It's an up and down month for sure.  I guess I could only blame myself for posting in the last blog that we were in dire need of rain.

With the rain comes another staple of NW Ontario, the mosquito.  All was quite on the bug front until last Saturday.  Add to your packing list: a can of bug spray of choice, mosquito coils and a head net if you plan on portaging or walking through the woods to keep the little pests at bay.  

Fishing

Sunset flight in XZK
The fishing has been superb the past seven days.  South and West Lake led the camps notching a pair of monster 44" pike.  South Lake also had the biggest walleye at 27.5".  According to the guests, the passing cold front I mentioned early hasn't deterred the walleye bite.  They have been aggressive the past several days, even with the water temperature dropping back to the high 50's and low 60's.  The guests at Central mentioned they had trouble locating walleye small enough for dinner (remember you can only keep walleye under 18").  This means the big females are back in the shallows hungry and feeding.  As mentioned in the previous blog, the majority of the walleye are still shallow and hanging around mud flats or rapids.  You typically do not have to venture deeper than 6-8 feet of water and in most cases you'll find fish as shallow at three feet.  Small jigs and small crank baits still your ace in the hole for walleye.  1/8 or 1/4 oz jigs with three inch tails (white, yellow, flouro orange, pink or pumpkinseed).  Perch, fire tiger, or chartreuse Hot N Tots and Shad Raps have been hot crank baits.  

Numerous 40+" pike have been boated photo'd and released the past week.  The hot lure....a jig, go figure.  Never fails, the biggest northern pike of the year are always caught on a jig while walleye fishing. However, some of the big girls are falling for more traditional lures like the Johnson silver minnow, shallow mini bull dawgs and Mepps Musky killers.  The pike are relating in close proximity to walleye. Find a school of walleye in the mud flats this time of year and you'll find a big pike nearby.  Many walleye have been hammered at the boat by northerns this week.  One fish was even so determined it leapt two feet out of the water to steal a walleye right off a guests hook at Central Lake.  Scout shallow bays and areas adjacent to rapids or creeks for trophy fish.  Weed growth is continuing as typical with some shallow bays sporting a few lily pads already.  

Next week will bring the longest days of the year; which means more time on the water for everyone. Good luck to everyone on the water! 
-Nathan 
www.bighookcamps.com
 



 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Blue Bird Days

Central Lake sunset 
Summer heat has arrived early here in the north woods.  Mother Nature has brought plenty of warmth and sunshine this past week.  Temperatures have hovered in the mid to high 70's, with yesterday (6/6/17) topping out at a sweltering 86 degrees.  Hot temperatures this early in the season have happened before but are uncommon.   Conditions throughout the area are dry and as nice as it is to see the sun, we really really could use some rain.

The water temperature has spiked the last couple days with all the sunshine.  Yesterday, the surface temperature was almost 70 degrees already in shallow back bays.  The fish are enjoying the sudden warmth and have flocked to the shallow mud flats.  Both pike and walleye are located in about 2-6 feet of water in muddy bays or areas with current.  Weed growth has just begun on the bottom of some shallow bays; only a matter of time before the cabbage weeds start.

The walleye have been slamming small jigs and are very active.  1/8 oz heads, color doesn't seem to matter, with 3 inch twister tails have been the hot combo.  White, yellow, pumpkinseed, flouro orange and pink have been great tail colors.  Smaller, shallow diving crank baits seem to be more effective lately.  The classic three inch Rapala, Shad Rap SR5 or small perch hot N tot are great casting cranks in the shallows for walleye.  As mentioned before, focus on the mud flats or locations near rapids for most walleye.  If you do find walleye close to the rapids, back away about 100-200 yards. Walleye will hang around on the flats until the May Fly hatch occurs, which I expect to see early this year.
Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment. 

The hot still days have caused the big pike to become cautious and many casts result in follows vs strikes.  With the high sun and calm water the pike can see us as easy and we can see them.  Customers have noticed pike being more aggressive early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening.  Shallow diving stick baits such as a Rapala F18 perch, silver minnows with white twister tails, and shallow or surface twitch baits are great for tossing in areas with little water.  Keep your rod tip high to avoid weeds laying on the bottom. Yesterday, I witnessed some pike hanging in as little as 18" of water soaking up the sunshine.

I haven't been able to chat with the customers much this week to obtain a quality fishing report from the outposts.  Can't blame the guys for enjoying the weather.

Good luck on the water everyone!
_Nathan
www.bighookcamps.com