Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Sounds of Summer

This morning I awoke early and wandered down to the dock at Central Lake.  The sun was making its daily journey over the tree line while faint wisps of fog danced over the water.  I took a moment to just sit and listen; the sounds of summer were overwhelming.  Well, just after the mosquito buzzing in my ear was quickly silenced, the forest came alive.  Fish splashed at the surface trying to gather the last remaining may fly; a loons hypnotic cry broke out in the distance while our local Merlin falcons screeched out hunting early morning prey.  All of these sounds intertwine to create a unique boreal forest here in the Opasquia Provinical Park.

Small jigs work great for full
bellied walleye
My favorite sound of summer however, is rain falling on the metal roof of my cabin.  As odd as it may sound, the soothing noise of rainfall puts me in a trance and I can fall asleep in a heartbeat. Today, is the first true good rain we have received in the month of July.  Warm weather and several days of wind have cause conditions to become rather dry here in the north country.  Our water levels have fallen about a foot since the beginning of July.  Water levels though, are at about normal for this time of year.  Water temperatures are a bit cool, ranging in the mid to high 60's through most lakes.  The cooler water and a gloomy June hampered the weed growth this year.  There are mature weed beds but they are somewhat sparse compared to last year.    

Just when I thought the mayfly hatch would end last week, another batch would arise.  All in all, the hatch this year was sparse and in stages.  After cleaning several walleye today I noticed no signs of fresh mayfly, however most of the fish had full bellies. Walleye will digest mayflies rather quickly and become aggressive feeders within a couple days.

After the mayfly hatch walleye will traditionally migrate away from the mudflats and weed beds in search of bait fish.  Typically this time of year, they hold off of rock reefs and wind blown points in about 10-15 ft of water.  Vertical jigging 1/4 to 3/8 oz jigs right over the side of the boat is the most effective technique to catch fish.  Dragging crawler harnesses and trolling bigger lipped crank baits like Reef Runners or Shad Raps work great also.

A dandy Cocos Lake pike 
Pike are now holding tight to weed beds and wind blown points.  Bucktails, johnson silver minnows and top water baits are my favorite three lures to toss for those toothy critters.  Low light times have been better than mid day with a high sun.  Five to eight pm has been a good feeding period for bigger northern.

The Cocos Lake crib going
I chatted with most outposts today. West Lake was experiencing a little mayfly slow down for walleye but had boated several dandy pike.  South Lake was the front runner for walleye numbers and quality.  Monday evening alone, they boated and released a 26.5, 28, 28.25 and a 29.5" walleye.  That is a fantastic evening indeed, hopefully some great pics to come.  SW Lake was catching lots of fish just trolling cranks around an island east of the cabin.  Cocos Lake had a 40" boated yesterday evening along with a 26" walleye.  Burnt was having no problem locating walleye and perch with plenty of pike in the mix, however nothing huge....yet.  Central has been catching lots of walleye over the East portage and finding lots of schools around the north narrows and shorelunch island.

We have been getting some projects accomplished over the course of the summer.  A new crib at Cocos Lake a couple weeks ago; framed and trimmed in the windows at South Lake and replaced the entry way door with a more modern steel door with a sliding window; all the boardwalk at Central is now completely pressure treated.  New windows are coming to Cabin #1 at Central along with a new floating dock for Cabin #1 very soon.

Good luck on the water everyone!
Remember to keep those pics from your last Big Hook trip coming.

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