Friday, August 17, 2018

2018 Wilderness Report #11

Another big storm tracked through the Opasquia Provincial Park last Monday (August 13th).  In an eight hour span we received roughly 4" of rain here at Central Lake coupled with constant lightening and howling winds.  The rest of the outposts reported similar amounts of precipitation from the system. However, Burnt and Central Lake seemed to take the brunt of the storm, which is interesting considering they are on opposite sides of the park.  The massive amount of rain has caused the water levels to shoot up.  Central alone is up over a foot since Monday, with the water almost up to the front lawn.  The water at Burnt is just about to the edge of the dock.  The rain was welcomed and greatly needed as water levels had dropped to the lowest point of the season prior.   

Monday's front caused a big shift in the fish, as to be expected. Water temperatures Sunday night were a warm 73 degrees and by Monday morning the water temperatures chilled to 64.  That big swing caused the fishing to damper down considerably.  The rise in water have the rapids gushing and drawing lots of baitfish to the moving water.  I expect a good amount of fish to be holding in or around the current over the next couple of weeks. 

The walleye bite has been light, so smaller baits have been more effective the past couple days.  1/4 oz jigs with 3" tails was boating more fish vs 1/2 oz jigs with 4" tails. Trolling perch colored mini reef runners worked great also.  Fish are holding in their typical late summer patterns, 15-25 ft of water on windy points or mid lake humps.  However, with the increase in water flow many fish are migrating to moving water.  

While guiding Central on Wednesday, the hottest spot on the lake was the West rapids.  Quality 18-22" walleye were holding tight to the current and in big numbers.  We had most success pitching crankbaits down current and slowly reeling back to the boat. South Lake reported 13 walleye between 25-28.5" thus far, with the 28.5" being caught the very first cast of the trip.  Southwest Lake was catching the majority of their fish just east of the camp and around the big area to the SW end of the lake that we call Spain.  Burnt Lake reported great numbers of walleye on wind blown points, however they were finding the perch scattered. 
Red sun mornings from the smoke out west 

The pike habitat changed with the rise in water levels.  Weed beds got more difficult to locate, as the majority are now a foot under the surface.  On a good note, running baits over the top of the weeds got a lot easier.  Silver spoons (Johnson Silver Minnows, Williams Wobblers) seemed to work better than most baits last week.  Some top water baits were still drawing attention.  Mini Medussa's by Chaos Tackle activiated some hard strikes.  I've shied away from big plastics recently due to the fact little pike chomp off tails quickly. However Medussa's are great since they have three tails and are still useful after one goes missing to a pike bite off (unlike a bulldawg). 

Most of the camps have been focusing on walleye this week thus the pike report is a bit thin.  The big girls have been timid here at Central, we had some good follows in the north narrows but couldn't hook up.  South Lake boated a couple of 38" fish trolling for walleye.  SW managed a 37".  Attached right is a 42" pike boated at Burnt Lake the previous week (8/10). 

The Red Lake district implemented a total fire ban for the area.  They didn't receive any rain from the Monday front, all the precipitation fell north of Sandy Lake. Red Lake and south towards the border has been hampered from lack of rain for over a month now.  NW Ontario has been blanketed in smoke the past week from the fires out west in British Columbia, we have had numerous hazy red sun mornings and evenings as a result. 

Good luck on the water everyone. 

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