Fishing Tips & Techniques
Walleye Fishing Tips & Techniques
Spring– Here in Ontario fishing season opens the 3rd Saturday in May, which is usually a week or two after ice out. During the early weeks of fishing season (3rd Saturday in May- mid-June) walleyes are concentrated in shallow bays adjacent to spawning areas; Bear Paw, Neverfreeze, Stillair Bay, Southeast Bay, and the Northeast Arm. This is the post spawn period and the fish are feeding aggressively. Expect to find fish in 2- 10 feet of water.
A wide variety of techniques work well during this time since the fish are shallow and aggressive. A minnow on a jig or below a slip bobber is always a good bet. Casting and trolling crank baits and spoons along with spinner harnesses and bottom bouncers are also effective. Target shallow bays and rocky structure where the wind is blowing into as this is where baitfish tend to concentrate.
Summer/September- As the post spawn feeding frenzy comes to an end the walleyes begin to disperse from the shallow bays and progressively move to deeper structure and can be found in all areas of the lake. Towards the end of June into early July it is common to find walleyes in 10-15 ft depths. Beginning in early to mid-July the Narrows becomes an evening hotspot for walleyes.
Earlier in summer, casting and trolling lures can still be effective because you can target walleyes in their moderate depths. Remember walleyes typically spend most of their time near the bottom and your lure needs to be able to dive deep enough to catch their attention. As the summer progresses, walleyes are typically caught in 20-30+ feet of water, which makes jigging almost necessary. Make sure to have an assortment of ¼ to ½ ounce jigs. Jigs tipped with a live minnow are most productive, however plastics can be effective too. Large sucker minnows work great, especially if you are looking to consistently catch large walleyes. Bars extending off shore into deeper depths and mid lake humps are key pieces of structure to find walleyes. Finding structure like that previously described in 20-30 ft depths with the wind blowing into them are where you are going to find the walleyes. Move around until you find them as they are normally concentrated. Throwing out a marker once you start catching fish is a great idea to help you stay on them. For trophy walleye fishing try targeting some even deeper structure, up to 40 feet deep. Conditions are pretty much the same right up to the end of September.
Lake Trout Fishing Tips & Techniques
Spring– From opener to early June the lake trout can be caught in a wide variety of depth ranges. Being a cold water fish they take advantage of cold water temperatures to exploit habitat that will not be accessible to them later in the season. You may even catch one in less than 10 ft while walleye fishing!
The best bet is to troll crankbaits that dive 10-20 ft along steep breaks and structure adjacent to deep water. Try zig zagging along drop offs, going from shallow to deep.
Summer– As water temperatures rise later into June the lake trout will move progressively deeper. Trolling some deeper diving crankbaits that dive to 20-40 ft along steep drops and mid lake structure is still effective throughout the summer, especially in late June to early July. Vertical jigging with 1-2 oz jigs with live or dead bait can be effective along with using jigging spoons. Target depths from 40-60 ft to find the most aggressive trout. Lake trout are almost always suspended 5-20 ft off the bottom, so watch your locator and move your jig up to where you are seeing the most fish. Trout that are higher in the water column are usually feeding and are likely to be more aggressive. Trolling spoons from downriggers, dipsy divers, or off of tolling weights is effective since you can target trout at specific depths. We use a three-way swivel set up with a 12-16 oz weight on 3 ft of line and 7-8 ft of line with a spoon attached and bounce it along the bottom. This is very effective, and we have rods set up for our guests to use at no cost.
Late September– As the water cools in fall the lake trout stage around islands and shorelines with rubbly structure and access to deep water in preparation to spawn. They can be caught by casting spoons and other lures towards shore, which is an absolute blast! Just make sure to be as quiet as possible and drift in to or along shore with the motor off to avoid spooking them.
Northern Pike Fishing Tips & Techniques
Spring– From opener until mid-June, trophy northern pike can be caught in shallow bays. Just like walleyes the pike are also in post spawn feeding mode. They cruise the warm shallow waters feeding on suckers and other fish that spawn during this time. Try casting around areas were streams flow into the lake. This time of year, try using smaller lures to match the size of the baitfish the pike are feeding on. Casting artificials can be effective, but most years the biggest pike are caught by walleye fishermen using minnows.
Summer– Northern pike like lake trout are actually a cold-water fish. As water temperatures increase, the larger pike move to deeper waters. Smaller pike will remain shallow to take advantage of the cover of weeds and woody structure to avoid becoming a meal for a larger fish. Earlier in the summer pike can be found in the mouths of shallow bays and anywhere where weeds are present in 10+ ft. In the heart of summer they are suspended over deep water and along steep breaks. Your best bet for catching them is trolling deep diving crankbaits along steep breaks and over deep water. Most encounters with trophy northern pike during this time are experienced by anglers targeting lake trout!
Late September– Depending on water temperature, pike may move back in to some shallower weedy areas as the seasons change to fall.