If you need new fishing gear to go walleye fishing in Ontario, ask yourself two questions. What other species of fish (besides walleye) do you want to go after? What fishing technique(s) do you want to use to catch them?
You are likely going to try some walleye fishing in Ontario, but you may go after other species as well. While you are thinking about this, ask yourself this question.
Which fishing techniques do you want to use?
The answer to this question points you toward the fishing rod(s) and reel(s) to buy. There are 4 major types of fishing techniques with several variations each.
To catch fish, you can cast, jig, rig, and troll. Each of these techniques presents the hook to the fish in a different way. This allows you to target fish in different cover, at different depths, or when they are being finicky. Or if you want to cover lots of area to locate them.
Each technique requires different characteristics in the fishing rod and, to a lesser extent, the reel.
A good analogy that pro anglers often use is that of the golf clubs a golfer uses. He has a bag full of different clubs because each “hits” the ball differently making it go exactly where it needs to go. Fishing rods are tools in the same way golf clubs are tools.
Do you want to cast your bait or lure?
This is a preferred technique for bass anglers, but it works for muskie, northern pike, and walleye. You can even cast spoons and other lures near the shore in late September and catch lake trout!
Looking for a casting rod?
Get a rod with a graphite blank that is 6’6” to 7’ long, medium to medium heavy power, and one of 3 actions (The lure weight drives the tip action you need). Slow action for light baits, medium action for treble hooks, etc., fast action for heavy lures.
This means you will need 3 casting rods, if you intend to use a full spectrum of baits and lures. I refer back to the analogy of the golfer and his/her bag of clubs.
To get you started with a casting reel, choose a reel with a gear ratio between 6.0:1 to 6.4:1. This is a balance between power and speed. Ratios in the 5:1 range produce more power to fight monsters with, but the fish can out run you trying to reel it in. Ratios in the 7:1 range reel in very fast, but you may struggle against a powerful adversary.
Do you want to try jigging?
You can catch almost anything with a jig. To attest to this fact, in World War II, the U.S. Navy put a bucktail jig and a hand line into survival kits for sailors and pilots to catch fish in an emergency. You can catch bass, muskie, northern pike, and even walleye in the spring with a jig.
Need a jigging rod?
Get one with a sensitive graphite or carbon fiber blank, comfortable and sensitive handle, light weight, and compact. 5’9” to 6’ long, medium light to medium power, fast to extra-fast action tip.
The shorter length reduces fatigue and transmits feel better.
An alternate option when targeting fish lurking in heavy cover is a 7’ heavy power casting rod with a fast action rod tip. A heavy power rod will get your fish out of the cover before he has a chance to wrap himself around things and break the line.
How about giving rigging a try?
When you are fishing with a rig, sensitivity in the rod is still important. A longer rod is needed for leverage in hooksets, but lighter tip action and rod power.
Get a 7’ to 7’6” long rod with a graphite or carbon fiber blank, medium light to medium power.
Fast action tip for medium light power, moderate action tip for medium power.
Are you going to troll to find your fish in open water?
This is a great technique to find where the fish are hanging out in a big lake. You can troll all day catching fish, or you can troll until you find them. Then you can switch to different technique and stay in the hot spot.
You will need a totally different rod for this technique. Your other rods will not do.
The first job of a trolling rod is as a shock absorber. The stressors are: constant pulsing of waves, shock of fish hits, and the stress of snagged lines. Durability is required.
The second job is to fight fish.
Get a 7’10” to 10’ (8’6” is best) long rod with a graphite or fiberglass blank, medium to medium heavy power, and moderate tip action. Additionally, you need a long comfortable handle of cork or EVA and very solid reel seats.
What fishing reel do you need?
You will need at least a few. The reel you put on a rod will depend on the fishing technique you are using, and whether you expect to need power, speed, or a balance of both to land your fish.
What types of reels are there?
There are eight types of fishing reels, let’s talk very briefly about two.
Baitcasting reel – power for casting, no twisting of the line during a cast. Light and heavy versions. Good for big game fish – can handle heavier lines.
Spinning reel – more versatility, works well with live baits and light artificial lures.
What is the purpose of the different gear ratios?
A low gear ratio means more power (torque) and less speed.
A low gear ratio (5.1:1 thru 5.4:1) is great for retrieving baits that resist a lot. These include deep crankbaits, big swim baits, and deep water spinnerbaits.
A high gear ratio means more speed and less torque.
A high gear ratio (7.1:1 thru 8.1:1) is great when you are working your lure with the tip of your rod instead of the reel. Also, you may need speed to quickly pull big fish away from line hazards.
Examples of lures to work this way are: jigs, big worms, shaky heads, Texas rigs, topwaters, jerkbaits, and lipless crankbaits. When using these lures, you will need speed to take up slack when you get a bite.
A medium gear ratio (6.1:1 thru 6.4:1) is a great balance.
You need one of these. They are very versatile. With a little more effort, this reel can do at least a fair job most of the time and a great job a lot of the time.
If you want to read more about the specific fishing gear we recommend to bring on your fishing trip to Ontario, go to our Gear Suggestions page here.