Friday, May 30, 2008

Red Lake Walleye Spawn Mostly Finished

Anglers at Bow Narrows Camp on Red Lake in Northwestern Ontario are catching walleyes now that have already spawned.
Walleyes are showing up in everybody's catch and when we clean them they are empty of eggs.
This is good news as walleyes bite the best after spawning.
We're also catching some smaller walleyes as well as the big trophies. This is also good news as it allows us to have meals of eating-size fish. In the past few years it has been hard to find anything but 24-inch-plus fish until mid-summer.
The weather has been beautiful and anglers are still catching lots and lots of big northern pike, both on dead bait and artificials.
One of our groups caught a large number of big pike yesterday on Sluggo plastic baits.
Lake trout are still being caught right on the surface but with the warming water temperatures they will soon be found in slightly deeper water.
Overall fishing has been excellent.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stunningly beautiful fishing weather arrives!

One week into the fishing season and our normal gorgeous spring weather has arrived!
It was T-shirt weather here yesterday afternoon and as I live and breathe, there was a mockingbird flying about the camp! It's the first mockingbird I have ever seen here and I hope it's a harbinger of a beautiful summer.
Speaking of birds, loons are nesting everywhere and their haunting calls fill the air throughout the days.
There are many bald eagles flying up and down the narrows in front of camp and there is a new eagle nest built at the "Falls."
As the ice was melting we saw a flock of about 30 black-headed Bonaparte's gulls sitting on the edge of the ice sheet.
White-throated sparrows are calling each morning and evening from the brush; pileated woodpeckers have made a new hole in a large aspen in front of Cabin 9, and previous holes by these huge woodpeckers around the cabin are filled with hooded merganser ducks, common mergansers, red-breasted mergansers and goldeneyes.
One of our young staffers went fishing in front of camp yesterday evening and caught a 35-inch lake trout, probably 16-18 pounds. It was only Meghan's second fish, the other being a white sucker. She released the big fish as required by law for Red Lake.
Our guests are picking up walleyes regularly now but the real action is coming from the big northern pike and the lake trout which are biting very well.
Since I'm connecting to the Internet via a radio telephone which has an exceptionally slow speed, I'm unable to include photos of what's going on. So, you'll just need to use your imagination.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Red Lake walleyes taken on original Rapalas

Anglers at Bow Narrows Camp on Red Lake, Ontario, started catching walleyes at the end of the first week of the first fishing season.
All of the fish brought back to camp were females and had not yet spawned.
Virtually everyone of these fish were caught on original floating Rapalas, 5-6 inches in length, and silver in color or lures of the same type by other companies.
Anglers are also catching loads of big northern pike on this same lure.
Many lake trout are also being caught.
Water temperature is very cold for this time of year, just 44 F, or so.
All the fish we have cleaned have been filled with smelt which look very much like the Rapalas.
We're also catching a lot of whitefish which seem to be on the prowl for walleye and perhaps even northern pike eggs.
Weather has been cool but dry. Highs have been in the 50s F.
The water level is a little low for this time of year which is welcome. Our lake level has been above normal for the last several years.

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Camp phone numbers: 807-727-2730 and 807-727-0439

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ice-out Northern Pike, Lake Trout and Walleye on Red Lake, Ontario

One thing is for sure with the late ice-out on many Northwestern Ontario lakes this year, including Red Lake, there is going to be prolonged ice-out fishing for all anglers.

This is usually a bonanza for northern pike and lake trout fishermen at Bow Narrows Camp at the far western end of Red Lake, Ontario.

Our anglers the first couple weeks of the season should catch a ton of monster northern pike by using the dead bait system of fishing (See Deadly Bait System for Pike).

The best places to find these magnificent trophy-size fish will be in little creeks and marshes where they will still be spawning.

The theory behind dead bait fishing is that the pike which are exhausted from the spawning process and lethargic from the cold water temperature at ice out just cruise around looking for fish that died over the winter and were frozen in the ice. The dead fish (frozen ciscoes in the case of the bait fishermen) make a good meal without needing a large energy expenditure to chase it.

A lot of times the dead bait system works the best in the early morning when the water is at its coolest. In the afternoon when the sun is heating the water, artificials work better.

Other good places to look for the big pike are in travel corridors such as narrows and entrances to bays.

While northern pike are slower to react in cold water at spring breakup, lake trout are in their prime. Surface water temperatures, even around the edges of the ice pack, will be in the low 40s F -- exactly what lake trout prefer.

They will be feeding aggressively and when hooked will set your reel's drag screaming as they strip off line in their many powerful runs.

The mouths of narrows such as right where Bow Narrows Camp is located are excellent fishing locations.

When targetting lake trout on Red Lake, regulations state you must use lures with single, barbless hooks and you cannot use bait. All lake trout must be live-released immediately on Red Lake.

In the summer when the trout have gone to deep water -- just 60 feet here-- large bucktail jigs work well. But in the spring the best lures to intentionally go after lake trout with are large unpainted spoons and large spinners. You can take off the treble hooks that normally come with lures and replace them with a much larger, single Siwash hooks in which you can pinch down the barb.

Most of these lake trout, which average about 12 pounds in size but which get up to 30 pounds, are best taken in the spring by trolling.

Many anglers also catch them accidentally as they troll shorelines with 5-7-inch stick baits like Rapalas in search for northern pike and walleye. The trout can be anywhere at this time of the year -- even in front of the marshes where anglers are looking for northern pike.

Ice-out poses challenges for walleye fishermen. It can delay or prolong their usual spawning time when they are more interested in reproducing then in feeding.

However once they have done their thing they will be hungrily looking for food in the first places in the lake that warm up. These will be very shallow bays, bays with stained or dark-colored water, sandbars and just areas of shoreline that get little wind and good exposure to the southern sun. They will almost certainly want live bait.

Once you have located the fish they will be in the same spot for a long time.

Good luck and good fishing!

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