Saturday, March 30, 2013

Catchability, the new factor in fishing

Kevin Tanko at the helm last year with depth finder mounted on stern, something all modern fishermen use
Modern technological inventions have changed the playing field between fish and anglers.
In particular, the invention and perfection of depth/fish finders and braided or fusion fishing lines have tipped the balance toward the fishermen.
One of our longtime anglers told me this winter how in the old days  he had wasted so much time by unknowingly trolling over waters too deep to have held many fish. Today, his depth finder tells him immediately he might be making a mistake, at least when fishing for northern pike or walleye.
We've noted here before that the smart angler doesn't usually use his depth finder for "finding fish" but instead pays attention to it for the depth and structures underwater. But later in the summer, say August, as well as September, you can actually "see" the fish on the fish finder. That's because they are in deep enough water to show up without being spooked from underneath the boat.
There is no doubt that the depth finder has helped anglers catch fish, especially walleye and lake trout.
Likewise, the new braided and fusion fishing lines are helping out anglers when fighting fish. These lines, even the lightweight strengths, are incredibly strong. You can nearly anchor the boat with them. So there are fewer fish that get away by breaking the line.
GPS devices have made some impact too, although they are not too important on Red Lake because most of the time you are fishing close to the shoreline anyway. However, there are a few locations where GPS helps you mark and then re-find structures out in the middle.
All these things, plus just generally better rods and reels, mean anglers are better able to catch fish. Their "catchability" has improved.
It's another reason we all need to be conservation-minded, now more than ever.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Right at the edge of the world

Lonnie Boyer's photo of Pipestone Bay,  makes you wonder if there's anything beyond those islands.
Great shot!
Interestingly, this photo is not of fog but of smoke from a forest fire.
Red Lake is smack dab in the middle of the Boreal Forest, the world's largest ecosystem, and if the weather is warm and sunny, it is not unusual for forest fires to be burning somewhere in the region.
If I remember correctly, the fire that was making the smoke in this photo was about 15 miles away in Woodland Caribou Wilderness Park. That might seem fairly close but there were lots of lakes between it and Bow Narrows Camp and we were never concerned.
There are 250,000 lakes in Ontario and the lion's share are in Northwestern Ontario where Red Lake is located. In fact, Ontario's lakes account for one-third of all the fresh water in the world!
When flying in a plane around Red Lake it seems there is more water than land, as far as the eye can see.
The forest fires are almost always started by lightning. A single thunderstorm can start dozens of fires through the region. Most of these are extinguished almost immediately by the Ministry of Natural Resources fire crews. They have a lightning detection system that pinpoints each lightning strike exactly. Immediately after a storm the MNR sends out a fast, twin-engine spotter plane that checks out each strike location for smoke. They then check the strikes daily for quite a period in case some smouldering tree eventually breaks out into flame.
Our fishermen are also on the watch for new fires. Many times they have spotted the first telltale plume of smoke coming from over a hill. We report the sighting to the MNR and they do their thing.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weighing methods of communication

I took my course on social networking today and it seems it could be a useful way of communicating after all, contrary to my expectations in the last blog.
Oh well, I've been wrong before.
I would really appreciate hearing what you have to say about the usefulness of Facebook and Twitter.
Many people have told me they enjoy reading this blog; so I have no intention of stopping it. But would you also like Bow Narrows Camp to have a Facebook page? Would Tweets about camp be of use?
Please leave your comment at the end of this blog or send me an e-mail:
From what I gathered at the seminar, not many people write a blog like this; so they would be more or less starting from scratch. Perhaps for them a Facebook page is a better option since so many people use that now.
My concern about so many things on the Internet, including social networks, is the quality of the content.
It seems to me that there are more and more ways of linking information to people but the information itself isn't the best.
I recognize that there may be an age bias in which medium people use, i.e. younger people may get their information from Facebook compared to older people. Again, I would sure like to hear from you on this; so feel free to comment or send an e-mail.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Exploring the Facebook, Twitter universe

In a couple of days I'll be attending a class on how to use social networking for Bow Narrows Camp.
If you want to join me, just follow the fingernail scratches on the utility poles all the way to the seminar.
Once upon a time, an operator of a remote fishing and hunting camp was judged by his ability to call moose, lead his guests to fish and read animal sign. Now he is ranked by how he can make smiley faces with punctuation marks.
Truth is, I couldn't care less about being networked on Facebook. I don't look forward to being connected to all the people in the world who like mustard, just as I do.
And doesn't every Tweet go something like this?
Me: What are U doing?
You: Tweeting U, LOL!
Me:  OMG! Just like me! LOL!
Me again: OMG! I meant just like me! LOL :)

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bow Narrows Camp back in 1961

Bill Stupack came to Red Lake as a young teenager from Manitoba in 1926
Bill Stupack, who first built Bow Narrows Camp in 1948, talks with my mom, Del Baughman, on the back walkway of his house in 1961. That's me with one of Bill's bear traps. I was eight years old.
Bill's house became part of what is now Cabin #3.
That was the first year my mother and father, Don Baughman, took over the camp from Bill. We had flown about May 1 into camp by a ski plane that landed near Trout Bay because the ice was too poor closer to camp. We then carried all of our belongings about a mile to camp.
My dad and his friend, Milt Young, had come in the spring of 1960 to look at another camp that was for sale on Red Lake. Instead, my dad talked Bill into selling Bow Narrows which wasn't even on the market. As my dad noted, it is in an ideal location because it is in the center of the best fishing area and is protected from the wind no matter the direction. Milt and his wife, Carol, ended up buying another camp, Duck Bay Lodge, I believe, on Lake of the Woods.
Bill was one of the 1926 Gold Rush pioneers and anyone who knew him would agree he didn't change his mind very often. I think what did it in this case was that he and my dad hit it off so well. Bill followed professional boxing closely and my dad had been both a Golden Gloves and professional heavyweight boxer in Cleveland, Ohio. Also Bill was both a prospector and a trapper and my dad had done lots of trapping in the States.
So, Bill and dad built a new home for Bill down the lakeshore toward Trout Bay on one of Bill's mining claims. Remnants of that home are there today as shown in a recent photo below.
Dad added onto Bill's old house at Bow Narrows and it became our first lodge, ready for moose hunters that fall. The current lodge was built in 1972 and the old lodge became Cabin #3.
While Bill was finishing his cabin down the lake, he left many of his possessions in his old house. One of them was a sofa which I used for a bed. It was near the wood stove and so made a nice warm place for me to sleep.
Eventually, Bill came for the sofa and to our surprise, opened up the bottom where there had once been a fold-out bed. He had removed the bed and in its place were two full cases of dynamite! I had been sleeping on top of enough dynamite to have blown the entire camp into space!
In the background of the top photo you can see one of what used to be two cabins in that area. Both of those have been torn down and replaced with a single cabin, #1.

Shed still remains of Stupack's home near Trout Bay. Photo taken in 2012 by Mike Tronrud.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring fishing forecast for Red Lake -- explosive!

Bow Narrows angler Terry Ditsch hoists a big pike taken last May
The late ice-out expected for Red Lake, Ontario, this spring means fishing is going to start with a bang!
Walleye and northern pike will likely be spawning during the first couple of weeks of May, just before fishing season opens May 18.
That means both of these species are going to be voracious after a long winter's nap. Also, the lake water temperature is going to be cold enough that lake trout will be right on the surface. This should make for a triple-species bonanza.
A long time ago, cold water would have meant slow walleye fishing at first. That's just not the case any more. Thanks to extraordinary early springs during the last decade, Red Lake is stuffed with so many walleye that they are biting like mad starting on Day One.
Anglers will find them right on or near their spawning areas and on the north side of shallow bays where the water warms up rapidly with the sunshine on these long spring days. Expect to find hordes of them in three to six feet of water.
Northern pike will likewise be hanging around their spawning areas and at the backs of shallow bays that will become weed-choked later in the season. Most of them will be in just a few feet of water. This will be a great time to use the dead bait system of a half-cisco and 5/0 circle hook with or without a bobber but also the newly discovered spring method of surface baits such as the Live Target Walking Frog, Zara Spooks, and the like. We found these surface lures worked wonderfully last spring.
Both species will be easily taken by trolling with shallow-running crank baits like Rapala, Rebel, Long A Bomber, AC Shiner, etc.
Make sure you pinch down the barbs on these trolling lures' treble hooks because you are also going to tie into a lot of lake trout, all of which must be released on Red Lake.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

This was the first day of spring?

March 20, 2013
Sam and I were out searching for signs of spring yesterday, the official first day of the season. We didn't find a thing.
With temperatures well below freezing, high winds that made it feel even colder, and a fresh snowfall, it felt like anything but spring.
Still, the long-range forecast is for warmer-than-normal temps in April, May, and the rest of the summer.
That would make sense since this is also the peak of the 11-year cycle for solar activity. Traditionally, that year is the decade's hottest.
I hope that comes true because I love being at camp during a hot summer. For one thing, it just never gets that hot up here. The humidity is extremely low and it feels great.
If you do get too warm, jump in the lake. It's wonderful.
Oh yeah, the fishing is usually spectacular!
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Haiku writing is a good way to meditate

I've been writing haiku poetry for the past couple of years and find it is a good way to meditate.
One that I wrote about fishing appeared on the blog about a month ago. See Fishing is the Art
This one came to me last fall as I watched a deer moving in the moonlight through the shadows of the trees.
If you've not tried it, haiku poems are relatively easy to write. They usually have five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line, and five in the third.
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Remembering First Nations people of Red Lake, the Ojibwa men and women whose home was the bush

This photo taken in 1962 shows just some of the Ojibwa men of Red Lake, Ontario, who worked as guides at Bow Narrows Camp in the early days. I wanted to get this published on the Internet so that their descendents have a record of them. I'm afraid it is likely that there are not other photos of many of these men.
Standing, back row, from left: Frank Paishk, Tony Paishk, Chic King, George Trout, John Duck Strang
Kneeling, front, from left: Danny Cameron, Adam Paishk, Jim Duck Strang

Frank Paishk and his brother, Adam, were born at the site where there is still a cabin at the entrance to West Narrows. Frank built that cabin at what was apparently once a First Nations village. There were several log buildings there when we came to Red Lake in 1960 but they were in bad repair. Frank sawed them up for firewood and brought the logs for the current cabin by towing them behind his canoe, one at a time. I forget the year but it was in the early '60s.

The cabin stands there today, unused since the death of Frank in the '70s and Adam in the '80s. I see it as a memorial to the horrible things the federal and provincial governments did to First Nations people in those days and earlier. The deliberate cultural genocide of these people is a sad chapter in Canadian history. There is too much to say about it in one blog posting but since I've mentioned the cabin, consider this injustice: that cabin was the only home of Frank and Adam but they were forbidden by the government to live there except in the winter when they could use it for trapping. It was the same for all First Nations people. The government wanted them to move to reserves -- called reservations in the U.S. -- which were far away and where there was no prospect of making a living.

Tony Paishk, and his brother Ed, not in this photo, were born on the north shore of Pipestone Bay. There are no cabins there today and I never knew of one. They may have been born in a tent or other structure as their people moved seasonally to follow game.

Jimmy Duck Strang, son of John Duck, apparently was born in Muskrat Bay, located on the west side of what we call Big Red but otherwise known as the Potato Island basin. I was told this by another one of our guides, Joe Keesic, not long before he died a couple of years ago. Joe was born on the big island in Pipestone Bay nearest the narrows. Joe said he was told this by one of his aunts who wanted him to know before she passed on. Joe worked as a navigator on Ministry of Natural Resources water bombers and retired from that position.

Danny Cameron and his brother Larry, had a trapline on Medicine Stone Lake, south of Red Lake.

Not seen in this photo but a man who worked for years at Bow Narrows Camp was Jim Paishk who was considerably older than others in this group. Jim was like a grandfather to me when I was growing up and did more than anyone to bestow upon me a reverence for Nature. He was probably in his late 60s when this photo was taken. He lived to be in his 70s. Jim could recall when his family only had a muzzleloader rifle and when he saw his first white man. He was a wonderful story teller.
Jim would not use a firearm because when he was a young man he mistook his father's black hat for a moose and shot at it. The bullet went through the hat, right above his father's head. This earned Jim the nickname "Peepsite," but it was a name he didn't like and we never called him that.

These men knew the bush between Red Lake and the Manitoba border like the backs of their hands. There was no lake they had not been to. They knew of trails that were probably thousands of years old.

I want their descendents to know what a fine people they all were. They were the hardest-working, most-honest and decent people you could imagine. As an example, my parents would leave me in their care for trips in the bush from the time I was very young. I think my parents knew that I couldn't be in better hands.

It was a great honour for me a couple of years ago to have a First Nations elder, Josephine King, come visit me to see if I remembered some of the cultural practices of the Ojibwa people at our end of the lake.

She brought with her a grandson, Ronald, so that he could carry the knowledge with him in his life. I wished I had told him how proud he should be to be a descendent of these clever, resilient, skillful people. Their knowledge of the bush will never be surpassed. They not only survived there, they flourished. The bush was their home.

If they had a creed they never told me as such in so many words but I made up my own from living with them.

"You always have everything you need everywhere you go."

I suppose you can state it more eloquently, perhaps about how the Creator has provided everything for us as long as we are knowledgeable about what is there and that we use it wisely.

With ten thousand years of history behind them, the First Nations people set the example of living sustainably.

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Northern lights great last night; winter still has us in its icy grip

4:30 a.m., March 17, 2013
There was one of the best displays of northern lights or aurora borealis last night that I have seen in years.
The sky was full of curtains of neon green and magenta and the entire heavens were pulsating from horizon to horizon.
It actually freaked out Sam, our chocolate Lab. He started growling at the sky but then went back to bed.
8 a.m., March 17, 2013
I had a difficult time photographing the scene because my tripod is still at camp. I got this one photo by propping up the lens of the camera with a book on the porch.
It was 10 below F or -23 C here this morning. That is below normal for this time of year.
Whitefish Lake looks like this scene at the right and our house is still wrapped in a winter wonderland.
I'm beginning to think ice-out on Red Lake is going to be late.
There is only seven weeks to go before the normal ice-out of May 8.
We still have three feet of snow and three feet of ice to melt.
Whitefish Lake scene
I do see the longterm forecast is predicting above-normal temperatures next week but it's not the 60s F or 20s C that we had last year. That was remarkable, for sure.

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Frosty morning at our home in Nolalu

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Canada lynx families passing by our home

For the second straight day, family groups of Canada lynx have passed right past our home in Nolalu.
I took this series of photos about an hour ago.
This was a mother lynx and two half-grown kittens.
Yesterday we saw a mother with four kittens passing by the same direction on almost the same spot. I was not able to photograph that bunch.
Aren't these beautiful creatures?
They are all on the prowl for snowshoe or varying hares which would seem to be abundant this year. I say "seem to be" because they are snow white, except for the tips of their ears, and are basically invisible. All we see are their tracks.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

"What are you looking at? Are you looking at me?"

Photo by Bow Narrows Camp angler Lonnie Boyer
"Well, look at something else for awhile! You're creeping me out staring at me like that.
"Haven't you ever seen a fat moose before? So I'm fat. Get over it! It doesn't mean anything.
"How do I run from predators? You mean the brown stuff stuck under my hooves? Listen, sweetie, I'm not running from nuthin'.
"Go look at something else, OK? Hey, look! Isn't that a loon over there? Go look at it for awhile. Loons are absolutely bonkers to get their pictures taken. They're even on the Canadian dollar, you know, the loonie?
"Yeah, yeah, nice talking with you. Have a nice day."

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Signs of the times in our cabins

These three signs are posted in the kitchen areas of all our cabins.
The bear-shaped sign is a reminder that we live in black bear country here and we must always take them into consideration in our daily life. There really is only one thing to be especially mindful about: food.
With few exceptions, we can live in complete harmony with these magnificent animals if we always remember to keep food -- and food waste -- inside our cabins. Do that and the bears do their thing and we do ours and there is never disagreement. But it only takes one mistake to upset the situation.
Take last summer for example. One day our dog, Sam, and Ben's dog, Buck, were both sick. We quickly traced the problem to a shallow hole behind one of the cabins. The cabin occupants had dumped cooking grease on the ground there and the dogs had found it and eaten a noticeable bit of the dirt where the grease had been thrown. As it turned out, it was fortunate they did so, even if it did make them vomit as a result.
The next day one of the early risers at camp spotted a bear walking right through the front yard. We backtracked the bruin in the dew and guess what he had been doing? Sniffing the spot where the grease had been tossed. His tracks showed he had come from the forest right to that spot which was now largely void of grease since the dogs had already eaten it. There was nothing left for the bear, so he left. Had there been something for him to eat, even greasy dirt, then experience has taught us that he would be back again and again, getting bolder with each visit until eventually he would have been shot.
A very apt saying in the bush is: "A fed bear is a dead bear."
That was the only bear that came into camp the entire season, for many seasons, actually.
So what should have been done with the grease? We provide gallon cans for grease and will pick them up whenever needed. We store all the grease and used cooking oil in a pail, locked up in our shed, until it can be safely disposed of. We try to notice when the grease cans are full but if we forget, just bring it to our attention and we will empty the can immediately.
Never leave food on your porch or in your boat. We empty the compost pails from inside the cabin and the trash cans on the porches daily.
Speaking of food, one of the other signs pleads not to feed Sam. Someone once claimed they saw Sam with a magic marker stroking out the word "Don't" on each line.
The third sign lets everyone know that all of the water in our cabins is excellent for drinking. We have a top-of-the-line water treatment system that filters and treats water from every faucet. It is great tasting too. You can do a lot for the environment by bringing a refillable water bottle with you instead of cases of plastic bottles.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Red Lake's ice-out probably average-to-late

Nothing has melted yet, a good thing if you're snowshoeing like Brenda
It's early to predict such things but from all the signs that I see so far, 2013 ice-out on Red Lake and other lakes in the region is going to be around the historic average or even later this year.
The average ice-out date for Red Lake is May 8. Ice-outs in recent years have been much earlier culminating in last year's record-early ice-out of April 13.
Red Lake had a long, cold winter with lots of snow and no melting has taken place to date.
The forecast from meteorologists is for normal late-winter, early-spring weather in the next two months. That means temperatures will get only slightly above freezing in the day and plunge to -20 C or about 0 F at night, with gradual warming as the year progresses toward May. Ocean currents that bring us our weather are cool this year and there should be none of what happened last March when temperatures went to the 20s C or 60s F. Such freakish temperatures are going to be more common with climate change but it just doesn't look like it's in the offing this spring.
So, of course, what does that mean for fishing on Red Lake? That's what everyone reading this will want to know.
Early springs are great for walleye reproduction but probably are not good for northern pike. As we witnessed last year at camp, walleye took advantage of the early April ice-out by spawning three weeks early. That means their eggs developed more quickly and their fry were bigger and better able to look after themselves as summer occurred.
Northern pike, however, didn't spawn until the photo-period was correct -- in early May. The water temperature by that time was far warmer than normal and it is probable that many of their young did not survive and the ones that did were at a disadvantage compared to the already-growing walleye.
So a normal or late ice-out should be good for the future of northern pike fishing. Don't feel too sorry for the walleye; there are about a trillion of them in Red Lake now. Their population can easily sustain a bad spawning year or two or three.
All the snow at Red Lake is also a good thing for pike. As it melts it will mean high water at the beginning of the spring, creating the mildly flooded conditions that allow pike to spawn among the bushes that line swampy areas and creeks. This is their preferred spawning sites. Pike eggs develop best in these areas that are clean of silt and algae and the pike fry are able to emerge and swim away before the lake level drops too low.
Northern pike will be on or near their spawning sites when fishing season opens May 18. That is just what our anglers who come the first couple of weeks want to hear.
A normal to late ice-out also will mean great lake trout fishing for the first couple of weeks at camp since the water temperature will be cold enough to keep these fish at the surface. We're beginning to see a resurgence in the lake trout population. All trout still must be live-released, however.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keen eyes spot unusual eagle nest

Tiny tree supports heavy eagle nest

Eaglet waits for a fish meal from its parents
There are at least six eagle nests at the west end of Red Lake that we know about and probably many more we haven't found.
There is a pattern to the trees that eagles normally choose for their nests at our end of the lake. They are always large quaking aspen trees with spreading branches near the top. Many times they are the largest tree in the area.
That's why this nest in a puny jackpine tree is remarkable. It was photographed by Mike and Lonnie Boyer from the Buckeye State, long-time anglers at Bow Narrows Camp and whose photographs are usually about something unusual.
Mike and Lonnie have told me about the location of this nest for years and I still can't find it! So they sent these photos and circled the nest in one.
The weight of the nest makes the little tree it is built on sway back and forth, they say.
There are lots of larger trees in the area; so it isn't apparent why the eagle parents chose this little one.
Eagles are territorial and even in excellent fishing territory such as here, they probably don't build their nests any closer than a mile of each other.
They keep adding to the nest each year until some of these structures are 10 feet high. The weight of the nests and the fact that the droppings from the young eagles often end up killing the tree mean that the eagles must find a new nest site every so often. A lot of times the nests and the trees come down in violent wind storms.
We know of one eaglet that survived the crash of its nesting tree and hopped along the shoreline for the rest of the summer. It was fed there by its parents and as far as we know, survived to become an adult.
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wheat Belly's flax wraps are excellent

Brenda prepares a ground flax seed BLT

Flax seed wraps take a minute to prepare and are cooked in microwave
A staple for lunch around our house now are ground flax seed wraps made using the recipe in the Wheat Belly book.
We have been following Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis' advice to not eat any wheat. He recommends flax seed flour because flax is composed almost entirely of protein, not carbohydrates like other gluten-free products.
These wraps have a delicious, almost nutty, flavour. They take just a few minutes to prepare and cook in the microwave.
Here is the recipe:
3 tblsp of ground flax seed
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
pinch of salt
one egg
1 tblsp water
1 tblsp of oil (he recommends flax but we've been using canola)
Mix together and pour onto an oiled plate or microwave pie pan
cook 2-3 minutes and let cool
I like these so much that I'm trying to work out how to cook them on a frying pan so I can continue making them when we go to camp. We do not have microwave ovens there. I haven't found the secret so far.
Incidentally, we have also been using Davis' recipe for cauliflower crust pizza. Everybody loves this as well but it must be eaten with a knife and fork. The crust doesn't hold together well enough to be picked up.
Here are two other items on Wheat Belly:
Another Wheat Belly book out there
Buy Yourself this Gift for Christmas

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Excellent casting lures by Live Target

Live Target perch crankbait
Live Target makes a wonderful perch crankbait that will catch just about everything in Red Lake.
For the first couple of years that our outside worker Ben Godin worked for us he only took one lure when he went fishing: the Live Target medium perch.
He caught pike, walleye, lake trout, and I believe, even whitefish, on it.
This lure comes in many sizes and lip sizes but if I remember correctly, Ben only used the YP98M, a 3 5/8-inch version that dives 3-5-feet deep.
It also comes in a shallow diver that dips 1-2 feet and a deep diver that goes 7-10.
Ben always cast this lure and it outperformed every other lure that others in the boat were using.
In flatwater conditions, Ben also used another Live Target bait when pike fishing, a surface lure called the Walking Frog.
Walking frog's treble hooks make this a standout surface bait for northern pike
This lure must be jerked and twitched to simulate a frog swimming. It was terrific.
What I like especially about it is that it has treble hooks, not the inverted double hook found on so many top water lures. Pike just do not get hooked on upturned hooks.
Ben's favorite was the FFW105T size which is 4 1/2 inches long and weighs 5/8 oz.
Pike frequently become airborne when attacking the walking frog, making for thrilling fishing action.
Spin double hooks downward to catch pike on Field Mouse
Pike also like to hit mouse surface lures and although I haven't tried it, I would bet that the Live Target Field Mouse would work well. However, it has the upturned double hooks, so you will need to spin the lure around making the hooks point downwards. Forget about surface lures needing to be weedless; they don't. You need not cast these right into a weed mat; just nearby weeds and logs and in generally shallow water.
Give your rod tip a jerk, reel up the slack and repeat. If a fish boils after the lure and misses, wait a few seconds and start the process over. Lots of times a pike will make three or four attempts on a single cast.
Live Target lures tend to be pricier than others but they are all premium quality and probably worth the extra cost.
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Great trolling lures for walleyes

Rapala Original Floater and similar shallow lures work great early in season
We mentioned the Rapala Shallow Shad as a great artificial lure for trolling mid-summer in the blog below; however, there are many others to choose from as well.
Cotton Cordell Grappler Shad goes to 12 feet
Most anglers who do a lot of trolling have tackleboxes full of different models of Rapalas, Cotton Cordell, Live Target, Bagleys, Rebel, etc.
More fish have probably been caught on the Original Floating Rapala than any other artificial. This is the one go-to lure that has been in almost every tackle box for the past 50 years.
It is too light to cast easily but it trolls well, running about six feet deep. Bow Narrows anglers particularly like this lure, as well as similar shallow floaters made by other manufacturers, early in the season, before the weeds have come up, the water is icy cold and the fish are in very shallow water.
Once the weeds are showing, say late June, the Shallow Shad is probably a better choice although the fish aren't much deeper.
By late July a slightly deeper diver does better such as the Cotton Cordell Grappler that is a nice small lure for walleye but runs to 12 feet.
2" Storm Hot-N-Tot will go to 14 feet
Our walleye stay shallow until the water starts to cool off in late summer, say the first or second week of August. Then they slowly start moving to deeper areas.
That's when the real deep divers work best. Things like the Wally Diver and Hot-N-Tot.
Finally, by late August and throughout September, the fish are in nearly 30 feet of water and about the only artificial that can reach them is the Rapala Tail Dancer which goes to 26 feet.
3.5" Tail Dancer runs 20 feet, longer version hits 26 feet

Heddon Sonar hits 30 feet
One other lure I have tried with success is the blade bait, Sonar. It trolls to 30 feet.

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