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ICE FISHING LINE WISDOM & THE AMAZING UNI-KNOT by Gord Pyzer

ICE FISHING LINE WISDOM & THE AMAZING UNI-KNOT by Gord Pyzer

Ice Fishing Line Wisdom and the Amazing Uni-Knot

Fish on Boshkung Lake

 
You will find something fishy about this winter adventure. This extra special ice-fishing package will have you staying in comfy cabins on the shores of Boshkung Lake (or Mountain Lake) in the Haliburton Highlands, one of the most productive Lake Trout lakes in the region.
 
Packages:
From $199
 BOOK NOW

Hall of Fame angler Gord Pyzer answers some common questions, and shares his knowledge about choosing ice fishing lines and how to tie the amazing uni-knot to connect your main line to your leader in a short video.



It seems my last several ice fishing blogs on the Northern Ontario Portal have struck a cord with anglers who are ice fishing for lake trout, walleye, yellow perch, black crappies, and splake across the entire, magnificent, northern two-thirds of the province.

To the point where I've been fielding questions of late about the type of line I prefer to spool on my reels in cold weather, whether or not I like to use fluorocarbon in the winter and how I attach my leaders to my main lines.

Click here to watch the video: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/ice-fishing-line-wisdom-and-the-amazing-uni-knot-video-with-gord-pyzer

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SPRING CRAPPIES by Jeff Chisholm

SPRING CRAPPIES by Jeff Chisholm

Fishing for a bounty of crappies in Land O’ Lakes 

There is a very healthy panfish population in this lake both in terms of quantity and quality. We caught many large crappies along with fish of all sizes to show a healthy future fishery.


As much as we love to ice fish, when the ice thaws in the spring, spring crappie fishing immediately comes to mind. We are always anxious to get the boat out of its winter storage and get out in search of black crappies as they move to their shallow spring feeding areas. This past spring, Leo, Ron and I had the pleasure of fishing Bob’s Lake in the Land O’ Lakes region. It is located just 45 minutes north of Kingston, Ontario and while so close, we had never been there before. We had been hearing a lot of good things about it from our friend bs. Sebastien guides on this lake and knows it very well. He was confident that we would have a great day, and he was right! I went there a day ahead to spend some time scouting around the lake with Sebastien and get a feel for where the fish were positioned as well as what presentations would be effective. Sebastien and I had a great time and it was evident that he knew what he was talking about. That night Leo and Ron arrived at Bob’s Lake Cottages. We stayed in two lovely cottages that looked out over the lake. There is a boat launch right on site and ample docking as well.

The next morning we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over the lake and were eager to get fishing. The lake is very scenic and driving the Lund around the many coves with the signs of spring all around you is really a breath of fresh air. We idled up to our first spot, a little cove with a mud bottom that held some warmer water. In the spring, water temperature is everything. The slightest increase in temperature can draw the fish right in. Very quickly we started catching both large bluegill and crappies and the day was off to a great start.

READ ON CLICK HERE: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/fishing-for-a-bounty-of-crappies-in-land-o-lakes

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HAVE YOUR WALLEYE CAKE AND EAT IT TOO by Gord Pyzer

HAVE YOUR WALLEYE CAKE AND EAT IT TOO by Gord Pyzer

DOUBLE YOUR ACTION WHILE ICE FISHING FOR WALLEYE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO.

Walleyes, yellow perch, and Northern Ontario.  Now that's an unbeatable combination.



Some things go together naturally, like ham and eggs, peaches and cream, pancakes and maple syrup. 

Oh, and yes – walleyes and yellow perch.

In fact, the fishy twosome is such a classic pairing that first-year biology students are taught about the classic relationship in the same way drama students study Romeo and Juliet.

Consider the connection.

As the largest member of the perch family, walleyes are famous for their enormous eyes, among the largest of any animal on earth in relation to their body size.  But it is the almost eerie, light-reflecting tapetum lucidum, formed within the cells of the retinal pigment, that gives Northern Ontario's most popular fish species the ability to see better in dark, dingy, night-like conditions than in bright, clear daytime situations.

The reflective, disco ball-like coating at the back of a walleye's eyes starts forming when the fish is tiny and continues spreading rapidly. As a result, by the time a young walleye reaches four or five inches in length, the rods and cones in its eyes have been rearranged so that it can not only see better in the dark, making it negatively phototactic, but it can also detect certain colours more positively.  Especially hues such as green, orange and yellow.

At first light in the morning and last light in the evening, walleyes like this one that Liam Whetter hooked in Lake of the Woods, become active and feed more intensely

By contrast, yellow perch are much smaller than walleyes and, lacking the tapetum lucidum, are positively phototactic. In other words, they are visual feeders that see better, and are thus more active during the daylight hours.

Now, consider the possibilities.

On the one hand, we have a large fish eating predator that sees better in dimly lit conditions and is stimulated by certain specific colours. On the other hand, we have a close relative sharing many of the same habitat requirements that is most active during the day and cannot see well at night. Oh yes, and those smaller, tasty, walleye morsels are dressed in green, yellow, and orange-coloured robes.

I am sure you can see where I am heading with this. 

Every day, at first light in the morning, last light in the evening, and whenever it is cloudy, overcast, or the water is murky, walleyes become active and feed more intensely, while yellow perch become inactive and drop down to the bottom to rest.

It's then that predator meets prey in one of the most classic overlapping relationships in the animal kingdom. And it is something you can't afford to miss out on if you're ice fishing in any one of the thousands of walleye lakes across Northern Ontario.

READ ON CLICK HERE: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/have-your-walleye-cake-and-eat-it-too-gord-pyzer

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TROPHY TAKER by Jeremie Brooks

TROPHY TAKER by Jeremie Brooks

Catch Jeremie at the Toronto Sportsman's March 15- 19th at the FISH TV pro fishing seminars.

During the summer of 2012 I was fortunate enough to film with Fish TV in Erieau Ontario. Ron and Leo contacted me in the spring asking if I could set 2 days in July aside to film a Lake Erie show, we decided on mid July as the fishing is typically good during this time as well as the weather is usually stable. Ron and Leo arrived in Erieau on a warm summer evening meeting me at my charter boat with my afternoon customers. They quickly asked how the fishing was? I quickly opened my large cooler showing the hosts a 6 man limit of overweight Walleyes. They were excited to say the least with the prospect of a great show the next day! The following day arrived with perfect winds and excellent conditions for filming. I assisted with launching the Lund and we took off out of Erieau about 7 miles to the South West. Before I could get all the rods in Leo was reeling in the first chunky Walleye of the day beautiful five pounder. The day continued with numerous 5-9 lb Walleyes being the norm. Ten colours of suffix lead core line with Rapala Hydros reels were the key on that particular day. After landing our 18 Walleye limit we completed the some pro staff tips and packed up to return to Erieau. Upon rival at my slip in Erieau Marina I checked the time and informed the guys that if they wanted to film a Steelhead show in the afternoon I believed that I could do it. Ron looked at me and said “ we have never filmed two episodes in one day” I informed Ron that the boat would be leaving at 4 P.M for the second episode. The crew showed up and I ran them to a structural point that typically holds Steelhead 4 miles east of Erieau. Again I didn’t get all the rods in and we landed our first fish of the evening a beautiful 7 lb steelhead. One thing lead to another and we landed over 10 Steelhead in three hours. Many of them jumping 3 to 5 feet in the air directly behind the boat providing excellent footage for a second show in one day! We returned to port quickly cleaned up enough fish for supper and attended Molly and OJ’s for fabulous shore lunch that I will never forget. That night I looked at Ron James and said “never been done before eh?” he grinned and said “we will be back Brooksie thank you”

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NORTHERN ONTARIO MULTISPECIES LINE WATCHING by Gord Pyzer

NORTHERN ONTARIO MULTISPECIES LINE WATCHING by Gord Pyzer


Northern Ontario Multispecies Line Watching

You’ll catch many more fish this winter if you keep your sonar unit directly in front of you and look down your rod like it is the barrel of a rifle. This way you can simultaneously watch your rod tip, line and sonar screen


Eleven-year old grandson Liam hit the holiday season running by landing several gorgeous walleyes, topped by a 24 1/2 inch kicker and more than  enough husky 12- and 13-inch jumbo yellow perch to provide for a fabulous feast after we snowmachined home in the sparking moonlight.

We were ice fishing in Northwestern Ontario's spectacular Sunset Country, on Lake of the Woods to be exact, and in addition to the walleye and yellow perch, I also nabbed a huge smallmouth bass - where did he come from - and several tulibees, also known as ciscoes or freshwater herring.

The reason I mention the variety is because it is a hallmark of so many Northern Ontario lakes and rivers, from Lake Temiskaming and Lake Nipissing in the east end to Eagle Lake and Rainy Lake in the west. 

Don’t always expect to feel a fish take your bait when you’re ice fishing.  Instead, watch your line carefully, especially the portion between your rod tip and your hole in the ice, and react to even the slightest movement.

Truth of the matter is most days you never know what species is coming up the hole next.   As a matter of fact, in addition to the quartet that Liam and I landed, we could have just as easily added northern pike, whitefish, black crappies, sauger and in one more week's time, lake trout to the mix.

When I related Liam's and my good fortune to some friends at a Christmas party, however, one of them said, "You know, I love ice fishing but for the life of me, I have trouble feeling the fish hit."

They were surprised when I said that most ice anglers, myself included, have the same problem, which is why, when I am ice fishing, I never expect to feel a fish strike.  (Lake trout, pike and whitefish being the notable exceptions).

In fact, if Liam and I conservatively caught 20 fish the other day, between noon and sunset, I'd reckon we only felt two or three of them actually strike our lures.

Eleven-year old Liam Whetter caught this gorgeous Lake of the Woods walleye by paying attention to his line and setting the hook as soon as he saw it twitch.

Now, I know what you're thinking: if you can't feel them hit, how in the world do you know when to set the hook?  The answer is by always watching your line, especially the length between your rod tip and where it enters the water in your hole.

Indeed, when it comes to ice fishing for most species in Northern Ontario in the winter, it is as much a visual game as anything else.

It is also the reason I like to spool my reels with a brightly coloured braided line - florescent red Sufix Ice Fuse and lime green Fireline being two of my favourites.  Of course, I don't tie the bright line directly to my bait or lure, using a two- or three-foot long fluorocarbon leader for that purpose. 

This way, I can enjoy the best of both worlds.  A main line that I don't have to strain my eyes to watch and that registers the lightest bite and an invisible leader that the fish can't see.

Here is another little secret.  I always position my sonar unit right in front of me, not off to one side, so that when I look down my ice fishing rod - using it like the barrel of a rifle - I can easily see my rod tip and sonar unit.

READ MORE CLICK HERE: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/northern-ontario-multispecies-line-watching

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MUSKY FACTORY by John Anderson

MUSKY FACTORY by John Anderson

Catch John at the Toronto Sportsman's Show March 15th - 19th @ the FISH TV Canadian Pro Fishing Seminar booth.

Hi Y’all,


After some sputters and inconsistency marking the first couple of weeks of the musky season, July woke up and the muskies to the point of just plain silly. At The Factory we went from a first week marked by great sadness as several guests lost the fish of their lifetime and it seemed like fortune was not smiling upon us, to experiencing the full glory of musky fishing. The answer to heartbreak on the water (and often elsewhere in life) is hard work. Over the next 10 days we rocked the river with an epic 30 muskies including many over 20 lbs and a few over 30. July is as it should be and the musky world on the Ottawa River is pure paradise once again.


In the middle of the month came long time Jersey regular Rob G and his long time just-getting-back-to-musky-fishing-after-raising-the-kids friend Shawn Paladini. Rob and I have had the pleasure of almost 15 trips together and I am proud to have netted most of the giants Rob has boated. This trip turned into something really special.


If you were out on the water here around the full moon then you caught fish. Everyone did. Visit the spots, throw the baits, take the pictures; musky fishing the way you dream it can be. Isn’t it great when the dream becomes a reality!


Ten fish in three days with only two under 40 inches. Surface baits, jerk baits, inlines, dawgs – they ate it all. Rob had his best trip ever and added another monster to his picture collection and Shawn bettered his personal best by a lot with a huge fish that ate at boatside and did everything possible to avoid getting her picture taken. We took it anyway and I think you’ll agree that she looks great!  Better still we got it all on video including a fully airborne cartwheel! Check it out on the brand new YouTube channel for The Musky Show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdL-Tp_Br_0


Some people don’t believe in moon peaks. Generally they are people who catch fewer muskies…… When I look back at my logs over the years there are more years than not where the best week of the year came off of a full moon or a new moon. Do you believe? If you don’t now, you should start.

 

There are lots of blogs on here about how to fish moon cycles.  Find them, read them, and start catching more muskies.

 

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FLY FISHING VERSUS SPIN FISHING by Ken Collins

FLY FISHING VERSUS SPIN FISHING by Ken Collins

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Catch Ken at the Toronto Sportsman's Show March 15th- 19th at the FISH TV Pro fishing seminar tank

http://www.torontosportshow.ca/en/features/106

 

Fly Fishing versus Spin Fishing

I have been in the fishing tackle trade for over 35 years now. During that time I have seen numerous trends and cycles. One of the most interesting is most of the attendees of our fly fishing education program are spin anglers looking to try something new. But, we also get students every year that have never fished a day in their life’s - they have seen fly fishing and just had to give it a try.  We are also noticing an increase in the interest of women in fly fishing.

Why is this so interesting? Spin fishing gets easier every year with new advances in the tackle, lures and technology. But, many experienced anglers want to learn about something simple, challenging and engaging. Fly fishing offers this intriguing alternative to tune in with their local fish and have a ton of fun doing it.

Basic fly fishing is easy to learn and not this mystical Zen art many made it out to be in the past. It is easy to get swallowed up by your surroundings when trying to figure out what the fish are eating, and how you can best fool them with a fly.

A really common phrase that started with fly fishers is “matching the hatch”. Nature provides many varieties of edible morsels for fish. Some are perfectly imitated by spin lures and others that are impossible to imitate with anything but a fly rod and selection of flies. Smaller morsels called mayflies, caddis flies and midges can be available to the fish in huge numbers for usually short periods of time. The fish know this and feed accordingly. To be part of fishing frenzy and not have a fly rod is a fishing nightmare. Even with a fly rod it can be challenging. But, when you figure out a “hatch”, the rewards are difficult to quantify.

Fly fishers learn quickly that catching fish is not always the prime factor for measuring a successful day on the water. So many times over the year’s clients and myself have had more to say about what we learned about our surroundings and the people we are fishing with than reminiscing over the fish we landed.  This is the point where fly fishers start to grow with this addictive sport.

This attraction to fly fishing can see you taking your gear around the World for a huge assortment of fish and experiences. Sure thou can travel with conventional angling gear but just take a look on the web or on TV and discover for yourself the fly fishing travelling spirit. 

Another thing I experience when I fly fish is excitement. Even the simplest fly cast that lands exactly where I planned is satisfying. Now imagine adding a perfect landing of a tough cast and a surprisingly quick “I want it” response from a weary trout. This is a very rewarding part of this sport. It involves mental skill and physical skill that you can take real pride in when things go right.

When these things go well and a fish eats your fly, the fly fishing experience is just starting. A key part of fly fishing equipment, the fly line. It is different.  This connection with the fish has very little stretch. Combine this with a long sensitive rod and the feel is incredible. Good fly rigs are incredibly sensitive hand can help you feel more strikes and every move a fish makes once it is hooked. I know of many people who have been hooked by this type of fishing as well. In fact it will often result in a temporary to permanent storage of all other fishing gear.

Fly fishing gear is different from spinning equipment, but one of the biggest pieces of misinformation is that fly fishing is way more expensive than spin fishing. This is untrue. Your new rod, reel line and collection of leaders, tippets and flies are no more expensive than any decent spinning rod combo. The one thing you must realize is none of your spin fishing lures are useable on a fly rod. In other words you have to buy a whole new selection of lures. This can be a lot of fun. Think of how many baits you have acquired over the years. Now you need a full suite of new offerings to work with your fly gear. They look different and act different. A dozen flies I can get you going with a bare bones assortment. But, expect to collect several dozen flies to meet different fly fishing situations. As your collection of flies grows your chances on the water will blossom. Who knows you might even start tying your own flies. It is another addictive and rewarding branch of fly fishing.

Time on the water wishes to all of you and tight lines Ken Collins     

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WALLEYE WITH THE KIDS by Scott Walcott

WALLEYE WITH THE KIDS by Scott Walcott
Catch Scott at the Toronto Sportsman's Show @ the FISH TV Pro Fishing Seminar Tank, March 15th - 19th.
 
We have all heard the catch a phrase "take a child fishing"  and we have all probably used it or something similar, but do we really understand the impact we can have on the life of a child?  I have two very clear memories from my youth that involve fishing and boating. 
 
The first experience occurred when I was a grade 5 student in Wellington, Ontario.  Our school had a unique design with a pronounced, central jut out.  At the very top of the building was a large clock and below that, a classroom.  Everyone in our school wanted "the clock room".  I'll never forget when I got the clock room in grade 5.  Looking back, I can't recall why most students wanted the clock room, but I know I loved to watch Lake Ontario through the large panoramic windows.  The lake seemed to have a personality; some days the lake looked angry and frustrated and other days it was calm and peaceful.  One of my favourite things to do was to watch the boats as they went by throwing bow spray and dancing among the waves.  After school, I would jump on my bike, with my fishing rod sticking out of my backpack, and ride down to the harbour just in time to catch the salmon boats coming in. I'd work my way down the dock catching panfish and the odd largemouth, all while trying to catch a glimpse in one of the white deck coolers holding the salmon fisherman's bounty. Sometimes I'd stare out at the lake and imagine being on the deck of one of those boats bobbing up and down in the waves.  I'd envision myself fighting a salmon or sitting at the helm and running the boat out into the lake. 
 
The second experience is a of a deep sea fishing charter that our family went on when i was about 8 years old. I don't recall what we were fishing for or even what we caught, but I distinctly remember going to the fish cooler and opening the lid to look at the fish every few minutes.  The deck hand would laugh as I went over to the fish cooler to open the lid and he would say, "Is it still there?"
 
Fast forward 20 years and I'm making a living in the boating and fishing industry. Although it does bring me joy to put adults on fish and watch the smiles and high fives as they boat fish, nothing brings me more joy than having kids on the boat or seeing them shyly look into the boat as they walk by on the docks.  If a parent is around and they give permission, I love to invite the child onto the boat and into the cabin to walk around and look at the bright electronic screens displaying the mapping and sonar.  But the greatest joy of all is watching a child open the cooler or live well to look at fish.  All these years later I can still hear the deck mate asking me, "Is it still there?"
 
 

 

Sincerely,
Scott Walcott | President | Walcott Hospitality| 
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SPECTACULAR SLAKE by Gord Pyzer

SPECTACULAR SLAKE by Gord Pyzer

Northern Ontario Ice Fishing at its Finest

After you catch your first splake, you'll be hooked for life and you'll be adding them to your can't-wait-to-go-back-and-do-it-again directory.



 

Do you want to knock a spectacular fish species off your bucket list, and in the process add a new name to your can't-wait-to-go-back-and-do-it-again directory? 

 

And do it right now.

 

The ice fishing conditions are perfect and the splake bite is outrageous, from Northeastern Ontario throughout the Algoma Region and clear across into Sunset Country.

 

For the many who have never before caught a splake, the hybrid offspring created when a male speckled trout mates with a female lake trout, hence the name, you're in for the surprise of your life.

 

"I am giddy about splake," says HT Enterprise ice fishing guru and good friend, Wil Wegman, who just returned from a splake fishing trip to the Gogama area.  "The fish we caught averaged between three and four pounds, but there are plenty of six, seven and eight pounders in the lakes.  They're absolutely gorgeous, fight like samurai and are one of the best tasting fish to eat."

 

 

Northern Ontario offers the best splake ice fishing opportunities found anywhere, as Wil Wegman shows here with a beautiful fish he landed near Gogama

As aquatic history buffs are aware, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) has a long track record of rearing the hybrid splake to create a deepwater predator that would grow faster and mature at an earlier age, thus negating the impact of invading sea lamprey populations in Lake Huron.

 

Unfortunately, the rehabilitation efforts didn't unfold according to plan.  But the good news is that in the process, the OMNR developed the ideal fish for stocking in the plethora of small and medium size lakes scattered across the northern half of the province where previous plantings of brook trout and lake trout had been unsuccessful.

 

Indeed, because splake retain the characteristics and genes of both their lake trout and speckled trout parents, they are ideal candidates in bodies of water characterized by steeply sloping shorelines that are generally too vertical for speckled trout and yet, have basins too shallow for lake trout.

READ MORE CLICK HERE : http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/spectacular-splake-of-northern-ontario

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KIDS & FISHIN" by Big Jim McLaughlin

KIDS & FISHIN" by Big Jim McLaughlin

 

 

KIDS & FISHIN’

Catch Big Jim at the Toronto Sportsman's show at the Canadian Pro Fishing Seminars.

 http://www.torontosportshow.ca/en/features/106

I spend many days each year in the presence of young children many of whom have never caught a fish let alone made a cast.

There is nothing more rewarding as an angler to watch the antics and expressions that these pint sized anglers exhibit just casting and when they do get a bite after flogging the water for however long…that is when the real reward for your time invested become evident.

Years ago I had a young lad of about 12-13 years old that looked and acted like society had somehow passed him by for no good reason.

 I quickly invested 10 minutes coaching him on casting and how to read a bite with the slip-boober and before long he was smiling and catching a pile of gills and even a couple of nice 14’ largemouth bass.

Later that morning I came back along the shore of Dow’s Lake in Ottawa where the event was taking place, and here he was coaching a couple of youngsters on how to cast and was explaining to them that “this was how BIG JIM did it”.

Almost brought a tear to my eye then and now while I type this…quite simply a day I’ll never forget …

You should work on your day now…cause I’ve got a zillion stored upstairs and I’m keeping them all to myself.

That’s how good they are….

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FISH TV & TROPHY TAKER by Jeremie Brooks

FISH TV & TROPHY TAKER by Jeremie Brooks

Catch Jeremie at the Toronto Sportsman's Show March 15th - 19th.

http://www.torontosportshow.ca/en/features/106

 

During the summer of 2012 I was fortunate enough to film with Fish TV in Erieau Ontario. Ron and  Leo contacted me in the spring asking if I could set 2 days in July aside to film a Lake Erie show, we decided on mid July as the fishing is typically good during this time as well as the weather is usually stable. Ron and Leo arrived in Erieau on a warm summer evening meeting me at my charter boat with my afternoon customers. They quickly asked how the fishing was? I quickly opened my large cooler showing the hosts a 6 man limit of overweight Walleyes. They were excited to say the least with the prospect of a great show the next day! The following day arrived with perfect winds and excellent conditions for filming. I assisted with launching the Lund and we took off out of Erieau about 7 miles to the South West. Before I could get all the rods in Leo was reeling in the first chunky Walleye of the day  beautiful five pounder. The day continued with numerous 5-9 lb Walleyes being the norm.  Ten colours of suffix lead core line with Rapala  Hydros reels were the key on that particular day. After landing our 18 Walleye limit we completed the some pro staff tips and packed up to return to Erieau. Upon rival at my slip in Erieau Marina I checked the time and informed the guys that if they wanted to film a Steelhead show in the afternoon I believed that I could do it. Ron looked at me and said “ we have never filmed two episodes in one day”  I informed Ron that the boat would be leaving at 4 P.M for the second episode. The crew showed up and I ran them to a structural point that typically holds Steelhead 4 miles east of Erieau. Again I didn’t get all the rods in and we landed our first fish of the evening a beautiful 7 lb steelhead. One thing lead to another and we landed over 10 Steelhead in three hours. Many of them jumping 3 to 5 feet in the air directly behind the boat providing excellent footage for a second show in one day! We returned to port quickly cleaned up enough fish for supper and attended Molly and OJ’s for fabulous shore lunch that I will never forget. That night I looked at Ron James and said “never been done before eh?” he grinned and said “we will be back Brooksie thank you”     

   

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Zeroing in on Hard Water Panfish by Jason Barnucz

Zeroing in on Hard Water Panfish by Jason Barnucz

Zeroing in on Hard Water Panfish

Catch Jason at the Toronto Sportsman's Show March 15th-19th/ 2017 at the FISH TV CANADIAN PRO FISHING SEMINARS!

http://www.torontosportshow.ca/en/home

We have all been faced with the challenge, a new body of water. Where do we start? During the winter months I love chasing Panfish. Hard water means searching for the largest Panfish I can find. Sure, I may spend some days in the spring chasing big Crappie or Bluegills but I prefer to target them under a canopy of hard water.  Over the past few years I have been spending more and more time exploring new lakes for my next “best spot”.  Long before I hit the ice I will spend lots of time planning my first recon mission to a new body of water.

In Southern Ontario many of the lakes I target for trophy Panfish are relatively small, often less than 100 acres. Sometimes these lakes seem more like puddles as they may only be 20 or 30 acres in size. The main fish I am targeting are Bluegill and Black Crappie. However, the occasional Pumpkinseed, White Crappie or Yellow Perch often drops by for a visit. They are always welcome of course. Many of the tactics I use for locating Panfish in small waters can be used in big waters also. These techniques are transferable across waterbodies. This system may prove useful wherever you are targeting Panfish through the ice.

 

Off-Ice Preparation

I will often research lakes before I visit them. I will not fish a lake before doing some research on its location, fish population and more. It is not in my nature to fish blind. I want to make the most of my time on the water. Now, I am not talking ‘dock talk’ or ‘web lurking’ trying to find some ‘secret info’ on a new lake. I have always taken an objective approach to my research. I always like to research any waterbody before I visit. I will seek out old stocking records, fisheries data, and more. If you live in Ontario try using the Fish ON-line web tool prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (link). This tool is designed to help anglers conduct research on fisheries in Ontario. Whether you are a weekend warrior or seasoned tournament pro, this website will provide you with some useful information on Ontario fisheries.

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Bathymetry chart of small inland lake

 

Develop a Plan

Once you have compiled some basic research it is time to put a plan together. How are you going break a lake down? Especially without the luxury of a boat to quickly scan areas for cover (e.g weeds) or structure (e.g. substrate, drop offs). Many ice anglers will utilize the idea of “ice trolling”. Covering a lot of water with a series of holes to find fish, and then zeroing in on high percentage areas once fish are located. I like to drill a series of holes across the lake feature I have selected. On small lakes I will aim to drill 10 or 12 holes approximately 30 feet apart in a single line. On larger waterbodies I will expand this spacing from 30ft to 50ft or even 100ft.

Primary Search Pattern

Once I have drill my initial line of holes I will begin searching each hole with my electronics. A good auger is important. My choice is the K-Drill auger with a Milwaukee drill. This auger is light and lets me move quickly. Once your primary search line is drilled you need to use your electronics. I use a  Vexilar FL-20 Flasher with a dual frequency (9°/19°) transducer. This transducer is designed to cover a wide range of depths/situations. I prefer to use the 19° in shallow water situations (<15ft) and the 9° for deeper situations. Lure size and fish activity can play a role in my transducer choice. If water clarity is good I will also use a camera. I have been using the Aqua Vu Micro Plus for a few seasons and love it. This little camera is great for recon under the ice. The camera fits in your pocket and is ready to go at all times.

image-2-kettlelake1jb_step1
Ice Trolling – Primary Search Pattern

 

Secondary Search Pattern

Once fish are located note the depth and cover (e.g. weeds), substrate (sand, soft) and structure (flat, drop off). Then it is time to replicate this by working along the same piece of cover (weed type/weed edge), bottom type or structure (fat, drop off). I will expand on my Primary Search with holes extending along the productive area. I may reduce my spacing to help keep my baits in productive areas.

image-3-kettlelake1jb_step2
Ice Trolling – Secondary Search Pattern

Added value from GPS units

I use a GPS for all of my ice fishing. With or without bathymetric maps you a GPS can help any ice angler! During your primary and secondary searches a GPS unit can eliminate unproductive areas and be used to revisit productive areas. It is important to document all waypoints, regardless if you catch a fish or not. This is because data from unproductive locations may prove useful on another trip. Over the years I have used a variety of GPS Units but recently I have been using a Garmin Montana 680. This unit has a large, touch screen that is easy to navigate. Below is a screen shot of a typical ice fishing trip. I use various icons on my Garmin Montana GPS unit. In this screen shot weeds are marked with GREEN, no weeds are marked with BLACK and fish caught are marked with a SKULL.  I also marked the depths at all waypoints (eg. 16′). This only takes a few seconds per waypoint with my GPS unit.

garmin-screen-shot
Ice Trolling – Screen Shot of Garmin GPS Handheld Unit

Article Summary

  • There are lots of resources that can help anglers reduce the learning curve. Check the internet for resources, especially websites for your local Natural Resources or Fish & Game Department.
  • Use your new knowledge to create a game plan and stick with it.
  • Cover ice quickly with good augers, electronics (flashers, cameras) and GPS. Covering water not only finds fish but also eliminates unproductive areas.
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A SECRET WAY TO CATCH THE WINTER HEAVWEIGHTS OF WINTER by Gord Pyzer

A SECRET WAY TO CATCH THE WINTER HEAVWEIGHTS OF WINTER by Gord Pyzer

A Secret Way to Catch the Heavyweights of Winter

Ice Fishing Bungalow Getaway

Experience an epic weekend on the lake while enjoying the comforts of home in our large four- to six-man ice bungalow. This is essentially the same as fishing within your own cottage, right on the ice! Come with the guys or pack up the family and make it an adventure. It doesn't get better than this! Includes heated ice hut, drilled holes and shuttle service, satellite TV, and as needed, propane heat.
Packages:
From $200
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As soon as your buddy lands a lake trout, quickly drop a bait back down the hole and likely, another trout will pounce on it

Lake Trout reigns supreme for Ice Anglers across Ontario.

 


 

There is no question that ice fishing for lake trout reigns supreme in the winter time across all of Northern Ontario.  And for plenty of good reasons, too, not the least of which is the fact that you will find more lake trout lakes in the Trillium Province than anywhere else on Earth.

 

So, no matter where in Northern Ontario you like to fish - you will find an icy honey hole waiting for you to drop in a line. 

 

Equally important is the fact that lake trout are cold water loving fish with a chilly optimal water temperature preference of 8°C to 11°C (48° - 52° F), so unlike almost every fish that either slows down appreciably or goes to sleep in the winter, lake trout shove the pedal to the metal.

 

This embarrassing wealth of opportunities, however, creates an ironic dilemma for most ice anglers.  The lake trout fishing is so good they miss a unique opportunity that is swimming, literally, beneath their boots.

 

Let me explain, so long as you promise not to share this with anyone else.

 

Let's assume you and I are ice fishing for lake trout on Lake Simcoe, Georgian Bay, Lake Temagami, Goulais Bay near Sault Ste. Marie, Nipigon Bay or Thunder Bay on Lake Superior or any one of the hundreds of lake trout lakes around Wawa, White River, Ignace, Atikokan,  Fort Frances, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake or Kenora.

 

Let's assume, also, that you suddenly spot a lake trout racing across your sonar screen chasing after your white Bass Magnet tube jig, Williams Nipigon spoon, Kamooki Smartfish or 3/8th-ounce ReelBait Flasher Jig tipped with a minnow.  You slowly lift and reel the lure away from the trout to imitate a fleeing ciscoe, smelt or whitefish and then feel the fish whack the daylight out your lure.  Your drag starts screaming, the tip of your rod bends over dangerously close to the breaking point and the smile that creases your face stretches from one ear to the other.

READ MORE CLICK HERE : http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/a-secret-way-to-catch-the-heavyweights-of-winter-in-ontario

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TACKLE,TIPS,TRICKS AND MORE by Dionne Elgie

TACKLE,TIPS,TRICKS AND MORE by Dionne Elgie

Tackle, Tips, Tricks and More

Your guide of what you need to know to ice fish in Sault Ste. Marie

 


 

Ice fishing is a true Northern experience like no other. Within just minutes of the city, you can access lakes and rivers by foot, vehicle or snowmobile that are filled with trout, walleye and northern pike!

This winter sport has evolved over the years and transformed the way people ice fish today. Modern equipment, powerful augers and heated cabins have made things pretty comfortable for anglers. However, this well loved sport is also the most dangerous method of fishing and it's important to follow the proper safety steps, to ensure your day out on the ice is a safe one. Safety should always remain your number one priority.

Ice Fishing Tips, Tricks and Strategy for Ice Fishing in 2016

Here are some hopefully helpful tips, tricks and strategies that might improve your ice fishing experience this year and most importantly, keep you safe.

 

Know How to Treat Hypothermia – Hypothermia is the most common reason for death in ice fishing. Be sure to learn before you head out, about how to treat and handle someone with hypothermia. Someone can die as soon as 20 minutes of being soaked in icy water, time is not on your side. Always have a cell phone charged and ready and if you're out of a service area, have the essentials on hand to get your fellow angler warm and dry and to help as soon as possible.

READ MORE CLICK HERE : http://www.northernontario.travel/sault-ste-marie/what-you-need-to-know-to-ice-fish-in-2016-tackle-tips-tricks-safety-licenses-and-more

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A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ICE FISHING IN CANADA by Meagan Stansfield

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ICE FISHING IN CANADA by Meagan Stansfield

A Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing in Canada

Great catch while ice fishing at Clark's Resorts & Outposts

(With a Few Tips for the Seasoned Fishermen Too!)

Ice fishing is an exceptionally fun and rewarding way to get you through Northwestern Ontario's extended Winter Months.



 

Editors Note: While many are experts at fishing in Ontario in the summer, there are definitely fewer that go ice fishing, often because they don't realize how enjoyable (and warm) it can be. I've ask Meagan from Clarks's Resorts & Outposts to write some tips for ice fishing in Ontario for someone who has never ice fished or for those that just want a little extra knowledge to help them go ice fishing.

 

Anyone else that has grown up in remote Northwestern Ontario would probably agree that the winters can get a little long. One of my favourite activities that I've loved to do ever since a young age, is to go ice fishing. In the very busy and connected world that we live in, I cannot think of a better way to spend quality time with friends and family. Whether we spend the whole day out on the lake, or just an evening in the shack, it's always great to talk and laugh while being completely unplugged and in the moment. Even if the fish are not biting, ice fishing is still a great way to connect, while enjoying the great outdoors. When you are dressed properly, the winters here in Northwestern Ontario are beautiful and can be very enjoyable.

 

The scenery is stunning with the snow covered trees and miles of untouched powdery snow. The air is so fresh and crisp and on a sunny day, the sparkling snow is absolutely breathtaking. If you enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing is also a great activity to get you out on the machines exploring and carving out the snow, while traveling to your favorite fishing hole.

 

7Winter SceneryFresh snow covers a frozen lake

 

We are very fortunate to have a great fishing spot right out in front of one of my parents’ tourist camps, K.C.’s Landing Resort on Edward Lake. They put an ice fishing shack in front of camp every winter within walking distance from the house. I have to admit, we’ve become a tad bit spoiled. Our shack is heated by a propane heater (with a cooktop), we have lights, padded benches, and two table tops to put our snacks on. With no jackets, we stay toasty warm while jigging in the fishing hole right at our feet. Sometimes we even cook dinner while we fish.

 

8Shack InteriorEven basic ice fishing shacks can be designed for comfort and warmth

 

I always find “early ice” to be the best time for fast-action Walleye fishing. Ice-over usually takes place in early November, but this year it wasn’t until into December that we finally had safe ice to walk on. My Dad has always taught me that 4 inches of ice is plenty if you are on foot, but because ice thickness can vary so much on any one lake, you must measure everywhere that you plan to step. We use a needle-point ice pick to test the ice and always carry a survival kit including waterproof matches. We like to wait until we can measure at least 6 inches of ice before we venture out to go fishing. Once we have about 8 inches of ice, we are able to pull our ice shack out with a four-wheeler. We look for the “honey hole” which is a drop-off at about 15-20 feet deep. We raise the shack about a foot off the ice using Styrofoam blocks for easy removal in the spring. We bank it up with snow to keep the drafts out and also use hole covers to keep any critters from getting inside.

 

Learn more about ice fishing at Clark's Resorts & Outposts

9Outside ShackCover HolesAlways ensure the ice is thick enough before heading out

 

My “tackle box” consists of a pocketful of assorted colours of 1/8 oz. lead head jigs. I always fish with live minnows, and I prefer the smaller ones. In my opinion, a bigger minnow does not mean a bigger fish. When Walleye fishing in the summertime, I use the exact same bait; an 1/8 oz. lead head jig and a small minnow. The reason that I never stray away from this is that all you need to feel is a couple of taps on the rod and you can set the hook right away, hooking the fish nicely in the lip allowing for a quick and easy release. I find that when using bigger minnows, you have to allow the fish more time to get a hold of them and it’s not as easy to get a good hook-set. I was always raised to keep a few smaller ones to eat and to throw the bigger ones back to keep a healthy population of breeding stock in the lake.

 

10JigsFish LipAll you need is a sturdy rod equipped with a jig and a minnow

 

As for the equipment, I use a 20-inch medium or light-action ice fishing rod with 6-8 pound test line. If we are fishing out in the open, I will often use a rod holder like the one in the picture below and just keep an eye on the rod for any bending or heavy bouncing. Sometimes we use tip-ups, which shoot a flag into the air when you’ve got a bite. A light willow stick with fishing line also works great. If I choose to not hold my pole and jig, I will pre-set the line so that the minnow is about 4 inches off of the bottom. When you’re out with a few people with multiple holes set, part of the fun is seeing who can run to the hole fast enough to set the hook. Whatever you choose to fish with, the idea is to let the fish take the bait down with a slight amount of tension at all times without giving it the opportunity to run with the bait.

 

11Rod Holder GoodA solid stand can free up your hands while you wait for a bite

 

I usually like to start out with a medium-action fishing rod. I hook my minnow just under the dorsal fin allowing it to swim more freely creating a natural presentation to better attract the fish. I let the line out until I can feel the jig hit the bottom and then bounce it up and down. I jig no higher than 4-5 inches from the bottom and I make sure to hit the lake floor every time. If I plan to jig more aggressively, I will often hook the minnow through the lips. I like an 1/8 oz. jig because it is just heavy enough to help you find the bottom quickly and easily while being light enough to allow the minnow to move more naturally. If I were to ever stray away from the 1/8 oz. jig, I would choose an even lighter one, never heavier. Once I feel a fish tap 2 or 3 times, I let it take the rod down 8-10 inches maintaining a little tension as the fish pulls down, before I set the hook. After setting the hook, I keep the line tight as I reel the fish to the surface.

 

12Medium Action and Dorsal FinKeep your line taunt to the surface after you've set your hook

 

There are times when the Walleye bite is very light. When this is the case, I choose a light action rod, which to me is actually the most fun. Catching a small, 15-inch Walleye feels like you are reeling in a monster Pike. When we are fishing with “beginners”, it is always fun to watch them reel in a fish on a light action rod. One of my favourite memories was from a few years ago.

Read more click here : http://www.northernontario.travel/sunset-country/a-beginners-guide-to-ice-fishing-in-canada-with-a-few-tips-for-the-seasoned-fishermen-too

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TWO - TIMING TACTICS by Gord Pyzer

TWO - TIMING TACTICS by Gord Pyzer

Two-Timing Tactics

Ice Fishing Getaway

Experience an epic weekend on the lake while enjoying the comforts of home in our large ice bungalows. It doesn't get better than this! Includes heated ice hut, satellite TV, drilled holes and shuttle at the beginning and end of your stay, and as needed, propane heat.
Packages:
From $200
BOOK NOW
Gord Pyzer has shown countless times how two-timing for black crappies can pay huge dividends.

Fishing Tactics for Northern Ontario Ice Anglers

 


 

Most Northern Ontario ice anglers are aware of the fact that in the winter you are allowed to fish with two rods, tip-ups, or a combination of them. So, it is always wise to take advantage of a second hole to double your chances of catching fish.

 

What aren't as well known, however, are the strategies you can employ that go far beyond simply drilling a second hole and plunking down a minnow. And the tactics vary depending on the species of fish that you're seeking.

 

Take lake trout, for example, which are perhaps the hardest fighting fish sought by ice anglers visiting Northern Ontario.  Whenever we're ice fishing for lakers, we always drill at least eight to 10 holes at each spot – even if there are only two or three of us fishing – so that we can walk between the holes and fish in a variety of depths.

 

 

You are allowed to ice fish with two rods, tip-ups, or a combination in the winter time, so, take advantage of the second hole to double your chances of catching fish.

Setting up off an island point or sunken reef, we'll use our sonar units to carefully check how deep it is beneath each hole, so that we can strategically spend some fishing time prospecting over shallow, deep and mid-water depths. Usually from 25 to 30 feet deep, all the way out to 80, 90, even 100 plus feet.

 

We also typically space the holes a good distance apart so that we can saturate and carpet bomb as much of the structure as possible.

 

Many folks refer to it as "contour trolling," but call it what you will. When you strategically lay out your holes this way, you can efficiently and effectively check many different water depths quickly. And if you don't catch any trout and decide to pack up and move after an hour or so, you can depart feeling confident that it wasn't because of your presentation but rather the location.

 

There simply were no fish present.  So you move on to the next potential hot spot and start the process over again.

READ MORE CLICK HERE ! http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/two-timing-tactics-in-northern-ontario

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NORTHERN ONTARIO MULTISPECIES LINE WATCHING by Gord Pyzer

NORTHERN ONTARIO MULTISPECIES LINE WATCHING by Gord Pyzer


Northern Ontario Multispecies Line Watching

You’ll catch many more fish this winter if you keep your sonar unit directly in front of you and look down your rod like it is the barrel of a rifle. This way you can simultaneously watch your rod tip, line and sonar screen
 


 

Eleven-year old grandson Liam hit the holiday season running by landing several gorgeous walleyes, topped by a 24 1/2 inch kicker and more than  enough husky 12- and 13-inch jumbo yellow perch to provide for a fabulous feast after we snowmachined home in the sparking moonlight.

 

We were ice fishing in Northwestern Ontario's spectacular Sunset Country, on Lake of the Woods to be exact, and in addition to the walleye and yellow perch, I also nabbed a huge smallmouth bass - where did he come from - and several tulibees, also known as ciscoes or freshwater herring.

 

The reason I mention the variety is because it is a hallmark of so many Northern Ontario lakes and rivers, from Lake Temiskaming and Lake Nipissing in the east end to Eagle Lake and Rainy Lake in the west. 

 

Don’t always expect to feel a fish take your bait when you’re ice fishing.  Instead, watch your line carefully, especially the portion between your rod tip and your hole in the ice, and react to even the slightest movement.

 

Truth of the matter is most days you never know what species is coming up the hole next.   As a matter of fact, in addition to the quartet that Liam and I landed, we could have just as easily added northern pike, whitefish, black crappies, sauger and in one more week's time, lake trout to the mix.

 

When I related Liam's and my good fortune to some friends at a Christmas party, however, one of them said, "You know, I love ice fishing but for the life of me, I have trouble feeling the fish hit."

 

They were surprised when I said that most ice anglers, myself included, have the same problem, which is why, when I am ice fishing, I never expect to feel a fish strike.  (Lake trout, pike and whitefish being the notable exceptions).

 

In fact, if Liam and I conservatively caught 20 fish the other day, between noon and sunset, I'd reckon we only felt two or three of them actually strike our lures.

 

Eleven-year old Liam Whetter caught this gorgeous Lake of the Woods walleye by paying attention to his line and setting the hook as soon as he saw it twitch.

 

Now, I know what you're thinking: if you can't feel them hit, how in the world do you know when to set the hook?  The answer is by always watching your line, especially the length between your rod tip and where it enters the water in your hole.

Read on click here : http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/northern-ontario-multispecies-line-watching?s=1325

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