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ICE-OUT LAKE TROUT FISHING by Jeff Gustafson

ICE-OUT LAKE TROUT FISHING by Jeff Gustafson

Ice-out Lake Trout Fishing

Spring is one of the best times to go trout fishing.

LAKE TROUT PREFER TEMPS BELOW 55F

While the walleye season closes for about a month in the spring for spawning, the lake trout season is wide open, and there is no better time during the entire year to chase these scrappy predators.



When anglers think about fishing in Northwest Ontario’s Sunset Country Region, the mind can really wander. Thousands of lakes and rivers exist for anglers to wet a line and top-notch fishing opportunities abound around every corner for a variety of species.  

Throughout the year, there are always multiple fishing seasons open for anglers to chase different species of fish. While the walleye season closes for about a month in the spring while they go through the spawning process, the lake trout season is wide open and there is no better time during the entire year to chase these scrappy predators.  

A cold water fish by nature, lake trout prefer when temperatures are below 55 degrees.  They are active early in the season and seem to eat as much as they can before heading for deep, cool water for the summer.  

From the Nipigon area west to the Manitoba border, deep, clear lake trout waters are easy to find across Sunset Country. While some of the smaller, inland lakes may not offer the best opportunity for big fish, numbers of fish and scenery are seldom an issue. 

If trophy fish interest you more than numbers, focus your efforts on the larger lakes across the region, places like Lake Nipigon, Lake of the Woods or the Clearwater Chain. Fly-in opportunities to remote places like Trout Lake, east of Red Lake, increase the odds even further at catching that fish of a lifetime. The Atikokan area has been a hotspot in recent years for monster sized lake trout as well. 

READ ON CLICK HERE! http://www.northernontario.travel/sunset-country/ice-out-lake-trout-fishing

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GOOD NEWS ICE-OUT PIKE by Gord Pyzer

GOOD NEWS ICE-OUT PIKE by Gord Pyzer

Good News Ice-Out Pike

Family Summer Fishing Package

 
Enjoy the tranquility of Ontario's Near North at Lake Herridge Lodge set in the scenic beauty of the Temagami Wilderness Forest. 
Bring the whole family for a vacation that they will long remember.
Packages: 
From $225
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Christian Zimmer says that early spring is when many of the biggest pike are caught in Northern Ontario

FIND OUT WHY THE BIGGEST PIKE ARE CAUGHT THIS TIME OF YEAR.

Gord Pyzer interviews Trent University Biology student Christian Zimmer on Pike spawning season and why this means ice out is when some of the biggest pike are caught in Northern Ontario.



Good news, folks, it is only a matter of days before we will be launching our boats and getting out on the water for another exhilarating fishing season in Northern Ontario.  I have to confess, too, that several days ago I pulled the tarp off the 16-foot Alumacraft V-hull I use to fish the many small and medium size lakes scattered across Sunset Country.  And my rods and reels are all rigged up and ready to go.

So, it is fair to say that I am chomping at the bit.

And the first fish of the season to come into the boat will be northern pike.  Hopefully, several of the gargantuan toothy critters that spawn in the spring earlier than all of the other popular sport species. 

It is the stuff of dreams that avid fishing friend, Christian Zimmer and I were recently discussing.  Christian is completing his degree at Trent University where he is studying northern pike behaviour, and I asked him what gems of wisdom he might share with anglers hoping to make contact with the fish in the days ahead.

"Studies have shown that the pike spawning season can be extremely protracted," Zimmer says, "lasting for as long as eight weeks.  This is especially true in Northern Ontario as different bays, depending on their orientation, may have pike in the pre-spawn, spawn or post spawn stages.

Northern pike spawn in the spring in bays that are typically one-foot to five-feet deep with mud bottoms surrounded by bulrushes

"Ice out, however, is generally when some of the biggest pike are caught.  The large females are concentrated in the spawning bays, whereas in the summer, the fish will disperse to the main lake where they are not as easily targeted by most anglers."

According to Zimmer, pike begin laying their eggs when the water temperature reaches a still chilly 40 F,  which means that in many cases they are spawning in open bays while ice still covers much of the main lake. 

"As soon as the ice allows me to get out on the water," says Zimmer, "I am fishing the necked-down entrances to the spawning bays. This allows me to catch pike that are staging to spawn, spawning and in some case, finished spawning.

READ ON CLICK HERE: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/good-news-ice-out-pike-gord-pyzer

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HOW TO COOK THE CLASSIC SHORE LUNCH PERFECTLY by Gord Pyzer

HOW TO COOK THE CLASSIC SHORE LUNCH PERFECTLY by Gord Pyzer

How to Cook the Classic Shore Lunch Perfectly (PLUS, an Award-Winning Twist That’ll Impress Everyone at the Campfire)

Fresh fish cooked over an open wood fire in Northern Ontario gives new meaning to the term “finger lickin’ good!” You could go to the fanciest restaurant in the world and it wouldn’t taste any better than this.


What -- you've never had the pleasure of a Northern Ontario shore lunch? Shame on you! It is the highlight of every fishing trip I've ever enjoyed when we've pulled the boat up onto the shoreline of a scenic spruce or pine covered island and cooked our freshly caught fish over a crackling wood fire.

You have no idea of how delicious fresh fish can be, until you've pulled the boat up onto the shore of a scenic spruce or pine covered island and cooked your catch over a crackling wood fire.
You have no idea of how delicious fresh fish can be, until you've pulled the boat up onto the shore of a scenic spruce or pine covered island and cooked your catch over a crackling wood fire.

Trust me -- you have no idea of how delicious fresh fish can be until you've cooked it minutes after you've caught it.

And the cool thing is, a shore lunch is so easy to prepare.

I would hate to tell you how many shore lunches I've prepared for family, friends and guests over the years, but it is many hundreds, if not thousands.

And here is the recipe that most folks have said is their all time favourite:

  • flour seasoned with salt and pepper 
  • Egg Beater or a couple of beaten eggs
  • Corn Flake crumbs
  • Italian Flavoured Bread Crumbs (with Romano cheese, herbs and spices)
  • Canola oil
  • fresh lemons
  • salt and pepper

I like to arrange four loaf pans side-by-side with the fish filets in one, the seasoned flour in another, the Egg Beater in the third and equal amounts of corn flake crumbs and Italian flavoured bread crumbs in the fourth.

That is also the order in which you prepare the filets.

Simply take a piece of fish, drop it into the pan of seasoned flour and give it a good shake. Then give it a bath in the egg wash before finally dipping and shaking it in the pan of crumbs.

While I am preparing the filets, I like to start the fire so that by the time I am finished, it is hot and ready for the fry pan, which brings us to a real secret to preparing great crispy shore lunch fish. Always heat up the oil so that it is hot before you put in the fish.

READ ON CLICK HERE: http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/two-shore-lunch-recipes-for-freshly-caught-northern-ontario-fish

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QUITE SIMPLY WORLD CLASS by Gord Pyzer

QUITE SIMPLY WORLD CLASS by Gord Pyzer

Quite Simply World Class

Len Perdic, shown here with a massive carp, has fished around the world. He says most other destinations are mere shadows compared to the opportunities that Ontario has to offer.

An experienced pro, Len Perdic, explains not only why Ontario is a world class fishery for carp, but also how to get started catching the most pursued freshwater fish in the world.



"Quite simply the best in the world," says Len Perdic, when I ask him to sum up the carp fishing opportunities in Ontario

And Perdic should know. 

As a Team Canada member at the World and North American Carp Fishing Championships, he has travelled extensively and fished for carp in many of the premier venues. But he chuckles and says that most of the other destinations are mere shadows compared to the excess of riches Ontario has to offer.

"Carp fishing is an unstoppable addiction in the rest of the world," says Perdic, whose personal best Ontario carp weighed 52 pounds. "But we have so many other species of fish that they often bounce to the bottom of the scale. Part of the reason is because carp are extremely intelligent. They're not necessarily an easy fish to catch without spending a little time preparing for a successful outing. But when you put a good game plan together, the number and size of fish that you can catch in Ontario is astonishing."

Indeed, as hard as it is for most Ontario anglers to fathom, Perdic says that in Europe and much of the rest of the world, where carp reign supreme and fishing for them has become a way of life, anglers routinely spend a week on a small 200- or 300-acre lake and rejoice if they land 20 fish.  He routinely catches more than that during a leisurely afternoon at any one of a number of Ontario locations.

Len Perdic says to be forewarned, because once you start catching giant Ontario carp like this, you're going to become addicted.

"Because we're blessed with such amazing fisheries," says Perdic, "we can't understand what it means to catch four or five fish a year. Most UK anglers are travelling to France, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Germany to fish some of the famous stocked and managed lakes over there. They're paying huge amounts of money for a single week of fishing and most of them do it three or four times a year. Remember, carp are the most pursued freshwater fish in the world."

READ MORE CLICK HERE! http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/world-class-carp-fishing-in-ontario-with-len-perdic-and-gord-pyzer

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CUTTING EDGE CRAPPIE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO by Gord Pyzer

CUTTING EDGE CRAPPIE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO by Gord Pyzer

Cutting Edge Crappie in Northern Ontario

Black crappies are one of the most beautiful sport fish found in Northern Ontario.

CRAPPIE ARE EASY TO CATCH AND RANK AT THE TOP OF THE CULINARY FOOD LIST.



The lilacs are blossoming across Northern Ontario and that can mean only one thing, the best black crappie fishing of the year is at hand, blooming right along with the fragrant flowers.

I've never fully understood the relationship between the sugary smelling flora and the sweet tasting fish but it's obviously weather related and a fishing pattern you can take to the bank. And talking about sound investing, it is no secret either, that Ontario offers some of the best black crappie fishing to be found anywhere in the world.

The fact we're blessed with more than 400,000 lakes and 2/5ths of all the freshwater on the planet plays no small part in the play, but a steadily warming climate along with the fact that the fish are colonizing ever more numbers of Northern Ontario waters means anglers can scarcely keep up with the most recent "crappie happenings".

 Black crappie fishing in the spring is often a fun family affair, with everybody getting into the action, as Susan Butts shows here, proudly displaying the fish she caught in Northwestern Ontario’s Wabigoon Lake. (Photo credit: Gord Pyzer)

Indeed, lakes like Rainy Lake, Lake of the Woods, Georgian Bay, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the entire Rideau/Trent/Severn system have been known and prized by crappie anglers for years. But it is the newcomers to the neighbourhood that are turning heads, especially, Wabigoon Lake in Northwestern Ontario and the bays and coves along the north shore of the St. Marys River in Algoma Country.

"We've known that crappies have been in the Wabigoon chain of lakes for a decade now," says John Butts, who lives in nearby Dryden, Ontario. "And every year we'd catch a few, usually by accident, while we fished for another species like walleye. But they've taken off over the last six or seven years to the point where big slabs in the 14-, 15- and 16-inch range are common today. And they're everywhere."

Indeed, Butts, who is the District Business Manager for Kingfisher Boats and a fixture on the North American professional walleye tournament trail gushes when he talks about what is arguably the most popular sport fish in North America.

"A few guys have been targeting the crappies in Wabigoon, Butler and Dinorwic lakes and trying to keep their success hush-hush. But now the secret's out and everybody's getting in on the fantastic fishing. So much so, that several of the resorts around the lake have seen their guest lists augmented by anglers from the States where crappie fishing is more of a religion than a sport."

READ ON CLICK HERE ! http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/cutting-edge-crappie-fishing-in-northern-ontario

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LATE SEASON ICE FISHING by Jeff Gustafson

LATE SEASON ICE FISHING by Jeff Gustafson

Late Season Ice Fishing

Jeff holds up a nice northern pike!

TIME TO CATCH A GIANT

In late March when the temperatures are rising, the snow is melting and the days are longer, the fishing really heats up.



As we roll through another winter here in Northwest Ontario’s Sunset Country Region, I try to get out fishing here and there when I can. We have quite a bit of snow on the ground right now so traveling around to extensively is a bit of a workout, even on a snowmobile. Add some cold temperatures and short days, and fishing is not nearly as appealing as it is later in March when the temperatures improve, the snow melts, and the days get longer. 

My trips right now are usually heading out in the afternoon to catch a few walleye and crappie for dinner. My fishing tournament schedule, fishing the Walmart FLW Tour, has me on the road quite a bit in the winter to the southern U.S., but I am really excited that this year I will be home for the last two weeks in March, which is in my opinion, prime time to ice fish. 

Over the past decade, I have spent as much time on the ice during this period. I invite good friends to visit from all over and have been fortunate to catch some of the largest pike, lake trout and walleye that I have ever had my hands on. It's a great time of the year to film video and take pictures as well, because it is usually warm, so the fish don't freeze and all of our equipment works properly. 

 A beautiful northern pike!

Monster Pike Time

Northern Pike spawn immediately after the ice goes out, so late in each ice season these fish make a predictable migration to the shallow, weedy bays where all the action goes down. Until the ice actually melts, most of these fish hang around the first drop off where the shallow water starts to taper off. The mouths of bays and rivers are high-end spots. 

The absolute best way to catch a big pike is with a large dead cisco (or herring) fished on a quick-strike rig, below a tip-up. My friends and I have experimented for years, and I can count the number of big pike on one hand that I have seen get caught actually jigging a bait like we do for lake trout and walleye. You will catch fish, but the true giants, the 15-20 pound plus fish, really like the real deal. Dead baits always work better than live baits as well. I’m not going to try to explain it, but we have tried and tried with live ciscos that we catch, and while they have been hit before, the dead baits are always best. 

Most of the holes I fish are from 8-20 feet, and I like to set my bait about a foot or so off the bottom. 

We have countless awesome bodies of water with monster pike, so if you want to catch one, that is how you do it!

READ ON CLICK HERE! http://www.northernontario.travel/sunset-country/late-season-ice-fishing-in-ontario

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EXPERIENCE THE BREATHTAKING SCENERY,HOSPITALITY & LARGEMOUTH BASS FISHING by Ron James

EXPERIENCE THE BREATHTAKING SCENERY,HOSPITALITY & LARGEMOUTH BASS FISHING by Ron James

WestArm Lodge

Spending some time in the pads with some top water frogs can pay off big time with big bass.

EXPERIENCE THE BREATHTAKING SCENERY, HOSPITALITY AND LARGEMOUTH BASS FISHING



Whenever we get a chance to get to the WestArm Lodge, we are greeted with open arms from Frank and Cathy, the owners of the lodge.

The scenery is breathtaking and the cottages are very clean and ready to move right in, equipped with fridge, stove and everything you need to feel right at home. Every cottage is at the water's edge and comes complete with a BBQ, Adirondack chairs and a picnic table. The WestArm Lodge has a wonderful restaurant that is open to the public and lodge guests with a fantastic menu. Their homemade dishes are delicious and you will be going back for more!

Restaurant
(Photo credit: Fish TV)

We have done a couple shows at the WestArm Lodge focusing on largemouth bass and the fishing is great with many fish in the 2 to 3 pound range and you will pop a 5-pounder here and there as well!

READ ON CLICK HERE ! http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/sudburys-west-arm-lodge

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Pros Flock To The French by Leo Stakos

Pros Flock To The French by Leo Stakos

PROS FLOCK TO SUDBURY



The Fish TV crew packed up and headed up to the French River to film a new episode. The area has so much to offer and the fishing is second to none, with world-class muskie, great walleye, crappie and a great number of big smallmouth and largemouth bass.

We always love the Bear’s Den Lodge our home away from home. The accommodations are fantastic and our wonderful hosts, Art and Brenda, prepare homecooked meals that are to die for! You will never go hungry, that’s for sure.

Fishing on Ontario's French River from a boat for bass. (Photo credit: Fish TV)

We arrived with our Lund boat and launched at Hartly Bay Marina. The guys there are fantastic, they put your boat in the water and park your vehicle for you, so there are no worries about leaving your truck or car there for as long as you stay. Bear’s Den also has a great variety of rental boats in case you don't have one.

READ MORE CLICK HERE ! http://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/sudbury-french-river-fishing-smallmouth-largemouth-bass

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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
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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.

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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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