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Fly Fishing Foundations - the net! by Ken Collins


Fly fishers should always be concerned with doing what is best for our favourite quarry “the fish”. As a professional guide for over 30 years now I have uncovered some undeniable truths while wading or floating over my favourite fishing haunts –having a net while angling is one of them.

It is a fact that with a net you will be landing your fish a good 20% to 50% faster than bringing a fish to hand in any other way. This means a less stressed fish! A fish was created to breathe water not air. A fish landed by dragging him up onto the shore is inhumane. Not alone are you forcing shoreline silt into their delicate gills but you are scraping off protective slime coating. The grass and rocks of the river bank  damage this coating and all fish without it - will die!

Even a net not properly prepared can be devastating to fish slime. All nets should be adequately pre-wetted before receiving a fish. Mesh nets are more crucial for pre-wetting than rubber.

As the guide, one of the greatest deeds I can be part of in my day on the water is “netting of the fish”. Witnessing first-hand countless times over the years the clients reaction to a “fish in the net” is all the proof I need. Keeping a “fish in the net” under the surface allows composure time for the perfect grip n grin photo. Wooden handled nets work best because they float while the net bag sags below the surface creating a resting chamber for an already reviving fish.

To me a perfect photo shows the water dripping off the fish. This means the fish has been only out of the water for a very short period of time!

A prepared angler needs to have their net available and close at hand. A net must be easily deployed and replaced one-handed. Remember you are fighting a fish your other hand is busy - two hands are not an option! So a net with a squeezing type metal clasp and the end of the handle is useless, as are poorly thought out or positioned net holding loops on bags or vests. You also need to consider that nets can be heavy, especially when wet and it is very difficult to find a strong enough string/cord retractor capable of handling this weight.

My favourite solution to the issue of keeping the net handy and easy to deploy is a Magnetic Net Release.  Just make sure the magnet is strong enough and has an easy time resetting itself in the proper position


These holder's retainer cord should be long enough to reach the fish while still connected to the vest net loop. If fishing with a friend or being a guide this cord should be easily disconnected from your vest to allow you to leave client/friend with net and fish while you back up for proper photo taking.

Some magnet releases and retainer cords are poorly designed. They only allow you to attach to the net handle. Therefore, when net is attached to vest the net loop hangs down by your butt. This is not ideal when wading in deeper waters where your net bag is submerged and causing extra wading difficulty. Having the widest part of a net by your butt is also dangerous while walking trails to your favourite fishing spots. I know my net likes to catch every available branch and remember if you don’t stop quick enough you might find yourself at the wrong end of an outstretched elastic retainer cord. To solve this make sure your net magnet package has an option to attach to the hoop. It is usually a strap that fits between the mesh and the rim of the net hoop.

A net that is easy to use and not in the way will never disappoint you and more importantly will always return a fish in better shape for future enjoyment for you and others. Let’s keep working together to find even more ways to preserve and enhance our waters for future generations to enjoy.

I know a place where we can go… Your Fly fishing Guide/instructor Ken

Magnetic releases https://www.grandrivertroutfitters.com/store/fly-fishing-essentials/mayfly--net-release-magnet.html  


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Take your girl fishing: a how-to guide for men.. By Diana Rocco


1. Make it a date.

Girls love a little romance, so it’s in your best interest to make your time together as romantic as possible. Not only will it make your day more meaningful, but you might even score some points for being such a good guide!  


2. Baby steps.

Like in dating, some girls just wanna take it slow. Start her off somewhere close to home and be prepared to pack it up after a few hours. You want enough time to be able to teach her a few things, but not enough to get frustrated, bored, or want to quit. Work up to the longer trips once she’s adequately hooked. Plus, shorter trips mean more quality time afterward ;)


3. Check the weather, man!

Most ladies that I know are not big fans of being cold. They might get cranky and refuse to participate – even worse – she might demand you take her home, and who could blame her? You should have checked the weather! It is in your best interest to pick a day where you know she will be able to enjoy herself.  It also pays dividends to help her dress accordingly, whether it be protection from the cold wind or the sun’s rays – make sure she’ll be comfortable and you'll both fish in peace.

4. Say Cheese!

Just accept that we live in a world where you didn’t really “do” anything unless you post it on social media.  Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of a million photographs being taken of you, the horizon, the waves, the clouds, the birds, the planes - you get the idea. The best thing to do is accept that your whole day will be on Facebook and Instagram. Do your best to stand in the right light and help her think of the perfect caption.

5. Cheer her on.

I cannot emphasize how important it is to encourage and support your partner, especially during the learning process.  It shows you care, it will motivate her, and it will make her feel like she can tackle anything! If they are entirely new to fishing, gently teach them the basics; how to cast, how fast to retrieve, how to set the hook. And don’t even think about showing her how to tie a complicated knot! You’re better off getting her line in the water so that she can catch the first fish and feel like the superstar she is.

6. Let her pick the lure.

Just know that she’ll probably go for the pink one. My advice is to give her a choice between lures that you know will work for the situation you are in. Spoons, spinners, and senkos are all easy to use for a beginner. Vertical jigging in the winter with electronics is as fun as it gets, don’t be surprised if it's her favorite way to fish!


7. Be patient considerate of her limitations.

We can’t pee off the side of the boat like you can. End of story.


8. Make them in charge of something.

Give them a job to do; Lunch, netting, photography (choose carefully). This will make your lady feel important and give them something to do if they don’t feel like fishing. While you’re at it, suggest she bring a book too – that way if she decides to stop fishing, you might not have to.

9. Take the time to show her why you fish.

Don’t set her up with the expectation that she will catch a ton of fish only to be disappointed if she doesn’t. You need to show her why you love fishing and that it’s not just about the fish you catch. If you’re a fly fisherman, explain the insect cycles and why you are fishing a particular fly. Teach her how to recognize the beauty of being outdoors; the fresh air, sights, sounds, the calm, how time seems to stand still. If she hasn’t been fishing before, she won’t know to expect it.

10. Consider hiring a guide.

Hiring a fishing guide is a great way to take care of the not so glamorous aspects of fishing (like getting skunked) and allow you to focus on the parts that might get your girlfriend ultimately hooked instead! Your guide will prepare the tackle and bait, take you to where the fish are, show your girl how to catch fish and then clean up after the trip. A lot of charter captains operating larger boats even have washrooms on board – a total game changer.


I hope these tips help you get your girl on the water and make your time there even more complete!










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Lang Lake Resort


The crew at Fish TV had the opportunity to film at beautiful Lang Lake Resort this year, and what a place it is, set in the Lacloche Mountain Range in Northerneastern Ontario with fishing that was outstanding. This resort has been here for over 50 years, so you know they’re doing something right! The service and hospitality here make you feel right at home.


There is plenty to fish for… Smallmouth, Largemouth, and the lake is known for its Lake Trout and big Northern Pike as well. Lang Lake Resort also offers fishing guides to familiarize you with the area and show you the hot spots too. With a chain of connecting lakes like Hannah Lake, Plung Lake, Bear Lake, Little Bear Lake, and Walker Lake, there is no shortage of water to fish. 


The first day we arrived, we headed up to Hannah Lake, a picturesque lake that has every piece of structure you can imagine. We looked on the map and we noticed a long tapering point that extended about a quarter mile into the lake, and we knew right off the bat that this was going to be our first spot.

It was a natural grass point that dropped into about 30 feet of water off the end and the same on both sides. The top of the weed point was 6 to 8 feet of water, with small ditches that were a little deeper, and that is what we focused our efforts on. As we started looking at our Garmin, we noticed tons of bait on the edges of those ditches or weed lines, and that’s where the Smallies were stacked—along the weed line in that 6 to 8 feet of weeds, but close to the deep drop. We caught several fish in the 3-pound class, with a couple of missed fish that were close to 5 pounds or better. 

READ MORE HERE: https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/lang-lake-resort---outdoor-recreation-is-their-business
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Laurentian Lodge - The Fishing Vacation of a Lifetime!


The Fish TV crew was busy this past summer. The weather was fantastic and after all the rain last summer, we have been loving every minute we've spent filming this year.

We filmed a new Fish TV episode up in Elliot Lake, a beautiful town in Algoma Country in Ontario. Our crew was hosted by Doug and Melanie from Laurentian Lodge on beautiful Flack Lake. The lodge was founded in 1929 and was built for a fly fishing and hunting camp. We had the opportunity to stay in one of their fire place rooms looking over Flack Lake.

I don't think I have ever stayed in a bigger room than this at any lodge. It was probably 1,000 square feet, with a beautiful four-piece bath and a gorgeous fireplace in the corner, with a walk-out deck looking over the lake. Laurentian Lodge is located in some of the very best hunting and fishing areas in Ontario, with over 4,000 lakes within a very short drive and borders on Mississagi Provincial Park, with all kinds of hiking trails.

As for the hunting, the area is thriving with bear, deer, moose, and all kinds of small game, as the lodge is surrounded by Crown land. The lodge is fantastic for families as well, with its beautiful waterfalls that kids of all ages have fun swimming and tubing down plus two beaches, tennis courts, paddleboating, and canoeing. If you like to golf in between your fishing, there are two awesome 18-hole golf courses within an hour of the lodge…

Read More Here: https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/fish-tv-learns-laurentian-lodge-has-something-for-everyone 




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Lake Erie’s Walleye hatch largest in 20 years! A balance of Commercial fishing and Recreational angling help the lake succeed.


In 2018 Lake Erie experienced it's best walleye spawns in  modern history! That spawn will allow recreational anglers, charter captains and commercial fishermen to flourish.  Ontario permits a highly regulated commercial  fishery that allows licensed commercial boats to gill net many types of fish with Walleye being one of the most sought after eating fish in the world.  Many anglers get frustrated with Commercial Fisherman believing  the long strings of gill nets literally empty the lake of Walleye. This however is not entirely true. Yes the gill nets catch many Walleyes but while they are set  but consider this, they also catch a large amount of non sought after fish like Freshwater Drum, Silver Bass and evasive species such as White Perch.

Anyone that has spent any time trolling on Lake Erie with numerous rods (Lake Erie allows two rods per person) will tell you there is nothing more frustrating than having any of the  previously mentioned fish load up on your lines spinning around tangling your lines and possibly breaking lines losing expensive baits such as Rapala Tail dancers and Dipsy Divers. The Commercial Fisherman are highly regulated and also target those nuisance fish typically shipping them overseas to markets in China and Japan.  By taking those course fish out of the lake  at the same rate of Walleyes. The Commercial Fishery helps balance the number of fish species in the lake.  Trust me I too get frustrated when I accidently troll into a poorly marked gill net losing valuable equipment.  However I am thankful that our MNFR in conjunction with input from many oversight committees such as the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.  allow commercial fishing on Lake Erie.  Now back to that spectacular 2018 spawn, why did this spawn occur?  Well only Mother Nature knows exactly why the 2018 was blessed, however there are some indicators that do contribute to a great spawn.  2018 had an early winter warm-up, but that was quickly followed by a sudden cold spell from mid-March into April, which appears to have influenced a protracted spawning period. The cold early spring likely aligned the production of zooplankton with the walleye hatch, providing an abundance of food for the tiny walleye to feed on.

 With that being said the future of Lake Erie's Walleye Fishing looks extremely bright! Hook up you boat or contact reputable charter and get out there to enjoy this fantastic fishery as its going to be extremely good for years to come!

Jeremie Brooks


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Bass Fishing on Lower Buckhorn Lake


Fish TV had the pleasure of staying at the Westwind Inn

One of the greatest things about our job is the beautiful places we get to visit when we are filming. This summer, the Fish TV crew loaded up the Tundra, hooked up the Lund, and headed into the Kawarthas to film a new Fish TV episode on Lower Buckhorn Lake.


We had the pleasure of being hosted by the Westwind Inn. This resort is fantastic! It is an all-inclusive vacation resort hotel / country inn situated on 60 scenic and peaceful acres. The resort is only 1.5 hours from Toronto yet you would think you were way up North.


westwind inn sign and exterior

westwind inn sign and exterior


The fishing was phenomenal and the variety was great. There was muskie, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills, and perch just waiting for us! Every day was a great day on the water! You can head out on a guided fishing trip or just travel around the lake on your own. The boat launch and docking facilities make it very easy to bring your own boat. If you don’t have a boat, there are boat rentals nearby or, if you choose, the resort offers free use of kayaks, canoes, pedal boats or water bikes to enjoy. You can even book a boat cruise if you are just looking for some quiet time on the lake.


leo stakos walleye lower buckhorn lake

Leo Stakos walleye lower buckhorn lake


We chose to film a largemouth and smallmouth bass show and are we ever glad we did! The lake has beautiful structure from rocks, to islands, to underwater points so, being summer time we focused on weeds in about 5 to 8 feet of water. We looked for weed flats that had big holes in the weeds and we dunked flipping jigs for the largemouth and did really well and caught fish 4 pounds or better. When we went for the smallmouth, we looked for rocky points with weeds on them in about 12-to-15 feet of water and used a dropshot rig and also swimbaits and caught a ton of fish. If you want to fish a lake that has very little pressure on it, Lower Buckhorn is the one.


Read more Here: https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/westwind-inn-fishing-for-bass-on-lower-buckhorn-lake

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Official Ice Fishing In Ontario Report


Check out this link for Official ice fishing in Ontario Report.


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The 5 Deadliest Ice Fishing Lures for Lake Trout


In last week's blog, I discussed why the simple soft plastic tube jig may be the single best lure that you can use to catch lake trout in the winter time in Northern Ontario

But, here's is an important point to consider. When you're ice fishing in the northern half of fish-filled Ontario, you're allowed to use two lines. So, it is always a wise strategy to bait your second rod with a lure other than a tube jig.

When you do this, it shows the fish something different and offers them a alternative meal. And many days, the trout will tell you they find the dessert that you're presenting to them to be more appealing than the main course.

Case in point: I was ice fishing for lake trout one time in Thunder Bay in Lake Superior, and had augured two holes in the ice about 40 to 50 feet apart. As is my custom, I would jig one rod for five or 10 minutes, then lay it down, walk over to the second rod and jig it for a similar length of time. And I'd repeat the process, fishing any number of holes, throughout the course of the day.

On this particular occasion, however, I was sitting on my snowmachine jigging a William's Ice Spoon. After the requisite five or 10 minutes at the hole, I laid the rod on the seat of my snowmachine and started walking over to my second hole several feet away.

That is when I heard a strange noise, turned around and saw my ice fishing rod being unceremoniously tugged off the seat of my snowmachine and headed down the hole. Fortunately, I was able to intercept it before it vanished and fought a gorgeous 12- to 15-pound lake trout the surface.

Feeling pretty satisfied, I sat back down on my snowmachine and started jigging again for another 10 minutes or so. Then, I laid down my rod again and started walking over to my second rod….

Read More Here: https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/the-five-deadliest-ice-fishing-lures-for-lake-trout

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Double Trouble for Fall Crappies




What is with all the rain we've been receiving this autumn in Northwestern Ontario? If any more falls, I’m going to start researching plans for how to build an ark. Weather gods, if you're listening, it is called Sunset Country.


All joking aside, it stopped raining long enough the other day, after I picked up grandson, Liam, from high school, for us to launch the small tiller handle aluminum backtroller we keep ready for our back-country adventures into one of our favourite crappie lakes.


We only had a couple of hours of fishing until darkness descended, so time was of the essence if we were going to catch dinner. I must be honest—after the first 30 minutes or so, it was looking mighty iffy. As a matter of fact, I asked Liam, only half jokingly, how he liked his hot dogs.


Grandson With FishGord Pyzer's grandson, Liam, scores big while fishing with tandem rigs for fall crappies

He looked at me with a mock frown and scowl on his face and growled, "Without relish."


Fortunately, my worries were fleeting, and our stomachs need not have growled in protest, thanks to two things a Northern Ontario fall crappie angler should never leave home without: tandem jig rigs and a drift sock.


Holding 2 CrappiesTandem jigs and wind socks spell double trouble for fall crappies in Northern Ontario

As the name implies, tandem rigging involves fishing with two small jigs attached to your line, typically dressed with live minnows or small soft plastic grubs and creature baits. And while I never scoff when it happens, the object of tandem rigging is not necessarily to catch two crappies at the same time. Instead, you tandem rig to make your jigs stand out in such a way as to appear to be a school of easy-to-eat minnows. And with two hooks in the water, you have twice as many chances of catching a fish.


It is important to mention, too, that while some crappie anglers have tried the tactic and tangled up their lines. You can avoid the hindrance completely and ...READ MORE HERE https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/double-trouble-for-fall-crappies-in-northwestern-ontario

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The Eyes Have It


Spend enough time around ice anglers who fish for walleyes and yellow perch in Northern Ontario and you'll soon find yourself immersed in the ever-persistent debate focused on the best presentation to offer the fish—an artificial lure or live bait?

Well, here is a surprise because many days the answer is neither.


Indeed, we've been enjoying a scorching ice bite this winter for big, beautiful, jumbo yellow perch. Most days it has been hard to catch a striped bandit under a foot in length, with most of the tasty oversized fish averaging between 13 and 14 inches.


That is stout.


yellow perch on ice

And the perch bite has been so knock-on-wood consistently good that most days we've not even targeted their bigger, bolder, beautiful walleye cousins. Seems more than enough nice opal eyes have simply shown up on the ends of our lines, as bonus happen chances.


What we've been using for bait, on the other hand, is something I've relied on since I was a young kid ice fishing for perch on Lake Simcoe's famous Cook's Bay. It is the eye that I have carefully removed from one of the fish that we've already placed on ice.


Carefully pinned to end of a jig or dangling below a small spoon or jigging minnow, there is absolutely nothing quite like it. It looks, smells and tastes like what the fish are eating.


eye and lure perch presentation


A good friend, Dr. Bruce Tufts, a fish physiologist at Queen’s University and superb angler, often talks about "super stimuli"—things that make fish flip head-over-heels and open up their mouths wide when they see it.

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Heat Wave? Cold Front? No Problem.


A widely held belief amongst anglers is that fishing is usually the most challenging the first couple of days after a cold front passes through an area. And cold front can be a misnomer, because in a sweltering hot summer like the one we are currently experiencing across Northern Ontario, it can actually be a welcome relief from the heat and humidity.


Early last week, for example, the temperature moderated significantly here in Northwestern Ontario, when a cold front pushed through Sunset Country, dropping the daytime "feels like" temperatures from the mid-90° F / mid-30° C mark to the much more pleasant mid-70° F / mid-20° C range.


What typically happens when a front like this moves through the area is that the walleyes, bass, muskies, and pike go on a feeding frenzy just prior to the arrival of the weather. In fact, they feed so ravenously that the next few days, when the puffy white clouds and bright blue sky arrive—classic hallmarks of a front's passage—the fish are much less hungry. Indeed, they are laid back, relaxed, and generally taking life easy.


Anglers have long countered the effects of a cold front by scaling back their tackle, using light finesse tactics, and slowing down their presentations to a snail-like crawl.  A classic example is walleye anglers draping light jigs tipped with small minnows over the side of the boat. It's like offering a well-fed diner a chocolate-covered mint as he or she walks out of the restaurant at the end of a satisfying meal. Who can refuse it, right?

Read More Here: https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/go-big-go-fast-go-northern-ontario?s

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World Class Speckle Trout Fishing

World Class Speckle Trout Fishing

John Winters' fishing friend, Randy Beamish, with perhaps the greatest trophy in freshwater: a magnificent, wild Ontario brook trout


Algonquin Park's brook trout lakes are a national treasure.



“Brook trout are symbolic of the wilderness,” says good friend and trout enthusiast John Winters, who notes that the brilliantly beautiful char demand pure water, typically found only in small remote pristine headwaters. “The lakes are sensitive to human disturbances and because of their low productivity, brook trout populations are vulnerable to over-fishing.


john-winters1Retired Algonquin Park Superintendent John Winters says that brook trout are symbols of pristine wilderness and prized by anglers around the world

“It is why brook trout, some folks also call them speckle trout, are one of the most sought-after fish in the world. They are the state fish in eight states in the United States, where sadly, few naturally self-sustaining populations remain today.”


john-wintes2Trout enthusiast John Winters, shown here with a typical Algonquin Park brook trout, says paddling a quiet canoe, catching and releasing wild trout and keeping a couple of smaller fish for shore lunch is a great day in paradise

That this is not the case, however, in south central Ontario's awesome Algonquin Wilderness Provincial Park, where for many years Winters served as the Park Superintendent, and where trout enthusiasts from around the world make bucket-list pilgrimages.


“There are many lakes in Ontario, as well as the rest of Canada, that support non-native brook trout populations,” says Winters. “The fish are raised in hatcheries and stocked to provide superb put-and-delayed take angling opportunities.


“But there are very few examples of these stocked trout ever successfully reproducing, in spite of the tens of millions that are planted each year.  This means that the lakes in Algonquin Park represent the most southerly self-sustaining brook trout populations on Earth.”


brook-trout1If there was ever a candidate for Ontario's provincial fish, Gord Pyzer believes it would be the brook trout, as displayed here by fishing friend Mark Stiffel

These same small, picture-postcard, granite-bottomed lakes—most are less than 40 hectares in size—are located on what Winters calls the “dome,” the highest point of land in this part of Ontario. Small underground springs, seepages, and streams flow off the dome into larger rivers forming parts of the Muskoka and Ottawa River watersheds.


Another characteristic of the dome lakes is that they are clear and cold, with surface water temperatures generally reaching only 20° C and bottom temperatures ranging between a chilly 13 ° C and 18° C, even in the middle of summer. Cold, oxygen-rich spring water bubbles up from the bottom to keep the lakes invigorated and refreshed.


“Fishing for brook trout in streams and rivers is not difficult,” says Winters, “but in these naturally self-sustaining lakes it's a different story.  Read more here https://www.northernontario.travel/fishing/world-class-speckle-trout-fishing-in-algonquin-park?s=

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