Looks like the fish are starting their summer patterns and the bigger ones are getting a little easier to locate. I still caught plenty of fish on my channel rock piles but the bigger fished have started to chase food along the edges. This wasn’t a monster but I’ll take a 6.3lbs fish any day of the week!
And here is a little something I put together. Hope you enjoy.
I had the pleasure of fishing with a friend from New Zealand this weekend and gave him a good tour of the lake. We covered tons of water, traveling from Quebec, to New-York State and back to Ontario in the matter of a few hours and we even mixed things up with a little snorkeling for good measure. The water was quite cold however and despite wet suits and good intentions we couldn’t really stay in the water for too long. Mark managed his first Canadian fish and I got to hear him say “walleye” with a Kiwi accent all day. 😉
I was able to test out my new Canon D10 underwater a little. If you are looking for an affordable underwater camera this thing is pretty slick. It’s small, shockproof, waterproof up to 33 feet and has a decent picture quality with 12.1 megapixels. You’ll see that the video is a little shaky but hopefully I can eliminate that with some sort of tripod or extension. I still have to figure that out. I thought it was pretty cool to watch fish swim back home to the depths from underwater. As you can see driftwood and propellers don’t see eye to eye. Also as you can see I clearly need more practice with this new camera.
We battled a strong North wind all day. With my boat being so light it really tends to get pushed around like a cork on windy days. We fought to keep good boat control making things a little tough. To top it off fishing was kind of slow and the walleye were sluggish but we did boat a few fish here and there during the day and did quite well at dawn.
One thing I noticed helps with controlling aluminium boats in the wind is filling your livewell to the brim. When the wind challenges your boat control the extra weight really helps the bow from wanting to swing in the gusts. It also slows down your drift which comes in handy when the fish start hugging bottom and you need to crawl a spinner in front of them. I also make sure I always have a drift sock on board. You can use it when trolling to compensate for cross wind. Just make sure you have it tied to a clip so you can experiment with location with a simple snap. If you don’t want to spend the money on a drift sock a bucket tied to a rope will work too. There are times when there’s nothing you can do however. I remember one really windy day finding sheltered spots and actually seeing fish on bottom from the surface. I literally bounced a jig on top of a fish and he barely flinched. There are days like that.
When the fishing is tough it’s a great time to look for new spots. I enjoyed covering the lake from Valleyfield to Cornwall in a single day. With a backyard this size to play in you never run out of new places to check out. I marked a few new promising spots on the GPS and I can’t wait to get back out there to try them out during better conditions. By the time it was said and done we had an amazing time and while sitting at the bonfire that night my friend from New Zealand had a new perspective on Lake St.Francis and told me “I can see why you love this place”. Indeed, I do.
I am well overdue for an update. It’s been a great start to the season so far in terms of numbers but I haven’t come across too many large walleyes. Here’s a quick taste of some early season action on Lake St. Francis.
At this time last year the water had already warmed to the mid-sixties, weed growth had begun and fish were in their summer patterns. It’s an entirely different scnenario this time around. We’re getting into some warmer days now but for the most part it’s been quite cool with a lot of precipitation this spring. I tried to look for fish where I did so well in May one year ago but they simply were not there yet. I moved in shallower and looked for areas where water would warm faster and hopefully concentrate fish in a given area. It was a good move.
Although I didn’t find any big walleyes, once I started focusing efforts on first basins of river mouths limiting out became a one or two hour affair. The fun thing about fishing these concentrated areas in the spring is that they not only draw in walleye but pretty much every predatory fish that swims in the area. Although most of the fish I caught were walleye there were a few satisfying suprises along the way.
One word of advice if you decide to go out on lake St. Francis at this time of year, bring a bug net. The shad flies will turn the best of us’ minds to jello in a hurry if you’re not prepared. Tuck in your jeans and wear long pants because they get everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. I always warn people before I take them out this time of year but they never really understand until they’ve been out there for a few hours. These little buggers will make you lose your marbles. It’s like chinese torture.
At this time the water is warming and the fish are slowly making their way back to summer locations. If you’re brave enough to battle the Shad Flies I’ll see you out on the water.