Mid Summer Reflections….and Pictures of Course

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with some great people and the weather had been nothing short of fantastic. I learned a thing or two, hit some bonanzas some days, struck out on others and definitely added invaluable hours to the experience bag. Here are a few highlights.

This nice 5.2lbs surprise decided to say hello during an evening walleye chase. Smallies and Walleyes I’ve found are never quite far apart. They are more similar in their respective behaviour and location than a lot of people tend to realize. Both love baitfish, either can be found deep or shallow at times and both are usually found on the same structure. One thing is for sure, even though my main target is walleyes, I will never pass the opportunity to photograph a beauty like this one. These slab smallies are a blast. Especially on a day when there was a tourney on the lake. I bet a few of those bass guys would have loved to add this one to their collection that day.

I’ve had very successful days and so-so days on the water, but for the most part with a little work I’ve been able to put a decent stringer together. I’ve been releasing pretty much all of my fish this year with only a few kept when I get hungry. My only complaint so far, weekends are too short and too far and few between. 😉
As far as walleyes go I have yet to break the 7lbs mark, but these golden beauties are all I need to make me happy. All of these fish are still swimming and ready to fatten up for the colder months coming soon.

I found this girl tucked into a weed bed in the middle of the day as the sun came down and the jet-skiers buzzed around. I am always really happy to pull fish out of weeds. Most people don’t think thick weeds when they’re looking for Walleyes but they can be fish magnets at certain times and especially when the wind is kicking up. It’s not often you can find them tucked right in there but when you do they are usually hungry and hit your bait like a freight train. For me there is nothing like the feeling of a 6lbs+ fish coming out of the weeds, hammering your lure and head-shaking his weight around. I absolutely love catching big walleyes in the thick stuff.

There was a time when I was a kid you’d catch pike out here all the time. They are far and few between now and nobody seems to really know why. Could it have something to do with predatory fish feeding on Round Gobies? Could it be a parasite or virus? Who knows. It doesn’t look like it’s the MNR’s top priority to find out either. I would like to know personally what is going on with the pike and hopefully by learning about their very rapid decline in our waters we can prevent our other precious gamefish species from suffering the same fate.

I have to say as far as summers go this one’s shaping up to be another memorable one. The more I fish the more I realize how lucky I am to be able to not only put walleyes in the boat with regularity but to be able to simply get out and enjoy the outdoors. The older I get, the more I realize fishing isn’t a competition, it’s not supposed to be stressful or frustrating, it just is what it is; a way to create memories and live nostalgia all at once. It’s about enjoying the present moment and sharing that feeling with others, it’s about discovering, learning and perfecting an art. In a nutshell, fishing is like any other sport or hobby. Whichever one you choose, the rewards come with the time you put in, and perhaps even more so the people you share that time with. Those rewards however I have found are not always quantifiable or tangible, but rather spiritual and existential in nature. It’s not how many or how big a fish you catch (although it helps), it’s about the time spent doing it.

Until next time, Stay Outside….

Jigger.

Swimming with the fishes

Although I spend the majority of my time fishing walleyes, living on a lake means you dab into a variety of other activities. One of the ones I enjoy most is getting together with my friend Eric and chasing smallmouth bass around the flats on Lake St. Francis during the dog days of summer. There plenty of really great spots to find schools of smallies roaming flats and great opportunities to see them in their natural environment on this body of water. They are a thrill to swim with for a number of reasons. They’re curious meaning they actually come investigate an anchored boat and a snorkeler. They’re territorial, so you get some real close up shots and even get to touch a fish every now and then. They are found in shallow spots so they’re accessible to anyone who can afford a pair of flippers and a mask. (although a wet suit is really nice too).
The water also is extremely clear which helps for obvious reasons. If you haven’t tried this yet go out there and give it a shot. Just be careful to never stray too far from the boat and always have someone stay on board while you’re in the water. It’s really hard for other boaters to see a snorkle sticking out of a small chop so keep your wits about.

I am getting used to a contraption I came up with for my Canon D10 and this is the first smallmouth I encountered so the videos, I hope, will improve with time and practice. As you can see this one was a little spooky. There is another fish in the frame at about 28 seconds. I think it’s a sucker. I hadn’t noticed him until I uploaded the video. Hope you enjoy this glimpse of smallmouth bass in their beautiful serene little world.

Until next time, stay outside….

Jigger.

They’re getting bigger! And something different….

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.

Until next time, Stay outside…

Jigger

North Wind, New Camera.

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.

Until next time, stay outside. Jigger.