The Best Of Both Worlds
Summer has been kicked into high gear in Sunset Country with the opening of muskie season last Saturday. As luck would have it, my guests for the weekend were hardcore muskie guys!! We spent the mornings jigging walleye and after shorelunch we were throwing the big stuff till dark. Three 15-hour days on the water were just what the Doctor ordered for some big muskies and walleye. I'll kick this report off with a bang and show off the prize catch. My guest, Rocco, and his new personal best muskie. A monster 53.5 inch fish caught on Lac Seul.
Rocco just got home to Illinois and he's already emailing me about another trip in July. Can you blame him?? The experience of boating this fish is one that I'll never forget. Rocco put it nicely when he said, "We are bonded by 53.5 inches of muskie!".
The boys tied into a couple more muskies on their trip and some nice pike too.
Here's Jake with his first of the season.
Rocco with another one.
Rocco adds a 40" pike for good measure.
Jake's muskie hit a bucktail but Rocco got both of his on a Jimmy. They just couldn't resist the slow, enticing movements of that big plastic Jimmy tube!
The walleye bite continues to be strong on eastern Lac Seul. For the most part, I'm fishing within a few miles of Bear Narrows. As the walleye filter down from spawning areas they pass through this area on their way to the main lake basin. A prolonged east wind over the last couple of weeks has really helped to stack the fish up, especially on spots with an eastern exposure.
The best depths vary from day-to-day, but in general 15-feet is a good bet at this time of year. When conditions are warm, sunny and calm I'm still finding the fish will pulse shallow into bays to feed on mayfly nymphs. Overcast, with a good chop puts the deeper water bite into high gear. I've been checking islands and humps in the main lake basins but only with limited success so far. One thing is for sure, they're on their way and it won't be long until the summer structure is going strong.
Would you look at that? Mr. Rocco slams a beautiful 29" walleye!
Chicago John with a beauty!
The guide even gets lucky once in a while :)
Looking ahead, more of the same! Walleye and muskie will dominate the rest of the summer, with a nice side of lake trout, smallies and pike. Gotta love Northwestern Ontario!!
Walleye, Walleye, Walleye!
Summer is here in Sunset Country! The last few days have been hot ones and the fishing has been great. As the title of this blog post suggests, we've been tearing up the walleye lately on Lac Seul.
The heat and sun have had a big impact on the fishing. Prior to this heat wave surface temperatures were hanging in the 50's and I was having great post-spawn fishing in 15-20 feet of water. We even got some big ones out of 28 feet, the deepest yet this season. Rock points, sandbars, drop-offs, saddles, you name it - everything was working.
As temperatures started warming up with all the sun we've had in the last week, my deep water bite shut down. Where did they go? Shallow, really shallow! Huge schools of hungry walleye in 3-10 feet of water.
One of the hottest bites I've had so far all season coincided with the warmest surface temperatures I've found - 72 deg - in a shallow soft-bottomed bay. The walleye are in there gorging on mayfly nymphs that are emerging from the mud in the shallows.
It won't last a lot longer but I'm going to ride this shallow bite out till it's over. The action is fast and catching big walleye in 'skinny' water is fun!! Most fish are being caught pitching 1/8 oz Lindy Jigs tipped with minnows. The way to do it is keep the boat a cast length from shore and pitch in to the shallows, hopping the jig back to the boat.
Once that bite is over I'm expecting the fish to make their way to summer spots in and around the main lake basin. Won't be long now till we're on the humps and reefs.
Over the last couple weeks I've had the pleasure of sharing the boat with some great guys. My buddy JJ came up from Minnesota with a group of guys and we had an awesome day slamming walleye. I cooked the boys up a big shorelunch and JJ snapped some great pics. He's a talented photographer and outdoor writer.
JJ with some Lac Seul Gold
Had a great time with John, John and Al from Chicago. The 3 of us had a lot in common - we all love the Blackhawks and slamming lots of walleye! Here's John with a nice one.
Congrats to Greg for pocketing his buddies money for the biggest fish of their trip with this one. Great fish Greg!
The 2011 season is in full swing now and my guiding schedule is almost full until the fall. My first guests of the season, Bob and Mike, from Wisconsin just left. We had a great 5 day trip with too many fish to count. 100 + walleye days are the norm at this time of year on Eastern Lac Seul.
The walleye are post spawn and are in transition from spawning areas to the main lake. Points, sandbars and saddles along mainland shorelines are producing a lot of fish in depths of 10-to -20 feet. Lindy Jigs and X-Change jigs tipped with minnows are all it takes to catch fish. Pitching to shore and vertical jigging are both producing depending on the conditions. One pattern that works well at this time of year is to slide into shallow soft-bottomed bays when the afternoon sun warms up the surface water. This triggers mayfly nymphs to emerge from the bottom and the walleye are right there to gobble them up. Bob, Mike and I really capitalized on this bite one afternoon and caught 60 walleye in about 3-hours from 3-to-8 feet of water. The spot looked more like a pike spot than a walleye spot but the walleye were in there thick. Talk about fun.
Mike with a nice 'eye off a current swept point.
Bob gets a nice one on a bluebird day.
The boys also wanted to catch some lake trout so we hit up Big Vermilion, just 15 minutes from Sioux Lookout. We tried trolling spoons and plugs at first but had no luck so we looked deeper and found them in 60-feet. Drifting with 4" white tube jigs was the ticket. We got our hits by dropping the tubes to bottom and reeling up to the surface with a steady retrieve. This mimics a baitfish fleeing through the water column and the trout give chase and hammer the baits. It's a lot of fun and we ended up catching 38 lakers!
I also had the chance to fish with my good buddy and fellow guide Brandon Ouelette last week. We decided a trophy lake trout hunt on Minnitaki was in order. We knew we were only looking for 1-or-2 big fish and that's exactly what we got.
What a pleasure it was to see these two monsters hit the Beckman net! Both fish came trolling, one on a Reef Runner, 100-feet straight behind the boat and the other on a Rapala J-13 125' behind the inside planer board.
Looking ahead, more walleye and lake trout - plus the smallies should start going good soon and the countdown to muskie season is on.
Ben Beattie is a fishing guide and outdoor writer living in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.