W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Perry Good
Looking for a Fishing Vacation?
By Perry Good
With the beginning of the fishing season many families start to plan their vacations around summer activities and of course one of the most important activity I think that a family can have is a fishing vacation. I know that when I was growing up my dad use to take all of us on fishing vacations and I will always remember fishing with a bobber on a rocky reef at Mille Lacs lake and catching a huge musky while fishing for bass. I still have the pictures of the musky and I also have all the memories of fishing with my family on Mille Lacs Lake. Therefore, allow me to give you some tips and information about your next fishing vacation at Mille Lacs Lake, Rainy Lake, or Lake of the Woods.
As I mentioned before, my favorite lake is Mille Lacs. The reason that I think it is my favorite, not only because I fished it as a youngster, but also it is a large body of water that has many different structural elements and different species of fish. Besides, on Mille Lacs there are always some fish biting somewhere on the lake.
Cold fronts, rain, wind and rough weather often precipitate the hot bite during the summer. Massive bait schools break up and walleyes head for specific structural elements that funnel scattered, roaming forage past specific spots. Look for long fingers or spines that protrude toward the main lake. Roaming baitfish usually congregate along these fingers and filter down them. Walleyes wait at the tips. Find those spots and you'll find big walleyes. Bright warm days are preferred to cold, blustery ones. However, bright days will cause the water to warm up, which will turn fish on. Frequently, action will be better from mid-day on.
One of the very first places I look and concentrate my efforts is on the flats. Flats are the least interesting types of structure in a lake. There are no breaks, holes, edges, just flat bottom. But seemingly featureless flats hold most of the active walleyes during most yearly periods. With that definition there is always an exception. The exception in this case are the mud flats of Mille Lacs. They are mud plateaus that rise up from the floor of the lake and they have edges, holes, and inside turns, but on the top they have the qualities of a defined flat. Most anglers believe that the bigger fish move to the shoreline in the fall, but the mud flats of Mille Lacs hold fish all year round and these big fish stay and feed during the summer months. In fact, some of the best fishing comes from the opener in May through the July 4th.
A houseboat vacation should originate at Rainy Lake Houseboats out of International Falls, MN. Houseboats allow you to set your own schedule. Whether it is early or late you don't have to be concerned because you can park right next to the best fishing. If you don't like an area you can move on to other parts of the lake. You have all the amenities of home. Such things as showers, flush toilets, heat, refrigeration are many of the things that make it attractive to me and my family.
On Rainy Lake the best structure for finding walleyes and smallmouth bass is on rock humps and reefs in the 15-35 foot range. Locating these rock reefs is fairly easy, because Rainy Lake is marked with buoys that tell the navigators of boats where hazards are located. Also, a good depthfinder like my Pinpoint 7520 will detect a rocky hump come up in a seemingly open part of the lake. The key to this structure is to have deep water adjacent to the rock hump. Walleyes and bass have a tendency to move up on the rock hump to feed and slide off the rocky area to rest. Bass relate more to the transitional areas where rock and sand come together. Although both species use this same area the general rule of thumb is, the bass relate more to the sand and the walleyes more to the rocky areas.
The fishing equipment is really simple. I prefer to take along a Cabela's 6 1/2-foot spinning rod with a fast action tip. I match that up with a spinning reel that is spooled up with 6 to 8 lb. green Berkley XT. Remember this is a rocky area and you will want a line that has the abrasion resistance that XT has to offer. The business end of the line will be a live bait rig like a Roach Rig. Tipping the hook with a nightcrawler or leech will entice those walleyes to sample the offering.
I also like to long line these fish in the shallows, because they are spread out over a large area. Walleyes can be found in shallow water at any time, but are likely to be in there during low-light conditions, like dusk, dawn, cloudy days and the no-light conditions of night. Sometimes they will be found tightly grouped on shallow structure, but usually they are scattered. A walleye may be taken here, another there and another 30 yards away. When the fish are schooled, a casting approach is the best method of presentation. But when they are scattered, trolling is by far the most effective
As long as we are close to Lake of the Woods a place that I discovered a number of years ago is Witch Bay Camp located outside of Kenora and let me tell you it is a walleye heaven. Lake of the Woods offers excellent fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskie. Seasonal opportunities exist for crappie and jumbo perch as well. This is the resort that I take my family to when I am not out chasing walleyes on the tournament trail. That is right, I fish when I have a vacation and my vacation is going to be at Witch Bay Camp.
But, one last area to look seriously at are the lakes, rivers, farm ponds, or creeks that run by your house or are just down the road. Just spend time on or near the water. The more you practice and spend time in the great outdoors with your friends and families the happier and more relaxed you will become. When planning for that dream vacation include all the members of the family. Time spent with your kids and spouse will be as memorable as an exploding bass hitting a top water plug, or the soft pull of the black crappie as the sun sets on another Ontario lake.
For more information on Houseboat trips on Rainy Lake contact Bill or
June Dougherty at Rainy Lake Houseboats, Rt. 8 Box 408, International
Falls, MN 56649, or call (218) 286-5391. For some of the best food and
accommodations on Lake of the Woods write or call Witch Bay Camp, P.O.
Box 238, Kenora Ontario, Canada, P9N 3x3 Summer: 807-543-4024, Winter
807-468-5262. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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