Can we catch fish?
One of the best FISHING TIPS that we can give you is to go through your tackle box and see what you already have before you go out and buy anything new. The biggest factor in being a successful fisherman is knowing how your lures work. Chances are you probably own many types of lures whose action you are very familiar with and which could work in our area.
For walleye and smallmouth, select an ultra-light rod and reel approximately 5-1/2 feet in length. Open face spinning reels as opposed to closed face reels are often preferable because many times the line becomes tangled under the cover of closed reels. Fishing line in the 6 to 8 pound test range is most desirable.
Medium action set-ups are most well suited for northern pike and lake trout. A stiffer rod about 5’6″ to 6′ in length works well. Again, an open faced reel is preferred. Use 10 to 12 pound test.
Some experienced fishermen will use bait casting rods to fish with. While they work well, learning to use them on a wilderness canoe trip is not a desirable situation. Bait casting rods can be very touchy, backlashes are common, and it is inevitable that the urge to throw them in the lake will enter your mind at one point or another.
Fly fishing for smallmouth works best with cork poppers and hair bugs with about 6-8 weight floating line. Use a 6-10 pound leader/tippet. The early morning and evening (just before sunset) are the best times for fly fishing. (The water tends to be at its calmest.) You could also choose to use large streamers or mega divers if you are interested in fishing for pike. Use sinking line for streamers and floating line for bugs & poppers.
To produce some of the best fishing ever while on your canoe trip, you need to choose the tackle you bring carefully and sparingly. The following are some of the names and descriptions of the more popular lures used in our area.
LEAD HEAD JIGS – various sized hooks weighted with lead. Usually 1/8 ounce to 1/4 ounce sizes is preferred for walleye and smallmouth. Use 1/16 ounce and 1/8 ounce for pan fish.
SOFT JIG BODIES – plastic molded bodies which resemble worms, grubs, frogs, lizards, leeches or crawdads. The most popular style is the grub body. Use a 2 to 4 inch body for walleye and smallmouth. Use a 1 to 1-1/2 inch body for pan fish. White, black, yellow, motor oil and pumpkin seed are the most productive colors for our area.
RAPALAS – brand name for top water and subsurface lures. Rapalas come in many shapes, sizes and styles. Rapalas in the 3 to 4-1/2 inch range will work the best. Perch, Black & gold, black & silver and crawdad are our top color picks.
SPOONS – oval shaped metal with a hook on the end. The best sizes will range from 3 to 4 inches in length. Solid silver, red & white, black & white, and yellow with red diamonds are productive colors.
SPINNER BAIT – any variety of lures that consist of a rotating blade or blades. The two main types are a straight shaft (i.e. Mepps Spinner), and safety pin type spinner bait. These lures are most commonly used for bass & pike.
CRANK BAIT – generally any plug type body with some type of lip on the front of the lure. These lures take on many shapes and sizes, and the length of the “lip” will determine how deep the bait will run when “cranked” in.
SPLIT SHOT SINKER – a small ball of lead, typically partially split which can be placed directly on the fishing line to add weight and depth to lures.
BULLET SINKER – used in combination with a slip shot or lead head jig. The bullet sinker slides loosely on the line that allows for variation in depth and extra weight.