Pike fishing in late August can supply some of the best action of the year. Bigger pike can be on the move at this time of the year, though. If the nights are cold, big fish will move shallow overnight and feed in bays with deep water weed growth until midmorning.
If they are keying in on main lake forage like ciscoes and tullibees, they will be out in much deeper water, many in the 10-metre range on deep water humps. On recent trips to Lake of the Woods and to Riding Mountain National Park, my fishing partners and I had some tremendous action for pike near lake rock piles.
In Lake of the Woods we caught these fish on six- to eight-metre humps next to 30 metres of water. While the surface water temperature at Clear Lake was about the same as Lake of the Woods, the pike were targeting different forage, thus were in a bit different location. They were cruising shallower rock piles that topped at about five metres but dropped off into deep water.
While we marked a ton of baitfish near these underwater ridges, I was surprised by what I found in their stomachs when I cleaned four of them later for a fish fry. Their stomachs were loaded with crayfish. Catching these fish was relatively easy thanks to deep diving crankbaits and good electronics. I was able to mark these fish and develop trolling runs using my GPS on my Humminbird 997.
The action was so fast and furious, we could only use two trolling rods at one time. By letting out 15 metres and 20 metres of line we would prevent any tangles. With the clicker on the level wind reels, I would then put the rods in the holders on each side of the boat and wait for the pike to load up.
Riding Mountain National Park
On two previous trips in the last five years, I have been very impressed with both the walleye and pike fishing on Clear Lake, located on the south edge of this pristine wilderness area.
However, the lake is a playground for people from southwestern Manitoba, so depending on time of year and location, you have to dodge a lot of tubers and water skiers.
National Parks in Canada have been lead free for years when it comes to angling. So when I headed last week with three friends to Riding Mountain National Park I decided to do some research on who can supply lead free fishing tackle. I was lucky enough to have stockpiled some bismuth/tin bullet sinkers five years ago so we were covered for this trip but I was interested to see what was available on the market when I returned from my trip.
After a search on the internet I came up with this web address that supplies you all the manufactures that deal in non-toxic tackle. Visit this site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/loons/non-lead_fishing_tackle_suppliers_updated_may_2010.pdf
This is important to note, since none of the local retailers we talked to had any in stock. While we fished with crankbaits for the pike, we used the lead free sinkers for the walleye. Using No. 6 and No. 8 barbless hooks on three foot fluorocarbon snells we managed to land a limit of walleye the second day using ribbon leeches and nightcrawlers.
While the walleye fishing was a bit spotty, all the fish we caught were of nice size with the largest at 64 centimetres. The largest pike we landed was a metre in length.
Anglers Notes: We purchased our angling licences at the park gate. For all the angling regulations visit the http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/mb/riding/index.aspx
The merchants of Lockport are once again hosting the Lockport Dam Family Festival $20,000 Tagged Catfish Contest. Entries and rules can be obtained from Lockport merchants. The event, which started Friday, runs until 4 p.m. Sunday.