Wow, talk about hot! Fishing in a boat with a dark carpet in 33 C temperatures can take its toll on the human body, but fishing can be spectacular.
When water temperatures warm, most fish species will move out to deeper water and get in tighter schools -- especially near the main lake basin. If I am fishing Lake of the Woods or Falcon Lake, I will look for deep sunken islands topping off in the seven metre range.
Another favourite of mine at this time of year is Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. This time of year, I prefer lakes or reservoirs that have good water quality and deeper depths. Locating these fish can be somewhat of challenge, and getting them to bite is not always guaranteed either.
On Clear Lake last year, I decided to try out some different areas of the lake on our summer trip. Watching my depth finder, I noticed a quick rise in depth in an area I had not fished before. Sure enough as I slowed down I could see fish holding near the side of the drop off in eight metres of water. Quickly marking the spot on my GPS, I moved over the area slowly to see what kind of structure I was dealing with. It turned out to be an extended shoreline point that dropped off to the main lake basin. It was also well away from any other anglers that were out on the lake.
With a decent walleye chop happening, I backed into the waves with my big motor, working the edge of the drop and dragging the live bait rig through the fish. I was using a leech and a No. 8 hook. That seemed to do the trick and in the next two hours, our boat landed seven walleye, the biggest a solid 63.5 centimetres (25 inches). If I want shallower shoreline fish, I will have to try either really early in the morning (5 a.m.) or late in the evening. The only trouble with either of these scenarios is battling with flying creatures such as flies and mosquitoes.
JIG FLIES: Among the hottest baits for smallmouth bass these days are jig flies. I had a chance recently to give them a try after getting some to test from Joe Kostecki of Thunder Bay, Ont.
"Don," he said, "if you get a chance, please give these a try and if you do, send me a picture of any fish you might catch on them."
On a recent trip to Lake of the Woods, I tied on one of his jig flies, a purple, white, yellow and brown combination. This little beauty never hit the bottom on my first cast of the day, a smallmouth bass engulfing it on the drop. This was to be repeated all morning long as I caught and released one fish after another. Hair jigs have become extremely popular for a variety of fish over the last few years and few are made better than these. You can check them out at www.mmjjjflies.com.
PROVINCIAL FISH: All Manitobans are encouraged to help nominate Manitoba's provincial fish. Since the launch of the provincial fish nomination top choices have been walleye, northern pike, lake sturgeon, channel catfish, and goldeye. For a chance to win one of 20 free angling licenses for 2014, please include a fish story with your nomination. To nominate a fish, visit www.manitobafisheries.com.