Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Walleye biting, so get in on the fun

Hot, stable weather producing excellent conditions everywhere

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Hot, stable weather over the last couple of weeks has helped produce some of the best fishing of the year in Manitoba.

Anglers up north are reporting excellent catches of walleye in water less than two metres deep. That has also been the pattern for the last month on Lake of the Prairies as high water on this reservoir has pushed a lot of the walleye into the flooded vegetation.

At Grand Rapids, Cross Lake has been producing outstanding catches of both walleye and pike while the Saskatchewan River has been excellent for walleye.

Most anglers have been using bottom bouncers and spinners to catch the walleye but jigs tipped with crawlers has also been good.

It was a bright sunny day when I headed out on Lake of the Woods with friend Peter Hiebert recently.

After launching at Pye's Landing we headed into Ptarmigan Bay to try and find some walleye, a 20-kilometre west wind providing the perfect chop. Our first stop was an extended sand flat next to some deep water and beside a channel. Unfortunately not much was showing on the Humminbird depth finder.

The fish we marked in 25 feet of water did bite though and we had our first walleye in the boat. After 20 minutes without another bite, we headed back north among the myriad of islands in this section of the lake.

Our next stop was a shallow gravel ridge between two islands. We once again tried to work the edge of the drop off with jigs. Pete had a minnow on his and I had on a ribbon leech. Pete once again struck first, landing a beautiful, chunky 24-inch fish. Meantime I had a vicious strike, but missed the fish. Another 20 minutes went past so we moved shallower next to point on side were the wind was blowing up on the island.

Bingo, three more walleye came to the boat, all in the 24-inch range. Two of these fish, though had come on bottom bouncer and spinner rigs.

Checking out the map on his depthfinder I suggested we try a huge flat at the start of a bay. On our first drift with jigs, we caught a couple of smaller walleye on the side of the drop-off in 21 feet of water. Turning the boat into the wind we continued to explore this big piece of structure. As the sun started to dip down in the west we hit the jackpot.

Moving up into 16 feet on a shallow rock pile, we started catching one fish after another using nightcrawlers and jigs, the largest almost 26 inches. What had been a slow day turned into one pretty good day!

ANGLERS NOTES: Sioux Narrows, Ontario, has long been a popular sport fishing destination, not only for people from across the border, but for those of us who live in Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba.

I have spent many days fishing the famed waters of Lake of the Woods for the multitude of sport fishing species that thrive in these fertile waters.

With a recent decline in visitation from the American angler, the community felt there was a need to promote the strong sport fishing heritage of the region. Thus was born the Northern Ontario Sportfishing Centre.

The new headquarters was officially opened on June 21 and features a $2 million investment in the community and the region. Made of wood, glass and stone this architecturally stunning building overlooking Lake of the Woods was built from funds received from a number of different agencies.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2012 C12

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