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Walleyes, Pike, Brookies Spring to Summer Transition

Yuck! Rain, rain, and more rain. Bitter cold weather and frost started off the week and it certainly had an impact on Ontario fishing. When pike get lock jaw, you know things are going to be challenging. And that definitely coincides with the fisherman’s reports on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday however, brought much warmer weather and with that, the solid Ontario fishing that we’ve grown accustomed to here at Pasha Lake Cabins.

So what is going on? Well, here is my best guess.

Walleyes. Walleyes are transitioning from the spawn, but their annual return to summer feeding grounds has been slowed due to these wild weather swings–snow one day, 70’s the next. In reality, finding walleyes and active fish hasn’t been that challenging. It’s been finding a consistent bite. As an example, on a lake just north of here, on the exact same day, Cabin #5 was catching walleyes in 20 feet of water using jigs, while less than 2 miles away, Cabin #2 was pounding shorelines with crankbaits. Both were producing action and both reported that covering water was key to consistency. They’d catch 3 or 4 fish and then have to move–“stick and move” as it’s known in the angling world.

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Pasha’s Onaman Lake boats

Pike. They too are starting the transition from their shallow haunts to fertile feeding grounds, namely, emerging weeds. Guests are noticing an increasing absence of shallow cursing trophies despite the sucker spawn which is in full swing. The smaller males are still plentiful and active, but they too will be leaving the sandy shallows in the next week or so. Triggering aggression strikes by burning spoons in the shallows seems to be the best method to boating fish. But don’t forget, pike can turn off just as fast as they turn on this time of year, meaning a “jerk, twitch, pause, pause combo with a slender profile crank” is a great back-up plan to lethargic pike. Regardless of what is used, patience, perseverance, and persistence will boat fish.

Brookies. Lake Nipigon too has had some wild weather in the last week or so. Once plentiful warm water in the shallows has been quickly replaced by extreme cold water, courtesy of a persistent northeast wind. Once the preferred warm waters cool down, the brook trout will vacate those areas faster than a pike can slice through monofilament. They still feed, but searching out the necessary temperature variance can be as, if not more, frustrating than finding fish. It’s tricky, but Gus (our Lake Nipigon guide with over 40 years experience) has a few tricks up his sleeve and continues to put our guests on fish regardless of conditions.

Bugs, roads, lake levels and other need to know stuff. The bugs are unusually tolerable for this time of year. In fact, I got my 4 wheeler buried in the mud yesterday while getting minnows. When I went to recover it 6 hours later in mid afternoon, I was mildly harassed by a mosquito here and there. That’s very uncommon given this is the first week in June. We’ve also seen the black flies attempt to hatch (evidence by the bites on my Caleb, Cavin, and Carmyn’s neck and ears) but a couple mornings of frost earlier in the week has but a quick end to that. For people traveling to Ontario in the next few weeks, I recommend plenty of bug spray, thermocells, and my favorite bug prevention technique, a Bug Tamer jacket. They are, bar none, the best way to deal with the bugs during the peak hatch. (If you’re interested in getting a Bug Tamer, I’m currently working with the company to get special pricing! More to come on that later!)

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Fresh moose or caribou track on the Onaman trail (June 12, 2015)

Overall, lake levels are down, but the rivers seem to be up… figure that one out?? We’ve had some pretty significant rainfall here in the last week, so I would imagine levels will be slightly up from late May. Do plan accordingly, though. If you’re using motors in shallow water, it’s absolutely vital you make sure they are functioning properly. Watch your cooling vent to insure its spraying water. We’ve all ready dealt with 3 motors that sucked debris into their intakes, making them inoperable. Also, shallow water exposes those rock hazards Ontario shield lakes are famous for.

Roads. Thankfully, there is a plan in the works to start logging up the 801. That means the road is in better shape than it’s been in years. Believe it or not, they hauled in gravel to fix some of the really bad areas. Everything from HWY 11 to the Bailey bridge is smooth sailing (term used loosely) but from their north, it’s not quite as good. I was very surprised to see the road conditions, especially given the brutal winter and massive snow accumulations. There were very few plugged culverts and the beavers have left the roads alone. Kinghorn is in decent shape as well.

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The preferred mode of transportation for Pasha Lake guests. A man’s truck, for sure

Oh, one more thing. How could I do an update without mentioning Onaman Lake? It opened Monday and has lived up to every anglers’ dream. Monster, fat fierce fighting walleyes that violently shake your rod to point of splitting. It’s as crazy as it sounds. Every group that has been there to date has experienced nothing less than walleye ecstasy. It’s simply that good! For a week that started out slow, we’ve sure ended on a good note. Yesterday alone, Cabin #6 landed a 29 inch walleye and Cabin #8 a 26 inch. Pictures to come. For the first week of June, things are not too shabby around here. History tells us the best is still to come.

Stay tuned and until next time….

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