|Boom! Hardly had my jig touched the water before it was attacked
ferociously. “Can’t be a walleye,” I hollered
as I strained against the fish, “he hit too hard.”
Ginny let her jig sink while she reached for the net. Unexpectedly,
her line also tightened and we had a double, our first of many
Ginny and I had ventured to Armstrong Ontario and contacted
Ernie and Donna Nicholl of Trophy Fish Outposts. They put us
on a lake called Peninsular. I had heard of Peninsular from
my boss and he told us that we would have to practiced a lot
of patience if we were to be successful at Peninsular Lake.
Actually, we practice some good common sense and we found fish
all over the lake especially on mid-lake humps or sunken islands.
||These environments are not foreign to the walleye they
have been living there all summer long.
When fishing these humps I rely on my Lowrance depthfinder
to tell me if anyone is home on these humps. I usually
like to look for a good shelf that comes out from an island
that has boulders on it. This is the structure that many
walleye key in on to rest and ambush their prey as they
slide back and forth from the hump to deep water. These
are transition areas where the fish come to feed. These
humps provide a structure for baitfish that have moved
out into deep water as schools, and are looking for a
place to rest. Naturally, what attracts the baitfish also
attracts the walleye. The other thing that my depthfinder
unit allows me to see is how active these fish are. Many
times you can go over the hump and you will see that the
walleyes are moving up to the top portion of the hump,
this signifies that they are in a positive mood and within
minutes you should be landing a nice plump walleye in
A very interesting pattern develops on stained water lakes.
It revolves around sunlight. It’s difficult to say exactly
why, but on cloudy days, you’ll catch most of your fish
in the weeds; on sunny days, most will come off the rocks. It’s
not a hard and fast rule, but it holds remarkably true.
There will usually be a number of patterns that might work during
the summer period, some at the same time. However, you might
find only one, maybe two, big-fish patterns.
On cloudy days walleyes rise up near the tops and out to the
edge of weeds. They’re active and easy to get at, and
you can usually catch a bunch. If you fish the rocks on a cloudy
day, though it’s usually tough.
On the other hand, when the sun shines, the walleyes tend to
bury down into the weeds during the day. They’re no longer
active on the edges. You’ll have to pick and scrounge
to get a few.
But when the sun shines on the rocks, it’s like magic.
The walleyes are active. I believe it’s a matter of better
vision coupled with increased baitfish activity. First, there’s
increased light penetration through the water and more light
reflection off the rocks. The rock fish can see better than
usual. Second, increased light penetration spurs more algae
and plankton growth, and, therefore more walleye movement. Rocks
may even warm up a bit. There may be more to it than that, but
whatever the reason, when it’s sunny, the rocks are the
place to be.
The rocks, if they are close enough to the surface, absorb heat
from the sun like a solar panel. The warmth attracts minnows
and you know the rest. A few scattered weeds growing up between
the rocks can be a real bonus.
It’s not a matter of the fish moving from the rocks to
the weeds, or vice versa, depending on the sun. It’s simply
the localized population of fish responding to changing conditions.
One bunch is active; the other isn’t. Tomorrow things
may change. Be aware of the triggering effect of sunlight and
concentrate you efforts accordingly.
The stained water demands lure choices that trigger by both
sight and sound. Since you should work over, through and along
the edges of weeds and down among the rocks, you should select
a limited number of lures that will do all of the above. All
you need is a very simple tackle assortment to fish these areas.
I prefer the ¼ ounce Max Gap jigs tipped with a Berkley
Gulp minnow imitation or a paddle tailed grub.
The sunlight penetration also makes a big difference as to where
the walleyes are located on any given hump. You wouldn't think
that sunlight could penetrate down as far as 25 or 30 feet but
in clear lakes it does. So when fishing, pay close attention
to the sun and make sure that you fish the shady side of that
hump. More active fish will be found in this area.
I prefer shallow rock humps with big, boulder-sized rocks. I
also prefer them to be fairly close in proximity to shore. They
don’t necessarily have to be tied to the shoreline, but
they should be fairly close.
A wind coming into the rock pile can be advantageous, although
I have enjoyed some nice catches on, calm days. The direction
of the wind will have a lot to do with how the fish locate.
Usually they will be working the windy side of the rock pile.
Presentation is usually done backtrolling jigs and snap jigging
them. I prefer to backtroll because I can stay at a constant
depth and drag my jig across the rocks and allow it to fall
in the transitional breakline areas as well.
The patience comes when you decide that you are going to catch
a lot of fish and remembering these techniques. So tie on a
jig and head up to Peninsular as soon as the ice is off the
For more information or booking opportunity contact Ernie or
Donna Nicholl, at Huron Air 1-866-488-5619 www.trophyfishoutposts.com.
Or drop them a line at: P.O. Box 310, Armstrong, ON, Canada
P0T 1A0 Fax. (866) 583-2812