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Meet me at Met
By Bob Riege
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 that day.
Four of us had selected Metionga Lake in Ontario for a fly-in fishing
vacation. Besides my wife Ginny and myself, my boss Brad Bergstrom
and his father Paul Bergstrom decided join us for a week of fishing walleyes
and northern pike on a Canadian Fly-in. Our outfitter was Ignace
Outposts Ltd. Brad and Karen Greaves have worked hard for nearly
two decades to establish an unique tradition of fine Canadian hospitality.
My wife and I have been on four other lakes that they have cabins on and
their facilities are top notch. Equipment is the latest and their
safety record speaks volumes to anyone that wants to experience trophy
fishing on a fly-in. More about the facilities later, I must have
digressed from the original objective of this story. Metionga is
a trophy lake teaming with walleyes and northern pike it is also a typical
stained Ontario Lake and I knew this would be an adventure for all of us.
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 They’re no longer
active on the edges.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. We 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 rockfish 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.
A wind coming into the rock pile can be advantageous, although I have
enjoyed some nice catches on hot, calm days. Remember that
the angle of the sun’s rays is not as direct at this time of year so the
fish can be quite shallow. 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.
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
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 catch these fish.
The three basic types of lures that I use to fish
rocks and weeds are Lindy Rigs, Fuzzy-E-Grub jigs and crankbaits. These
simple to use lures allow an angler to rip and rustle through weeds, or
do a job on the rocks. And, both give you sight and sound that is
so critical in stained water.
Stick with jigs in the 1/16, 1/8, and 1/4 ounce
ranges, in two basic styles. One type is the standard round jig.
This style jig can be use dressed with plastic or used plain with a stinger
Add the dressing of your choice to any of these jigs. A 3 inch Berkley
Bubble Up minnow threaded through the bottom and out the top behind the
head is remarkably tough and can be worked with ease through rocks and
|The second type of jig that I prefer is a wedge shaped head.
A Fuzzy-E-Grub jig has a tapered head that is relatively weed free
When walleyes are active, simply cast out and swim
the jig across the tops of the weeds. When you get to the weedline,
let it fall down the edge and rest on the bottom. Pay close attention
to the slightest twitch because it may be a walleye sucking in the jig.
For less active fish, you will have to go into the
weeds. Use a slightly heavier jig and let it fall into the weeds.
Let it sit. Jiggle it. Rip it a few feet and let it sit again.
You have to make some noise.
Rock walleyes are easier to get at. If possible,
stick to the 1/16 or 1/8 ounce jigs. They are far more snag resistant
than heavier 1/4 ounce jigs and work better in rocks. Swim, slide
, or crawl your jig across the rocks or give it a few quick hops.
Try letting it sit if the snags aren’t too bad. It always pays to
experiment with retrieves.
The flash and vibration of crankbaits makes them
natural for these conditions. The fish can sense them a long way
off and be ready to strike as they approach. All in all, they are
far more effective on walleyes than most people realize.
The color is flashy and catches the eye of the walleyes and if you let
it sit over the top of the weeds and twitch it ever so slowly it will drive
those walleyes crazy.
||You might think that the best way to approach these spots would be
with a jig or a Lindy Rig. I have taken numbers of fish with rigs
off the bottom. But, often times the bigger fish are taken by fan
casting or trolling a crankbait Crankbaits like Glass
Shad Rap in Perch or a #5 or #7 Shad Rap are good choices. Towards evening
you might want to move to a shallow running Shad Rap or a Rattlin’ Fat
Rap to produce even more excitement.
The crankbait that I prefer to use on weeds and
walleyes is the #7 Glass Shad Rap. It has sound a slow wobble.
The casting approach, using jigs or crankbaits should
do the trick. Whichever tactic you use, a medium G-Loomis spinning
rod and Shimano reel spooled up with some 8 lb. test XL line should give
you a winning combination for walleyes that are in the weeds or on the
There are three other lakes to fish with boats, motors and gas cached on
two lakes for your use. Little Metionga Lake (itself over 6 miles long)
is a popular portage lake, walleye and northern are in abundance. Groups
of up to 20 can be accommodated in three cabins (10 man, 6 man, 4 man).
||Metionga has been a favorite of many groups for many, many years. The
fish here are truly overachievers. After a week you feel that you
need to rest your muscles. There are three cabins at the base of the rapids
that provide you with excellent access to walleye and northern fishing.
You can even catch limits right off the dock. This is the recommended lake
for those who are wishing to try their first remote fly out and for those
who don't get bored catching fish. A couple of hundred walleye per day
is not uncommon here. There is a caretaker at camp to ensure all is in
Try these techniques when you book your trip of a lifetime at Metionga
by dropping Brad a line at www.ignaceoutposts.com.
I hope to meet you at Met this coming summer!
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