Get to the Point

A lake beckons

July can be an interesting time for walleye fishing. If you make it interesting, that is.

In June, the walleye are pretty easy to find. The feeding areas are predominantly shallow bays where minnows are spawning or flies are hatching. Troll or still fish there, or set up at the entrance to a feeding bay, and wait for the fish to come to you. Which often means a brief but productive hour at dusk or dawn.

At the end of June a change happens. The shallow bays become too warm for the walleye to remain in. They move deeper and “pop in” for a snack every once in a while, or they exit the bays altogether. Usually around the time of the July mayfly hatch, the walleye begin to move into what I consider to be a transitional period: they have not yet schooled along the points and drops where we find them by mid-July, and the best technique is to troll crawler harnesses or lures (like our faithful friend, the Hot n’ Tot) along the shoreline and around islands. That phase, while it seemed to occur later and last longer this year is over.

Now I get to the point: fish the points. Shoreline points or rock piles tend to continue underwater, giving close access to steep drop-offs. Fish the drops, fish the edges of underwater structure. Here’s why: the surface temperature is now consistently in the mid to high 70’s, too warm for adult walleye, but great for minnows, baby bass and other snackables that are basking in the warm water. But at 15 feet, it is now 65 degrees—perfect walleye conditions. You want to find the places where the bottom is around 20 feet, yet where there is a steep wall, rock or shelf that gives the fish easy access to the seafood buffet that is being served at the 15 to 12 foot level. Locate your boat on the deep side of the structure, cast a jig towards the point and let it bounce down the drop, or set a slip bobber depth just above the level of the top of the shelf and let it drift in from deeper water. 37571949_1855134167899782_5407655977929408512_n

Now, finding these places is where the sport and the fun of fishing begins. We are fortunate here at Two Moon Lodge that we are on a point ourselves with fantastic fishing structure all around us, new places waiting to be discovered. Sure, some anglers might simply go to the same spot they know, where someone told them to go, or where they see other boats fishing; they anchor up among the crowd, throw out a bobber and watch other boats catch fish. But, really, isn’t fishing a northern lake about solitude, remoteness, peace? Why travel all this way only to have to race to the fishing hole to beat the crowds? What is the fun in that?

The real joy of the fishing experience comes from understanding fish behaviour, knowing how they feed, analysing wind and weather, and using your skills to discover the unknown honey hole. The pay off will be more and bigger fish, peace and solitude, and the reward that comes from finding your own new, favourite spot. And, as any true fisherman will do—keep that spot your secret.

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