Transition Time Walleyes
Ontario's a massive province, stretching some 2000 miles from the southeastern corner, along the St. Lawrence River, all the way up to the northwestern most region, where few roads exist and you need a float plane to fly in.
As a matter of fact, parts of industrial / agricultural southern Ontario lie on the same latitude as northern California, while the extreme northern part of the province approaches the Arctic.
With such a diverse range of conditions it is not surprising that you can usually find the fish, and the fishing, in one of the 400,000 lakes that dot the massive province in an equally wide range of "calendar periods".
Take the walleye fishing right now as a good case in point.
While the ice fishing season just ended today (April 15th) in my neck of the woods in Northwestern Ontario, down in southern Ontario, around Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, the spring walleye fishing is well underway.
Talk about diversity and a wide range of conditions.
Just before the season closed, over on Minnitaki Lake, buddy Colin Gosse was whaling away on the big walleyes, many in the 25- to 30-inch class which were all released.
Colin, who is one of the top muskie guides in Ontario (see www.lacseulguide.com
) says the morning and evening bites were exceptional. Colin also noted that the female walleyes were swollen with eggs and that the males were dripping milt, indicating the spawn will be underway shortly.
By the way, while it is too late for this winter with the season now closed, Colin says to make a note for next spring, that the Lindy Darter has been worth its weight in gold.
"One morning I drilled 25 walleyes in a row using Lindy Darters," he says. "And we were catching giant lakers in the same waters, with several in 30- to 39-inch range. The occasional monster pike and ling were also cruising through the areas and we were marking whitefish on our graphs all day long. In fact, if you chose to target the whities the action was nonstop."
Colin adds that the lake trout and whitefish .... "have been inhaling tubes, and micro spoons at a nitro pace. One lake is loaded with smelt, which are staging in front of the rivers, getting ready to spawn at night. Thirty to 50-feet in front of these areas has been the most productive, but it has been difficult to use your flasher because there are so many baitfish on the screen."
As the walleye season closes for the spawn up in the Northwest part of the province, it well underway in southern Ontario, down in buddy Jon Bondy's neck of the woods.
If the name sounds familiar, it is because Jon was a fixture on the Bassmaster Elite tournament scene for many years, as the only Canadian on tour.
Muskie anglers, on the other hand, know Jon as one of the top toothy critter sticks in the world. I mean, this guy catches giant muskies like no one else. And his signature series Bondy Bait is one of the hottest muskie lures going these days. (I'll tell you about it when muskie season rolls around.)
Anyway, these days Jon operates a hugely successful guide service on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River where his guests are smacking walleye like nobody's business and they're doing it with an unusual twist.
Jon is fishing channel edges along which the big walleyes are migrating, but instead of employing a traditional livebait jigging technique, he and his guests are fishing with ball head jigs and bright orange and chartreuse Zoom Trick Worms cut down to 3-inches in length. Jon is also using a needle to thread a length of mono through the worms and attaching a stinger hook to the end.
"Fifteen of 16 fish came on that yesterday when it was cloudy," he told me, "and one came on a brown worm when the sun peekedout. We caught most of the larger fish in 19- to 20-feet of water halfway down the drop. Some were as shallow as 13-feet deep, while others were down as much as 29-feet.
"We're jigging the baits vertically about 12- to 14-inches, letting it fall real slow as we drift. We're using 10-pound braid and light 6- to 6-1/2 foot long spinning rods with fast tips."
If you want to get in on the action, check out Jon's website at www.fishstclair.com (519-800-7004). Here is a guarantee, you'll catch more and bigger walleyes than you ever have before and you'll learn more in one day with Jon than you will in five years trying to fly on your own. If you don't believe me, click on this YouTube video he just produced. It is just a sample of what you'll learn fishing with Jon: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIKjaKR4bu8