Why these hot, humid dog days of summer actually mean great fishing

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Debunking the “summer doldrums” myth

Bass, walleye, northern pike and other fish actually enjoy the stifling heat and humidity

By Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer and his grandson Liam enjoy summer smallmouth bass fishing, and they share things to know.

It is early in the morning as I write this, and the sweat is already running down my back, soaking my T-shirt and dripping off the end of my nose. And get this, the forecast for Kenora this afternoon is predicting a Humidex reading of 104°F. It’s the same thing, or worse, across much of the country.

So, we’re well into the dog days of summer, right? When the fishing gets brutally tough, right? Well, no, that isn’t right.

Fact of the matter is, there’s nothing the bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, yellow perch and black crappies enjoy more than the stifling heat and humidity that’s blanketing the country.

Oh, for sure, the conditions make fishing a challenge for the angler, who needs to wear light, sun-smart clothing, slather on the sunscreen, don a wide brimmed hat and stay well hydrated. But the weather is nothing but a bundle of joy for the fish.

Think about it: largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are members of the sunfish family and relish bathtub temperatures. They shivered away the winter, lying on the bottom of the lake, for many of the past months, surviving like bears in a state of torpor. In fact, a significant percentage of the population perished under the ice, especially those individuals that failed to build up sufficient energy reserves last fall.

It’s the same thing with the walleyes, muskies and most of the other warm- and cool-water species. Life simply couldn’t be better than it is right now.

If this is the case, however, why do so many of us think that the fishing is the pits, and refer to the period as the summer doldrums? Ironically, it’s because the fish have moved to the summer cottage and most of us, quite simply, have failed to come along for the ride.

Another important reason is that the fish have so many different choices of where to eat and what to dine on, that it can be a chore for some anglers to sort through the various options. Think about the angler who says, “But I caught them here a month or two ago using a #5 Mepps spinner.”

Hello, that was in the spring—it’s summer now!

Learning more about summer fishing.

Let’s take walleyes as the perfect case in point, because they are eating as much as five percent of their body weight every single day. My grandson Liam and I were out the other day fishing for smallmouth, and just before noon we decided to enjoy a walleye shorelunch. I know, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Anyway, Liam dropped me off on shore and I started to collect some driftwood for the fire and fashion a crude rock circle on which to lay the frying pan. But before I could strike the match to get the fish feast underway, he was flipping walleyes into the boat left, right and centre. They were gorging so intensively…Click here for the rest of the story: http://www.outdoorcanada.ca/Debunking-the-summer-doldrums-myth.

 

 

 

Ice-Fishing Friday: If you only own a single ice-fishing lure, make it this one

  • Use the Best Lures
  • Why Horizontal Jigging Minnows are the ALL-TIME Great Hardwater Bait
Horizontal minnows such as the Jigging Rap (top) and Hyper-Glide (lower) and the are tops.

By Gord Pyzer

I love interacting with other anglers at fishing seminars, especially during the question-and-answer sessions, when I can just about guarantee that someone will ask: If you could only ice fish with one lure for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The answer is easy: A horizontal swimming-style lure such as the Rapala Jigging Rap or Acme Tackle Company’s Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle.  They’re as close to ice-fishing perfection as the tackle industry has come.

In their smallest sizes, these lures are ideal for nabbing black crappies, bluegills, ciscoes and perch. The biggest versions, on the other hand, weigh almost a full ounce, making them perfect for catching lake trout and pike and the biggest walleye and whitefish in the lake. There are also mid-size models, and they’re all exquisitely painted to resemble baitfish.

I’m particularly impressed with the side wings on the Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle that transform the lures into finesse-style airplane jigs, letting you perform Cirque du Soleil-style stunts under the ice. It’s this very magic you can achieve with these lures that makes them such fatal attractions.

How to fish it?  Click here:  Simply lift …

 

Fishing editor Gord Pyzer hones his ice-fishing skills near Kenora, in northwestern Ontario.

 

 

Fall Frenzy – Northern Pike

  • Catch more and bigger autumn pike by following their favorite prey

By Gord Pyzer

The author with a giant northern pike caught during their fall binge feeding period. Gord Pyzer Photo

When school resumes in the fall, have you ever noticed how moms and dads

eagerly wait at street corners for their kids to get off the buses? Northern pike can also be found congregating in specific places during the fall, but they’re certainly not waiting to hug their young. No, they’re waiting to ambush and devour their prey instead, making autumn the best time of the year to find and catch scores of the big toothy critters.

Indeed, unlike pike during late winter and early spring—two other prime periods—gargantuan fall northern’s are not side-tracked by events such as the upcoming spawn. Instead, they have only one thing on their minds: quickly shoveling as much food down their throats as possible. This makes for a great scenario for anglers, especially given how easy it is to locate the bus stops where the action is unfolding.

Location

Fall is the period of consolidation, when northern pike move away from the deep weed edges and main-lake structures they’ve been frequenting all summer. It’s an interesting transition, because different groups of fish are moving to the same gathering spots from multiple directions.

My favorite way to pinpoint the terminals is by noting the location of the best late-summer spots, then identifying the nearest main-lake or large island points that break into deep water. If there’s an associated ledge or feeding flat in 10 to 20 feet of water, so much the better.

It’s worth noting, too, that the migration out of the back bays has nothing to do with withering or decaying vegetation, or a decline in oxygen levels, as so many anglers mistakenly believe. Instead, the pike are merely following prey, including yellow perch and walleye, that are transitioning to their deep-water fall, and eventually winter, locations.

Even more importantly, however, the big toothy critters are setting the stage for a feast as they intercept pelagic ciscoes and whitefish—and in some cases, lake trout—that are shifting toward shallow rocks to spawn. And once you’ve found one of these bus stops, the great thing is, it will remain productive in perpetuity, as the fish will return to it every fall.

Conditions

I should mention, too, that this pattern begins falling into place once the water temperature drops below 15°C (59F). It then peaks at 10°C (50F) and continues until 7°C (44F) or so, especially when we’re blessed with unseasonably warm weather. By late fall, however, the fish will have finally moved to their winter locations.

Meanwhile, a good bus stop becomes a great bus stop when it’s exposed to wind and waves. And by parking your boat over deep water, casting up shallow and retrieving your lure out over the break, you’ll always get better results than you would if you stopped in the shallow water and started casting.

Gear

Few lures have accounted for more King Kong northern pike than 4½- or five-inch paddletail swimbaits sporting embedded jigheads, such as those in the LiveTarget and Storm WildEye swimbait series. Also effective are five- or six-inch Bass Magnet Shift’R Shads, XZone Swammers and …..

To continue to the end of Gord’s great pike story, please click on this link: http://www.outdoorcanada.ca/One-simple-trick-to-catch-more-and-bigger-northern-pike-this-fall.