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Guide to Ontario Fishing Techniques and Tackle

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  • Belly Boating - Eco-friendly Fishing - Fishing from a belly boat or float tube is nothing new. Anglers have been enjoying this peaceful, intimate style of fishing for decades. I was however somewhat surprised when I recently moved back to Ontario from B.C and noticed the lack of these manually propelled fishing vessels on the water.
  • Catch Your Own Minnows - Tired of spending good money to some convenience store owner for minnows that you know will be belly up in two hours? Well here's an idea you're sure to like, catch your own! It is relatively easy to do and the cost is nominal especially when you consider the price of store bought minnows these days. Catching your own minnows gives you another activity to enjoy in the great outdoors.
  • Closing the Deal: Hooking Light Biters - At some point in everyone's angling experience we have been out-fished by someone. The reasons vary but one major factor for success is how well you can detect subtle strikes. This skill is particularly important when ice fishing. Perch, walleye, crappie and trout are all guilty, at times, of being light biters during the hard-water season. Here are some tips to help you hone your sensitivity to strikes.
  • Coping With Cold Fronts - Coping With Cold Fronts A general lack of fishing success can occur for a number of different reasons. Common excuses can range from "the water was too dirty" to "the fish were all sleeping," with hundreds more available to protect our thin skin. Putting the blame on a cold front is a valid reason for fishless days, and in the case of this weather-related occurrence, the odds are often stacked against you from the minute your first cast is taken.
  • Documenting Pays Dividends - Your sister likely kept it under lock and key and buried beneath the mattress. Scribed in it, were the pieces to the puzzle of her life, some chronological and factual, others whimsical and emotional. Whatever its contents, though, they mattered.
  • Downrigger-less Depth Control Options - On tiny or remote lakes especially, packing in even the smallest portable downrigger isn't always feasible. If you need to get your bait down thirty, forty even fifty feet, what do you do? With a handful of basic rigging options and boat control techniques, you can work deeper than you might think, putting your presentation right in the thick of things.
  • Drop Shotting Techniques - or a few years I played with rod powers, actions and lengths until I settled on what I found to be most effective and the same went for line... fluoro, mono or even trying braid. The final piece for me was the hook and now that I have a set up I can rely on I find myself throwing it that much more often.
  • Eating Your Catch - From Landing Net to Table - There's nothing more fulfilling, both to the taste buds and the tummy, than that of freshly caught fish. Whether they are cooked over the open flames of a campfire, pan-fried in the kitchen, or baked on the BBQ, the tempting aromas and mouth-watering flavours are just rewards for a hard day spent on the water. Add to that the inherent health benefits that can be derived from regularly eating our finny friends, and you've got yourself a true winner for the dinner table.
  • Feel the Bass Bite with the Right Jig Rod - As a fisher without sight I have caught my biggest Bass on Jigs, and while like everyone Ive missed hooking up my fair share, I catch them using solely my sense of touch.
  • Find Fish Fast on a New Lake - Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of launching your boat onto a brand-new lake. Everything looks so good as you start up the outboard, but where in the world should you start? No matter what species of fish you are after, by being prepared and following some rules, you can find fish fast and easily. (And that's about as fun as anything when it comes to fishing!)
  • Fish on the Plate - If there's one thing I've discovered after spending all these years out on the water, it's that fresh fish sure tastes good. No matter what specie it is, be it bass, walleye or crappie, the tempting aroma and mouth-watering flavour they exhibit might be the closest thing to pure perfection that I can think of.
  • Fishing and the Wind - Put up your hand if you enjoy fishing in the wind? Hmm, not much of a response there. This comes as no surprise, as for the most part, anglers the world over absolutely abhor fishing in the wind. What other condition accounts for out-of-control drifts, crashing waves, bird nest lines and energy sapping chaos?
  • Fishing can be tough on the body. - Injury is the worst-case scenario, but for the most part, a lack of comfort and the ability to power through a day on the water will both be greatly diminished. Bottom line is fitness can enhance your fishing experience, hands down.
  • Fishing in Ottawa - With both the Ottawa and Rideau River flowing through the core, more anglers are beginning to realize how good they really have it. Multiple species, including muskie, bass, walleye, and pike are here for the taking, and are closer than some may think.
  • Fishing with Grubs - One of the biggest misconceptions in angling is that those bright sunny days will either drive fish deep, or into cover. While often true, rules dont apply to all fish, as a matter of fact, probably not even half.
  • Five Things To Try This Season - Five Things To Try This Season Open water fishing is just around the corner! Before every new, open-water season starts, I normally set an informal list of things I want to try. Some items on the list quickly turn into time well spent, some don't, and others longer to bear fruit. At any rate, listed below are a few ideas that have really worked out well. With any luck, one or more might work for you, or get you thinking of a list of your own
  • Getting a Child Hooked on Fishing - Angling is a sport that greatly enriches one's life. We can all still remember that first fish that tugged on our line, the spilt can of worms, or even the tadpoles dancing in the shallows. That infectious smile we wore all day - beaming with pride, joy and a sense of accomplishment. Taking a child fishing is a wonderful way to get a youngsters love for the outdoors started. By following a few simple rules, you can make the day one that the both of you will remember for many years to come.
  • Got the Cold Front Blues? - Weve all had to face it at one time or another - waking up on the day of your fishing trip to a chill in the air and bluebird skies to boot. What you are experiencing is the passing of a cold front, a weather occurrence that can shut down fish, and cause severe headaches for an angler. Fishing will be tough - there's no two ways about it - but it is possible to put some fins in the boat if you are prepared to alter your delivery.
  • Keeping Minnows in Fish-Catching Condition - As anglers many of us are guilty of anxiously rushing to our favorite spot for a day of fishing. The thrill of anticipation is one of the things I enjoy most about fishing; however, it's disheartening when your pre-fishing haste is because you're trying to get to the water before all your minnows go belly-up.
  • Lac Seul Lessons - Without question fall is trophy time for monster muskies. Ontario is blessed with dozens of lakes holding these fish, but few have the right recipe of forage, habitat, and other elements to continuously produce 50-plus-inch fish - the northern gem, Lac Seul ranks high on this list.
  • Make Some Fishing Resolutions - With another year firmly upon us, non-committal promises to lose weight, quit smoking or eat healthier, quickly, and for the most part definitively, run out of steam. Although we struggle with these goals year after year, proposing and adhering to fishing resolutions will most certainly bring about the positive results you desire. (And they are not all that hard to stick with.)
  • Net Landing Fall Trophies - With fall fishing in full swing, chances of landing a chunky trophy are better than ever. As water temperatures drop and anglers bundle up, hand-landing is less of an option and nets become crucial. Yet, having a net is not enough. Proper technique and communication are crucial to ensuring a quick landing and healthy recovery of released fish.
  • Night Fishing Primer - Fishing under the cover of darkness has long been a strategy for walleye and crappie anglers. Recently, night fishing is becoming popular on water bodies that receive a lot of day fishing pressure and boat traffic. Angling in the moonlight is not for everyone, it requires more planning, adequate lighting gear, and extra safety precautions.
  • Panfish Filleting Made Easy - We all know how succulent a mess of walleye or pike can be, and the filleting protocol that goes along with prepping them. It has become common practice to keep a few of these larger predators for a meal, but many anglers overlook the culinary treats that a panfish can provide. That's a shame, as panfish are prolific and easily caught, with high or non-existent limits. If truth were told, pannies are my number one choice when it comes to a plateful of fish.
  • Rock Piles - It's a beautiful, sunny afternoon. You're just out for a boat ride, to escape the heat perhaps. The fish finder is on, just in case. Suddenly, as you glance down, you spy what seems to be a large mound on the bottom. It was only there for a second but you are sure you saw it. Turning around you spend and hour looking for what you thought you saw. Finding it could mean good fishing. If you are boating on a lake in the Canadian Shield what you probably saw on your screen was a rock pile.
  • Safety in the Outdoors - Nasties in Water - Weve all been guilty of taking a sip of water from a clear-as-can-be stream while wading for trout, splashing lake water on the face after a long hike, or taking a cannonball off the end of a buddys dock, usually resulting in laughter and a mouthful of water. These are innocent enough actions, yet they can cause pain and misery and it can all be blamed on microscopic parasites.
  • Salt Water Fishing in the Ottawa River - Pssst. Want to experience saltwater fishing without spending thousands to get there? If so, Hawkesbury, Ontario is the place for you. Reaching over twenty inches in length, the Alosa Sapidissima, a.k.a. American Shad averages between four and six pounds with the world record being just over eleven. Trust me when I say, "A six pound shad on the end of your line will definitely test your tackle." In regards to the fight, they've been compared to double-digit bass.
  • Sault Ste. Marie- Any Anglers Paradise - Ontario offers province wide, world class fishing opportunities. Southern Ontario boosts amazing fisheries with trophy fish common on bodies of water such as the Bay of Quinte, Niagara River and Lake Simcoe; only to name a few.
  • Set Some Goals This Season - Setting goals, what does this have to do with fishing?" The answer: more than one might initially appreciate. Goals are milestones we seek to achieve and by setting goals and having a plan to reach them, success and getting better go hand-in-hand. Always wanted to fish a tournament, catch a muskie or learn to fly fish? Well, it's time to make these things happen.
  • Shorelunch 101 - No fishing trip is complete without a shorelunch while out on the lake. Done right, it can be the best meal you will eat all year. Done wrong, however, and you'll leave feeling hungry and frustrated with the time you've wasted. As a full time fishing guide, I've prepared my share of shorelunches and have perfected the art of a well-executed and tasty meal for my guests. Use these tips to ensure that your next shorelunch is cooked to perfection and a memorable experience for everyone.
  • Sight Fishing 101 - Nothing can get the heart pumping or the nerves shaking as much as seeing a chunky bass slowly swim up to your chosen bait, engulfing it in one fell swoop. Sight fishing is a productive and versatile technique that requires a set of trained eyes, as well as a concentrated mental focus. Come and join me as I explain how to go about spotting fish well before you cast to them - it may sound backwards, but the astonishing results certainly won't lie.
  • Skootamatta, Big Gull and Kashwakamak Lakes - The heat of the September morning was stifling as I rumbled down the busy 417 Highway, the Ottawa landscape fading from view with my sight set westward. While my trusty aluminum followed closely behind - overburdened with rods, tackle and luggage - thoughts of feisty fish began to slowly dance within my head.
  • Sock it to the Fish - Weather conditions are a fact of life for those that choose to wet a line. From pounding rain to sauna-like heat and everything in between we stoically stare down Mother Nature when there are fish waiting to be caught.
  • Start an Outdoor Journal now! - It is nearing ice-fishing season, a certain excitement fills the air. This excitement enters my thoughts, clogging my mind of its daily routine, hindering my level of functionality, umm, shall we say its now similar to, "Yes teacher?!?" "No, I wasnt daydreaming."
  • Strategies for Upping Your Odds - Putting fish in the boat on a consistent basis is easier said than done. On the one hand we have unavoidable external factors - such as the mood of our quarry that is ultimately out of our control. But what about the bad habits and mistakes we routinely bring to the lake? Subconscious or not, these negative traits often become a detriment to our angling success, costing us a bend in the rod on many of our outings. Plain and simple mistakes are a deal breaker in the game of fishing.
  • The Dos and Donts of Trolling - The Do's and Don'ts of Trolling Trolling can be one of the most productive ways to scour a lake for fish. However, for those that believe it's simply a matter of tossing out a lure and cranking up the motor, it can also be one of the worst. Like everything in fishing, the art of trolling takes specific knowledge and techniques in order to catch our aquatic friends on a consistent basis. Adhere to the following fundamentals, and watch your trolling prowess grow in leaps and bounds.
  • The FUNdamentals of a Fishing Log - We have all had similar days on the water. Those when the fish refuse to bite, no matter what technique or bait we toss their way. Scratching our heads only brings greater discomfort, and we resign ourselves to believe that it must just be a "bad day" on the water. Situations such as these can be reversed - made possible by the art of patterning the fish. But before you can pattern, you first must learn to record, and that can easily be achieved by creating a fishing log.
  • The Importance of Weeds - When it comes to freshwater angling, weeds play an extremely important role in the livelihood of a fish. They provide shelter, oxygen, ambush points and a smorgasbord of baitfish - more than enough reasons to pay special attention to the green stuff when out for the day. Learn the true reasons why weeds are so special, and watch your catch rates grow in leaps and bounds
  • The Mistakes an Angler Makes - Mistakes on the water can be a deal breaker when it comes to putting fish in the boat. Whether we subconsciously commit these errors, or tow the bad habits to the launch ramp each time out, they will become a detriment to your angling success. Recognizing our mistakes and how to overcome them will put you back in the drivers seat, leading to more fulfilling days and a significant increase in that bend of the rod.
  • Watch those Fingers! - It only takes a quick peak into the mouth of a good-sized pike or muskie to quickly surmise that this is not a wise place to stick your digits if you wish for them to remain intact. Those spike-like teeth on the roof of their mouth can shred your knuckles in the blink of an eye, while the larger lower teeth can really do some serious damage. Trophy sized specimens may have teeth approaching two centimetres (3/4 inch) long, and should be shown extreme caution.


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Pages Last Updated On: 9-Jan-2018