This back half of January has been bitter cold, but the fishing has been HOT.
With temperatures dipping and hovering around the crossover (-40 F or C), staying mobile has been challenging. Once a person is sitting in a warm portable shack, its tough to want to brave the elements to move around. Flip overs have been my way to go this week, as can easily move 100 yards without much effort. Fishing outside just isn’t an option in this weather, not that I won’t brave the cold, but the fish eyes freeze in literally a couple seconds. So don’t just treat yourself to some heat, think fish first.
Wekusko has been rocking with walleye consistently hitting There has been a lot of big fish top side, as well as sauger. Of course eaters are most common (under 22″), but all our spots are holding mixed bags of sizes. If you happen to find a spot that is holding larger year classes such as 24-26″, do not leave that spot. We are finding that those 28″+ hogs are sitting nearby. Be ready to capitalize, and get the camera ready.
The areas we have been targeting have been mostly deeper structure, 26-30′ of water. Rock piles, islands, and reefs have been our targets. With this cold from that just won’t leave, many fish headed deep. Pick a spot adjacent to the deeper water, and wait for those fish to cruise up to feed. Spoons and jigs are our go to right now. Buckshots, slender spoons, pk spoons are always tied on. Many different colors are working, but gold and perch seem to be the ticket lately.
The ghost factor is real, and that has pushed the pike deep. We are catching lots of big pike in 18-28′ of water. Using swim baits, rattlebaits, or spoons helps those toothy critters find your presentation. Of course, dead sticking a herring is effective as well. But remember about the fish. Tip ups are hard enough to use in cold weather, let alone sub zero temps. You are going to have to unhook and release the fish, so we have been fishing inside shacks only. Big blind fish don’t help a fishery out at all.
Lakers have been on and off this winter. When they turn on watch out! I have seen big fish getting caught in Athapap, Clearwater and Reed. Chum chum chum is necessary, and we are finding a lot of fish along deeper reefs and pinch points. 40-70′ has been my go to lately. Tube jigs and big paddle tails have been my choice. Of course we have a dead line with a ciscoe or tulibee suspended or laying on the bottom. Chunks of sucker have also been working well. Watch your graph intently and wait for those feeding windows. The last warm day we had (2 day warm spell) the lakers were ridiculous aggressive, proving with all lake trout fishing- timing can be the largest factor on success for big fish.
The burbot bite has been on strong this year. Ww have been catching many in the day time while fishing for walleye. Not sure why they are feeding so aggressively as late, but they are fun incidentals. The people that have been setting up at night for them have found 8pm is when the bite has been starting- 2 hours after the dark. Be sure to use glow in the night, and tipping with minnows has been most effective.
Another week of this bitter cold will keep the trends very consistent. But if we ever get a warm up, be sure to change things up a bit and go shallower. The bite will get ultra aggressive for a few days. If you time a trip with that warm up- you may be in for a trip of a lifetime!
Wekusko Falls Lodge