Monday 15 February 2016

Winter Trolling

With the warmer weather the Bay of Quinte and Great Lakes region has been experiencing, I have taken advantage of the boat launches that are still open. I have been focusing my attention on the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte targeting lake trout, walleye and pike. I hook-up my 14’ Lund to my truck and make my way to the boat launch meeting my buddy Matt Heayn along the way. Some days the boat launches are covered in ice and snow so this involves bringing a shovel and some sand/salt mix.

With the boat launched and my 25hp tiller motor warmed up, Matt and I head out to set our lines in sight of some lake trout. We get to the laker grounds and start setting gear. Today we are running 2 lead core lines with Luhr Jensen spoons and 2 braided lines, one with a Rapala jerk bait and one a Storm Giant Flatstick. We are fishing fairly shallow so the lead core and braid line are ideal. The lead core we are using is Sufix 10 colour lead core. Lead core is just that, a line filled with a lead core. How lead core works is each colour is 30’ long and sinks on average 5’ per colour. So 10 colour lead core is overall 300’ long and will sink to roughly 50’. I use a 30’ fluorocarbon leader tied to the lead core with a Willis knot. I also use 300 yards of Sufix braid for backing tied onto the lead core with the same knot. If I plan to run my gear deeper than 50’, I will use dipsy divers.

Matt and I decided early in the day that we would split our day up to target 3 species. Those 3 species being lake trout, pike and walleye. With our lines in the water, we focus on lake trout first and I set the trolling speed to 2.0 mph. This is a great speed to start at for lake trout as lake trout like to hit baits going 1.8-2.2 mph. So starting at 2.0 mph is right in the middle. If you aren’t getting bit try upping or downing your tolling speed. Speed can be very crucial some days.

As we approach the pike grounds we keep the baits the same but change our trolling speed. Pike like it a bit faster. I have trolled as fast as 3.5 mph in the middle of summer. Today the magic speed was 2.2 mph. Perhaps in such cold water they like it a bit slower. It is very interesting to see how the areas lakers roam and the areas pike roam overlap. If you can hit it just right, you can not only catch a double header of the same specie, but you can catch a double header of both species! Netting them in the same net is very unusual and amazing!

Pleased with the number of lakers and pike we have landed, Matt and I decide to reel our gear in and head to some walleye grounds. When we arrive, we swiftly change out our lures as the day was nearing an end and darkness was lurking. We tie onto our lines, 2 Rapala tail dancers and 2 Rapala jointed husky jerks. Our trolling speed now is 1.6 mph, as walleye like the speed quite a bit less than lakers or pike. Previous times out with my friends, Jason Cocks and Keegan Balcomb and Matt Heayn, I trolled this area for walleye and we caught a 12.9 lb and 12 lb walleye. So I was quick to save this spot as a waypoint on my sonar! With 1 pass over the waypoint I had marked from the previous times out, we got bit! Matt was quick to notice one of our offshore boards drop back out of line and grabs the rod and begins to fight what we suspected to be a walleye. The fish surfaces near the boat and reveals itself as a 10 + lb walleye. I promptly scoop the walleye out of the 33°c water and hoist it into the boat. This one tipped the scale at 10.8 lbs. We accomplished exactly what we set out to do, we landed all 3 different species in 1 day. All this occurred while we had the stereo cranked, high fiving, having a blast! There’s no life like it!!!

#RapalaLife #RapalaArmy #GoFishInOntario #FishOntario #ExploreOntario

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