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Prodigious perch and huge winter walleye

By Gord Pyzer | Published: January 31st, 2011 | Outdoor Canada

Prodigious perchI am going to start something new that I think is going to be exciting. So many folks are sending me great e-mails with fish stories and photos, I thought it would be interesting to share them with you.  So, every week or so, I am going to select the “best of the best” fish stories, techniques, tactics and images and highlight them here on my Outdoor Canada Magazine fishing blog.

Actually, 14-year old Mikey Macdonald was the person who got me thinking about this after he sent me a phenomenal image taken recently after he, his dad and a couple of friends spent the day ice fishing for huge jumbo perch out on … are you ready for this …. Lake Superior. Mikey swore me to secrecy about the specific location – actually his dad told him he’d leave him out on the ice if he spilled the beans – so I can’t get Mikey into trouble.  Let’s just say he was fishing somewhere along the North Shore.

By the way, he caught these magnificent perch using a dead stick rod baited with a single hook and a medium size minnow.  In a second hole he was jigging a silver and black Rapala Jigging Rap tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.

“I was fishing in 16 feet of water,” Mikey told me, “and I would jig about every every two seconds.  After every tenth jig, I’d let the lure fall all the way to the bottom and drop into the clay.  Then I’d pop it off to create a dust cloud and reel it up so it was about eight inches off the bottom.  Finally, I’d jig it two times before dropping it back down to about four inches off the bottom.”

Man, talk about attention to detail and one heck of a nifty jumbo perch pattern!
Indeed, talking about sweet patterns, Jason Matity over on Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan was on a hot walleye bite the other day according to his brother Jeff.  By the way, Jeff and Jason are two of the top walleye sticks in Saskatchewan.  I spent some time last summer with Jeff, who was showing me a killer trophy walleye pattern on Last Mountain Lake.  It is super unique, but that is all I am going to tell you about it right now, as I am going to give you all the details in the May/June Walleye edition of Outdoor Canada Magazine.   Let me simply say, if you fish for walleyes, trust me, you will not want to miss this edition!
But back to the other day.  Jason was jigging his old reliable white, 1/4-ounce, ReelBait Flasher jig tipped with a ciscoe eye and coated with PRO-CURE Walleye Bait Butter on the blade when he hooked into and landed this gorgeous 28-inch walleye.

Jeff was fishing with a variety of other baits at the time and said, “I should have stuck with the Flasher because Jason out fished me 11 to 3.  I think it is the tiny blade on the short shank series that does a number on the fish that come in close to the lure and are hesitant to bite.  Jason and I have done so well with the Flasher that I’ve been trying to see if there is anything else in my bag of tricks that can rival it.  But so far this season, nothing has come close.”

Rainy Lake

By Gord Pyzer
Location: Borders Minnesota and Ontario Surface area: 890 square kilometres Hottest spot: Northwest Bay

Why we chose it

Rainy LakeBest for black crappie One of the first features I wrote for Outdoor Canada more than 25 years ago was about Ontario’s phenomenal, yet virtually unknown black crappie fishing. Rainy was at the top of my guarded list of secret crappie lakes back then, but it no longer flies under the radar. Even still, the lake’s crappie fishing has never been better. Just two years ago, in fact, I landed my biggest-ever Rainy Lake crappie, an enormous slab measuring almost 17 inches in length and weighing more than two and a half pounds. One of the reasons Rainy produces such splendid crappies is the immense number of shallow weed- and reed-filled bays that warm up quickly in the spring and offer superior spawning habitat. Then during the open-water season and throughout the winter, the fish grow fat and sassy on the classic 30- to 40-foot-deep flats that crappies find ideal. So instead of offering only short seasonal windows of limited good fishing, as is the case with most Canadian crappie lakes, you can always find the fish biting on Rainy. That is, of course, if you can pull yourself away from the phenomenal walleye and northern pike angling. When it comes to better-than-average, bragging-sized fish, Rainy Lake offers some of Ontario’s best drive-to walleye and pike fishing.

Hot lure: White 1/8-ounce Reel Bait Flasher jig and 2 1/2-inch Gulp! Minnow Hot fly: Mickey Finn