The Fish We Cook, Walleye, Sauger

The Fish We Cook, Walleye, Sauger

By Tom J Bergerson

Because of its great taste, the walleye is a very popular fish for both sportsmen and commercial fisheries. Although it is usually called walleye pike, the walleye is not a member of the pike family but is actually a member of the freshwater perch family.
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Guide to Northern Pike Fishing

Guide to Northern Pike Fishing

By Bill Rivers

Imagine planning a fly-in fishing trip for walleyes and northern pike then discovering that not one, but two of this province’s premiere fishing lodges are situated on that very lake.

Furthermore, indulge in the fantasy that both of those full-services lodges have made a commitment to providing your fishing party with a memorable, relaxing, trouble-free angling vacation on a little-known, top-rated wilderness lake. Yeah, right. Can’t be, you say. Verify this data at Nagagami Lake.

Big Nagagami Lake first drew my attention several years ago as we drove north of White River on highway #631 toward Nagagamisis Provincial Park. Considering its sheer size, relative isolation and proximity to Hornepayne’s many air services I thought it might have some potential for fishing.

But, it wasn’t until March ’90 at the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show that two very reputable fishing lodges – Nagagami Lodge and Timberwolf Lodge – were associated with the lake.

Thereupon, like an arrangement of dominoes, everything systematically fell into place and before the show ended, an August booking was mine. And, in order to get a broad view of Liddle’s 2-lodge Nagagami Lake operation, the trip would see us split our time and fishing between the two camps. Dave Sauve, Ontario Fisherman field editor and a regular fishing sidekick, eagerly agreed to accompany me on this rather unique angling adventure.


Nagagami Lake, located approximately 15 air miles northwest of Hornepayne, is a medium-sized, kidney-shaped lake measuring 8 miles in length and 2 to 4 miles in width.

The lake shows three distinct areas – the eastern basin, a shallow (20 to 40 ft. ), smooth-bottomed area; the western basin, a deeper (10 to 90 ft. ), irregularly contoured area with islands, rocky shoreline, shoals; a long, narrow, deep (10 to 70 ft. ) northerly arm.

Unlike many large, diverse lakes, Nagagami Lake has excellent angling in all three regions:particularly for walleyes and northern pike (although there is a healthy whitefish population and some perch in the lake).

The lake is most unusual in that, in the large eastern basin, a very narrow but productive weedline can be found far offshore where the lake bottom falls from 8 to 12 feet. Because it is well out in the lake and not continuous, finding it becomes on of the keys to the lake’s great pike fishing. More on that later!The water is stained from the ever present tannins leaching into the lake from surrounding timber and soils.

The lake warms up early for this part of the North and because of its size, can get very rough when the wind blows. There are few boating hazards in the main lake, except along the rugged north-arm shoreline and among the island clusters. Isolated hazards are marked by the lodge staff and have been carefully pinpointed on a very detailed, hydro-contour map of Nagagami Lake produced by the lodges for their guests. Key fishing areas are highlighted.

Also accessible (via short, easy portages) are two small lakes: Hiawatha and Pody. Both offer excellent walleye and pike fishing. At Pody Lake, a catch & release lake, monster northerns and bigger than average walleyes are caught regularly.


With lots of water, diverse structural elements and several incoming & outflowing major rivers, Nagagami is a walleye factory. And, because several lodges and camps operate on the big lake, a river mouth sanctuary policy is in effect on the Foch and Obakamiga (“Buck”) Rivers until mid-June.

Walleyes are found throughout the lake:in current flows at river sites, along weedlines and in the larger weedbeds, off islands and pointes over gravel bottoms, and on mid-lake structures including several classic shoals, humps, sunken islands, drop-offs and bars.

As suggested earlier, the spring walleye fishery focuses on post-spawn (male) fish, near river outflows. It is not unusual to see a pack of boats in a small area with all anglers catching limits of walleyes and releasing many fish.

Springtime is minnow time and Nagagami is a “minnow lake” all season long. To protect the lake, minnows are carefully collected and sorted before being flown into the camps for fishing.

Rigged on small snelled hooks, live-bait rigs or tiny jigs, minnows are fished at the mouths of rivers where deeper areas have been created by the current or along current breaks/eddies. Other productive springtime/early summer walleye locations include the island group out from Pody Creek, an area designated “The Flats” and the upper portion of the out-flowing Nagagami River (as far downstream as Moose Lake).

Summer walleyes are widely scattered and predictable, low-light feeders. Three approaches are commonly used by Nagagami & Timberwolf Lodge guests:stillfishing minnows, backtrolling with live-bait rigs, and jigging. Standard, forward trolling with wobbling plugs or body baits is almost unheard of here.

For both experienced anglers and vacationing families with kids at Nagagami Lodge, stillfishing minnows was a popular and effective technique. Whether anglers positioned themselves out from a weedline or weedbed, along a dropoff that fell to 20 or 30 foot depths or atop the sunken islands and shoals, limits of great-eating walleyes in the 1 to 3 pound range were the rule-day after day.

Best times included the early morning hours, but the twilight times were tops. Daytime fishing was given over to pike. Dave and I took a lot of kidding about our fishing off the dock at night with floats/bobbers. That’s OK. Each night without fail (about 10:30) we’d slip down to the camp dock and catch 3 or 4 good walleye for breakfast.

By 1:00 or so we’d caught our fish and were enjoying no-less-than-spectacular displays of shimmering Northern Lights. Those evenings may have been the most enjoyable I spent all summer; they certainly were unforgettable!Get a second opinion – ask Dave!

Both Mike Bauer and Ron Dunn, managers of the two lodges, effective fished walleyes the same way:back-trolling across mid-lake shoals with live-bait rigs dressed with minnows. For this approach a depthfinder/flasher/graph is a must for locating the structure and then systematically working the bait rig up and down it until fish are contacted.

Favourite spots included a large, marked shoal northeast of the Twin Islands, the “Banana Shoal” beyond that, and isolated humps in the main-lake basin including one off Chuck’s Point and another in the midst of the lake’s eastern basin. The latter spot is tough to locate. Mike put us onto it in a driving rain one morning.

Sure that he was “testing our resolve and mettle”, we dutifully backtrolled this spot in the middle of nowhere. Bingo-several larger walleyes! Touche, Mike, but couldn’t it have waited?

Although live-bait fishing is the norm at Nagagami, jigging accounts for excellent catches of “yellows”. Location is the key to successful jigging:over shoals/humps/sunken islands or along weedlines and dropoffs. Any significant change in depth, bottom content or cover will attract and hold walleyes, especially during feeding periods.

For Nagagami Lake walleyes, pink, white and yellow jigs in the 1/8 to 1/4 ounce sizes are recommended with pink getting the nod most times. Tipped with a small piece of worm or a lively minnow, jigs should be cast and worked down ledges and humps, jigged in short hops off deeper bottoms or cast and retrieved steadily over shallow (6 to 10 feet) bars.

On our sidetrip to Hiawatha Lake, drifting a jig & worm combo proved the undoing of scores of walleyes. Our best catches (biggest fish) came off the head of the Banana Shoal where we carefully located and marked a “bite” out of an otherwise regular edge. Everytime we drifted to that spot we picked up fish, including the three largest fish of our stay and the largest caught at camp that week. A tiny “something special” spot.

Don’t overlook weedbeds and weedlines as good spots for walleyes. One party at camp ceremoniously located, marked and fished a weedline at The Meadows and consistently caught limits of better-than-average walleyes.

Fish were right in there, at the base of the weeds in the only cover in that part of the lake. To get these fish, baits had to get right in, amidst the stems and stalks; sometimes only to be grabbed first by Nagagami’s opportunistic pike. Hey, that’s OK, too!

While at Nagagami, don’t pass up the incredible shore lunch fish fries put on at midweek by Nagagami Lodge and daily (weather permitting) by Timberwolf Lodge staff at the Twin Islands. The great outdoors, good friends and a hot shore lunch – “It doesn’t get any better than this”!


During our stay at Nagagami, one thing became abundantly clear:pike fishing was given high priority by visiting anglers, especially “repeaters” who were not only familiar with the lake’s pike hotspots, but also very much aware of the potential for a mammoth northern pike-fish in the 20 to 30 pound range.

In fact, while having dinner at Timberwolf Lodge one evening, one of the “regulars” made a point of coming over to us and showing us pictures of past catches of huge Nagagami pike. This was prompted, no doubt, by her excitement over having just caught a magnificent 44-inch, 20-plus pound pike at The Meadows, an extensive weedy area off the Nagagami River outlet. Not an uncommon fish out of Nagagami Lake; uncommon just about everywhere else.

Because pike, like walleyes, are predatory fish, their seasonal movements and feeding habits often parallel those of walleye. Very often, where walleyes are caught, big pike are caught, even on the same baits. Resultantly, Nagagami northerns are fished with live baits early and late in the season and with artificial baits or lures through the warm-water months.

Come spring, pike are the lake’s first spawners and most aggressive fish. Immediately after the spawn, pike will begin taking live-bait offerings at typical springtime sites:weedy back bays and creek/river outflows. Top spots at Nagagami Lake include the Pody Creek area and a channel nearby appropriately dubbed “Pike Alley”. Large live baitfish, especially suckers, regularly produce the biggest pike in the early season, although occasional monsters will be caught by walleye fishermen, too.

Once the water warms, pike will scatter widely throughout the lake-to weedbeds/weedlines, shoals, current flows and deep-water basins – wherever their forage, oxygen and temperature requirements are met.

It is at this time that fish start chasing down larger, faster-moving baits – e. g. spinners, spoons, bass spinnerbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits. At Nagagami, this period puts fish in the weeds and anglers looking for the lake’s strange offshore weedlines. Once found, these weedlines consistently produce lots of healthy northerns:fish averaging 5 to 8 pounds.

Both our hosts knew these weedlines well and unerringly kept us near them and “on pike”. Ron is a diehard pike fanatic and spoke constantly of the lake’s bigger northerns:historic catches, fish hooked and lost, the season’s best, the lake’s potential for a 50-inch, 30-pound gator!

The 44-inch fish mentioned earlier was caught on a bass spinnerbait, yet we took our best pike on spoons and spinners. However, Ron insisted that, if you were to fish strictly for a trophy, a jerkbait worked over and near the weeds would be the most productive lure. To be sure, he had a collection of these wooden freaks – baits in the 7 to 9-inch range worked best.

Oh sure, he had a couple of “baseball bats” in there, too. Proven choices at Nagagami Lake include Suicks, Teddy Baits, Reef Hawgs and Hi-Fin Foolers. Casting and working these baits is hard work, so if you troll try a Believer, Swimm Whizz, Magnum Rapala or huge, jointed Kwikfish. Make sure that your equipment can handle this kind of tackle and strain before experiencing a day of frustration or worse, losing the fish of a lifetime.

As stated a moment ago, Dave and I successfully pitched #4 or 5 Mepps Agilia Long/Giant Killer spinners and large spoons (Daredevle, Five Diamonds) to the lake’s weed-oriented pike.

By simply moving around the perimeter of the eastern basin, fishing the intermittent weedline, we enjoyed fast-paced pike action throughout the afternoon. When fishing pike like this, please equip yourself with proper tools for extracting deeply taken baites from cavernous, toothy mouths – a “gag” to hold the fish’s mouth open, long-reach hookouts, pliers or cutters.

The careful and quick removal of hooks and immediate boatside resuscitation will insure a successful release of fish not intended for the dinner table. Sensible catch and release is an art form as much as it is a science.

Two other areas deserve special recognition when it comes to Nagagami pike fishing: The Meadows and Pike Alley. With current flows and plenty of weed cover, these areas consistently produce lots of pike as well as trophy-status fish. Bass spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, spinners, spoons and bucktails will get plenty of attention from big, aggressive northerns. Hang on!


Although many northern lakes have very healthy whitefish populations, they are pretty much underfished. At Nagagami Lake during late August through mid-September, whitefish action is outstanding and the lodges offer a continuous smokehouse service to their clientele. Smoked whitefish makes for great eating, keeps well and increases each angler’s legal “keep”. With generous limits and regulated dip netting practices to supplement angling, “whitefish-ing” should be added to the itinerary for late-season guests at Nagagami and Timberwolf Lodges.


Located on the northern arm of Nagagami Lake, this 2-star housekeeping resort features superb facilities:spacious, modern log cottages, generated hydro, sturdy 19-foot Powassan cedar-strip boats, reliable OMC motors, a central recreation lodge/meeting area with VCR/movies/TV and a pool table, guide service, bait, fish-cleaning station, smokehouse, etc. Cabins feature 2 or 3 bedrooms, bedding & liner service, modern full-size appliances, wood-burning heaters, 3-piece bath (shower, flush toilet, sink), running hot and cold water, electrical lighting, complete kitchens.

Air Service to Nagagami Lake is provided by Horne-Air (Hornepayne, Ont.) via Beaver aircraft.

This article was written after a visit to Nagagami Lodge where I did some Northern Pike Fishing as well as fishing for Walleye and Whitefish.

Online since 1998 by long-time OFM field editor, Bill Rivers, the Ontario Fisherman is now taking on a new look, but remains committed to showcasing “the best of Ontario sportfishing”.

Ontario Fishing Resources []

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5 Pike Fishing Tips For Beginners

5 Pike Fishing Tips For Beginners

By Shane Dayton

There is a lot of advice floating around out there about fishing for northern pike, and while some of it may be really good, a lot of the advice is aimed at experienced anglers, semi-pro anglers, or it’s rehashed information that may or may not be any different than advice you would get when starting to go after any type of fish for the first time.
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TCKLIN Superd Bloody Pike Green, 8 Ounce

TCKLIN Superd Bloody Pike Green, 8-Ounce

TCKLIN Superd, Bloody Pike/Green, 8-Ounce

  • Internal ”Body Lock” Harness creates ultra-tough backbone
  • Proven on countless musky and pike
  • Four lateral fins provide balance and stability

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Catching Muskies – All About Muskellunges

Catching Muskies – All About Muskellunges

By Alyssa Bentley

Ross with Muskey at Head Lake, OntarioQuick Facts:

  • Muskies can live to be 30 years old
  • Maximum length of a Muskie: 6 feet
  • Maximum Weight of a Muskie: around 70 lbs
  • Trophy Length: over 4 feet
  • Trophy Weight: over 40 lbs
  • Mature females tend to be bigger than males, but mature and grow at a slower rate.

Muskies are a non-schooling predatory fish, who are generally tend to stay out of eyesight of each other.

Heddon Rattle Spook Fishing Lures (Foxy Momma, 4 1/2-Inch)

Heddon Rattle Spook Fishing Lures (Foxy Momma, 4 1/2-Inch)

  • Produces sounds akin to panicked fleeing baitfish
  • Produce smooth walk the dog retrieves
  • Dart and zigzag like confused prey
  • Sound chamber houses 10 tungsten BBs
  • Equipped w/sharp Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks
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They usually lurk near drop-offs from rock or sand bars in the middle of lakes, along weed beds or other vegetation, and in shady waters close to shores that are fringed with overhanging trees. They prefer larger lakes with deep and shallow basins and large beds of aquatic plants.

They have a typical ambush predator design, elongated body, flat head, and caudal fins placed far back on the body.

The stealthy muskie hunts by waiting motionless. When a fish swims by (any fish, including other muskies) they strike, impaling the prey on their large canine teeth, rotating it, and swallowing it headfirst.

Strangely, the size of the fish a muskie eats appears to be related to the ultimate size it can attain. As the fish grows larger, the size of its prey naturally varies more.

Even if plenty of small fish are available, a muskie may not be able to grow large without large fish to eat. Muskrats, ducks, shrews, mice, and frogs also appear in the stomachs of muskies from time to time.

A Varied Diet:

Muskellunges are known to have a varied diet. They will eat other muskies and any fish they see, as well as ducklings, smaller muskrats, shrews, mice, and frogs, and the largest Muskies are known to eat whole adult ducks.

There is one report of a Wisconsin man in 1999 who was dangling his feet in the water (not fishing), when a medium sized muskie lunged and attempted to swallow his toe! He ended up pulling the muskie out of the water and extracting it from his foot.

The foot required 66 stitches and he was eventually allowed to keep the fish, despite the non-legal size and non-legal method of fishing.

It is not recommended to use your toes as bait.

Other Facts about Muskellunges

Muskies and Pike (or “Northerns) look very similar. The foolproof way to tell a muskie from a northern is to count the pores on the underside of the jaw: A muskie has six or more. A northern has five or fewer.

The tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy x lucius or E. lucius x masquinongy) is a hybrid of the muskie and northern pike. Male hybrids are almost invariably sterile although females are sometimes fertile. Some hybrids are artificially produced and planted for anglers to catch. Tiger muskies tend to be smaller than non-hybrid muskies but grow faster. The body is often quite silvery and largely or entirely without spots but with indistinct longitudinal bands.

Though interbreeding with other pike species can complicate the classification of some individuals, zoologists usually recognize from zero to three subspecies of muskellunge.

  • The Great Lakes (spotted) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy masquinongy) is the most common variety in the Great Lakes basin and surrounding area. The spots on the body form oblique rows.
  • The Chautauqua muskellunge (E. m. ohioensis) is known from the Ohio River system, Chautauqua Lake, Lake Ontario, and the St Lawrence River.
  • The clear or barred muskellunge (E. m. immaculatus) is most common in the inland lakes of Wisconsin, Minnesota, northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba.

Catching the Muskie:

If you want to catch a muskie, you’ll need a heavy bait-casting rod, substantial level-wind reel, 20-35 pound test line, a variety of artificial lures or live bait, and a lot of patience. Allow at least 20 minutes in each location before moving on-the large fish usually aren’t very active.

It takes the average angler 20-80 hours to catch a legal musky!

Muskies are generally not food fish. As predator fish, if the food fish in their region have small amounts of toxic substances in their systems, they will gather in much greater quantities in the muskellunges who feed on them. Before eating a muskellunge, pay attention to the fishing advisories of the lake or the state that you are fishing in.

Threats to the Muskie:

The health and success of the muskellunge relies heavily on the health and availability of aquatic plants in their environment. Minnesota anglers are beginning to notice that some of their favorite “weed beds” seem to be disappearing, thus reducing the spawning sites and hunting grounds of the muskies they like to catch. Measures are being proposed, including greatly reducing the number of docks allowed on a lake shore, thus reducing the human footprint on the lakes.

The Muskie and the Northern Pike are both considered sport and trophy fish in Minnesota, and are thusly valuable to the sport fishing community and the tourism economy, but over-fishing does hurt the population of this solitary fish.

So fish carefully, and practice catch-and-release fishing with this fish in order to preserve its continued abundance in all the great lakes.

Alyssa Bentley works for a Website Advertising [] company. This article is written for Fishermans – a great resource for finding a Chartered Fishing Boat [] where you want to fish.

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Not Just Fishing’s (Fishing, Boating, Camping and RVing in Ontario, Canada)

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t doesn’t take much to get the party started with the new Storm® Arashi® Vibe. Even the slowest retrieve speed will elicit shimmies and shakes from Storm’s new lipless crankbait, spurring even the most wallflower of fish to bump and grind it between their jaws.

Talk about putting out a good Vibe.

“Being able to fish it extremely slow is very advantageous,” says Brandon Palaniuk, five-time Bassmaster Classic contender. “If you look at a lot of lipless crankbaits in a swimming pool, it takes a fair amount of speed to get them to impart any action. But the Vibe, as soon as you start turning the reel handle, that bait’s swimming.”

Featuring a soft-knock rattle, the Vibe emits a unique single-cadence, low-pitch sound that attracts attention without alarming tentative fish. “It’s a subtle, single-knock sound,” Palaniuk says. “Rather than a higher-pitch sound made by a bunch of BBs rattling around, it’s got one balance weight that’s a little bit loose — that creates the sound.”

Palaniuk loves to fish the Arashi Vibe parallel to grass edges and over the top of scattered vegetation. Both a steady retrieve and lift-fall technique can be effective. “When fish are using a grass line or grass patches to ambush prey, there’s not many baits better,” he says. “The fish are keyed in on those baitfish and looking up.”

Ticking the edge or top of the grass and pulling free with a jerk of the rod often triggers bites — and from bigger fish.

“When you rip the Vibe out of the grass, it’s going to come out really clean and come straight up and back down — it’s not going to blow out,” Palaniuk says. “Then, when I continue my retrieve, I can detect any subtle differences in the bait. So if a fish slaps at the bait and causes it to lose action, they’ll actually knock slack in your line and you’re able to feel that a lot better.”

Not only does the Vibe start swimming at slower speeds than other lipless crankbaits, it falls slower too, according to Palaniuk. “So it allows you to be able to fish shallower water at a slower speed when that’s what you’re looking for,” he says.

Although many anglers fish lipless crankbaits mostly in the spring, when fish are first “pulling up” from deeper water and closer to shallow spawning areas, Palaniuk will fish a Vibe 12 months out of the year. “It’s really good when fish aren’t quite schooling on bait, but they’re relating to bait,” he says.

Rotated hook hangers, a feature of all baits in the Arashi family, ensure that the Vibe’s two sticky-sharp No. 3 Premium VMC® Black Nickel Hooks will grab fish and not let go. The rotated hook hangers improve action and prevent hang-ups as well. The Vibe also has a self-tuning line tie, another feature unique to the Arashi line of baits.

The Arashi Vibe measures 2 3/4 inches, weighs 9/16 ounces and comes in 14 color patterns: Hot Blue Shad, Bluegill, Blue Back Herring, Wakasagi Ghost Hitch, Green Gill, Rusty Craw, Mossy Chartreuse Craw, Red Craw, Black Silver Shad, Green Gold Shad, Copper Green Shad, Pro Blue Shad and Dirty Shad.

Palaniuk fishes a Vibe on 15-pound test 100 percent fluorocarbon a majority of the time. “If I want to fish it deeper, I may go down to 12-pound test or I may go up to 20 if I want to fish it shallower,” he says.

“Arashi” (Ah-Rah-Shee) means “Storm” in Japanese. Storm is one of many respected names in the Rapala® family of brands.


What is a Texas Rig?
“Fishing a Texas rig is very popular among bass fisherman, however, it can be used on other species as well. It is a technique used primarily for soft plastic baits.”

Bass Fishing With Carolina Rig
“Bass fishing with the Carolina Rig should be one of your first choices because it can be used as either a very simple rig or one with a multitude of rigging choices and because it is uncomplicated in nature.”

Trout Fishing Rigs
“What are trout fishing rigs?
Trout fishing rigs are simply pieces of terminal tackle and/or fishing hooks and baits that are rigged together and used when fishing for trout. “

Humminbird Helix 7 SI GPS Humminbird Helix 5
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Humminbird Helix 9 SI 480×800