Canadian Lodge owner, Nathan Hartle explains how the fishing picks up during the early fall transition!

Big Hook Wilderness Camps owner Nathan Hartle explains how to take advantage of a fantastic bite as the season switches over to fall!

Change of Season 

Article by: Nathan Hartle – Big Hook Wilderness Camps

It amazes me every year how fast the seasons change here at Big Hook Camps in Ontario’s far north.  Although the temperatures are still holding in the 70s and 80s here in the Opasquia Provincial Park, small hints of fall are beginning to step forth.  The birch and poplar leaves are beginning to turn and the days are quickly becoming shorter (we are losing approx. 4 minutes of daylight each passing day) and Sand Hill cranes have begun their migration southbound.

The transition to fall isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to pike fishing.  The seasonal shift triggers something in their brain that they need to fatten up quick for the impending winter.  Generally, I have found northern start shrugging off the smaller baits and start looking towards something with some substance.  Around the first week of August I'll begin throwing my larger lures and begin seeing more and more large fish take interest.  Hellhound, Bulldawgs, Depth Raiders, large spoons and #8 bucktails all fight for room in my tackle box. 

Pike will bounce between rock reefs and weed beds a fair amount this time of year; to wherever the largest food source is dominant.  Lately at Central the big fish have been hanging on deep rock shelves and shunning the weeds.  This is because of the large schools of walleye congregated on these reefs.  The latest weather pattern also has something to do with it, the hot sunny clear days we have been experiencing this last week have the fish seeking deeper water.  When catching pike off of deep reefs I have found you will only boat one or two fish, then it is time to move on. Try to focus on reefs that come up to about 12-15 ft with some nearby deep water. 

The pike at several of the outposts are following similar patterns.  Yesterday, after chatting with the group at West Lake, most fish have been caught on rocky shoals.  The biggest was a fat 43" released right off the rock 100 yards in front of camp.   However, don't totally count out the weeds. The bite has just been occurring early in the morning or late in the evening.  Bucktails, top water baits, and silver minnows are the go to baits in foliage.  #8 Orange or copper bladed bucktails with a black skirt are at the top of my list (see pic left), due to their quick retrieve.  Bucktails allow you to cast a lot of water in a short period of time. 

As mentioned before, walleye are dominant on any windblown point or deeper reef in about 12-20 ft of water.  Trolling windy shorelines with Reef Runners or Shad Raps will produce good numbers. South, Central, Burnt and West all reported fish over 27" caught on deeper rock structures. 

The majority of the fish have been boated on 3/8 oz jigs.

The water temps have received a huge boost jumping from 64 in the beginning of the week to 71 degrees this morning.  Water levels are still ticking downward due to hot temperatures and lack of rain.  As of right now 2015 is one of the driest summers we have experienced since 1990. 

Good luck on the water everyone!

Author Bio: Nathan and his parents Steve and Evie operate fly-in outpost camps 185 air miles north of Red Lake, Ontario. Located in the grand wilderness of Opasquia Provincial Park, these outpost cabins are the most remote housekeeping cabins in Northwestern Ontario. Nathan's blog post chronicle life without roads in Canada's vast boreal wilderness where the quality of fishing is untouched by humans. Visit their website at bighookcamps.com

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