Walleyes Of The North

OODKIDEYE (Small)Is there a fish species that personifies Northern Ontario more than the walleye? Generations of fishermen have fished thousands and thousands of lakes and rivers for these golden fighters. Like loons, pines or rocks, walleye capture the very essence of Ontario’s wild. Widely distributed, highly sought after and available in times of burning leaves, thick ice, swarming flies or summer storms, the walleye will always be the crown jewel of this vast physiographic region. The northern walleye experience is a master class in scenery, peace and simple rewards. Depending where you are, heaven might be a quiet elbow on a small river or out among the shoals on a sprawling giant.

With so many fishable destinations, walleye fishing in the north really can be whatever you want it to be. The fish are there. Many fishermen begin their seasons in or near moving water. Walleye are drawn to rapids and other current areas for spawning, and these can be some of the season’s most picturesque places to fish. Some years you’re eating blackflies and sweating under hot sun. Driving sleet, high winds and temperatures below zero are just as likely. Dramatic changes in weather are a part of life in these areas. Diving waterfowl, rummaging bears or the patient blue heron are all part of the back drop. Walleye will return to similar areas later in autumn, only with eating on the brain.

SHORELUNCH (Small)Summer in the north is a period of stability. Walleye are as spread out as they’ll be all season, foraging and cruising a range of depths and structures. Bottom bouncing with a ‘worm harness’ is a time-proven technique. A 14 to 16-foot aluminum tiller boat is standard issue on many northern waters. Fishermen can handle most conditions and have the control to deliver baits and lures slowly and accurately. Back trolling, controlled drifting and vertical jigging are all simple, effective techniques. Sometimes called The Sirloin Of The North, the good old nightcrawler or ‘dew worm’ dresses many a spinner rig or jig and like the tiller boat, is a standard requirement for many. And of course, forward trolling or casting minnowbaits after dark is another great summer option. A fresh shorelunch of walleye on a flat rock under summer sun is as Ontario as it gets.

Walleye stay active under the ice. Jigging and livebait set-ups keep things hot all winter. There really is something special about the way walleye take jigging lures. Some hits are a flat-out attack. Others barely register. Lake Nipissing, Georgian Bay, Lake Of The Woods, Lac Seul and reams of other fisheries provide fantastic icefishing all winter long. Guided trips and lodging rentals make the experience fun, safe and productive. You can even stay right on the lake, catching fish from your bunk bed. Bonus fish on winter walleye spots regularly include pike, perch and whitefish, so there’s always something going on down there. The availability and popularity of the walleye makes all seasons prime time.