Category: Aaron’s Blog

3

Lake Simcoe Lakers to Close the Ice Season

Posted on March 20th, 2015

I hit the ice with my good friend Tony to close out the ice fishing season on Lake Simcoe for lake trout and whitefish. We decided to go for lake trout on the north shore. We walked out a couple of kilometers, drilled holes and began to fish. Before I even dropped a line, a speedy Tony already had a fish on but lost it. I began to move a bit more quickly after that, and had lines down quickly. It was a quick hot bite early in the morning, and we had a lot of fun! My tip-up didn’t take a bite, but the jigging proved effective. We swam the swimbait up and down the water column pausing every once in a while. When we saw a fish on sonar, we would reel up quickly and pause, then the fish would chase and smash the lure. I always find that exciting, like a real life video game!

SimcoeTony

Tony had success on a 4” paddletail swimbait, and I also hooked up on a 4” paddletail swimbait. I switched up to a big Rippin’ Rap just before the action started to slow down, and wham! I got a great laker that put up an amazing fight. After that, it slowed down, and we started to try everything to muster up more bites. Despite our best efforts, we came up empty late morning and all afternoon. Fish were not chasing at all, and even dead-sticking didn’t work. We even tried a subtle presentation right in the mud to no avail. We were sure glad we got there early! We were tempted to move, but with such a hot morning bite and still marking fish, we decided to stay. We didn’t want to leave fish to find fish, but unfortunately it was the wrong choice. Oh well, we had a great morning, shared some laughs and I had a great time capping off the ice season on Lake Simcoe with a good friend.
SimcoeAaron
The Rippin’ Rap is my favourite trigger lure for lake trout!

SimcoeRelease

I used a Rapala RType medium action ice rod with a Kaos spinning reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege line. 3.5-inch swimbaits like the
TriggerX Slop Hopper
in smelt work great to trigger bites from lake trout, as does Rapala Rippin’ Raps I am ready for some spring steelhead fishing now. Bring on the warmer weather!!!
Good fishing!
Aaron

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3

Lake Simcoe Lakers to Close the Ice Season

Posted on March 18th, 2015

I hit the ice with my good friend Tony to close out the ice fishing season on Lake Simcoe for lake trout and whitefish. We decided to go for lake trout on the north shore. We walked out a couple of kilometers, drilled holes and began to fish. Before I even dropped a line, a speedy Tony already had a fish on but lost it. I began to move a bit more quickly after that, and had lines down quickly. It was a quick hot bite early in the morning, and we had a lot of fun! My tip-up didn’t take a bite, but the jigging proved effective. We swam the swimbait up and down the water column pausing every once in a while. When we saw a fish on sonar, we would reel up quickly and pause, then the fish would chase and smash the lure. I always find that exciting, like a real life video game!

Tony with a nice swimbait laker

Tony with a nice swimbait laker Tony had success on a 4” paddletail swimbait, and I also hooked up on a 4” paddletail swimbait. I switched up to a big Rippin’ Rap just before the action started to slow down, and wham! I got a great laker that put up an amazing fight. After that, it slowed down, and we started to try everything to muster up more bites. Despite our best efforts, we came up empty late morning and all afternoon. Fish were not chasing at all, and even dead-sticking didn’t work. We even tried a subtle presentation right in the mud to no avail. We were sure glad we got there early! We were tempted to move, but with such a hot morning bite and still marking fish, we decided to stay. We didn’t want to leave fish to find fish, but unfortunately it was the wrong choice. Oh well, we had a great morning, shared some laughs and I had a great time capping off the ice season on Lake Simcoe with a good friend.

The Rippin' Rap is my favourite trigger lure for lake trout!

The Rippin’ Rap is my favourite trigger lure for lake trout!

SimcoeRelease

I used a Rapala RType medium action ice rod with a Kaos spinning reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege line. 3.5-inch swimbaits like the TriggerX Slop Hopper in smelt work great to trigger bites from lake trout, as does Rapala Rippin’ Raps!

I am ready for some spring steelhead fishing now. Bring on the warmer weather!!!

Good fishing!

Aaron

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3

Ice Fishing for Staging Steelhead

Posted on March 15th, 2015

Steelhead are starting to enter the rivers now, and they can be caught off the piers and in the lower sections. Steelhead can also be caught ice fishing on rivers that still have safe ice in the lower stretches. I have been out a few times recently, and I met some great guys on my last trip. We shared some ice and laughs together, and had some good action ice fishing for chrome. Marko, Chris, Lou and Phil were a blast hanging out with ice fishing for steelies. We had one ice rod set-up in a rod holder, and another longer rod with a centrepin. Talk about fun with a hot steelhead going berserk beneath the ice when hooked!

Pulling up steelhead through the ice is amazing!

Pulling up steelhead through the ice is amazing!

TribIceSteel2

I have been trying a few methods ice fishing, but the simple approach seemed best in the slow current. Fishing a drop shot rig on a medium action Rapala RType rod spooled with 8lb Sufix Siege line on a Kaos reel with minnow 6-inches above the weight worked well. I let a few inches more line out after the weight hit bottom so that the minnow can swim around a bit to entice strikes. The second 5- to 6-foot rod with a centrepin, 8lb Sufix Siege, small weight and a roe bag tied with floaters also works great. The method is sit and wait with the one dead stick either with a minnow, Kwikfish or roe bag. The long rod is good either dead-sticked or jigging the roe bag slightly by bottom. There hasn’t been enough current to activate the Kwikfish, but there will be soon if not by now. The Kwikfish set up under the ice can be the most deadly rod going with the right current. Some large split shot just up the line from the Kwikfish will take it down to the bottom. A float set up with roe or a minnow can also work well.

Chris with some nice steelies on the ice! Look at that rod bend with the centrepin!

Chris with some nice steelies on the ice! Look at that rod bend with the centrepin!

TribIceSteel7

TribIceSteel8

Water anywhere from 12” under the ice to several feet should be good. Punch a lot of holes and move often if you are not getting fish. They typically come in spurts and everyone around hooks up for a bit, and then it dies again as fish move through. If you venture out onto the ice on the lower stretches of rivers, be careful, as ice conditions can deteriorate quickly when the current begins to pick up and erode the ice with warmer weather. I recommend a floater suit with ice spikes in a pocket. This winter made thick ice, and it should be good for at least another few days to a week or more on some tribs.

Marko hit this nice steelhead on roe with a set rod

Marko hit this nice steelhead on roe with a set rod

Pier fishing can also be good floating roe, worms or minnows, or a dead stick on bottom with roe bags with floaters in them. You can cast to them with Kwikfish and minnowbaits as well such as Storm Thundersticks, Rapala jointed BX Minnows, Clackin’ Raps etc. Spoons can also work well as can spinners.

I got this nice big hen on a minnow with a drop shot rig. What a battle! She was released to spawn up river, which is important for the future fishery.

I got this nice big hen on a minnow with a drop shot rig. What a battle! She was released to spawn up river, which is important for the future fishery.

TribIceSteel6

If you get out ice fishing for steelhead, don't forget Kwikfish!

If you get out ice fishing for steelhead, don’t forget Kwikfish![/caption]

Good luck if you make it out for some early action steelhead fishing. Spring is coming!

Good fishing!

Aaron

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3

Ice Fishing for Staging Steelhead

Posted on March 15th, 2015

Steelhead are starting to enter the rivers now, and they can be caught off the piers and in the lower sections. Steelhead can also be caught ice fishing on rivers that still have safe ice in the lower stretches. I have been out a few times recently, and I met some great guys on my last trip. We shared some ice and laughs together, and had some good action ice fishing for chrome. Marko, Chris, Lou and Phil were a blast hanging out with ice fishing for steelies. We had one ice rod set-up in a rod holder, and another longer rod with a centrepin. Talk about fun with a hot steelhead going berserk beneath the ice when hooked!

TribIceSteel1

TribIceSteel2

I have been trying a few methods ice fishing, but the simple approach seemed best in the slow current. Fishing a drop shot rig on a medium action Rapala RType rod spooled with 8lb Sufix Siege line on a Kaos reel with minnow 6-inches above the weight worked well. I let a few inches more line out after the weight hit bottom so that the minnow can swim around a bit to entice strikes. The second 5- to 6-foot rod with a centrepin, 8lb Sufix Siege, small weight and a roe bag tied with floaters also works great. The method is sit and wait with the one dead stick either with a minnow, Kwikfish or roe bag. The long rod is good either dead-sticked or jigging the roe bag slightly by bottom. There hasn’t been enough current to activate the Kwikfish, but there will be soon if not by now. The Kwikfish set up under the ice can be the most deadly rod going with the right current. Some large split shot just up the line from the Kwikfish will take it down to the bottom. A float set up with roe or a minnow can also work well.

TribIceSteel3
Chris with some nice steelies on the ice! Look at that rod bend with the centrepin!

TribIceSteel7

TribIceSteel8

Water anywhere from 12” under the ice to several feet should be good. Punch a lot of holes and move often if you are not getting fish. They typically come in spurts and everyone around hooks up for a bit, and then it dies again as fish move through. If you venture out onto the ice on the lower stretches of rivers, be careful, as ice conditions can deteriorate quickly when the current begins to pick up and erode the ice with warmer weather. I recommend a floater suit with ice spikes in a pocket. This winter made thick ice, and it should be good for at least another few days to a week or more on some tribs.

TribIceSteel4

Pier fishing can also be good floating roe, worms or minnows, or a dead stick on bottom with roe bags with floaters in them. You can cast to them with Kwikfish and minnowbaits as well such as Storm Thundersticks, Rapala jointed BX Minnows, Clackin’ Raps etc. Spoons can also work well as can spinners.

TribIceSteel5

TribIceSteel6

TribIceSteel9

Good luck if you make it out for some early action steelhead fishing. Spring is coming!
Good fishing!
Aaron

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3

Mining for Quinte Gold

Posted on February 8th, 2015

I had a good time fishing the Bay of Quinte for a couple days with a buddy Geoff recently. We had a tough day the first day in a bad location, but Geoff caught one walleye and we got into a bunch of big jumbo perch. After speaking to a friend Carl, he let us know a good location and we took his advice. I was slightly shallow first thing in 19 feet of water, but Geoff was in the 21 foot hot zone and got into 5 walleye, while I just had more perch. After another move, I was in just over 20 feet and lost an absolute tank and got a couple walleye around 2 pounds. It went quiet after that as I just caught the tail end of the morning bite. Carl and his friends got into a bunch of walleye as well. I moved around in the afternoon until I marked fish on sonar in 22 feet of water. I then caught a tank of a walleye, lost another big fish and got into a few more walleye. I lost more than I caught, but Carl helped us out a lot and saved our trip! The fish were very negative and biting lightly. They didn’t move more than 6″ to look at a bait. The trick was to rise a small spoon tipped with a small mud minnow only a few inches and pause. When the fish looked at the bait, I would just ever so slightly jiggle to get bites. Even the larger fish wanted a small subtle presentation. Overall, although a frustrating start, it turned out to be a great trip!

BOQ_01 BOQ_02 BOQ_03 BOQ_04 BOQ_05 BOQ_06 BOQ_07 BOQ_08 BOQ_09 BOQ_10 BOQ_11 BOQ_12

Good ice fishing!

Aaron

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3

Mining for Quinte Gold

Posted on February 8th, 2015

I had a good time fishing the Bay of Quinte for a couple days with a buddy Geoff recently. We had a tough day the first day in a bad location, but Geoff caught one walleye and we got into a bunch of big jumbo perch. After speaking to a friend Carl, he let us know a good location and we took his advice. I was slightly shallow first thing in 19 feet of water, but Geoff was in the 21 foot hot zone and got into 5 walleye, while I just had more perch. After another move, I was in just over 20 feet and lost an absolute tank and got a couple walleye around 2 pounds. It went quiet after that as I just caught the tail end of the morning bite. Carl and his friends got into a bunch of walleye as well. I moved around in the afternoon until I marked fish on sonar in 22 feet of water. I then caught a tank of a walleye, lost another big fish and got into a few more walleye. I lost more than I caught, but Carl helped us out a lot and saved our trip! The fish were very negative and biting lightly. They didn’t move more than 6″ to look at a bait. The trick was to rise a small spoon tipped with a small mud minnow only a few inches and pause. When the fish looked at the bait, I would just ever so slightly jiggle to get bites. Even the larger fish wanted a small subtle presentation. Overall, although a frustrating start, it turned out to be a great trip!

BOQ_01

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BOQ_03

BOQ_04

BOQ_05

BOQ_06

BOQ_07

BOQ_08

BOQ_09

BOQ_10

BOQ_11

BOQ_12

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3

First Ice Walleye

Posted on January 4th, 2015

I had a chance to get out on the ice with a group of guys, Glen, Tim, Grant, and we even saw John Whyte out there with his drone. That thing is amazing! We ventured out carefully onto thin ice, checking every so often for safety. We had between 2″ to 4″ of solid black ice. We had flotation suits on with Rapala ice picks just in case, and fortunately we didn’t have to use them. It was a bit sketchy out further on 2″ of ice, but closer to shore there was 4″ of ice.

First thing in the morning a few guys got walleye, but it was really slow. We left and tried another location, and it was similar ice conditions. We had a few bites, but it was slow again. I got a call from my wife in the afternoon asking me to go home as she wasn’t feeling well, so we left. It was a bummer, as the walleye just started biting! I was lucky enough to get a walleye on a firetiger Jigging Rapala just before we had to leave. I only marked 2 walleye all day, and I got the second one. I was happy to be able to get out on the ice finally, even if it was sketchy and slow fishing. I have the ice fishing bug now!

Quinte1 Quinte2

I used a Rapala IRC medium action 28″ ice rod with Kaos spinning reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege. The Jigging Rap in W7 firetiger did the trick for me, coincidentally my favourite ice lure 🙂 I utilized a manual Finbore III 8″ auger to cut holes, and my Rapala Fat shack kept me warm in the cold windy conditions in the morning.

With the mild spell, the ice will not be safe for a bit. Fortunately the cold forecast this week should tighten things up again and make good ice. I am just chomping at the bit to get out on Lake Simcoe for lake trout and whitefish, so I hope the ice builds well this week. Be safe out there, and good ice fishing!

Aaron

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3

First Ice Walleye

Posted on January 4th, 2015

I had a chance to get out on the ice with a group of guys, Glen, Tim, Grant, and we even saw John Whyte out there with his drone. That thing is amazing! We ventured out carefully onto thin ice, checking every so often for safety. We had between 2″ to 4″ of solid black ice. We had flotation suits on with Rapala ice picks just in case, and fortunately we didn’t have to use them. It was a bit sketchy out further on 2″ of ice, but closer to shore there was 4″ of ice.

First thing in the morning a few guys got walleye, but it was really slow. We left and tried another location, and it was similar ice conditions. We had a few bites, but it was slow again. I got a call from my wife in the afternoon asking me to go home as she wasn’t feeling well, so we left. It was a bummer, as the walleye just started biting! I was lucky enough to get a walleye on a firetiger Jigging Rapala just before we had to leave. I only marked 2 walleye all day, and I got the second one. I was happy to be able to get out on the ice finally, even if it was sketchy and slow fishing. I have the ice fishing bug now!
Quinte1
Quinte2

I used a Rapala IRC medium action 28″ ice rod with Kaos spinning reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege. The Jigging Rap in W7 firetiger did the trick for me, coincidentally my favourite ice lure 🙂 I utilized a manual Finbore III 8″ auger to cut holes, and my Rapala Fat shack kept me warm in the cold windy conditions in the morning.

With the mild spell, the ice will not be safe for a bit. Fortunately the cold forecast this week should tighten things up again and make good ice. I am just chomping at the bit to get out on Lake Simcoe for lake trout and whitefish, so I hope the ice builds well this week. Be safe out there, and good ice fishing!

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3

Northern Chrome Adventure

Posted on December 29th, 2014

With the latest warm spell we had, I could not help but think of high stained rivers with fresh chrome steelhead. My thoughts were migrating toward northern Ontario tributaries for one last kick at the can before the deep freeze. After a few phone calls to friends and checking out river flow data, the destination was set into place and my good friend Tony would be making the trek with me. We were originally set to fish a certain trib I frequent, but I really wanted to fish new water. There are a few tribs that I have wanted to fish for well over 20 years, and after talking to a friend Mike, we changed our plans. Tony and I both set out on a steelhead journey to explore new waters we had never been to before. I absolutely love new adventures, from the road trip with friends, to not knowing what lies around the next corner on the river. I’m always like a kid on Christmas on these trips, full of excitement and eager to tear open the next gift.

We arrived to the lower end of the river to find beautiful stained green high water. It looked amazing! After many drifts with roe and no bites, we tried casting hardware without any luck either. We gave it our all for a couple of hours no no avail, and we didn’t see anyone else hook up either. I spoke with a few nice gentlemen on the river that informed me the fishing was slow this fall, a common theme everywhere. They said if you catch a few fish, that is a good day this season. We knew we had to move spots, and the decision process began. Should we move to a new river, or different part of the same river? The water looked to good not to explore further up river, and that is what we did. We found another access point, and that was an adventure on its own. We eventually made it down to the river and what we found was incredible. The river was picturesque with a breathtaking northern backdrop and vividly coloured water raging through pinch points. The high green water pushed around boulders, dropped into pools and rounded corners with high clay bank walls. it had rocky substrate and so much water to fish, steelhead could be anywhere! Like kids in a candy store, we set up our rods and began to explore, fishing almost every 30-feet down the river at a time.

The move paid off, and Tony and I both got into fresh chrome wild steelhead that put our tackle and agility to the test. These fish were hot and lively, jumping and cartwheeling around in pools. They would stop on a dime and come right back at you before tearing over to the main current forcing you to chase them down river. That heart-stopping fight is what I love about wild steelhead. We thoroughly enjoyed our day and getting into a bunch of fresh chrome steelhead each on a new trib was just what the doctor ordered. We got the steelhead in all types of spots like current seems, around boulders, the edge of breaks and even the middle of runs. It was a true steelhead paradise that I am glad I could enjoy with a good friend for the first time.

NorthernChrome_01 NorthernChrome_02 NorthernChrome_03 NorthernChrome_04 NorthernChrome_05 NorthernChrome_06 NorthernChrome_07 NorthernChrome_08 NorthernChrome_09

I used a 13′ Rapala North Coast float rod and centrepin reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege. I had a 7 gram float with staggered split shot to a micro swivel. I had a 24″ Sufix fluorocarbon leader 6lb test to a size 8 Gamakatsu octopus hook. Rainbow eggs tied in various coloured mesh worked well, but chartreuse had the edge for me. I am going into my third season now with my Rapala waders, and I love them. They are well made and comfortable. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

I think with the cold weather in the forecast, the steelheading on smaller rivers will be coming to an end soon. Get out while you can!

Good fishing!

Aaron

 

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3

Winter Steelheading in NY

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

A friend of mine Tony and I hit the border and fished NY tribs for steelhead on the weekend. The first good sized trib we fished looked prime. It has excellent water colour and levels and we got excited. We tried prime pools and runs with jigs, roe and single TriggerX eggs to no avail. We were a bit surprised how cold the water and action was, however it made sense with the recent melt-off. The steelies were a bit turned off with the influx of ice cold water. Despite perfect looking water conditions, we moved after a solid 4hrs without one fish. We decided to move to a smaller trib that would not be as affected by the cold water. We figured it may warm a bit more quickly and the fish may turn on in the early afternoon.

The move payed off, and we had a double header within our first few drifts! It was game on! Tony got into fish on jigs, and I got into them on roe. All colours seemed to work well. With a short time frame we worked a few pools hard opting to fish more rather than move around. We both got into a bunch of steelhead, and I even got a small brown. Most fish were small, but it was great to see the float drop and a bend in my float rod! I can’t wait to get back out there!

WinterSteel_07 WinterSteel_08 WinterSteel_09 WinterSteel_10 WinterSteel_11

I used a 13′ North Coast Rapala float rod and centrepin reel spooled up with 8lb Sufix Siege. I had a 5 gram G1 float with staggered split shot to a micro swivel. I added a 24″ 6lb Sufix fluorocarbon leader to a size 8 Gamakatsu octopus hook. Rainbow roe tied in peach, pink, chartreuse and yellow worked well about the size of a dime. We drifted deeper pools on current seams to get bites.

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