Northwest Ontario – Spring Fever

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First Nation Guides with Trophy Ontario Pike


For many inhabitants of Ontario and visitors alike the real true first sign of spring begins the minute ice starts its slow and methodical thaw on the thoudsands of lakes and rivers across the province. With this steady progression comes the natural shift in storing the ice fishing gear and preparing summer tackle in earnest. With new Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) regulations for 2008 governing all waters many will be catching up on lake specific laws and open seasons.

For cross border anglers visiting the province it’s always good to do a little research in advance when targeting a specific fish species. While just about every lodge, resort and outfitter in the province will advise you of the current regulations it not only makes good sense in your preparatory plans to do a little reading that can give you an edge in deciding what tackle and lures might suit the purpose.

For many cross border angers visiting from the United States a short 4-6 hour drive is not uncommon to reach many of the pristine waters of Ontario. Abundant with Walleye (Pickerel), Northern Pike, Muskellunge, and Smallmouth Bass it is no wonder why Northwest Ontario destinations such as Lake of The Woods, Shoal Lake, Eagle Lake, Kakagi Lake, Crow Lake, Rainy Lake and countless others are such popular destinations that breed fish tales of a lifetime. With new security and passport changes in effect regarding the transition over the border it is advisable to all guests entering the province to carry the proper documents to ensure a trouble free crossing.

Northern Pike Jerkbaits

With basic trip planning well in hand you are now at the whim of selecting a lake of your choice and outfitter. From hard core ‘roughing it’ adventures to full 5 star accommodations there is something for everyone and you’ll find a destination to suit your budget. Early spring angling in Northwestern Ontario is prime for Northerns and Walleye. Pike at this time of year can be found transitioning from deeper 20-30 feet depths to warmer 5-8 foot depths and a variety of baits consistently produce monsters in excess of 40 inches. Bucktail spinners, Marabous, Bulldawgs, Suicks, Believers and large Spinnerbaits prove to be deadly in all situations and adjusting your lure to the appropriate depth can be the key to your success. Different approaches in casting and trolling will also increase your odds in getting that trophy fish into the boat.

With big fish in big fish country comes the need for big tackle. Leave the lightweight Bass rods and reels at home if you plan on landing an early season Northern Pike. Medium to heavy weight rods of 6’6 to 7 ½ are your best bet. Spinning reels and baitcasters spooled with braided line of up to 60 lbs will decrease bite offs and snags in heavy structure. Fluorocarbon or titanium leaders in various lengths will hardy snap swivels will provide safe and effective methods of holding your lures (and the pike!).

Old man winter will soon release his ice grip giving way to glorious and warmer angling opportunities in the Northwest region of Ontario. Are you ready? It will be here (and you too) sooner than you think.


 This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2008. Ontario Fish Trips .


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