Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fishing with a Magician!

The Magician in his office!
With the forecast set for a high of 28 Celius with sunshine, it was time to head to Lake of the Woods this Friday to catch up with an old friend. Brent Krueger has been guiding out of Kenora, Ontario for more than 20 years so I knew that Hooked Publisher Kevin Stobbe and I would be in for a great time with the Fishin Magician as he calls his guide service. While he only now spends weekends on the water  because of a regular job, he can still be counted on to catch fish, lots of them! So this Saturday we hit the water at first light and had a bunch of fish in the boat before the sun was over the trees.

 In fact the fishing was so good we finished our day by one p.m. and spent a leisurely 
afternoon relaxing on the dock. Brent put us on some crappies early as well as walleye but on our second spot we got into some great walleye fishing. It was at an entrance to a big shallow bay, a flush area with some water moving between two sections of the lake. 

We started fishing jigs and minnows in 22 feet of water and immediately were into a double header. A short time later, Brent hooked into a real big fish. Controlling the boat into the wind with the front troll motor, he expertly guide this big walleye into the waiting net. Measuring 29 inches, this was the largest fish caught this day. 

We did, however catch a lot of nice walleye, a great day on the water in perfect conditions. We also managed to land a few crappies, the largest at 14 inches.

Brent has also designed a great top water lure called the “Skid Stick” a very effective top water bait for all species of fish. Check out his website at

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall has arrived!

Its official, fall has arrived! This time of year brings anglers in this part of the world out in droves, hoping to catch a trophy walleye.
On a recent adventure to the Whitemud River, I pulled out my first Berkley Flicker Minnow.  My friend Jim Price was using the # 7 Flicker Shad in a custom painted perch patter. By the end of the day he had out fished me about 20-14, so I would have to say that crank proved a little more effective on this day. It was also diving a bit deeper on less line than my Minnow.  Still both baits catch fish, lots of fish.
Make sure you have both in your tackle box this fall.
With all the recent rain, current flow will continue to be strong in both the Red and Winnipeg rivers, the two most popular destinations in the province. There is unfortunately, both good news and bad news. I will give you the bad news first. Unless the water clears up, the walleye bite in the Red River could be tough. If you want to catch fish in this river, you need decent water clarity. That also holds for Lake Winnipeg as well, but Traverse Bay and Pine Falls usually is not nearly as affected. If you talk to anglers in the know, this has certainly been the case all summer and early fall. 

Anglers fishing the big lake have been catching walleye, lots of them! We are taking about 50 fish days in two and half metres of water. In high water years, the majority of the feed is shallow and this year just highlights that. So if you want to catch fish, get out to the lake. There is a couple of hitches in all this, you need a boat and you need to watch the weather. A fierce north wind will muddy up the water and scatter fish.  This is where trolling with crankbaits on the flats or on channel edges really pays off.

 I can remember a number of incredible days whacking walleye in three metres of water on the mud flats. Having a GPS is also key so you can track your trolling runs and mark the little rock piles that dot the landscape. These will hold roving schools of fish for short periods of time and when this happens you’re in the money. Monofilament is not a bad choice in these shallow conditions. The stretch of mono will act as a shock absorber when these big fish steamroll your bait! A wide range of a shallow running baits will work so carry a selection.
When you need to contour troll though, things change. I love to use Fireline in 10 pound test. It has such a small diameter, crankbaits get down in a hurry.
Leadcore line, snap on weights, bottom bouncers are all options in getting your lure to the bottom in a hurry.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crowduck Lake still has what it takes

Brilliant sunshine met Kevin Stobbe and I as we headed east to the Whiteshell Provincial Park this week.
This was to be my annual pilgrimage to Crowduck Lake Camp. Kevin, who is the publisher of Hooked Magazine had signed up for this Charity Fishing Event with Boston Pizza owner Denis Paulhus. As editor of the magazine I got to go along.
It seems I make at least one trip to this great walleye lake every year and this day did not disappoint.
In fact, it was one of the better days I have on the lake as far as size of fish caught. Many of the walleye we caught were in the 19 to 22 inch range with the large fish topping 23 inches. By the way, this was the last fish of the day, caught while I was packing up my gear at the end of the day. I had stuck my pink jig tipped with a big shiner minnow in the portable rod holder I had brought along. All of a sudden it double over from the weight of a heavy fish, with line disappearing off my spool at a pretty alarming rate. Once out of the rod holder, I leaned a bit on the fish, which only made it more determined to take out more line. I was wondering if I had a big pike on the end of the line but it was making all the classic walleye moves so I didn’t think so.  Sure enough after a memorable struggle this real nice walleye appeared out of the depths in this beautiful clear lake and into the waiting landing net.

While Crowduck Lake does not kick out the big walleye like it did in the mid seventies and early eighties, this fishery produces many a hundred fish days per boat in an eight hour fishing day.
It is a great spot to come out with novice anglers or your kids, because they will get bit. Speaking of which, Kevin ended up catching the most fish. He was very good at keep his jig straight up and down and waiting for the fish to commit to the bait. His hook sets were solid and he lost very few fish.
All in all a fantastic day for a great cause. It doesn’t get any better than that.
For more information on boat rental rates go the Crowduck Lake Camp website at

Bill Kolansky runs a great camp.

A day to remember forever

Kenna with one of her many fish caught!
Six Lac du Bonnet students enjoy a great day on the water!
By Don Lamont

Nestled on a small bay at the start of the Winnipeg River at Pointe du Bois, Trail End Camp is a favourite destination by anglers in the know. This was the destination on a beautiful August day this past month for some lucky students from Lac du Bonnet and area. Vance and Maureen Hrechkosy were outside the main lodge to greet the six students from Lac du Bonnet that had been offered a dream fishing trip. It was to be a day on the water with Vance in his huge 28 foot aluminum charter boat. 

This rig will comfortably fish eight people and is so popular Vance has to turn a lot of business away. This day he donated his charter fee of $700 to give these students a memory they will have for the rest of their lives. Supported by the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association and organized by local teacher Anthony Penner, students were picked up at Centennial School in Lac du Bonnet for the short drive to Pointe du Bois.
 Nice perch!
 Anybody who has ever visited Pointe du Bois and fished the river above the dam will attest to its rugged and wild nature of both the river and the landscape itself. This year, though, record high water levels have changed the landscape, making whole islands disappear under water. It had also turned famous Lamprey Falls into a torrent.  Vance started working on the river full time in 1986 and then spent some time in Northern Ontario, returning to the Winnipeg River in 1990 after his family purchased Trail End.
 Vance holding court at shore lunch

 This is what it's all about!
He was the guy you would want navigating the river at any time, with an incredible wealth of knowledge about the area and one of the best story tellers you will ever have the chance to listen to. Vance headed us up river to an area called Big Bay to fish an underwater point. Hrechkosy said that the current was so fast in the main river, he has had to fish slack water areas most of the season. On this day it paid off in spades as we caught a number of walleye and pike on the first place we stopped. In fact the fishing was so good we didn’t have to move once all morning. What a treat for the students, catching fish and learning how to operate a jig from Vance, Anthony, Ron and myself. 

Kayla catches a nice pike!

One student, Kenna, had never caught a fish before. By the end of the day she would have bragging rights, landing fifteen fish on her own!

 Cleaning some perch for lunch

It was a great day for all involved, one not soon forgotten.  Thanks for everyone involved, including the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association, teacher Anthony Penner and most of all Vance and Maureen Hrechkosy!
Vance on left and Anthony on right, made this trip happen!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Oldman


Our last full day, we decide to head down the foothills to the Oldman River,  in a section near Highway 22.
I have one of my most enjoyable days using two different presentations.

I start with a Terranasty along with a Prince nymph dropper. Six fish later the action slows…

then on the last pool of the day fish start to rise and I catch two beautiful trout on a Royal Coachman on what was a great day for me.
All in all a great trip with some real nice guys, something I sure would consider doing again.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Livingstone

Part Two of our Adventure to southern Alberta:
Now headquartered out of the Racehorse Creek campground the next three days are spent fishing the Livingstone River.
 Breakfast before our first day on the |Livingstone

 There are many roads that lead to the riverside, but this river is also very popular among fly fisherman. The first two days we don’t have too much trouble finding a stretch of river to fish, but come Friday things are crowded.
 Phil lands a colourful fish!
On our first day on the Livingstone, Len Penner has a great day, landing nearly 20 fish. Lime Sally was the fly of the day. Phil and I catch some fish but don't have near that kind of success. Next day we made sure to have on a variety of dry flies and things turn for the better.

Thursday: our best day on the Livingstone in a middle section of the river. Phil lands nine fish out of one pool and sees big bull trout. He catches most of them on black ant that he tied the night before!
 I manage to land a number of nice fish as well, and see some huge cutthroat refuse my big stonefly presentation. Still, most of the fish I caught on my little yellow and white mayfly dry fly.

After a great day of fishing we head into Bellevue to pick up more dry flies and have dinner. We also tune into the Bomber/Edmonton game (that didn’t turn out so well.)

 Friday- we fish upper Livingstone and have a nice time with myself landing four fish.  We ended up fishing for only about two hours because of crowded conditions.

Tomorrow, a successful visit to the Oldman River!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day Four is moving day


Castle Falls holds some big bull trout!

The next day we try and access the south Castle River but are stopped by some washed out sections of the access road.
Phil lands only rainbow of the trip
Instead we stay relatively close to home and fish the forks of the south and west Castle. Some beautiful pools make this short section attractive but Phil hooks the only rainbow of the trip on a big brown Wooly Bugger fished in a straight section of the river. 

 A nice cuthroat from a the back of a deep pool on
a dry fly 

Meantime in the pool below I land two cutthroat back to back before we call it a day. That’s because it’s moving day, when we head up north through the Crowsnest. First though we have to stop and visit the two great fly shops that our on our way. 

At the Crowsnest Angler, friend Vic Bergman has a day off, so we head up to visit Susan Douglas-Murray at the Crowsnest Café & Fly Shop. Here we get the latest information on the rivers and streams we are about to fish and Susan hand picks the flies we need. These would hold us in good stead and dramatically increase our success ratio the rest of the way.

Inside of the Crowsnest Angler fly shop
Then we head north to the Racehorse Creek campground which is to be our home for the next five days. This beautiful campground is centrally located to where we want to fish. From here we have access to a multitude of different small rivers, creeks and larger rivers including the Oldman. After setting up camp we decide to head out to the stream that the campground was named after, Racehorse Creek. This little stream, while small in stature provide us with some great evening angling over the next two days. On the second evening out by myself, I landed four nice cutthroat in two different pools, all on Pale Morning Dun fly, commonly called among fly fishers, a PMD. Meantime Gerald Conrad, had the same fly on with similar results. Gerald and his partner Ron Enns have now been with us two days.