With so much talk of ice, spawning fish, and cold weather gear, I’d like to take a step ahead this week and look at what the warmer months of summer have to offer the adventurous angler, at Wilderness North. I can honestly say that there is not a bad time of the season to fish our waters. One’s chance at high number days and trophy fish is just as good in the spring as it is in mid-summer and the fall. Fishing locations and tactics, however, change as the season progresses and the water warms up. Those heavenly spring honey holes will start coughing up fewer fish but large groups will congregate in new areas. By July, walleye will be stacked up on mid-lake humps and reefs and the largest of Northerns are rarely far away. It can be a fantastic time of the season to enjoy superb weather, oodles of fish, and plenty of calm, still, evenings -perfect for laying out a fly.
Reflecting back on some of my fondest lodge memories, I often envision those mid- summer days on Miminiska Lake. In July and August, the water has warmed, the days are long, and the bite is on. Fish will relate to structure in deep water. You can find huge stacks of walleye on mid -lake humps and reefs. Look for structure that is not connected to shore. These ‘humps’ in the middle of nowhere can often be goldmines this time of year. An area that goes from 25’ up to 20’ will hold fish and an area that goes from 25’ up to 12’ will probably hold more. Even slight rises or rock piles out in deeper water will have good concentrations. Miminiska Lake has an abundance of structure. I’ll never forget flying over it for the first time, trying to make mental notes of the endless rock piles, sunken islands, and reefs.
The West Arm of Miminiska Lake is dotted with numerous structures such as these. Generally speaking, the sub-surface humps are what will hold most fish, however, there are several visible structures within the West Arm that do as well. This makes it even easier for the angler, especially the first timer. It is literally as simple as cruising into the West Arm and fishing the first piece of protruding rock you see. Work the deep edges of the drops and move on to the next visible piece of structure. The key is moving from spot to spot slowly and keeping a watchful eye on your sonar for sudden bottom changes. These are must fish areas that will more than likely hold fish. Jigging is by far the best way to catch walleye on these spots.
The rest of the lake has its fair share of summer humps as well. Wottam Bay is loaded with rock piles, as is the mouth of Ferguson Bay (5 mins from lodge). Basically by this time of year the water has warmed and it sees more sunlight each day. Walleye will spend a lot of time hanging in deeper water, where temps are suitable and there is less light penetration. And if they’re going to hang in deeper water, why not beside a nice big rock pile, that makes a perfect ambush point for passing baitfish. With that being said, when the wind kicks up and the sky is overcast, often you’ll find walleye on Mim sitting on the shallower sections of these humps. Try casting Rapala J-9’s or even smaller spinnerbaits on top of or around your favorite underwater rock piles when there is a bit of chop to the water.
In July, you can expect to find dense weed growth and vegetation in the many bays and shallows of Miminiska Lake. Miminiska also has its share of deep water weed-beds and weed-lines that are highly visible mid-summer, making them easier to fish. If you can find a nice distinct weed-line in deeper water you will find fish. Slow trolling flashy, lighter spoons will pull predators from the weeds. If it’s just scattered weeds you find, like the ones by shorelunch island, it’s much easier to cast and cover water that way. Weed-less soft plastics like a Yum Money Minnow, or Big Leech work great for fishing weed pockets. Always stick to the weed-beds closest to the deepest water at this time of year. Locating weeds that are extending up 4 – 6 feet in 12 or more feet of water are ideal, in my mind. These types of beds can be worked with a jerk- bait, ripped just above them. Huskies, Bombers, and even some smaller style muskie baits like the Jake work well.
As stated earlier, you can expect calm, quiet, evenings, where the water is like glass. Combine these calm nights with the plethora of fly hatches taking place and you can bet the surface will be teeming with activity. Big pike can still be found cruising into shallow areas in the evenings, ambushing unsuspecting fish as they feed on surface bugs. These nights give the top water angler or fly fisherman a great advantage. It is just a fact that when the surface is buzzing with insect activity, the eyes of the fish underneath are watching.
Summer time is a great time at Mim Lodge. Who can think of a better way to spend a summer day then to catch 100 walleye in your shorts and come back home to be pampered. Wildlife is active and abundant mid- summer and it is not uncommon to see Bull Moose wading chest deep, Woodland Caribou swimming from island to island, and Black Bears wandering the shoreline.
Until next time,