This past Sunday (July-2), we took the Beaver and flew over to the Mud River, that flows into Lake Nipigon. Many call Nipigon the Sixth Great Lake. It’s just 20 minutes east of our base camp. We keep a boat on the river, and within minutes we were fishing this massive body of water, home to the world record Brook Trout. Nipigon regulations require single hooks and no live bait, and truthfully, we did not do well. One, it was late in the day. Two, we do not know the lake the way we know the lakes and rivers on which we have outpost cabins and lodges. At first, no live bait or multi-hooked lures felt like going to a prize fight with one arm tied behind our backs. This brings me to our feature story:
Six guys, the Murray party, from Southern Michigan, men who have fished together for over 25 years, were out at D’AltonLake outpost cabin last week. Of their own choosing, they used barb-less artificial lures only. In their five day trip they all caughtWalleyes over 26”, making them all Wilderness North Master Anglers. They too admitted feeling “funny” about breaking old habits, but their results proved an important lesson:
- Take the time to learn all you can about the body of water that you are fishing.
- Learn all you can about the specie of fish you are seeking.
Combine these two pools of knowledge and your success rate will improve, even with artificial bait. Mac McKenzie, the group’s leader, said it felt great to release fish easily and unharmed by barbs, and the group felt more like “pure” sport anglers by NOTusing live bait. Now, you probably think we’re crazy for bringing this topic up, since we sell live bait to our guests. But let’s be honest here. We know that minnow quality goes down, and mortality rates go up in July and August. And we know the new scented baits are getting better and better. More importantly, we really know the waters our guests fish, and we openly share that knowledge with every party BEFORE we send them out. I guess “Knowledge still is power.”
So here’s an idea. Try barb-less and artificial. Maybe just for one day of your trip or more. See what you think. We can give you more information about the “artificials” that have produced results here. Also, fish biologists confirm that barb-less is kinder andgentler on the fish, since it allows the quick release of uninjured fish. Emergency room doctors tell us barb-less is good on anglers, too. There’s nothing like removing a barbed hooked from the little flap of skin between your thumb and index finger, to prove the point OUCHHHHH (pun intended). Thanks to the Murray gang for being futurists.