Trolling for Dog Lake Walleye

Natural perfect-looking baits or crazy colours?

On this episode of the Fish’n Canada Show, we were on the lookout for finicky, mid-summer walleye.

It was the first week of August and although it hadn’t been brutally hot, it was the peak summer period. The majority of July had mile-high skies and lots of sunshine beaming down on lakes in our area, which means tough fishing conditions.

We were in the Missanabie area of Ontario, a destination that is known for great walleye fishing. This includes Dog Lake, Big and Little Missanabie, Whitefish, Manitowik and Wabatongushi Lakes, along with an array of smaller bodies of water, all of which are phenomenal walleye producers.

map
This truly is walleye country

Our home base for this shoot was at the time called Ernie’s Cottages and Campgrounds on the shores of Dog Lake. The new owners have recently changed their name to Dog Lake Cottages and Campground. Of course…as it seems typical when we arrive at a new shoot location, “everybody, grab your rain gear”! An unwanted summer torrential downpour was hitting us hard! This pretty much had us stuck in one of the cottages…hey, it was comfy and dry and it even gave us a chance to record a podcast…go figure.

Listen: Rain Delay

BTW… FYI…, it’s not that we can’t fish in these conditions. The fact is, we can’t film! A wet lens equals bad imagery!

dock
We can fish in it, we just can’t shoot in it!

After what seemed like forever, the weather had finally cleared and we were chomping at the bit to hit the water. Our first stop was a big cabbage weed bed. It was a perfect spot to fire in some jigs and maybe a rattle bait to see if we could shake things up.

garmin livescope
Here’s a LiveScope view of what our weed bed looked like

Well, it didn’t take long to connect with our first walleye. It slammed a jig and fluke as it entered the weedy domain. Things were looking up, we were thinking this could turn into an outstanding, action-packed day.

walleye
The weather broke so we started out working for a large cabbage weed bed and instantly hooked up with a walleye

Unfortunately…as soon as we caught that walleye, we started nailing small pike one after another. It was actually annoying. Yes, we realize that there will be Northerns mixed in with the walleye…that’s something we’ve come to expect in Northern Ontario but this was ridiculous. Time to move on.

TROLLING: TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES

trolling

We drove around the lake a bit and pretty quickly came upon some fish stacked up on a hard-bottomed breakline. They showed up well on our Garmin’s traditional and SideVu screens. Since the wind wasn’t ripping at that time, Ang and I decided to troll with our electric motor while fishing from the front of the boat. That way we can hold our fishing rods in our hands and make sure we could work on hooking up with light biters. As well, it gave us a quick opportunity to anchor the trolling motor and cast to fish we saw on our Livescope screen.

“I’m one of those anglers,” says Ang “who likes to throw natural, perfect-looking baits. Hey, if the fish are eating perch, I want my bait to resemble a perch! Pete on the other hand,” Ang continues, “often goes way off the rails when it comes to colour choices. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for him, but there are times when he pulls out something like Purple Wonderbread, and, low and behold…it actually catches fish… and sometimes lots of fish! Go figure!!!

Techy Fishing Stuff

Want to learn more about how Ang and Pete used their electronics on this trip? Head over to fishncanada.com to learn about this trip, and many more!

Read: Fishing How-Tos

Back To The Fishing

As the day progressed, indeed Pete’s shot at crazy colours being effective for those northern Ontario walleye worked. They loved it!

“Okay, Okay, I realize that earlier on I said I was a natural bait colour kinda’ guy," says Ang, "but enough was enough. I’ve gotta’ tap out and submit to the crazy. Or should I say, what the heck does it represent…Purple Wonderbread??? Oh well…”

With Ang’s reluctant move to Purple Wonderbread, he too started boating fish.

2 anglers
Crazy colours often equal lots of walleye

As in typical mid-day fashion, the wind had picked up and fishing from the front of the boat was much more difficult. We had to shift to the more conventional trolling method and put the rods in the rod holders at the back of the boat. We still used the electric motor for propulsion, we were just fishing from a different position. “Funny story,” says Pete “I finally got Ang all pumped up and convinced into pulling a Purple Wonderbread and things were going great. He instantly started catching walleye. Then all of a sudden he gets bit grabs his rod, and proceeds to get spooled…every inch of line from his bait caster is gone! We have no idea to this day what hit him”.

bright coloured lure
Check out the amount of line Ang has on his bait caster…ZERO feet…spooled in seconds!

Luckily, the bite got even better…so Ang grabbed a Yo Zuri “Bass” crankbait…and he was back in business.

CONCLUSION

This was a very typical day for us, trying to figure out what is arguably Ontario’s most popular gamefish. We started out pitching jigs into weeds and quickly determined that “wasn’t” the way to go…But as soon as we located a couple of schools of deeper fish with our electronics, followed by bringing out the trolling gear, it was fish on!

walleye
Ending the day on a sweet double header of walleye made the trip that much more worthwhile!

Quite honestly, no matter what fishing methods we use when targeting northern Ontario walleye…for us, it NEVER gets old!

DOG LAKE COTTAGES AND CAMPGROUND

(Formerly Ernie’s)

aerial of dog lake cottages
Dog Lake is located in Northern Ontario in the District of Algoma.

It has a surface area of 13,209 acres and a perimeter of 192 km (120 miles). The deepest point is 76+m or 245 feet with a mean depth of 12 ½ meters or just over 41 feet. There are numerous islands.  

It’s fed mainly by the Lochalsh River at the north end and flows out of the south end forming the Michipicoten River system. Our trip was based near the town of Missanabie, which is located on the northeast shore of Dog lake. It was about a 10-hour drive from the Fish’n Canada headquarters to Missanabie. A piece of cake with two drivers.

The main gamefish species here are Walleye, Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Whitefish, and Burbot.

Gettin’ There

map

To get to this fantastic walleye fishing spot we travelled north on Hwy 400 to HWY 69. From there, we headed west on Hwy 17, then north on Hwy 546 at Ironbridge, eventually turning into Hwy 554. Next, we headed north on Hwy 129, carried on to Hwy 101, and turned right on Hwy 651. From there, we got onto 1st street in Missanabie and ended up at Dog Lake Cottages.

About Fish'n Canada

As one of the original pioneers of Canadian adventure television, the Fish'n Canada Show has been broadcasting their pursuit of the ultimate adventure for over 30 years. Hosts Angelo Viola and Pete Bowman educate and entertain audiences with their passion and enthusiasm for fishing. Both are inductees in the Canadian Anglers Hall of Fame. Check out their episodes and video on the Fish'n Canada YouTube Channel and like them on Facebook!

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