A typical Kempenfelt Bay lake trout. Only slightly interested in the Meegs Jig, eh? This one hammered it.
With some crispier weather lately, we've confirmed walkable ice on some lake trout and whitefish spots inside Kempenfelt Bay. I've found about five inches of hard, black ice and have been doing walk-to guides. Travelling light, with minimal fishing gear and our throw ropes, ice picks and floater devices, I've started taking guests out. Low skies and cool days have helped preserve the cover on the Bay, and we'll only add inches going forward. Trips have been safe and productive, for both lake trout and whitefish.
Walkable ice in Kempenfelt Bay, measuring about 5" thick. It's quality ice, but we'd obviously like to see a lot more of it. It'll come.
One of Lake Simcoe's most consistent whitefish and lake trout jiggers, Jesse Long. Mostly known as a whitefish lure, Meegs Jigs are also dynamite on lake trout. Don't be afraid the work them well off the bottom. They've got a perfectly balanced, horizontal profile in the water and that nasty hook digs in and holds wild, strong fish.
While we wait for for thicker ice conditions on Kempenfelt Bay, many good, early-ice areas are easy to access on foot. The boys from Michigan came west this time and we had a fun shift. Lots of soft, half-hearted strikes that day, but the boys stuck with it and did well. The whitefish were glued to bottom and would only come about a foot to eat. Vibrados were hot that day. No secret, there. Definitely one of the hottest jigging lures the past three years, on Lake Simcoe.
Fishing machine Big Mike, from Michigan. Mike's a full-time guide on Lake Erie and a great guy to fish with. Put him within a mile of one and he'll usually make it bite.
Two of the best tips I'd offer anyone fishing within Kempenfelt Bay is to take the extra time and effort to make a clean presentation and to pay very close attention to what your AquaVu and/or sonar is telling you, in terms of how fish are responding to what you're showing them. I had a group from Richmond Hill out recently and the fish were all over the place after we made a few moves, down along a wide, shallow dishpan in the bottom, well inside the main Bay's deep tract.
Right away, it became clear that larger lures were not getting whitefish to strike. They'd nose up or circle them, but not many takers. We dropped down to smaller baits, went to what basically amounted to heavy perch tackle (6lb. fluorocarbon leaders, little, light rods) and man, what a difference. Real cold and blustery that day, so getting clean photos wasn't easy. Tucked inside of my big, thermal Frabill hub shelters, the boys kept it pretty quiet after they got on track. Nothing wrong with that!
Lake Simcoe is a "details" fishery. Why?
-Insane fishing pressure, overall.
-Very clear water.
-Huge varieties and quantities of natural feed.
-Many stocked (non-wild) fish. They act differently than native fish, in many ways.
It was just awesome to see the guys get dialed in and take home a few fish for the smoker. As I like to say: Happy Guests = Happy Fishing Guide!
'The Versace Kid,' Giancarlo, with two he harvested for the table after releasing several more. Check out the boiler on that one on your right. No fewer than 13 gobies jammed in her. Real cold out that day, but it was like a tanning bed inside the hub. Giancarlo's tan is 100% natural, though! Way to go buddy.
I did a guided fishing trip for the Canadian Sportswoman Society on the east side of Lake Simcoe the other weekend, out of Casey's Port Bolster Inn. The girls came to learn the ropes and enjoy a fun weekend of fishing. They came out guns blazing and everyone sharpened their perch and herring game. Lots of laughs, a great fish fry and just a perfect set-up, at Casey's.
Big, tungsten Chekai jigs, XL Shrimpos and Meegs HangNails have been getting a lot of bites lately. Gobbing on a few spikes (just like a big maggot) is never a bad idea. We fish spoons like the Williams, Slender Spoon and Slab Grabbers naked---no meat, ever.
I've been fishing off my ATV out of Port Bolster for more than 2 weeks now. The ice there is well over 24 inches thick in places. All of the major outfitters have their big shacks out and the fishing is always great. If you're in the area, you've gotta try Casey's Fisherman's Breakfast. The lodge dining room opens EARLY and it's priced really well.
Here are a few images from the Sportswoman Society outing!
No black and white gym selfies or duck faces for these girls. There's talking about and looking the part, then there's actually doing it. All of the girls really are into the outdoors. It means more than owning camo and having a decal on your car, folks.
Lori Anne Burke-Horst's patented Curly Chips! Fresh perch, herring and spuds: a hit in anyone's league. Lori-Anne runs the Sportswoman Society and put the whole ice fishing trip together.
Ready for your Best Total Fishing Experience? Let me know and we'll go!