Like a wise old buck, a big granny of a chain pickerel can become too comfortable with her surroundings and a steady supply of food. For chainies, who are pure predators, that means a good supply of prey fish, often in the corner of a small inland lake.
As they get larger and older, chain pickerel become creatures of habit, roaming along the lake and showing up at different structures that provide reliable food and shelter throughout the seasons. They will have several prime spots where they like to hang out. These spots might supply the patient and skilled fisherman with a nice catch of quite large chain pickerel.
Sometimes these spots overlap or seem to be on top of one another. A good fisherman will cast over a lot of water in search of these spots. And what a thrill it is when one of these spots is found and a large, thrashing chain pickerel strikes your lure.
In the province of Nova Scotia there is so much water to explore for chain pickerel that fishermen can become spoiled. Or they can dither, like a diner presented with a too-extensive menu. Should we try that pond by the highway, or that back-county lake that requires a bit of a hike? So much water, so many choices. Success at one lake on one day may be followed the next day by getting skunked at the same lake, using the same techniques.
I love to explore these lakes and ponds with a medium-action bait casting rod or with a travelling, eight-weight fly rod. Over the last decade I’ve fished these spots in May, June, August, September, and October as I’ve visited Nova Scotia with my fishing partner (aka, my wife).
Lakes easily seen from the road are sometimes heavily fished - or maybe not. There’s a certain pond we love that just looks too small to be the home of twenty-inch plus pickerel. But the fish are there. Looks can be deceiving, so give those spots a try. At one particular pond one spring day, on my first cast ever at that spot, I was rewarded with an immediate strike. I could see the fish sideswipe my surface lure and it was on! I hauled it in, fighting all the way, shouting for my wife to get the camera!
Fishing for chain pickerel is a worthwhile adventure, whether fishing from roadside spots or walking through forest trails to get to out-of-the way waters. As mentioned, we’ve fished these spots at various times of the year and have had good luck.
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ONTARIO FISHING ADVENTURES
Last winter we did a special feature profiling several fantastic fishing resorts in various regions of Ontario. The article was so well received that we decided to do it again, with a new group of lodges. All of this year’s destinations provide top notch fishing for multiple species, they’re relatively unpressured and they are easily accessible by car. From high-end, full service resorts to more laid-back fishing camps, each of these locations offer a unique fishing experience. If you’re thinking about where to go for your next fishing getaway the following pages feature Bob Izumi's profiles of some the trips he made last year. Hopefully they will give you some ideas on where to look for a fishing trip that is sure to meet all of your expectations.
FISHING ALGOMA COUNTRY
Wil Wegman is an award-winning outdoor writer, seminar host and tournament angler from Bradford Ontario. In 2017 Wil was recognized for his dedication to the sport by being inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. www.wilwegman.com
Tales from the Road
As you may know I like driving, so jumping in a vehicle and doing a road trip is appealing to me. For years I would routinely do 100,000 km per year or more on the road. So this Tales starts with me heading out again, back to Brennan Harbour Resort in Spanish, Ontario. Located in Algoma Country, this friendly resort is operated by James and Casey, who are a wonderful couple.
CHAIN PICKEREL ON STRIKE
I’ve never stalked a whitetail deer, but I imagine doing so is a bit like fishing for large chain pickerel. Success is found by locating those prime areas where the big ones live, and by working those areas thoroughly and patiently with exact techniques.
Elk Tartare with Horseradish Crema
Tales From The Road
Since my last Tales article I’ve been averaging at least six days a week, sometimes seven, on the road. Road trips are, and have always been, a big part of my life. There’s just something about being on the go that I love. In fact, as I wrap up this column I’ll be hitting the road again and I can’t wait, even though I just got back a day ago. I think it’s ingrained in me so much that I don’t mind living out of a suitcase. I know it’s not for everybody, but I like it.
The MGM Fishing Trip
On the first Saturday of June 2020, a group of 20 extended family members will celebrate an amazing milestone. They will be participating in the 50th consecutive year of a family fishing trip begun by four founding members way back in 1971.
Every now and again we anglers are lucky enough to find lakes, ponds or creeks that feel so isolated from civilization that believing they are a reality is sometimes more difficult than finding them in the first place. Stumbling across, or being introduced to, a body of water with such enormous potential for catching fish is what any fishing enthusiast dreams of. Fortunately for myself, I have lucked out three times in one shot.
The black crappie is a member of the sunfish family and features the same deep, laterally compressed body shape as other sunfishes.
Fly Tricks For Fall Trout
In the fall, fly fishing changes. Not only does the weather cool, the bug activity often quiets down as well. Different techniques are needed to adapt to the rivers where fish are often looking for different food. Searching techniques and paying attention to details can improve your success.