The Lucky 13 Ice Fishing Tips
A great method for trolling on hard water. Yes, trolling. On a frozen lake.
HT’s Tom Gruenwald provides tips for successful -- and safe -- ice fishing!
Must Have Safety Items
Saskatchewan’s Northern Utopia
All about Women in the Wilderness, an annual 4-day getaway in Northern Saskatchewan.
An account of an iFish experience at the wonderful Winefed Lake Lodge in Alberta.
16 #AppsForAnglers Fishing Pics &
Trophy Pike After All These Years A guide to chasing large Northern Pike through the ice from Gord Pyzer
iFish Visits Winefred Lake
Center Ice with Owen Nolan Exclusive fishing tips from retired NHLer and Sportsman360 TV host Owen Nolan.
HT’s Tom Gruenwald gives his insight on 5 safety items you need for ice fishing.
Trolling for Ice Fishing Success
Winter Story Tellers Tips from Gord Pyzer on locating fish in the winter, including the use of sonar.
Beer Battered Fish Tacos Recipe
Fishin’ Chicks from The Chive
A note from the Editor...
iFish Magazine ™ - Volume 2, Issue 1 February 2014 EDITORS Randy Chamzuk, Marcel Schoenhardt DESIGN Marcel Schoenhardt CONTRIBUTIONS Gord Pyzer, Tom Gruenwald, Jenn Smith Nelson, Stephanie Wakelin, Candace Chamzuk
I had quite the experience this summer. I actually unplugged myself and dedicated a few days to fishing. As you’ll read in my article about a fantastic fishing trip I took this past summer at a lake in northern Alberta. There was so much I wanted to tell about the whole trip but had to cut pages of details.
iFish Magazine™ is published by: QDI Group of Companies 9320 49th St. Edmonton, AB T6B 2L7 Tel (780) 466-2535
This summer I suggest that you make a point of unplugging for a couple days to get out somewhere new. Even if you don’t have a record fishing experience like I did, one thing that you will get is enjoyment. It’s amazing how many details we actually enjoy when we can actually get away from the hustle and bustle. Do yourself a favor, make it a point to go somewhere new, and give yourself enough time to enjoy it.
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION All Contents copyrighted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without prior written consent from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in Canada. iFish Magazine™ is not responsible for researching the accuracy of the contents published in iFish Magazine™. Readers are advised that the use of the information contained within is at their own risk and neither party assumes any risk or liability for it.
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BEHOLD. THE LONGEST SPLIT SECOND IN THE UNIVERSE. The big one? Or the one that got away? What you do with your wrist in the next fraction of a second decides it. Tick, tock.
ONLY WHOLESALE SPORTS IS AS OBSESSED WITH FISHING AS YOU ARE. AND WE HAVE THE PEOPLE AND GEAR TO PROVE IT. FIND YOUR LOCAL STORE AT WHOLESALESPORTS.COM
Always let people back home know where you’re planning to fish and when you’ll be returning.
Organize and pre-rig your gear and tackle before heading out onto the ice.
Choose a lake known for producing the species and size fish you wish to catch.
Never travel alone.
Know your target species preferred and primary forage bases and their habits so you can better determine productive locations.
Identify species that are competing with your target species for habitat and forage and how these interrelationships might affect your target fish location, movements and feeding times.
Understand your target species preferred form(s) of cover.
Use today’s GPS mapping systems and select smart phone apps such as iFishApps.com to select the best locations, travel to them efficiently, obtain current information and learn helpful fishing tips.
Be sure your line and leaders are fresh, and knots are secure.
Move frequently, using sonar to investigate various structures, features, and depths as you search for fish.
Employ gear and tackle specifically designed for the species you’re targeting and conditions you’re facing.
Use underwater cameras to confirm the fish you’ve located are in fact the species you’re searching for.
Utilize sonar to monitor what depth the fish are relating to, how they react to various presentations, identify where the most active fish are holding and feeding and determine which lure styles, sizes, colors and motions are most effective.
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ICE PICKS—To provide grip on wet ice allowing you to pull yourself out of the water should you happen to fall through. CELL PHONE IN A PLASTIC BAG—Provides connection to request assistance and is no good if ruined by submersion in water. ICE CLEATS—To help reduce the chance of slipping, especially on bare ice or thin layers of wet snow atop smooth ice. LIFE JACKET OR RING—A life jacket is required aboard a boat in most places during open water, so why aren’t they when we’re on ice? THROW ROPE—These are available commercially or can be home-made, but are something you should always have handy—it may save your life or that of a fellow angler.
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By Jenn Smith Nelson Fancy a little slice of paradise? Although Pine Island Resort Ltd., hosts a wide variety of groups who flock to the remote Black Bear Island Lake in beautiful northern Saskatchewan; the second weekend of August is all about the fisherWOMEN.
Women in the Wilderness, a four-day annual getaway which hosts up to 20 women, took place this past August during the 8th-11th. A testament to the appeal of this top notch trip -- only five spots remain for next year’s adventure. And it’s no surprise why. Beyond the amazing locale of Black Bear Island Lake, (a spot found at a widening of the famous Churchill River system where, hundreds of years ago fur traders canoed its routes) the weekend it is the ultimate fishing getaway for women. The term ‘roughing it’ was pretty much as far away from this experience as you can get. Vickie and Bart Bricksaw who run Pine Island Resort Ltd., did their best to ensure everyone’s time spent on the getaway was amazing from the moment they stepped off of the float plane to the moment they got back on it. From the thoughtful gift bags found on each bed inside deluxe lake front cabins to the generous feasts that took place up at the cabin lodge. All women were also treated to individual massages and the supply of good company was never short.
landscape, incredible. And, as far as fishing backdrops go, it’s safe to say that the landscape is unrivaled within the province. The guides made the whole experience fun and easy by managing the tackle and bringing the fish into the boats. During the lunch hour all the boats reconvened for a delicious shore lunch where guides brought in the mornings’ bounty of fish and prepared them for cooking. While out on the glassy lakes groups also took in other unique experiences in addition to the fishing including a stop to see rock paintings hundreds of years old; leaving an offering at the Swimming Stone and boating through Birch Rapids.
The fishing occurred over a two-day period, on the Friday and Saturday. Expert guides escorted the groups of women and the day (from 8 a.m. -5 p.m.) was spent fishing the magnificent lakes and channels. Guides took the groups from fishing hole to fishing hole ensuring everyone had the chance to reel one in. The largest catch of the trip was a northern pike measuring in at 37”. As is the case most times in northern Saskatchewan, fish were a plenty and the
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The stories of the day were shared as soon as everyone returned to the island. Time spent on shore was equally delightful as the time spent on the water. Women were found chit chattering all over the island. Some up at the lodge nibbling on the pre-dinners apps and drinking wine; some sat on their decks and admired the amazing sunsets, while others took in campfires and swapped stories. With laughter everywhere, friendships were quickly formed and ‘fun’ became an understated word. The weekend attracted all types: women young and old, those traveling alone or with a family member or friend(s); introverts and extroverts and novice to experienced fishing folk. But there was definitely one thing in common amongst this year’s group of women – generosity. In addition to hosting a group of 20 women, Vickie also organized a collection from the women to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Pledges for fish caught and straight up donations tallied over $5,000 of donations for this worthy cause. Simply amazing. Leaving the island was the hardest part of the weekend and it took some major convincing for most women to get back on the plane and return to reality. Some women found a way to sneak in another night on the island and extend their paradise for one more night. Nearly all the guests though, left eager for next year’s adventure.
– About the writer – Jenn Smith Nelson is a travel writer/photographer and blogger who this year has been bitten by the fishing bug. Catch up with her online at www.travellinlady.com.
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iHunt Alberta has arrived! Earlier this year, we successfully released our iHunt Alberta app, providing hunters in Alberta with a complete mobile hunting guide without the need for a cell or wifi connection! We were very excited for the launch of this app - the first of many in our iHunt Series of Apps. We plan on releasing more provinces and states in the future. The app features a familiar interface for any iFish user, meaning thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very little learning involved with this intuitive, easy-to-use app. Some features available in iHunt Alberta include; Hunting Regulations and Seasons, WMU maps and legal descriptions and even which Alberta Conservation Association hunting sites are available in each WMU (an exclusive feature). We continue to thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for our apps!
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Randy Chamzuk, founder of the iFish Apps, and the rest of the iFish Team head to Winefred Lake, Alberta for a spectacular weekend of fishing, re-discovering the love of the sport along the way!
Believe it or not, I’ve always been just a casual angler. I never did get the fishing bug to any level where I just had to get out fishing. But, since developing the iFish Series of Apps and watching them grow across North America, it definitely made me want to experience what our users do everyday. So I assembled the iFish Team and booked a trip to Winefred Lake Lodge in Alberta.
food from beginning to end, each plate was unique, delicious and a work of art. After discussing with Carol the next day’s weather, and where we’d want to go both for success and safety, the team finalized our shore-side lunch plans and settled in for the evening.
Since that trip I can honestly say “I get it.”
iWake, iEat... iFish!
I get why professional anglers like Bob Izumi spend hundreds of days a year on the road. I get why people brave the blistering -30 weather conditions. I get why it’s worth it to drive for hours just to “try it.” It’s because at one time or another, they all had a day like I had at Winefred Lake.
Finally, it’s time for the first “unplugged” fishing day - no phones, no office work, just fishing. I can’t recall the last time I’ve dedicating a full day to just fishing. We grabbed the gear and went down to the lake. Greeted by the Winefred Lodge staff, we were informed that everything we would need for our shore lunch was already in our boats. It was a huge
The plan for the next morning was really pretty simple...
The iFish Team drove from Edmonton to the lodge in Northern Alberta in less than 5 hours and were instantly greeted by lodge manager Carol Regular, who showed us to our rooms which where spacious, clean and well laid out. I thought it was awesome that each room is theme named so chose to stay in the “Walleye” room. After unpacking our gear and enjoying some of the history of the lodge in the main dinner area, the four course meal started arriving. How can they plan and cook such awesome creations way out here? I still don’t know! I have to say the
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cooler nicely stocked up in the boat and out of the way. We were loaded, instructed and led off… Game on! We pointed towards the side of the lake that Carol suggested we try the night before and decided to troll all the way to “the target area.” As soon as we got near, it was “fish on!” We landed a classic trophy-size Walleye you’d expect here at Winefred Lake and it was picture perfect. I quickly uploaded a HotSpot into iFish Alberta for future reference and we continued onwards. We fished the entire South side of the lake for several hours, catching some decent size northern pike, making sure to keep one that fit the under 70cm rule for our late afternoon shore lunch.
guys had again set us up with a cooler for a shore lunch. We spent time trying out several areas around the lake and had moderate success. Like day one, the winds came up again and we headed to the area Carol suggested the night before. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next! I’m going to start by saying the same thing I’ve been telling everyone. “I never thought I would ever get tired freshwater fishing,” yet I did. When it started, it was something else. Every cast, I caught a fish. Not just any fish, I mean I was reeling in large, healthy Northern Pike. We did this for the next three hours. First cast, every cast... big fish.
We got a fire going at a great little spot on a beach, dragged the coolers out of the boats and had a look in for the first time… It was all there. Cut potatoes, big hunk of butter, all prepped ready to go. Everything was in there, right down to the cupcake deserts. We cleaned and cooked the pike in hot butter over fire as fresh as you can get. It sunk in; this place is awesome.
We stopped counting the double headers after 13, and after about two more hours and non-stop crazy fun, we started talking about giving our arms a rest. Northern pike at these sizes are one healthy opponent. My fishing teammate Dean decided to rest his arms and tied on one of the beautifully handcrafted wooden top water lures, called a Torpedo Frog, that the iFish team were testing from Florida manufacturer, GrandDad’s Lures. He sat back in the boat, tossed it within inches of the shoreline and slowly turned the handle and watched the lure’s movement in the water.
After our delicious shore lunch, I logged a lake report into iFish Alberta and we continued the rest of the afternoon working our way back to the dock. Casting, reeling, and releasing trophy fish all afternoon was amazing, but by day’s end I was beat! The team got back to the lodge with time to unwind, freshen up and share some stories about a picture perfect day of fishing over our amazing dinner. The next morning, we launched from the dock, where the
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Within seconds I heard the splash. A monster pike hit the frog and revealed at least 2 feet of himself straight up out of the water.
Looking back at the trip, I can only relate the feeling to getting that one perfect shot in golf. Make it, and you’re hooked on golfing forever.
Dean was beside himself! After simply wanting to rest his arms from the constant frenzy we’d both been fighting, he hooked the biggest catch of the day. It was huge, easily over 50-inches. After a lengthy endurance battle, we got the photo and successfully released him back for another day.
Well now I get it. Now I know. Now I’m hooked.
But it didn’t end there. What you see on the cover of this magazine is one of the many healthy pike we brought in during the 3 hour tour of awesomeness. It was incredible because it went on and on, non-stop. Like I said, I never thought I would get tired from fishing, but this was the exception.
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Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 16
Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 17
A BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR BASS
How would you rate your talent as a bass angler? Be honest. On a scale of one to ten, with one representing a complete novice and ten the consummate professional, where would you place your bass angling skills? Hold the thought. We’ll review your assessment in a minute. For many bass anglers, Rick Clunn is perfection. With more than three million dollars in earnings, Clunn is the all-time leading money winner in professional bass fishing history. He was the first angler to crack the million-dollar mark, the only angler to qualify for 28 consecutive Bassmaster Classics and the only four-time Classic winner, capturing at least one world title in every decade since 1970. Clunn also holds the record for the heaviest Classic catch, has captured 14 B.A.S.S. national competitions, is the all-time leading money winner on the FLW Tour and has been inducted into the Bass Fishing and Sport Fishing Halls of Fame. Most recently, he was named by ESPN, The Greatest Angler of All time, following an exhaustive year of voting by fans from around the world. To be certain, Rick Clunn is exceptional, but for more than the awards, prizes and accolades he has accumulated. He is just as celebrated for his quiet demeanor, introspective nature and out-of-the-box thinking. Spend any amount of time with this soft-spoken 58-year-old bass pro from Ava, Missouri and you’ll hear words, thoughts and opinions more appropriately suited to a logician, philosopher or pure seeker of truth. Talk about a beautiful mind.
Not surprisingly, though, Clunn’s musings often raise eyebrows and turn heads. As they did recently when he lead a popular movement to have the normally staid B.A.S.S. pass a major rule change declaring that anglers cannot receive help or seek assistance from anyone in advance of a tournament. According to Clunn, as many as 80% of the tournament professionals were hiring fishing guides, paying for marked maps and buying their way to high place finishes. “That is not what tournament fishing is all about,” he says, carefully studying a contour chart of the lake as we pull away from the dock. “Competitive fishing is about my ability as an angler against your ability as an angler. What many people don’t realize is that fishing talent has very little to do with actually catching fish. It is the ability to find bass on your own without any outside help or assistance.” And then, Clunn summed up his conviction in a way that, well, only Rick Clunn could. “When I was guiding,” he reflected, “I was out on the water every day. And I often had friends and clients with me who could catch as many bass as I could catch. But, if I filled up their bathtubs with fish and said, “go find the bass”, they wouldn’t be able to.” Clunn insists the new gag rule will be a boon to competitive angling. That it will showcase talent unlike at any other time in the history of the sport. And in the long term, it will result in more knowledgeable and skilled bass anglers at both the competitive and recreational levels.
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Photo Credit: B.A.S.S. Seigo Saito
A BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR BASS
Sectionalizing A Lake In A Microcosmic Way
they are often putting to words what Clunn is putting to paper.
If he is correct that bass angling success rests more on your ability to find the fish and less on your ability to catch them, how specifically does he go about the task? Especially on a new body of water like Lake Simcoe, Rice Lake or Big Rideau. By “sectionalizing it in a microcosmic way,” he says, the words rolling off his tongue as naturally as if he were explaining how to retrieve a crankbait.
Having thus subdivided the lake, Clunn, then, partitions each section into quarters and switches his attention to seasonal patterns.
It is a model, Clunn explains, that lets him eliminate 80% of the water before he launches his boat.
All fish have seasonal patterns, he notes, and prefer certain parts of the lake, as well as parts of a sector, at specific times of the year. “If it is the fall,” he says, “and I’ve established that the bass are in section three, then it will become the same pond that I fished when I was six years old.”
To better describe what he is saying, Clunn reaches for my note pad and pen and starts sketching. “When the average angler arrives at a lake,” he says, “he is overwhelmed. He may do well once every 20 times out, but he dies the other 19 times. So he is forced to get help and that becomes a bad habit. It is a short cut and there are no short cuts. What the average angler needs is a more rational way.”
By zeroing in on the broad lake location element, Clunn has eliminated vast amounts of water. Better yet, particularly in smaller lakes and reservoirs, the remaining portion will often hold as many as ninety percent of the bass, which makes finding them much easier. Especially when he focuses his attention on the micro units. Now things get really interesting.
That more reasonable way, according to Clunn, starts by dividing a lake into at least three sectors. He calls it “sectionalizing the system” and says it has nothing to do with seasonal patterns. Those, he overlays later. The first section is the area adjacent to the typically deep and clear main basin. Section two is the middle of the lake, characterized by moderate water depths and clarity. The upper third is the shallowest and most off-color section of water. What is remarkable about Clunn’s approach is that it mirrors what many fisheries mangers have known for years. Most large lakes are, in effect, aggregates of several smaller waterbodies. Ontario Natural Resources biologists, for example, routinely divide giant lakes into separate and totally discreet entities. They have also discovered that the bass - as well as walleyes and other sport species - behave differently from one area to another. To the point, in fact, that the bass in one sector may feed almost exclusively on crayfish while the bass in another may dine principally on baitfish. Without fully realizing what they’re saying, bass anglers frequently sum up the day’s activity by musing that not all the fish were doing the same thing at the same time. Ironically,
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Photo Credit: B.A.S.S.
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A BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR BASS
Micro Management “You need to constantly adjust,” Clunn explains, “although the adjustments should be minor. Sometimes there are strange variables you may need to contend with, such as algae and where fish have been released in previous tournaments. That is why being able to locate fish on your own is so important. You have to have confidence in your ability so you can adjust with the fish. If it is cloudy, sunny or windy – those things will have an affect on your ability to catch fish. The bass might be only 30 yards away from where you caught them yesterday but you need to be able to relocate them.” And nothing aids Clunn more, in the daily bass relocation process, than meticulous note taking. Keep your own information, he contends, and you’ll be like the old timer with the photographic memory. And what items does Clunn concern himself with the most? Water color, wind direction and bass habitat, especially the location of tree falls and aquatic vegetation. He records site-specific information directly onto the map as he finds it, but summarizes general events in a note pad on
a three-hour basis. He does the same thing on a macro level at the end of every fishing day. If you don’t, he insists, after five or six days on the water you’ll forget what happened on day one. “Certain things will pop right out at you,” Clunn says, emphasizing the importance of good records. “For example, you may only have caught 20 fish in four days of practice but two-thirds of them came off a certain type of cover or structure. Or, you may have caught half the fish using a certain lure or technique, but you used it two-thirds of the time. Something else might have accounted for the other one-third but you only spent a few hours doing it. You’ll miss those important details if don’t keep notes.” To Thine Own Self Be True All the data and information in the world is useless, however, if you don’t analyze it correctly and honestly. Ironically, Clunn says that most anglers exaggerate to the point of fooling themselves. “We lie to ourselves and we don’t even know that we’re doing it,” he says.
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A BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR BASS
Without the benefit of good notes, Clunn maintains that we can make ourselves believe we caught 20, 30, even 40 or more fish when the real number was closer to 10 or 15. And if we caught a 5-pound bass on a top water lure, we’ll continue fishing with it far longer than we should, because we exaggerate its effectiveness to ourselves. Interpreting data, he insists, is an art. So too, is the method of lure selection that he uses when he is dissecting the micro units within a lake’s key section and searching for bass. “Lures are the tools you use to fish objects,” he says, while tying on a favorite crankbait. “When you go into an area the first thing you need to determine is whether the bass are scattered or relating to a specific type of cover. For example, I might look around and determine there are five types of objects in this area: stumps, lily pads, fallen trees, docks and the creek channel. Now, there are two ways I can proceed. I can fish all the docks, then all the lily pads, then all the stumps and so on, or I can check multiple objects with different rods and lures. Even within those five types of objects, there will be considerable variety. For example, there may be docks lying over deep water, docks in the shade, floating docks and crib docks. You can’t just throw ten casts and say there are no bass around the docks. I am not saying you need to fish all the docks. But you need to fish ten of them in calm water and then ten in the wind. It is the same if you find 100 stumps or flooded trees in a bay. Take a leaning tree and then a vertical one and pick them apart.” Systematically slicing up the structure and cover options this way, within a micro unit, Clunn insists he can piece together the bass location puzzle faster than any other way. But there is more method to his madness. “If there are one hundred stumps in a bay and I catch two five-pound bass,” he explains, “that is better than if I find only three stumps and catch three 3-pounders. The key is being able to duplicate
Photo Credit: B.A.S.S. Seigo Saito
“We lie to ourselves, and we don’t even know we’re doing it.” - Rich Clunn, describing the importance of keeping good notes while you’re fishing.
your success. Similarly, if I go into every cove and find an isolated stump with a bass on it - that is good. It is unlikely every isolated stump in every cove is going to get hit in a tournament. I like a 1:4 ratio – one bass for every four targets. Obviously more is better, but 1:4 is fine. I also prefer to find a bass in a large piece of cover, a weedbed for example, rather than under a single stump. There is much more probability of other fish being in the big weedbed. You need to determine how much habitat there is in relation to how many bass it can contain.” Pattern Power After watching Clunn cut up, dissect and dismember a piece of structure or cover it would be easy to conclude that he is searching for the elusive spot-on-the spot. But for the most part you’d be wrong. Instead, he is searching for the pattern. There is a big difference. “Good fishing patterns always beat good spots,” says Clunn. A good spot is something that has been lost in time. There is no such thing as a good spot for all three days of a tournament. I hate spots. They’re feast or famine.” But wait a second, I am reminded, didn’t he win the Classic on the Arkansas River fishing a single spot? “It was the exception,” he explains. “Nobody had ever fished it before. Not even the locals. It was a spot that was lost in time. Today’s fishing pressure makes a spot a thing of the past. All good spots evolve into community fishing holes. You can still catch bass in them, but day in and day out, spots are not as productive as patterns.” As if he needed to prove the point further, Clunn scoured his memory and recollected that he had only once ever won a tournament on a lake where he guided. And that was because he fished an area he had never fished before. The fact of the matter is, he concluded, guides rarely win on their home waters. It is because their objective is to keep their clients happy catching numbers of active fish. As a result, they look for two-pound fish spots. But two-pound bass don’t win tournaments.
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A BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR BASS
Hydrodynamic Imaging and Rings of Awareness Facing a constant barrage of tackle being thrown their way, many anglers believe bass have become conditioned to avoid certain lures and presentations. Clunn is among those advocates. Which begs the question: why then does he rely so heavily on some of the oldest and most popular presentations? Lures like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Especially when he goes as far as saying that he rarely, if ever, picks up a soft plastic finesse bait and fishes slowly when he is practicing. “Because,” says Clunn, without missing a beat, “A crankbait is still the best depth finder that was ever invented. Second, lures are tools you use to match to the habitat you’re fishing. So you use a spinnerbait around vegetation and wood and a crankbait in shallow water. Still, isn’t he concerned about the conditioning factor? Not if you alter your lures and fish them in ways other anglers don’t. Clunn, for instance, shaves the lips on his crankbait, adds weight to the shanks of his spinnerbaits and changes the number, size and shape of the blades. “I call it hydrodynamic imaging,” he says. “Some times it is as simple as changing the sound emitted by a rattling bait, or the vibration given off by a crankbait. When you do those things you’re fishing with a lure that the bass have never before seen.” “I liken quality bass to quality deer,” he says. “They will both move if you put pressure on them. The animal’s range of awareness is like throwing a stone into the water. The rings spread out. That is how fishing pressure influences bass and hunting pressure affects deer. But once they’re in a comfortable area they settle down. Now it’s time to show them something they haven’t seen. Most bass anglers, for example, won’t reel a crankbait with speed. Yet, just change the speed and you’ll change the number of strikes that you get.” The Best Has Yet To Come Now, the moment of truth. It is time to dig out the score you gave yourself at the beginning of this article. Where did you place your bass angling expertise on a scale of one to ten?
Let’s compare it to the ranking Clunn gives himself and some of the other top professionals on the world’s most grueling bass circuits. Where would you place him? As an eight? Nine? Perhaps, a ten, perfection itself? It will surprise you to know that Rick Clunn, arguably the most successful professional bass angler in history, scores himself a four or five most days. Rarely, a six or seven. And only once, in the 1990 Bassmaster Classic, he believes, did he perform as a ten. And then, it was only for a fleeting moment. “I was in the zone for 30 or 40 minutes,” he remembers. “Most of the tournament I was functioning at an 8 or 9 level. But right now the majority of good anglers – Kevin Van Dam, Tim Horton, myself – we’re at a 5 or 6 level.” “In fact,” Clunn insists, “the best bass anglers are not here yet. We’re all specialists. When what we’re doing is working – it is great. That is why for two or three years I was exceptional. Then someone else, another specialist, did the same thing. Ironically, what keeps us from winning all the time is that we’re all specialists. To become the ultimate bass angler you need to learn the Buddhist principle of non-attachment. Not allowing yourself to experience the highs or the lows. It is the ability to be totally objective about everything you do as a bass angler and not be controlled by your biases.” “I’ll tell you when you’ll know that you have reached this level of bass fishing perfection,” Clunn concludes. “You’ll weigh in 40-pounds today and be leading the tournament. But tomorrow morning you’ll wake up, see the weather or water conditions have changed, and you’ll put away the rods, reels and lures you used to catch the 40-pounds and you won’t fish any of the locations or patterns you fished yesterday. It is impossible to do and there is not a specialist among us who is tough enough to win that way today. The common term we use to describe objectivity is versatility. But versatility is just another word for mediocrity. You need to be a specialist to win and the ultimate is to be a total specialist in all techniques.” As I said, a beautiful mind.
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iFish Magazine : : : 27
Graphic Credit: Outdoor Canada Magazine
By Gord Pyzer
If you asked me to name the single thing that has accounted for more and bigger walleye, lake trout, yellow perch and black crappies over the past four or five years, I would say it is “trolling on ice”. That is right. Trolling on hard water.
The best way to explain the concept is by watching the mistake most ice anglers make when two, three or four of them arrive at a spot and set up to fish as a group. I’ll give you better odds than Jimmy the Greek in Las Vegas, that one angler will begin drilling holes, while another will come behind the first checking the water depths with a sonar unit. The third will lag even further behind cleaning out the slush from the holes.
will do the same thing following the structural transition where the hard bottomed deep edge of the point merges with the soft basin of the lake, while our buddy, “Bob”, will drill his holes on the slope, in between ours. (See title graphic)
Your smile tells me you know what I am saying. Now, for comparison sake, let’s assume three of us arrive at the same structure, a long tapering underwater point, to begin ice fishing for walleye, lake trout, crappies or whatever. Neither the specific structure nor the species matters, so long as we troll for them. Now, each one of us needs to bring along our gas-driven ice auger. By the way, I think I have used just about every make and model of auger over the past five decades and the best one by a Canadian country mile is the Rapala/Husqvarna Ice Auger for its extreme lightweight and reliability. Standing 30 or 40 feet apart, parallel to each other, I’ll start drilling holes about 20 feet apart, following the top edge or breakline of the point out from shallow water to deep. You
iFish Magazine : : : 28
You can also take trolling on ice into the stratosphere by doing a modicum of pre-planning during the open water season.
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What I like to do is visit some of my favourite winter fishing spots in the boat in the summer, laying down the three specific “trolling paths” by precisely monitoring my sonar/ GPS unit. I’ll also drop critical waypoints on any isolated cover - a single boulder, small rock pile and the tip of the point - at the same time I am plotting the three trails on my GPS unit.
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Within a few short minutes we will have drilled several dozen holes, will have covered every depth option available to us, will have left no stone unturned, and will have carpetbombed the critical fishing holding top edge, bottom edge and middle of the slope.
Then, when I get home, I’ll transfer the information across to the portable GPS unit on my snowmachine, so that when we arrive at the underwater point in the winter, I can trace out the trails in the snow using my snowmachine as I slowly drive around the structure. This way there is no guessing about where the specific routes are located. And you thought you could only troll from a boat.
Now, it is time to troll. Starting in the shallowest holes and working our way out toward the tip of the point, still remaining parallel to one another, we’ll start walking with our sonar units in one hand and our ice fishing rods in the other. We’ll systematically fish Trollingdown for Ice Fishing Success each hole quickly and in rapid succession, dropping our transducers and lures, and never spending more than three Gord Pyzer fish. or four minutes in a hole unless we’re catching or seeing If anyone was watching us from a distance, they’d be excused for thinking we were a squad of riot control officers, practising for the next G20 summit meeting or Vancouver Canucks playoff game and walking in front of an angry mob. Only the crowd we’re controlling has big fins not Molotov cocktails. Here is the other neat thing about trolling on ice: it works best when the fishing conditions are at their absolute toughest, typically during the mid-winter February doldrums and it is especially deadly in big lakes where the fish have plenty of room to spread out and roam. But this doesn’t mean it is any less lethal in smaller lakes and rivers during the peak of the season.
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From fishing oceans, lakes and rivers to hunting in some of the most scenic places in North America, Sportsman 360 TV is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Host Owen Nolan gave iFish Magazine a set of 10 Exclusive fishing tips!
Stay Organized. If you’re like me and have a bunch of lures you don’t want to waste time while you’re fishing picking through each box looking for specific lures. Get all the same lure types in one box and label it. That way you can find it quick, make the change and you’re back fishing.
Trailer Hooks. We’ve all had those days where we feel like we’re getting hits, but there’s no fish. Well that’s because it’s probably fish short striking your lure. That’s where the trailer hook comes in. Simply put the trailer hook onto the spinnerbait hook and slide a piece of surgical tube onto the main hook. You want to make sure your trailer hook and swing freely.
Keep Your Rod Low. Most days you want your rod tip high but on windy days a low rod is the way to go. When you’re working those bottom baits and your rod is low, you take that bow out of your line and the sensitivity of your line will increase.
Put It On Right. Backlashes on a baitcaster can be a pain, but if you put the line on correctly you’ll have fewer problems. The best way is to put a pencil through the spool, have a friend hold it with the line coming off the top of the spool and wind to your reel.
Wear Your Glasses. I’ve heard too many stories of people losing their eyes from not wearing their glasses. We’ve all had those moments when you’re fighting a fish and it spits the lure. That lure now becomes a dodgeball game. Glasses are there to help you see but also to protect.
Match the Size. You want your lure to mimic whatever the fish are used to seeing. Early in the year baitfish are smaller, so it makes sense to use smaller lures. As the season goes on bait get bigger, so your lure size should increase as well.
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Never Leave Fish To Find Fish. This is one tip I’m also guilty of. Why do we leave a good, productive fishing spot to go find another? Isn’t that why we are on the water in the first place? To catch fish.
Spin The Weeds. Spinnerbaits with Willow Leaf blades are a great way to go when fishing weeds. The blades have a tight rotation which helps from getting tangled in the weeds.
Don’t Forget to Drink. If you’re like me and you’re in a tournament I can’t make enough casts. The problem is, as the hot day goes on, you get dehydrated. Make time to get liquids in your body. I find drinking in between spots I’m traveling to works for me.
Kids Love Fishing. Whenever you get a chance, you need to introduce or take a kid fishing. It doesn’t matter what kind of fish, if they feel something pulling on their lines and get to reel it in, the excitement on their face is priceless.
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PREP TIME 40 minutes COOK TIME 20 minutes SERVES 8 servings DIFFICULTY LEVEL Medium
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
To make the white sauce: in a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeño, capers, oregano, cumin, dill and cayenne.
1 cup All-Purpose Flour 2 tbsp Cornstarch 1 tsp Baking powder 1/2 tsp Salt 1 Egg 1 cup Beer 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt 1/2 cup Mayonnaise 1 Lime, juiced 1/2 head Cabbage, finely shredded 1 tsp Minced Capers 1/2 tsp Dried oregano 1/2 tsp Ground cumin 1/2 tsp Dried dill weed 1 tsp Ground cayenne pepper 1 Jalapeno, minced 1 quart Oil (for frying) 1 lb Fish fillets, cut to 2-3oz portions 1 package Corn tortillas
To make beer batter: in a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Blend egg and beer, and then quickly stir into the flour mixture.
3 Heat oil in deep-fryer for 375 degrees 4
Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry tortillas; not too crisp. To serve, place fried fish in tortilla and top with shredded cabbage and white sauce.
Plenty of Options! You can use almost any type of fish for this recipe; our favorites are Bass or Cod! Add additional flavor with things like tomatoes, avocado and diced peppers - anything goes with tacos!
iFish Magazine : : : 32
Largemouth Bass Also Known As: Micropterus salmoides, Black bass, bigmouth bass, green bass, green trout
About Largemouth Bass
World Record Bass
The Largemouth is a species of Black Bass in the sunfish family native to North America. The Largemouth is an olive green fish, marked by a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. The upper jaw of a Largemouth Bass extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit.
22lbs 5oz Lake Biwa, Japan; July 2009 North American Record Bass
22lbs 4oz Montgomery Lake, Georgia; June 1932 Both Records courtesy of IGFA.
• Average length: 11 – 21”
• Enjoy big patches of weeds near shallow water
• Average weight: 0.9 – 4.6 lbs
• Average lifespan of 15 yrs
• Member of the sunfish family
• Have a 6th sense called lateral line that picks up vibra-
• Most popular lures: plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits
• Very aggressive fish
tions of other fish
• See in color and are most attracted to red • Most targeted species across North America
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TROPHY PIKE - AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Being able to consult with some of the sharpest minds in the piscatorial business, folks like Dr. John Casselman who is arguably the finest pike and muskie mind in the world today, doesn’t necessarily help matters either. You see, just when I think I finally have the big toothy critters figured out, John sheds some new research light onto the subject that clouds the issue and sends me back to the drawing board. So, I take solace these days knowing that you never really stop learning. To weeds or not to weeds, that is the question Case in point: Like many winter pike anglers, I tended early in my ice fishing career to gravitate almost solely toward shallow and moderately deep flats with cabbage weeds growing on the bottom. The vegetation was the attraction and I usually ended up drilling holes and setting tip ups along the deep weed edge, where the cabbage was clumpy and petering out. In some lakes, the results were consistently stellar. In other lakes, though, they ran hot and cold. One day you were a hero, the next day a chump. In still other lakes, however, the deep weed line – the epitome of prime habitat in so many pike anglers’ minds– was clearly a bad choice for winter fishing. At least it was throughout the early and mid-winter phases. The light bulb finally began to brighten when I started comparing success rates with lake types and forage options. Clearly, the most consistent winter weed bite happened in pike lakes that tended to be modest in size, usually covering a few thousand acres, relatively shallow in depth – 18 feet to 20-feet or less – and primarily weedy throughout. In other words, the lakes that “looked” as though they should have plenty of pike in them.
“Conditions below the ice on a bright sunny day in winter are identical to what exists during the peak feeding periods of early morning, late evening and during overcast days in the open water period.”
But here is where things really got interesting. If I picked up that same shallow, moderately large, weedy pike lake and made it a bay on a much bigger system, the winter pike fishing was typically more sporadic. And when I dropped it into the very biggest Shield-type lakes, with plentiful populations of ciscoes, smelt and whitefish for the pike to prey upon, I discovered it was possible to fish an entire day in January or February and not catch a single northern. At least, one worth sending images around to your buddies. Indeed, in these much larger, heavily hard-structured lakes with suspended open water forage, the best places to fish for pike were often where weeds didn’t grow. In other words, on the rock humps, points, bars and shoals that you’d typically fish for walleye or lake trout. In fact, over the last decade or so, I’ve probably caught more nice pike accidentally while jigging for lake trout (and walleye) than I did intentionally in the old days fishing for northerns in the back ends of weedy bays that otherwise oozed prize pike potential. And what accounts for the dichotomy? Several factors, I believe, not the least of which is that pike are mesothermal or “cool water” animals thriving in high clarity water situations. And while there is no question the big toothy predators also relish habitats where the vegetation and open water interface is high, weeds are not an absolutely essential ingredient. It accounts for the fact that when those same main lake humps, reefs, points, bars and shoals have even a few stringy weeds growing on them their trophy potential soars even higher. Indeed, in very large, clear, Shield-type lakes, off shore rocky structures still tend to be better for pike in the winter than shallow, marshy, back bay locations with copious weed growth. At least they are if you’ve set your sights on catching trophy size pike weighing in the high teens and up Stay close to structure Which brings us to another discovery of sorts. Despite the fact we’ve caught plenty of nice northerns suspended in the water column while jigging lures for lake trout, we hook the
iFish Magazine : : : 39
TROPHY PIKE - AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
bulk of the pike when we’re fishing in the shallower water closer to the structure itself. In other words, when we’re fishing along the edges of the underwater points, reefs and shoals as well as right up on top. As a matter of fact, on the large, clear, Shield-type waters that I am referring to, there is typically a depth around the main lake structures – usually in the 24- to 38-foot range – that is just a tad too shallow for trout, but perfect for pike. The northerns, I believe, use the rocks and outer structure as ambush points, cruising the hard edges and rims just like they patrol deep weed lines. And the pike on these main lake features are rarely runts. A seven- to ten-pound fish is typically the smallest you’ll catch with pike almost twice that size being common. The extent of the pike population on these off shore structures also appears to be directly related to the size of the feature itself. On a small reef or shoal you’ll typically catch one, maybe two nice fish and then it is time to move on. Only uniquely large structures are worth camping on for hours. In this respect, the pike in these large, clear, main lake, hard structured environs tend to behave like the lake trout with which they often share the water. And they’re just as likely to smack a lure – Jigging Rap, spoon or lead head and soft plastic combination – as they are a quick-strike rigged dead bait suspended under a tip up. Whatever bait or lure you use, however, match it closely to
the size, shape, color and profile of the forage in the lake. Addicted to Food I do that religiously now after Dr. John Casselman related an amazing discovery he made while sampling lake trout in the high Arctic. At the time, Casselman and I were discussing the preponderance of black leeches in the diet of northern pike in the open water period in far northern lakes. It is not as though the pike seem to eat an occasional leech, as much as they appear to target the black ribbons exclusively. That is when John explained that he had documented lake trout behaving in a similar manner. While the ravenous fish will eat anything and everything imaginable, from lemmings and weasels to insects and snails, they do not eat a mixed diet. Instead, they often lock themselves onto a specific food item and become addicted to it. “We had some fish that got onto snails,” says Casselman, “and they would have a fist-full of the same species of snail in their stomachs and nothing else. Another fish would have a fist-full of insects in its stomach and no snails. It is as though they get habituated on something and then eat nothing else.” Now, granted, Casselman’s work focused on the diets of lake trout, but In-Fisherman staff members have seen the black leech pattern work its wonders too many times not to believe that northern pike don’t also sometimes – perhaps routinely – become equally addicted to specific prey items.
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TROPHY PIKE - AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
If there is a mistake many ice anglers make in the wintertime, it is setting their tip ups and jigging their lures below the fish. Northern pike use structure, cover, available daylight and the underside of the ice to silhouette their prey. So you’re making a mistake if you hang your quick strike rigged dead baits or jig your lures too close to the bottom. Pike are at their predatory finest, when they can isolate and separate forage swimming above them in the water column.
So it pays, in my mind, to match the hatch – or at least find the food-drug on which your pike are addicted. Again, a case in point: One winter my cache of frozen tulibees had dwindled mightily so I purchased some wonderful looking salt water mackerel at the fish market. They were the right size, shape and color and smelled like perfect pike bait. There was only one problem, the pike would hardly touch them hanging below a tip up.
the ice causes northern pike to do things, quite literally, beyond their control.
Even more bizarre, was the time Doug Stange left behind several dozen large frozen suckers after we’d finished fishing and filming. They, too, were vastly inferior to the native tulibees I was accustomed to using. Were the pike in the lake I was fishing drugged on ciscoes? Would northerns in another lake, perhaps with more cabbage weeds, turn up their noses at my herring and lock onto the suckers? Like I said earlier, answer one question and it raises another.
In particular, the quality of light on bright sunny winter days is optimized as it passes through several inches of ice and snow. In other words, it is transformed so that the conditions below the ice on a bright sunny day in winter are identical to what exists during the peak feeding periods of early morning, late evening and during overcast days in the open water period.
Let the sunshine in What doesn’t beg debate, however, is the effect of the daily weather conditions – in particular the amount of daylight – on the activity level of northern pike under the ice. It is the single most important factor. Re-read that last bold statement because most anglers rarely consider the daily weather conditions when they stuff their rods and tip-ups into their ice fishing buckets. Yet the amount of light under
And one of those things they do is become active, feed and gain weight in otherwise bone-numbing water temperatures that halt the growth of most other fish. Casselman believes the sunlight passing through the ice and snow stimulates the pike’s endocrine system in marvelous ways.
As a matter of fact, Casselman says that in the laboratory he can regulate the activity level of pike with a simple twist of the dimmer switch controlling the lights in the room. If he sets it between 300 and 700 lux he can cause the fish to become immediately active. And what, you might wonder, is the illumination level under the ice on a sunny day in January? On average, it is between 400 and 800 lux. As I said, you never really stop learning.
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Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 42
Tips for taking a great fish photo! Try to fill the whole frame, avoid using zoom To get the best color of the fish, take it right after being caught, with no dirt or blood on the fish Make sure your hands are wet and use both hands, make sure you don’t squeeze it’s stomach Hold the fish horizontally, supporting near its head with one hand and the other near its tail Extend yours out in front of you, hold the head slightly closer to the camera, this makes the fish appear larger Face toward the sun, take off sunglasses & smile
Want your photo featured? Tag your Instragram pics with #AppsForAnglers and we’ll re-post the best ones! iFish Magazine : : : 43
By Gord Pyzer
Every fish you catch in the winter has a story to tell - if you’ll listen. It is the primary reason I always take along a good portable sonar unit when I am ice fishing. I use it not only to see if there are fish beneath my boots - an important and useful thing to know, for sure - but also to tell me the mood they’re in, which I can monitor when I watch them on the screen. If they streak in quickly and crush the lure, for example, I know I’ve chosen the right size, weight and colour of bait for the weather and water conditions. And, that I am jigging and presenting it in a way that arouses their curiosity and triggers them to bite. By the same token, if I watch them tiptoe in slowly, glance at my bait and then slink away, I know it is time to start experimenting with different sizes, shapes and weights, as well as jigging motions and tipping options.
But these are the “obvious” and “immediate” stories the fish like to tell us. What about the less noticeable and cumulative ones? A few years ago, I carefully examined all the waypoints on my GPS unit that marked the structures and locations where I had caught large walleyes, lake trout, black crappies, jumbo perch and pike through the ice. I was searching for clues that might indicate specific trends, highlight preferences and underscore the inclinations I could use to better pattern the fish. They spoke volumes.
“...in the winter, they typically prefer to swim and feed in much shallower water than most winter trout anglers are aware”
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WINTER STORY TELLERS
Indeed, imagine my surprise when I discovered that every trophy winter walleye location I had waypointed was positioned adjacent to deep water. The attraction and affinity was uncanny. Even when the prime winter walleye “spot-on-the-spot” was located on a point, reef or shoal in otherwise moderately deep, 17- to 24-foot depths, or along a weedline, cavernous water was never far away. It wasn’t necessarily the absolute deepest water in the lake, mind you, just the deepest water in the section of the lake where the structures were located and I was fishing. What became clear, therefore, was that if you were to take two identical looking winter walleye spots, place one immediately adjacent to deep water and the other some distance away from it, the first spot will offer much better potential for kicking out numbers of trophy-size fish. Surprisingly, however, the story changed when I listened to the lake trout. What they told me was that in the winter, they typically prefer to swim and feed in much shallower water than most winter trout anglers are aware. Indeed, the deep water lake sections where we typically catch trout in the open water season hold much less attraction for them when ice covers the surface.
As a matter of fact, if I were to accidentally drop my GPS unit on the ice, and it was later found by another angler, he or she would likely mistake my best lake trout locations for walleye haunts and my prime walleye structures for lake trout venues. I suspect it is a reflection of the fact that in the open water season, the cold-water loving, temperature-sensitive lake trout are forced to occupy the deeper depths of the lake. But in the winter, when the water is uniformly cold to their taste, they are free to forage on the shallower structures and flats that are off limits to them in the summer. The big walleyes, on the other hand, idle away the winter on moderately deep structures lying adjacent to deep water sliding off the edges and down the sides to intercept schools of fat ciscoes, shiners and smelts that are frequenting water much shallower than at almost any other time of the year. It all makes sense, when you listen to the winter time story that every fish is trying to tell you.
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