HOT SUMMER TEMPS VS. HOT FISHING BY LANCE MERZ | MACK’S LURE PRO STAFF try different things. If you are using a flasher with a three- to four-foot herring rig, don’t be afriad to try something different.
We’ve all done it before — scorched ourselves on thew ater waiting to catch our limits. Just as we are trying to beat the heat, so are the fish. High water temperatures in the rivers make it a challenge to catch these fish who rely heavily on oxygen levels in the water, as well as water levels. So, how do you fish them? Each year of fishing has its own challenges. It always seems that a different color, rigging, bait, speed, or location is something that we have to take into consideration. These high water temperatures play an instrumental role in how fish react to all of the above. So, what can we do to catch them? My best answer is to spend time on the water and not be afriad to
I now have four downriggers on my boat, which has been a fantastic tool for kokanee fishing. This year, however, I have put my downriggers away and decided to use lead. Of the times I’ve been fishing this year, it seems that the bite is more subtle. Eliminating a downrigger can make a big difference and, in my opinion, it has.
Salmon season is upon us over the coming weeks, most rivers will be inundated with boats where sockeye and summer run Chinooks can be found in abundance. What happens, though, when it becomes too hot to fish?
A perfect example of this is previously fishing for sockeye. Normally, when fishing for these fish, less is more. A simple dodger with a leader tied to two 2/0 hooks with some beads and a Smile Blade® usually does the trick. What I’ve found, however, is that this year, things could be changing.
HIGH WATER TEMPERATURES IN THE SUMMER MONTHS MAKE IT A CHALLENGE TO CATCH SOCKEYE & CHINOOKS. — LANCE MERZ
My change to this subtle presentation is really quite simple. I put on either a 1.5 or 1.1 Mack’s Lure UV Glo® Burst Smile Blade® with a 4mm glow bead just under the blade. Next, I will attach three to four ounces of lead (depending
on the depth you are fishing) to the line. Then, I’ll attach a bead chain swivel and put on a Mack’s Lure Hot Wings® attached directly to a Double D™ Dodger. The Hot Wings® is lightweight and doesn’t affect the action of the dodger at all. It provides more attraction in the water, which is exactly what you need when the fish aren’t biting — more attraction! Hot Wings® attractors are much different from that of others in that it has 80% less drag when in the water. This allows more sensitivity when you’re playing a fish from the boat. The Hot Wings® Blades themselves counter-rotate, providing extra flash. A pink shrimp Mack’s Lure Cha Cha® Sockeye squidder has been my lure of choice, tipped on the top hook with a piece of coon shrimp. As far as scent goes, Pro Cure’s Bloody Tuna has been my favorite scent of choice. The bottom line of this article is to not be afriad to try different things. I know that we all have our favorite lure, but thinking outside the box may help you catch more fish. Don’t be afraid to set that traditional flasher aside and try using a Mack’s Lure Double D™ Dodger 7.6 in the allnew UV colors, including UV Pink, UV Copper, UV Glo® Burst, UV Purple Haze and more. After all, it could mean all the difference in the world on a summer day chasing salmon.
GARY’S FISHING CORNER
DOWNRIGGER FISHING FOR TROUT & KOKANEE BY GARY MIRALLES Targeting lakes during the summer months can be rewarding. However, fishing deep water requires special equipment. Leadcore, weights and divers can help you get to the depths required to catch fish, but consistency can be an issue. Downriggers are obviously the most proficient way to work the thermocline effectively. They put you at the exact depth you require, and with downriggers, you can fish multiple rods and lures. Here’s a typical set up with two downriggers, two fishermen and two rods each: A typical thermocline for trout and kokanee is 20- to 60-feet. With that in mind, I would run one downrigger at 60-feet and the second downrigger at 55-feet. I would also run a second rod on each downrigger, typically 10-feet above the bottom set. That would put the stacked rods at 50and 45-feet. When stacking, I use the Shuttle Hawk™ because it is by far the easiest and most productive way to stack two rods. What is the Shuttle Hawk™, you ask? It’s a downrigger release carrier. Attached to your downrigger cable, the diver takes your release, line and lure down to a preset stop placed on the cable, usually about 10-feet above your
bottom lure, as mentioned earlier. The big advantage to the Shuttle Hawk™ system is, that after it’s released, it will plane back to the surface so you can reset it without bringing your downrigger up. There’s a video on Mack’s Lure.com for better understanding on how to use it and it comes with an Ultra Release™ and a stop. Now, after setting my second rod, I like to add a drop line to my stacked rods. A drop line is basically a 3-foot leader with a lure on one end and a snap swivel on the other end. I like to use the Hum Dinger® or spinners like the Scorpion™ or Wedding Ring® for this particular setup. Take your snap and attach it to the line going down to your second rod, then toss it back behind in the water. This second lure will slide down to the middle of the bow on the line due to the pressure of the water. So, now we have the entire thermocline covered with a total of six lures in the water. The fish can’t escpae this setup. If you’re interested in learning this system or gaining a greater knowledge of kokanee fishing, be sure to check out all the tactics in the Kokanee Fishing DVD located at MacksLure.com.
NEW Pip’s™ BOX
Mack’s Lure, Inc., manufacturer of the industry’s most effective leader holder, the Pip’s™ Leader Caddy, has released a newly designed version of the Original Pip’s™ Box. When it comes to success on the water, gear organization plays a major role. The more prepared and easily accessible your gear is, the more time can be spent fishing. This all new Original Pip’s™ Box does the trick. “The Pip’s Leader Caddy is simply the most ingenious way to store your tied hooks,” Mack’s Lure president Bob Schmidt says, “so when customers asked for a smaller version, we responded, not only with a more accessible, but also upgraded design that includes anti-reverse and a selflubricating surface for a smoother spin, mimmicking the features found on the Pip’s™ Leader Caddy.” The Pip’s™ Box, available in six colors, is ideal for storing tippets and hooks tangle-free and its small 3 3/8” size fits easily in your pocket for quick and easy access, allowing for fast turnaround time when replacing or changing leaders when on the water.
MACK’S LURE SHUTTLE HAWK™
CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO
You can now purchase the Original Pip’s™ Box at MacksLure.com and be sure to look for it in your local bait and tackle shop soon. For images or more information, please contact email@example.com.
is every bit as important in walleye fishing as it is to the fly rod angler after trout. He also says it’s the primary difference between a winning walleye pro and the amateur angler who hasn’t learned that lesson. Doug sometimes used a cork board display of Mack’s Lure Smile Blade® products during his seminars at ourdoor shows. Allen’s display got all kinds of attention from show visitors.
IS THERE A 10-POUNDER OUT THERE FOR YOU? PART III BY HALL OF FAME ANGLER STAN FAGERSTROM Attend one of the seminars presented by a well known Pacific Northwest walleye angler and you’re going to hear him ask a few questions of his audience.
What that board display enabled Allen to do was “Show” as well as “tell” about the hatch-matching qualities of Mack’s Lure Smile Blades®. “My display,” Allen says, “gave me an easy way to point out the importance where both size and color are concerned for the walleye angler. With regard to size, consider sculpins. They are part of the food cahin as long as they live. Whitefish, on the other hand, remain in the food chain in their early stages of life, but become too large in less than two years.”
If you read my previous columns, you know the man I’m talking about is Doug Allen, a veteran walleye angler and a member of the Mack’s Lure Pro Staff. The questions he asks of his seminar audience are keys to the The old timer of walleye angling basics of his approach to walleye gives every bit as much attention to angling. color as he does to size. “If I’m fishing One of these questions goes water that I know holds whitefish,” something like this: “Would you he says, “I’ll usually rig with a Smile expect an expert hunter to look for Blade in the white tiger glow color bear in a berry patch if there weren’t because it matches the silver scales any berries or attempt to find deer in of the white fish.” an acorn patch if there weren’t any If he’s on wawter that he knows acorns?” is loaded with crawdads, you’ll The obviosu answer to all of these likely find him figging with black and orange or copper scale Smile questions is definitely “no.” Blades®. And he wouldn’t be “Fishing for walleye,” Allen guessing because he’d have found says, “isn’t or shouldn’t be all that out in advance what the forage fish different. Yet, time after time, you were, when they had been spawned see walleye fishermen heading out and anything else of importance. with absolutely no idea of what So how does one go about getting the fish in the water are currently this information? Allen says it’s feeding on. They just grab a rod and available from fishing departments reel and a container of worms and of the state in which you are fishing. take off. That’s not going to get the It might require a call or a visit to job done.” a regional or state fisheries office. Allen says “matching the hatch” Whatever effort is required will be
time well spent. He also points out that a well-stocked library in your area will likely have other information you can put to very good use. So can fishing shows on television and seminars. As Allen will testify, few walleye lashups make this hatch-matching easier than Smile Blades® do. The blades come, as his display board shows, in a variety of sizes and colors. If you know the details about the forage fishin in the water you’re fishing, Smile Blades® will let you match both size and color. These easy spinning and lightweight blades can be easily slipped on and off a leader and you don’t have to fool around and lose a lot of time making any desired changes. It cuts way down on the time your lure’s not in the water. That’s about the size of it. The assemble of knowledge is an important aspect, whatever your endeavor. Doug Allen knows that. Pay attention to what he has shared with you in my last couple of columns and you’ll up your walleye catch rate. Information is the key to all of it.
SONIC BAITFISH™ (SBF)
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
HORIZONATAL JIGGING THE SONIC BAITFISH™ (SBF) BY CAPT. PETE ROSKO Casting a Sonic BaitFish (SBF), on a tight line, is a deadly technique for triggering strikes in shallow water and for suspended fish in deeper water. It is a highly-effective search bait! A tight line causes the SBF to dart & flutter more lively in a zig-zag pattern, causing it to fall more slowly. Slowing the fall enables the lure to remain suspended longer in the strike zone. A tight line also detects strikes more easily and improves hook-sets. Note…It’s the backward flutter of the lure that triggers most strikes. That is the main reason for alternating each turn of your reel handle with a short lift of your rod when retrieving. All predator fish are programmed to strike a falling metal jig as it resembles an injured prey…an easy meal. So mimic that in your retrieve to get that backward flutter. Especially when salmon fishing, I personally have consistently outfished other techniques that went dead while this tight line casting technique never seemed to miss a beat. The increased lure vibration, of a lively darting SBF, is the main fish attractant. More line tension on the lure is supplied by longer casts. This line tension increases lure action. For best efficiency, use spinning gear. For best line control, never cast sideways to the wind. Either cast directly into the wind or
directly down-wind to eliminate any bow (slack) in your line. Once your cast lure hits the water, point your rod tip directly where the lure hit the water, not sideways to it. Hold your rod at a 10 to 11 o’clock position then constantly alternate an upward rod twitch with one full turn of your reel handle as you retrieve the SBF. This rod action further-increases the erratic action of the lure. Note: The only time you do not cast downwind is when the tide is moving faster against the wind. You want to cast your lure on the side of your drifting boat that causes the most resistance to the lure. Your line angle should range between 70 and 80 degrees to the water’s surface. This keeps the lure suspended longer and with more action. If the lure keeps sinking to the bottom, or less than 70 degrees (vertical), switch to a lighter lure. If that fails, your boat’s drift speed is not fast enough to be effective with this special technique. Switch either to trolling or to vertical jigging instead. Minimize any bow in your line as it ruins line control and attributes to missed strikes and poor hook-ups. Side-wind, versus downwind, causes line bow and ruins one’s presentation.
Many lessons learned about metal jig behavior were accidental. One dramatic event took place, almost 30 years ago, in near-gale force winds off Port Angeles, Washington. I was “speed-drifting” with my brother, Bob, in 120 feet of turbulent water and we’re basically at the mercy of a wild sea. Salmon fever tossed caution literally to the wind. No jig was heavy enough to stay near bottom. That included our heaviest which was a 5 oz Crippled Herring. In short order, the jig planed off and
was speed-swimming just under the waves. It not only was swimming like a bait fish it was also vibrating and darting sideways by as much as 6 feet to either side. The first strike came quickly that almost took the rod out of my brother’s arms. Before I could get to the net, I was also slammed by a big chinook. We lost more fish that day than the limit we took home...all large salmon. That was the beginning of my understanding of what salmon do in rough water conditions. Basically, they migrate towards the turbulent surface where large bait masses are concentrated. When fishing for chinook salmon, I always carry at least two rods... one a 6 ft. spinning rod and the other a 6 ½ ft. baitcaster. I use the spinning outfit almost exclusively when conditions permit me to cast. This is a complete departure from my early days of vertical jigging with a baitcaster. Time on the water has taught me to think “out of the box” and not be frozen by tunnel vision thinking. As good as the SBF is at vertical jigging, I think it’s even better horizontally. In the past four years, it has out-fished conventional troll baits on other boats of skippers with open minds. Best salmon finish was glow white. Most sizes fished were the 3/4 oz first and the 1/2 oz second. General depths, fished-over, ranged between 35 and 65 feet. The line/ snap was attached to the nose with a single siwash-style hook on the tail. Please remember that the top-ofthe-back attachment is exclusively for vertical jigging and not anything horizontal! That was the only way to achieve maximum vibration both on the lift and fall.
In the early 1980’s, I began experimenting with adding a spinner blade to the back side of the single tail hook on my metal jig prototypes. The purpose was to add extra flash and flutter to the lure. Sound was also created by the blade striking against the shank of the hook. At first, the blade was attached to the split ring by a snap for a sideto-side 180 degree action. This was far-more effective than using a snap swivel which resulted in a 360 degree rotation. Various blade designs were tried before settling on the Indiana blade. Refer to the bottom SBF in the accompanying photo. (This blue-silver finish is very effective in clear water for trout and salmon. For walleyes, it’s hard to beat a gold, or glow-chartreuse, SBF with a chartreuse tail blade!) The #2 Indiana blade has the convex (curved) side facing the shank of the hook. As it moves through the water, its side-to-side blade action against the hook adds to the flash, vibration and sound of the SBF. (TIP: The hole on the blade must be large enough to work freely on its attachment to the split ring. Otherwise, it will adversely affect the action of the lure by binding to its split ring. I use a 7/64 inch drill bit to enlarge the hole on the #2 blade, if necessary.) The top lure shows an optional spinner attachment to its nose for trolling or horizontal jigging on fast drifts. Finally, practice with your SBF in clear water to become familiar with its actions relative to your particular technique. As with anything in life, knowledge leads to greater success. And, as always, thank you for taking the time to become better anglers through the Mack Attack articles…. Pete (Capt. Pete Rosko)
WALLEYE FISHING THE COLUMBIA RIVER | WEST KOOTENAY’S SECRET BY DANNY COYNE, MACK’S LURE PRO STAFF When anglers think of premium Walleye fisheries they don’t typically think of Southern British Columbia as a fishing destination; however that couldn’t be further from the truth! The BC Kootenay region has one of the best-kept Walleye fisheries in all of Western Canada. British Columbia is home to the headwaters of the Columbia River, the longest river in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America. The Columbia is one of the most premium multi-species fisheries in all Pacific Northwest. The river attracts anglers from afar as it provides angling opportunity for several sport fish such as Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, Mountain Whitefish, Smallmouth Bass and, yes, Walleye! Walleye were first introduced to the Columbia River system in 1960 when they were stocked into Lake Roosevelt in the USA, approximately 200kms south of the BC and Washington border. Over the past few decades the Walleye have migrated up river into the Canadian portion of the river between Waneta and the town of Castlegar. For years this Walleye fishery in the East Kootenay Region has been underrated, really only known to the locals. Now that the word is getting out and anglers are experiencing these fantastic eating fish for
themselves, this fishery is vastly growing in popularity. The Walleye population within the Columbia is very healthy and on a good day of fishing an angler can experience double-digit fish days. The population is so vigorous and to help manage this multi-species fishery the BC Ministry has currently set a daily limit of 16 Walleye per angler, with a 2-day possession limit. The average sizes of these fish are between 16-21 inches, (1.5 to 2.5lbs) which makes for perfect table fare. Walleye can be found scattered throughout the section of river from the Keenleyside Dam northwest of the community of Robson, to the Canadian/USA Border. However there are some sections of river that provide superior habitat that tend to hold more fish. When pursuing these fish, one will want to target slower moving water such as deep pools and large back eddies. Walleye prefer to reside near the river bottom in slacker water conserving their energy and waiting to ambush their prey. Access to the river is extremely easy whether one is fishing from a boat or from shore. The community of Robson offers 2 very well maintained boat launches that can accommodate majority of fishing boats. The primary area for fishing is the stretch of river from the Robson Bridge to the Keenleyside Dam. This portion of river offers slow moving water with deep pools and sandy-gravel bottoms that make it prime Walleye territory. Even though targeting these fish is most successful from a boat, shore anglers can have some success. BEST TIME TO FISH There are essentially 2 peak periods of the year that this Walleye fishery becomes very productive: Early spring during the pre-spawn phase and late summer/early fall before the cooler weather approaches. The third week of March to the beginning of May is a good
window of opportunity to target the pre-spawn fish. Once the water temperature starts to warm greater than 35F the Walleye start to migrate in. During this period larger populations of Walleye tend to reside in the Canadian section of river as they travel from the upper section of Lake Roosevelt. Walleye spawn once the water temperature reaches between 43-50F. Once the spawn is completed the migratory fish will start to move back down river. Walleye require gravel and sandy areas to spawn, which makes the section of river between the Robson Bridge and the old Robson Ferry Ramp optimum spawning habitat. Please note: There is a fishing closure from March 1st to June 3oth on a stretch of river near Robson. The closure is from the Old Robson Ferry Landing downstream to a sign on the south river bank, approx. 950m from the CPR bridge. However, fishing directly up river from the Old Robson Ferry Landing is an excellent area to pursue these Walleye. In the early spring months the water level on the Columbia River is low as spring freshet hasn’t occurred yet. High river flows typically start in mid-May. The water conditions from Robson to the dam are more like lake conditions rather than a river. Due to the slower-moving water in this area an angler doesn’t require a highpowered boat. A 14-foot aluminum boat powered with a 9.9hp is adequate for the section of river above the Robson boat launches. The section below Robson requires a boat with much more power as the river current becomes stronger. Once the spring runoff is complete and the water starts to warm in late July the Walleye fishing starts to turn on again. The resident population of Walleye will start to prepare to forage for the coming cooler fall and winter months. Unlike the spring months where the fish are more locked onto one area of the river, you will find the fish scattered throughout the deeper pools. Anglers will have to cover water from the base of the Keenleyside Dam down to the Robson
boat launch. Once one Walleye is located there is a good chance that there are many more within the same vicinity as they tend to school. When fishing in the later summer and early fall paying attention to weather patterns will help improve your odds in locating these fish. The old wives tale is usually told that Walleye are lock-jawed during the day and are only active during the evening so it’s not worth pursuing them during midday. The truth of the matter is that these fish are very light sensitive and they prefer low light conditions. Yes they are more vigorous during the morning and evening; however targeting them midday in the deeper water can prove good results. On cloudier or choppy surface water days the fish can be found a bit shallower as there is less light penetration. The rule of thumb is to start in shallow water (20 feet) in the morning and work your way out until you locate fish. When the sun grows brighter work out to deeper 50+ feet of water and when dusk starts to set in move back to the shallower water.
barbless hook fishery. Bottom bouncing is a great method to use when trying to locate active fish. This rig is a trolling sinker intended to fish slowly while keeping bottom contact. The rig is made up of wire that is bent in a 90-degree angle with led moulded on the lower section and a snap swivel connected to the shorter arm portion. Attach a spinner or lure of choice with a 36 to 48 inch leader. Since the Columbia River allows live bait, tipping your lure with a stretched out dew worm will give the fish something they can’t resist. Slow troll less than 1.2 mph up river and always keep your line 45 degrees to the boat. The bite will come as a “tap-tap” then a strike. Don’t set the hook too soon as the fish tend to short bite the end of the worm. Wait until the strong committed hit, and then set the hook in a forward sweeping motion. Some of the best lures to use when bottom bouncing is the Smile Blade Super Slow Death Rigs by Mack’s Lure. These lures put off the perfect roll to the bait and an offset wobble that emulates a dying bait fish that the Walleye can’t resist! Jigging has to be one of the most popular and effective methods in the Columbia River when targeting Walleye. It’s wise to have a variety of jig sizes and colours ranging from ¼ to ¾ ounce jigs. The slower the water the smaller the jig size you can use. Tipping the jigs with dew worms or scented grubs is the ticket to encourage the fish to strike.
METHODS & TECHNIQUES Using quality sonars that can detect contours will help improve your odds in locating these fish. To keep your lure within the strike zone it is critical to keep your presentation in contact with the river floor. The most successful way to pursue these fish is from a boat, by either bottom bouncing a spinner rig or by jigging the river bottom. Whichever lures you chose to use it is important to note that the Columbia River is a single
The key to jigging for these fish is not only to keep contact with the bottom, but to also keep your fishing line directly vertical below the boat. This will help you sense strikes as well as avoid snags. Minor jigging pulls between 4 to 8 inches off bottom will provide the right action to attract the fish. The bite will be subtle and more like a weight pulling down. Set the hook with a smooth vertical sweeping action. Stay tuned for part two next month!
HOT DEAL OF THE MONTH
OF THE MONTH Have a question? We’d love to answer it for you! Shoot us an email at media@ mackslure.com with your question and you may see it featured in an upcoming issue of the Mack Attack Magazine! Q: I know you have products for trolling for sockeye, but I was wondering if you have any cast and retrieve type lures that would work for them that I could use from the shore? A: As it sounds you are well aware, we do have killer trolling products for sockeye. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that the Sonic BaitFish™ (SBF) jigging spoon is a tool that can be effectively used to target sockeye, as well as other species, from the shore.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH Mack’s Lure Pro Staffer Danny Coyne, owner of BCFishn.com, shows off a gorgeous Rainbow pulled into the boat on a Pee Wee™ Wiggle Hoochie™ & Double D™.
Kokanee are a landlocked salmon and, therefore, both species seem to be triggered to bite seem to be triggered by the same fishing methods and colors. With that said, there are a lot of anglers that vertically jig or cast and retrieve the SBF for kokanee. Since sockeye swim up the banks of a river and always seem to be in the top of the water column, we suggest using a 1/10, 1/6 or 1/4 oz. SBF in Hot Pink or Hot Orange. Rig it with the duo-lock snap attached to the note and fish it slow with small, methodically and erratic movements (twitching on retrieve).
PHOTO CREDIT: BCFISHn.COM
VIDEO OF THE MONTH Mack’s Lure’s Bobby Loomis and Bob Schmidt catch limits of sockeye on the Columbia River with Angler West TV. The hot lures were Cha Cha® Sockye Squidders.
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