BWCA Fishing gear Boundary Waters Group Forum: Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
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05/03/2014 10:01PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
So, preface:

I am no fisherman. Beyond fishing for sunnies at Hyland Lake in my youth, I have precious little fishing experience.

So, advice is needed. I want to take as little ger as possible to WCPP but the right gear. I have no intention of spending thousands. In fact my budget (as usual) is quite modest.

I do not speak fisherman... So please keep it simple.

I plan on just a cheap telescping rod I own and a closed reel. (Never got the hang of the open). What kind of line should I have? Leaders I understand are needed. I figure a half dozen lures, but what ones? Certainly no more than a dozen... I want size of my gear to be at a minimum.


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Alan Gage
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05/04/2014 08:06AM  
Where will you be in the park and what do you want to catch? Some lakes have walleye, others just pike and lake trout. None of them have panfish and there isn't much to catch in the shallow, weedy areas. It seemed so strange to me to be paddling through reeds in clear shallow water and not see little bluegill, perch, and bass zipping around everywhere.

I'm not a serious fisherman either (any more) so here's my advice:

Figure we can just scratch lake trout from your itinerary and worry about the others.

Next time I go up there I'll be taking nothing except for some lead head jigs and plastic bodies, no leaders. I made the mistake last time of taking too light of jig heads. I think you'll want mainly 1/4 ounce and probably some 3/8 ounce as well. That should take care of your walleye needs. At least when I was up there they didn't seem to be too picky and were so easy to catch it almost wasn't fun. You could bring any number of other lures to catch walleye too but a jig is so simple, small, and cheap that it's tough to beat. I was mostly unmolested by pike but I did catch a few on the same setup and had a couple bite me off. But it was just jigs so no big deal.

If you want to catch some pike too then bring whatever you want. A couple crank baits to cast or troll behind the canoe or some spoons. Top waters would work too if you wanted a little extra excitement but probably not big fish. You'll want leaders for pike of course. Personally I try to avoid pike. I don't bring along the equipment or knowledge for catching big ones and I get no enjoyment out of catching smaller ones. But if you're in lakes without walleye and want to catch some fish pike is pretty much you're only option.

When I talked to Harlan he said the walleye were at 20 feet (late August) and he was right. With a little practice watching the shoreline you can start to get a pretty good idea of where there are points or saddles that will create some underwater structure. Measure out 20 feet of line (for example) in deep water, drop it over the side, and count how long it takes for the line to go tight. This is now your depth finder for that weight of jig. When you cast leave the line slack and count how long it takes for the jig to hit the bottom. If it's less than your desired depth start casting out a little farther at a time until you hopefully find where the depth drops off. You'll be able to tell if it gradually drops off or if there is a sudden change in depth. Fish it a while and if no luck then move a little ways and try again.

With only one rod and reel it will be tough fishing for both pike and walleye. For the pike you'd ideally want a stiffer rod and heavier line but heavier line makes it hard to fish deeper water with lighter lures for walleye. If I were you I'd spool up with 8lb line (or maybe 12lb line if you used something similar to Berkely Fireline, which I prefer). Concentrate on walleye (assuming you'll be on lakes with walleye). You'll have no problem handling the occasional pike, assuming it's not too big. I also like to pinch down all my barbs as it makes unhooking the fish (and yourself!!!) much easier and safer, especially if you're using lures with multiple treble hooks.

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05/04/2014 09:59PM  
I haven't researched it, but Claire told me on my route only Mexican Hat has walleye. That's what I want to catch. Never caught one before. My trip-mates want to fish, so I suspect we'll be out for both. My trip mates are enthusiastic, but not experienced fishermen either. Lets just say I'm the only one to ever clean a fish, and it's been a while for me.

I have however as the designated first aid guy , removed many hooks from fisher-men-. Barbless all the way! And a pair of wire cutters for the one that didn't go barbless...
Alan Gage
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05/04/2014 11:01PM  
If the group is inexperienced fisherman and all are excited about it you probably should bring along some leaders and lures for pike too. Where more experienced fisherman won't get a real big kick out of catching smallish pike you guys will. They're usually quite aggressive and will hit about anything. I'd personally recommend a couple spoons or crank baits that you can either cast or troll behind the canoe or maybe just a couple topwaters. Anything is fun to catch if it's on a topwater.

Remember that if you're going to just carry one rod and walleye are your main objective it's going to be on the light side for dealing with big lures for pike, so just keep the pike lures on the small side. No 9" crankbaits or 1 ounce spoons. Buzzbaits would make a nice topwater since it's just a single hook rather than treble.

I'm sure you'll get plenty more responses tomorrow when people are back at work where they have lots of spare time to surf the internet. :)

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05/05/2014 07:12AM  
What lakes are on your route? I assuming that if Claire told you that Mexican Hat was the only lake with walleyes in it that you will be paddling the southern portion of the park where walleyes are less common. I fished on Haven, Hansen, Jigsaw (for a very short time), Glenn and Telescope last year and all produced walleyes along with several northerns caught by accident. Most all were caught on jigs and twister tails. We paddled to Mexican Hat but I did not fish. Based on other reports on this site Mexican Hat is a good walleye lake.
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05/05/2014 07:11PM  
Hey ECPizza:

I think you can go with one rod and tackle on the cheap and still produce good fishing results. I typically run an 8 pound braided line. I will bring a couple of each: spoons, mepps spinners, and crankbait. I also bring a few bead chain sinkers in case I need to get my lures deeper depending on the time of the year. I go really light weight with one rod and limited tackle. I typically like chartruse, silver, blue, and pink for my color selection. Good luck and have a great time!
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05/05/2014 11:00PM  
Went to Fleet Farm today for something else, drifted to the fishing section, saw 8 aisles of lures, walked away from overload.

Yes, Mexican Hat will our farthest northern point.
05/05/2014 11:37PM  
Let me keep this very simple for entry level walleye fishing gear. You have a rod and reel already. Set it up with 8 pound Berkley monofilament line. Go buy some 1/4 oz jigs and some 3/8 oz jigs of chartreuse or white or blue. Buy some twister tail worms both yellow and also some white. Tie on a jig and hook on a twister tail worm. Drop down 5 to 10 feet below canoe in June and 15 to 20 feet below canoe in August. Bounce it off the bottom or lift up and down (jig) 1 to two feet off the bottom. Do this along any shoreline with small boulders or gravel or off of any point. You might use the heavier jigs on windy days or in deeper water. Simple. Walleyes will find you. You could get a small box by Plano to hold the jig heads and twister tails. Easy and simple. Good luck.
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