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> New Cottager to the Area - Fishing Spots?, Looking for help to find fishing spots
phil0202
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 - 09:49 am


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Hi everyone,

My family and I bought a cottage in West Bay in the fall of 2016. So far, we have "attempted" to find fish in the summer of 2017 and 2018 with limited success.

We are located in Keith's Bay and have plenty of Rock Bass, and Small Mouth just off our boat house.

We are looking for pickerel spots. I know, pickerel spots are sacred, but this new family to the area would appreciate any advice available out there, including:

1. Best Lure
2. Best Bait
3. Best depth
4. Best time of day
5. Best Weather

Any help would greatly be appreciated!!!!

Regards.

Phil and the Gang

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westarm
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 - 10:22 am


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hi phil, welcome aboard,

here is the best advice I can give you without telling specifics,

look for anchored boats! that is by far the easiest way to find spots, remember a picture {or visual} says a million words, it will answer the following questions........

where to fish
when to fish
depth to fish
even best weather to fish

lure and baits for walleye are somewhat obvious however if you are looking to anchor or drift above will tell the tale, trolling is somewhat different but not much really, you can still take notes from others. I have pretty much found ALL of my {not so} secret walleye spots this way. to have a "secret" spot would be difficult to say the least. cheers! good luck

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Grumpa
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 - 01:05 pm


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phil, you should take up muskie fishing.
Your cottage is located in one of my favorite bays for big lunge at the west end of the lake.

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Sterling
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 - 06:01 pm


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What time of year was it when you attempted to find walleye?

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Crono_87
Posted: Jun 18, 2019 - 10:48 pm


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Fellow new west bay cottager here
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Got a pile of pike and smallmouth this weekend tho 😁

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westarm
Posted: Jun 19, 2019 - 07:30 am


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QUOTE (Crono_87 @ Jun 18, 2019 - 11:48 pm)
Fellow new west bay cottager here
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Got a pile of pike and smallmouth this weekend tho 😁

welcome Crono_87

sounds like your getting fish, west bay is truly a great place to be! cheers!

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Northhunter
Posted: Jun 19, 2019 - 09:47 pm


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Phil.. slow troll worm harnesses on flats adjacent to deeper water. Stay just outside the weeds and cover water. You can catch'em any time but cloudy days and morning/evening will help make finding productive water a little easier. You'll find'em. If you have a fish finder start cruising around 6:00 and look for numbers of fish in 10-15ft. Come back to those spots closer to dark. They will be a little shallower and a little more active.

I myself stay away from clusters of boats. I find a lot of people just look for where others are fishing (ducks to decoys kinda thing). One boat fishing a shoal that might produce a couple fish will eventually have 3, 4 parties fishing it for no other reason than someone decided to anchor there. I see it every year on spots that just aren't that good. Plus you'll be competing for water and fish...




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Northhunter
Posted: Jun 20, 2019 - 03:18 am


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Oh, and I have "secret spots" They are places I keep in my back pocket that don't really get targeted. If there are other boats nearby, I pack it up and move. 'Cuz if I'm on fish and a party of 4 rolls up and I stay, I'm just advertising at that point and it's not a secret anymore

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westarm
Posted: Jun 20, 2019 - 08:15 am


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QUOTE (Northhunter @ Jun 20, 2019 - 04:18 am)
Oh, and I have "secret spots" They are places I keep in my back pocket that don't really get targeted. If there are other boats nearby, I pack it up and move. 'Cuz if I'm on fish and a party of 4 rolls up and I stay, I'm just advertising at that point and it's not a secret anymore

I think there is many who do the same Northhunter, i think that was a running joke for awhile, a friend used to always say wait until you see a boat scurry away if you get within a couple hundred yards, they don't want you to see them catching fish, fish there. lol.

however, i found one of my favourite spots years ago in the opposite manner, we were fishing some weed flats for bass and pike, a boat was parked right outside a deep area with a large hump for the entire time we were at the opposite side of the water, there were 2 incredibly stoked kids on board, they could not keep quiet, every catch and sound came directly across the water to us. when i later investigated where they were it couldn't have been drawn up any better on paper. i have to this day caught a ton of walleye on that spot.

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Grumpa
Posted: Jun 20, 2019 - 01:10 pm


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Personally, I've never really worried about holding fishing 'spots' close to the vest...or moving locations to prevent another angler setting up shop. I try not to move away from a location that's solidly producing, for secrecy or any other reason...seems counter productive to me...are you catching lots of fish, everyone in the boat thrilled?...keep fishing. And for the most part I've always tried to share information with other like minded anglers...even productive locations.
Over decades and decades I (as well as many others) have been extremely fortunate to have MNR techs, tournament anglers, camp operators, guides and experienced fishermen share information/locations/techniques with us...so I have no problem sharing with others. Part of the bigger fishing community. Maybe it's just me...my age...I'm not sure...but I like talking fishing and sharing knowledge, locations etc...I find other fishermen do as well.
To be honest, there's sooo many great fishing locations from one end of Nipissing to the other. No shortage of small spot on spots that produce and hold fish every year...all over the lake.
By trying to understand the seasonal movements and feeding behaviour/cycles of various fish species...it helps breed a certain level of confidence, comfort so to speak, that you can consistently find the various fish species you try or want to target...even if some of your personal, past favourite, locations seem to be getting more attention or heavier/regular fishing pressure.
Experience and time on a particular water body certainly helps...but tournament fishermen, TV hosts and experienced anglers can come in and have good success right out of gate as well. Often they don't focus on locally known hot spots or popular locations...instead they'll employ their knowledge of the species, the lake's hydrographics and proven tactics and techniques that have worked for them under similar circumstances elsewhere.
Conditions on the water can vary drastically from one year to the next...fish location, movements and feeding patterns can change year to year as well...as they do throughout a single fishing season.
The extreme high water and cooler temps on Nipissing, so far this year, could provide a good example of this. Throughout the summer and fall I'll likely revisit many of the patterns and locations that proved successful ten years ago when there was another extremely high water year on Nipissing.
The local experienced anglers on this board have immeasurable knowledge to share...there's always a benefit to listening to any input they offer. Knowledge and information is power...even in fishing.

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Northhunter
Posted: Jun 20, 2019 - 06:52 pm


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I see a lot of bad etiquette at our end of the lake. Guys that think they own the water and will not give another boat room to breathe. Or set up shop 150ft behind you and follow your exact trolling path, sometimes even trying to cut a boat off at a promising looking point or bay. Had an occurrence last year.. was trolling a large bay of sorts with several small islands. 2 boats come up the channel, see us and proceed to beeline it for where we are fishing. We were the only boat there originally. They proceed to follow us, to the point where I felt like I was being rushed or pushed along. This went on for a little bit and when we came up to one of the islands I changed course, taking the opposite side out of the line of sight of the other boats. When we got to he end of the island I turned around to double back in the opposite direction.The other boats were at this point continuing course down the shoreline. When the lead boat regained a line of sight and saw that we had turned around, they did also! And rather abruptly. Forgive me for being bitter, but I will not play guide for these types. I got out of there pretty quick.
Something else I see a lot is a boat will find a spot that produces, so they park their but there every morning/evening several days a week. I just find that a rather monotonous, boring way to fish.

I have no problem moving. I enjoy fishing new water. Trying new spots. Revisiting old ones to see if a new pattern has emerged. I have no problem sharing knowledge, techniques, etc. but you never know who you're sharing the water with. If I'm the only boat for a mile in an out of the way spot that I enjoy fishing and a boat pulls up, just because I am there.. sorry. I Probably won't give you the benefit of the doubt. Nor will I give you an earful or get involved in some sort of casting duel over a shoal the size of a living room. I'll just move Nip is a massive lake with lots of structure and productive fishing. All the more reason to give eachother some space out there.

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Grumpa
Posted: Jun 21, 2019 - 08:53 am


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If I let other fishermen dictate where I'm going to fish all the time....my boat would have missed some pretty amazing days on the water.
To me regularly packing up and moving, just to avoid detection, means you're not fishing. Move when you need to put your boat on fish...not to hide from prying eyes. Fishing guides would starve to death if fishing isolation was their primary goal.
I don't really want to spend my days on the water constantly looking over my shoulder to see if another boat is creeping up on me. I'd just be wasting time trying to be a ninja fishermen. Time on the water is short enough as it is. I like to focus on my crews having the best opportunity to catch as many fish as possible, each outing...so I try to put them on locations that make that possible. If we're the only boat on a good spot, great...if someone else shows up...let presentation and technique dictate success. I won't pack up and vacate a productive spot just for the sake of seclusion.
The days of not seeing another boat all day anywhere on Nipissing are long gone...camps and cottages almost everywhere, boat ramps all over the lake. Sad but true. You think you have a virgin spot no one else ever fishes...not a chance. You're just not fishing it when others have been there. The lake's too accessible, boats too mobile, the mapping, bottom contouring and hydrographics today are too good. You want isolation or pristine water in Ontario, seldom ever fished...go out to Georgian Bay, mouth of the French, Bustard Islands...or head further north.
Some spots in our area of the lake get heavy fishing pressure, year round...patience and tolerance is often the name of the game. For the most part anglers are respectful. Just for a change of pace...one of my favourite things to do, a couple times a summer, is to pull up to one of the busiest reefs near us....it's visible from our deck...every camp operator in 5 kms sends their camp boats and customers there all summer long...some days there's a half dozen boats on it all day. At certain times of the year, wind from the right direction...bait fish will be pushed up on a small segment of the deep, basin side of the reef.
There's nothing I enjoy more then to set up on that tiny segment of that reef and have my boat haul in fish in front of several others scattered closely around. It's a competitive challenge to see if my group can out fish the masses. Ocassionally another boat might try to encroach on our tiny space...sometimes they just leave...can't bare to watch anymore...I admit it, I get a small thrill if that happens.
Let the fishing determine where you fish...not other anglers, IMO...but to each his own.

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Northhunter
Posted: Jun 21, 2019 - 07:37 pm


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I get what you are saying Grumpa, but honestly if it came down to catching or not catching fish I would probably go about things differently. I'm a confident guy

More often than not I can take off for a bit and come back after the intruding parties have moved on. They don't know it's a good spot if they don't catch anything. But if I stay and show them... I'm not like that everytime a boat shows up. Just certain types.

I used to work with a guy who would sometimes go fish the cages on Manitoulin. The stories he would tell... not for me.

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Grumpa
Posted: Jun 22, 2019 - 07:36 am


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Northhunter, fished the West Arm since the early 70's...still fish it several times a year now...fish the French, north shore but mostly the main lake basin and the eastern basin. Because that's where we reside...and I'm lazy.
It's changed over the last 50 years. We use to be able to go out to West Bay and not see another boat for a day maybe two. That's impossible now. If I need that isolation fix I have to go out to Georgian Bay or further north. The east end of the lake is even busier and I've had to condition myself to be tolerant and effective in pressured fishing situations. We could move to avoid the masses some summer weekends and never have time to fish.
I miss the old days but have had to adapt.
We prefer to have locations to ourselves, but that's not feasible most of the summer. It's much better in the fall when cottages are closing up, kids are back in school and the crowd thins out.
That's our favorite time to fish now. I'm just glad I was able to at least experience those less pressured fishing conditions years ago.

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Northhunter
Posted: Jun 22, 2019 - 10:46 am


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We're west of the 64 bridge. Still get days in the summer where it seems we are the the only boat on the water. But the amount of musky fishermen in the fall has exploded in the last 6-8 years. I typically take the 1st week of October off to hunt (Indian summer - no bugs!) and used to have the lake to myself during the week. Right in front of the camp is a main channel. I remember hardly seeing a boat. But it's gotten to the point where it's hard to scout for ducks... they get pushed around and if you find them at 10, well that's not where they were at 7. Saturday. Tuesday. It doesn't seem to matter.

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