Vermillion Bay Lodge
Eagle Lake Ontairo
Fishing on Eagle Lake

Testimonials Click Here!


Tips to Become a Better Eagle Lake Walleye Angler

By Gord Bastable and Joe "the Professor" Moskal
Vermilion Bay Lodge, Ontario, Canada

A Little Perspective…

Eagle Lake offers very good walleye fishing, but they seldom "jump into the boat". Catching fish requires that you locate them and then present your lure or bait so that it gets bit. Here are a few basic things to consider that will make your fishing more effective.

  • Have an open mind. Don't rely on your old habits and techniques exclusively.

  • Use your sonar unit! The camp boats are equipped with locators that are set up to help you find structure such as weeds, rocks and drop-offs that may hold fish. The locator will also mark schools of baitfish and individual walleye in deeper water (15 feet+). This tool is indispensable. Learn how to use it well and you're going to be rewarded with more fish. Ask for help if you are unsure of how to interpret what it is showing.

  • Boat control is essential. Keeping the bait in the right location, and at the right speed and depth, is the only way to consistently catch fish. Use your motor, the wind or both to control the position of your boat. Use your lake map to record notes on successful locations, depths and speed to remind you of what brought about success.

  • Food & comfort are two prime concerns of the walleye. Seasonal variations such as water temperature and weed growth dictate where the food source and the walleye will be found. As well, daily variations such as weather, wind and amount of daylight all play a role in where the walleye can be located and caught. Be aware of the subtle changes happening around you. Try to identify patterns that produce fish. But remember, walleye will adapt their behaviour in order to take advantage of favourable conditions. Just because you catch some in the weeds doesn't mean that it's only a "weed bite". Try different locations at different times of day. Walleyes often are moving around during the course of the day. If you're not getting bites, do something different.

  • Walleyes are effective predators because their eyesight gives them a superior advantage for chasing down food in low-light conditions. That's why it's to your benefit to be on the water early and late in the day. Put the odds in your favour. On some days, these are the only periods a decent bite will occur. Be ready for it.

  • Tune-up your equipment before you arrive. Make sure that your rods and reels work properly. If the line is not in excellent condition, replace it. And sharpen those lure hooks. It's your equipment that connects you to the fish. Have you ever noticed that fish, especially big fish, love faulty equipment? (NOTE: VBL is located a short drive away from Bobby's Corner, an outstanding tackle and bait shop that carries anything you need to replace.) Also, make sure that you can effectively tie a knot that holds, such as the Uni-Knot, Improved Clinch or Palomar Knots. Walleyes simply love poorly tied knots, just slightly less than faulty equipment, though.

  • Above all, don't be embarrassed to ask for advice! We all have something to learn about walleye fishing, and many guests can offer valuable tips based on real knowledge of Eagle Lake. Use the Sunday night fish fry and interactions at the lodge with your host and other guests to share and receive fishing information. Ask about locations, water depths and lure speeds/colors that are producing fish. And talk to Gord before you head out on the water. Make it your business to really understand what's working to reduce sheer guesswork and wasted fishing time. Don't let yourself (and your partner) spend the first few days of your vacation fooling with unproductive methods.
  • Methods That Will Catch Walleye on Eagle Lake

    There are many methods for catching walleye. This article will cover three good ones for Eagle. Each has a different purpose and requires different skill and equipment. Remember, the better you become at each one of these, the more fish, and bigger fish, you're going to catch. So, we suggest that you use your stay at Vermilion Bay Lodge, in part, to intentionally become a better angler. Challenge yourself to make it more than just another fishing trip. After all, you're going to be on outstanding walleye water.

    If you're fishing with a partner, talk about what you're each interested in and then work together on the methods. Be aware that the methods are not compatible for simultaneous use. For example, one of you should not be jigging while the other is trolling. Agree upon a method and stick with it until change is deemed desirable or necessary. You can take turns selecting the method to fish with which has the advantage of forcing periodic changes if what you're doing is not working very well. Experiment with different lure sizes, weights and colors. And if one lure proves to be hot, both of you can run it.

  • Crank-baits: An excellent method to cover the water quickly and locate walleye. Forward troll at slow to moderate speeds, working weed and rock edges, depth changes, mud flats & humps. Tie on using a small snap swivel. Ten to 14 pound "super-line", such as FireLine or PowerPro, is recommended for trolling. Its "no-stretch" design will help you feel the lure working properly, much more so than with mono. This is a big plus, because a lure fouled with weeds won't catch fish. The thin diameter line will allow your lures to run deeper as well. It's advisable to attach a three-foot length of 10# fluorocarbon (or mono) leader material between your line and lure to make the line less visible to the walleyes. This is an advantage. A six and a half foot (or longer), medium-power rod with either a bait caster or spinning reel will work fine. And it's best to hold your rod in your hand to know if you're hitting bottom or ticking weeds, which is something that you should be doing occasionally, unless the fish are clearly suspended higher in the water column. Two or more anglers in the boat should spread their rods widely off to the side. And let out plenty of line (75 feet or more) to get your lures well behind the boat. Check your lures periodically to insure they are running clean. If it's breezy out, troll with the wind-it's much easier to control the boat. The table below will give you a few suggestions on getting started. But there are plenty of other lures that will work, too.

    Spring

    Late May-Early June

    Early Summer

    Mid-Late June

    Mid Summer

    July-Early Aug.

    Late Summer/Fall

    Mid Aug.& Sept.

    8ft.-15ft. depths

    10ft-20ft. depths

    15ft-25ft. depths

    20ft-40ft. depths

    Rap. Husky Jerk*

    (3” up to 4 ¾”)

    Colors: silver/black, Tennessee Shad

    ----------------------

    Reef Runner*

    “Rip Stick”*

    Color:  gold clown

    ----------------------

    Rap. Tail Dancer*

    (#7, 2 ¾”)

    Colors: hot green, shad

    Rap. Tail Dancer*

    (#7, 2 ¾”…#9, 3 ½”)

    Colors: hot green, shad

    ----------------------

    Reef Runner*

    “Rip Stick”  &

    “Deep Little Ripper”

    Color:  gold clown

    Rap. Tail Dancer*

    (#9, 3 ½...Deep T.D.)

    Colors: hot green, shad

    ----------------------

    Reef Runner*

    “Deep Little Ripper”

    “Deep Diver”

    Color: gold clown

    Rap. Tail Dancer*

    (Deep Tail Dancer, 4 3/8”)

    Colors: all seem to work

    ----------------------

    Reef Runner*

    “Deep Diver”

    Color: gold clown

  • Jigging: A good way to work concentrations of fish once you find them. Tie your jig directly to your line….no snaps or leader. Six to eight pound monofilament line with the lightest jig to do the job. Back-troll slowly, drift or cast, keeping your jig just above the bottom. A 6' or 6 ½' medium power spinning rod with a fast-action tip would be a good choice.

    Spring

    May-Early June

    Early Summer

    Mid to Late June

    Mid Summer

    July to Early Aug.

    Late Summer/Fall

    Mid Aug. & Sept.

    4ft. -15ft. depths

    10ft. -20ft. depths

    15ft.- 25ft. depths

    20ft-40ft. depths

    1/8 to 3/8 oz.

    chartreuse, orange

    1/4 to 3/8 oz.

    chartreuse, orange

    3/8 oz.

    chartreuse, orange

    3/8 to ½ oz.

    chartreuse, orange

    Minnow

    Minnow or crawler

    Minnow or crawler

    Minnow or crawler

  • Bottom Bouncing: A deadly method of covering the water using live bait spinner rigs…..either single hook minnow rigs or double/triple hook crawler harnesses. A bottom bouncer is a weighting system that attaches a piece of lead to a wire shaft. Special bottom bouncing weights are available in various sizes…the generally recommended weight is 1 oz. for every 10ft. of depth. There are several designs available and they all work. However, we favour the "slip bouncer" design that allows your line to freely slide through the bottom bouncer, much like the traditional Lindy Rig does. When a fish bites you immediately feed it line for 2-3 seconds (undetected by the walleye) before tightening up and setting the hook. Look for the Northland Tackle "Rock Runner Slip Bouncer" in stores. Cabela's sells something similar they refer to as a "torpedo style" bottom bouncer. Forward trolling at moderate speeds is preferred, although a slow back-troll or drift early in the season is effective using lighter weights. From mid-summer into fall, fishing with heavy weights (2-3 oz.) is necessary. A 7 foot medium-power rod with a fast-action tip combined with a bait caster with a "flippin' switch" is ideal. (A "flippin' switch" allows you to quickly and precisely release line in a controlled manner, which is a huge plus when you're trying to stay close to the bottom.) Other rod/reel combos will work, but not quite as well. Ten to 14 pound "super-line" is recommended to allow you to get to the proper depth and give you excellent feel of the bottom, as well as the lightest walleye bites. The idea is to run your bait just above the bottom, while just ticking it every now and then. This is very important because if you drag this rig on the bottom it's going to get badly fouled. Northland Tackle "Bait Fish Image" holographic spinners and crawler harnesses work exceptionally well…….choose the bigger blades if planning on fishing late summer/fall. Suggested spinner blade colors are: Fire-tiger, Gold Shiner, Silver Shiner, Sunfish, Rainbow Chub, Gold Perch, Yellow Perch and Sunrise. Minnows are the bait of choice in the spring with crawlers through the summer and fall. For a detailed description of the bottom bouncing technique, a suggested reading is Phil Rolfe's article, "Bottom Bouncing A to Z", available online at: http:/www.justfishontario.com/bottom_bouncing_a_to_z.htm

    Spring

    May-Early June

    3/8 to 1 oz.

    Early Summer

    Mid-Late June

    1 to 2 oz.

    Mid-Summer

    July-Early Aug.

    2 oz.

    Late Summer/Fall

    Mid-Aug. On

    2 to 3 oz.

  • Significant Seasonal Events-"Adapting to the Mayfly Hatch": The annual hatch of mayfly larvae which occurs mid-June to early July, and lasting several weeks, is a preferred food source for walleye and can create difficulties for some anglers. Rather than using this as an excuse to NOT catch walleyes, use this feeding frenzy to your advantage! Walleyes will actively seek out areas where mayflies are hatching, generally mud bottom, cabbage strewn, shallow sections of the lake. Back bays containing the warmest water will show the first mayfly hatch……key in on this structure! Larvae activity is triggered by rising water temps which is often at its peak during mid day, high light conditions. Contrary to our "walleye instincts" mid day (10-2) can often be the best time period to catch fish during the may fly hatch! Cover these areas by trolling crankbaits, keying in on weed edges and shallow mud flats. Many times the walleye will be buried in the cabbage beds themselves. Working a jig tipped with a crawler or casting & twitching a lure such as the Rapala Suspending Husky Jerk can often result in some quality fish. Remember, these fish are often "stuffed" full of food and may require an aggressive approach….bigger baits, erratic action, a quicker retrieve….mix things up till you find what works.

    In Conclusion:

    There you have it, three ways that will definitely catch walleyes. You will be pleasantly surprised with the numbers and size of the fish you will be catching as you develop real skill with these methods. We have caught hundreds of walleyes on Eagle Lake using the same methods described above. You can too!

  • For more Fishing Tips & Updated Tactics Click Here

  • Main Walleye Page
  • Gallery of Big Walleye Pictures
  • Main Photo Gallery (New Mixed Photos)

  • eXTReMe Tracker