Whitefish are supposed to be the easiest fish to catch, next to Perch, apparently. I don't know about you but the beginning of this season had some squeak to it - as in it took me a bit to get back on track catching them.
I'm a Lake Simcoe walker. I don't have any mode of transportation to get around the lake, other than my own two feet. The extra grit on that is that I have two really bad knees from years of bad form weight lifting... I know, this belly says otherwise... but I promise it's a true story. These bad knees make traveling on foot slower than normal. What should be a 15 minute walk out is usually 20 or 25.
I know there are a lot of people that are stuck walking, like me, and are likely running into the same issues - fish don't want to bite. Who can blame them?! even the guys WITH sleds and ATV's pop in close to shore to get some quick fish before moving around. With all that pressure, I think it makes you really have to knuckle down and dial in your presentation.
Luckily for me I was offered to come out with my good buddy Bob and other buddy Thom - two great guys who I fished with last year. The plus to this - Thom has a sled. The plus to going out on a sled - it just dropped a foot of snow on the lake and I wasn't going to be going too far on foot in THAT - I told you about the belly right?
Thom, Bob and I all met up and drove out to a main lake shoal. Now this shoal is a community shoal... I guess all shoals really are, but this one IS able to be walked to if you're up for that kinda trip - about a 30 minute walk - 45 on these knees.... 60 minutes in this snow.
Since we just had the one sled we took turns getting dropped out at the spot. I was first and got to setup while Bob got brought out. The day was a bit windy so it was nice to have some snow to pack around the pop up and keep it anchored and wind free. We were in about 35 feet and within 5 minutes I had my first fish. Usually if I get into fish this quick, the day's in for a bad spiral.
It wasn't that kind of day though.Thom got his first fish a few minutes later and I had fish on my line either on ice or lost at the hole (let's not discuss my inability to set the drag appropriately to let hooks dig in). This day had more fish on my line than the rest of the winter combined... I know.. but we're not going to bring that up again.
The lures are simple. Find a bottom bouncing bait - there's tons of them now. What started out as the lil' Foxies, than the Bad Boyz turned into the Meegs and now the Lunkerhunt Nose Down jigs. If you prefer something flashier you can use a spoon or the Vibrato. For you plastic lovers, tons of companies make soft plastic Goby imitations - The Drifter is quite popular.
If you're interested in finding shoals out on the lake, Navionics has an amazing app that you can load onto your mobile device. This year they offered the ability to put depth ranges in. For an example, say you wanted to find water that was no shallower than 10 feet but also no deeper than 30 feet. You can do that and when you do, it highlights all the shoals that are out there. Now all you have to do is pack up and drive to 'em.
Don't worry if you're a walker. You can still search for quick drop offs with the same filter. Just look around the edge of the lake until you see a narrow band of color - where the lines get really close together and you're set!
With the big difference in fish catches I had today, I think that kind of seals the deal. If I have the money, I'm going to be buying a sled... although, I do need a trolling motor too... mine doesn't work in the rain... don't ask.