You Call the Cast
Jan. 10, 2018
Editor’s Note: Outdoor journalist Tony Capecchi has launched a new article series, “You Call the Cast," and this edition features Aikens Lake. Here's the article.
You Call the Cast: What Would YOU Do?
By: Tony Capecchi
Welcome to “You Call the Cast.” Here’s the premise: An expert angler hits a body of water, describes the conditions that day and shares enough about the lake or river to orient you to the fishery. The angler then describes how he or she approached that particular fishing situation.
We then ask YOU, the reader, to call your shot and share what your approach would be in the same situation.
Body of Water: Aikens Lake, Manitoba. 115 miles north east of Winnipeg, accessibly only by floatplane at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. The Gammon River flows throw this 11,000-acre, 290-foot deep lake, which is nutrient-dense with ciscos and shiners as primary forage.
Walleyes are the primary species with 18-25 inchers common and a good chance at a trophy (28-inches or bigger); pike and lake trout are less abundant but very large.
The Angler: Colin Boissonneault, Aikens pro-staff guide
Target Species: Walleye
The Conditions: Sunset (9pm) on an August evening, 70 degrees, partly cloudy. No wind.
The Gear: 7.5-foot, medium action Wright & McGill trolling rods with 20-pound braided line and matching Wright & McGill baitcaster reels.
The Situation: After catching a ton of walleyes all day jigging on humps and reefs, Boissonneault’s clients want to try a different approach for some variety and to learn new tips from the guide.
The Approach: Boissonneault turns to an open-water trolling technique the Aikens crew discovered as a killer approach (and fun change of pace) for big roamer walleyes at night. Schools of roamer walleyes spend all day in mid-lake basins where its 200 to 240 feet deep.
“In the evening these roamer walleyes will come up to 15 to 30 feet deep to feed on schools of suspended baitfish,” said Boissonneault. “I troll 6-inch Jakes and deep-running, wide-wobbling Rapalas right at sunset.”
“Troll long ovals until you start getting hits, then tighten up your circles and troll more concentrated areas once you start catching them,” he said, noting that speed is typically more important than lure color.
While 2mph tends to be the magic number, some nights higher speeds trigger more strikes while other evenings find a slower pace more productive.
“When you catch them this way, they’re generally larger fish in the 3- to 5-pound range,” Boissonneault said. “It can be a super fun way to enjoy the evening and catch a bunch of big walleyes in a new way.”
You Call the Cast: What would your approach be in a situation like this? Do you have a certain lure, technique or mentality you employ in these situations?