Aikens Lake News

You Call the Cast: What Would YOU Do?

Date
Nov. 04, 2017

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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: Brenden Windsor, Aikens pro-staff guide

Target Species: Walleye

The Conditions: Late-July, 83 degrees at 9am and water temps in the 70’s. Glass calm, absolutely no breeze. Not a cloud in the sky.

The Gear: 7-foot, light-action Wright & McGill rod and a Shimano Sedona Spinning reel with 6-pound monofilament line.

The Approach: “If you’re hot and sluggish, the fish probably are, too,” Windsor says, “In these conditions, I go to the simplest of all methods. Lead head jig, minnow, dead stick. Maybe a cisco on another dead stick holding completely still.”

For locations, Windsor targets deep, mid-lake reefs (28-34 feet of water) he knows fish hold to all summer, and he waits it out with his plain grey jig right on the bottom with no jigging action whatsoever.

A key caveat Windsor recommends on such a classic dog day of summer: long-shank hooks on all jigs.

“The hook sits back further in the minnow so when the fish bites it has more of a chance to get the hook,” Windsor said. “That can make the difference if the bite is light. It also keeps the minnow on the hook better.”

“If the bite is super tough on the main reef after several hours, I go to moving water,” Windsor says, pointing toward the falls where the Gammon River spills into the east side of Aikens Lake. “Fish there are often more active––for one thing, they have to exert at least some energy to hold themselves in rapidly moving water, so they can’t be entirely lethargic.”

Windsor’s bottom line: Keep it as simple as possible, don’t move around needlessly and remember the fish are (almost) as sluggish as you.

You Call the Cast: What would your approach be on a scorching hot, glass-calm day like this? Do you have a certain lure, technique or mentality you employ in these situations?

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