Spring Re-Cap: Steelhead, Walleye, Sheepshead, Pike, and more….
I can’t believe that spring has already come and gone and we are now into July. I wish I could put this time of year in slow motion as it’s my favourite and it seems there’s simply not enough time to do it all. I love the chance to target a variety of species each year and I’ve been fortunate to check a few off the list that I hadn’t mentioned in previous blogs (and some I had). A little spring open water fishing re-cap is in order starting from the top!
Lake Ontario Tributary Steelhead
This was my first open water adventure of the year and after a long winter it was blissful to be on open water again. What I love so much about targeting steelhead is venturing off the beaten path following the winding waters carved through the countryside. Climbing through and around thick brush, over fallen trees, and reaching that picture perfect untouched pool. It truly feels like an escape when passing more deer and wildlife than people on these hikes. I learned to target steelhead on a fly rod several years ago but more recently have picked up a centerpin. I stuck to ‘pinning this spring and was thankful to get the hang of it and find success.
After a long 5 months, tearing the cover off my boat and making the maiden spring voyage nearly brings a tear to my eye. No more bulky winter clothing is needed and I love the minimal amount equipment I can pack up to catch great numbers of these fish. The air is still quite cool during the early season so the warm sun on my skin is only a hint of what’s ahead. I’m thankful as the days become warmer and I can shed gloves, toques and jackets. The colours on these fish are stunning, darkening up as waters warm up and they get ready to spawn. They’re a riot on ultralight gear.
Pumpkinseeds and Bluegills
With the rivers and lakes all free of ice, I venture further from home to explore new water and target pumpkinseeds and bluegills. These species are undoubtedly some of the most colourful freshwater fish. I find them fascinating and very strong even as a smaller species. Like crappie, they stack up and it’s enjoyable to throw the Talon down and reel in fish after fish in a small sheltered bay.
As soon as walleye and pike season opens, that’s my cue to put down the ultralight gear and wrap up the panfishing. I jump from one species to the next in hopes to get a chance to spend time on all of them. This year I focused on jigging for walleye with a 1/4oz VMC jig head and TriggerX grub. I really enjoy any technique that connects me to bottom getting right down to the fish that I’m marking on my Humminbird.
Next up were freshwater drum (sheepshead) on the Bay of Quinte! There is a great population of sheep on Quinte and they put up a hell of a fight! I was fortunate to get into a good number of them on walleye gear although I decided to go with a TriggerX minnow instead of a grub. The water was stained but these fish were actively feeding along weed lines adjacent to shorelines.
Spring is a great time to target carp from shore and I had some great trips this season! Carp fishing can be as simple or as advanced as you’d like it to be. Carp fishing is highly underrated in Canada although it is world class calibre! A lot of products can only be found online but there’s endless sources of information for targeting these beasts.
One of the last spring fishing trips resulted in this nice northern pike on the Rideau River in Ottawa! I was trolling the very noisy the Storm Jointed Flatstick in pursuit of musky, but was still happy with a catch like this!
Needless to say it was a fantastic spring on the water with a great variety of species and experiences. I will soon be posting blogs about bass fishing which is where I tend to focus most of my time during the summer months. I hope you had a great spring and as always, I appreciate you reading my stories!