Free Info on Fishing From a Canoe, Canoe Camping, & Wilderness
I call this
the "no-fail" method because I have used this method to catch
bluegills, trout, bass, northern, walleye, perch and a few
other species as well in a wide variety of lakes and rivers.
The Bait - The
Authentic Floating Rapala
Method 1- Trolling
Trolling in a new river or
lake is by far my number one method of finding fish when
fishing from a canoe. Fish locators find fish, many of
which are non-target (like suckers) or non-feeding, but
trolling finds feeding fish.
There is really only one variable to control in bait
presentation: Depth. Depth control may be obtained with
split shot(s) placed about 2 feet in front of the lure.
The larger size Rapalas 4 inches or more will dive a bit
deeper than the smaller Rapalas. Here are some guidelines:
Early Morning or At Dark
or After Dark - Fish with no weight very near the
surface. Troll the lure well back from the canoe,
and quietly paddle over weed beds and near drop-offs. You
need near dark conditions! As it lightens up, you may need
to fish down a bit.
Shallow Lakes or Rivers
in depths of 6 ft or Less - Fish with 1 split shot at
a depth of 3 or 4 feet. Troll the lure well back
from the canoe, and quietly paddle over weed beds and near
drop-offs. Note: If the lake or river is excessively
weedy, you may need to use different lures.
Lakes or Rivers of depth
of 8-15 ft or more - Fish with 2 or more split shots
so the lure obtains depths of 6 or more feet. Troll
the lure a moderate distance back from the canoe, and
quietly paddle near drop-offs and underwater islands if
you know where they are.
First time on the lake?
- Troll the entire lake shore at least twice. After
several times, you will find the best spots.
Method 2 - Surface
If you have identified some
good areas where you often see fish breaking the surface
in the early morning or evening, then it time to try one
of the most exciting types of fishing - surface fishing.
I like fishing quiet evenings since the action tends to
pick up the later you are out. For this type of
fishing you need a fairly long medium weight good-casting
pole loaded with an easy casting line like 8 lb
Trilene XL or 10 lb Trilene XL. If you have no weeds
to contend with, try 6 lb, but a Northern Pike may rob you
of your lure! When around lily pads, I use 10 lb. In
general, splashing fish are often feeding fish - if you
see what appears to be a game fish surface, cast as close
to this location as possible. Here is what you need
After casting let the
lure lay motionless for 3 to 5 seconds but be ready for
You don't retrieve the
lure, you give it several small "twitches" and reel in
the slack. I usually give the lure a twitch,
followed by 2 micro twitches. Then reel in the
slack, but let the lure settle to a stop again, then
repeat the twitches. Vary your retrieve to see
what works. Try not to reel in like a "robot", but
twitch the bait to make it look like a wounded minnow -
this is a performance and the hungry fish is your
audience and critic!
Keep your distance when
fishing this way and stay quiet! You are fishing shallow
water of depth 2-5 feet. Usually, I get no strikes
within 25 ft of the canoe.
In some cases, the fish
are just too finicky for the 3 inch Rapala and you need
to use the 2 inch Rapala with a little lighter line.
Also, for bass, I have found that I have had to use a
fly rod with bass fly in a few places.