Witch Bay Difference - Our Free Fishing Program For You!
And Our Optimistic Prediction for 2008.
Lake of the Woods region experienced excellent fishing in
2007 even though all were constantly changing presentations
and patterns because of record low water levels - from our
experienced guests to those who were new to Witch Bay Camp.
What a difference a year makes! We went from record floods
of the previous season and high water levels to very low water
- from opening day on. Local Kenora authorities confirmed
that 1981 was the nearest year on record when water levels
were as low as we experienced last summer.
it was a summer of good weather - an absence of powerful fronts
along with steady water temperatures, although on the cool
side until normal readings were reached in mid-July. As every
experienced angler in the world knows, weather remains the
most important piece to the fishing puzzle. If Lake of the
Woods experiences steady and warm temperatures with an absence
of cold fronts or series of fronts, fishing holds good and
steady. What is perhaps more significant is that steady warm
weather allows us to find and perfect productive patterns
- for every species, from walleye to muskie.
did this do fishing? Sometimes very little
a lot, though we made subtle changes to our overall patterns.
In general, the season was one of adjustment and discovery.
When three feet of water is taken away, weed development changes
it was so for Witch Bay as well as the entire watershed. We
saw weeds in new areas, while traditional spots were without
cabbage or coontail. In general, weedlines were very important
to holding fish, even late in the summer, when evening fish
would move in as shallow as 10-foot depths to feed.
May and June started with the fast action of the shallow water
bite, which has become the newest tradition for camp. From
late May through early July more guests became expert on enjoying
shallow water walleye with light jigs, tipped either with
plastics or live bait.
largest adjustment to be made by our anglers was walleye location.
Things were quite different, often providing an intriguing
challenge for pro and guest alike. Often conversations focused
on the changes being seen which all of us attributed to the
low water - approximately 3 feet down. Some of the traditional
areas of June, July and August were weak this year, while
others were newly discovered, often close to camp. Moreover,
Witch and Andrew Bay was amazing, producing numbers and quality
walleye, at times, through most of the season - from May through
jigs in the 1/8-ounce size tipped with live bait was productive
in May, June and early July. Also, more guests turned to plastics
- urged on by Dick Wilkening and Wayne Papp. Everything from 3-inch grubs and
Twisters to 4-inch curly-tailed or finesse style worms were
being hit by aggressive walleye in weed cover. Of interest,
Wayne walleye fished the entire season without live bait,
relying on plastics. This pattern held up well, even during
the dreaded cold fronts of spring and early summer. While
numbers may go down on those days, enough fish cooperated
to make the day successful - even under poor weather conditions.
continued to be successful although changes had to be made.
Some shoreline points, boulder reefs, off shore humps, etc.
were successful, while others were not
again due to shallow
water. However, new areas were discovered, becoming productive
because of the difference in depth.
"usual" summer patterns developed by mid-July as
surface water temperatures reached the low 70's. However,
this year was different, because large numbers of walleye
were not relating to the mid-lake humps and reefs, but trophy
fish were available. Bottom bouncing and rigging was the most
productive presentation for these scattered fish. Numbers
but the quality was there - good numbers of
26, 27, and 28-inch fish.
year was a dramatic improvement over the previous season as
bronzebacks cooperated for the entire year. The June catch-and-release
season continues to allow the fishery to get better, which
translates into fun and action. Average size is improving
with large numbers of 2-and 3-pounders released to fight another
day. Remember that a 16-inch smallmouth bass is 10-to 12-years
old as growth rates are very slow for this unique fighter.
water levels again created new challenges - some traditional
spots were cold, while others (and newly discovered) held
fish all summer. Every year more guests are turning to the
latest in finesse presentations (available at the camp store)
for bass action. Plastics worms, grubs and Twisters are important,
as are the time-honored selections - Road Runners, Mepps spinners,
Shad Raps, Rapalas, Pop-R's, etc.
weather was the key. Water temperatures warmed slowly, but
and avoided the sudden crashes of the previous
summer during the floods.
Pike Are Better Than Ever
times northern pike action was incredible
for those hunting large fish. Trophy sizes - let's say 36
inches and larger - are becoming commonplace. What is truly
significant and a sea change is that the vast majority of
these fish are being released to grow
and fight another
day. Previously, 42 inches had been the ceiling, but this
year fish up to 45 inches were caught
and released. Do
we dare think about a giant northern pike
perhaps a fish
of 48 inches? It really is only a matter of time!
predicted last year, we did see 45-inch fish this season.
This year (2005) even larger fish will be caught! All of this
is testimony to the slot size limit which protects "quality:
fish and allows them to grow into the trophy bracket. As this
fishery changes with larger fish in the population, expect
numbers to level off.
one knows what quality can be achieved with Lake of the Woods
northern pike. The reason is simple - previous overharvest
in past decades kept the population dominated by small fish,
because fish 30 inches and larger were invariably taken.
Pike anglers need a variety of lures, including looking at
the 6 and 8-inch muskie lures. While spoons, including the
traditional Dardevle are effective, a world of new innovations
is available for those seeking pike. Spoons, spinners, minnow
baits, crankbaits and even jerkbaits are deadly on larger
pike. Check them out at your favorite tackle shop or when
going to a sport show
Fish early and late at Witch Bay Camp for walleye, bass and
and save the middle part of the day for a trophy
pike hunt. It's fantastic fun
does it take to produce good muskie action on Lake of the
Woods? Perhaps the answer is as basic as steady, summer-like
weather. As previously noted, last season's weather got muskie
fishing started by mid-July when surface water temperatures
reached 70 degrees with great action on fish in the 40-to
48-inch range. By August, the fishing was steady and reliable
with fish up to 53 ½ inches caught
August got better and early September was terrific with fish
up to 51 inches released. However, the sheer numbers of "nice"
fish - mid-40 inch, 20-pound-plus muskie are excellent, signifying
a growing, dynamic population. Additionally, Witch Bay Camp
muskie anglers saw and caught larger fish than the previous
again probably due to favorable weather.
Lake of the Woods muskie anglers develop a "milk run"
of spots - depending on weather and wind conditions. This
year, spots dramatically changed - again a result of lowered
water. Some areas were the "dead sea" while new
ones were holding fish. Whatever the key - always the combination
of forage, structure and cover - the altered water levels
made things different.
The Witch Bay region is so different from other popular muskie
areas of Lake of the Woods. We don't have the fishing pressure
of the "name" regions and most of our muskie guests
remark on how they have the water to themselves, allowing
them to return to their "milk run" spots on a daily
basis. Simply stated, Witch Bay has terrific muskie fishing
and it remains largely undiscovered!
MAKE THE CALL!
cautious predictions for 2005, because Witch Bay should enjoy
another banner season. The gamefish population is strong with
notable populations of walleye, northern pike, smallmouth
bass and muskie. Crappie are possible, although very cyclical
and because of their rarity in the northeastern portion of
Lake of the Woods, vulnerable to overharvest. "Jumbo"
perch were not as plentiful last year, perhaps due to the
low water, but good numbers were available. These fish are
great eaters and a delight when reaching the "eatable"
size of 10 inches or so.
if water levels remain lower than normal, which could be the
case, the Witch Bay pros have a year's experience in reacting
to changing water levels - from very high to as recently as
two years ago, to last year's record lows. What does that
mean for Witch Bay guests
. reliable presentations and
forage base of yellow perch, cisco, shiners, and various minnow
species is especially strong which translates into stronger
year classes of predators - gamefish ready to inhale our artificial
or live bait presentation. The Witch Bay fishing resource
is in excellent condition - a combination of progressive management
by Ministry of Natural Resource biologists and selective harvest
by anglers. The ethic of catch-and-release is dramatically
instrumental to the quality of today's fishery.
fish with us at Witch Bay
the camp that sets
new standards for Lake of the Woods.
BAY FISHING PROGRAM
Bay Camp is recognized as the leader in creating a unique
fishing program, totally designed to help our guests maximize
their fishing skills and success. The program began
in 1996 as we developed a total fishing program that featured
basic presentations and location patterns for our five species
– walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie, and seasonal
crappie. Our goal was to deliver a great fishing experience
to you by caring, involved professional anglers that are famous
for their teaching abilities and willingness to share and
work with anglers of all levels – from beginner to expert!
While we believe in catch-and-release, our goal is for you
to catch fish and enjoy the best Canadian fishing trip ever.
We are dedicated to that simple principle at Witch Bay Camp!
program is tailored to fit each individual's needs in everything
from proper knots to tuning a crankbait, selecting "good"
pike spinnerbaits, or answering the many questions about fish
location on a daily basis. We offer our assistance with other
problem areas - from map reading and marking maps for fish
location to "reading" depthfinders.
Witch Bay team of fishing pros are ready to assist your boat
or group while on the water, lead two or three boats to a
specific walleye structure (demonstrating the proper approach
and presentation), or teaching (everything from horizontal
jigging or casting crankbaits to bottom bouncing). The program
is there for you to use
and we like to think that everyone
would avail themselves of the assistance. One of the most
important hallmarks of the program is sitting down with your
group after arrival, discussing what species your group would
like to catch, and carefully going over the map, discussing
fish location, water levels, weed development, lure and bait
selection, water temperature impacts, and much, much more.
Liars Den is a center of activity as map marking sessions
and mini-discussions take place. It's where techniques are
demonstrated - from jigging and cranking to bottom bouncing.
The popcorn machine is ready and waiting for you to make a
so everyone can talk fishing!
best of all, the entire program is part of the package price.
There are no extra charges - it is totally
free. We are there to serve you and help create
a successful and memorable fishing trip on our beloved Lake
of the Woods. And it is what separates Witch Bay from other
fishing camps in northwestern Ontario!
WITCH BAY PROS
Witch Bay Pro Staff is an expert group of anglers dedicated
to making every guest's fishing trip the best possible. Their
willingness to share and assist camp guests is what separates
them from others. Expert anglers are relatively easy to find;
those that enjoying assisting guests in catching fish and
have a trip of a lifetime are rare. Our pros want to work
with anglers of all experience levels. Simply stated, they
love to see camp guests fulfill their Ontario vacation dream
by catching fish
lots of fish!
Wilkening (Davenport, Iowa) is a superb bass and walleye
angler and Witch Bay tournament competitor, including the
famous Kenora Bass Invitational. His vast array of experience
of finding a pattern under tournament conditions is terrific
for all of the Witch Bay guests. This knowledge serves well
when the dreaded cold front makes things challenging or when
fish have changed locations.
Gilbertson (White Bear Lake, Minnesota) is rapidly developing
a reputation as one of the top walleye pros, having won a
Wave Wackers tournament on Mille Lacs in 2003. Besides walleyes,
Brian is accomplished multi-species pro and will be in his
third year with us this summer. He has years of experience
in fishing the northeastern quadrant of Lake of the Woods,
including the Andrews and Witch Bay regions.
Tips On Techniques & Presentations
anglers will perfect their skills with jigging (both vertical
and casting/horizontal), bottom bouncing, Roach rigging, and
casting or trolling crankbaits. Even slip bobber combos have
their place! The Witch Bay Pros will demonstrate rigging and
be there to answer your questions. Dick
or Wayne are always ready to help.
Our assistance is tailored to fit your needs. We try to answer
those all-important questions when you arrive - how's fishing
are they biting
what are they taking
how are the
shallow or deep
what color, etc. Working
with maps is one of the hallmarks of the Witch Bay program
- marking fishing areas, structure, and weed cover. The proper
depth range is always emphasized along with bait and lure
anglers - beginner or expert - have the opportunity to learn
finesse fishing with plastics - including finesse worms, Senkos,
tubes, grubs and Twisters from the staff. How fast do you
jerk a jerkbait (Rogue, Husky Jerk, Rapala, etc.)? What are
the color selections for LOTW bronzebacks? How about spinnerbaits
- should we use ½-ounce or a larger Beetle Spin? Are
the topwaters working on the quiet evenings? Russ Warye, Dick
Wilkening, and Dave Pagel all love to catch bass and are ready
to help you with everything from spinnerbait size to tube
pike fishermen can look forward to conversations about tandem
spinnerbaits, spoons, jerkbaits and when to use soft plastics
- like Slug-Go's. How about willow blades vs. Colorado's?
Spoons vs. spinnerbaits? What are the good deep-running crankbaits
for those outside weedline edges? Where do the larger pike
go when surface water temperatures go into the 70's? We will
try to have answers and as with all species location is everything
to success. Our staff will be able to help you locate the
prime weedlines and depths for good pike fishing.
anglers will receive a "map session" detailing where
fish have been seen up to their arrival. These location tips
help to "eliminate water" in the annual search for
a trophy fish. Our staff is constantly gathering information
on location, structure and cover, along with suggested presentations
- all on a seasonal basis. We saw some patterns that need
to be tried; among them, raising fish with a topwater or jerkbait,
then catching them on another style. Russ Warye, author of
the book, MUSKIE, The Premier Lakes and Rivers of North America,
will work with muskie anglers at Witch Bay and answer your
questions about location and presentation.
Bay Camp was one of the first to offer deluxe camp boats,
featuring all of the amenities that anglers have come to appreciate
in the 21st Century. Choose between our Crestliner 17.5 foot
console model or the 17 foot Lund Outfitter (transom steer).
Both models offer lots of room, are extremely stable and provide
a great platform for your fishing needs. However, kindly remember
that our Crestliners are the first to be reserved because
of their roominess as well as the console steering.
All boats feature two Lowrance depthfinders, 50-pound thrust
Motor Guide bow mount electric motors, built-in battery chargers,
electric start, carpeting, power trim, live wells, dry storage,
rod racks and deluxe pedestal seats. These boats are powered
by quiet and smooth-running four cycle Yamahas. Smooth as
silk, you can go forward or back troll these rigs with maximum
precision to keep you on fish. So
be sure to reserve your deluxe camp boat, when you make a