Winter in the northern months is harsh and miserable, but it’s our lifestyle up here and we love it. The fishing however in the winter can be pretty tough, especially when it requires getting out on the ice; but hey you have to do what you have to do in order to continue feeding that desire to cast a line. However, as cold as it gets in Canada, it eventually does warm up to where we have a few months of open water and the fishing is phenomenal. Salmon, musky, bass, walleye, perch, you name it we have it up here in Canada and we have some of the most world renowned places to capture the trophy of a life time.
Recently, my son and I embarked on one the best salmon trips I’ve ever taken and we made memories that will last a lifetime. The water is starting to open up which means one thing; HUNGRY FISH!!! We decided to take the trolling boat out and highlight the best time to catch the salmon run using down riggers and one of my favorite baits of all time: Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows.
We caught several keepers throughout the day and were constantly around good fish, were able to do this by using a great mapping and down-scan unit in the boat. Once we found the fish we dropped the down rigger with the larger sized Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Freshwater in Real Smelt and Real Blue Back Herring down to them in about 30 feet of water. Another successful way to catch them is with a side planer. This is a little more tricky but very effective. I like to run a planner 40 feet from the boat, and then attach a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye 75 feet behind the planer. The best colors we have found that salmon cannot resist are Hot Tiger, Banana Peel, and Perch. Finally, the last way my son and I were able to catch a few more extra fish were running a Crystal Minnow 3D Deep Diver 150 feet behind the boat, doing this actually helped us catch a few bigger salmon also. I use the same colors here as the Crystal Minnow Walleye. The best trolling speed we found this time was 2.3-2.5 mph.
My typical trolling set-up consists of 7ft to 9ft trolling rods, 30lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid for a mainline, and 20lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader.
The weather plays a huge factor in the success of a trip this time of year, although the water just melted, the better days are when its cloudy and heavy forecast. Right now the water temperatures are in the low 40s and the fish are actively feeding after a brutal winter of solid ice. Once the ice melts the bait goes crazy and so does the metabolism of the fish getting ready for the run to spawn.
The salmon are out there and calling your name, grab your family and hit the water while the bite is the best. You will make memories that will last a life-time.