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Thread: Minaki - Locations and Tactics - Late August

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    Minaki - Locations and Tactics - Late August

    Our group of ten is headed to Minaki the last week of August. We would appreciate any input related to spots and tactics for Muskies that time of year.

    Thank You

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    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    I've never fished Minaki, but I've been "upstream" (a.k.a. Lake of the Woods) during that timeframe several times. From what I understand, they fish similarly.

    At that time of year, fish will most likely be scattered. Everything that can hold a musky, from a sand beach to a weedbed to a fallen tree to a rock point to a rock reef, may be in play. Often weeds are more important early in the week but much less so later as they start to die off.

    I've had trips during which we caught only a single musky all week from many of our best spots, and didn't move many others from those same spots. It was like each spot had a resident musky and no more. One trip we caught two -- including a 51.5" -- on the third spot of the first day, and then never saw another musky there the remainder of the week. We fished that spot every day and sometimes multiple times since it gave up a big girl early in the week, yet saw nothing more for six straight days.

    What that boils down to is you burn lots of gas because you have to fish pretty much everything. If you can develop a pattern, it becomes even more important.

    Otherwise, don't overthink it. It will still be summer musky fishing in Ontario. Bucktails/topwater/minnowbaits will catch most if not all of your fish. You'll likely see some bloom during the week, so bring baits with high contrast and bright color -- blacks, whites, firetiger, orange, etc. -- and high vibration.

    One thing to plan for is a short evening window. The last couple of hours are usually the best of the entire day during summer, but sundown seemingly comes way to quickly in August and September. Maybe it's just my mindset, in that I think I should be able to fish until 10 or 10:30 like I do in June and July, and we're tying off at the dock by 9. I often feel cheated.
    Steve Heiting

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    Sounds like we have our work cut out for us. Based on your feedback on lure selection we should focus on baits that enable us to cover lots of water in short order then move on. Are you suggesting that we should have pushed our trip back several weeks to the end of September or early October? What are your thoughts regarding the latest date / week that you would recommend taking a summer trip?
    I certainly agree that the early sunset is a bummer as the days pass too quickly whenever you are up there.

    Thanks for your input.

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    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyJerking View Post
    Based on your feedback on lure selection we should focus on baits that enable us to cover lots of water in short order then move on.
    That's summer musky fishing in Canada. Cover water and look for active fish. Catch the ones that bite, and return later under more favorable conditions to the big ones that follow but don't bite your first time through. If you're fishing in warm(er) water and the first lures out of your box force you to fish slowly -- like gliders, Suicks and soft plastics -- it will take longer to find fish and develop patterns.

    For example, a buddy and I were on a Canadian lake a few years back and caught 39 muskies in 6 1/2 days, with 38 on bucktails and one on a topwater. (My single best week ever in terms of fish per day.) Another friend was at a different resort on the same lake with two other anglers during the same week, but didn't fish bucktails much. They caught 11. Eleven muskies is a good week -- nearly two fish a day -- but I'd rather get 39.

    You'll still need the slow-fishing stuff (gliders, Suicks and soft plastics) because you'll probably have a cold front day or two sometime during the week. Suicks have saved my day more than anything, and I never go without at least a half-dozen in the boat. And big fish that follow but won't eat fast-moving baits often eat slow-moving baits when you return to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyJerking View Post
    Are you suggesting that we should have pushed our trip back several weeks to the end of September or early October?
    Absolutely not. I simply want you to understand the fish seem to be more scattered during that time frame than earlier in the summer. You have to keep an open mind to what you fish, but you need to do that anyway early in the week regardless of when you go. Patterns can develop in the time frame you've booked -- last year on LOTW most of our fish came off reefs -- but not all reefs held fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyJerking View Post
    What are your thoughts regarding the latest date / week that you would recommend taking a summer trip?
    Things change quickly in Ontario in September. It primarily is a bucktail/topwater/minnowbait bite until the second or third week of September, when turnover is likely to occur. So, I wouldn't plan a "summer trip" later than that.

    How late this goes depends on the year and weather, and in recent years it seems to be later in September than earlier. As long as the water temp is at least 58 degrees (and sometimes down to 55), bucktails/topwaters/minnowbaits should be your primary baits.
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

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    From my very limited experience in NW Ontario, if you wait longer in the month you are likely to run into more problems with the weather. The wind, especially, can be a real problem. My last trip was an example, and it was difficult to fish some of the spots we wanted to and sometimes even to get from place to place.
    Minaki has fewer islands to duck behind from looking at the map I have and comparing it to the area of LOTW where we were. You have prolly picked as good a time as any. Don't over think it, just fish it. m

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    Oh, and one more thing: Steve's advice is certainly well worth taking; if you want a real primer on these Canadian Shield lakes, though, get your hands on a copy of Dick Pearson's book "Muskies on the Shield" and commit it to memory! Park Press printed the copy I have. m

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    Mikie - Thanks much for your replies.
    We have fished this body of water several time but earlier in the year, good feedback on weather conditions. In the past we had fished more on the RoughRock end and are much less familiar with the Big Sand / Minaki end of the river system. In addition, I have read Muskies on the Shield and per your feedback I'll read through it again.
    I know guys don't like to give up spot recommendations but was hoping a few would share general locations / landmarks for us to target. Thank again for taking the time to reply.

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    We have looked at the LWCB water level data for the Winnipeg River, both Minaki and RoughRock. It appears that the water level has been low all year and that we should expect much lower levels than normal the end of August. We have been on the river when the water has been near record highs a couple of years but believe this will be the lowest we have ever seen. I assume that current will be much less than normal, the river a bit more hazardous to navigate but not sure how this will impact musky location and fishing results? Any feedback would be appreciated.

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