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Snap Jig Weed Walleye

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Snap Jig Weed Walleye

Karl of Extreme Angler with a big smallmouth bass. • Credit: Karl Kalonka

In pursuit of big walleye and smallmouth bass that reside in Lake Clear at Opeongo Mountain Resort.



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One of the most enjoyable assets of fishing for a living is the opportunity to share with our viewers and followers some of the best ways to catch fish, period. Whether it be bass, walleye, northern pike, or crappie, the species is secondary; the primary goal is to educate and inspire my fans to go fishing, and helping them catch more and sometimes bigger fish. That is my goal.

On a recent filming trip last fall to a lake in the Ottawa Valley region of Ontario, we visited with the nice folks who own and operate Opeongo Mountain Resort, and stayed for a few days in our pursuit of some bigger-than-average walleye and bonus bass that reside in this body of water.

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We have visited this resort in years past for the abundant smallmouth bass, and were always impressed with the overall resort layout, amenities, cleanliness, and of course, the fine fishing that exists on Lake Clear.

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Our first day on the lake was met with strong winds but since the lake is moderate in size (6,000 acres), the weather really never is a big factor on deciding where to fish, and some of our better catches have come within sight of our actual cottage! I decided I would fish for walleye in the evening and following day, and focus on the shoreline bass the first day of our arrival fishing with Strike King flip tubes rigged weedless amongst the sunken timber and rock piles that line this lake shoreline.

This lake has ultra-clear water conditions, so making longer casts to visible structure usually results in more bites from both largemouth and smallmouth bass. After a short boat ride to a nearby shoreline with slow tapering depths and an abundance of natural structure I hooked up with the lake's chunky smallmouth bass almost immediately with a pumpkin-chartreuse tube jig and wide gap hook, fished around a sunken tree in 10 feet of water.

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These clear water bass are like ghosts: one minute you're looking at your tube jig falling through the water column, and the next second it’s gone, eaten by either a largemouth or smallmouth bass hiding underneath or tucked beside one of the isolated rock piles. This is very exciting fishing. There are a lot of different ways to fish for bass in clear water, especially with finesse tactics and light lines, but I like to throw the fish a curve ball and go in the opposite direction by using medium-heavy casting outfits with 14- to 16-pound fluorocarbon lines and bigger baits like the flip tube. It sure proved to be the right choice on this afternoon. I caught and released several smallmouth bass in the two to three-pound range and saw even more following while fighting several fish to the boat. OK, I got my bass fix, now it was time to head back to my cottage and prep my gear for the next day’s walleye adventure.

Opeongo Mountain Resort is located about 100 miles (161 km) west of Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. The nearest city is Pembroke app. 32 miles (51 km) to the north. The nearest neighbor is the Village of Eganville. They are 10 miles (16 km) west of Eganville on the 6,000-acre Lake Clear. The lake can be found on most atlas and road maps of Ontario.

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The resort has two bedroom and three-bedroom cottages that are designed for your comfort. All cottages are on the housekeeping plan and are priced as a unit and not per person. They have modern kitchen and washroom facilities. Each has a full-sized refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, toaster, as well as everything you need to prepare and serve a meal.

The cottages are air conditioned for those hot summer days and have individual room heating with thermostat controls. No matter when you visit, they want you to be comfortable!

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Due to the excellent fishing and picturesque surroundings at Opeongo Mountain Resort, the cottages are very popular, especially during the summer. Reservations are strongly urged and should be made as far in advance as possible. Dates in July and early August sometimes are booked a year in advance. If you plan to visit during this time, we suggest you try to call before the end of January at the latest. However, please feel free to check availability after that time since there are sometimes cancellations.

Day two: it's walleye time. We were met with a slight change in weather conditions with winds from the north and air temperatures in the low 50s, a big change from the day prior when we had southern winds and air temps in the high 60s and low 70s in late afternoon.

The show must go on, and after years of chasing those marble eyed walleyes, I had no reservations that these Lake Clear walleyes would bite; I would just have to find them and figure out a way to make them eat.

That brings me back to the "educating our viewers and followers" mandate.

With the vast abundance of weed growth in this lake, there was only one way I was going to locate fish quickly and use a technique that inspires reaction strikes. And that was snap jigging hair jigs through the thicker weed beds for walleye and any other predator species that was hunkered down in the thick weed with this drastic weather change.

Snap jigging hair jigs is one of the oldest, yet least understood, presentations by most anglers, who have not tried this technique or given up too quickly on an initial effort.

This technique is excellent for locating fish and triggering them into striking.

Basically, you're using a 1/4 or 3/16 banana style jig head that is tied with course deer hair (hence the name "bucktail jig"), tied directly to your main line.

walleye-fishing

This technique is about provoking reaction strikes, so no need to be concerned by fish seeing your line. Braided lines are a must with this technique, due to the fact that you are virtually snapping your hair jig through the thick weeds with a rod-like St. Croix Legend Tournament Walleye spinning rods in the 6'8" lengths or shorter depending on your preference, making sharp upward sweeps of your rod tip while reeling in any slack line as the jig is falling back to the bottom or through the weeds. Paying attention to the downward fall of your jig after each upward snap is paramount to success with this presentation, as more than 80 percent of your bites will be on the fall. Usually it's visual, seeing your line "jump", or feeling that familiar "tick" signalling that a fish has inhaled your hair jig.

I slowly motored a short distance from the resort while watching my Garmin sonar unit, looking for the first drops to deeper water that had weed growth. It didn’t take long to find some nice thick weed beds in 12 to 15 feet of water, this is where I started. Not 15 minutes into making short underhand casts ahead of my boat, while snapping the hair jig through the weed edges, I felt that familiar "tick" from a fish inhaling my jig. A swift vertical hookset, and to my enjoyment, a fat largemouth bass was making short, powerful runs beside the boat.

No walleye yet, but an encouraging sign that the fish were still biting regardless of the drastic weather changes. I continued on this pattern of snap jigging in water depths between12 and 15 feet with more thick largemouth and some decent Northern Pike in the high 20-plus-inch class, but I came for the walleye and decided to move slightly deeper into the thicker weeds on the edges of deeper water and right away. Walleye number one was hooked right in front of my boat, a very healthy fish in the 23- to 25-inch class.

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An awesome way to start catching walleye on any body of water.

I continued snap jigging that little hair jig through the thicker weeds on the deeper edges, and caught my share of walleyes ranging from two and half pounds to four-plus pounds. For the sake of conservation, I took a few photos of the bigger fish and released every walleye we caught. My job was to come here, catch some walleye, and hopefully inspire you to come here.

All in all, we only stayed a few days, but once again our trip to Opeongo Mountain Resort was a successful one in terms of angling success and overall relaxation in this stress-free, beautiful atmosphere of the Ottawa Valley region. Looking for the perfect family vacation this year? Look no further then Opeongo Mountain Resort—they have everything an angler is looking for and cater their amenities, clean safe beach, and playgrounds so the kids and Mom can enjoy their vacation too in this family-friendly atmosphere.

Contact Information

Opeongo Mountain Resort
Eganville, Ontario K0J 1T0
Toll-Free 1-800-565-9623
Email: info@omresort.ca

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