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Happy Canada Day! The heat has finally let off and I was comfortable enough to get out on the kayak. On Friday morning I was in the truck early to take advantage of the cool morning air. The weather called for light showers and wind for an hour but after the week near 40°C heat I was looking forward to getting soaked.
While driving to the provincial park it started to rain and in my excitement to finally go fishing, I realized I forgot my rain gear – perfect. Thankfully, the clouds were moving quickly and by the time I made it to the launch and got the boat setup the clouds were already starting to break. Given that it was 7 am and there was a storm brewing to the north, I was surprised to have to share the ramp with 6 other boats. White caps were visible just around the point but within the shelter of the bay the water was relatively calm. Once in the water and under way I threw out a spoon to troll with while I made my way to the infamous drop off. About two minutes into trolling, in 8 feet of water, I landed a small walleye and a small pike back to back on a dimpled Len Thomson spoon. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given the early morning, warm water, overcast sky, and wind breaking up the surface (minimal light penetration), conditions were perfect for predators to ambush minnows in the weedy shallows.
Out at the drop-off, the sonar screen was lit up with debris in the water. It was very difficult to see any fish with the amount of noise the sonar was putting out. The wind, coupled with really warm water temperatures have stirred up the sediment and initiated the annual algae growth at the same time. Without being able to tell if I was on fish on the sonar, I positioned my kayak overtop the bottom edge of the drop-off using the anchor wizard. This drop-off can be a bit tricky. If you don’t fish right at the edge, you’re not likely to catch anything!
My go-to lure for jigging walleye should be the same as everyone’s – a chartreuse jig head with a minnow. I prefer a 1/4 oz when fishing in 20ft or less for the slower fall, but if you’re new to jig fishing a slightly bigger jig, like a 3/8 oz, will give you a bit more feel. I also use a 7′ medium light rod for all my walleye jig fishing. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about using a short rod for jig fishing for increased sensitivity, but when you’re in a kayak, you can use a longer rod to swing the line around the nose without getting out of your seat – a critical advantage when fighting a fish!
Within a few seconds of dropping my lure down I had my first fish on! For the next hour the drop-off produced walleye after walleye. Pigeon Lake produces such consistent action in the summer, its a really hard lake to pass up if you are interested in catching numbers of fish.
After a while, I decided it was time to do some exploring. While studying the bathymetric maps of the lake I noticed a small hump directly east of the provincial park. Since the wind was starting to die down, I decided to paddle out and see if I could find it. The space between the provincial park and the sunken island was completely barren. I threw out a crankbait and turned on the side imaging as I pedaled toward the spot but found absolutely nothing. Luckily the sunken island was much easier to find than I had anticipated. There were already a few boats jigging around it so I didn’t have to waste any time searching.
This piece of structure turned out to be even better fishing! Both the east and west side of the island were hot fishing spots. In the hour I spent fishing, I caught over a dozen walleye.
As the sun hit its peak, I decided I better start heading in to shore. The trip back to shore is about 3 km’s, and although paddle kayaks are a lot of fun, pedal drive kayaks are more efficient at covering distances. It took me about 40 minutes to make the 3 km trek, my typically cruising speed in the Bigwater 132 PDL is between 5.5-6 km/h but I was pedaling into the wind.
Summer walleye fishing is consistently phenomenal at Pigeon Lake. If you are just getting into kayak fishing and are not yet comfortable with travelling far off shore, the ledge at the Pigeon Lake Provincial Park is a great place to cut your teeth, so to speak.