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Bottom Bonanza

 

Back in the days when the Genesee pond was open to the public for fishing, there was a very real chance of tagging a huge walleye. There were never a lot of walleye to be caught, three in a day would be considered outstanding fishing but wow, that one walleye would usually be on the plus side of six pounds with some approaching 10. The non-stop pike action kept things busy in between walleye bites. We found that the best way to catch these walleye was to find a good piece of water and sink a bait to the bottom and wait them out.

Genesee pond

Genesee pond when it was open to the public for fishing

In time we came up with a system that involved threading on an egg sinker, followed by a bead, then a swivel, a couple feet of line, a small corkie or other float, and a hook with a frozen minnow for bait. I'd cast the rig out, let it sink to the bottom, reel it back a few feet to straighten the rig out, and then flip the bail to let the line go slack. Yep, that's right. That way if a walleye bit, I'd see the slack line jump and start snaking into the water. I'd pick up the rod and wait for the weight of the fish to load up the tip and set the hook on a walleye or pike. The small float I attached on the end next to the hook kept the minnow just above bottom, out of snags and in the direct line of sight of feeding fish. I never did break my 10 pound walleye at the pond, but I came pretty darn close, catching two that pushed nine pounds.

This rig has been one of my favourites to pull out on light biting fish. I've even used it on tricky pothole trout, but instead of a minnow, I use a worm. The goal is to have something tasty for the fish to see in a place where they expect food to be, on or near the bottom.

Many angler have enjoyed great on-going success working the bottom and there are a number of ways to do this. The obvious one is to drop a jig tipped with bait (where legal) down to the bottom and wait for the inevitable bite. Jigs are very, very effective and one of my absolute favourite jig techniques, which works on walleye, pike, and trout is the slow drag. That is, cast the jig out from the shallow side out to deeper water and very slowly drag it back to the boat. It will take a good dose of faith to start fishing this way, but after landing the first few trout, walleye, or pike, the confidence will come.

Jigs are very, very effective

Jigs are very, very effective

What you're looking for is not a hard strike, but rather, a feeling of getting hung up in the weeds. Feel this or anything unnatural and set the hook. I used a little black jig, my favourite colour, and completely undressed the local Lower Kananaskis bull trout population. They couldn't lay off the dragged jig and considering the fish averaged 24 to 30 inches, with my largest pushing 31 inches, it was one of the more fantastic days I've had on the water.

One of the more fantastic days I've had on the water.

One of the more fantastic days I've had on the water.

As stated earlier there are than one way to fish the bottom the next technique has to be an all time favourite. While it is a staple in the walleye fisherman's tool kit, the bottom bouncer has not achieved much cross species fame. It seems anglers that chase trout with flies are intrigued to catch walleye or pike with flies but the angler that catches walleye with a bottom bouncer and spinner rig, just doesn't seem to want to use this set up for trout. This rig catches all manner of trout; however, it is with Lakers that the bottom bouncer rig truly shines.

The bottom bouncer has not achieved much cross species fame.

It is with Lakers that the bottom bouncer rig truly shines

Taking a step back, the bottom bouncer rig is a model of simplicity and effectiveness all packed into one. For one, a two to three ounce bottom bouncer gets you to the bottom pronto where I know that I'm definitively fishing in the strike zone. Two, the bottom bouncer will tick over all manner of substrate and telegraph this information up the line, so I know if I'm running my rig over rocks or mud and such. And three, the bottom bouncer is virtually snag free, allowing me to work the best piece of water, presenting my stuff giving me a greater chance for success.

The bottom bouncer rig is a model of simplicity and effectiveness The bottom bouncer is virtually snag free, allowing greater chance for success.

The bottom bouncer is virtually snag free, allowing greater chance for success.

Now back to Lakers. Take a bottom bouncer, tie on four feet of 10 to 14 pound test and a flutter spoon. A whole host of manufacturers make flutter spoons so I won't go into a ton of detail on brand name. The flutter spoon is very thin and when pulled it will twirl and flash at the slowest of pace. This gives me ultimate flexibility when trolling. I can troll fast and catch aggressive Lakers, or dial it down to a crawl and cash in on the neutral fish.

Now back to Lakers.

Now back to Lakers.

What seems to matter more with Laker fishing is the depth. In Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park, early in the season I'll be catching Lakers in the top 20 feet of water, but as the heat of the summer sets in I'll have to move down to 40 feet. Similarly, when I fished Davin Lake in northern Saskatchewan, the Lakers were often over structure 80 to 100 feet down and with the bottom bouncers we could get our rigs down with no problem.

What seems to matter more with Laker fishing is the depth.

What seems to matter more with Laker fishing is the depth.

A lot of fish relate to the bottom and finding ways to get a lure, fly, or bait down to them is a sure way to increase your chances. Try a new way or two to fish the bottom and I'm certain you'll be catching more fish because of it.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(154) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(155) "Northern Exposure"

(156) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard