Fishing in Ontario was a cold experience


Alfred Wurm, a friend of his Rusty Schmaltz, Onamia; Daryl Hennen and Rick Benson, Maple Lake went on what they described as a experimental trip to the east end of Ontario’s Lake of the Woods during our last bitter cold week to fish walleyes and lake trout. Wurm, a dyed in the wool angler and fishing guide,  has a SnoBear, an enclosed tracked vehicle, and a Bear Cat snowmobile which they used to get to and from their fishing spots as well as haul portable fish houses. They fished in White Fish Bay and Long Bay for the most part where Wurm said they used barbless hooks in about 30-40 feet of water. They caught 14-15 inch walleyes and 10 inch perch to eat and lake trout and northerns for sport. He said they used spoons and rattling lures for the lake trout. 
There was about 8-10 inches of ice on the lake and it took the full length of their auger to get through it.  Hennen said Wurm had a GPS (Global Positioning System) to get them to the spots they wanted to try. They also had a map from their lodge which pointed out the hazards (rocks, pressure ridges, current etc.) and potential hot spots. They would stop and drill a hole and if there weren’t any bait fish present they would move on to another spot. Sometimes this would take an hour or more. The weather conditions, windy and most of the time below zero, made it difficult for them to find the hot spots, but even with the elements not in their favor, they caught fish.  They left Maple Lake on a Sunday and came back on Thursday when the temperature in Ontario was -18 degrees on the lake. Benson said they fished on the ice Sunday afternoon into the evening and on Monday, but by Tuesday they were using portables and the SnoBear. 
Ironically Hennen and Benson both tied into large lake trout using Hennen’s crappie rod on subsequent days while fishing for perch.  Wurm estimated Hennen’s fish to be about 40 inches long when it spit out the hook as he tried to bring it up through the ice.  Benson’s trout, wasn’t quite as large, but it gave him a good battle on the light tackle and made some nice runs before it too, spit out the hook. Benson said they were using minnow heads on small hooks.  Schmaltz caught five lake trout, the most in the group.  Wurm had the largest northern, 36 inches. 
Hennen commented some of the homes on the rocky islands that dot Lake of the Woods were not only large, but architectural gems. One that especially caught his attention jutted out from the rocks over the lake. 
Summing up the trip Benson said, except for this year’s brutally cold weather and wind, he felt winter angling was more fun than some of the summer fishing trips he has taken in Canada.