A trophy hunter friend of mine once said, " Catching big fish is not all that difficult, just fish big fish waters, and fish em when they're bitin'. So simple, yet so profound.
The Lake of the Woods fits the bill as big fish waters, and July and August fits the time!
I know, I know, what about June? Isn't that the best month to fish walleye in Canada? If you talk to resort owners up north, they would tell you that they wish all months were like June for bookings. But what does bookings have to do with catching fish.
From my experience, July and August action can be fast and furious on the Canadian Shield's most famous lake. A time when you can encounter large numbers of aggressive fish concentrated in key areas.
Some of the best action takes place on long points that jet out to the lake's main basin, and on main lake underwater humps. This occurs when the main lake warms sufficiently and those big sows regroup after leaving the shoreline areas. These fish are aggressive and go on a feeding spree, keying on ciscos, crayfish, and perch. This phenomenon starts happening about the first of July.
Another fishing hot spot is the flats that border off shore islands. An off shore island is nothing more than an off shore hump that comes out of the water, so don't miss this key location. The medium to bigger sized islands seem to produce better. Also a key on this is that island be rock and boulder strewn.
Presentations remain basic. Jigs and live bait rigs will do nicely for working humps. For the flats it's a bottom bouncer and spinner rig. Cover water, and cover it fast, here. I probably use a bouncer and spinner rig approximately 60 to 70% of the time.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. When fishing any body of water first thing you need to do is study your map to develop a plan of attack (milk run). You should key in on areas that have deep water near by and concentrate on the features mentioned above close to that deep water.
After laying out our plan, we are ready to hit the water. Most fish are deeper (20 foot range) this time of year, so we should use our sonars to locate them and then throw out a marker buoy in the case of the humps or points.
However, there is also significant part of the population that moves shallow and these are usually bigger than the deeper fish. They are most easily caught on the shallow off shore humps using #9 Shad Raps. Humps that top off at 3 to 8' seem to produce best.
For flats, run over a likely suspect with your boat, and if you mark one fish, go back and work with a spinner rig. Remember if you see one, there's probably a dozen that you didn't see.
So if May or June has been a hit or miss proposition for you, time to re think your strategy. Give July and August a try!