Arguably, one of the main reasons wilderness paddlers make the journey to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is the world class fishing opportunities the area provides for Walleye, Northern Pike and Lake Trout. Truly this area offers productive waters and combined with such little angling pressure, you’ll experience some of the best fishing Ontario has to offer.
We’re always asked what our top lure choices are to take on a trip so the following is a list of what we carry on a wilderness fishing trip to Woodland Caribou. Note that we pair down when heading into the back country and rely on simple techniques that have proven themselves over the years. This is not the time to carry 20 pounds of tackle, rather a few staples that will result in an incredible fishing experience.
Keeping it simple is the name of the game when it comes to our walleye tackle. Traditional techniques such as jigging accounts for the majority of our fish although trolling minnow baits also proves effective. Here is what we carry for Walleye:
Jigs – A selection of 1/4 ounce and 3/8 ounce ball head jigs in assorted colours such as white, black, chartreuse and pink serve our needs. We couple the jigs with 3” twister tails such as Berkley Power Grubs and Berkley Gulp Minnow Grubs. White, Black and Chartreuse are all we carry. Soft plastic minnow baits also produce and we carry a package of Berkley Gulp Minnows in the 3” size in Black Shad and Emerald Shiner.
Minnow / Crank Baits – When traveling across lakes or just before arriving in camp, we’ll often troll a minnow bait behind the canoe, looking for active fish. Again keeping it simple and not going overboard with selections is the key here. We carry the Rapala Husky Jerk, Rapala Tail Dancer, Cotton Cordell CC Shad, Smithwick Suspending Rogue, and Cotton Cordell Wally Diver. Patterns in Silver/Blue, Black/Gold and Perch account for the majority of our fish. We’ll usually carry only 1 or 2 of each on a trip.
Don’t be tempted to lug a selection of giant plugs and spoons along the trial, it’s simply not necessary.
With Northern Pike patrolling every lake in the park, it’s easy to target and land these feisty fish without issue. Many of the same techniques used for Walleye will also work well for Northern’s however we also add the following to round out our Pike offerings.
Spoons – Again, simple is key here. We carry a few traditional spoons such as the Len Thompson Five of Diamonds in the yellow/ red diamond pattern as well as the Williams Whitefish in the C70 size in silver and Silver/Gold pattern. Don’t forget to bring along some steel or titanium leaders in the 12” size to prevent break offs when targeting these toothy critters.
Minnow baits – Original Floating Rapala lures in the F11 and F13 sizes in Silver and Gold patterns round out our Pike tackle kit.
Early season, Lake Trout are found roaming the shallows in a host of the park’s lakes. Targeting these beautiful fish before June 15 will offer you non stop action for these tasty, orange fleshed trout. As the summer progresses, the trout seek cooler waters and head deep although they are still easy to target and catch with the right techniques and tackle.
Spoons – Trolling or casting spoons along shore, or in the tail waters of rapids and waterfalls is a productive early season technique. We carry Little Cleo’s in the Silver / Blue, Gold and Silver / Chartreuse pattern. 5/8 ounce is our go to size. Other spoons such as the Williams Wobbler and Mooselook Thinfish are staples in our box and Silver / Blue, Silver, Gold and Copper patterns continually produce for us.
Tube Jigs – As the Trout head deeper and school up, they become easy targets for jigging techniques once located. 4” tubes in White patterns are your best bet. We run 1/2 ounce and 3/4 ounce heads with wide gap hooks. Drop to the bottom in 40’ – 70’ feet of water and jig aggressively. Most hits will come as the jig falls.
Although tempted to bring along several rods, we carry just one 6’6” two piece medium action rod. We couple this with a medium action reel spooled up with 14 pound test Fireline. Fireline, as with other braids, offers better abrasion resistance and little stretch. It all results in less line wasted when dealing with snags. An extra pony spool of line also accompanies our tackle box.
All our tackle fits neatly into a small tackle box and comes in at just 2.5 pounds. Everything we need for a trip of 2 weeks or longer. Keeping it simple and work with baits you’re confident in and you’ll tip the odds in your favour during your next Woodland Caribou fishing adventure!