and High Water



Fishing Conditions
Aquatic Ecosystem

When water levels are low, fishing can be tougher than usual and boating becomes more hazardous. But what does it mean to an angler when the opposite is true: when water levels are well above normal?

For starters we now have acres of newly created shallow spring fish habitat! Where last year’s spawning pike and pickerel were left high and dry, they now have plenty of spawning habitat to choose from. With these conditions one can expect a good year class in three years’ time.

One year you may spot cyclists and horseback riders traipsing across dry sand dunes; the next, spawning bass and gar pike are populating the new shallow flats.

“Yeah, but what about pike and musky? That’s what I’m interested in!”, you say.

Glad you asked.

“Yeah, but what about pike and musky?
That’s what I’m interested in!”

Those extra large shallow flats are now home to gazillions of schooling minnow! Where the bait is – the predators soon follow. Pike and muskies will choose their spawning sites in direct relation to the prevalence of minnows. After all, their offspring will need food when they hatch.

Shallow flats & reedy shorelines will hold the heat, attracting baitfish and creating prime spawning habitat.

Photograph by Nipissing Muskies

Look for the bass and smaller pike to be cruising up on the shallow flats by day and the pickerel in the evening, looking for schooling spottail and golden shiners in June. The increased littoral zone (shoreline) becomes home to aquatic insects and other invertebrates: fish food. In short, the creation of all this new underwater habitat creates a massive shot in the arm to the aquatic ecosystem.

Dan Colomby | Nipissing Muskies

Danny Colomby is a professional musky guide and owner of Nipissing Muskies

Photographs by Nipissing Muskies

Another benefit to high water levels is that the deeper surrounding water will hold fish longer into the season.  Pickerel will have more depth to control light penetration for their sensitive eyes. The cooler depths will hold lake herring, jumbo perch, and white sucker for an extended period. Pike and muskies will stick around later into the season to take advantage of the situation as well.

Also, the cooler overall water temperatures should support healthy deep weed growth and hold blue-green algae bloom at bay until later into the season. For boaters, expect less prop and lower unit repairs!

Now with everything said, you must remember to go with the changes. Last year’s hotspots will NOT necessarily be this year’s hotspots. Take this opportunity to take note of where you find fish and keep a record. In doing this you’ll ensure repeatable success in the seasons to come under ALL conditions.

Utilize the high water early in the season for a longer period of success and good luck.

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