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Fishing Tackle and Techniques for success

Make the most of your adventure with proven tackle and techniques.

When you venture this far north you're pretty much guaranteed to catch a lot of fish. That aside, there are factors that come into play which can make or break a good fishing experience. Whether you are guided from the lodge or premier outpost or at an outpost unguided, you can bring gear and use techniques that will give you better success landing the monsters.

Mother nature will throw a curve ball at you up here constantly. Although there are average temps during the fishing season, one day it might be 90?F and the next day it could be stormy and a nor easter could blow through dropping temps to 50?F. You have to know how to fish in many different situations.

Fish up here are more plentiful in certain areas and structures at different times of the fishing season. Every Lake has its own unique structure and the fish move in and out of areas depending on what is going on with all factors. Our guides know where the fish are typically and are constantly finding new areas that produce. If the shallow weeds are producing quality fish that week, our guides will know where to bring you. If deep weeds or drop-offs are producing you'll fish different techniques that week.

Every species has feeding habits and we can give you a good idea of how and when they strike. We fish all of the lakes and all of the species and know how to entice them.

When you factor in time of year, water temps, weather, structure and species then you can get a pretty good idea where the fish are moving. Sound complicated? Not really. If you get an overall picture in your head of conditions you can make an educated guess if you are unguided. But testing the waters with the right lure will give you an instant reading of your theory.


Tackle OverviewTechniques Overview

Whether you are a seasoned fisherman or frequent guest of Gangler's, consider this page a general guide to use in preparing for your trip. We want our guests to have the trip of a lifetime and will do whatever it takes to ensure that. We will cover many tips and techniques here that generally produces big fish or good quantities of fish. With all the conditions that exist at the North Seal River System, you may discover lures and techniques that work better than what we'll discuss here. The hottest lure changes from year to year and we will try to inform you in our WHAT'S HOT section of this page so you will be able to come prepared.

Time of Year/Water Temps
Our season opens beginning of June and closes in September. General fish movement patterns happen during the coarse of the year and happen fairly rapidly. At the beginning of June, after the ice on the lakes breaks up, the big and small fish (Pike and Lake Trout) are ravenous and are sunning in the cold shallow water. Mid to late June, weeds start growing in the shallow areas, the water begins to warm and pike move to the shallow weeds. Lake trout move into deeper water. Early July, the bigger pike start moving to slightly deeper weeds (approx 4'-8' depth) and drop-offs around rocky areas, shallow weeds, island drop-offs and points, channels in rivers and in lakes, sheltered bays with drops or darker water. End of July to beginning of August the water warms and the bigger fish sit in deep weeds at the bottom (approx. 4'-14') and some become less aggressive. Smaller fish can still be found in the shallow areas. Watch for special circumstances i.e. shallow weeds with small fish in them and a drop next to it. The bigger fish may be in that 5' dark area waiting. Mouths of rivers produce all throughout the season. End of August to beginning of September the fish are coming back to the shallows to feed in the warmer water before winter. The lake is also turning over bringing the lake trout up to shallow water.

Fish Patterns
June - Ice-out, water temps, and weather dictate the behavior in June. Ice-out is generally late May to early June. Fishing is generally very shallow for all species. This is the time many pike fishermen dream of, with pike warming themselves in 8-12” of water early on and moving to 2-4’ of water later in the month. Many a pike addict has turned into quivering jelly at the sight of so many big fish so shallow and in clear water. There are no significant weeds at this time. Trout are shallow, ranging from 3’-15’, in current areas, rivers, and off sand points. Depending on the time of ice-out, they will start to move slightly deeper late in the month. At this time of the year, you never quite know where they may turn up and a 30 lb. lake trout when you least expect it is quite the surprise!  Walleye are very shallow, in the river areas and also concentrated in large numbers in shallow bays 2-4’.   Grayling are in the rivers and easily fished with dry flies or small spinners.

July - A time of transition with the pike favoring two distinct habitats and both productive. Weed beds will be coming up and obvious by the 3rd week. Our large cabbage patches become a concentrated ambush point for big pike. Pike will move between the weed beds and the shallow bays beginning the second week. Trout will begin to descend into their holes and are usually fully concentrated by mid-July, offering incredible concentrations of fish. Depths range from 10-25’ early and 40’-60' after mid July. It’s not uncommon to lose the bottom readings on your depth finder as the huge schools blot out your sonar. Walleye begin strong patterns, forming huge, tight schools in current areas, walleye fishing at its finest with lots of 20-26” fish and larger. Most walleye by one boat in a day – 308! Grayling are in the rivers, easy to access after water levels stabilize. Bug hatches (the good ones) are tremendous.

August - Pike still ranging from bays to weed beds, which by now are in full bloom. 4’-8’ of water by casting. A large Johnson Silver Minnow (with a tail) or a #5 Mepps will bring an aerial assault from the depths of the cabbage. Surface plugs are a blast! Trout concentrated in the holes with large numbers of big fish caught by trolling or vertical jigging. August also hosts an unusual phenomena we have only seen on the North Seal. For 1-2 time periods this month, usually lasting 3-4 days each, lake trout flood into the river mouths in big concentrations, almost like a false spawn. We do not know what keys this - a bug hatch we can not detect?- but the angling is intense and an unbelievable experience while it lasts. Walleye are in same patterns as July and larger size. Many of our 28”-32" are caught at this time. Grayling in the rivers, at their peak, smashing any dry fly that happens their way.

September - Water is cooling rapidly and the scenery is gorgeous. Trout move onto the mid-lake reefs and river areas in incredible concentrations, brightly colored and attacking anything that moves. 100+ fish days are common casting for trout. An angry 20-30 lb. lake trout in 5’ of water is an unbelievable angling experience. The lake trout spawn usually lasts 2 weeks. Pike will move between the bays and rock points, generally leaving the weed beds as the beds die. They are now growing fat for the winter and some real monsters are caught at this time. Walleye will move when the lake turns over and will generally move onto mid-lake humps. Grayling fishing continues with the same consistency. 

Weather Conditions
Weather plays a big part on how pike respond to different lures. Many external factors still exist but this is a list of general rules that apply in specific conditions and are usually more effective:

Sunny days-
• Flashy metallic spoons and spinners
• Bright colored lures
• blacks in shallow areas
Late sun (afternoon)-
• Fluorescent colors with some black
• Red, white and black combos (mepps with hair)
Cloudy days-
• Flashy metallic spoons and spinners
• Darker colors (Black, brown, blue, green)
(keep in mind that cloudy to rainy days are typically good lake trout days)
Rainy days to scattered rain-
• Top of water lures/poppers
• Deeper diving lures ( Rain can knock the fish down deeper )
• Rattle traps
• Heavy spoons that drop
Windy days (You'll be fishing less rough waters, behind islands, bays, rivers, etc.)-
• Spinners
• Silver minows with white or yellow tails deeper
• Deep lures
• Spinners
• Top of water

Of course the out of the ordinary lure also produces big fish which you should also bring because the fish are unfamiliar with them. Guests have caught fish on a plastic pig with a hook attached. Reallistic rubber fish are great too.

Tackle that Works by Species
PIKE - Pike love spoons, especially in yellow, orange, bright red, and shiny finishes but around the 1 oz. size. Many people mistakenly try MUSKY lures but pike  - in most instances – prefer much smaller baits than muskies. 1 oz. #2 Daredevles and Len Thompsons, and the 1 ¼ oz. Johnson Silver Minnows are the faves. #5 Mepps with shiny blades are another staple. When using plastic, medium Bulldawgs will dominate at times. Don’t count out big crankbaits and surface lures, such as a Zara Spook. For tentative fish, plastics such as sluggoes and salamanders will get them moving. 14 lb. mono and 12” wire leaders.

Rod of choice -  6’-7’ medium-heavy with a longer handle.

LAKE TROUT – Lake trout prefer bigger spoons and bigger crank baits. 2 to 3 ½ oz. Daredevles and Len Thompsons are favorites as also are Red Eyes, Doctor spoons, and Evil Eyes. For deep water, the same spoons and 3 oz. bucktail jigs tipped with plastic bodies are the hands-on favorite.  In the summer holes, we’ll roll with 3 way rigs or vertical jig. 30 lb. Spiderwire or similar, especially for jigging.

Rod of choice -  6’-7’ medium-heavy with a longer handle.

WALLEYE-   3/8 oz. Mister Twisters in yellow, white, and orange can’t be beat. Shad Raps and Rattle traps are also big producers. 6-8 lb. mono.

Rod of choice -  6’ medium spinning.

ARCTIC GRAYLING/ WHITEFISH - Small spinners (Mepps, Rooster tails, and Panther Martins in 0 or 00 sizes) with shiny blades. Dry flies are the best and most consistent and spin fishermen can use the same with a small bobber. 4 lb. test

Rod of choice -  5’- 5’5” ultra-light.

What's Hot
Lures that are HOT - As of the begining of July, white has been on fire with the pike, walleye and lake trout. White worm tails on Johnson silver minnows and Mepps #5 with white hair work like a charm for the pike. They have been hammering those. In some circumstances a Mepps #5 with black hair worked great too. Remember as the pike start going to deeper weeds you'll have to change up to weedless lures that can go deeper. Color may change in August too. Lake trout are consistantly hitting large white five of diamonds or large yellow five of diamonds.