5 Things I Learned on Miniss Lake
Updated: Nov 26, 2022
Its been a while since my last post - life has just been busy this fall! Finally got around to a new one.
Each trip I try to take notes every morning about the following day – some of it is fishing related, some of it is focused on meals, some of it is just useless ramblings, I am sure. I would say Miniss 2022 Miniss Report was my second favorite trip so far (second only to Pickle Lake and that’s mainly because it was our first fly in outpost trip Pickle Lake Trip) - great lake, awesome fishing, great outfitter and we had great weather. A few things stand out though – lessons learned
Even on a lake loaded with walleye this trip taught me how important boat control is. So many of our best spots required precise positioning; When trolling crankbaits you needed to be “slamming” the bottom which meant running at 3.5 – 4 MPH and keeping to 11 – 13 ft of water, jigging required us to stay on the “boulders” and maintain bottom contact at all time, pulling harnesses meant you needed to hit the upslope (rise from basin to structure) perfectly. You could miss, you may still get bit but controlling the boat and being on the spot within a spot made a huge difference. We had way more success drifting across structure than vertical jigging so on calm days back trolling was key. I will admit I sucked at it compared to Mark – my best walleye came with him at the helm slowly creeping us along a rock spine – I felt a bump, asked him to push us along and bam – a 26.5-inch walleye.
Love the Jig
On past trips I had tried to jig but never gave it much of a chance – I preferred to bottom bounce mainly because I struggled to control the jig and get good hookups. On Miniss I would guess that 75% of my fish came on the jig. What changed? For me I generally used a 3/8-ounce jig w meat. To jig masters (like Whitey The Jigging Gnome) this probably seems excessive but it gave me confidence that I had good bottom contact, I could “feel” the lure and more importantly bites and Bam Son – I was hooked. One of my best days for total fish I caught 100% of them on the jig. I have had a solid jigging rod (St Croix Avid, 6’3 MXF) for a few years now but this trip I really feel like I used it effectively – and it’s a solid combo for sure!
Stick to The Plan
Leading up to our trips we try to formulate a solid fishing plan. We create a detailed map, scour forums, talk to other anglers, and leverage our outfitters expertise. For Miniss we had broken down the lake into multiple sections and within each section we tried to identify 7 – 10 good spots to check out. As the week went on it was evident how helpful it was. Miniss Lake just looks fishy – every island (100s of them), rocky points (100s of them) and shoal (definitely 20 or more) looked like it was worth a cast. And that’s awesome but I think we would have never ventured farther than a mile from camp if we tried to hit them all. Instead, we picked a location based on weather or desire every day and made or way, not stopping on the way. Colin had selected one section that was a bit of a haul. I honestly think he was a bit nervous as we made our way there thinking “I hope this isn’t a bust” Turns out it was incredible, one of our best days and one of my favorites. Multiple double headers, shore lunch and a swim on a small island and an epic “pike and walleye on one lure” battle right in front of me.
As mentioned, – Miniss is a big lake with lots of structure. But we also wanted to try exploring a bit. We made quite a few long runs to “see if”; there were rapids, there was an inflow, we could find a cool shore lunch spot, maybe we would catch a big pike and so on. Well, we ended up making our way to a new lake, we saw Caribou x 2, we found another amazing shore lunch spot and we had a hell of a lot of fun. Exploring is part of the fun for us and something we need to remember – catching fish is awesome, and sure you could stay within eyesight of the MIniss West cabin and catch a lot but for us, exploring new area’s and taking it in was a blast.
Breathe in the Air
I am an anxious guy. Its easy for me to get a million thoughts in my head and forget to enjoy the thing that I am supposed to be enjoying. Do we have enough food? Will our worms last? Did I drive past a better spot to get to this spot? This year I tried to do a better job of staying present – enjoying the experience, not competing with God knows who for a fish count. We did a run to the area where the Miniss River enters the lake. It probably took 35 – 40 minutes on a cold blustery day. We caught fish but we certainly didn’t light it up. Regret – no way. To get to the river we ran through amazing gorges, saw shorelines dotted with Jack Pines and eagles. One area in particular stands out as maybe the most scenic, natural wonder I have ever witnessed in Ontario. I didn’t even cast a line.
Thanks, and tightlines