Fishing in the Boundary Waters and Quetico


Quetico and the Boundary Waters Fishing

Jigs and plastic grubs or twister tails:
Jigs and plastic grubs or twister tails are usually high on most fishermen's lists of tackle to bring to Canada. On my list, as you can see, they fall somewhere near the bottom. It's not that they don't catch fish; in fact when I'm motorboat fishing they are my favorite lure. But in a canoe there are some difficulties with the jig presentation. A proper presentation of the jig generally relies on holding the boat in a steady position; casting and slowly jigging the lure back to the boat or by remaining vertical over a “hotspot” jigging it straight down in deeper water ­ both methods are often difficult in a canoe. Jig fishing is mostly a slow presentation and very prone to snagging. Most good fish holding areas are a jumble of rocks and boulders that will swallow up bottom bouncing jigs as fast as you can tie them on. Therefore, the only time I will rig and use a jig and plastic is when I have already found fish and am reasonably certain that I can coax a few more into biting with the slower jig presentation. Most of the time in the BWCAW/Q, there are enough aggressive fish available that jig fishing is not necessary.

Jig fishing relies greatly on feel ­ your ability to distinguish between rocks, wood, weeds or a fish biting at the end of your line will determine your skill at hooking fish. All good fishermen are good jig fishermen. There is great satisfaction in coaxing a fish to bite a jig, feeling the tell tale tap and setting the hook into a big fish. Do play around with them if you get a chance especially from shore at camp and below fast moving water. You may be surprised at what you can catch, just be prepared to lose a few. Tie the jig directly to the line using a Palomar knot with no leader or swivel. Start by casting and retrieving steadily without letting it touch bottom. On successive casts let it sink closer to the bottom during the retrieve until it bumps occasionally. And lastly, (when your ready to tie on a new one), lift and pause your retrieve seductively along the bottom allowing the jig to explore all of the nooks and crannies along the way.

Entry > Discover Wilderness > Fishing > Jigs and Jigging

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