(This story and photos by Maxim Bludov) – Yes, Yes, I know it sound silly, but fishing for White fish in 3 feet of water closely resembles Bone fishing in the South Pacific or Bahamas. Lake White fish has been a staple of the Canadian Northern waters for generations. Some people net them to feed their dog teams of hungry Huskies, and some sport fish for these picky eaters. White fish is, by far the pickiest, most challenging Northern game fish to catch. It is also one of the hardest fighting fish, most rewarding to land and one of the best tasting fish around. It took me nearly 3 years of “studying” in order to understand their feeding habits and behaviour. Now that I am enjoying the chaise and the catch, I would like to give you some tips, and hope you will give White fish a try one day, and realise what you’ve been missing.
White fishing is best starting in mid July. Search for lakes with streams running in or out. These fish love currents. Currents are their major feeding ground. They hang in the current, waiting for crustaceans, snails, insects and other small aquatic organisms to flow down. Using #1 Black Fury Mepps works the best during day time. Make sure you use no more then 8lbs Mono line. Make cast up current, and let the water do most of the work. Do not cast down current, your presentation will not look natural swimming against the flow of water, thus may result in “disappointing” results. Reel slow, try to keep your presentation as low as possible near the bottom, Lake White Fish feed off the bottom 70% of the time. You can find these creatures anywhere from 2 feet in shallow, sandy, clay, muddy, flats with slow current to 25 feet of rushing crystal clear waters.
Fly fishing for White fish is the reason why they are called Northern Bone fish. As soon as the sun goes down around midnight, try Bone fishing in 3 feet of water. Man oh Man. The water is littered with dead bugs coming down the stream. The White fish surface everywhere. You can walk across their back to shore if you had to. It’s one FANTASTIC sight. They surface slowly, their fins come up and wave against the current. You feel like you have entered an aquarium. Sight fishing in “glass” calm waters and battling Whites on 7 weight rod is something every angler should experience. Try resembling an “over sized” mosquito on end of your floating line, you’ll be successful.
Now, this presentation will only work for a limited period of time. White fish spawn in early fall ( September 1 – October 31…..ish). Just before they head up streams to the spawning grounds, their feeding patterns change drastically. Stay tuned in Mid- August for tips… I do have more tricks up the old sleeves…