This Walleye episode took us back to the wonderful district of Algoma, 22,000 square miles of fish-filled wilderness encompassing the largest crown game reserve in the world, the Chapleau Crown Game Reserve. And Pete’s in the middle of it, at Loch Island Lodge in Wabatongushi Lake. He was there on a special “mission” if you will, with the help from electronics expert, Danny Thompson, a Garmin Regional Sales Manager of the Great Lakes Region based out of Minnesota.
Danny’s an avid walleye fisherman and tournament angler in Minnesota where he competes in the AIM Minnesota Series. He has won a state championship and had around 5 top ten finishes in the last 3 years. These are great credentials.
As far as his Garmin duties, he’s been finding ways to better utilize their great technology for the Upper Midwest and Canadian fisherman, by using Panoptix, Quickdraw, and our other great technologies to target walleye, pike, musky, crappies etc.
“I enjoy using my Garmin equipment” says Danny “to search out big fish so I can be more effective in my fishing, especially tournament fishing”.
On this mid-June Walleye fishing trip, they had a typical calendar oriented situation going on. It’s called a Mayfly hatch… “something I’d much rather be in front of” Pete says. It’s a time when the Mayflies emerge from the depths and the fish, including Walleye, gorge on them. Essentially it means catching fish using something that doesn’t look like a Mayfly is going to make things very difficult.
Another situation on this trip that’s somewhat unique, is that the owner of the lodge allows no boat access; however, when he told us that it’s a drive-to lake, Pete proposed they make a one-time deal. Since Pete and Danny had new ground-breaking fishfinder/chartplotter technology, Pete told the lodge that they could re-chart some of the lodges hotspots and those spots would then be 10 times more accurate than the charts the lodge was using now; with that offer, Loch Island readily agreed to allow the Princecraft in.
LATEST IN ELECTRONICS
Let’s explain a bit on underwater charts. There are 2 types, bathymetric and hydrographic. A bathymetric chart is an “accurate” presentation of the underwater bottom features, while a hydrographic chart is less detailed, having the goal of safe navigation presented in a simplified version. These are created to help boaters avoid underwater hazards. As anglers, we much prefer detail!
The new Garmin technology that Danny concentrated on during this trip is called “Quick Draw Contours”, and that’s exactly what it does. The sophisticated sonar sends out enough pings to scan 150 ft on either side of the boat and in real time, drawing new contour lines on our chartplotter in one foot increments. This can all be done at up to 30 miles per hour.
This newfound technology identifies bottom structure as never before.
The Fish’n Canada Show has talked about structure before, but let’s review it so you can understand what Quick Draw is actually doing. Structure is any change in contour of the bottom of a body of water that causes a change in depth. Points, vertical shorelines like bluff walls, humps, submerged islands, ledges and old river or creek channels are some examples. They all have the same common denominator: an edge – a change in depth. And that’s what Quick Draw does; it draws a detailed picture of the lake bottom in one foot increments. So what you get is a highly defined, underwater topographical chart “with contours”, of the water you’re fishing. Drastic changes in depth, for example, are seen as a bunch of lines squeezed together, indicating a drop-off and a possible spot to find fish nearby. By the way, this is not as complicated as it sounds… let the plotter do the hard work and you just reap the benefits!
As you “mow the lawn” (think the same way as when you are cutting your grass, cutting a new swath directly beside and adjoining the last one in order to cover the entire area) going back and forth over an alleged hot spot, contour lines are marked and recorded onto an SD card. Once complete, you can come back to a GPS charted and marked location at any time, with any compatible Quick Drawing unit, and catch fish!
IN A NUTSHELL:
Garmin’s new Quickdraw feature allows anglers to create a brand new map of “any” body of water they are fishing with incredibly detailed 1 foot contours.
With the aid of the latest and greatest CHIRP technology, which translates to Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse, an accurate and permanent picture is drawn right before your eyes.
Your new Quickdraw map is recorded and saved on an SD card, which can then be viewed in the Echomap and GPSMap Garmin lineup, and finally you can even share your new maps on the Garmin Connect community.
CORNELIUS THE LOON-A-TIC
As per usual, this trip to northern Ontario was not much different than all others. Pete and Danny caught great numbers of fish, some real quality as well however, there always seems to be a fish story in the end.
The boys mapped out a seemingly good looking point with the Quick Draw feature and then scanned it thoroughly with their traditional sonar and ClearVu. Upon seeing a group of fish on a tight little contour, they dropped down some vertical jigs and immediately started catching fish.
Within minutes and while fighting a decent Walleye, Pete noticed something strangely different about the battle. Just then he and Danny noticed a Loon swimming underwater and chasing the hooked fish. It was literally trying to attack it… and believe it or not that fish was way too big to fit in a Loon’s mouth. With a flap of it’s underwater-wing swimming technique, the Loon was gone as fast as it came in.
“As unique as this loon attack seemed to us” says Pete “we found out later at the lodge that Cornelius, the infamous loon, was well known in these parts as a stalker of boats and attacker of hooked fish”. You never know what to expect on an Algoma fishing trip!
“To me” says Pete “this trip to Loch Island lodge was very rewarding. Although catching big Walleye was tough due to the Mayfly hatch, I came out of it with new-found knowledge of how to completely revise old outdated hydrographic charts and as well start a new journey if you will, in learning how to interpret with the finest of detail, every lake and river I hit, from here on”. What a great new weapon to add to the arsenal.
OTMP go fish ONTARIO
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GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s newly mapped Walleye water, I first drove north on Hwy 400 to 69. I turned north-west on Hwy 17, and then turned north-east on 519 to the town of Dubreuilville. From there it was dirt roads to the meeting area of this drive-to lodge. Please note, Loch Island Lodge has a strict policy of using only their camp boats. We were granted special access in order to update the camps hotspots with our advanced Garmin mapping system.