Fishing Terms and Definitions

Fishing Terms and Definitions

Some of the best fishing in the world can be found in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and Quetico Park. To make the best of your fishing while on your canoe trip, you need to understand many of the fishing terms used. The following are definitions of some of the more common fishing terms you're likely hear or see.

ADIPOSE FIN - A small fleshy fin with no rays, located between the dorsal and caudal fins.

ANGLING - Taking fish by hook and line. This includes bait and fly fishing, casting, trolling and the use of landing nets to complete the catch.

BULLET SINKER - used in combination with a slip shot or lead head jig. The bullet sinker slides loosely on the line that allows for variation in depth and extra weight.

CAUDAL FIN - The tail fin.

CRANK BAIT - generally any plug type body with some tupe of lip on the front of the lure. These lures take on many shapes and sizes, and the length of the "lip" will determine how deep the bait will run when "cranked" in.

DESCALING - A condition in which a fish has lost a certain percentage of scales.

DORSAL FIN - The fin located on the back of fishes, and in front of the adipose fin, if it is present

DROP-OFF - A fast change in depth usually associated with a flat, point, creek channel or all of them. A topo map will show the contour lines close together.

GAME FISH - A fish that is regulated by law for recreational harvest.

DRESSED FISH - A fish which has been cleaned by removing the entrails. Dressed fish also may be filleted and/or have their head, gills and scales removed

LEAD HEAD JIGS - various sized hooks weighted with lead. Usually 1/8 ounce to 1/4 ounce sizes are preferred for walleye and smallmouth. Use 1/16 ounce and 1/8 ounce for panfish.

LWDGW - A severe drop-off. On a topo map, the contour lines will look as if they are touching each other

NARROWS - areas where points come together and create a restricted water flow. Walleyes sometimes prefer these areas during the summer when reefs are not available. Late evening and night-fall fishing in these areas produce fantastic walleyes.

POINTS - spits of land that jut out into the lake from a larger land form. Smallmouth frequent these landmarks through out much of our season. Walleye tend to locate near points in the spring.

RAPALAS - brand name for top water and subsurface lures. Rapalas come in many shapes, sizes and styles. Rapalas in the 3 to 4-1/2 inch range will work the best. Perch, Black & gold, black & silver and crawdad are our top color picks.

REEF - submerged rock piles that vary in size and depth. Preferred by walleyes during the warm summer months.

ROUGH FISH - Those species of fish considered to be of either poor fighting quality when taken on tackle or of poor eating quality, such as carp, gar, suckers, etc. Most species in this group are more tolerant of widely fluctuating environmental conditions than Game Fish.

SCULLING - technique using a canoe paddle in a figure eight motion to slowly propel or control the SPEED OF THE CANOE. Most commonly used while fishing.

SNAGGING - A technique of angling in which a hook or hooks are cast, trolled or lowered into the water and manipulated to embed the hook or hooks into the body of the fish. You have snagged a fish if: (a) you are fishing in a manner that the fish does not voluntarily take the hook in its mouth, or (b) if you accidentally hook the fish in a part of the body other than the mouth

SOFT JIG BODIES - plastic molded bodies which resemble worms, grubs, frogs, lizards, leeches or crawdads. The most popular style is the grub body. Use a 2 to 4 inch body for walleye and smallmouth. Use a 1 to 1-1/2 inch body for panfish. White, black, yellow, motor oil, and pumpkin seed are the most productive colors for our area.

SPINNER BAIT - any variety of lures that consist of a rotating blade or blades. The two main types are a straight shaft (i.e. Mepps Spinner), and safety pin type spinner bait. These lures are most commonly used for bass & pike.

SPOONS - oval shaped metal with a hook on the end. The best sizes will range from 3 to 4 inches in length. Solid silver, red & white, black & white, and yellow with red diamonds are productive colors.

SPLIT SHOT SINKER - a small ball of lead, typically partially split which can be placed directly on the fishing line to add weight and depth to lures.

STILL FISHING - the method of fishing that usually involves the use of a bobber to suspend live bait at a certain depth. Two techniques that are commonly used are a fixed bobber (simply clipped on your line) and a slip bobber.

SWILL WATER - The heaviest weedy area in a body of water.

TROLLING - moving at any pace across a body of water trailing a lure (frequently a spoon plug, crank bait, rapala or spoon). Extra line should be let out to allow for deeper depth.

WEED BEDS - large growths of weeds that provide cover and cool oxygenated water, primarily for large northerns. Dead and dying weed beds will not be productive. Small weed beds may produce some panfish (crappies, bluegill or perch).

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