Canyon Lake has a healthy population of Lake Whitefish. Most commonly fished by commercial fishermen for restaurants in institutions, the Lake Whitefish is starting to get popular with fishermen too. Whitefish are easily identifiable by their silvery skin, exaggerated forked tail and it's inset lower jaw (perfect for bottom feeding). They look similar to a cisco but larger.
Not easy to fish for, they usually stay out in the deepest parts of the lake between 50-80'. They come up in the late spring to feed on May fly larvae and late fall/early winter to spawn. Fishing in the spring has been done casting or using a fly rod when the May Fly larvae is just beginning to hatch. Canyon Lakes May fly hatch is generally later than other lakes as it is a deep cold lake. The hatch is usually around the middle of June but generally closer to the end of June when they actually hatch and you see them. Later summer can also be productive fishing very deep using tear drop jigs baited with worms or small minnows, small jigging lures or spoons with weights to get you down into the deep waters.
The biggest recorded Lake Whitefish in Ontario caught was 15 pounds 6 ounces. Normally they weigh an average of about 4 pounds but in Canyon Lake the average range is on the bigger size of 6-8 pounds.
Whitefish feed mainly on snails and insect larvae. The fish come up in the shallows to spawn. They prefer water flows, rivers (swim upstream) where the bottom is rocky rubble but will also shore spawn on rubble or gravel as well. This usually happens here on Canyon Lake the late part of October and early part of November. We love to go out at this time of the year because the musky are always laying in wait for the evening when the whitefish like to come and spawn. The Whitefish eggs will hatch in the spring. Whitefish will move to the deep in the summer and can be suspended or lay right on the bottom.
Chances are if you are going over a very deep spot in the lake and you pick up fish, it is probably Lake Whitefish.
The season for Whitefish is open all year, the sport limit is 12 and conservation limit is 6.
Spring Fishing for Whitefish:
spin caster or fly rod
fish in shallower water 20' and shallower
use small fly or jig with small piece of worm
let lure fall to bottom and jig up replicating May Fly larvae hatch
Late Summer Fishing for Whitefish:
medium rod spin or bait caster
jigging spoon, teardrop bait or jigging lure
small worm or minnow
very slow drift or troll or vertical jig
Late Fall Fishing for Whitefish:
Fish in shallow 20' or less
If rod fishing, Whitefish only feed during the day
Dip netting at night is permitted
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