Canyon Lake Whitefish Fishing

Canyon Lake and Whitefish Patterns:

Whitefish may be a new species to many of you. However, Canyon Lake has a very healthy population of large Whitefish. We often catch them by accident while fishing for Walleye in the early spring. I have worked at following their seasonal patterns for the last couple of years so that our clients can enjoy the new experience of fishing for Whitefish.

Whitefish prefer water temps of 48-52 degrees. They scatter in the spring, and can be found in many places in 20 ft of depth. Of course, when fish school up, they are easier to locate and to catch and this doesn't happen until after our mayfly hatch in late June/early July.

There are several deep water basins in Canyon Lake: the Main basin, Outlet Bay, Canyon Bay, the Upper End Bay, and a small bay near Powder Bay. All of these deep holes hold Whitefish during the months of July and August. In the summer months, Whitefish school up in tight formation using depths of 50-57 ft. They spawn in the fall, so by the first of September they start to go deeper. They are a patterned and consistent fish, but when they move they will go through a period of constant movement for about three weeks.

When the later part of September comes along, you find them schooled up once again in relatively shallow depths. Their normal depth is about 30-35 ft, and they will be consistent in location as well as depth throughout the end of the season.

John's Lure Suggestions:

We recommend Fergie's bait. This bait can be purchased by going to The bait I suggest is a Fergie special jigging spoon 3/4 oz sliver with red beads. Another bait I suggest using is a cicada in silver, which can be purchased at any good sporting goods store. You need at least 1/2 oz to 3/4 oz to fish in deep water and still have good control. A vertical jigging motion will be the most successful.

With a regular license, you are allowed 12 whitefish in possession. This is a considerable amount of fillets as our average white fish is 4 pounds and will dress out 2 pounds of fillets.

John's Experience:

I will admit that my first few experiences with Whitefish came by surprise while fishing with a small Minnow and jig for Walleye. After deciding to target them, I graphed them and found it easy to distinguish them from other fish. They are a deep-bodied fish, so they mark differently than walleye. Whitefish feed during the summer months, and even during the day in the fall months. They do not prefer low light feeding times. Schools of Whitefish can be up to 100 yards long and fairly wide. The best technique is to get right over the top of them, hold your boat steady, and present a vertical jigging motion.

I have a few secret tips that will help you catch Whitefish on a consistent basis. Use a low stretch fishing line over mono, and a 7 ft medium rod built to handle heavy lures. The drag must be set very light because of the paper-thin mouth of the Whitefish. I have been very impressed with the size, the tremendous fighting ability, and numbers of Whitefish. If you want to give this fish a try please contact me. I'll help get you started, and will be glad to take you out and show you some locations and depths.