TC Walleye 8-28-12

29 08 2012

Decided to try the river again Tuesday night to see if I could redeem myself after the abysmal night my father and I had last week. When I arrived everything was back to normal, the FLW had cleared out and the parking lot was pretty much empty. I got the boat ready, launched and headed downstream. I noticed a couple of dead smallmouth under the bridge, must have been a couple that didn’t survive the tournament. To my surprise there was a barge docked at the Edison plant off loading coal. In my 30 plus years of fishing down here I have never seen that before. I wondered how a ship that size moving through water 10 feet deep was going to affect the fishing. As it turns out it didn’t bother it at all.

The sky was clear and the sun still up so I decided to try a little farther downstream in some deeper water. The water was still clear as well and very few floating weeds. I set up in the middle of the river north of Calf Island in about 16 feet of water. It wasn’t long and I picked up an “eater” on my kicker with a Metallic Bone Denny Spoon. By the time I reached the Blue Boat house I picked up two more on the same lure and leader. I swung back around and made another pass and picked up a small 12 ½ inch walleye. Back into the water he went so I can get him next year. The sun had set by now so I swapped out a couple of spoons and replaced them with some Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue’s. They are a plastic floating body bait with small bb’s inside that produce a rattle when fished. I don’t know how much of a difference that rattle makes but my Dad will swear by it. This is the same lure he caught the two walleye at the same time on one lure on two different occasions this Spring. By the time I was up at the Catamaran I hooked into a walleye on the longer bait. After I got him into the boat I was lowering the weight down to the bottom when another walleye hit the Clown Smithwick. This one was right at 15 inches so I tossed him back as well. Things were going pretty good so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem getting a better fish. As I neared the Stacks I had another hit and it turned out to be another undersized walleye on the Clown Smithwick. I was nearing the end of my run and beginning to question tossing back the 15 incher. There was another boat coming up on my port side so I turned to give him some room. When I did I had another hit. This was a heavier fish and I carefully brought him in. I hadn’t lost a fish all night and I didn’t want to lose this one. It wasn’t long and I was flipping in a nice 23 inch 3 ½ pound male, also on the Clown Smithwick. That was my fifth fish so it was time to head in.

Five keepers, 3 throwbacks and nothing lost. Not bad for a couple of hours of fishing. Nights like this are a blessing, relaxing and peaceful…..especially since I didn’t have to share the boat with a cricket.

Jiminy Cricket

25 08 2012

Some people love the sound of crickets chirping in the night air. They find it relaxing and soothing as their busy day comes to a close. As for me, well let’s just say I could do without it. I never realized how annoying the sound of one lone cricket could be until last night.

My mom and dad came down for the weekend to celebrate my daughters 17th birthday. Since the party was going to be Saturday afternoon my father and I decided to take advantage of a free night and go walleye fishing. I was a little pessimistic about how we would do with the FLW in town and the weed disaster from earlier this week. Today was another day so I was determined to make the best of it. We started off jigging alongside of the Edison coal pile. I try this every once and awhile just to see what is lurking in the area. Last time I did this I caught a 34 inch musky. I was hoping for a few walleye but anything would work. My dad likes to jig so he would get a chance, albeit a brief one, to give it a shot. All we managed was one Sheepshead and a goby in our first and only drift. The sun was starting to set so it was time to switch gears and start handlining. My dad hooked the first walleye of the night but like so many before this year it was too small, 14 7/8 inches to be exact. Back to the river he went so I could catch him in a month or two. About 15 minutes later I picked up a 16 inch fish on a Riley Special spoon. The next 45 minutes yielded nothing and now it was dark so we switched over to body baits. I put on a #11 Bleeding Chartreuse Rapala and my Dad his favorite Smithwick Rattlin’ Rouge. Shortly after 9:00 pm I landed an 18 inch walleye and my dad followed it up 2 minutes later with another one. Things were looking good so we made a couple of more passes through the area but we caught nothing else. This went on for the next hour with nothing to show for our efforts but a few rockbass. It was now close to 11:00 pm and we were getting ready to call it a night. I said that once we finished this pass by the stacks we would pull lines. It was right about then that my Dad caught what would be our final walleye for the night. This one managed to tangle his lines as well so after the fish went into the cooler he balled up his leaders and tossed them in the bucket. I pulled my lines as well and we were soon heading home. I had had enough of the chirping cricket anyways. He wasn’t too vocal while we were catching fish but those down times in between he was very noisy.

We ended up with 4 eaters and 1 throwback for the night. Definitely my slowest night of the year. I may have to try some new waters on my next trip. I might try farther upstream by McClouth Steel the next time out or further south down by Horse Island. We’ll see. As for now I have to go find a cricket in my boat.

Weeds, weeds and more weeds. 8/21/12 Trenton Channel

22 08 2012

I was out tonight with a person I met through the Michigan-Sportsman website. Tom usually jigs or runs bottom bouncers in the same area I pull wire. He expressed an interest in learning how to catch fish my way so I agreed to take him out. Since he lives in the “Level Pebble” we made arrangements to meet at the launch. I arrived a little after 7:00 pm and found that half the launch area was blocked off for the FLW. I guess next week I will be catching a lot of Smallmouth Bass. Oh Joy!!

Tom arrived a little later and after a brief chat with him and a few of my friends that were also heading out we launched the boat. We set up in my usual starting point and dropped lines after a brief explanation of how this all works. It didn’t take long and I caught my first walleye of the night on my good old Riley Special spoon. Fishing slowed a little after that with only the occasional Smallmouth Bass being caught. Tom was able to hook into a couple of smaller Smallmouth’s as well but still no walleye. As the evening progressed the floating weeds slowly began to increase in number and size. When we first started out they were staying on the west side of the river but they were appearing in the middle and the east side as well. Once it got dark they became downright unbearable. It seemed like we were clearing lines every 5 minutes. This gave Tom a lot of practice in leader management but he wanted to get that experience bringing in fish. I managed to catch a few more walleye and ended the night with a double, unfortunately Tom didn’t catch anything. It happens and the weeds didn’t help his chances of success any. This was the worst the weeds have been all year. I don’t know what triggered it but it wasn’t welcome. As we were getting ready to leave we pulled up along side my friend Dan and he only had one fish and was debating quitting as well. I must have made up his mind for him because once I said we were heading in he started to pull lines as well.

After we pulled the boat Tom, Dan and I stood around at the ramp for awhile and just talked about fishing in general. I’m sure we could have stood there and talked for hours but it was getting late and I had to work in the morning. Tom had to get going as well since he promised to take his wife out bass fishing at a local inland lake in the morning. I told him that if he wants to go again just give me a call. Hopefully the weeds won’t be as bad and I can get him into some fish.

No pictures again tonight. I gave the walleye to Dan and in turn he promised to give me some geese when the season opens on Sept. 1st. They were caught on a #9 CCT Rapala and a Riley Special spoon. I did get a new digital camera so I should have pictures from the next trip.

8/14/12 Walleye with a new student

15 08 2012

Back at the Golden Bucket Tournament a new DWF member approached me about learning how to hand line. Mark Payne is retired and just starting to learn how to catch walleye. He had been out jigging but he really wanted to see what pulling wire was all about. He bought all the stuff to do it but he still needed someone to show him how to use it. Apparently a few people had promised to take him out but never followed through. I can understand him being pessimistic when I told him I would. After one rain out the weather turned and we made plans to meet at my house at 7:00 pm. He must have been excited to go, he arrived at 6:30 pm.

Before we launched the boat I gave him some quick instructions on how everything will work. I set up his reel on the boat, gave him one of my shanks and one spool with a 30 and 15 foot leader. We launched the boat and headed to my usual starting point. The water was still clear but there were a few more weeds floating on the surface then the last time I was out. After some more instruction on how to set lines Mark was soon fishing. Now all we needed was some cooperative fish. It didn’t take long and Mark was yelling out that he had a fish. Turned out to be a small mouth but it was his first and he was happy. About 20 minutes alter he followed it up with his first walleye pulling wire, on the infamous Flying Tiger spoon. He ended up catching one more on the same spoon a little later on. I think he may be headed to the local tackle shop to pick up some of those spoons for himself. I ended up with a few fish myself before we wrapped things up. The weeds were a problem as it got darker. It seemed like we were clearing lines every 5 minutes. Makes it hard to catch fish when conditions are like that. The main thing was that Mark learned a few things and he got to take home some fresh fish for dinner. He was happy and that’s all that mattered.

No pictures tonight. I sent the fish home with Mark but I can say they were all caught on a Flying Tiger spoon and my favorite custom painted Rapala….Copper Crazy Tiger.

8/11/12 TC Walleye

12 08 2012

It had been over a week since I was last on the Channel so I was due for another visit. I was supposed to take someone out Friday night but the threat of rain kept us home. It never rained at my house but according to reports it dumped down in Trenton. It had rained all day Thursday as well. We really needed an all-day rain but now I was concerned as to what it would do to the river. I expected levels to be up and lots of floating weed mats coming downstream. Much to my surprise neither had happened, as a matter of fact there were hardly any floating weeds at all.

I hit the water just before 8:00 pm and set up next to the catamaran. I started off with spoons on all my leads, Riley Special, Flying Tiger and a Copper/Florescent Orange Spoon. A few minutes in and I hooked into a 12 inch smallmouth bass. No big deal but he was a precursor of things to come. Turns out I was going to be plagued by these fish all night long. I caught a half dozen more about this size before I ever caught my first walleye and that fish I had to throw back. Eventually I did pick up a keeper on the flying tiger spoon but he was barely legal. I thought about tossing him back but the way things were going I thought it might be a lean night. Turned out to be a painful night as well. Shortly after throwing back yet another 12 inch smallie I landed a 16 ½ bass. As I was trying to take the hook out he jumped some and stuck the barb into my finger, right along the edge of the nail. The hook also split the nail. After I got him back in the water I did a little first aid on my finger and was back to fishing. It was now about 9:00 pm and I had just swapped out 2 spoons for a #11 Bleeding Chartreuse Rap and a custom painted #9 that was green with black dots. For the next half hour all hell was about to break loose. First up was a 20 inch Smallmouth that made a mess of things. He was followed up by a 17 inch fish who didn’t want to cooperate either. This turned out to be a double, he was pulling so much on one of my leaders I didn’t even realize I had a walleye on another leader until I released the bass. This fire drill went on for the next 20 minutes where I landed 2 walleye, 3 smallmouth and 2 Spotless Freshwater Redfish. I also hooked into two fish that I never saw. They were big fish and I couldn’t get them to the boat. One kept pulling the wire and line through my hands. After a minute or two the hooks came free and that was the end of it.

I needed to take a break and re-organize so I pulled lines, checked hooks and re-positioned myself downstream a bit. My friend Dan had been texting me most of the night to get a fishing report so I gave him an update. He was coming out after work with another friend of mine so they wanted up to date info on conditions and action. It was nearing 10:00 pm and the smallmouth action had finally started to slow down. I had 3 walleye in the cooler and 1 throwback so far. I had intended to stay out until Dan and Richard showed up so I kept at it. By 11:00 pm I had added two more to the cooler and two more throwbacks. Dan had texted me that he was back at the ramp and waiting on Richard so I putt putted around for a few more minutes before I pulled lines and headed in. I had my 5, more smallmouth than I cared to deal with and a very sore left trigger finger.


Back at the ramp I shared my information with the two of them. Surface temp was 74.2 degrees (a drop of 6 degrees from my last trip a week ago) and the water was very clear. Most of my walleye came on the Rapala’s (I swapped out a CCT at one point when I busted the lip on the other custom). Very few floating weeds and just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away. Final total was 5 walleye kept and 3 released, 15 Smallmouth (all Released), 4 Spotless Freshwater Redfish and one sore finger. Not a bad night.

Side Note: I picked up a ram mount for my digital camera so that I could take photos in the boat of all the Smallmouth Bass I release.  Unfortunately I broke my camera in Erieau.

Golden Minnow Bucket Tournament 2012

5 08 2012

It’s no big secret about my total disdain for Silver Bass and after my trip to Erieau that disdain has grown even worse. It’s bad enough catching them 3 at a time when I am pulling wire but pulling one in on 10 colors of lead core is ten times worse. Fortunately I only had to do it a couple of times. The crew I was fishing with went through that drill several times over the day before. I have to admit I wasn’t very optimistic about the fishing on Saturday. The group I was fishing with only caught 5 walleye and 3 steelhead the day before. That wasn’t so bad, the part I didn’t like is that they caught close to 50 silver bass. Every 10 minutes they had to pull lines just to clear them off the lures. If a walleye or Steelhead didn’t grab the lure on the way down a silver bass would. I tried to remain positive because things always seem to change the next day, hopefully for the better.

I woke up early Saturday morning to hazy skies and a slight breeze, so far so good. We got our lunches packed along with lots of water and ice for the cooler. Once that was done we launched the boat and headed out. We were fishing the 4th annual DWF/LSCWA Golden Minnow Bucket Steelhead and Walleye tournament this morning. This was a friendly little tournament between two of the premiere walleye clubs in Michigan. Something a little different than our usual Detroit River tournaments. Fishing time for the tournament didn’t start to 7:30 am and I was wondering why we were leaving at 6:30 am. Turns out we had to travel through Rondeau Bay at first and then out into Lake Erie for 18 miles. This will be the furthest I have ever fished out into the lake. Any other time I fished Lake Erie I could always see shore. With the haze on the horizon I couldn’t this morning. Once we got to our starting point we set lines, 2 on down riggers, 3 on Dipsey’s and on one 10 colors of lead core on an inline planer board. It didn’t take long and we caught our first walleye. We followed it up with a couple more and then our fist steelhead in about an hour. Not fast and furious but enough to keep us in the area. We fished for another hour and all we caught were silver bass, Sheepshead and a few small white perch. Jerry decided to pull lines and head to deeper water.

After a few more miles of travel we arrived at our next destination. A quick check of the graph showed the thermocline to be down around 55 feet so we set lines accordingly. Once we got the lines set Jerry made a slow turn into the waves and we started to pick up some better fish again. By now it was time for lunch so Jerry took a break and Tom took over the driving. For the next 2 hours we had a little bit of a flurry going. We were picking up steelhead and walleye on a regular basis. We were having a hard time keeping all the lines in the water because one would always have a fish on. We were still getting the garbage fish but not as many as what we were after. At 2:00 pm we pulled lines and headed back in. As we were doing this we hooked into our last steelhead of the day on one of the downriggers set 62 feet down. Tom suggested that for the last 15 minutes we should lower the downriggers farther to see what would happen. We ended up catching 2 steelhead in that time frame. Unfortunately the last one came off right at the boat. Oh well……it happens.

We ended up with 8 walleye and 8 steelhead which isn’t bad considering the conditions. Fish have been scattered and boats have been having a hard time locating fish. As for the tournament our 5 fish weighed in at 26.99 pounds, good enough for 5th place out 19 boats. The tournament only paid out to 4th place which we missed by just a few ounces. The DWF did take 1st, 3rd and 4th for the tournament and the Golden Minnow Bucket Trophy stays in DWF hands for another year. A team from the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association took 2nd place along with the biggest walleye at 7.24 pounds. Biggest steelhead was just under 12 pounds and it was caught by the 1st place team.

It wasn’t a bad day of fishing, certainly a lot better than the previous two days that my fishing partners experienced. It would have been nice if the waves were a little smaller. Driving a boat out 18 miles into 3 foot waves makes for a bumpy ride. If I had any kidney stones lying on my kidneys they are loose now. Another problem I discovered is that my tendonitis in my left arm is worse than I thought. I had a hard time holding on to the trolling rods while reeling in the fish, especially the one with lead core on it. Guess I’ll be going back to the doctor sometime soon.

Quick Report 8/2/12 Walleye

3 08 2012

Well I got my boat back so of course I had to test it out. The mechanic replaced the switchbox and some bad wiring. I was a little pessimistic but I hoped this was going to cure all my problems. It did. Once I got to my starting point the engine idled down beautifully. Look out walleye, I’m back!  It’s great to have friends that will take you out on their boat but there is nothing like fishing on your own. 

Fishing was a little slow at first, unless of course I wanted Smallmouth Bass. Those things have really been a nuisance this year. First one was a small 8 incher but it was soon followed up by a feisty 16 inch fish. A little while later I got my first walleye on an orange and copper stinger spoon. While I was brining him in a 17 ½ Smallmouth grabbed one of my other lines. What a mess. Normally I would have got the walleye in first but I had to get the bass in before he tangled up all my lines. I managed to get the bass in and released and then the walleye into the cooler. I caught a few more undersized bass and another 17 inch bass in the next 20 minutes or so. I decided to switch things up a bit to see if I could eliminate my bass problem and put some walleye in the cooler. I removed 2 spoons and replaced them with a #11 GFR and a #9 Copper Crazy Tiger Rapala. That did the trick, no more bass, only walleye. I quickly picked up a 22 inch male on the #11 GFR. While I was talking to my friend Richard along side my boat I had a double and was able to land both of them. Around 9:45 I hooked into another one on the #9 Copper Crazy Tiger Rapala. I ended up losing him but it was no big deal. Richard called me to say he was headed in because the bugs were really bad. He also had one walleye and he asked if I wanted it. That would make 5 for me so I headed in as well.

Back at the ramp I talked to Richard for a bit. We discussed the best way to replace my bow lights. Homeland Security pulled up along side of me to tell me they couldn’t see my lights and that I should get it fixed. I had a Coast Guard inspection certificate that said everything on my boat was fine but I wasn’t about to argue with them about it. I’ll just get a short mast for the bow lights.

So the engine is running good and the walleye are still around. Life is Good. It’s gonna get even better, after work I’m headed to Eireau Ontario for some Steelhead and Walleye fishing this weekend. More on that to follow.