The snowiest winter ever recorded for south east Michigan is finally over (I hope). The birds are building their nests, tulips are poking through the ground and the days are above freezing (though the wind chill temp yesterday morning was 29 degrees). Time to go get some walleye. Early reports have stated that big fish are being caught all throughout the system from St. Clair to Erie. Could this be the year I finally get that 10 pound fish? It seems like everyone else is so why not me? Anything is possible. Especially now with big females being the bulk of a lot of fish being caught. We shall see.
My plan was to go out Friday night (4/18) after dinner. The MWC was having day 1 of their 2 day tournament on Friday so I wanted to wait until they were off the water. I left the house around 5 and arrived at the ramp as they were going through weigh-in. I could hear the weights of the 5 fish baskets being called out over the loud speaker as I was prepping the boat. Most were in the 30 pound range but I did hear a 42 pound weight yelled out. Don’t know where they were fishing , probably mid river as that seems to be where everyone has been fishing this last week. I was headed south to my normal fishing grounds, I felt like staying close.
I started off jigging, why I don’t know. I sometimes think I need to get it out of my system before I start to pull wire. I really don’t like jigging anymore. I’m to the point that the only time I want a fishing rod in my hand is when it is my Fly Rod. After a couple of drifts and no fish I got down to business. I turned the boat around, pointed it upstream and out came the Rap’s. As I was getting ready my friends Dave and Larry pulled up beside me. They had 4 and were in the process of landing number 5 as I was lowering my baits into the water. They told me they had lost around 6 fish as well and Larry had lost a big one. He could never get her up off the bottom. There was still hope.
About 20 minutes later I had my first fish of the year, a nice 18 inch eater. He came on a #11 Pink Lemonade Rapala on my 40 foot lead. That was followed up by another little male that I had to toss back. The size limit here is 15 inches and he was 14.9999999998 inches long. No biggie, the sun was starting to set and the fish were starting to get active. About 20 minutes later I lost another small one at the boat. Once he came off I quickly got the baits down and went back through the same area. It wasn’t long and number 2 was in the cooler, another male on a #9 Original Black and Silver Rapala. I was getting ready to make another run when I spotted something weird looking in the water. I thought it might be a Cormorant at first but then I realized it was the head of a whitetail deer. I motored closer and sure enough, it was a deer swimming upstream and headed to the shoreline below the Edison plant. Once she found a clear spot she walked out and gave me a look of how dare you interrupt my swim and then went on her way. I have seen deer all over the River but this was the first time I had ever seen one swimming in the water.
It was getting dark now so I switched on my navigation lights and got back to fishing, sort of. My stern light wasn’t working. I tried to figure out what the problem was but no luck. I headed to a nearby dock and tied off while I inspected the pole and socket. Eventually I got it working and was back to fishing. It never fails, just when I was zeroed in on them something goes wrong. I was back in business and it didn’t take long for me to get back on the fish. Roughly 30 minutes later I had the last 3 of my 5 fish limit and I was on my way in. I pulled up along side of Dave and Larry again as they were landing number 6. I tossed them one of my hot lures and threatened their lives if they lost it. I wished them good luck (I later found out that they ended up with 9 for the night) and ran for the dock. I had my 5 and was happy. Of course they were all males with the largest one being 22 inches long. Only I could accomplish that. Everyone else is landing a personal best fish and throwing back big females and I manage to catch all males, and a sub-legal one to boot. Oh well.
For those who are wondering the surface temp was 44 degrees with a nice stain to the water. These bright sunny days are getting the algae going and the water conditions were just about perfect, for me. Clear skies and a NE wind made it a little chilly but it felt good to be back out on the water. It had been a long winter and I needed to get back in to a rhythm again. It took a little doing at first but eventually I got my mojo back and the fish were coming in.
Here’s to the rest of the season everyone, it’s finally here.
All Males, 18 to 22 inches long.