They’re Baaaaacccccckkkkkkkk!!!! 6/27/14 Walleye

29 06 2014

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Si Robertson;

It’s On Like Donkey Kong, Jack!!

Hit the water again on Friday 6/27 to see if I could improve on my catch from last weekend.  I was hoping the extra week would give what few remaining %^$# Bass were left a chance to leave and for some Erie walleye to move back in.  With very little rain and almost no winds I expected the water to be clear so I didn’t even get on the water until after 8.  It was going to be a clear night so I didn’t see the need to rush.  I might pick up a couple before dark but I didn’t expect it to get good until after 10:00 pm.

As I was heading downstream I saw my friend Larry so I pulled up to see how he was doing.  No walleye yet but he didn’t catch any of those other things either.  Of course now that he said it we were going to catch them.  There was one other boat out as well and I didn’t recognize it at first.  Later that evening I got closer and it was Dave going solo.  He told me earlier in the week he was supposed to take a friend out but he couldn’t make it.  I started fishing down at the north end of Calf Island with all spoons, the same ones I used last Sunday.  About 30 seconds later number one was in the boat, a nice lightly colored, fresh from Erie, 17 inch fish.  Hot Damn!!  I putt putted around the area for the next hour without another hit except for the occasional rock bass, smallmouth bass and %^$# bass, thanks Larry.  During that time I swapped spoons around in different sizes, styles and colors trying to find something that would trigger a strike.  I did manage to pick up one more eater before dark and it too came on the same spoon on my kicker lead.    Once 10 o’clock rolled around I swapped out the spoons for some pencil plugs and a #7 Black holographic Rapala on my kicker.  I figured with the clear water that maybe something a little less colorful might do the trick.  It did, sometimes it helps to be a little lucky.  Within the next hour I picked  up 3 more fish, all on my kicker and the #7 Black Holographic Rapala.  They only thing I caught on the Pencil Plugs was a %^$# bass that forgot he is supposed to be back out in Lake Erie terrorizing the crawler harness gang.

So by 11 I was heading for home which was fine with me.  With no wind to keep the bugs at bay I was happy to get off the water.  Every time I turned my headlamp on they would be all over me.  I was fishing on borrowed time anyways, the bracket for my reel cracked and it was only a matter of time before it broke completely.  As a matter of fact it did back in the parking lot while I was taking it off the boat.  Still it was a nice night on the water.  At one point a caravan of vintage Mustangs went down River Road on Grosse Isle and Wyandotte had their firework display that night.  Water was very clear and a fair share of weeds, not any big mats but just a lot of little pieces floating around.  None of the stringy green mossy stuff.  No clouds and no moon so it was very dark.  Hard to see anything on the surface but I would know it when I hit a clump of weeds.  The best thing though is the fact that some new fish have moved into the system.  Hopefully they will stick around all summer and this year won’t be a repeat of last year.

 

16 to 20 inches long Eaters.

16 to 20 inch long Eaters.

Broken Bracket

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.  Thanks for the pic Dave.

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.

 

 

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The 2nd Coming………Almost

22 06 2014

Weekend Report.

I decided to give it a shot Friday night after I got word that my fellow handliner compadre Dave was going to head out.  It looked like the rain was going to clear out before dark so I made plans to hit the water around 8.  Of course the rain didn’t completely quit but a little sprinkle was no big deal.  When I arrived at the ramp I was pleased to see that the water levels were way up.  As a matter of fact they were at the highest levels I had seen in years.  Not surprising with all the rain we have had.  After I launched the boat I pointed her downstream and headed towards the only other boat on the river, Dave’s.  I pulled up along side and asked how he and Larry had been doing.  No walleye yet but only 1 Silver Bass.  Oh Happy Day could they finally be gone?  We shall see.

I went downstream a bit more and set up behind them.  I started to follow them for a bit but once I saw both of them bringing in Silver Bass at the same time I made a right turn and avoided that area.  Didn’t matter, I found them as well.  Oh well, can’t have everything.  It wasn’t too much longer before I felt that old familiar headshake that I have missed so much.  A few seconds later and I had my first walleye in the box.  I would end up with 3 for the night, 2 on a #11 Clown Rapala and 1 on a Red Wonderbread Nite Stalker Pencil Plug.  I ended up catching about 20 Silver Bass.  Once it got dark they pretty much shut down.  The only problem was the weeds, not the ones on the surface but that stringy moss that seems to hang around the bottom.  It seems like I was clearing lines every ten minutes.  I’m sure that wasn’t helping my catch rate.

I did catch one fish that surprised the hell out of me.  I have caught just about everything the River has to offer but not one of these.  As a matter of fact after 40 years of fishing the Detroit River this is the first one I have ever caught.  I have picked up a few in the canals around Grosse Isle or Gibraltar out of my Kayak but never in the middle of the river while walleye fishing.  When it first hit I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  There was to much weight for it to be a Silver Bass but it was fighting too much to be a walleye and not enough to be a Smallmouth Bass.  I hoped I wouldn’t lose him because I really wanted to see what it was.  I was careful and eventually I got him in, a Largemouth Bass.  That was a first and I will probably never repeat it.  Largemouth Bass are not known to hang out in the area I caught him in, Smallies yes, Bucketmouth’s no.

Around 11:00 pm I finally called it quits.  3 fish wasn’t too bad, I didn’t lose any lures and no damage to the hands.  The Silver Bass are definitely thinning out and by next weekend they should all be out in Lake Erie terrorizing the Planer Board Brigade.

Conditions weren’t bad.  Surface temps were 67 degrees and the water clear.  No surface weeds but that moss below was a pain.  The NE winds were calm for the most part but they did pick up as the evening progressed.  Not a bad night after not getting out for a month.

Sunday morning I headed for the river again and hit the water at the crack of 6:20 am.  I wanted to start earlier but I overslept a little.  The water temps were about the same as Friday and it was still clear.  A few surface weeds and a fair number of dead Mayfly’s and casings.  It was overcast as well and I hoped it would last.  I started running spoons and a #9 Rapala at first and it wasn’t long before I was into the Silver Bass.  They were in small schools much like Friday night,  3 or 4 right away and then nothing for about 20 minutes.  Problem was the walleye were scarce as well.  I didn’t catch my first one until almost 9:00 am.  I ended up with 2 and I lost one at the boat as well.  I caught about a half dozen Smallmouth Bass ranging for a minuscule 3 inches to a 20 inch pig.  Boy was he a handful.  Around 11 I gave up and headed home.  I had a long list on yard chores waiting for me and they weren’t going to get done on their own.

Conditions weren’t bad at first.  Light winds and overcast skies.  Water was still clear with about 3 feet of visibility.  If it continues to stay that way I am going to stick to evening fishing.  I may try over at Amherstburg this weekend in deeper water.  Hopefully some of the smaller eaters will move back into the river by then.  Once they do it will be Game On II.06-20-14 Walleye

First Largemouth Bass Ever on the "D".

First Largemouth Bass Ever on the “D”.

TC Walleye 6-22-14

The Pig

The Pig

The baby

The baby





A year in a Life – June

16 06 2014

The Second Coming.

Now I’m not going to start reciting bible verses by heart or quoting scripture but June to me is all about the Second Coming. Or in this case the 2nd run. That’s right, a second run of walleye into the Detroit River. Shortly after the silver invasion heads back out into Lake Erie a smaller run of walleye leave Lake Erie and head back upstream. Many old timers used to tell me about this and it never really made sense to me but since I started keeping more accurate records and paying closer attention to the fish being caught I started to notice a few trends.

The first thing I noticed was that when June and July rolled around I started catching smaller fish, lots of eaters in the 15 to 18 inch range and more sub-legal fish. I never thought about it before but I started to wonder why I rarely catch any sub-legal fish during the Spring run? The other thing I noticed was that some of the fish I would catch would be really dark in color (resident fish) and others would be very light in color (migrants) , similar to the light tan colored fish caught in Lake Erie. Inquiring minds wanted to know so I asked our local fisheries biologist what was up.

He told me that the Detroit River experiences a smaller run of walleye mid summer and it lasts for several months. Mainly smaller immature fish that move in to chase the smaller baitfish, in this case minnows, goby’s and eventually smallmouth fry. The bigger mature fish head east (Ohio) and north (Canada) to deeper and cooler waters. Now I don’t know what they are chasing in Ohio but I do know that in Canada it is smelt. As for the smaller versions they stay in the river and load up on shiners. Now there are local fish that stick around through Silver time but the lower river fills up with “Eater” walleye, especially on the Amherstburg side.

I can’t wait for the Second Coming. This is when I really go into attack mode and stock up the freezer. I will catch more fish in June or July than I will in March, April and May combined. That first couple of weeks after the Silvers leave is a feeding frenzy. Fishing is easy and can be fast and furious when conditions cooperate. Give me a little stain to the water and early morning fishing can be a riot. This is when I break out the spoons and I give the walleye a steady diet of them. Walleye are gorging themselves on shiners and I am trying to oblige them. On numerous occasions I have found bunches of dead minnows in my cooler that the walleye have caught coughed up. Upstream fishermen will be running spinners and Rabble Rousers but in my area it’s spoons, spoons and more spoons. I’ll even run them at night, usually on my kicker, and still catch fish. The worst part about this is trying to get to that point. It’s not like I can get a message from the Fish Gods declaring that the Second Coming has arrived. I have to go out there and find out the hard way if the Barbarian Silver Horde has left. Sometimes I get lucky, most times I don’t. The reward though can make it very worthwhile. Just remember in the daylight hours think small. After you find a few dead minnows in your cooler you’ll know what I mean. Spike Spoons and size #5 and #7 Rapala’s.

Oh, one other advantage to this time of year. No more long lines at the ramps or sharing a spot with 100 other boats. All those once a year guys have put their boat away for the year or have headed out to Lake Erie. Most mornings or evenings it’s half a dozen boats at most and I pretty much know all of them. Just the die hard River Rats that know all about the Second Coming.





Washago Pond 6/14/14

15 06 2014

Nothing quite like an impromptu fishing trip.  Originally I was supposed to be busy all day and into the evening Saturday night.  My son was up from Florida and my parents were down to visit.  Everyone was getting together Saturday to visit Jacob, celebrate birthday’s and Father’s day.  When I went to go check Jacob in for his flight home and print his boarding pass there was a notice that his flight had been moved up by almost 3 hours.  That changed things a bit.  We still all got together but after I dropped him off at the airport everyone had left.  Suddenly I had my evening to myself.  After Susan and I finished cleaning up the house I asked her if she wanted to go read her book down at Willow Metropark and she agreed.  A few minutes later we were on our way.

When we arrived there was a fair amount of feeding activity on the surface.  I tied on one of the many foam flies I had tied up over the winter and let it fly.  Again the bluegill didn’t want anything to do with it.  I’m beginning to wonder if I used to heavy of a hook for these flies.  While I was busy trashing the water with my line I was able to see what the gills were feeding on, a small white caddis.  I dug out my trout fly box and of course I didn’t have anything like that.  I did have some size 14 cream colored parachute patterns so I tried one of those.  That did the trick.  Fishing wasn’t fast and furious but I managed to catch a few.  They weren’t monsters either but at least I didn’t get skunked and I got to spend some much needed time on the water.

First bass on a fly in two coon's ages.

First bass on a fly in two coon’s ages.

This is embarrassing.  I stopped after this one.

This is embarrassing. I stopped after this one.





Pencil Plug Modification

3 06 2014

I was trying to come up with a way to modify all the wooden Pencil Plugs I have so that I can actually use them.  This should work.  I’ll try it once the Silver’s leave.  All I did was unscrew the eyelet out about half way, pried it open with a knife edge, inserted the barrel swivel and clamped it back down.  I can’t think of any reason for why it shouldn’t work.  It sure will make attaching it to a crank bait snap a lot easier.

A Minor Tweak

A Minor Tweak