Vacation Walleye 7/25/14

26 07 2014

Ah vacation time, nothing better.  Originally I was supposed to be boarding a plane with my Dad and brother for Alaska.  Unfortunately things happened and the trip was cancelled.  So now it’s on to Plan B, walleye.

Started out around 9;30 pm down on the lower river near the blue boat house.  It didn’t take long and my first walleye of the night was in the boat, too bad it was 14 31/32 inches long.  No biggie, where there is one there are more.  The weeds were tolerable, there was a nice breeze on the water and I pretty much had the place to myself.  It was going to be a good night so I got comfortable and went about my business.  I ended up staying out until about midnight and caught 3 more legal walleye before I called it a night.  All the fish, even the non-walleye species, all came on my 20 foot lead and a #9 Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala.  I tried other Rapala’s, spoons and pencil plugs but the only lure producing was that BCF.  At one point a coal barge came downstream with a delivery for the Edison power plant.  I thought that might screw things up when they tried to maneuver it into the dock but a pair of tugs carefully put her where she belonged without stirring up the water too much.  Weeds got a little thick for a bit but they quickly passed.  The only other item of note was that I caught another channel cat.  That gives me 2 for what I like to call my channel trifecta.  So far I have the cat and the musky, all I need now is a steelhead to complete it.

So that’s it for this trip.  Three walleye, one throwback, a channel cat and a couple of smallmouth’s.  Weeds were tolerable and the water is still ridiculously clear.  The water is clearer now than it was in the Spring.  I wish it would dirty up some.  I really want to fish in the daylight instead of after sunset.  Makes getting up in the morning difficult.

Next  up, panfish and brook trout from the Oscoda area.  Couldn’t get my Dad to Alaska so we are going to fish a little closer to home, his home anyways.

 

07-25-14 TC

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7/19/14 All Day Fishing

20 07 2014

Actually it started Friday night.  My friends Dean and Barry convinced their mother that she needed a summer home on Sanford lake.  Since then they have been spending a fair amount of time trying to find the fish on the lake.  Lately they have been doing well on the crappie and I wanted to get in on that.  I packed the car and after work on Friday I headed north.  I arrived at Barry’s and he informed me we had to run to his Mom’s house that night.  No problem, start fishing early.  We fished from the dock and managed to get a couple of crappie and some bluegills.  So far so good.

During the night Dean arrived and after a quick stop for some minnows we were on the boat to try a few spots.  Our plan was to target structure around the lake, mainly fallen trees and stumps.  It was pretty hit and miss at first, couple here, couple there, nothing to get excited about.  At one stop we tried by the M-10 bridge going over the lake.  No crappie but there were dozens of bluegills hanging around the pilings.  They weren’t big but this was a perfect chance for me to try my new 4wt Echo fly rod.  I tied on an a little emerger pattern and let it fly.  It’s hard to cast from a pontoon boat, especially with 3 people on board.  To make matters worse I was trying to cast under a bridge.  I managed to get the fly in there and catch a few.  Even though the fish were small they were a lot of fun on that light rod.  I think I am going to really like fishing with it. I just need more practice.  We didn’t stick around too long.  Dean wanted to go to an antique flea market so we headed back to the dock.  After a quick lunch Barry and I were back out again.  We went back to a blow down in one of the canals that we couldn’t fish earlier because someone else was already was.  The wind had started to pick up a bit so we anchored the boat upwind and drifted in to the area.  We were able to let our baits drift right into the limbs of the tree that were underwater.  It didn’t take long and soon we were catching crappie left and right.  Unfortunately the vast majority of them were around 6 inches long.  This went on for about an hour until we ran out of minnows.  We tried worms for a bit but it was obvious the crappie wanted minnows.  We pulled anchor and headed home so we could get more.  By now Dean was back and he was headed with us, after we sent him to the bait shop to get more minnows of course.  About an hour later we were headed back only to find another boat fishing there.  He was set up on the other side of the tree and I have to admit, he was one dedicated fisherman (more on that later).  We anchored away from him and were back to drifting minnows back into the tree limbs.  Only problem was that the wind had died down so know we were casting into them.  We still managed to catch fish but no at the pace we were earlier.  We stuck to it though for a couple of hours and managed to put a few in the live well.  By now it was 5:00 pm and time for me to head home.  I wanted to go walleye fishing tonight and I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me and a bunch of fish to clean.  I said my good-bye’s and was soon heading home.

After I got the fish cleaned I hooked my boat up and was headed to Elizabeth Park.  It was after 9 now and getting dark.  Not a problem since the water has been so clear and with no cloud cover nothing was going to happen until after dark anyways.  I started fishing just before 10:00 pm running Rapala’s and Pencil plugs.  The weeds were a bit of a problem but not as bad as I thought they might be with no wind.  Bugs weren’t too bad either.  I kept swapping out colors and sizes for the next few hours trying to find something they like.  I managed to get one walleye on a Chartreuse and Chrome Nite Stalker and another on an Orange and Black wooden PP.  As the night wore on the weeds steadily got worse and worse.  There must have been a mayfly hatch upstream as well because I was spotting hundreds of casings all over the river.  This was starting to get old so shortly after midnight I just gave up and headed home.  I had been fishing all day and I was tired.  I had a lot of chores to do tomorrow so sleep was a better option than dodging the ever increasing weed patches.  I’m not going to complain.  I got a few walleye and a fair number of crappie for the freezer.  Sounds like a good day to me.

Side Note:  Ok, I have always thought that I am a pretty devoted fisherman.  I have been known to ignore a lot of things in order to catch fish and I get so focused on fish that I block out everything else around me.  Earlier today I met someone who is more dedicated than I am.  As I said earlier there was another fisherman at one of our spots.  Well he wasn’t alone.  He had his girlfriend/wife along and she was sunbathing in the boat with him.  She was wearing a red, white blue bikini and was laying spread eagle in front of him in the boat.  He sat there the whole time fishing while she was laying in front of him and he wasn’t catching anything yet he kept trying.  That’s Dedication!!!

walleye

This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish.  He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish. He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

Sanford Lake Crappie





7/11 Free Slurpee Walleye Day.

13 07 2014

So what do free Slurpee’s and walleye fishing have in common?  Absolutely nothing, I just thought I would throw that out there.

Hit the water again Friday night (7/11).  Originally my Dad was supposed to tag along but he was to tired so he opted out.  It was supposed to be an extremely beautiful night out so I went anyway.  Partly cloudy skies, full moon, slight breeze.  Almost picture perfect except for two things.  Ridiculously clear water and lots of floating weeds.  I forgot the Gold Cup races were going on so that meant a lot of boat traffic.  With the wind out of the south there was nothing to push the weeds mats to Canada.  They just kept floating down stream, all night long, wherever I went.  It was like they were following me everywhere.

I started fishing around 8:00 pm farther downstream down by Calf Island.  I wanted to try the deeper water first until the sun started to set.  Good theory but it really didn’t pan out.  I didn’t catch my first fish until 9:30 pm on a Limeade spoon on my kicker lead.  I ended up catching 2 and losing 1 on that lead and lure.  The one I lost made a Banzai charge right at my prop as I was bringing him in.  It worked, out came the hook and he lives for another day.  Shortly after the suicide charge I swapped out my two long leads for a couple of Pencil Plugs.  One Blue/Chrome plug and a Green/Yellow with black dots plug.  This one was painted up for me special by Jim at downrivertackle.com.  My dad and a friend of his had a lot of success on this pattern years ago and I have not been able to find it anywhere.  They bought all of them from The Tackle Box on the corner of Eureka and Telegraph.  That store has been gone for a long time but I managed to find one plug in my Dad’s tackle box.  I sent it to Jim along with a dozen other plugs and he painted them up perfectly.  I only caught one but it was picture perfect.  I was watching my graph when the depth dropped from 13 to 16 feet and then back up again to 13.  I saw some marks that could be fish and it seemed like the perfect ambush spot.  I trolled along hoping that as the lure from the top lead passed over a walleye would swim up and grab it.  One did and he hit it hard.  A minute later he was in the cooler and I was looping back around to see if I could repeat it.  No such luck.  I made a couple of passes but nothing happened.  I stayed in the area for about another hour but it was hopeless.  In spite of it being such a nice night I gave up.  The weeds were getting to be too much.  Even though the full moon was providing enough light for me to see the mats the lures were still getting fouled.  There will be another day.

So I went 3 for 4 tonight.  Not to bad considering the conditions.  It is supposed to cool down this week and the winds will be coming out of the west thanks to another polar vortex.  That should keep the boats and weeds to a minimum.  Unfortunately as I was leaving I saw the FLW trailer in the lot.  That means the channel will be over flowing with Smallmouth Bass next week.  Oh Joy.

7-13 Walleye Green lures

 





July 4th Weekend Report

7 07 2014

Decided to give it a shot Saturday morning (7/5) figuring no one would be on the water after all the celebrating from the day before.  Problem was I didn’t take into account that I would be getting home so late myself.  I ended up getting a later start than I wanted and what made it worse was Gibraltar road was closed so I had to take a detour.  Add in the fact that I was heading over to Amherstburg and the ensuing call in (which was remarkably easy) I didn’t even start fishing until 8:30 am.  I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal since the water is deeper here and there was a nice stain to the water.  What I didn’t count on was the millions and millions of mayfly casings floating on the water.  They were all bunched up in groups and they were everywhere.  I’m betting the people that live up on lake St. Clair are having a fit right now.  Floating weeds were mixed in with the casings and I ended up spending most of my morning clearing lines.  I could have ran back over to the US side but I had already wasted enough time and it was getting to late in the morning for it to do any good.  I fought through it for a couple of hours, tried different areas but I only managed one small walleye.  I didn’t even catch any non target species.  Either the fish gorged themselves on mayfly nymphs or they were still in hiding from all the rockets red glare the night before.  At least I’m on the Ontario database now so calling in should be a breeze. 

Originally my plan was to sleep in on Sunday (7/6) but after my abysmal trip the day before I had to try and salvage something for the weekend.  This time I was up at 5:30 am and on the water with lines down at 6:00 pm back in US water.  It was still cloudy out and the water much cleaner and the surface was casing and weed free.  Things were looking good.  Just wish the walleye felt the same way.  I didn’t get my first fish until almost 7:30 am. and it turned out to be a 36 inch Musky.  I picked up a few smallmouth and around 8:00 am I finally had a walleye in the box.  By now the sun was well above the tree line but the clouds were still keeping it in check.  I worked over my usual areas pretty hard trying different speeds, spoons, body baits, anything I could think of to trigger a strike.  I only had a short window of opportunity since I had to do some river work for the HRWC at 11:30 up near South Lyon.  I decided to give the deeper water below the free bridge a shot for the last 30 minutes.  I Marked a number of fish but all I was able to get was another smallmouth.  As I was nearing the end of the coal dock I noticed how the current formed and eddy at the very head of it and sped up as it went around.  I thought to myself that that looked like a good ambush spot and moved in to try and work the seam.  It didn’t take long when my second walleye hit and shortly thereafter he was in the box.  I made another loop through the area but didn’t catch anything else.  I would have worked the area harder but I had to get going.  I marked the waypoint for future reference.  I’ll have to run over the entire length of the dock and mark the depth change a little more closely. 

So that was it for the weekend, 3 fish for almost 6 hours of fishing.  A couple of things to note.  Both walleye caught in US waters had a size #9 Goby in their stomach.  I tried #9 Rapala’s in several colors but with no luck.  I did catch both of them on a #7 Clown Rapala.  So much for matching the hatch.  The water on the US side is still ridiculously clear and the weed growth is showing it.  Shallow areas around the islands have weeds all the way to the surface.  Once these west winds stop I have a feeling the floating weeds mats are really going to be a problem very soon. 

I hope July starts to turn around, so far it is really starting to suck.





7/2/14 Walleye Report

4 07 2014

Short and Sweet.

Went out last Wednesday night for a quick trip.  It was mostly cloudy all day but once I hit the water OUT came the sun.  Go figure.  Well I made the most of it and set up down by where I have been getting most of my fish, the blue boat house.  I set up with a couple of spoons and the #7 Holographic Rapala from the other night.  About 10 minutes in I had my first fish and biggest fish of the night, a 26 inch 5 1/2 pounder.  That would be my only fish for the next 90 minutes.  Once the sun set the fishing picked up and I was able to pick up two more smaller fish.  I figured I was well on my way to another limit but once the sun set so did the wind and out came the bugs.  They were so thick I couldn’t breathe.  I tried to make the best of it but after 5 minutes gnats crawling all over my glasses, in my ears and trying not to swallow any I just gave up.  There will be another day.

Surface temp 73 degrees and the water is still very clear.  The west winds kept the surface weeds to a minimum but that stringy moss was back in force.  Spent a lot of time clearing lures.  Would have been nice if the wind hadn’t died down completely but I can’t have everything.  There will always be another day.

 

07-02-14 TC Walleye