Atlantic Salmon 7/30/15

30 07 2015

I went out Atlantic Salmon fishing today.  I didn’t catch anything.  Damn Caddis Flies.  The End.

Redemption 7/22/15

23 07 2015

Remember everything I said yesterday?  Forget it.

It never ceases to amaze me how one good trip can change my whole perspective.  It didn’t start out that way but eventually everything fell into place and fishing was fun again.

I started around 7:30 pm and as promised I put on a J-9 Rapala on my 40 foot lead.  Of course the two spoons that have been so effective for me went on as well.  I started up by the Edison coal docks to see if my success last week would pan out.  It didn’t.  I made a couple of passes but no fish, not even a hit.  I pulled lines and headed downstream to Calf island.  By now I was starting to question starting so early but I dropped lines and went about my business.  There were a few other handliners in the area trying their luck.  I didn’t recognize any of the boats but I kept an eye on them just in case they started flipping fish.  About 20 minutes into my run I had a fish on and it hit my J-9 Rapala.  I carefully worked him in since I was bound and determined to end my losing streak.  I just wish the fish felt the same way.  Just as I was about to flip him in off he came.  After muttering a few foul words under my breath I dropped lines again and kept at it.  About 30 minutes later I had another fish on and just like the previous fish I lost this one as well.  This was starting to get discouraging.  I was trying everything I could think of to prevent losing fish, I even switched hats to change my luck.  After I lost the second one I decided to switch things up a bit.  With the clear skies and water I decided to go natural and switched out the J-9 for a #9 original floater in classic black/silver.  I also left Calf Island and headed up to where the Catamaran used to be.  By now it was close to 9:30 pm and all the other boats had left the river.  It was just me and the bugs.

Time to get serious.

Toledo Walleye Hat is on backwards, Headlamp is in place, Lines are clear.  Come on walleye.

It didn’t take long.

Shortly after my move I had another fish on.  This was a good solid hit.  Nothing like all the dead weight grabs I have been getting lately.  As I was bringing up my wire I could see the top lead going way off to the left.  Here we go again, another walleye on the Rapala.  I turned the boat into the fish and worked him in, all the way to the cooler.

Finally!!!  Let the trumpets sound and the pigeons loose!!!  Redemption!!!

I quickly dropped my lines back into the water and #2 was on and in the boat.  It was obvious that the spoons weren’t going to be any good for the rest of the night so off they came.  I put a #9 Blue/Silver Rapala on my kicker, switched the #9 Black/Silver to my 20 foot lead and put on a #11 Hot Steel Rapala on my 40foot lead.  Now one might wonder why I would change up what appears to be working.  I was hoping to increase the effectiveness of me offering and improve my odds.  Great theory but it didn’t matter.  My next 3 fish all came on the same lure.  The walleye were keyed in on that classic pattern and nothing else was going to sway them.  I didn’t care.  I just landed 5 nice fish in a 45 minute span and I DIDN’T LOSE ANY.

Life is good again.

A few observations about tonight.  First off the water is still very clear with a surface temp of 72 degrees.  Pretty close to what it was like last year at this time.  All the fish came after sunset which isn’t surprising given the lack of clouds.  I have been piecing together why I lost so many fish this year on the Rapala’s and I have come to a couple of conclusions.  First is the lures I was using, older lures with old hooks that are probably in need of replacing or a good sharpening.  Laziness on my part but usually a walleye hits hard enough that they do a pretty good job of setting the hook themselves.  Which leads me to my next point.  The walleye just aren’t very aggressive during the daylight.  The hits on a Rapala were more like just dead weight.  Last night they were smacking the lures and getting all the hooks in them.  None of this half ass maybe I should grab it crap.  They wanted that lure and they wanted it now.  So I guess it was part my fault and part just the lazy nature of a neutral walleye.

One other thing, two of the walleye had gobies in them.

7-22-15 Walleye All That's Left

Taking stock of 2015, so far.

22 07 2015

This has been a weird season.  I know I got a late start due to work, family health issues and my boat being down but I wasn’t expecting the pickings to be this slim.  I usually catch more fish in June and July than I do in April and May during the peak of the Spring run.  This year however, has been a tough one to figure out.  Some of it being a real head scratcher.

1.  I have yet to catch a fish on a Rapala.  A #9 Rapala is my bread and butter lure.  When all else fails this body bait will produce.  I have been running a #9 or #11 on my 40 foot lead every trip this season.  So far nothing, nadda, zilch, zippo, diddly squat.  I will admit I have had a couple on and lost all of them but no fish? This leads me to my next head scratcher.

2.  I have lost more fish this year than I can ever remember.  Used to be I could go several weeks without losing a fish but this year I am losing fish on an average of 2 or 3 per trip.  I know it happens but this is getting ridiculous.  Losing a fish once and awhile is no big thing, it happens, but this is has me second guessing everything I am doing.  I was starting to think that the fish are just hitting light but I have brought in a few that have completely swallowed the spoon.  For some reason the fish are getting barely hooked on my Rapala’s.  WTH???

3.  I have yet to catch a single walleye over 20 inches long.  Granted I like to get the eaters but the last few seasons I would catch at least one in the 24 to 25 inch range every trip.  This year they have all been 20 inches or less.  Again, I am not complaining but it just has me wondering what is going on.  Have all the big fish moved out into Erie?  Are they in a different part of the river?  Are they just that finicky?  Inquiring minds want to know.

4.  Now this one I am really happy about but again it has me wondering if the structure below has changed or if the baitfish are not there.  I have only caught 2 dink smallmouth and one rock bass so far.  No Sheepshead, no Channel Cats, no Muskie, no Steelhead, no White Perch and lately no White Bass.  Normally July produces a lot of smallmouth anywhere from 6 to 20 inches long.  This year has been the exact opposite.  Two bass and both of them less than 8 inches long.  Is the lack of other predators due to a lack of baitfish or some other factor?  So far the walleye I have caught have all come up empty, no shiners or goby’s in any of them.  What are they feeding on and when?

5.  Now this may have something to do with the consistency.  Water levels are up from previous years but I really can’t see it affecting the fishing that much.  Granted some areas that were too shallow before may be more attractive now but not the whole river?  Surface temps are about a degree lower than last year at this time so maybe it is cooler down at the bottom.  Don’t know for sure.  I do know the surface weeds have been a pain but that is to be expected with the east winds and higher water.  The water is again ridiculously clear but I have been catching fish both in the daylight and after dark, there just hasn’t been any consistency.  The one trip I got a limit was an overcast morning a month ago.  Since then I have been pecking away and coming up short of a limit.  Granted if I would quit losing fish my numbers would improve but I am still having a hard time finding groups of active fish.  One night I picked up 3 in a 5 minute span but mostly it is 1 or 2 fish every hour and none of them in the same area.  I went back and looked at my way points for this year and other than that one 5 minute spurt the marks are all over the place.

6.  Ninety percent of my fish have come on the same two spoons, the ones pictured in my last post.  I have tried different colors and styles but these two have been the best producers.  Of course I am always running these two now since they are catching fish so their production rate is slightly skewed.  Lately though the majority of my fish have come on the chartreuse spoon on my kicker.  I have noticed that this one has a very aggressive action so maybe it is triggering more strikes.  The smaller orange one has been completely swallowed though and on more than one occasion.  You can make your own assumptions based on my findings. I think the next time out I am going to run a jointed Rapala and see if the increased action has an affect.  I will let everyone know how it works out.

Well there you have it, my mid season findings for 2015.  I hope it gets better or I may start having to keeping some of the steelhead I hope to catch this fall.  either that or I may have to start perch fishing again.

Fishing in the shadow of the Sam Laud. 7/17/15

18 07 2015

What a week.  I really needed some fishing therapy and even though it was going to be a muggy night I was going out.  Water levels are still up and the docks were still partially underwater.  No matter, I was heading out.  I was originally going to head down to calf island but the Sam Laud was docked at the Edison plant off loading coal.  I thought clear water, ship blocking the sun and casting a shadow over 26 feet of water, seemed like a good place to start.  I switched out my 1 1/4 pound weight for a 1 1/2 pound weight and set up along side of the stern.  It wasn’t long and I had my first fish of the night, a 17 inch eater.  I stayed close to the ship all the way to the bow where I hooked into and lost another walleye.  Once I got all my lines in, I pointed my boat downstream and started back at the stern.  I made a couple of runs, picking up another keeper and one dink.  It was getting dark when I saw that the boom was being pulled in and it looked like the ship was going to be underway soon.  Time to move so I headed downstream and set up by the blue boat house.  After a couple of minutes I picked up a 20 inch male.  I made a few more passes but to no avail.  About 30 minutes later the Sam Laud was finally under way and past the free bridge.  I figured I might as well go back to where I first started since I wasn’t finding much downstream.  I picked up a forth fish and also a ton of weeds.  All 3 lines and my boat were trapped in a big floating mat.  After I got everything cleared away, I just gave up.  The weeds had been a problem all night so I just packed it in.  4 fish was enough for tonight.

Water is still very clear, the level is high (actually it is back to the normal most of us never knew of) and the weed mats were everywhere.  Lot’s of boat traffic for the Roar on the River boat races in Trenton.  Surface temp was 70 degrees, SW breeze and partly cloudy skies with no moon.  Gnats are still around as well.

Sam Laud 4

High Water Walleye 07/08/15

10 07 2015

After what was turning into a very crappy week I decided I needed a little wire therapy on the “D”.  Work had been kicking my butt all week and I was in dire need of a break.  I had debated all day long about going out or going to sleep but once I saw the overcast skies my mind was made up.  Wire Time!!!

I arrived at Elizabeth Park around 7:30 pm and was greeted by high water, at least it was high compared to last year.  Compared to the long term average I believe it was back to normal.  Either way my first task was to figure out a way to launch my boat without getting a wet foot.

ramp 2

Logic would dictate just taking my shoes off and wading but I’m to lazy for that.  Once I was on board I headed south to the blue boat house I dropped lines and started fishing.  Several minutes later I had my first fish on but he was doing the smallmouth shake.  I quickly tossed him back and kept at it.  I zigged zagged across the river all the way to the Stacks with no walleye to show for my efforts.  I pulled lines and switched a few spoons around to some different sizes and colors and headed farther downstream to some deeper water.  No sooner had my weight hit the bottom when I had my first walleye on.  He hit my kicker and a 2 1/2 inch Chartreuse spoon with a black ladder back.  This spoon was painted on both sides like this and as it turned out would account for all the walleye I would land tonight.  Once I got him in I dropped my lines again and spun around to go through the spot once again.  a minute later and number 2 was on and shortly after that he was in the cooler.  Wash, rinse repeat and number 3 was in the cooler.  Three keepers in 5 minutes.  I was starting to think I would be headed home soon but I was about to get served a piece of humble pie.  The next hour would produce 1 dink and 2 more walleye lost at the side of the boat.   The lost fish hit my orange and black spoon that had been producing so well for me this year.  Nothing on my top 40 foot lead, as a matter of fact I have yet to land a fish on my 40 foot lead this year.  By now is was 10:15 pm and I needed to get some rest so I headed in.  I should have had my 5 fish limit but it was my own fault.  I got a little careless bringing in the two I lost.  Out of practice I guess.

Weather conditions were just about ideal.  Slight breeze and overcast skies.  Water was clear but the weeds were bad.  I didn’t even think about trying to run a body bait.  There would have been no way for me to keep it consistently clean.  The weeds being bad really wasn’t much of a surprise, with the rising water levels and east winds I knew it might be a problem.  Beat sitting at home and getting myself all worked up over my job though.

A little blurry but you get the idea.

A little blurry but you get the idea.


Michigan Trout Trails

4 07 2015

Just a quick post to share an online tool put out by the Michigan DNR for trout streams.  Michigan has a butt load of trout streams but trying to find any information on them can be difficult.  The DNR has launched a new online tool that will help alleviate this.  It is just starting out but eventually it will include information for trout streams all over Michigan.  If you like to fish for trout take a minute to check it out.

Michigan Trout Trails

Washago Pond 7/3/15

3 07 2015

Originally I had planned on going walleye fishing tonight but after getting a report from a friend about bad weeds and lots of big boat traffic I decided to stay on dry land.  I was just going to go for a walk tonight and meet all my Fitbit goals but somewhere along the way I ended up at Washago Pond.  I expected a lot of people to be here with it being July 4th weekend but the park was surprisingly empty.  I rigged up my 5wt with a foam hopper and my 7wt with a Zudbubbler and headed towards the water.  The pond was like glass and there were a few fish surfacing.  I let my little purple foam hopper fly and spent the next 30 minutes just watching it sit on the water without so much as one hook up.  The fish were hitting it but they just kept missing the hook.  I decided to switch back to my trout flies thinking that maybe with these flies lying in the surface film that maybe these cross eyed fish might actually grab the whole fly and not miss it repeatedly.  So I tied on a #14 cream no hackle fly and let her rip.  That did the trick.  Now they were getting hooked up and I was starting to have some fun.  They weren’t big fish but they were big enough to be a lot of fun on the 9 foot 5wt.  I should have brought a bucket.  I ended up with about a dozen of them  Enough for a nice dinner for Susan and I.  There will be other opportunities I’m sure.

These fish would be a riot if they got up to a couple of pounds.

These fish would be a riot if they got up to a couple of pounds.