Hot, Humid Sunday Fly Fishing (7/15/18)

16 07 2018

Sunday’s forecast was for temps in the low 90’s and very humid.  Not the most ideal day to take a long 4 mile walk along a very dusty road.  Add to that zero shade and no clouds helped make the trip even more miserable.  Still, I only have 3 weeks until Alaska and I wanted to drop a few more pounds and get some casting time in with my 8wt Scott Flex before then.  With that in mind, I found myself walking to my carp spot for some more humiliation, from a fish I could have cared less about a few years back.

When I first arrived I realized I didn’t have my sunglasses.  Not the end of the world but they sure do help with cutting down the glare and spotting fish.  With the non-existent wind and clear water I was hoping to see without them.  As I rounded the corner I found it it wouldn’t be that easy.  SW winds all week had blown the dust off the dirt road onto the water and created a thin film on top.  Trying to see anything was going to be a chore.  My optimism rose when I spotted a lone carp feeding on the surface.  I was trying out a fly I tied years ago when someone I took handlining promised to take me fly fishing for carp.  I’m still waiting on that phone call, the lying bastard.  It was a half ass attempt at a damsel fly nymph.  I figured it couldn’t hurt since nothing else I had tried has.  I cast beyond the carp and stripped the fly to within inches of where he was feeding.  I let the fly rest on the weeds and waited, hoping he would head in the right direction.  He did and once again I got a little twitchy and set the hook to soon.  Once I did that he took off for safer waters.

I cursed myself as I walked on until I spotted another feeding carp.  I waited a bit to make sure what direction he was heading in.  Once again I made my cast out past him and stripped it into range.  As the fly was within about a foot of him he turned and headed towards it.  Just when I thought I was going to stick him a bluegill came out of nowhere and grabbed the fly.

I had been Carp Blocked.

The Carp Blocker

I wouldn’t have minded so much if he was bigger, if I was using a lighter rod or if I had already landed a few carp.  Seeing as how I had yet to land one this year I was a little upset.  He should be thankful I have matured and let him go, otherwise he might have become mink food.  By now I was getting pretty disgusted.  Two missed opportunities and my prospects for success were becoming few and far between.  Still, I trudged on and for the next hour.  I managed to catch a few more gills and a couple of Largemouth Bass along with plenty of Carp mocking me.

At one point I stopped to take a drink, as i was putting my water bottle back into my sling pack I noticed it wouldn’t fit.  I looked inside to see what was in the way and there they were, my sunglasses.  Now I would be able to see what was swimming around a little better.  While I was scanning the area I saw a few carp casually swimming around.  I figured they would be like all the others but I gave it a shot anyways.  I made a few casts and no response.  I saw another fish come into range and made a cast out in front of him.  As the fly slowly sank down he turned and sucked it in.  I was so surprised that I about crapped myself.  I set the hook and off he went, for about 10 feet and stopped.  My leader got wrapped up in his left pectoral fin and he just stopped, like he was hog tied and just gave up.  He rolled over on his side and I pointed my rod away from him so that the leader could slide free.  Once it did he was off to the races, again.  After a few brief runs I was able to get him close and take a pic or two.  With no net and no shallow area to beach him on I figured my chance of landing him was slim.  I tried to maneuver him in between a couple of rocks but once I grabbed the leader he wanted nothing to do with that.  One splash and the fly came free.  No biggie, I was releasing him anyways and he was well on his way to go tell his friends about his near alien abduction.

After that I headed back. I managed to catch a few more Gills and a Pumpkinseed or two along the way.  Nothing to eventful, just a long dusty walk back.  Sure hope it rains soon.

 

 

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Tag Team Walleye Fishing, 7/11/18

12 07 2018

Last week I contacted my friend Jerry to tell him I had more items to donate to The Bedford Lions Club.  I asked if he would be at The Bait & Tackle Box Sunday so I could drop them off.  He told me he wouldn’t but told me to come over Wednesday night for dinner and then we could go walleye fishing afterwards.

Works for me.

So after a quick burger I grabbed my gear and we headed towards his dock.  It’s really nice having a friend who lives on the Gibraltar Canals sometimes.  After a short trip out of the canal we were out on the main river and setting up by Horse Island.  Jerry wanted to try there first to work the edge of the weed bed on the west side of the river.  I set up with my usual #9 Rapalas and a black/silver spoon.  Jerry started off with a spoon and a f-7 Flatfish tipped with a crawler.  The plan was to try here first but if the weeds got to bad we would mover farther upstream.  Needless to say the weeds were horrendous so we didn’t stay long.  I did manage to pick up a pair though and one dink.  After my second keeper Jerry told me to keep my lines in because we were heading north.

Once we reached the second spot Jerry swapped out his flatfish for a Rapala and got down to business.  The weeds were pretty much non-existent and the water was very clear.  As we worked our way upstream we slowly picked away at the fish.  Nothing hot and heavy but we were consistently putting fish in the cooler, when we weren’t losing them.  For most of the night we were getting a fair number of those 1 or 2 second head shakes and then nothing.  I even had a few that were hard hits and then nothing.  At one point we both had it happen, at the same time, we both threw our lines back and we both had another hit.  Mine was a keeper while Jerry’s turned out to be a throwback.  As the sun set fishing began to pick up but by 10:00 pm Jerry wanted to call it quits.  He has problems seeing after dark so he wanted to get home.   As he was putting his lines away I was in the process of landing number 8.  Just as I threw it in the cooler I heard Jerry yell out.  He accidentally buried a hook in his finger right along the nail.  I helped him cut the line and get the lure out of the way so he could try and get it out.  It was no use, the barb was under the nail and he would have to go into the hospital to have it removed.  Once I got my and his stuff put away we hauled ass back to his  house.  After we got into the marina I called his wife to let her know what happened.  The hook was in his left hand and he writes left handed so Jerry needed her to fill out paperwork.  Not the way he wanted to spend the rest of his evening but what are you gonna do?  Once we got back to his dock I tied the boat down and got everything put away while he got ready to go to the hospital.  He told me to take the fish which I gladly did.  I thanked him for the trip, asked if there was anything else he needed me to do and then told him I would catch up with him tomorrow.  You got to appreciate a fishing buddy that invites you out, lets you keep the fish and deals with a hook in his finger and still says the had a good time.





July 4th Holiday Fishing.

5 07 2018

Even though Michigan was in the middle of a heat wave I decided to go fishing anyways.  I had Wednesday off for the July 4th holiday so I figured to go Walleye Tuesday night and fly fishing for Warm Water fish the next.  Advisories were out for northern Michigan to refrain from trout fishing but that didn’t really matter where I live.  There are no trout streams nearby so Bass and Bluegill it is.  To be fair, if I was up north I would head the advisories  and not fish for trout.  I release them all anyways so why bother fishing for something that will probably die from the heat?

Tuesday night I was headed to the ramp after 9:00 pm.  I knew the water was clear (3+ feet of visibility) so there was no rush to get started.  By 9:30 I was lines down and patiently waiting.  Fishing was definitely slow at first.  For the first 45 minutes all i did was clear what few weeds there were and wipe sweat.  I was hoping that once the sun set the humidity would die down some and the fishing would pick up.  I was also praying the bugs wouldn’t be an issue as well.  With no breeze to keep them at bay it was shaping up to be a miserable night.  Around 10:15 pm I caught my first walleye and it was soon followed up by a second.  Both came on my long lead and a #11 GFR Rapala.  I kept at it and by 11:00 pm I had 4 in the cooler and I was searching for #5.  I quickly found him but lost him at the side of the boat.  I proceeded to do this two more times before I was finally able to land one.  Unfortunately that fish was to short and back he went.  Shortly after 11:30 #5 was in the cooler.

I thought about trying to upgrade some of the smaller fish but the 18 inch Smallmouth I just caught that tangled all my lines made up my mind for me.  Interesting note on this fish.  I noticed something in his mouth and it turned out he had swallowed a pink balloon.  I removed it and sent him on his way.  I guess the whole plastic thing isn’t just an issue for salt water fish.  After that I packed up and headed towards my friend Dave who was farther south of me.  He and his son showed up around 10 so I wanted to see how they were doing.  They had a couple so far and were going to stick around for another hour.  He later texted me that they ended up with 5 and left around 1 am.  I was still cleaning fish at 1 and trying to finish up so I could get to bed.  I needed a few hours of sleep before heading to my Carp/Bluegill/Bass spot the next morning.

The next morning I was walking to my usual carp/bass/bluegill spot.  I didn’t know what to expect with this heat.  I was afraid the fish might vacate the area and head for deeper waters.  As I was walking out I saw a lot of surface activity.  Once I got closer I could see it was the carp rolling around and almost acting like they were in spawn mode.  Seemed kind of odd but whatever it was they were up to it wasn’t feeding.  All morning long I was constantly seeing fish but they were all cruising along and showing no interest in what I had to offer.  As a matter of fact I didn’t see a single carp feeding all morning long.  The Largemouth Bass seemed to be in the same mood as well.  I saw dozens of them and I was only able to coax one smaller fish into grabbing my fly.

Thankfully the local Gill population was cooperative.  As a matter of fact, I found an area where some of them were on their beds.  I saw this last year as well, fish still on the beds in July.  Spawning should have been done over a month ago but yet there they were.  Easy pickings.

At one spot I just put my Scott “Flex” 8wt away and concentrated on the gills.  I was using it when I saw some carp about 10 yards out.  I started casting but the gills were hitting my carp fly the second it hit the water.  An 8wt is overkill so I put it down and started using my TFO BVK 6 wt.  I stayed in the area for about another hour and caught about a dozen or more Bluegills, most of which I would have kept for a meal if it weren’t for having to carry them 2 miles back to the car.  I also caught a few Green Sunfish.  I wasn’t quite sure what they were so when I got home I looked it up.  Didn’t know we had these in Michigan.  I have been catching a few all year but never really paid attention, just figured they were a bluegill mixed with something else.

I also learned a valuable lesson in paying attention to my surroundings.  As you can see, in the background of the pictures, the shoreline had this green algae/moss/muck that went out for a couple of feet.  I released one of the many gills I caught into a hole between the patches.  As I did a carp shot out from underneath the green goop.  He may have been feeding and if I had seen him I might have has a chance at him.  I’ll never know now.  Oh well.

Around 10:30 am I started back for my car.  I had some family obligations and I was going to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” before hand.  I plan on going walleye fishing again Friday night and fly fishing again on Sunday.  Temps are supposed to cool down and I’m hoping the fish are more cooperative.

Until then……

 

 

 





6/27/18 Walleye

28 06 2018

After almost a two month hiatus from walleye catching I decided to get back out on the river last night.  That and my supply in the freezer is getting dangerously low.  My original plan was to not even leave the house until after 9:00 pm but overcast clouds and a favorable report, from the day before, changed my mind.   I should have stuck to my original plan.  Double digit NW winds and rain made the first hour pretty miserable.  Throw in some of those other fish still being around and I was really questioning why I decided to go out.  I at least had a nice view for awhile.

Eventually the rain stopped and the wind died down enough to where I could concentrate more on fishing instead of fighting the elements.  The action wasn’t fast and furious but I was able to catch my 5 fish limit by about 10:00 pm.  There was no particular pattern that out performed the other.  Every lure and lead caught fish from the smallest Rock Bass to an 18 1/2 inch pissed off Smallmouth.

I ended up with 10 walleye tonight and released 5 that were borderline legal.  I was catching some better fish compared to the Spring so I was getting picky, even though conditions were tough.  All throughout the night the Other Fish were pushing the minnows to the surface while the gulls and tern dive bombed them from above.  Several times I was right in the middle of it with minnows jumping and predator fish boiling within feet of me.  It would have been a lot of fun if I had my 5 wt in my hand instead of wire.  I was there to catch walleye anyways and they were on the feed as well.  Every one I caught had Emerald Shiners or Gobies in their stomachs.  Not to surprising to see this.  After the Other Fish run winds down the resident walleye seem to go on a feeding binge.  Probably since they no longer have to compete with millions of other minnow eaters.

Despite the wind and rain the water was in good shape.  The water is clear and very few floating weeds.  Not very many mayfly husks on the surface either.  I never did take a temperature reading but the level is still way up.  The breakwall at Elizabeth Park is still under water but it looks likes they put out some new markers.  I’m sure a few members of the Tri-Hull navy ran aground during the Other Fish run.  Temps are supposed to jump into the 90’s for the next few days and with it being The 4th of July weekend I’ll be staying off the water.  I need to run up to my Mom’s anyways to take care of some chores.  I’ll be at it next week some night.  It’s going to be a great summer of walleye fishing.

 

 





Lake Huron Flats Smallmouth.

21 05 2018

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Tomorrow……

That was the song, and the video of Deadpool singing it, stuck in my head all morning long this past Saturday.  I had decided to go up to Port Austin to fish for Pre-Spawn Smallmouth’s on the flats several weeks ago and of course the weather turned to crap.  The rain pretty much covered the whole state so I wasn’t alone.  I made the most of it though.  I had a friend along (Non Fishing Muggle Type) so we stopped at the Farmer’s Market in Port Austin.  Bummed around Caseville a bit and stopped at a local beach near Grindstone City where i skipped stones to help pass the time.

At one point we stopped at a public access area and found about 2 dozen fishermen wading the bay and doing a whole bunch of casting and not a lot of catching.  I was beginning to think that my weekend was going to be a bust but as the day progressed the rain let up and the wind slowly began to lie down.  We went back to the same public access spot in the evening and this time all the fishermen were gone, except for two that looked they were done for the day.  I started to talk to them and they said they were waiting for their friend who was still out there.  Sure enough, about a quarter mile out there was one lone fishermen casting away.  They said he was catching fish and a minute later I saw his net hit the water.  That was all the convincing I needed.  On went the waders,  broke out the Orvis Helios 7wt, tied on a weighted sculpin and started the long trek out.  Eventually I reached the end of my wading depth limits (Damn my “S” gene) and started casting.  It took a few minutes to knock the rust off but eventually I was making a decent enough cast.  I just hoped they were far enough to get to the fish.  A couple of minutes later I got my answer.

After that it was pretty much game on for the next hour.  I was far enough from the other guy to keep from interfering but close enough so we could talk.  We were both catching a lot of fish but the majority were in the 12 inch range.  About 30 minutes later his friends started yelling and he took that as his cue to get going, not that he wanted to but they were his ride.  He wished me good luck and headed back to shore.  After he left fishing slowed up for a bit but not enough to keep me from leaving.  I was hoping for a bigger fish and after about 10 minutes I had one.  He wasn’t going to break any records but he was still one of my bigger Smallmouth on a fly.

After a quick pic I sent him on his way and got back to business.  Every time I caught another bass I would tell myself this would be the last one and I would head in.  After 13 fish I finally did, it helped that I ended it on a good note.

 

All told I ended up catching 13 and losing 2.  Not bad for a little over an hour’s worth of fishing in a place I never had been to before.  Earlier in the day I was sure the whole weekend was going to be a bust but instead it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable times I have had fly fishing.  I’ll definitely be coming back up here again to do this.  Doubt it will be this year but the more I think about it, staying home next year and taking long weekends to local spots is sounding pretty good.  Next time I’ll bring my kayak along.  A group from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club were up for the weekend and most of them were fishing the local rivers to avoid the wind.  I found out later that some of them did pretty good.  As for me my friend and I we went to dinner, sat around the bonfire for a bit and then passed out in my camper.  The next morning the wind had picked up overnight and there were now whitecaps in the area I was fishing 12 hours earlier.  I took that as a sign to just pack up the Mobile Steelhead Command Center and head for home.  Via the long way so I could check all the ports along the Thumb to see if anyone was catching anything.

The Sculpin Pattern that caught them all.

 

 





Mother’s Day Weekend Steel

14 05 2018

This past weekend I headed north to visit my Mom for Mother’s Day, take care of her to-do list and hopefully get a little fishing in.  Fortunately my sister and her husband came up as well and they were able to take care of the indoor items.  That left removing the snow plow from the tractor and putting on the mower deck to me.  This also left me more time to go fishing.  So after sleeping in a bit, Saturday morning, I headed down to the AuSable river.  With the colder than usual Spring we have had there were still a good number of Steelhead in the river.  Problem was the late thaw and melt, along with all the rain, meant the river was high and very clear.  I was just hoping everyone would have stayed home to take care of Mom obligations.  When I first arrived at the  parking area there were no other vehicles.  I had high hopes but once I made it to the area I wanted to fish those hopes were quickly dashed.  There were about 2 dozen other anglers on both sides of the river.  I stood there for a few minutes and watched and came to the determination that I needed to find another place to fish.  I’ll have to find the other parking area these people are all using.

I walked back upstream and made a few stops along the way to cast and practice my spey casting.  Alaska is less than 3 months away and I want to get as much casting in as possible.  I’m getting better and all the motions are starting to become second nature.  I don’t want to spend my week on the Alagnak River trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.  That time is now when there is less at stake.  After a few stops I ventured further upstream to check out new water.  As I was walking along I could see some fish underneath a blow down in about 10 feet of water.  I watched them for awhile as I tried to figure out what they were.  Eventually one moved enough to where I could see the forked tail and I realized they were White Suckers.  Not exactly what I was looking for so I moved on.  At the next blow down I could see more suckers but I also caught the outline of a couple of respectable size Smallmouth Bass.  I made a few casts towards them but they weren’t very eager.  They would follow my fly but never commit.  The water is probably still a little cold for them.  I’ll be back Memorial Day weekend with my 7wt and Streamer Box to try again.

After that I just walked around and checked things out.  Lot’s of wildlife out today enjoying the sun.  Everything from Kingfishers and Eagles to Deer and Beavers.  Around noon I headed back to the car and then to my Mom’s to take care of the tractor.  The next morning it was church, breakfast and then home.  I did make a quick stop at Northwood’s in Pinconning.  They had Original Floating Rapalas for sale at 4.99 each, which is about half the regular price.  The limit was 12 so I bought 12 in size #9.  If the sale is still going on Memorial Day I’ll buy more, On my way up and down.

P.S.  There are still an insane amount of walleye in the Detroit River.

 





4/30/18 Walleye and breaking in a Padawan Grasshopper.

1 05 2018

To say the fishing has been outstanding these last few weeks would be an understatement.  Easy limits have been the norm and the only problems has been the weather.  Last night was no exception, it was warm out out but the SW wind I could have done without.  Didn’t matter though, I had a new fisherman on my boat and he was determined to catch his first walleye.  Kyle bought a boat about a month back and after several goose eggs he really wanted to know what he was doing wrong.  Everyone around him was catching fish and all he was doing was losing jigs.  After several unsuccessful trips I told him we could go out Monday night (4/30) and I will try and help him out.

We started off in a deeper water area that didn’t have a lot of snags.  I figured this would be a good area to let him jig and I can show him the importance of an electric motor and boat control.  We made one long drift down the channel from Rotary Park all the way to Elizabeth Park.  We didn’t catch anything but he didn’t lose any jigs either.  Kyle did get hung up a few times and I showed him what to do when he does.  The best way I have found to deal with a snag, while using Fireline, is to just point the rod towards the snag and hold onto the spool.  The jig is either going to come free or snap the line.  After a few snags he started to get the hang of it.  After that long drift we moved to another area.  We made two more drifts and towards the end of the second one he finally hooked a fish.  A minute later his first walleye was in the net.  I’d say he was a happy camper.

By now the sun was starting to set so it was time to put the rods away and get the Schaller Trolling reels into action.  Since Kyle had never done this before and really had no idea what it was about I set him up with one leader and a #9 custom painted Spring Valley Special II Rapala.  The way the fishing has been I was confident he would get at least one.  After some quick instructions on what to do and what not to do I just let him fish and figure out the rest on his own.  While I was getting set up he had a hit, unfortunately the fish got away as I was talking him through what to do.  Shortly after that I boated our 2nd, 3rd and 4th fish of the night.  Kyle was amazed at the speed we were catching fish and then it happened, he got snagged.  He tried to force it and I told him to just throw the wire backwards to take the pressure off.  I pulled my lines up and then just had him hand his wire to me.  A quick throw and he was free.  I felt the familiar shake at the end so I just handed it all back to him and told him to being his fish in.  He gave me a puzzled look and I told him again to bring in his fish.  About 30 seconds later his first walleye handlining was in the boat.  I jokingly told him that there is an easier to catch them other than by getting hung up.  After that we went back to the task at hand and finished up our 2 man limit in the next half hour.  All that was left to do now was head home and clean fish, which was his next lesson.  Filleting and zipping walleye, after I bled them out first.  I’d say he learned a lot tonight.  Of course he can’t wait to go out again.

FYI…water is very clear now.  I’m back to starting after dark again.  The 70-80 degree days coming up are probably going to be the start of the “Other Fish” invasion.  I can’t wait. NOT!  I really shouldn’t complain though.  This has probably been the best and easiest April fishing I have ever had.  Five trips, easy limits each time and I probably landed over 40 walleye in about 5 total hours of fishing.