Yet Another Fishy Weekend.

24 07 2017

Friday, 7/21/17

Friday night found me back on the Detroit River at my usual spot but with a difference.  This time around I had my friend Richard along for the night.  He was down from northern Michigan for a few days and hadn’t been out walleye fishing yet this year.  I needed to remedy that.  When my boat was down Richard took my father out one night and he drove so that my Dad and I could just fish.  It would turn out to be the last time my Dad and I got to go fishing together.  I owe Richard as many trips as I can provide.

We headed downstream around 9:30 pm and along the way I was seeing a lot of weed mats.  Not what I wanted to see.  Turns out they would be a big problem for the entire evening, not just from having to clear lines but they played a little game of deception with me, all night.

I set up using the same lures that have been producing for me so well the last few weeks.  An Original Rapala and a Black/Gold Rapala, both F9’s and a F7 Perch.  Richard was running a F11 Original and a clown Nite Stalker.  About 5 minutes in I had one on and unfortunately I lost it right behind the boat.  This little scenario would repeat itself constantly throughout the night.  Hook a fish, bring it up, lose it at the boat.  It got to a point that I knew when I was going to lose the fish.   They were hitting so light that at times I would just feel weight on the line.  The more aggressive fish that hit would make it to the boat but not the lazy asses.   Add in the constant clearing of lines from weeds and it made for a long evening.  This was also the little deception game the walleye and weeds were playing with me.  I was clearing weeds so much that on a couple of occasions I would feel weight and just figure it was more weeds.  I would get the lines to the surface and to my surprise there would be a pair of eyes staring back at me.  That was how the night went for me.  I was able to get a limit but I lost a lot of fish and I had a lot of throwbacks as well.  Richard, on the other hand, caught nothing.  In all fairness his lures spent a lot of time out of the water.  Between weeds, leader issues and untangling a reel his lures spent more time out of the water then in.  Shortly after midnight we felt a few raindrops and after a quick check of the radar we decided to get off the water.  Richard was going to be in town for a few days so we had other opportunities.

No pics, I sent all the fish home with Richard.

Saturday, 07/22/17

The original forecast for today was rain with brief periods of no rain.  Because of this I made plans to sleep in and then take care of chores around the house.  Well it turned out that we never got any rain.  No matter though, I still slept in and took care of the chores around the house.  After dinner I had a change of heart and went out walleye fishing.  I started around 9:30 pm and by 11:00 pm I was done.  Once again the fish were very lethargic and I lost my first fish right at the boat.  From then on I gave the fish every chance to get hooked up.  Instead of bouncing the weight along the bottom I just dragged it.  That seemed to do the trick because the next 5 ended up in the cooler.  Doing this though increases the chances of getting hung up and that happened three times.  The only other fish I lost was another channel cat so I wasn’t to upset about that.  He came on my 40 foot lead and a F9 GFR.  I had swapped it out with the F9 Original earlier since it wasn’t producing as well as I wanted.  All the walleye came on the Black/Gold and Perch patterns.  As for the rest of the conditions the water is still very clear and weeds were not much of an issue.

 

Sunday, 7/23/17

My original plan was to get up at the crack of dawn so that I could go out fly fishing before everyone else showed up.  I ended up dragging my butt out of bed sometime after 8:00 am.  Turns out I would pay for my laziness but not as bad as I expected.  I started my walk to the area I have been fishing the last few weekends and along the way I spotted a few carp feeding off the surface in the weed mats.  With the water surface cover being so thick I was able to get into casting range without spooking the fish.  I made several attempts but could never get one to take the fly.  The same weeds that were making my stealth so easy also prevented the fly from sinking into the water.  At one point I did have a carp literally bump my fly with this nose but he never ate it.

After about 30 minutes of this I decided to head down to more open water and try my luck.  I could see the carp cruising along but whenever I would stop they would spook and take off for heavier cover.  I expect to spook a few fish but this was ridiculous.  I wasn’t doing anything and they were taking off.  I soon found out why.  The same carp shooter I saw last week was out and flinging arrows.  I walked past him in the hopes of getting to some fish that he hadn’t spooked yet but that lasted only a few minutes.  I saw some feeding carp and worked my way to them and made a couple of casts.  I was getting ready to make another cast when all of a sudden an arrow shoots into the water about 10 yards from me.  Sure enough, the same guy and now he was practically in my lap.  To say I was pissed was an understatement.  I let him know it as well.  I’m not against anyone legally fishing any way they want but there is no reason to be so close and shooting carp right next to someone fly fishing for them.  I told him that as well, especially when the area we are fishing is probably a 300 acre lagoon.  He didn’t seem to care so I just walked farther away, by about ½ a mile.

After I calmed down I found a quiet area and went back to fishing.  The carp were still spooky but I was able to hook up with one, along with an assortment of other fish.  The first one being a bowfin.  I was trying to get a read on which way a carp was swimming when I saw the bowfin out of the corner of my eye.  A quick cast and he was all over my carp fly.  He wasn’t the greatest fighter but he was very aggressive.  After a quick pic I sent him back on his way.  Shortly after that surprise I managed to catch a yellow perch on the same carp fly.  I was casting to another carp when all of a sudden my fly disappeared.  I set the hook and a few seconds later the perch was in my hand.  Gills and Bass I understand, Bowfins and Perch? Not so much.

 

I did take two rods again so I could play with the Gills when the carp weren’t around.  I ended up catching some of the biggest gills I have seen here along with a few bass all on a bead head nymph.  I can see that I am going to have to tie up a few more of those things over the winter.

Around noon I headed back to the car.  I had plans to go Schultz’s to pick up a new fly rod.  I am heading up to the Manistee River next weekend to go mousing for Browns and whatever else is available.  I have an Orvis Encounter 9 foot 5 wt and I wanted to upgrade.  I won this combo a few years back and it has served me well.  I never really did like the reel and after Orvis didn’t want to honor their warranty on my waders I really don’t want any of their gear anymore.  Once I got to the shop I told Corey what I wanted and he gave me a Temple Fork Outfitters BVK and a Redington Vice to try out.  After one cast with the TFO I was sold.  Corey set me up with a Sage reel and a weighted forward floating line so I am all set now for next weekend.  All I need to do now is get some flies tied up.  I will be spending my evenings doing just that this week.  First up, Muddlers.

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7/3/17 and the Trip that Almost Wasn’t.

5 07 2017

So there I was, sitting in the Emergency room of my local hospital Monday night, July 3rd.  My original plan was to go out walleye fishing but a little carelessness on my part delayed that.  I had found a F7 Rapala and I was going to put it in one of my lure boxes in my boat.  I had it in my left hand and as I climbed in the trailing hook caught something and pulled the lead hook into my left middle finger.  50 years of fishing and I had finally done it, buried a hook past the barb.  After uttering a few expletives my daughter drove me to the emergency room to have it removed.  It must have been a slow night because just about everyone on staff had to come by and see.  They must have had a few new people on staff because the doctor brought them in to demonstrate how to remove a hook.  After a little guidance on my part as to where the best place was to use the wire cutters and class was over. About an hour later I was all bandaged up and sent home.  A few minutes later I was hooking up the boat and heading out.

We were able to save the lure.

My original plan was to start around 8:00 pm.  My Facebook memories were full of pictures of walleye that I had caught on spoons around this time.  I figured I would give it a shot and see if history would repeat itself.  My own carelessness prevented that from happening.  Instead I was on the water right around sunset.

 

Late start but a pretty one.

There was still a fair amount of boat traffic but I figured it would end soon so I wasn’t too worried about it.  I did see a good amount of floating weed mats which was discouraging.  I just shrugged it all off, at least I was still fishing and I didn’t have to get up in the morning so I could stay as late as I wanted.  Turns out I was going to need to do just that.

I set up in the same area I have been all year.  I figure I will keep starting here until the well runs dry.  My Grandfather once told me that you don’t leave fish in order to go find fish.  Besides, the area is close to the ramp and it only takes a minute or two to get there.  I started off with a J9 Chartreuse, a F9 Original and a F7 Black and Gold Rapala. Dave had done so well with a J9 Original the other night I thought I would give it a shot.  As it would turn out the only walleye that liked it were the little ones.  I didn’t get my first legal fish until after 10 pm.  I had switched out my F9 Original for a F9 Clown after I busted my 20 foot leader on a snag.  I made up a new leader and put on the Clown since I was all out of Originals.  As it would turn out it was a blessing in disguise.  After my second fish on the Clown I switched out my kicker for a F9 Black Holographic and slowly picked away at my 5 fish limit.  All the fish came from the center of the river, across from the DD boat.  This is when a GPS comes in so handy.  After the second fish I was able to see how close together they were and I was able to concentrate on that area.  If not I may have come up a few fish short for the evening.  It still took a few hours to fill the limit but I was also dealing with a lot of weeds, catches of other fish, lost fish at the boat and numerous head shakes and gone.  I stuck it out though and shortly after midnight I caught my fifth keeper.  Time to go home.

A few observations from the night.  Winds started off from the south and were very light.  They eventually worked their way around to an “in your face wind” out of the north.  By midnight the wind disappeared completely.  Weeds were a pain but somewhat manageable.  The water is still very clear.  At one point I was shining my headlamp down in the water as I was clearing weeds from my line and I could see walleye cruising about two feet below the surface.  They were barely legal size fish but there they were.  Whenever the light would hit them in the eye they would just swim back down, into the darkness.  As near as I can figure they were probably chasing baitfish that were feeding on the spent mayflies on the surface.  On more than one occasion I saw a few fish break water throughout the evening.  No big hatches but there were still plenty around.  I had to pick them off of me and my car once again tonight.  The blankity blanks are still in.  Caught about a dozen of the ones that don’t know how to read a memo.  One of them was a Master Angler size fish but I wasn’t about to turn it in.  Getting a Master Angler award for a fish I despise so much would be hypocritical.  Lost about 4 at the side of the boat and I had about a dozen head shakes.  Most of the fish were hitting very light, especially the 25 incher.  She grabbed the lure and it was just dead weight.  I thought I hit a pile of weeds at first but once she gave a shake I got serious.  She will be going into the smoker this weekend.





Weekend Report Part II

26 06 2017

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Where are all the handliners?

I understand that fewer people fish now and even fewer pull wire but no one else on a perfect weather Friday night?  That’s just ridiculous.  That was the case though this past Friday.  I was the only one fishing the Trenton channel.  Just me, no one else, nadda, zip, no ah ah.  I can’t understand it either.  It was a near perfect night.  A slight breeze, partly cloudy skies, no weeds and temps in the low 70’s.  There weren’t any pleasure boaters out either.  Just me and the fish.  I started at 9:30 pm and was done less than an hour later.  5 more for the freezer, 1 throwback and only 2 blankity blanks.  Like I said, a near perfect night.  Maybe everyone is believing all the social media hype this past Spring of no fish.  How the commercial fishermen caught them all.  How the DNR are mismanaging the walleye population.  How tribal fishermen are secretly catching all the fish to sell to Estonia, oh wait, that’s the Lake Trout.  My mistake.

One very small item of note is this little guy.  I pulled him out of the top walleye as I was cleaning him.  I posted the pic on Facebook and told everyone that it is the smallest fish I ever caught while pulling wire.  No one has figured out how I managed to do that yet.

 

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Since Friday night went so well I decided try for a repeat.  This time I invited my friend Larry along to get in on the easy fishing.  Conditions were about the same except for the wind coming out of the SW but it was nothing to be concerned about.  We did see two other handliners out though but one of them was an upstreamer so I really don’t count that boat.

We started at 9:15 pm and it wasn’t long before I had one in the cooler.  Larry didn’t even have his lines in the water so of course I started giving him grief about it.  It continued as I landed numbers two and three, tossed back a couple of undersized ones and lost one at the boat.  I suggested he start adding to the cooler otherwise it was going to be a long night for him.  After that initial flurry things slowed down.  We managed to pick up 5 more over the next 2 hours but it was one here and there.  Just about the time I was thinking about moving to a different location one of us would catch or lose one and I would change my mind.  On our last run we lost 3 in about 5 minutes.  Larry was having a tough time with snap swivels.  Three of them broke and he lost a couple of lures because of it.  I know that feeling, I lost 3 lures and 3 fish one night because of that.  All of my snaps were replaced the next day.  Around midnight we packed it in.  The weeds were getting worse and even though it was a no moon period the blankity blanks kept feeding after dark.  No sheepshead though but I did catch my first channel cat for the year.  We both thought it was big walleye until he was in the boat.  It was still a pretty good night.  We ended up with 8, threw back 4 and lost just about as many.  The fish were anywhere from 15 to 20 inches.  Most came on #9 Rapalas in original or bleeding olive.  No pictures tonight, Larry took his home and I just cleaned mine without taking a pic first.  Just refer to the Friday catch picture and block out one fish.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Sunday was supposed to be a day of fly fishing but 20 mph SW winds took care of that.  I walked around the lagoons at Sterling State Park to scout out the area for fishing opportunities.  I was hoping I could wade around instead of taking my kayak.  Still undecided about that.  I might go back this upcoming weekend.  The weather is looking pretty good for the rest of this week.  I’ll go walleye fishing at least once, possibly more.  Still trying to find an area with some active carp that I can cast a fly to.  It would be great if I could find a Mulberry Tree along some water.

 

 

 





Just one of those nights…..

22 06 2017

Ever have one of those nights when nothing seems to go right?  The kind of night when you have that feeling deep down that it is going to be a disaster and you should just stay home?  Well last night was one of those nights.  I had been debating going fishing all day.  Originally the weather forecast was calling for light west winds but that changed to SSE winds at 10 mph.

Strike One.

It was also June 21st, the longest day of the year.  That meant it wouldn’t get dark until after 10:00 pm, thus giving me a very short window of opportunity since I had to get up for work the next day.

Strike Two.

With all the warm weather I was expecting here to be a lot of boat traffic, which is never fun.

Strike Three.

The Fish Flies were hatching.

I really can’t consider this a strike since I usually do pretty well when they are hatching.  Problem is I have had nights where they covered the boat and car which is really annoying.  So keeping all this in mind I did what any logical fisherman would do, I went out anyways.  I arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm and as expected there were mayfly casing covering the water and lots of big boats out.  I must have had a look of disgust on my face because the ramp attendant asked me if I was “ok” when he took my launch fee.  I launched anyways and became even more disgusted when I saw the mats of weeds floating downstream.  The water was very clear as well which would probably mean lots of the other fish until dark, providing they were still around.  They usually leave about the time the mayflies start up.  I headed for deeper water first until the sun got a little lower on the horizon.  I started off with a couple of spoons and a #9 CCT Rapala.  It didn’t take long and I had my first fish for the night.  Problem was that it wasn’t a walleye, it was a walleye’s smaller cousin, a yellow perch.  A first for me.  I have never caught a yellow perch pulling wire, nor on a Rapala.

If he had been a few inches longer I would have kept him.

From then on it was clearing weeds, dodging pleasure boats and catching everything else but a walleye.  Yellow perch, White perch, White bass, Smallmouth bass, Rock bass, Sheepshead.  Even after dark i was still catching this crap.  Almost two hours of this line fouling nonsense.  At one point I was surrounded by a bunch of Common Terns and Ring Billed Gulls.  I knew what was coming and before I could pull my lines it happened.  The water boiled from those other fish pushing emerald shiners to the surface and then the birds dove in with me right in the center of it all. As expected all of my lures had fish on them.  Once i got them in I got out of that area and headed north.  Shortly after that I got rid of the spoons and switched over to all Rapala’s.  That cut back on some of the junk fish but they were catching every weed floating by.  I had debated quitting but I didn’t want to go in empty handed.  It has been years since I have been skunked and I wanted that streak to continue.  Around 10:30 I finally caught a walleye.  I seriously thought about just throwing him back and heading in but I wanted some fresh fish so I decided to stick it out for a bit longer. I stayed in the same area where I caught the one and in the next 20 minutes he was joined by four of his pals.  Now I was heading in.

A couple minutes later I was back at the dock and tying off.  I was feeling a little better now but I questioned whether or not it was worth the effort.  I go fishing to relax, not stress myself out.  As I pondered this I made it back to my car where I got the final kick in the teeth.

I know it doesn’t look to bad but I knew that once I opened the hatch to put  gear away they would swarm into my Escape and I would be finding dead flies for the next week.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain, at least my car wasn’t coated like the white Border Patrol car parked next to me.

My silver lining for the night, along with the fish.

 

 





Weird Weather Wednesday Walleye

20 04 2017

Mother nature can be very fickle and the evening of Wednesday, 4/19/17 was proof of that.

The original forecast called for rain and wind during the afternoon and evening.  As the day progressed it slowly started to change to something a little more pleasurable.  Around mid-afternoon the forecast changed to all rain being over by 8 and the wind out of the NW at 4 mph.  I received a text from fellow handlining enthusiast Dave saying he was debating going to tonight with a friend from church.  I told him I would meet him at the ramp after 8.  Around 8:15 I arrived at the ramp and Dave was there getting his boat ready.  We chatted about life in general for a bit and then finished getting ready.  Their was a fair amount of fog on the river but I didn’t think much of it at first.  Once I launched and headed downstream I quickly realized it was a lot thicker than I thought.  Visibility was about 50 yards in any direction.  I couldn’t see either shoreline, just the lights from the Edison plant.  Fortunately, where I wanted to fish was close by so I would be able to keep my bearings straight.  By 8:30 pm I was lines down and trolling NE (with my navigation lights on).  It was really eerie fishing under these conditions.  A flock of geese flew by close enough that I could hear their wing beats but I couldn’t see them.  I could hear Dave’s boat off in the distance coming my way but I couldn’t see him.  About the time he passed me I hooked and landed fish number 1 for the night.  I don’t think he ever saw me as he headed further downstream.  About 10 minutes later number 2 was on but I lost this one flipping him in when the line broke on my kicker.  Been a long  time since I had that happen.  I quick check of my leader showed that the last 6 inches were all scrapped and nicked up.  I cut off the bad line and re-tied a new snap and lure.  Shortly after that I heard another boat coming downstream.  I could barely make out the silhouette of the boat but he was coming right at me.  As he got closer I stood up to make sure he could see me which he eventually did.  He slowed down until he was past me and then floored it.  You would think that after coming up on one boat in the fog he would take it easy.  Apparently not.

Shortly after he left I boated number 2.  Once I got all straightened around is when things started to get weird, and scary.  I looked upstream and off in the distance I could see what looked like a mini front moving in from the NE.  It was a big white cloud or fog stretching from the NW to the SE and coming right down the river.  Underneath it the sky was dark and I thought it might be rain.  It made no sense though.  All day long the rain and wind was coming out of the west and now here was what looked like an apparent front moving in from the NE.  I kept watching it and about the time it cleared the Grosse Isle free bridge everything changed.  It was like someone flipped a switch.  The wind instantly changed from a few mph out of the west to 15-20 plus out of the NE.  The fog vanished in an instant and the temperature dropped.  While I was trying to figure out what was going on the wind spun my boat around like a whirling dervish.  I quickly recovered and got my boat point back north again.  How it could go from dead calm and perfect to Holy Crap was beyond me.  I was a little concerned at first but once I got my act together I worked through it and managed to put 3 more in the cooler over the next 30 minutes.  By 9:30 I was done and headed for the dock.  I tracked down Dave first to see how he was doing.  They were recovering from a snag and getting back to it.  I told him I was leaving and asked him to text me to make sure he got off the water ok.  It was to weird of a night to take any chances.  Five minutes later I was safe and sound on dry land.  I have never experienced a weather change like that before while fishing and I hope I don’t ever again.

So I ended up with 5 more in just under and hour.  Most of the fish came on a #11 Blue/Silver Rapala.  The water is still clear and I only caught two of those other things.  The weather for the next few days looks sketchy so I’ll be staying home.  I should have about another week before the full on, feed all night, drive me insane invasion starts.  Hopefully I will get a few more trips in before then.

Providing Mother Nature isn’t fickle.