The rest of the story.

3 08 2015

As I said earlier I went Atlantic Salmon fishing.  I had been wanting to do this for quite some time but I never really had the opportunity.  I know fishermen caught them from boats that would tie up to the Edison Plant and fish the discharge.  Somewhere along the way I had a purist streak come over me and I felt the need to catch one on a fly.  After a little poking around I came across Rod Trudel of On The Fly Fishing Company in Canada.  A few emails later and I had a morning trip booked to swing flies for Atlantic Salmon.

I met Rod bright and early at 5:00 am (the sadist).  He told me that with the current heat wave the fish were retreating to deeper water early so he wanted to get an early start.  He also wanted to get to his favorite hole before anyone else did.  After we crossed the canal we made our way into the water.  Now you might think anyone can just park their car and walk to the spot to start fishing but I wouldn’t recommend it.  The current here is fierce and if you don’t know the area you run the risk of going swimming.  As a matter of fact I watched to other anglers do just that.  Fortunately for them they weren’t near any of the holes that are rather deep.  This stretch of river is very deceiving and one side of a rock may be ok but the other side may be over 20 feet deep.  In other words don’t be cheap.  Pay the money for a guide if you ever think about doing this.  Saving a few bucks is not worth risking your life.

Back to the fishing.

We originally set up between two boulders that created a seam on each side of me that I could swing a fly into.  It was still dark out but we could see salmon swirling on the surface chasing caddis flies (the bane of my existence today) and the occasional mayfly.  I worked this area and several others, casting small tube flies and muddler patterns.  Nothing worked though but for 7 hours I tried.  Rod was determined to get me into a fish but by noon we just gave up.  I wasn’t alone though.  There were about 6 other fishermen in the area and they didn’t catch anything either.  Rod had a couple of theories, one being the cold front that moved through and dropped the temperature about 25 degrees.  The other being the millions of caddis flies that were in the area.  He said the fish were gorging themselves on them.  They were so thick that I am still finding them in my car and waders.  Oh well, it happens.  The good thing about all this is that Rod told me he would take me out again free of charge for another crack at them.  All I had to do was arrange a date.  Not many guides will do that now a days.

Glad to see that some still do.

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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.