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.





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.

 

 

 





3 more for the freezer 9/13/15

14 09 2015

I had some more free time Sunday night so I decided to see if I could add to my Mother’s request for a fish fry for her friends.  I thought I had enough but she keeps adding people and time is running out.  I got a late start and arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm.  No one at the gate and I was the only car in the lot.  Kind of spooky being the only person there after dark.  I quickly launched my boat and soon I was heading downstream to my usual starting point, right where the “Cat” used to be.  I started off with the same two Rapalas and Pencil Plug I have been having all my success with.  If it’s not broke why fix it?  As it turns out it would be somewhat broke tonight and try as I might I couldn’t get anything going on the Rapalas.  All my walleye tonight came on the same blue and white Pencil Plug.  I needed to check my boxes to see if I have anymore of these pp’s tucked away.

I only ended up with 3 walleye, it could have been 4 but 1 walleye made a kamikaze death charge right at my prop and off he came.  They must teach them that at walleye survival school because that is the second time I have had one do that to me.  Water is still very clear and the surface temp has dropped 5 degrees from the previous trip on Wednesday.  It should warm back up again later this week as temps get back up into the 80’s.  Weeds were not an issue, the skies were clear, the wind died down to nothing and as I said before I was the only one out there.  The only other boat I saw was the Homeland Security boat around 9:00 pm.

Nothing else to report other than I caught another channel cat and a couple of smallmouth bass.  From what I have been reading it sounds like the bass have moved into the lower river.    Wish some bigger walleye would move in.  One or two 25 inch fish would cure my fish fry needs.

I know I’m going to jinx myself for saying this but this is 4 trips now and I still haven’t lost a lure.

IMG_2348





September Fur, Fish and Feather Extravaganza

3 10 2014

Every September my friends and I get together for a long weekend of Hunting and Fishing.  We have been doing this for almost 30 years now.  The game has changed over the years but the outcome is always the same.  A guy’s weekend where if the season is open we are going after it.  This time of year it’s all small game.  First on the list is squirrel followed by Grouse and Woodcock.  We don’t do as much bird hunting anymore since none of us have a dog.  We still get a few birds here and there but without a lab or setter it just ins’t the same.

Saturday morning started out very foggy so while we waited for the fog to burn off some we got in a little crappie fishing.  Barry has been creating fish structures off his Mom’s dock and it is starting to pay off.  In less than an hour we managed to get 10 crappie for a fish fry later.  The fish turned off rather quickly but no matter, the fog was lifting so it was time to shoot a few squirrels.  We grabbed the .22’s and headed to a stand of oaks not to far down the road.  Barry headed south and I headed east.  Dean was doing something else so I don’t know where he ended up.  I was glad to see that the long winter didn’t affect the acron crop.  If anything it helped, they were everywhere.  I can’t remember the last time the crop was this good.  An abundance of acorns usually means an abundance of squirrels.  I saw a fair share of them that morning and was able to connect on two.  If I carried my shotgun I’m sure I would have filled my 5 squirrel limit but I like using my Marlin Model 60.  It is a lttle more challenging to hit a squirrel with a .22 but at least I don’t have to pick shot out of the meat.  The drawback though is that since I have started using bi-focals trying to spot squirrels in the tree tops and then focusing through the scope is a little more difficult.  I told myself that I would get  a new scope this summer but I never got around to it.  I paid the price for my procrastination later that day when I missed 3 easy shots.  We could have stayed out a little longer but there was a group training search and rescue dogs using the area so we decided to stay out of their way.  We had other things to keep us occupied, like fishing.

Later that evening we took the pontoon boat out and did a little fishing.  We were hoping to add to the crappie in the fish basket but no such luck.  I did catch a 17 inch largemouth bass but I don’t eat those so back he went.  After dark we set up to do a little catfishing and I caught my personal best 31 inch Channel Cat.  Turns out is qualifies for a Master Angler award.  Not my proudest moment but I’ll take it.  I don’t eat these either so after a few pics he went back in the water.  That was it for day 1

Day 2 started out the same as day 1, foggy.  We tried fishing again but no luck.  It was like they just shut down.  Later that day we talked to a few other anglers and they reported the same thing.  Barry and I gave up after about 30 minutes and went squirrel hunting again.  We managed 3 this morning and we checked out our opening day wood duck spot.  With all the acorns we figured their would be a lot of wood ducks in our usual area.  We had to change things up some since we no longer have a dog for retrieval duties.  Had to make sure I could get the kayak back in our spot.  It’s looking good since we jumped about 30 or 40 woodies from the area.  Hope they stick around until the opener on Oct. 4th.

Around noon I packed up and headed to Oscoda to spend some time with my parents.  I got there just in time for a dinner of the perch my Dad and I caught earlier this summer.  Once that was done I drove over to one of my grouse and woodcock thickets to see if I could find a few birds.  As usual the cover was thick and the warm, humid day made for rough walking.  It seems like I was stopping every other minute to wipe the sweat off my face and glasses.  I managed to put up 3 woodcock and 1 grouse.  I never got a shot at the grouse but I did connect on one of the woodcock.  Problem was I connected to well.  It was what I like to call a dead on impact hit.  I couldn’t have hit this bird any more square with my shot pattern.  Some people would say that I should have let him get out a little farther but in prime woodcock cover you don’t always get that chance.  10 more feet and the bird can disappear.  After that I found my trail out and walked back to the car.  On the way though I decided to walk across the nearby creek to see how well a clear cut grew back in.  The US forestry service Cut this area back in the 90’s and it never really took off like I hoped it would.  Lots of dry summers kept the aspen from growing like it should.  Well it finally came in and it looks pretty good.  I took a quick walk through and managed to put up another woodcock.  This are should be full of them come migration time.  Fingers crossed.

The next morning I was back chasing squirrels again.  This time I was in a new area I discovered during one of my kayak/bass trips down the AuSable.  It is part of an ORV/Snowmobile trail system so that meant lots of easy walking through the oaks.  Not as many acorns as in Sanford but still plenty to go around.  I saw many squirrels but due to my own laziness I scared more than I shot at.  Most of them were on the ground and I would walk right up on them and by then it was to late.  Again if I had my shotgun it would have been a different story.  I did managed to tag a few and I spent a lot of time walking around the area to get a good idea of how much huntable land there was.  I’ll be back here throughout the season.

After lunch My dad and I took the .22 pistols down the hill to go plinking.  I managed to pick up a few bricks of ammo so now we can actually shoot his Colt Woodsman and my Beretta Model 71.  Once we were done with that we took a walk through the nearby oak trees to see if there were any squirrels about.  I managed to shoot a grey right away and missed a black in the same tree.  After that it was like they all disappeared.  I soon found out why.  The wind had shifted and we had a storm coming in.  The wind started gusting to over 20 mph and it sounded like hail with all the acorns coming down.  We got out of the woods and under cover just as the rain started to come down, which it did on and off for the rest of the night.  So much for salmon fishing this evening.

The next morning I woke up to drizzle, a north wind and temps that were 30 degrees below yesterday’s temp.  I decided to pack my stuff and head for home.  I did swing back towards my new squirrel spot and walked around for about an hour.  I manged to get one more black squirrel before calling it a day.  I took some of the back roads home and stopped at a few gun shops along the way.  I did find a new 3×9 32 mm scope for the .22 so hopefully my miss rate will drop drastically.  Providing I get it sighted in soon.  If not I can always do it after the opening morning duck hunt.

So for my long weekend I ended up with a bunch of squirrels, a few crappie, 1 master anlger Channel Cat and 1 decimated woodcock.  Not bad considering how hot it still is.  Not too much fun trying to hunt while swatting mosquitoes and wiping sweat off my glasses at the same time.  Hopefully the duck opener is a little cooler.

photo 6

Squirrels are getting freaky with skunks.

Squirrels are getting freaky with skunks.

Master Angler Cat

Master Angler Cat

photo 4

Zoom in and try to count all the feathers.

Zoom in and try to count all the feathers.

photo 7





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





Lessons learned 2013

1 01 2014

2013 turned out to be a very frustrating year for walleye fishing.  Granted some people had better results than me and some worse.  No matter where I may have ended up on the grand scheme of things I still sit back and contemplate what went right and what went wrong.  So without further ado here are my lessons learned from 2013.

#1  Prior year success does not guarantee future success.

Kind of sounds like what of those investment commercials telling you past performance does not guarantee future results.  2012 turned out to be the best year of my life.  The weather cooperated and the walleye were plentiful.  Fishing was so easy that i never went over to Amherstburg to fish.  Why make the run when I am catching easy limits less than 1/4 of a mile from the ramp?  I was so confident that I didn’t buy a CDN license for 2013.  That turned out to be a big mistake.  Around mid July the walleye in the Trenton Channel were few and far between.  Meanwhile fishermen were catching easy limits over in Amherstburg.  Granted I could have bought a license in July but I was convinced I would be able to find fish in US waters.  Eventually they did show back up again but not until October and the weather was not cooperating.  Oh well, live and learn.  I will be getting a CDN license for 2014, especially since I now have and engine I can trust and will make the trip a whole lot faster.

#2 Sometimes you just have to let go.

For close to 35 years my little Crestliner was powered by a 20 HP Mercury.  Over the last few years I was starting to have problems but I continued to work around them.  I refused to give up my engine until the day it happened, my worst nightmare, hung up and the engine stalls.  I was able to get the engine started and I didn’t lose any equipment nut It could have been a lot worse.  After that incident I went out and bought my 25 HP Evinrude E-Tech.  All I can say is that I wish I had done this sooner.  It’s just hard to let go and before anyone makes any comment about the boat forget it.  I am not, repeat not getting rid of my boat for a new one.  There are some things I just refuse to get rid of.

#3 The same old lures still catch fish. 

Every year I try and find that new color that will make the fish just jump right into the boat.  Guess what? I still haven’t found it and the same old patterns still produce.  You think I would have learned by now.  I did make a point of using Pencil plugs this year and guess what?  They caught fish as well.  Imagine that.

#4 Is it just me or is the %^*$ Bass run lasting longer?

This year I caught my first fish that shall not be named mid April and my last one mid July.  That’s 3 months of dealing with those things.  People ask me how long the run lasts and I used to say between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Not anymore.  I have no idea when they are going to show up and when they are going to leave.  I moved up the start of my handlining tournament by a week in order to avoid them and it didn’t matter.  I wish the DNR would do set the limit like it is in Canada, no daily limit.  Maybe then the tri-hull navy will thin out the population some.

#5 No Muskie or Steelhead this year.

What’s up with that?  Usually I catch a few of each but not this year.  Instead I catch channel cats, on spoons.  That has me even more perplexed.

 

Well that’s it for 2013, hopefully 2014 will give us a hatch like 2003 and full freezers like 2012.

 

 

 

 

 





7/2/13 Walleye Report

3 07 2013

After expereincing what seemed like endless rain storms for the last 2 weeks I jumped all over a favorable forecast  for Tuesday July 2nd.  At first the forecast was calling for a 50/50 chance of thunderstorms.  By 3:00 pm that changed to a zero chance of storms so it was game on. 

I hit the water around 7:30 pm and ran all spoons, the same 2 I finished up with last Sunday and a larger Chartreuse/Black ladder back pattern.  After 45 minutes all I had for my efforts were several Smallies, a Silver that still didn’t get the memo and a 24 inch Channel Cat that about pulled the wire out of my hand when he hit.  After I released the cat in front of the cat I swapped out the spoon on my 40 foot lead with a #9 clown.  Shortly after that I had number 1 in the box.  After that I swapped out all my spoons for Rapala’s in size 9 and 7.  Didn’t make any difference, the rest of my one man limit all came on my 40 foot lead and that #9 Clown.  By 9:30 I was done and heading in.  Got to love nights like this.

Now for the vital stats.  Water temp was 70 degrees and about 2 feet of visibility.  Some floating weeds but nothing to get all worked up over.  Partly cloudy skies and just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away.  Largest fish was 25 inches long and the smallest was 21 1/2.  Total weight for all 5 was just under 19 pounds.  I also had the whole river to myself.  A couple of stragglers from the tri hull navy were anchored by shore but no other handliners.   

TC 7-2-13 Smallie

18 Inches of Line Tangling Fury

A Cat by the Cat.

A Cat by the Cat.

Total Catch

Total Catch