Shameless Plug Walleye Report

5 05 2013

After 35 years my old MERCURY 20 HP outboard had finally seen it’s last day.  After thousands of hours on the river and great lakes it was time for a new engine.  After talking to fellow DWF member Tom at ANGLERS MARINE in Taylor Michigan I purchased a new 25 HP EVINRUDE E-Tech.  The crew at ANGLERS MARINE hooked it all up and bolted it down to my old CRESTLINER last Friday so I decided to take it out and run it the next day.  Since the White bass had moved in I decided to wait until the evening.  Besides I needed to time get used to a new engine and all the little bells and whistles that came with it.  That and I needed to mount my SCHALLER AUTOMATIC TROLLING REEL, my EAGLE depth finder and LOWRANCE GPS back onto my boat.

I did get out a little bit before dark.  I wanted some time to run around on the river and get acquainted with my new toy.  I have never owned an electric start engine before so just pushing a button was a pleasant change.  I have to admit I really like my E-TECH.  I have nothing against my MERCURY but I really wore that engine out.  I just need to get used to the sound, or lack there of, of the E-TECH.  I have trolled for so many years with the MERC that I could tell by the sound of the engine when the RPM’s were just right for the speed I wanted.  Need to spend a few hours now and learn that sound again.  Nice thing about the E-TECH is that it has a toggle switch that will increase or decrease the RPM’s by 100 with just a push.  That’s a nice little feature to have.  I can give the lures a little push every once and awhile to see if I can trigger a strike.  OK, enough love for the E-TECH, time for the fishing results.

I set lines around 7:30 pm.  There were a few other Handliners out but it was still early.  The Tr-Hull nave was in full force along the Gibraltar/Trenton side of the river.  Not a good omen.  I put on a #11 COPPER CRAZY TIGER and a #9 SPRING VALLEY SPECIAL II from WWW.DOWNRIVERTACKLE.COM.  I also put on a SPIKE SPOON (He will be missed) in a RILEY SPECIAL pattern.  I figured I was going to get a few White/Silver Bass but I was expecting to pick up an occasional walleye until it got dark.  Turns out I was pretty right in my prediction.  I just wasn’t expecting how it would happen.  Most of the bass came on Jim’s Holographic lures.  Pretty much 95% of the bass I caught came on those lures.  I expected the spoon to catch most of them but I only caught 2.  My first walleye came on the spoon and the walleye that was 14 15/16 inches came on the #11 CCT.  Even after it got dark I was still catching the bass on the RAPALA’S.  Eventually I got fed up (not hard to do when it comes to those rotten little things) and I swapped out the RAPALA’S and replaced them with some NIGHT STALKER Pencil Plugs.  I have a lot of wooden pp’s but the eyelet is set to far back and the crank bait snaps that I use can’t get through the eyelet.  The NIGHT STALKERS are plastic and the eyelet is far enough forward so I could attach them with the crank bait snap.  3 walleye came on the 40 foot lead and a chartreuse  with black dots NIGHT STALKER.  I also hooked in to something big but I never got it in.  Once I got my hand on the leader I could hear it rolling and splashing way behind the boat.  I knew this wasn’t going to last long and I tried to throttle down some to relieve the pressure but it was to late.  I fished until about 10:30 pm but the wind was picking up and it was getting cold so I headed in.  I had 4 in the cooler and sometimes 1 short of a limit is no big deal.  The best thing was that I never caught a single white bass on a pencil plug.  Don’t know if that will hold true during the peak of the run but I will find out.

So I ended up with 4 in the box, 1 throwback and lost probably a Muskie.  Surface temps are at 53.5 degrees and the water is very clear, over 2 feet of visibility.  NE wind with a partly cloudy sky.  Back to a night fishery again, especially with the you know what’s in town.

One more plug….

May The 4th Be With You.

May the 4th Be With You walleye

May the 4th Be With You walleye

New Lures

2 04 2013

Just got a message that my new custom painted lures are on their way.  Just in time for the Spring run.

These spoons should be the cat’s ass this summer.

A big thanks to Jim at

My lures









No Walleye 9/30/12

1 10 2012

Well since duck hunting went so well I thought I would try my luck with the walleye. My friend Dan wanted to go as well so by 6:30 pm we were in my boat and headed down the river. The water was still clear and there were some weeds. We started out just north of Calf Island in about 15 feet of water. We put out a combination of Rapala’s and spoons. Normally I run size #11 Rap’s this time of year but the launch ramp was full of shiners so I went with the smaller sizes and spoons. Turns out it wasn’t going to matter. The only thing we caught for the night was one 4 inch Smallmouth. Once it got dark I switched over to #11 Rap’s and Dan was pulling Pencil Plugs. Didn’t matter….still no fish. Shortly after 9:00 pm I got hung up and my shank busted just above my 2nd clevice. I pulled in my remaining lead and tossed it all in the bucket. I let Dan fish for a little while longer but it really didn’t matter.


I really can’t figure out where the fish went. Normally on a clear full moon night I do pretty good. These last few trips really have me second guessing. I can’t believe the fish have left but I haven’t been catching any Smallmouth either. That has me thinking that the forage fish have left and the predators right along with them. I’ll figure it out eventually, maybe I’ll try perch fishing next weekend.

A long wet weekend

24 09 2012

This past weekend was the opener for the youth deer hunt in Michigan. Since Kelly and I were planning on taking her son Adam up to the family hunting lodge to try his luck I took a Friday and Monday off. We had to get up north early so that we could get Adam registered. Since we weren’t leaving until the afternoon I had the morning open to go fishing. My morning success has been pretty pathetic but I figured it would turn around soon. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After I dropped my daughter off art school I headed to Elizabeth Park to launch the boat. By 8:00 am I had my lines in the water and I was making my first pass from the Cat to the stacks. The surface temp on the water was 64 degrees and there was a little bit of a stain. Hardly any wind and overcast clouds above. Almost immediately I had a hit but it quickly came off, whatever it was. It wasn’t too much longer and I picked up a 4 inch small mouth on a #7 CCT Rapala. I swear he wasn’t much bigger than the lure. I really have to wonder just how many of those YOY fish are down there. For the next several hours I tried many different color and size Rapala’s, spoons and locations. Nothing worked and I was rewarded with my first skunk of the year. Guess I shouldn’t have eaten that banana for breakfast. I quit around 11:00 am. I still had to pack so it was best that I just went home.

After a quick lunch and some creative packing in the Jeep the 3 of us were on our way. Forecast was supposed to be a 50% chance of rain for the whole weekend. I hope it holds off. I really want Adam to get his first deer. Once we got to the house we unpacked and got Adam all set for tomorrow’s hunt. As it sometimes happens to even the best laid plans of mice and men I awoke to an absolute downpour. So much for the first morning. The rain stopped a few hours later but the radar showed more coming in. I took Adam down to the range so he could practice some more with the rifle he was using. I was letting him use my Remington 788 in .243 Winchester. Last year he used his Grandfathers 30.06 and he missed a deer. He has a hard time getting the scope lined up and he wasn’t very comfortable shooting it. My rifle is cut a little shorter so I thought it might fit him better. Judging from the numerous bulls eyes he had I think this rifle will suit him better. Now all we need is for the rain to lay off.

We headed out to the blind around 4:00 pm to find that the area had been clear cut and the trail to his Uncle’s blind was gone. Fortunately I marked the spot with my Garmin GPS and after a little bush whacking we were able to find the blind. While we were doing this it decided to start raining on us again. It only lasted a few minutes but this process repeated itself 5 more times. After the fifth time Adam had said he had had enough and wanted to go home. I wasn’t about to argue. Even though we had rain gear we still got soaked and I didn’t want him to get anymore discouraged than he already was. Besides, tomorrow will be another day.

The next morning produced clear skies and cold temps. We bundled up and headed out. This morning we set up on the edge of a sugar beet field. The woods were still wet and I didn’t feel like getting soaked again walking to the blind. As the sun began to rise I saw a lone coyote walking the edge of the field. Just as I told Adam to pick up his rifle he disappeared. It looked like the animals were moving, now all we needed was a deer. A few minutes later we saw what we were looking for. Off in the distance I saw something move across the field. When I picked the deer up in my binoculars I could see it was a buck. I had Adam get his rifle ready and as he moved the deer saw us and stopped. It was a nice 8 point and he was broadside and looking right at us. Only problem is that he was close to 300 yards away. Adam was looking at the deer through his scope and asking me what to do. 300 yards is a long shot for any hunter, especially a first time hunter who has never taken a shot like that before. I sat there debating what to tell Adam. Seconds seemed like minutes and after a short period the deer got nervous and ran off. Adam looked disappointed but I explained to him he would be even more upset if he wounded the deer and we never recovered it. That is a sick feeling and one I did not want him to experience if it could be avoided. He understood and we settled down to wait for the next one. We didn’t have to wait long. As I was scanning the edge of the field Adam motioned for me to look to my right. There stood a doe not 20 yards away from us. As part of the youth hunt Adam could shoot a doe and the club encouraged it. They want to keep the buck/doe ration in line so a certain number have to be taken. Problem with this one is that it was on my right, Adam was on my left and the deer was looking right at us. I slowly backed up as Adam tried to turn to get a shot. There was tree in the way and he couldn’t get a clear shot. She needed to take a few more steps forward but instead she took a few more steps backwards. Once we couldn’t see her anymore we heard her run off into the woods. By now it was 8:00 am and the sun was shining right in our face. I told Adam we had two choices, we either had to move or head back to the house. He was cold and wanted to go back to the house and that is what we did. Just as well, more rain was on the way and once we got back to the house it started again. Kelly and I had some breakfast and Adam went back to sleep. He had been having a hard time with his allergies all weekend and it was taking a lot out of him. I told Kelly about how the morning went and we talked about what we should do for the rest of the day. We went into town for a little bit while Adam slept. He woke up around lunch and we discussed his options. I told him we could go back out tonight which he seemed willing to do. We decided to get the Jeep packed and the house cleaned up so we could leave right after we came in. While we were packing it started to rain again, this time though it was hail. I gave up, sometimes it is just better to cut your losses and go home. Kelly and Adam agreed. Opening day of rifle is less than 2 months away and he will get another chance. Until then we will go back to chasing squirrels and possibly some grouse and woodcock.


As for the walleye? The next few days are supposed to be more wind and rain.  Maybe I’ll get a chance one night this week.  Next weekend is the waterfowl opener in the northern half of the lower peninsula and I know where a few wood ducks are hanging out.

Windy Day Walleye 9/11/12

12 09 2012

I had been watching the weather forecast all day, hoping that the SW wind was going to die down. I was supposed to take Dan out tonight and it wasn’t looking good. A 10-15 mph SW wind usually isn’t bad except when I am trying to fish the south end of the river. With the wind pushing against the current it can get rather bumpy. The forecast said it was supposed to die down after dark to less than 10 mph which isn’t bad. Unfortunately it never did, guess that’s why it is called a forecast and not an actual.

Dan and I hit the water just after 7:00 pm. I saw Richard out in his boat so I decided to make a few circles around him to add a few mores waves. I did this to Dan a few weeks ago and I didn’t want to think I only pick on him. We pulled up a long side of Richard to see how he and Mark were doing. They had just started and he threw me a lure he wanted me to try. He is playing around with painting his own lures so he wanted my “expert” opinion on it. We pulled away and got set up. We had about a 1 foot chop on the water and setting up was a little difficult. I put Richards freshly painted lure on my long lead along with a #7 CCT and a #7 Green Holographic Rapala. I don’t know what Dan used, I was busy trying to keep the boat heading north.

It didn’t take long and I had a walleye on. When I got him up to the side of the boat I could see he was barley hooked and with one more shake of the head he was gone. With a strong SW wind the boat bounces around more and the speed varies a lot. I think this causes a lot of short strikes and fish that are barely hooked. I told this to Dan and said we were probably going to lose a fair number of fish tonight. A few minutes later Dan had a walleye on and he was able to get it into the boat. It was barely hooked as well and undersized. Dan tossed him back and soon we were back at it. For the next few hours we picked away at the fish. It was slow going but we were putting fish in the cooler. Dan started to switch out lures and I handed him one of my #7 CCT’s. He had been having a rough night with snags and all he had to show so far was one under sized walleye. He also lowered his top lead down a few notches and got back to fishing. About 10 minutes later he landed his first keeper for the night. It came on the CCT and the lead he adjusted down. It’s hard to say what was the determining factor but he had a fish in the cooler and that’s what counts the most.

All good things must end though and it was time for us to head in. We both had to work the next day and neither one of us got any sleep the night before. We had 5 in the cooler, tossed a couple back and lost 2 as well. Not bad considering we had to deal with a 10 to 15 mph SW wind all night. Surface temps were down to 71 degrees and the water was still clear. Another front is expected for the weekend and that should lower the temps some more. As for Richards lure, well I like the paint scheme but the lure didn’t float. It kept tangling up with my second leader. This is why the larger more buoyant lures always go on the top leader. Keep the ones below it from rising up and tangling. Needless to say it didn’t stay on long.

Pre 4th of July Walleye

5 07 2012

After the storms had finally passed through the area I hooked up the boat and headed to the channel. At first it looked like it was going to be a perfect night, cloud cover with a slight breeze. Neither one lasted. About 8:30 pm the clouds cleared out and the breeze left as well. Oh well….it’s not like I was going to quit just because of that. What should have made me stop was an engine that still didn’t want to cooperate. It started stalling once again and the only way I could keep it running was to increase my speed. I could never find the sweet spot between too fast and too slow. If I had been catching fish I wouldn’t have minded but after an hour the only thing in my cooler was a bottle of water. At some point I checked my lines and noticed that my main line wasn’t at the angle I desired. This made sense since I was trolling at a faster speed than I normally do. I switched over to a heavier weight and almost immediately I started to catch fish. They weren’t the right species but at least it was something. Around 9:00 pm I got a triple but unfortunately it was 2 Smallies and 1 walleye. Once I figured out what line the walleye was on I got him in and dealt with the other 2 later. I was still having the engine problems but at least I was putting walleye in the box. I managed to pick up a couple of more walleye but what really bugged me was that I lost 4 right at the side of the boat. I had only lost 4 fish for the whole month of June and now I matched that in one evening, 3 in about a 10 minute span. I lost every fish on my 40 foot lead and a #9 Copper Crazy Tiger Rapala (Custom Paint Job by Downriver Tackle). Yes, the hooks were sharp, brand new Mustad Triple Grip hooks. I don’t think the fish were getting hooked all that well to begin with. I also had about a dozen Hit & Spit’s that night.

I kept at it though determined to get my limit. Around 10:30 I hooked into what felt like a pretty good fish. As I was brining it in I realized that it wasn’t a walleye or a Smallmouth Bass. Even when I had it along side of the boat I couldn’t tell what it was but I knew once I flipped it in, a channel cat. That was a first for me, I have never caught a channel cat in the Detroit River before. It was a nice 20 inch fish and very fat. I got the hook out of her jaw and sent her back to the bottom. Not much more happened that evening and I just gave up around 11. The bugs were really starting to get to me as well. I had 3 and with my engine acting the way it was I figured I better not tempt fate. Didn’t want to need a tow in like the boat I towed in the other night.

Just before it got dark I saw an Osprey flying back towards Humbug March. I had seen him the other night but that time he had a Smallmouth Bass in his talons. Tonight it looked like he was going home hungry. Still strange to see Osprey and Eagles while fishing for walleye on the Detroit River. This river certainly has come a long way since the 50’s and 60’s.

Final tally for the night was 3 walleye measuring 15 to 18 inches long. All of them came on a Riley Special and a Pink Shiner spoon. All the walleye I lost at the boat were on the Copper Crazy Tiger Rapala. The water temp was 76 degrees and still ridiculously clear. Maybe the storms from the past few days will dirty things up a bit.