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.

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High Water Walleye 07/08/15

10 07 2015

After what was turning into a very crappy week I decided I needed a little wire therapy on the “D”.  Work had been kicking my butt all week and I was in dire need of a break.  I had debated all day long about going out or going to sleep but once I saw the overcast skies my mind was made up.  Wire Time!!!

I arrived at Elizabeth Park around 7:30 pm and was greeted by high water, at least it was high compared to last year.  Compared to the long term average I believe it was back to normal.  Either way my first task was to figure out a way to launch my boat without getting a wet foot.

ramp 2

Logic would dictate just taking my shoes off and wading but I’m to lazy for that.  Once I was on board I headed south to the blue boat house I dropped lines and started fishing.  Several minutes later I had my first fish on but he was doing the smallmouth shake.  I quickly tossed him back and kept at it.  I zigged zagged across the river all the way to the Stacks with no walleye to show for my efforts.  I pulled lines and switched a few spoons around to some different sizes and colors and headed farther downstream to some deeper water.  No sooner had my weight hit the bottom when I had my first walleye on.  He hit my kicker and a 2 1/2 inch Chartreuse spoon with a black ladder back.  This spoon was painted on both sides like this and as it turned out would account for all the walleye I would land tonight.  Once I got him in I dropped my lines again and spun around to go through the spot once again.  a minute later and number 2 was on and shortly after that he was in the cooler.  Wash, rinse repeat and number 3 was in the cooler.  Three keepers in 5 minutes.  I was starting to think I would be headed home soon but I was about to get served a piece of humble pie.  The next hour would produce 1 dink and 2 more walleye lost at the side of the boat.   The lost fish hit my orange and black spoon that had been producing so well for me this year.  Nothing on my top 40 foot lead, as a matter of fact I have yet to land a fish on my 40 foot lead this year.  By now is was 10:15 pm and I needed to get some rest so I headed in.  I should have had my 5 fish limit but it was my own fault.  I got a little careless bringing in the two I lost.  Out of practice I guess.

Weather conditions were just about ideal.  Slight breeze and overcast skies.  Water was clear but the weeds were bad.  I didn’t even think about trying to run a body bait.  There would have been no way for me to keep it consistently clean.  The weeds being bad really wasn’t much of a surprise, with the rising water levels and east winds I knew it might be a problem.  Beat sitting at home and getting myself all worked up over my job though.

A little blurry but you get the idea.

A little blurry but you get the idea.

 





7/19/14 All Day Fishing

20 07 2014

Actually it started Friday night.  My friends Dean and Barry convinced their mother that she needed a summer home on Sanford lake.  Since then they have been spending a fair amount of time trying to find the fish on the lake.  Lately they have been doing well on the crappie and I wanted to get in on that.  I packed the car and after work on Friday I headed north.  I arrived at Barry’s and he informed me we had to run to his Mom’s house that night.  No problem, start fishing early.  We fished from the dock and managed to get a couple of crappie and some bluegills.  So far so good.

During the night Dean arrived and after a quick stop for some minnows we were on the boat to try a few spots.  Our plan was to target structure around the lake, mainly fallen trees and stumps.  It was pretty hit and miss at first, couple here, couple there, nothing to get excited about.  At one stop we tried by the M-10 bridge going over the lake.  No crappie but there were dozens of bluegills hanging around the pilings.  They weren’t big but this was a perfect chance for me to try my new 4wt Echo fly rod.  I tied on an a little emerger pattern and let it fly.  It’s hard to cast from a pontoon boat, especially with 3 people on board.  To make matters worse I was trying to cast under a bridge.  I managed to get the fly in there and catch a few.  Even though the fish were small they were a lot of fun on that light rod.  I think I am going to really like fishing with it. I just need more practice.  We didn’t stick around too long.  Dean wanted to go to an antique flea market so we headed back to the dock.  After a quick lunch Barry and I were back out again.  We went back to a blow down in one of the canals that we couldn’t fish earlier because someone else was already was.  The wind had started to pick up a bit so we anchored the boat upwind and drifted in to the area.  We were able to let our baits drift right into the limbs of the tree that were underwater.  It didn’t take long and soon we were catching crappie left and right.  Unfortunately the vast majority of them were around 6 inches long.  This went on for about an hour until we ran out of minnows.  We tried worms for a bit but it was obvious the crappie wanted minnows.  We pulled anchor and headed home so we could get more.  By now Dean was back and he was headed with us, after we sent him to the bait shop to get more minnows of course.  About an hour later we were headed back only to find another boat fishing there.  He was set up on the other side of the tree and I have to admit, he was one dedicated fisherman (more on that later).  We anchored away from him and were back to drifting minnows back into the tree limbs.  Only problem was that the wind had died down so know we were casting into them.  We still managed to catch fish but no at the pace we were earlier.  We stuck to it though for a couple of hours and managed to put a few in the live well.  By now it was 5:00 pm and time for me to head home.  I wanted to go walleye fishing tonight and I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me and a bunch of fish to clean.  I said my good-bye’s and was soon heading home.

After I got the fish cleaned I hooked my boat up and was headed to Elizabeth Park.  It was after 9 now and getting dark.  Not a problem since the water has been so clear and with no cloud cover nothing was going to happen until after dark anyways.  I started fishing just before 10:00 pm running Rapala’s and Pencil plugs.  The weeds were a bit of a problem but not as bad as I thought they might be with no wind.  Bugs weren’t too bad either.  I kept swapping out colors and sizes for the next few hours trying to find something they like.  I managed to get one walleye on a Chartreuse and Chrome Nite Stalker and another on an Orange and Black wooden PP.  As the night wore on the weeds steadily got worse and worse.  There must have been a mayfly hatch upstream as well because I was spotting hundreds of casings all over the river.  This was starting to get old so shortly after midnight I just gave up and headed home.  I had been fishing all day and I was tired.  I had a lot of chores to do tomorrow so sleep was a better option than dodging the ever increasing weed patches.  I’m not going to complain.  I got a few walleye and a fair number of crappie for the freezer.  Sounds like a good day to me.

Side Note:  Ok, I have always thought that I am a pretty devoted fisherman.  I have been known to ignore a lot of things in order to catch fish and I get so focused on fish that I block out everything else around me.  Earlier today I met someone who is more dedicated than I am.  As I said earlier there was another fisherman at one of our spots.  Well he wasn’t alone.  He had his girlfriend/wife along and she was sunbathing in the boat with him.  She was wearing a red, white blue bikini and was laying spread eagle in front of him in the boat.  He sat there the whole time fishing while she was laying in front of him and he wasn’t catching anything yet he kept trying.  That’s Dedication!!!

walleye

This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish.  He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish. He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

Sanford Lake Crappie





Maiden Voyage 2014

20 04 2014

Finally!!!

The snowiest winter ever recorded for south east Michigan is finally over (I hope).  The birds are building their nests, tulips are poking through the ground and the days are above freezing (though the wind chill temp yesterday morning was 29 degrees).  Time to go get some walleye.  Early reports have stated that big fish are being caught all throughout the system from St. Clair to Erie.  Could this be the year I finally get that 10 pound fish?  It seems like everyone else is so why not me?  Anything is possible.  Especially now with big females being the bulk of a lot of fish being caught.  We shall see.

My plan was to go out Friday night (4/18) after dinner.  The MWC was having day 1 of their 2 day tournament on Friday so I wanted to wait until they were off the water.  I left the house around 5 and arrived at the ramp as they were going through weigh-in.  I could hear the weights of the 5 fish baskets being called out over the loud speaker as I was prepping the boat.  Most were in the 30 pound range but I did hear a 42 pound weight yelled out.  Don’t know where they were fishing , probably mid river as that seems to be where everyone has been fishing this last week.  I was headed south to my normal fishing grounds, I felt like staying close.

I started off jigging, why I don’t know.  I sometimes think I need to get it out of my system before I start to pull wire.  I really don’t like jigging anymore.  I’m to the point that the only time I want a fishing rod in  my hand is when it is my Fly Rod.  After a couple of drifts and no fish I got down to business.  I turned the boat around, pointed it upstream and out came the Rap’s.  As I was getting ready my friends Dave and Larry pulled up beside me.  They had 4 and were in the process of landing number 5 as I was lowering my baits into the water.  They told me they had lost around 6 fish as well and Larry had lost a big one.  He could never get her up off the bottom.  There was still hope.

About 20 minutes later I had my first fish of the year, a nice 18 inch eater.  He came on a #11 Pink Lemonade Rapala on my 40 foot lead.  That was followed up by another little male that I had to toss back.  The size limit here is 15 inches and he was 14.9999999998 inches long.  No biggie, the sun was starting to set and the fish were starting to get active.  About 20 minutes later I lost another small one at the boat.  Once he came off I quickly got the baits down and went back through the same area.  It wasn’t long and number 2 was in the cooler, another male on a #9 Original Black and Silver Rapala.  I was getting ready to make another run when I spotted something weird looking in the water.  I thought it might be a Cormorant at first but then I realized it was the head of a whitetail deer.  I motored closer and sure enough, it was a deer swimming upstream and headed to the shoreline below the Edison plant.  Once she found a clear spot she walked out and gave me a look of how dare you interrupt my swim and then went on her way.  I have seen deer all over the River but this was the first time I had ever seen one swimming in the water.

It was getting dark now so I switched on my navigation lights and got back to fishing, sort of.  My stern light wasn’t working.  I tried to figure out what the problem was but no luck.  I headed to a nearby dock and tied off while I inspected the pole and socket.  Eventually I got it working and was back to fishing.  It never fails, just when I was zeroed in on them something goes wrong.  I was back in business and it didn’t take long for me to get back on the fish.  Roughly 30 minutes later I had the last 3 of my 5 fish limit and I was on my way in.  I pulled up along side of Dave and Larry again as they were landing number 6.  I tossed them one of my hot lures and threatened their lives if they lost it.  I wished them good luck (I later found out that they ended up with 9 for the night) and ran for the dock.  I had my 5 and was happy.  Of course they were all males with the largest one being 22 inches long.  Only I could accomplish that.  Everyone else is landing a personal best fish and throwing back big females and I manage to catch all males, and a sub-legal one to boot.  Oh well.

For those who are wondering the surface temp was 44 degrees with a nice stain to the water.  These bright sunny days are getting the algae going and the water conditions were just about perfect, for me.  Clear skies and a NE wind made it a little chilly but it felt good to be back out on the water.  It had been a long winter and I needed to get back in to a rhythm again.  It took a little doing at first but eventually I got my mojo back and the fish were coming in.

Here’s to the rest of the season everyone, it’s finally here.

 

All Males, 18 to 22 inches long.

All Males, 18 to 22 inches long.





7/22/13 Evening Walleye

23 07 2013

Over the weekend handliner wannabe and avid walleye fisherman Tom contacted me with some questions about pulling wire.  His main objective was for me to come over and check out his boat to get my input on how to set it up.  I then offered to do him one better, I told him to meet me at Elizabeth Park Monday night and he can ask all the questions he wants while we fish.

By 8:00 pm we were on the water and setting lines.  He brought his own shanks/leaders and weights and after a few questions about leader lengths and spacing on the shank he was set up.

Rule of thumb here is for every inch up the shank from the top of the weight is equal to 1 foot of leader length.  For example a 20 foot leader should be attached to the shank 20 inches from the top of the weight.  If you have a factory shank that has clevises every 6 inches then the leaders should be 6,12,18,24,30 and 36 feet in length.  My suggestion was to run a 6, 18 and 36 length leaders if he wanted to run 3.

Not much happened for the first hour, only caught a couple of bass and 1 small walleye.  Once it got dark and that full moon cleared the trees things really started to take off but not the way I wanted.  We were losing fish on a grand scale.  At one point Tom and I made a pass through one area and we each had one on and lost both of them at the boat.  A few minutes later we each lost another one.  We kept at it though and by 10:30 we had 10 in the boat with 1 throwback and 6 lost fish.  They were hitting very light tonight, most times it felt like there was just extra weight.  I was even convinced that I hit a pile of weeds only to find a walleye dragging along the surface.  Tom got the big fish of the night, a 22 inch 3 1/2 pounder that he got on a #9 Jointed Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala.  All my fish came on a #9 SVSII, #7 Downriver Steel and a Riley Special Spoon.  I even caught a few walleye on the spoon after dark on the kicker lead.  Sometimes the standard rules of body baits after dark do not apply.  Also, as I was bringing in my lines a walleye hit my 40 foot lead just as I got my hand on it.  Either that walleye followed it all the way up or he was cruising just below the surface.  I wasn’t going to complain, he’s in the freezer now.

The water is still gin clear but the floating weeds were a bit of a hassle.  We could dodge most of them while it was light out but after dark it was problematic.  Surface temp was 78 degrees with a South wind between 5 and 10 mph.  Like I said earlier there was a full moon out and clear skies.  Only drawback was the bugs, annoying little things.  All of the fish came from an area just north of the Catamaran on the Grosse Isle side of the river.  We worked the area pretty hard until we boated our 10th fish.

No pics this time.  I sent Tom home with his 5 and mine are sitting on ice until I can clean them after work.

FYI……the FLW trailer was in the lot at Elizabeth Park so that means lots of bass boats real soon.

Also, when we arrived the break wall was under water, when we got back we could see the top of it.  The water on the river had dropped 6 inches in just over 2 hours.  That’s a lot of water moving downstream.