Erie Perch, 08/27/17

28 08 2017

My original plan for last weekend was to take care of some chores and do a little fly fishing each morning.  That all changed early Saturday when I got a text from Steve Schoonover, owner of The Mad Viking Tackle Company.  Normally I don’t start perch fishing until the Fall when they make their way into the river.  Since they have been doing so well on Erie I jumped at the chance to get an early start on putting some in the freezer.  We made plans to meet at the Bolles Harbor Marina the next day around 10:00 am.  Fellow Handliner Dave and his son Braden were also along for the trip.  That meant we had the potential to go home with a 4 man limit of perch, 200 of them.  While that sounds both excessive and awesome the thought of cleaning that many really didn’t appeal to me.  I’d be happy with a couple of dozen each.  I give most of the yellow perch I catch to my Mom and she really can’t eat that many anyways.

Once we got the boat loaded up with our gear we made our way to the first stop near Stony Point.  There were some decent rollers so it made for a bumpy ride.  The Algal bloom wasn’t to bad in this area but looking out over the lake you could see where the surface would go from green to blue.  We started drifting perch rigs (supplied by Steve) at first to find some active fish.  Once we did we dropped anchor.  The first stop yielded about 2 dozen perch in the 9 to 11 inch range.  Not a bad start but after an hour we moved on towards the Raisin River bouys.  There were a lot more boats in this area so we picked a spot just outside of the pack.  The bloom was a little thicker here but nothing like the pea soup it had been like a week ago.  We picked up about another dozen during the next hour.  Around 1 Steve had us pull lines and we moved deeper into the center of the pack.  Once we dropped lines it was game on.  For the next couple of hours the 4 of us steadily filled the live well.  We only got a handful of doubles but we weren’t complaining.  We were kept busy and there were very few lulls in the action.  If we didn’t get a bite after a minute or two we were pulling in to check for bait.  The minnows we had didn’t survive well and by now we were using dead ones.  The perch didn’t seem to mind but whenever we set the hook the minnows would come off all the hooks.  We were even doubling up on the minnows on each hook.  We pretty much had to, the emeralds we had were in two sizes, extra large and extra small.  The extra large ones were used first, after that it was the pinheads, two at a time.  Like I said though, it didn’t matter.  The perch were abundant and hungry.  Only problem was that being bounced around in the boat for the day was starting to take it’s toll.  We were already at 100 so Steve decided we should quit at 125.  Braden brought in #125 but since we still had lines out it was soon followed by numbers 126 and 127.  All that was left now was the trip back in and the cleaning.  With four people helping it only took about an hour, which isn’t to bad at all.

Father & Son

Captain Steve, The Original Mad Viking.

Doubling Up

 

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Late October Walleye

30 10 2016

After what turned out to be the worst week of my life I decided I needed a little normalcy.  Since the Huron hasn’t been cooperating for Steel I decided to go back to my old reliable, Detroit River walleye.  I arrived at the ramp around 6:00 pm and to my dismay I saw that the river was a lovely shade of grey.  Normally dirty water doesn’t scare me but with overcast skies and a sunset coming soon my window of opportunity would be short.  I set up in my normal area and worked over my familiar haunts.  Visibility was about a foot and there were hardly any weeds.  Surface temp was about 52 degrees which is just a lot better then the 65 degrees it was last time out.  It didn’t take long and I had my first eater in the box.  He hit a #7 Perch Rapala (The discontinued style with the gold plate belly) on my kicker.  As it would turn out, every fish I caught would come on that lure, even the one I lost.  I only managed three for the night and they all came in the first 45 minutes.  Once it got dark out everything shut down.  I fished until 8 but it was to no avail.  Not surprising, experience has shown me that dirty water and nightfall do not necessarily equal success.  If anything it means I should have got out earlier.  At least I was able to get out for a few hours and escape my phone for a bit.  I didn’t winterize the engine, not just yet.  Temps are going to stay in the 50’s for awhile so I may take advantage of it for a bit.  It’s not over yet.

So I ended up with 3 eaters, all light, grey fish.  Not the typical yellow/black colors more common for the resident river fish.  All of them had emerald shiners in their stomachs.  I also noticed a lot of splashing in the Edison discharge so that means the gizzard shad are in.  Hopefully some more walleye are right behind them.

No pictures tonight.  I figure everyone has seen enough pictures of 17 inch fish.

On another more personal note, I am going to shut this down for a bit.  As I had said earlier this past week was the worst of my life and it really drained me emotionally.  I have a lot of things to sort out now and take care of and I really don’t have the energy, time or desire to make anymore entries.  Maybe after a break of a few moths I will start up again.  There is still plenty of time left to get some walleye so get out there, good luck, be safe and cherish the ones around you.





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.





Sad Day

30 11 2013

It happens every year, the one day we fishermen all regret.  The final trip until Spring.

Today was that day.  Originally I was planning on going Sunday but with a chance of snow in the morning and a change in the forecast for today I changed plans.  I planned for an afternoon trip so once it hit half time for The Game I was on my way.  I launched at Lake Erie Metro Park (all docks were in except for 1) and by 3:00 pm I was on the water with lines down.  Surface temps were 34.2 degrees with a nice stain to the water.  No weeds but that South wind made the water a little bumpy.  I ran #13 and #11 Rapala’s in Pink/Pearl and Blue/White.

I fished for 2 hours without a single hit.  There were two other boats out there long lining and I didn’t see them catch anything either.  Around 5 I headed in and a few more boats showed up to give it a try.  More power to them, the sun was setting and the temps were dropping.  A few interesting things I noticed.  There were a lot of Blue Herons lining the west shore.  I could see a few minnows jumping at the discharge along with the gizzard shad.  Also, the water temps in the discharge lane was just over 40 degrees, a 6 degree difference.  Still no fish though.

Wile I was at the dock I decided to winterize my engine.  If anyone out there is considering a new 25 hp engine I cannot even begin to sing the praises of my E-Tech.  While I was putting stuff away I put the engine through it’s motions and 2 minutes later my engine was winterized.  All set for next Spring.

Or the next warm spell.