Holy High Water

4 10 2019

I really  miss having a flow gauge on my part of the Huron river.  It was so nice to look up what the levels and flows were like before I went fishing.  Now I have to go old school and drive to the river to find out what is going on.  Even then it’s a bit of a crap shoot.  The section I have been fishing for carp is between two dams.  I have watched the levels rise and drop in a day even when we haven’t had any rain.  After a couple days of rain I really had no idea what to expect.  The river could have been blown out or just a trickle depending on if the gates were open at the dams.  I had a free hour so I decided to go check it out.

It didn’t take long and I had my answer, the river was up between two and three feet.  the water was so high that the carp were right along the shoreline with their noses in the grass.  Talk about an impossible situation to sneak up on them.  They were on high alert and I couldn’t get within 10 yards without spooking them.  The flows were so fast that if I made a cast the fly was by them or over their back before I could strip it into the sweet spot.  If I could find a pool, with no current, then I could get a shot.  In this current though it wasn’t going to happen.

My next spot was my honey hole.  I was hoping that it wouldn’t be flooded out and I might be able to sneak up on one.  As I walked in the water was over the bank and picnic tables that were high and dry were now sitting in about 3 inches of water.  The bright side though was the carp were there, everywhere.  I could barely see them but there had to be at least 2 dozen of them feeding.  Seemed like easy pickings but that many fish meant a lot of eyes looking for danger.  Spooking one could send them all back out into the main river.  Fortunately it was overcast so I wasn’t throwing a shadow.  I was able to sneak into range but the fish I was casting to were refusing my fly.  I was about to swap out flies when I had a smaller one take an interest in my fly.  I set the hook as he picked it up but lost him shortly afterwards.  That spooked every fish in the area so I left.

The next spot was more of the same.  Carp on high alert with their noses in the grass.  I tried a few more spots but the water was so deep and dark I couldn’t see anything.  I was about to head home when I decided to try the honey hole one more time.  I snuck my way back in and saw one lone carp swimming around.  I dropped my fly in the water and he swam right over it.  I lifted the fly out of the water and waited for him to turn my way.  When he did I lowered the fly into his path and waited.  This time he sucked it up and I drove the hook home.  He immediately headed for the main river and I put the brakes on him to prevent that.  I wasn’t dressed to give chase so I kept him as close as possible.  About 5 minutes later I got him in the net.

After that I packed up and went home.  I had some packing to do since I’m headed north to go duck hunting and hopefully catch an Atlantic Salmon or two.





Taking stock of 2015, so far.

22 07 2015

This has been a weird season.  I know I got a late start due to work, family health issues and my boat being down but I wasn’t expecting the pickings to be this slim.  I usually catch more fish in June and July than I do in April and May during the peak of the Spring run.  This year however, has been a tough one to figure out.  Some of it being a real head scratcher.

1.  I have yet to catch a fish on a Rapala.  A #9 Rapala is my bread and butter lure.  When all else fails this body bait will produce.  I have been running a #9 or #11 on my 40 foot lead every trip this season.  So far nothing, nadda, zilch, zippo, diddly squat.  I will admit I have had a couple on and lost all of them but no fish? This leads me to my next head scratcher.

2.  I have lost more fish this year than I can ever remember.  Used to be I could go several weeks without losing a fish but this year I am losing fish on an average of 2 or 3 per trip.  I know it happens but this is getting ridiculous.  Losing a fish once and awhile is no big thing, it happens, but this is has me second guessing everything I am doing.  I was starting to think that the fish are just hitting light but I have brought in a few that have completely swallowed the spoon.  For some reason the fish are getting barely hooked on my Rapala’s.  WTH???

3.  I have yet to catch a single walleye over 20 inches long.  Granted I like to get the eaters but the last few seasons I would catch at least one in the 24 to 25 inch range every trip.  This year they have all been 20 inches or less.  Again, I am not complaining but it just has me wondering what is going on.  Have all the big fish moved out into Erie?  Are they in a different part of the river?  Are they just that finicky?  Inquiring minds want to know.

4.  Now this one I am really happy about but again it has me wondering if the structure below has changed or if the baitfish are not there.  I have only caught 2 dink smallmouth and one rock bass so far.  No Sheepshead, no Channel Cats, no Muskie, no Steelhead, no White Perch and lately no White Bass.  Normally July produces a lot of smallmouth anywhere from 6 to 20 inches long.  This year has been the exact opposite.  Two bass and both of them less than 8 inches long.  Is the lack of other predators due to a lack of baitfish or some other factor?  So far the walleye I have caught have all come up empty, no shiners or goby’s in any of them.  What are they feeding on and when?

5.  Now this may have something to do with the consistency.  Water levels are up from previous years but I really can’t see it affecting the fishing that much.  Granted some areas that were too shallow before may be more attractive now but not the whole river?  Surface temps are about a degree lower than last year at this time so maybe it is cooler down at the bottom.  Don’t know for sure.  I do know the surface weeds have been a pain but that is to be expected with the east winds and higher water.  The water is again ridiculously clear but I have been catching fish both in the daylight and after dark, there just hasn’t been any consistency.  The one trip I got a limit was an overcast morning a month ago.  Since then I have been pecking away and coming up short of a limit.  Granted if I would quit losing fish my numbers would improve but I am still having a hard time finding groups of active fish.  One night I picked up 3 in a 5 minute span but mostly it is 1 or 2 fish every hour and none of them in the same area.  I went back and looked at my way points for this year and other than that one 5 minute spurt the marks are all over the place.

6.  Ninety percent of my fish have come on the same two spoons, the ones pictured in my last post.  I have tried different colors and styles but these two have been the best producers.  Of course I am always running these two now since they are catching fish so their production rate is slightly skewed.  Lately though the majority of my fish have come on the chartreuse spoon on my kicker.  I have noticed that this one has a very aggressive action so maybe it is triggering more strikes.  The smaller orange one has been completely swallowed though and on more than one occasion.  You can make your own assumptions based on my findings. I think the next time out I am going to run a jointed Rapala and see if the increased action has an affect.  I will let everyone know how it works out.

Well there you have it, my mid season findings for 2015.  I hope it gets better or I may start having to keeping some of the steelhead I hope to catch this fall.  either that or I may have to start perch fishing again.