SSP Walleye 04/18/15

19 04 2015

With my boat still down and river fishing pressure being absolutely ridiculous my friend Chris decided to take his boat out for its inaugural run on Lake Erie.  We had originally talked about going up to Lexington to try for some Spring Browns and Salmon but the threat of a NE wind and bad fishing reports kept us closer to home.  We arrived at the Sterling State Park ramp around 6:30 am and we were pleasantly surprised that there was no wait to launch.  A stark contrast to the river where lines have been over a mile long and wait times for launching averaging over an hour.  Several minutes later we had the boat in the water and we were slowly making our way out to Stoney Point.  Winds were dead calm and the water was very clear.  The only drawback was the amount of debris in the water.  Lots of logs and blow downs all over the bay.  The big blow downs were easy to spot, especially when they had gull sitting on them.  It was the smaller logs that had us nervous.  We slowly made our way out and managed not to hit anything.  We set 4 lines pulling Reef Runners and Deep Diving Husky Jerks in various colors anywhere from 35 to 80 feet back on Off Shore Planer boards.

Wow, 3 shameless plugs in one sentence.  I should drive for NASCAR.

The first thing we realized was that we couldn’t get the motor to idle low enough to a speed we wanted.  We were running around 2 to 2.1 SOG and we needed to be down around 1.4 SOG.  We started to make a “S” pattern troll to try and get at least 2 lures at a time down to a slower speed.  About 30 minutes later we had our first flag down and Chris reeled in the first walleye into his new Lund, a nice 25 inch fish.  This one hit a purple RR little ripper so we dug through the lure boxes for something smaller and purple.  Chris found a purple Flicker Minnow and put that out while I swapped out my DDHJ’s for Shad Raps.  It wasn’t much longer when we had our 2nd fish on.  A few minutes later Chris netted our biggest fish of the day.  A 27 inch spawned out female that went around 7 pounds.  Things were looking good but as soon as we started to get a little cocky the fish decided to serve me a big piece of humble pie, or in this case Silver pie.  That’s right, my next fish was a $#(&$)(&$%#&#)%_)$#@@#)(*)(&^$(*&%(&#$@$_#_%#_  Silver Bass!!!  I swear that no matter where I go I just can’t escape those things.  No matter, he was quickly release and my custom painted Fire Tiger Shad Rap was run back out.  Not much longer after that Chris noticed that my outside board was drifting back.  The flag was still up but with the board drifting in towards my inside board we knew we had a fish on.  I marked the spot on the GPS and started to reel in the fish while Chris got the other rod out of the way.  Trolling for walleye with multiple boards out takes a fair amount of team work and a clear are in the boat.  While I was reeling in the fish Chris cleared the port lines and made sure no other boats were getting to close.  This fish was being very difficult and we thought it might be a 10 pounder or possibly a big catfish.  I slowly reeled him and and Chris eventually removed the board.  A few minutes later he was in the boat, a rather upset male in the 24 inch range.  Not as big as we expected but a nice addition to the live well.  We fished for about another hour until the wind started to shift to the NE.  We knew this was coming and any type of an east wind on Erie is nothing to mess with so we pulled lines and headed in.  We accomplished what we wanted to do today.  The first shakedown cruise was in the books, made some notes on what to change and get (drift sock, plug for live well and a first aid kit) and we put 3 nice fish in the live well.  Not a bad day, except for that one unmentionable.

The best part of launching at Sterling is that they have a fish cleaning station and it was open.  4 fishermen were there cleaning their 4 man limit.  I was a little surprised to see this since I did not recognize their boat but I soon found out why.  They fished Huron Ohio near Cedar Point.  They were just stopping here on their way home to clean fish.  Can’t say that I blame them.  I would do the same thing if I could.  No sense messing up my fish cleaning station at home if I don’t have too.  A few minutes later our fish were clean (need to remember an extension cord for the electric knife) and we were on our way home as well.  Not a bad morning and by the time we got home the NE wind really picked up and the flags were horizontal.  Everything pretty much went according to plan.  Can’t complain when it all works out.  Especially since we were able to catch walleye without having to compete with the 1,000 plus boats on the Detroit River.

Chris Walleye SSP SB SSP Walleye 1 SSP Walleye 2





A Year in a Life – October

14 10 2014

October is my favorite time of year and probably one of my favorite times to be on the river fishing. Every spring I count the days until I can get the boat in the water but come July I’m already thinking ahead to October. This month has consistently produced more big fish for me than any other. I know the Spring Run produces a lot of big females but for me the Fall fishing has been my best time of year. I have lost some wall hangers and also landed my personal best on a Halloween afternoon a few years back. We have all heard it before about how the fish go on a feeding binge to prep for the upcoming winter and it shouldn’t be ignored. Fishing can be tough because of the weather but the rewards can be awesome.

 
There are two areas on the Detroit River where the fish start to pile up in preparation for winter and the Spring spawning run. At the north end up near Peche Island and the South end from the Grosse Isle Free bridge to south of Celeron Island. They do catch a few fish mid river but the catches are more consistent at the north and south ends. The schools also pile up in Lake Erie from Brest Bay down to Huron Ohio but I don’t have the boat for that so I stick to the river. They also catch a lot of walleye north of the Blue Water bridge up at Port Huron but I’m not making that run either. For me though it is all about the Trenton Channel. I know big surprise.

 
During the Fall the walleye in the channel are feeding on 4 different types of baitfish. Emerald Shiners, Gobies, young of the year Smallmouth Bass and eventually Gizzard Shad. The Gizzard Shad follow the warm water from the Edison Plant discharge and the walleye are right behind them. You can always tell when they are in because you will see them jumping and there will be a big increase in Egret’s, Heron’s and Eagles in the trees along the shore. This means big baits, size #11 and #13 Rapala’s and Thundersticks. My usual set up this time of year is all Rapala’s with a 13 on my 40, an 11 on my 20 and a 9 on my kicker. Of course this can change after I have been out there for a bit but 90% of the time I start out like that. It all depends on what the fish want. It can be baffling though. I have caught barely legal fish on a #13 Rapala and a 6 or 7 pounder on a #7 Rapala. Lord for bid they stick to my plan of attack.

 
Another good thing about this time of year is that the fish hit hard. None of this lightly sucking in the bait or just nipping at the tail crap. They hit these lures like a freight train. Out in the Lake the small inline planer boards turn into bobbers that disappear under the surface. For the handliner it’s not uncommon to find the whole lure inside the fish or every hook stuck in him somewhere. Of course because the fish are so big and feisty I tend to lose a lot of fish. All the head shaking produces a lot of tearing and eventually lures being thrown back at me just as I get them within a few yards of the boat. This is a time when I really prefer to fish by myself so that I can turn the boat into the fish and try to finesse them in a little more. I also keep a net handy, especially if I can see those tell tale holes in the jaw from where the hook has been pulling.

 
Couple of other things to take into consideration for the Fall fishing. Weather plays a big role in success. Once the water temps get around that 50 degree range it’s game on. If things get to cold to quick it can shut down in a hurry. Also, October storms can tear up the water in an instant. A few years back Super Storm Sandy trashed the river for weeks and the fish shut right down. I have also noticed that since the fish are more active they are willing to chase bait and sometimes are up cruising around off the bottom. I catch more fish while bringing my lines up or setting them down this time of year over any other. If I notice this I will shorten up my 20 foot lead and my kicker. I won’t touch the 40 just in case there are still a few lazy ones down there. It also helps to keep one line away from the boat in case they are a little skittish in the shallow clear water. I have also noticed that these fish will feed at the most ridiculous times. Like I said earlier my personal best came on a Halloween afternoon at 2:00 pm. I have had some of my best days on clear blue bird days at 10:00 am. I rarely get that in the summer but it happens on a regular basis in the Fall. Bottom line is when the dinner bell rings it’s best to be out there. Weeds too can be a problem, it’s not the big mats like in the summer but just all the single strands that are dying and breaking off downstream. These tend to be below the surface so a good west wind isn’t going to help keep them in Canada. In other words clear the lines on a regular basis.

 
That’s it for my thoughts on the fall fishery. If all goes well this can carry on into November and December. It all depends on what kind of a mood Mother Nature is in. In 2007 I was catching limits well into December but last year everything came to a screeching halt in November. Each year is different, just remember to dress warm and have fun.

10-26-12 TC 2 10-26-12 TC 1 10-20-12 TC 1 TC 11-10-12 11-10-13 TC