2017 Lake Erie Walleye & Perch hatch results

14 09 2017

http://ohiovalleyoutdoors.com/page/content.detail/id/536464/Results-of-2017-Lake-Erie-Walleye-and-Yellow-Perch-Hatches-Released.html?nav=5045

I’m very surprised about this.  I figured that the two storms we had right around spawning time would have nullified any type of a successful spawn.  Guess the walleye did their thing after the storms.  Based on the graph we are going to have some excellent fishing for quite some time.

536464_1

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Come On Fall

7 09 2017

Yesterday was one of those days at work you would like to just soon forget.  It’s not that it was a really bad day but one part of it was rather annoying.  I really hate when I am trying to complete an assignment and I have people behind me telling what to do, where to put the numbers, how to write the email, what to put in the subject line, how to format the spreadsheet.  I have no patience for back seat drivers or know it all co-workers who won’t shut up and let me do my job.  Because of all that I decided to go walleye fishing.  I figured it would be a good night weather wise and I was right.  The water was clear, very few weeds and even fewer boats.  Only problem was a lack of walleye.  I ended up with 5 for the night but I could only keep 3 of them.  I’ve said before that August and September can be transition months but this has me worried.

The first thing is a lack of baitfish.  Normally I see lots of Emerald Shiners in the Marina as I am launching.  Not this year.  I haven’t see a one.  I haven’t seen any Gizzard Shad jumping in the Edison discharge either.  It’s still a little early for them but I usually see a few by now.  I haven’t caught any young of the year smallmouth either.  As a matter of fact I haven’t caught any.  The only other fish I caught last night was another big channel cat.

The other thing is the Algal Bloom in Lake Erie.  It was bad this year and I have noticed that when the bloom is bad in Erie the Fall walleye fishing suffers in the river.  I don’t know if it is just a coincidence or if it acts as some kind of a barrier to keep the fish from moving in.  I guess I’ll find out later in October once the water temps get  back down to the 50 degree range.  Right now the surface temp is at 65 degrees so we have a ways to go yet.  I’m not about to push the panic button, there is still time.

All the fish came on a #7 Hot Steel Rapala.  I tried other sizes and colors but that was the only one producing.  I also broke the lip on my last #9 Original.  I’ll have to go raid Walmart or something soon.  I’m beginning to wish I never had all those originals I bought at garage sales painted.

No pics this time.  Who really wants to see what a 15 inch walleye looks like?

 





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

 





Time Heals……..Eventually

9 08 2017

We’ve all heard the saying “Time heals all wounds”.  Personally, I don’t think it does.  Two years later and I still have a hard time getting used to fishing without my Dad.  I enjoy my time on the water but not being able to have him sitting next to me, in his spot, sucks.  Even when he couldn’t go I could still call him and give him a play by play on my phone.  His reel is still prepped and ready to go, complete with his shank and leaders.  His box of Rattlin’ Rogue’s are still tucked away under the seat, waiting to be used.  Even though I can use them whenever I want I don’t.  They were his and I don’t feel right using them or letting anyone else use them.  Hell, I still have a hard time letting anyone come along and sit on his side of the boat.  On the rare occasion that I do I’m surprised I haven’t called my guest “Dad”.  Then again, I might have and they just stayed silent out of respect.  With all that in mind I found myself back out on the river tonight pulling wire.  It seemed fitting with it being the two-year anniversary of his death.  Staying home and reminiscing about past trips felt like it would do more harm than good.

I started a lot earlier than I normally do.  Even though the skies were clear and the sun was bright I didn’t care.  I needed to be on the water and catching fish didn’t seem all that important.  Around 7:30 pm I launched my boat and started my way south.  As I was going past the coal docks I noticed that the floating weeds were non-existent so I decided to make a pass there first.  Normally I don’t fish this area because the weeds are so bad.  Since the area was clear I decided to give it a shot.  I set up at the south end in about 20 feet of water and worked my way north.  Nothing happened at first but once I got to the end, things got interesting.  About 50 feet north of the dock I hooked and landed a sub-legal walleye.  No big deal but it warranted a second pass through to see if their might be more.  On my second pass I hooked a double of two more sub-legal fish.  On my next pass I hooked another double, one legal and one sub-legal fish.  My next pass yielded another sub-legal fish.  The next pass through I hooked a triple, one legal fish and two just barely sub-legal fish.  This pattern would repeat itself for the next half hour.  Catch a few fish, make a loop, do it again.  All in an area not 30 feet from shore and about 100 yards form the bridge.  Eventually I wore out my welcome and the fish shut down.  Either that or I caught them all.  By now the sun was starting to set so I pulled lines and headed down to my regular area.

Once I got down by the flag I swapped out my 1 1/2 pound weight and replaced the spoons I was using with Rapalas.  I went through my usual routine for the next hour and all I caught were a few more sub-legal fish.  After the flurry of activity I had in the first hour this next hour and a half was rather tedious.  Of course I started debating going in early but I wanted to know if their were still fish in the area so I kept at it.  Around 10:00 pm the full moon finally cleared what few clouds their were and I changed the #9 Original on my 40 foot lead to a #11 Clown.  That did the trick, in the next half hour I landed two more legal walleye and I was headed for home.  I ended up with a limit, about 2 dozen sub-legal fish, a couple of Rockies, Smallies, Sheeps and no CATS.  After my last trip I didn’t want to see any of those things.  The water is still very clear, the surface temp was around 75 degrees and the weeds weren’t much of an issue.  I don’t know when I will be out again.  I’m headed up to Oscoda for a wedding this weekend and hopefully the St. Mary’s river the following weekend to try for some Atlantic Salmon.  Hopefully, while I am gone, a few walleye will make their way into the river from Erie.  I may make a few trips during the week.  Depends on how I’m feeling and if I start to feel a little claustrophobic sitting at home.





2015 Lake Erie Walleye and Perch Hatch Numbers

23 09 2015

Looks like Lake Erie had a good hatch for this year.  If I figured correctly the walleye population should get a 20 million fish boost.  I’m curious to see what the TEC numbers for 2016 will be and what the estimated population is.  This hatch won’t be counted with the estimated population.

http://budmancharters.blogspot.com/2015/09/2015-walleye-hatch-as-reported-by.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/lake-erie-walleye-and-perch-hatchlings-near-record-numbers-1.3242477

Of course the down side to this is that next summer (2016) we are going to be catching a lot of 8-10 inch walleye.  In 2017 they will be barely legal so we will have to do a lot of sorting.  2018 should be a fantastic season.  Wonder if they will increase the daily limit for the Detroit River in 2018?  Probably not.  If Canada increases their daily limit I might have to start fishing Amherstburg again.

The population really needed this boost, especially if we have another warm winter like they are predicting.  Hatches after a warm winter have been historically poor.





Weeds Still Suck

22 09 2015

Originally I had no plans to fish last night (9/21/15).  I was planning on going out on Thursday since I had the next day off from work.  Figured I would be able to stay out as long as I want and maybe experiment with some other lures.  What changed my mind was the wind forecast.  The forecast called for NE, E and SE winds all week.  That meant that by Thursday I would have needed a brush hog to find any clear water.  So I figured last night would be my best bet.  Unfortunately the weeds were still bad, not as bad as my previous trip but bad enough.  I only fished for about 90 minutes and managed one 18 inch walleye and one 19 inch Smallmouth (which really made a mess of my leaders).  Both fish came on the same blue and white pencil plug I have been using for the last month.

No pictures this time.  I figured everyone has seen enough pics of an 18 inch walleye and by now everyone should know what that pencil plug looks like.  Water temps was 68 degrees and the water is still extremely clear.  Weeds were all throughout the water column.  Mats on top and single strands below the surface.

Taking a break for awhile.  Got enough fish for my mom’s fish fry so I’m good for now. I’ll wait until the water cools down some more and we get a few days of west winds.  I’m hoping a few new fish will move in from Erie.  Not that I did that much damage to the local population but it would be nice to get some new fish in the river.





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