Memorial Weekend Fishing, 2019

28 05 2019

My 3 day weekend started a bit early when my boss told me I could leave early.  I was planning on fishing tonight anyways but now I had a few extra hours to relax and get things ready.  Normally I’m all set and ready to go whenever I want but tonight was going to be a little different.  Since I had extra time I thought I would go out early and fly fish of those other fish until it got dark.  I planned on using my Redington Hydrogen 4wt switch rod.  I haven’t caught a fish on it yet and I haven’t really cast it much since Schultz Outfitter Demo Days last year.  I figured this would be a good opportunity since the chance of me catching something was pretty much guaranteed.

I arrived at the launch around 8:00 pm and was surprised to see the water had risen even more.  The Wayne County Sheriff had built another dock so they could reach their boats and all the ramps were partially under water.  This is starting to get serious.  I read a report earlier that Lake Erie is expected to rise another 6-10 inches in June.  If that happens the boardwalk at Elizabeth Park will be under water.  I was still able to launch my boat but I need to remember to bring my knee boots next time.  I set up downstream of the Edison discharge and started fishing.  It didn’t take long and I had my first one on.  When these other fish are in a person could literally catch on on every cast.  It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce a kid to fishing, it’s also a terrible time for a handliner.  Most of the fish I was catching were big females in the 15 to 16 inch range.  My biggest one being 16 1/2 inches, which qualifies for a Michigan DNR Master Angler entry.  Normally I never send these in but they have a cool patch this year and I want one.

After about an hour of messing around with these fish I packed everything up and headed over to my usual walleye starting point.  Since the other fish were in thick I started off with Pencil plugs.  The action wasn’t fast and furious but I was able to pick up 4 walleye before I called it quits around 11:00 pm.  I could have stayed out longer to get my last fish but I was tired and I had things to do tomorrow before I had to attend a wedding in the afternoon.

After the wedding I headed up to my Mom’s to take care of her chore list and hopefully get some time on the river for Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon.  With Spring being a few weeks late the fish were still in the river.  Once the chores were done and I ate dinner I was headed to the AuSable.  I took two rods with me, my “meat” rod Redington Chromer 7 wt and my new Echo Full Spey 7wt.  I have yet to cast this one so I was eager to try it out.  I had two different Skagit heads to try out, one new and one old leftover from my Ross Reach which I broke.  I started with the old one first.  Casting was a bit of a struggle, I’m not used to casting these bigger rods, especially after casting a light weight switch rod.  It took some time but I was able to make some decent casts.  Next time out I’ll try the other line.  Demo Days is coming up next weekend and I can always visit the Scientific Angler tent to try out their Skagit heads on it.  There were a lot of people out fishing as well and not a lot of catching.  As a matter of fact there wasn’t any catching.  I could see a few fish but not any great numbers.  I was fishing downstream, away form the crowds at the tail end of a large pool.  I was watching some of the other anglers when it happened.  That tell tale hit and shake of a fish.  I set the hook and the fish was on, for about 2 seconds.  Just like that the fish was off.  As I was looking downstream I could see the fish rolling and jumping.  I figured he had my hook still in his mouth and was trying to shake it.  I brought in my line and to my surprise the fly was still there.  Guess he just felt like putting on a show or he was thumbing his nose at me.  Either way at least I know I am starting to get this river figured out.  My last two trips I have hooked a fish on each one.  Hopefully the third times a charm.  Unfortunately it will have to wait until the Fall.

On my out out I did pick up a few empties and carried them out for recycling.  Not to bad for a Memorial Day Weekend.  Figured they would be a lot more garbage.  It would be even better if I never found any.





Weekend Update

5 06 2017

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

This past Friday evening started off pretty much the same as the prior one.  I was back walleye fishing in my usual spot at 9:30 pm.  Conditions were pretty good, partly cloudy skies with a slight NW breeze.  Boat traffic was a little higher than normal and in about 30 minutes I was about to find out why.  No matter though, I got set up and started my usual routine for night fishing when the other fish are in.  About 5 minutes in I had my first fish on and it turned out to be a 23 inch male walleye.  That was soon followed up by a second 21 inch male.  I was beginning to think that maybe the other fish had left.  That things would get back to normal.  That I wouldn’t have to constantly be pulling lines in to remove unwanted accidental catches.  I was wrong.

1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,15,16…..

Around 10 pm I sensed a flash of light behind me and then a resounding boom.  Grosse Isle was shooting off fireworks, thus the reason for the increased boat traffic.  Shortly after the start of the show I picked up a third walleye and it would turn out to be my last one for the night.  Once the show was over all the boats headed for the docks and after that it was nothing but the other fish for the next few hours.  My last fish of the night turned out to be a white perch that had a brush with a muskie.  When I flipped it in the boat it had teeth marks across both sides.  Lucky little bugger.

 

Hope I never lose that Blue & White PP. It’s the only one I have.

 

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Chores.  I did find another Blue & White Pencil Plug while I was cleaning out the garage.  Day wasn’t a total waste of time after all.

 

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Sunday started off with me attending Demo Days at Schultz’s Outfitter’s.  This is an annual event full of fly fishing, tying classes and demonstrations.  I signed up for the Micro Spey – Trout and Smallmouth class presented by Tom Larimer.  When spey fishing first arrived in Michigan it was all about Steelhead.  Lately though there has been an interest in scaling things down for the resident Brown & Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth bass.  Tom has been heavily involved with this, working with both G. Loomis in developing fly rods specifically for this and lines from Airflo to go with them.  Since I enjoy spey casting so much I wanted to learn how to incorporate what I have learned so far into catching the aforementioned species.  Class started off indoors at first with discussion about presentation, reading water and fly selection.  After that we wadered up and were standing in the water casting.  Tom brought along two prototype rods from G. Loomis and worked with each of us on our spey casting.  I like to think that I am getting better but after watching Tom I quickly realized I have a long way to go.  He did point out a couple of small items that I need to work on.  A couple of the finer points of setting “the anchor” that when done properly make a huge difference.  When I don’t do it things get ugly.  Just like anything else that is new I need to practice more.  I figure I’ll go down to the river a few times a week with my spey and switch rods and do just that.

Later that evening I grabbed my 5wt fly rod and headed to Washago Pond in Willow Metropark to play around with the bluegills.  Susan and I used to go to the park about once a month in the Spring and Summer.  She would read and take pictures while I fished.  Afterwards we would drive around and look at the deer or whatever other critter might be out and about.  Now it’s just me and the fish.  When I arrived around 8:00 pm it was dead calm and no sign of any surface activity.  Usually the swallows are skimming the surface trying to pick off newly hatched bugs, not tonight.  Undeterred from the lack activity I walked over to the edge of the pond, tied on a #14 Elk Hair Caddis dry fly and went at it.  The fly wasn’t on the surface for a second when the first bull gill smacked it.  About a minute later he was in hand.

The first of about 2 dozen.

This continued on for the next hour.  Every other cast resulted in another nice gill.  Eventually my dry fly started to turn into an emerger/sub surface fly and then a slow sinking fly.  I could of changed flies but it was still working so I didn’t bother.  The last few caught were strip sets.  I would see a subtle swirl where I thought my fly was and once I gave a tug I could feel the weight.  I must admit though, I tied that fly right.  It never fell apart, even after being almost swallowed by most of the fish.  Around 9:00 pm fishing started to slow down so after one more fish I packed it up and went home.  My elbows and wrists were getting sore from all the fly casting today anyways.  I can always come back.

In the immortal words of Porky Pig….”That’s All Folks“.

 

Afterwards I drove around the park to watch the deer, just like Susan and I used to do.  There were about a dozen of them out, most with their summer cinnamon tan already.  No fawns yet, they are probably hunkered down somewhere safe from the resident coyotes.

Perfect way to end the weekend.

 

 

 

 





Pre-Harvest Moon Walleye 9/15/16

19 09 2016
Moon over the Grosse Isle bridge.

Moon over the Grosse Isle bridge.

 

It’s no secret that I like to fish for walleye during the full moon periods.  Normally I do pretty well but after the last two full moons I’m beginning to wonder.  The Sturgeon Moon was less than stellar and The Harvest Moon turned out to be even worse.  Hopefully the Hunter’s Moon in October will break the trend.

I arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm and I had the whole place to myself.  No other cars in the lot, not even the ones normally parked over by the Marina.  I launched and headed south to my usual starting spot.  The water was still clear and a surface temp of around 65 degrees.  A few weeds were floating down, mostly single strands with the occasional large mat.    The south wind had died down to almost nothing which kept the water relatively calm.  Seemed like the start of a good night.  To bad the walleye had other plans.

I trolled around for the next two hours and all I had to show for my efforts was a half a dozen smallmouth and a few sub-legal walleye.   I tried different size lures, different colors, spoons, pencil plugs, just about every thing I could think of but I couldn’t get anything going.  Around 10:00 pm I got hung up bad and after 10 minutes of trying to free the weight the shank snapped right at the loop.  I lost the shank, weight and 3 custom painted Rapala’s.  I thought about giving up right then but I hadn’t been skunked in almost 3 years and I wasn’t about to let it happen tonight.  I dug out another shank, weight, leaders and lures and started all over again, after I moved away from where I got hung up.  About 15 minutes later I finally caught a legal fish.  Not much of one but it was a start.  I tossed him in the cooler and headed towards the Edison discharge.  I hadn’t been by there lately so I thought I would give it a shot.  Weeds were a lot worse there and I could feel them starting to pile up on my line.  Just as I was about to pull my lines and clear the weeds I felt a lot of weight.  I figured I hit a big mat of weeds, under the surface, so I started to pull it all up.  The “weeds” were all on my 40 foot leader so once I got my other two lines clear and out of the way I started to bring it in.  About half way in the load became lighter and I figured some of them must have come off.  I looked back and my headlamp showed a pair of eyes staring back at me.  That stupid fish never shook once, she just came in like a wet towel.  It was a bigger fish so I wasn’t taking any chances.  I got my net behind her and just as I start to scoop she shook and threw the lure.  Didn’t matter, she was in the net and then in the cooler.  After that I decided to call it a night.  I was headed to Columbus Ohio in the morning and I needed some rest.  I had enough fish to fill a vacuum seal bag and I didn’t get skunked.  It did turn out to be my most expensive trip of the year but I won’t lose any sleep over it.  It was my own fault for not swapping out shanks and leaders.  I had been using the same one all season so I’m sure it had been stressed in a few places.  One of these days I will start to listen to my own advice.

I doubt it.

09-15-16-walleye

 

 





Sturgeon Moon Walleye 8/19/16

20 08 2016

You can file this one under useless Cliff Clavin bar trivia.  I didn’t know this until recently but every full moon has a name.  This past full moon is known as a Sturgeon Moon.  What that actually means is still a mystery to me but it makes for a unique blog post title.

I started out fishing Friday night a little earlier than I normally do.  It was overcast so I figured going before sunset wouldn’t hurt.  Of course, once I got on the water the clouds broke and the sun came out.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least there were no weeds, for now.  I started it my usual area and threw out a few spoons and a #9 Bleeding Olive Rapala.  Not much happened at first but around 8:00 pm fishing got interesting.

Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Are You kidding me? Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, Bass, swap out spoon catching all the bass.  Brief lull.  Short, Short, legal, Double Legal, Short, Short, Legal, Bass, Double Short, Really short, Lost at boat, Short, Bounced off side of boat, Short, Rocky, Short, Short, Short………………………………………………………………….Short, Ridiculously short, Where did all the weeds come from?  Screw this.  Went home.

That’s pretty much how the evening went.  From 8 to 9:30 my lines were out of the water more than they were in.  Smallmouth bass and lots of undersized walleye.  Once the full moon came up and cleared the trees the fishing really slowed down.  Kind of odd since I usually do pretty well under a full moon.  Just goes to show that there are no absolutes in fishing.  Around 10 the weeds showed up in force and fishing became impossible.  I tried to find clean water but it just wasn’t happening.  Eventually I gave up and headed in, there will be other nights.  At least I know, barring some catastrophic event, the walleye fishing next year should be awesome.

Sturgeon Moon walleye

 





More Muggy Walleye, 7/23/16

24 07 2016

Don’t make a blog post in over a month and now I’m making two within 12 hours of each other.

After the success of last night I had to go and try again.  We got a later start this time since we had to find bug spray.  As it would turn out we wouldn’t need it.  Started fishing at 9:30 pm and by 9:52 pm 5 were in the cooler.

Legal, legal, smallmouth, double, legal, home.

4 fish in 4 minutes and an extra 15 minutes to catch the last one.  Got to love nights like this.

As I was leaving I ran into my friend Richard who was just heading out with his friend Brian.  I gave them all the where, when and on what’s and then wished them luck.  I was heading home with 5 more for the cooler.

7-24-16 Walleye

One other thing, my luck ran out on me.  I had to pay to launch tonight.





A Shameless Plug for Pencil Plugs.

14 05 2016

Normally I don’t make a lot of shameless plugs, unless you count that one post that was a slew of them.  Well this plug is about just that, a plug, a pencil plug to be exact.  Long time readers know that I have used Nite Stalker pencil plugs before, and shamelessly plugged them as well.  They have been hard to come by but a new company has taken up the mantle and they are being produced once again.

http://sportsmensdirect.com/shop/pencil-plug-by-hwi/

They are just like the old Nite Stalkers and are available here in Michigan.  They offer them in many colors along with Chrome, Gold and Blank if you want to paint them yourself.  As for me I will be sending some up to Jim at www.downrivertackle.com  (see what I did there?) to paint mine up.  He told me he can work wonders with the blank and chrome plugs.

I’ll be ordering some this weekend to use once those other fish leave the river.

If you have never fished with a pencil plug before for walleye you might want to give it a shot.  They don’t dive as deep as a Rapala so they don’t get hung up as much.  Walleye tend to hit them center mass and they get all those hooks in them.  Since they don’t have a lip they do a decent job of not getting fouled with weeds and they are just plain cool.





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.





3 more for the freezer 9/13/15

14 09 2015

I had some more free time Sunday night so I decided to see if I could add to my Mother’s request for a fish fry for her friends.  I thought I had enough but she keeps adding people and time is running out.  I got a late start and arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm.  No one at the gate and I was the only car in the lot.  Kind of spooky being the only person there after dark.  I quickly launched my boat and soon I was heading downstream to my usual starting point, right where the “Cat” used to be.  I started off with the same two Rapalas and Pencil Plug I have been having all my success with.  If it’s not broke why fix it?  As it turns out it would be somewhat broke tonight and try as I might I couldn’t get anything going on the Rapalas.  All my walleye tonight came on the same blue and white Pencil Plug.  I needed to check my boxes to see if I have anymore of these pp’s tucked away.

I only ended up with 3 walleye, it could have been 4 but 1 walleye made a kamikaze death charge right at my prop and off he came.  They must teach them that at walleye survival school because that is the second time I have had one do that to me.  Water is still very clear and the surface temp has dropped 5 degrees from the previous trip on Wednesday.  It should warm back up again later this week as temps get back up into the 80’s.  Weeds were not an issue, the skies were clear, the wind died down to nothing and as I said before I was the only one out there.  The only other boat I saw was the Homeland Security boat around 9:00 pm.

Nothing else to report other than I caught another channel cat and a couple of smallmouth bass.  From what I have been reading it sounds like the bass have moved into the lower river.    Wish some bigger walleye would move in.  One or two 25 inch fish would cure my fish fry needs.

I know I’m going to jinx myself for saying this but this is 4 trips now and I still haven’t lost a lure.

IMG_2348





Somewhat Windy Wednesday Walleye

10 09 2015

As I sat at work I repeatedly looked out the window to see if the skies were remaining overcast.  When 5:30 pm rolled around the clouds were cooperating so I decided to hook up the boat and go.  I should have left earlier but I had a few things to take care of first.  By 8:15 though I was on the water and lines down.  It didn’t take long and I had my first fish on for the night.  Only problem was that it was another one of those weak ass hits that have been all to common this summer.  Like all the others before him he came off right at the boat.  Luckily, a few minutes later, I landed numbers one and two in short order.  They each came on a #9 Rapala, one Black/Silver and the other Gold/Silver.  I tried to stay in the area but the NE wind made boat control difficult and as I was untangling lines I drifted downstream.  About 10 minutes later I was back where I wanted to be and another fish was on.  This one would turn out to be either the dumbest or most unlucky fish alive (well not anymore).  I hooked this one on my 20 foot lead.  As I was about to flip him in the boat he came off.  As he swam away he headed right towards my kicker lure that was still in the water.  Now either he grabbed it or by shear dumb luck he hit it mouth open and got hooked.  I didn’t care, a quick flip and he was in the cooler as well.

Dumbass.

After that incident the rest of the night was pretty uneventful.  I landed two more walleye to finish out my limit by 9:00 pm and I also caught my first channel cat for the year.  My last fish came on the same blue and silver pencil plug that has been producing so well for me as of late.  As it turns out it would also be my biggest fish of the year so far, a whopping 21 incher.  Last year that was my average size, this year it is my biggest.  Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Other than the 15 mph NE wind, conditions were just about ideal.  Water is still clear and the west winds from the last few days kept the weeds to a minimum.  As I had stated earlier the skies were overcast at first but by 9 they were starting to break up.  I didn’t care, I was already on my way home.  That makes 3 limits on my last 3 trips, no lost lures and no equipment malfunctions.  I’m beginning to think I have a guardian angel watching over me.

FullSizeRender IMG_2338





Thanks Dad

23 08 2015

This was going to be a tough night, not because of the conditions but because this was my first fishing trip since my dad passed away.  While he was battling cholangiocarcinoma there was always that glimmer of hope that we would be able to get out one more time.  Unfortunately he was never able to get any strength back to make a night of pulling wire enjoyable.  Our  last trip together was last October on my friend Richard’s boat.  I will be forever grateful to Richard for taking us both out.  We didn’t catch many fish that night but we did get to spend a few precious fishing hours together.  Since then I would call him while I was fishing and tell him how I was doing.  He was always happy to hear my voice and the sound of my Evinrude running in the background.  We would talk about all the trips we made and how we would get out fishing again soon.  That trip never did happen and now the reality of never fishing with him has really set in. No phone call, no pictures emailed to him in the morning and no plans for future trips.  It was going to be a tough night.

I started fishing around 8:30 pm down by the brown boat house in about 18 to 20 feet of water.  The water is still clear so I started with a couple of spoons and a #9 Black/Silver Rapala.  Not much happened the first 15 minutes so I pulled lines and headed upstream to where the catamaran used to be.  About 1 minute later I had my first walleye of the night on and a few seconds later he was in the boat.  He hit the Michigan Stinger spoon (sorry Jim), one I recently found in my Dad’s garage.  Once I got him in the cooler I dropped my lines back and it wasn’t long before I had another hit.  This one was one of those dead weight hits that I have grown to despise so much.  I didn’t even need to guess what lure it was on, my 40 foot lead and the Rapala.  Just like so many fish before him he waited until he got up to the side of the boat to make that last head shake and throw the lure.  This was really getting frustrating so I witched things up a bit.  I moved the one Rapala to my kicker, added a #9 Blue/Silver Rapala to my 20 foot lead and added a big blue and silver pencil plug to my 40 foot lead.  Maximum hooks for hopefully maximum hook ups.  That seemed to do the trick.  The next two fish came on the pencil plug and each fish had all three treble hooks in them.  I don’t know what it is about these lures but the walleye seem to hit them right in the center and get all the hooks in them.  I’m not going to complain.  It took a little while but I finally got the forth and fifth fish between 10:30 and 11:00 pm and they each grabbed one of the two Rapala’s.  A good way to end the night.

While I was fishing I noticed some lights south of me.  It was a strand of about 2 dozen rising up from the trees to the night sky.  It looked like that old CNN stock footage from the Iraq war where the flak was headed up to hit a plane that wasn’t there.  Eventually I realized it was a group of people releasing a bunch of paper lanterns.  I’m sure it was a tribute of some kind but it seemed fitting for me to be the only one fishing tonight and to see that as I was thinking about my father.  All around it was a perfect night and not as hard as I thought it would be.

Thanks Dad.

 

8-21 walleye

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dad (6) Dad (7) Dad (11) Dad (13) Dad (17) Dad (32) Dad (19)