I’m Back

25 05 2015

In the not so immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur…”I have Returned”.

It has been over 8 months since I was last on the river, in my boat.  The cracks have been welded and the transom has been rebuilt.  The engine is back in place and my Schaller Reel is right where it belongs.  Now it’s time to catch some walleye.  Only problem is that the annual White Bass run is in full swing.

Oh Joy!

Well if I can’t avoid them I figured I might as well have some fun with them.  That’s just what I did.  After I got out of work last Friday I grabbed my 5wt fly rod and headed for the river shortly after 8:00 pm.  Water was very clear and their was a slight north east breeze.  The clouds were scarce and there was just a hint of a waxing crescent moon in the western sky.  It looked like it was going to be a good night for pulling wire but that would come after dark.  In the mean time I was going to play for a bit.

I pulled into the Edison discharge area and broke out the rod.  I was surprised to see that there were no remnants of the tri-hull navy anywhere.  As a matter of fact there were only 3 other boats out fishing for Silver Bass.  Seemed kind of strange to me but I didn’t care.  Makes it easier for me to cast with so few boats around.  I found a slack water area out of the current and started casting a White Slumpbuster streamer.  It took a few casts to get a rhythm down but soon I was getting the weighted streamer out into the direction I wanted.  All I needed to do now was to get the bass to cooperate.  Believe it or not they were actually refusing my fly.  I couldn’t believe it, the fish that are known to eat anything were refusing my fly.  This had me perplexed and confused.  I was making short sporadic casts at first and I was only catching the occasional fish.  I also trimmed the fly down by about an inch, I could feel them tugging at the tail end.  After about 45 minutes of catching a fish here and there I started to switch things up a bit.  I quit making the short slow strips and started making long fast strips.  That did the trick.  After that the fish were coming on every cast right up until dark.  Once they started to slow down I figured it was safe to start pulling wire.

I started south of where the catamaran used to be.  I threw on a couple of chrome pencil plugs and headed upstream.  I figured the white bass would leave them alone.  I wanted to use Rapalas but with the Erie Scourge in I wasn’t going to take any chances.  I fished for about 2 hours and all I had to show for my efforts were one throwback and a heavy head shake.  At least I didn’t get skunked and I only caught about 6 Silvers.  The NE wind started to pick up as the night wore on and it got colder with each passing minute.  I wasn’t dressed for the cold so I packed it in around 11:00 pm.  No big deal, the season is just starting for me and in a couple of weeks the unmentionables will be back out in Erie.  Until then I play with the fly rod some more and maybe catch a few crappie up on Sanford Lake.

Felt good to have some wire in my hand again.

11108199_10152782756071951_4821849251961124393_n 11231154_10152782685631951_6300974526876202131_n

Vacation Walleye 7/25/14

26 07 2014

Ah vacation time, nothing better.  Originally I was supposed to be boarding a plane with my Dad and brother for Alaska.  Unfortunately things happened and the trip was cancelled.  So now it’s on to Plan B, walleye.

Started out around 9;30 pm down on the lower river near the blue boat house.  It didn’t take long and my first walleye of the night was in the boat, too bad it was 14 31/32 inches long.  No biggie, where there is one there are more.  The weeds were tolerable, there was a nice breeze on the water and I pretty much had the place to myself.  It was going to be a good night so I got comfortable and went about my business.  I ended up staying out until about midnight and caught 3 more legal walleye before I called it a night.  All the fish, even the non-walleye species, all came on my 20 foot lead and a #9 Bleeding Copper Flash Rapala.  I tried other Rapala’s, spoons and pencil plugs but the only lure producing was that BCF.  At one point a coal barge came downstream with a delivery for the Edison power plant.  I thought that might screw things up when they tried to maneuver it into the dock but a pair of tugs carefully put her where she belonged without stirring up the water too much.  Weeds got a little thick for a bit but they quickly passed.  The only other item of note was that I caught another channel cat.  That gives me 2 for what I like to call my channel trifecta.  So far I have the cat and the musky, all I need now is a steelhead to complete it.

So that’s it for this trip.  Three walleye, one throwback, a channel cat and a couple of smallmouth’s.  Weeds were tolerable and the water is still ridiculously clear.  The water is clearer now than it was in the Spring.  I wish it would dirty up some.  I really want to fish in the daylight instead of after sunset.  Makes getting up in the morning difficult.

Next  up, panfish and brook trout from the Oscoda area.  Couldn’t get my Dad to Alaska so we are going to fish a little closer to home, his home anyways.


07-25-14 TC

7/19/14 All Day Fishing

20 07 2014

Actually it started Friday night.  My friends Dean and Barry convinced their mother that she needed a summer home on Sanford lake.  Since then they have been spending a fair amount of time trying to find the fish on the lake.  Lately they have been doing well on the crappie and I wanted to get in on that.  I packed the car and after work on Friday I headed north.  I arrived at Barry’s and he informed me we had to run to his Mom’s house that night.  No problem, start fishing early.  We fished from the dock and managed to get a couple of crappie and some bluegills.  So far so good.

During the night Dean arrived and after a quick stop for some minnows we were on the boat to try a few spots.  Our plan was to target structure around the lake, mainly fallen trees and stumps.  It was pretty hit and miss at first, couple here, couple there, nothing to get excited about.  At one stop we tried by the M-10 bridge going over the lake.  No crappie but there were dozens of bluegills hanging around the pilings.  They weren’t big but this was a perfect chance for me to try my new 4wt Echo fly rod.  I tied on an a little emerger pattern and let it fly.  It’s hard to cast from a pontoon boat, especially with 3 people on board.  To make matters worse I was trying to cast under a bridge.  I managed to get the fly in there and catch a few.  Even though the fish were small they were a lot of fun on that light rod.  I think I am going to really like fishing with it. I just need more practice.  We didn’t stick around too long.  Dean wanted to go to an antique flea market so we headed back to the dock.  After a quick lunch Barry and I were back out again.  We went back to a blow down in one of the canals that we couldn’t fish earlier because someone else was already was.  The wind had started to pick up a bit so we anchored the boat upwind and drifted in to the area.  We were able to let our baits drift right into the limbs of the tree that were underwater.  It didn’t take long and soon we were catching crappie left and right.  Unfortunately the vast majority of them were around 6 inches long.  This went on for about an hour until we ran out of minnows.  We tried worms for a bit but it was obvious the crappie wanted minnows.  We pulled anchor and headed home so we could get more.  By now Dean was back and he was headed with us, after we sent him to the bait shop to get more minnows of course.  About an hour later we were headed back only to find another boat fishing there.  He was set up on the other side of the tree and I have to admit, he was one dedicated fisherman (more on that later).  We anchored away from him and were back to drifting minnows back into the tree limbs.  Only problem was that the wind had died down so know we were casting into them.  We still managed to catch fish but no at the pace we were earlier.  We stuck to it though for a couple of hours and managed to put a few in the live well.  By now it was 5:00 pm and time for me to head home.  I wanted to go walleye fishing tonight and I had a 2 hour drive ahead of me and a bunch of fish to clean.  I said my good-bye’s and was soon heading home.

After I got the fish cleaned I hooked my boat up and was headed to Elizabeth Park.  It was after 9 now and getting dark.  Not a problem since the water has been so clear and with no cloud cover nothing was going to happen until after dark anyways.  I started fishing just before 10:00 pm running Rapala’s and Pencil plugs.  The weeds were a bit of a problem but not as bad as I thought they might be with no wind.  Bugs weren’t too bad either.  I kept swapping out colors and sizes for the next few hours trying to find something they like.  I managed to get one walleye on a Chartreuse and Chrome Nite Stalker and another on an Orange and Black wooden PP.  As the night wore on the weeds steadily got worse and worse.  There must have been a mayfly hatch upstream as well because I was spotting hundreds of casings all over the river.  This was starting to get old so shortly after midnight I just gave up and headed home.  I had been fishing all day and I was tired.  I had a lot of chores to do tomorrow so sleep was a better option than dodging the ever increasing weed patches.  I’m not going to complain.  I got a few walleye and a fair number of crappie for the freezer.  Sounds like a good day to me.

Side Note:  Ok, I have always thought that I am a pretty devoted fisherman.  I have been known to ignore a lot of things in order to catch fish and I get so focused on fish that I block out everything else around me.  Earlier today I met someone who is more dedicated than I am.  As I said earlier there was another fisherman at one of our spots.  Well he wasn’t alone.  He had his girlfriend/wife along and she was sunbathing in the boat with him.  She was wearing a red, white blue bikini and was laying spread eagle in front of him in the boat.  He sat there the whole time fishing while she was laying in front of him and he wasn’t catching anything yet he kept trying.  That’s Dedication!!!


This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish.  He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

This guy appeared while I was cleaning fish. He was alive and I have no idea where he came from.

Sanford Lake Crappie

Pencil Plug Modification

3 06 2014

I was trying to come up with a way to modify all the wooden Pencil Plugs I have so that I can actually use them.  This should work.  I’ll try it once the Silver’s leave.  All I did was unscrew the eyelet out about half way, pried it open with a knife edge, inserted the barrel swivel and clamped it back down.  I can’t think of any reason for why it shouldn’t work.  It sure will make attaching it to a crank bait snap a lot easier.

A Minor Tweak

A Minor Tweak

5/17/14 Pencil Plug Walleye

17 05 2014

Well so much for my theories, then again I did say they weren’t foolproof.

Went out on the evening of Friday the 17th to see if I could put some more walleye in the freezer.  With the silver horde in town I waited until after dark and ran only pp’s.  I was hoping that this combination would keep the Silver’s at bay but it failed miserably.  for 2 1/2 hours it was constantly clearing my lines of Silver Bass.  After the first 20 minutes I was getting so frustrated that I pulled my kicker line and switched over to darker color plugs because it was obvious the chromes were too enticing for the species I didn’t want.  By 11:30 pm it was starting to rain so that was my cue to quit.  I did end up with 2 walleye but it wasn’t worth the aggravation.

Now for the vital stats.  Water had about 2 to 3 feet of visibility and a surface temp of 54 degrees.  Cloudy skies and the near full moon only appeared for about 20 minutes.  I was hoping it would help get the walleye active but it never got a chance to clear the island.  Light west winds and rather cold out for mid May.  I guess I shouldn’t complain.  At least it wasn’t snowing like it was up north.


10-17-14 TC

Walleye Relocation Excercise 5/9/14

11 05 2014

After the storms blew through I thought it would be considerate of me to relocate 5 walleye from their current location to my freezer. I figure that with the annual fish that shall not be named (hence forth known as them, they or any other disparaging remark I can think of) invasion starting up that there might be some walleye that want to get out while the gettin’s good.

Now let me start out by saying that I had no business being out on the river Friday night. I thought I could get a few hours in before the storms and I was wrong. I arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm and the thunderstorms were just rolling in. I decided to wait it out and I spent time talking to another fisherman waiting out the rain. The rain didn’t last long but the south wind never quit. Around 10 we both headed out and that was a big mistake. Knowing the wind was coming out of the south and with it being so dark I had no idea just how rough it was and it was rough. I was getting bounced around a lot and I should have just turned around and went back in. My motives were sound, or so I thought. I figured with the unmentionables moving in and having to go out of town to help my parents I figured this was my only chance for a while. Let me just say that no walleye is worth my own safety, especially when fishing alone. Even though I stuck to the west side of the river to try and keep out of the SW wind it was poor judgment on my part to continue. If I had a line get wrapped in the prop and lose power I would have drifted right into the rough water and then I would have been in big trouble. Like I said, poor judgment. Lesson learned, I made it home ok but from now on I will use better judgment.

Ok, no more preaching. By just sticking to the west side of the river and staying out of the wind I was able to pick up 5 walleye. Because those other things are in I ran chrome pencil plugs to help keep those unintentional catches to a minimum.  It worked, only caught about 10 of them and managed to catch my limit of walleye. There are a lot of nice fish still in the river, we just have to contend with the silver invasion.

Be safe out there, we have a long season. No sense getting crazy.

5-9-14 TC