Memorial Weekend Fishing.

26 05 2020

Two weeks ago we had snow and overnight freeze warnings.  This weekend we were flirting with record breaking highs.  On top of that central Michigan had a 500 year rain event (though no one knew Michigan existed except for the current residents back then and I doubt any of them had calendars) that caused several dam failures.  Lake front homes now became mud front homes and the lakes are gone.  My local river flooded out as well and several fields were still underwater.  With all that in mind I made my plans and went fishing.

Saturday

Knowing that the river was still blown out I decided to take a walk down to Pte. Mouille and try that area out.  I left early figuring there would be a fair amount of people.  I didn’t leave early enough, by the time I got there (around 7) the parking lot was practically full.  I grabbed my gear and started walking.  I took my G Loomis 6 wt and my Helios 2 7 wt.  The Loomis was rigged up with a floating line and a small nymph for gills.  The 7 had a Pearl Chenille Game Changer tied onto a Sinking line.  I figured I could cast for some Gills with one and Bass with the other.  If I saw any feeding carp I could quickly swap out flies.  Turns out I would never have too.  The water was so dark I couldn’t see any carp, just the occasional small bluegill or bass near the edge.  I made the best of it though and stuck to the game changer fly and blind casted here and there.  I managed a few Bass, no monsters but enough to keep me interested.  It was cool to cast that big white fly and then watch it disappear as a bass hit it.

After a few hours I headed back home checking out the sights and trying not to step on anything.

Lots of these guys around today.

Almost stepped on this little guy.

Around 7:30 pm I packed up the boat and headed to the Detroit River.  The fish that shall not be named had moved in so I took my fly rod along to play with before it got dark.  I used the same Game Changer fly and ended up catching about 30 of them before dark.  Around 9:30 pm I put the fly rod down and broke out the Rapalas.  An hour later I had 6 more walleye in the boat and I was headed for home.

Sunday

Knowing that Pte. Mouille was to dark to see I figured I go and check out The Huron and see just how much the water had gone down.  Water levels had receded some but a few fields were still flooded.  As I was walking along one of them I could see nervous water and signs of life.  Sure enough, several smaller carp were in the field cruising around and looking for breakfast.  I carefully waded in and waited until one got close enough to present my fly.  Eventually one did but I missed the hook set.  That sent him off back to the river along with the few he passed along the way.  I worked my way into the shadows of the trees and waited for another fish to come by.  I figured I could keep myself hidden better in the shade but it also proved to be my downfall.  I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a carp swimming right at me along the bushes.  I carefully dropped the fly a few feet in front of him, waited for him to get close, gave it a twitch and once he picked it up I set the hook. He immediately took off through the bushes and back out into the river.  The leader snapped and that was that.  Now there is a carp swimming somewhere in The Huron River with my fly stuck in his mouth.  After that I left that area and went on to check a local pond.  I had never fished it before but I was curious to see if there were any carp in it.  When I arrived there were a few other people fishing and a lot of walkers and joggers.  I just grabbed the carp rod and starting walking the perimeter.  Much to my delight I started seeing carp cruising just out of range.  I made a few attempts but it was obvious these fish were on high alert from all the foot traffic.  I headed for home and decided I would come back the next morning ahead of the crowds.

Monday

I got up early and headed to the pond first thing.  As I hoped for no one else was there.  I grabbed the Loomis rod and worked my way to the edge of the pond.  I quickly spotted a silt cloud, something I haven’t seen it what has seemed like forever.  I waited until I could figure out which way he was headed.  Once I saw which way he was going I cast my fly past him by about 20 feet and then stripped the fly to his left by about a foot.  As it dropped into his field of view he moved on it and sucked it up.  I set the hook and off he went.  Since this was a pond and no trees or bushes to worry about I just let him run.  He wasn’t a big fish but it was my first one of they year so I was going to enjoy this.  After about 5 minutes I got him into shore, took a quick pic and sent him on his way.

First carp of the year and the first fish on my G Loomis X Pro.

After that I walked the perimeter of the pond again, saw a few fish, spooked most of them, didn’t catch anymore.  They look like they are getting ready to go into spawn mode.  After about an hour I headed back to the car.  I was going to just go home but it was still early so I figured I would head back The Huron and take another crack at that flooded field.  Much to my dismay the water had receded some more and that section of the field wasn’t holding as much water or any fish.  I moved on to another area that I figured might be flooded and sure enough, there were carp swimming around.  Once again I carefully waded in, spotted a lone carp, presented my fly, missed the hook set and sent him back to the river, along with the rest of the fish that were there.  Once they all spooked I walked towards the drainage ditch where they were coming in from.  I leaned up against a tree on the shaded side and waited.  I figured one would coming cruising back in soon.  With all the worms I saw on the paved trails I figured the carp were in the field feeding on them.  I switched flies to a black hybrid carp fly with a red chenille tail.  About 5 minutes later one lone fish came cruising in.  I placed the fly in his path and once he got close I gave it a twitch.  He figured he had an easy meal and pounced on it.  I set the hook and quickly cut off his escape route to the river.  He turned and headed out towards the field where I could keep him under control.  It was really something to see him speeding through the shallows, throwing a wake as he swam by. After a few minutes of chasing him down I was able to corral him and take a picture.  He swam back the way he came, no worse for wear.

After that I pretty much trashed the whole area so I just packed up and headed for home.  I wasn’t going to complain.  After almost two months of unpredictable weather I finally caught a few carp.  I got all summer to catch more.

 

 

 

 





May the 4th Trip

8 05 2020

Since I had absolutely nothing better to do, the evening of the 4th, I decided to take a crack at putting another limit in the freezer.  I suppose I could have embraced my inner geek and watched the last Star Wars movie but I figured I had plenty of time.  Especially since the winds weren’t looking very favorable for the remainder of the week.  I arrived at the ramp around 9 pm and started fishing shortly after that.  In the first 5 minutes I had numbers 1 & 2 in the cooler.  I was just getting ready to make my turn back through the same area when I boat came up from behind and beat me to it.  I waited for him to pass and picked up number 3 shortly afterwards.  After another pass number 4 was in the boat.  After I started to set lines my top two leads got tangled, as I was separating them another fish hit my kicker.  I couldn’t do much about it since I had a handful of Rapalas.  I lost him and eventually got everything straightened out and lines in.  A few minutes later I had another fish on and it originally felt like a bigger fish.  It turned out to be another double and they managed to tangle up all my leaders.  After I landed both of them I just wadded the leaders and threw them in the bucket and headed for the dock.  Not bad for 20 minutes of fishing.

I may try again this weekend.  Forecast is looking iffy for the next few days with snow in the forecast for today (5/8).  Hopefully Sunday.





Wash, Rise, Repeat……….Sort of.

4 05 2020

Wen out this past Friday and Saturday and picked up a limit each night.  Not hard to do right now since this time of the year the river is full of 15 to 20 inch post spawn fish that are very hungry.  Only item of note was that getting to those limits were different each night.  Just goes to show how one change in condition can make a big difference.

I was on the water Friday night around 7:30 pm.  I had a bad week and was anxious to get started and de-stress a bit.  I didn’t expect to catch much until dark and considered anything before sunset a bonus.  There was a SW breeze making the water a little bumpy but nothing to get excited about.  It was more of a good “Walleye Chop”.  It didn’t take long before I had the first one in the cooler.  I followed that one up with 3 more before 8:00 pm.  At this rate I figured I’d be done soon but just that quick the wind died down to nothing and so did the fish.  For the next hour I didn’t catch a thing and from what I could see, no one around me was either.  Why walleye shut down like that with a wind change still baffles.  Like many years before this one though once it turned 9:00 pm I picked up the last two in a couple of minutes.  Now it could have been because it was past sunset or I found some active fish or my speed was just right or a multitude of other things but something changed in those couple of minutes.  Just like knowing the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop, the world may never know.

The following night I didn’t even hit the water until 8:30 pm.  It had been windy all day and I was waiting for it to die down some before I went out.  West winds around 10-15 mph I can deal with, it’s those 25 mph gusts I don’t want to deal with.  The winds weren’t causing much wave action on the water, it just made boat control a pain.  Still, I set up and started my usual pattern.  My friend Dave was out with his son Brayden and I saw him lose a fish at the side of the boat.  Of course I had to give him some crap for that.  A little while later I had my first one at 8:55 pm.  About 10 minutes later I caught my last 5 fish in a five minute period.  Numbers 3 & 4 were a double that both hit at the same time.  The last fish was the biggest and it managed to tangle up my 40 foot leader.  I just waded it all up in a ball and threw it in the bucket.  Winds were picking up and I wanted to get off the water.  I tracked down Dave to say good night and he told me they had 3.  The next day he told me they finished up their 2 man limit around 10:15 pm.  Again, he didn’t start catching anything until after 9.  The sun must be just low enough that the walleye go into night feeding mode at 9:00 pm.  It’s odd but that pattern repeats itself year after year.  Providing the water is very clear, which it was.

I stayed home Sunday night.  Winds were the same as the night before and I didn’t want to fight them again.  They are supposed to be in the single digits all week so I’ll go out then.  Water temps are in the 50 degree range so those other fish aren’t to far off.  Though we have a couple of frost warnings this week so that may put a damper on their migration.

 





Pandemic Pickerel

27 04 2020

This has been a walleye season that will never be forgotten, unfortunately it won’t be because it was so awesome.  Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the the fact that Michigan was hit hard, a Stay at Home order was issued mid March.  Shortly after that certain outdoor activities, like golf and motorized boating, were banned as well.  As one can imagine it pissed off a lot of people.  So much so that I cut ties with a lot of people I knew.  This ban on boating showed the true colors of some people and just how selfish they are.  I have friends and relatives that are Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists that are going into work every day to fight this pandemic.  Their lives have been turned upside down more than most and some fishermen have the audacity to cry like a little boy who had his ball taken away.  Like our Governor or not there is no reason to compare her to Hitler, you know, that mass murderer who was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.  All this because they couldn’t go walleye fishing for a couple of weeks.  Their selfishness made me re-think my association with a lot of fishing groups and I basically cut ties with all of them.  They may say I am over reacting but a lot of these same people were behind the stay safe stay home order until their fishing was taken away.

Needless to say it only lasted a couple of weeks so once the ban was lifted I got my boat ready and headed out last Saturday night.  Most people were off the water by the time I started (7:00 pm) so I had a clear shot to my usual spot.  I set lines and a couple of minutes later I had my first fist of the 2020 season.  For the next hour and a half I picked away at them and by 8:30 pm I was done and headed for home.  My friend Dave was out as well and he was on his 5th fish waiting for #6.  Because of the great hatches we have had the last few years the DNR raised the daily limit to 6 per day.  Currently the population is estimated to be around 116 million walleye.  Next year the estimate is expected to be around 150 million walleye.  I’m going to have a lot of easy fishing for many years to come.

A couple of things of note is that the water was gin clear.  So clear I didn’t expect to catch anything until after dark.  It was overcast though so that helped.  Water temp was around 49 degrees and none of those unmentionable fish were caught.  Only downside was the NE wind that started to pick up as the sun set.  The rest of the week is looking questionable for wind direction and rain so I probably won’t get out again until the weekend.  The way the weather is going I figure I have about two weeks before those other fish show up.  Hopefully by then the local river temps will be up enough to get the carp active.  One can only hope.  The Covid 19 pandemic has thrown our whole lives into dis-array but I’m not going to freak out about not being able to go fishing because of it.  I know people who have been infected and died.  If me staying home can save one life then I will gladly give up fishing for awhile to help prevent the spread.

1st limit of the year.

 

 





7/20/19 Walleye

24 07 2019

Went out.

Caught five.

Came In.

The End.





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.





Mental Health Walleye Trip 5/14/19

15 05 2019

5/14/19 and the Barbarian Horde still hasn’t taken over the river.

Thank God!

Earlier I had a routine doctor appointment that got a little out of hand.  It was supposed to be a follow up but it turned into a bit of a health scare and an all day event.  Everything is ok now but the one test sent me into a panic so I figured my best course of action to relax was to go fishing.  I would have liked to have gone out earlier but since it was such a beautiful day I opted to start after sunset.  The annual “Other Fish” invasion was on the verge of exploding and I didn’t need that to add to my stress.  With that in mind I launched right around 9:00 pm.  As expected the water was clear and still running high.  As a matter of fact, based on the water levels on shore, it looked a little higher than last time out.  Remnants of the Tri-Hull navy were coming in as I was getting ready.  I was hoping they were still early.  In a few minutes I would find out that my prayer’s were answered.  My first two fish were a couple of those little buggers but that was it.  After that it was all walleye for the next 30 minutes.

No specific color or lead out produced the other tonight.  I caught fish on all of them.  As a matter of fact, I have stuck to the same 3 or 4 patterns all season.  All have consistently produced, except for that one night with my cousin when the new pattern produced half the fish caught.  Still a fair amount of debris in the water and the current was really humping.  Had to kick up the rpm’s on my motor a bit to keep some forward momentum.  If I didn’t I soon found myself going downstream instead of up.  Lot of head shakes and probably a few scrapes tonight.  When I got home I found a few scales on one of my Rapalas.  I think I bonked a couple on the head with my weight as well.  There has got to be a lot of fish in the river right now.  I would like to think they are all walleye but I know better.  About a dozen other handliners out tonight, most I’ve seen all season.  A little late to the party but that’s their business.

I felt a lot better after I got the fish cleaned and the boat put away.  Going back up to Port Austin this weekend to chase Smallmouth Bass.  I’ll try for the walleye again after I get home.