Port Austin 2019

20 05 2019

This past Thursday (May 16th) began my now annual Smallmouth Trip to Port Austin.  I started making this yearly trek last year and my plan is to do it every year.  The only thing that could stop me now would be gale force east winds or my health.  I wasn’t going to have to deal with either this weekend (or so I thought) so away I went.  I arrived at Port Crescent State Park mid afternoon and set up camp.  Once that was all done I headed to the lake to start fishing.  When I arrived there were a few other fishermen out but they were all in kayaks.  I brought mine but I really don’t like fishing from a kayak.  I prefer to wade so I put my waders on and started out.  The water levels on Lake Huron are up considerably from last year and I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it as far out as I did last year.  As it turns out I wouldn’t have to.  Once I reached the old rock road I started casting.  3 casts later and the first one was in hand.

Not a monster by any stretch but it was a good start.  At least the fish were in close which is what I was hoping for.  With the west winds blowing the warmer water out I was hoping it would bring the fish in.  One thing I have learned about smallmouth fishing is that a few degree increase in temps can make a huge difference.  Over the next half hour I continued to catch fish.  Most of them were in the 12 inch range with one that was closer to 14.

The size was trending up but no where near the toads I caught last month.  These fish were still in pre-spawn mode and I believe the big ones hadn’t moved in yet.  I kept at it though when suddenly it happened.  It was just a occasional drip at first but soon the skies opened up and I got dumped on.  I could see clear skies in front of me but apparently I picked the only spot on Lake Huron to fish that was getting rained on.  It didn’t last long but it was enough to get me thoroughly soaked.  I debated heading in but I was a quarter mile from my car and I was already wet.  I waded out a little farther and made a few more casts.  My perseverance paid off.

This was my biggest lake Huron fish to date.  I estimated the length to be around 16 inches.  A quick pic and he was on his way.  After that one I headed in, the wind was starting to pick up and I was getting a chill.  I wasn’t expecting rain so I left my rain gear in the car.  A warm fire at camp was sounding pretty good right about now anyways.

I had all weekend so there was no sense in me getting crazy that first night.  If I had known what was going to happen the next 3 days I might have stayed out longer.  I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain hitting the roof of my camper.  It wasn’t a long rain but it was enough to discourage me from getting out of bed.  Once I did I looked out of over Lake Huron and could see it was dead calm.  That part I liked, except for the fact that I wasn’t going to be fishing this side of the point.  The other side faced east and the wind had changed to the direction during the night.  For the next two days it was straight in my face east winds and morning rain showers.  I tried to fish in it but it was pretty futile.  Dodging waves while casting into a 15 mph head wind is pretty much pointless.  So for the next few days I just hung around camp, tied some flies, played with the fire, fed the chipmunks and pretty much relaxed.  It’s still early yet so I may make the trip back up in a few weeks.

 

Until next time.

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Back After the Walleye

24 04 2019

After a two week hiatus i was headed back out to put some more walleye in the freezer.  The weather last week wasn’t all that great so my motivation was pretty low.  I really wasn’t feeling it last night but I heard the “S” word being used on the fishing reports so my window of opportunity was starting to close.  Winds were out of the NW but it was supposed to lay down to single digits after dark.  I figured I could deal with it until then.  I started fishing around 7:45 pm, sort of.  I forgot that I lost my 40 foot lead the last time out so I had to make up a new one while fighting the winds.  Not an easy task.  Around 8 I was lines down and starting my run.  It didn’t take long and I had my first one in the boat.  The streak continues.

Not much happened after the first fish.  The water had a perfect stain to it for jigging.  I figured I would pick up a few here and there but I still felt that the bulk of the action wouldn’t happen until after dark.  I was right , around 8:30 pm the fish turned on.  For the next 15 minutes it was easy pickings.  15 minutes later I was all done and headed in.  They were in full on feed mode and hitting all the leads and lures.  Fishing is a lot of fun when it’s like this.  Hope I can get a few more trips in before those “S” things show up in force.





High Water Walleye 07/08/15

10 07 2015

After what was turning into a very crappy week I decided I needed a little wire therapy on the “D”.  Work had been kicking my butt all week and I was in dire need of a break.  I had debated all day long about going out or going to sleep but once I saw the overcast skies my mind was made up.  Wire Time!!!

I arrived at Elizabeth Park around 7:30 pm and was greeted by high water, at least it was high compared to last year.  Compared to the long term average I believe it was back to normal.  Either way my first task was to figure out a way to launch my boat without getting a wet foot.

ramp 2

Logic would dictate just taking my shoes off and wading but I’m to lazy for that.  Once I was on board I headed south to the blue boat house I dropped lines and started fishing.  Several minutes later I had my first fish on but he was doing the smallmouth shake.  I quickly tossed him back and kept at it.  I zigged zagged across the river all the way to the Stacks with no walleye to show for my efforts.  I pulled lines and switched a few spoons around to some different sizes and colors and headed farther downstream to some deeper water.  No sooner had my weight hit the bottom when I had my first walleye on.  He hit my kicker and a 2 1/2 inch Chartreuse spoon with a black ladder back.  This spoon was painted on both sides like this and as it turned out would account for all the walleye I would land tonight.  Once I got him in I dropped my lines again and spun around to go through the spot once again.  a minute later and number 2 was on and shortly after that he was in the cooler.  Wash, rinse repeat and number 3 was in the cooler.  Three keepers in 5 minutes.  I was starting to think I would be headed home soon but I was about to get served a piece of humble pie.  The next hour would produce 1 dink and 2 more walleye lost at the side of the boat.   The lost fish hit my orange and black spoon that had been producing so well for me this year.  Nothing on my top 40 foot lead, as a matter of fact I have yet to land a fish on my 40 foot lead this year.  By now is was 10:15 pm and I needed to get some rest so I headed in.  I should have had my 5 fish limit but it was my own fault.  I got a little careless bringing in the two I lost.  Out of practice I guess.

Weather conditions were just about ideal.  Slight breeze and overcast skies.  Water was clear but the weeds were bad.  I didn’t even think about trying to run a body bait.  There would have been no way for me to keep it consistently clean.  The weeds being bad really wasn’t much of a surprise, with the rising water levels and east winds I knew it might be a problem.  Beat sitting at home and getting myself all worked up over my job though.

A little blurry but you get the idea.

A little blurry but you get the idea.

 





They’re Baaaaacccccckkkkkkkk!!!! 6/27/14 Walleye

29 06 2014

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Si Robertson;

It’s On Like Donkey Kong, Jack!!

Hit the water again on Friday 6/27 to see if I could improve on my catch from last weekend.  I was hoping the extra week would give what few remaining %^$# Bass were left a chance to leave and for some Erie walleye to move back in.  With very little rain and almost no winds I expected the water to be clear so I didn’t even get on the water until after 8.  It was going to be a clear night so I didn’t see the need to rush.  I might pick up a couple before dark but I didn’t expect it to get good until after 10:00 pm.

As I was heading downstream I saw my friend Larry so I pulled up to see how he was doing.  No walleye yet but he didn’t catch any of those other things either.  Of course now that he said it we were going to catch them.  There was one other boat out as well and I didn’t recognize it at first.  Later that evening I got closer and it was Dave going solo.  He told me earlier in the week he was supposed to take a friend out but he couldn’t make it.  I started fishing down at the north end of Calf Island with all spoons, the same ones I used last Sunday.  About 30 seconds later number one was in the boat, a nice lightly colored, fresh from Erie, 17 inch fish.  Hot Damn!!  I putt putted around the area for the next hour without another hit except for the occasional rock bass, smallmouth bass and %^$# bass, thanks Larry.  During that time I swapped spoons around in different sizes, styles and colors trying to find something that would trigger a strike.  I did manage to pick up one more eater before dark and it too came on the same spoon on my kicker lead.    Once 10 o’clock rolled around I swapped out the spoons for some pencil plugs and a #7 Black holographic Rapala on my kicker.  I figured with the clear water that maybe something a little less colorful might do the trick.  It did, sometimes it helps to be a little lucky.  Within the next hour I picked  up 3 more fish, all on my kicker and the #7 Black Holographic Rapala.  They only thing I caught on the Pencil Plugs was a %^$# bass that forgot he is supposed to be back out in Lake Erie terrorizing the crawler harness gang.

So by 11 I was heading for home which was fine with me.  With no wind to keep the bugs at bay I was happy to get off the water.  Every time I turned my headlamp on they would be all over me.  I was fishing on borrowed time anyways, the bracket for my reel cracked and it was only a matter of time before it broke completely.  As a matter of fact it did back in the parking lot while I was taking it off the boat.  Still it was a nice night on the water.  At one point a caravan of vintage Mustangs went down River Road on Grosse Isle and Wyandotte had their firework display that night.  Water was very clear and a fair share of weeds, not any big mats but just a lot of little pieces floating around.  None of the stringy green mossy stuff.  No clouds and no moon so it was very dark.  Hard to see anything on the surface but I would know it when I hit a clump of weeds.  The best thing though is the fact that some new fish have moved into the system.  Hopefully they will stick around all summer and this year won’t be a repeat of last year.

 

16 to 20 inches long Eaters.

16 to 20 inch long Eaters.

Broken Bracket

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.  Thanks for the pic Dave.

Hard to believe sometimes the fishery we have here in the shadow of Edison.

 

 





Friday the 13th Walleye

14 04 2012

Who says Friday the 13th is bad luck? Well maybe it is if you are a walleye.

Went back down to the channel tonight for what I hoped would be a repeat of the night before. I took a friend of mine out Thursday night (4/12) and we picked up a quick 2 man limit in just over an hour. Tonight I was taking out a fellow kayaker who has never been handlining before. I talked a good game and told Brandon that all he needed to bring was some warm clothes and a cooler for the fish. The pressure was on.

We hit the water around 7:30 and after some quick instructions Brandon was set and fishing. It wasn’t long and we had our first fish of the night, a nice 23 inch male. He was kind of unique, his right eye was missing. Apparently it never slowed him down, he was nice and fat. Fishing was kind of slow for awhile until after sundown and things started to pick up. We ended up with a 2 man limit of 10 fish and we threw back two  borderline legal fish. Brandon was able to catch his first walleye pulling wire and I think he is hooked. He told me about an article he read in the newspaper about how the author claimed handlining was a dying method of fishing. After seeing the 30+ boats out handlining last night he is convinced the author doesn’t know what he was talking about.

Learned a valuable lesson Thursday night.  While we were fishing Richard got hung up and lost both Rapalas.  When he pulled in the leader it looked like it broke at the knot.  He tied on a new crankbait snap and went back to fishing.  He didn’t catch a single fish for the rest of the night.  Turns out the line must have been nicked because it broke about 10 feet up. Of course I didn’t figure this out until later but it explains what happened.  The leader was too short and therefore he was running the lure too far up from the bottom.  Lesson learned, check leader lengths if one breaks.

Final tally for 2 evenings of fishing, 20 kept, 2 released for a total combined weight of 55 pounds and 3 ounces.  My hands are trashed.

Here’s a few pictures from 4/12 and 4/13.  The pictures of Richard, myself and the sunset are from the 12th.  The last pick is my 5 from the 13th.  I sent Brandon home with 5.  He had some explaining to do to his girlfriend, she had a hard time believing that he was out fishing so late at night.