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.

 

 

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Family Affair

8 05 2019

My cousin John contacted me a few weeks back wanting to know if I could take him out walleye fishing again.  He loves to fish but he doesn’t have the means or equipment to go as much as he would like.  After he told me his work schedule we made arrangements for he and his roommate to meet me at my house on Tuesday, May 7th.

After a quick stop at the local tackle store to purchases fishing licenses we were on our way.  By 7:30 pm we were on the water and jigging.  That’s right, jigging.  I figured I would let them try this at first until sunset.  After some quick instructions we made our first drift.  Almost immediately Jessie was into a fish and we soon landed his first walleye.  This would turn out to be our only walleye caught jigging along with a few of the other fish.  While Jessie was reeling in one of those other fish it was followed by about a dozen more.  Once he lifted it out of the water the others went after Jack’s jig and he caught one.  After about 45 minutes of this nonsense we pulled lines and headed downstream.  Jack was up first and after a quick refresher course he was back to handlining.  After I got him set up I got myself squared away and all lines were down.  Not much happened until sunset and right on cue (8:30 pm) I hooked the first on, a 25 inch male.  I put a few more in the cooler but unfortunately Jack wasn’t having any luck.

After about half an hour I told him it was time to switch things up and let Jessie try.  I gave him the same instructions and after a couple of minutes I was coaching him along as he brought in his first walleye by wire.  After that I told him he was on his own.  He managed to pick up a couple of more along with one of those other fish.  Around 9:30 I told him to let Jack try again as we were running short on time.  I had to work in the morning as did Jessie and we probably wouldn’t get done with cleaning fish until after 11 as it is.  I joked with Jack about getting it in gear and it must have worked.  He boated 3 in the next 10 minutes.  I had been playing catch and release for awhile so that he would add some to the cooler.  When he hooked his third I had hooked one as well.  His was bigger so we kept it for 15 and I released mine.  After that I out everything away and we headed for home.  Good thing too, I had a lot of fish to clean.

I got a new pattern from Jim Downrivertackle. com to try tonight and it caught the majority of the fish.  Glad I had him paint up a few of those.   My modified #9 rap’s with the single trailer hook landed a few as well and none lost.  Gonna have to rig up some more of them like that.

This will be the last walleye post for awhile.  My hands are trash and the other fish invasion is about to take off.  I have plans to go to the Kalamazoo River this weekend and Port Austin the following weekend to catch Smallmouth Bass.  Hope my luck continues.





Weekend Walleye Report

6 05 2019

Friday (5/3):

Random guy who has had a few Ginger Ale’s: How you doing? (rather loudly)

Me: Ok

RGWHHAFGA: We got 8.

Me: That’s Good.

RGWHHAFGA: We’ve been out since 6 (2 1/2 hrs) We are killing them.

Me: Cool

RGWHHAFGA: How many you got?

Me: 4

RGWHHAFGA: Been out a long time?

Me: No, 20 minutes.

RGWHHAFAG:…………………………………………………..

His fishing Partner in the boat: Can you shut up now and get back to fishing instead of being so cocky?

 

That was the highlight of my Friday Night.  I got on the water about 7:45 and by 8:15 I had my 5 and was headed in.  The only drama was the aforementioned individual who everyone on the river could probably hear.  I figured they were doing well from all his yelling.  I didn’t hear him anymore after he talked to me.

The water was dirty from all the rain we got earlier in the week.  I ran some Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue’s and for kicks and giggles a spoon.  All of them produced fish.  1st one of the night was a 26 inch male.  Biggest one of the year so far.  Still haven’t caught any of those other fish but I did see a few caught.  They have to be close to taking off.

 

Sunday (5/5):

7:30 to 8:30 – One walleye and 3 of those other fish.

8:30 to 8:40 – Hold My Pepsi…..

Originally I was supposed to be going out with my friend Richard but he cancelled earlier.  He was all packed and ready but he is still feeling the affects of a hunk of chain falling from his garage rafters and hitting him in the head.  I told him not to worry about the fish.  They weren’t going anywhere and I would get him out another night.  I didn’t know what the water was going to be like so I left my house a little after 7.  I was hoping it would still be dirty and it would be a quick night.  After I got to the ramp I could see that the water had cleared up a lot.  Still a bit of a stain to it but there was a couple of feet of visibility.  Add in the clear skies and I had a feeling I was going to waste an hour until sunset.  I set up in the same spot as Friday night and started my run.   It  Wasn’t long and I had my first fish on for the night.  Unfortunately it was one of those other fish, a big female.  I didn’t get to upset.  I had been out 10 minutes and it was the only one so far.  They weren’t in that thick, yet.  I ended up with 3 for the evening.  I won’t complain about that.  I did manage to pick up one walleye in the first hour.  Once the sun set it was game on and I finished up limit in about 10 minutes.

Once I was done I motored over to a fellow DWF club member to see how he was doing.  I see him out just about every night I am.  He had caught a few of those other fish.  I told him the where’s and what on’s and said my goodbye’s.  I had more fish to clean and I was hoping to be in bed by 10:00 pm.  It had been a long weekend and I needed some rest.  I won’t be going out tonight (5/6), rain all afternoon and into tonight.  Supposed to take out my cousin tomorrow.  Depending on the other fish it could be my last trip for awhile.

Friday Night

Sunday Night

 





Double Up

25 04 2019

Went back out Wednesday night (4/24) with handlining Padawan Steve.  I took him out a couple of years ago to teach him how to pull wire.  He contacted me about a week ago asking if he could tag along on another trip.  He bought a new boat and it isn’t set up yet for this.  We made arrangements to meet at my house around 7:30 pm and from there we headed to Elizabeth Park.

The water had cleared up some more and rose from yesterday.  Clouds were overcast but I still figured nothing was really going to happen until after sunset.  We set up in the same area I caught my fish last night and got started.  I was running the same lures from the previous night and I set Steve up with a 30/15 shank.  He picked out a #11 Bleeding Shad and a #9 Blue/Silver Rapala.  The last time we went out I started off catching all the fish and then Steve caught up.  This time it was the other way around.  Around 8:00 pm Steve caught the first fish and by 8:45 he would add three more.  He had just asked me if I was sand bagging so he could catch the fish and then I caught the next five.  As I was pulling in my lines Steve hooked and landed his fifth fish of the night.  By 9:15 pm we were all done and headed in.  Can’t complain about an easy night like that.

As I said earlier the water was clearing up.  I would guess visibility was over two feet or more.  Skies were overcast with winds out of the south.  They bounced us around pretty well when we started but they slowly started to subside.  Don’t know what the water temp was, I still haven’t replaced my sonar unit.  Two of the fish I caught were somewhat strange.  I caught both of them on my 40 foot lead while it was draped over my shoulder and running on the surface.  The first time happened when I was checking lines.  The second hit while I was landing one on my kicker.  Just as I got the fish in the boat another walleye hit my long lead.  I’ve had that happen before, on rare occasions, but never twice in one night.

Until next time, which will probably be next week.  Hope the other fish hold off for another week.

 





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.





Inaugural Handlining Trip for 2019

11 04 2019

It’s been a long winter.

Last Tuesday (4/9) I made my first handlining trip for the 2019 walleye season.  Last year at this time the water was filthy dirty and full of fish.  This year the water is super clear and the run has just started.  I had been hearing a lot of hit and miss reports all over the river.  Seems like their are a lot of smaller groups of males in the river.  If someone can find a group and stay on them a limit can be caught.  If not, then it makes for a long day.

Knowing that I waited unto after 8:00 pm before I even launched the boat.  After a brief chat with some visiting anglers from Grand Rapids on where everything is I was on the water around 8:30 pm.  The sun was just starting to set and I wasn’t expecting much to happen until later on.  It had been windy all day long and it was lying down nicely now.  Just a slight breeze out of the west.  Near perfect conditions, all I needed was for the walleye to cooperate.  Around 9 I got my first fish of the night.  I caught him up by the Edison Power Plant discharge, an area I don’t normally fish too often.  I hung around the area for about another half hour and picked up two more fish.  Fishing wasn’t as fast and furious as I wanted so I headed downstream to where I originally started.  A few minutes later and number 4 was in the boat.  I was hoping to be done soon but the walleye had other ideas.  The next half hour was head shakes and a lost fish at the boat.  He charged my prop and got tangled up with my short lead.  Off he came as I was flipping him  over the side.  I got my lines untangled and back int he water.  As I sat there grumbling and disgusted for losing a fish that way I had another hit.  There was a lot of weight to this one so I slowed down some and turned the boat into the fish.  Once I got my shank out of the water I saw why there was extra weight.  My top and middle lead were going in different directions and there was a walleye on each line.  I got the middle lead fish in first and then brought in the long lead one.  Once I got the lures out of the way I compared sizes and tossed the smaller one back.  First trip of the year resulted in a 5 fish limit and no lost lures.  That is until I started to put stuff away.  As I was putting lures away I disconnected a #11 GFR Rapala and instead of laying it on my console, I chucked it over the side like I was getting it back into the water to fish.

It’s been a long winter.





The Alley 12/01/18

3 12 2018

Earlier this year I told myself that I was going to put more effort into Steelhead fishing.  Ever since my last successful Huron trip (1/2/2016) I have been half-assing it and not really trying.  I was putting more emphasis on what fly I was using instead of working on my mechanics or presentation.  With that in mind, I made the effort to get my Switch rod and line combos tuned in and practiced whenever I could.  The week in Alaska helped a lot but I should have devoted more time to using my two hand rods.  I’m to the point now where I just need some fine tuning on my casting and presentation.  As with walleye fishing, it doesn’t matter what fly I’m using if I’m not putting it in the strike zone.  Now that walleye fishing is pretty much over for me it’s time to concentrate on Steel.

A few weeks back I contacted Patrick Robinson of Steelhead Alley Outfitters (SAO) to set me up for a full day guided trip.  Pat put my trip together for Alaska and I have already fished with the owner, Greg Senyo, and one of their guides.  I thought about getting a trip booked with my previous guide, Nate Miller, but I wanted to learn more and I figure time spent with other guides would be beneficial.  So I just let Pat decide and he signed me up for a day with Josh Trammell for Saturday, 12/1/18.

Josh kept tabs on the flow rates throughout the week and told me the day before we would be fishing Elk Creek in the morning.  SAO fishes the Erie tributaries from The Vermillion in Ohio to Elk Creek in Pennsylvania.  Flow rates determine which rivers are fishable so the guides pay attention to them daily.  I was doing the same thing and I figured we would be fishing the creeks in the NE corner of Ohio.  Josh told me where to meet him Saturday morning at 6:45 am and from there we headed towards Elk Creek.  SAO has access to some private land on the creek which is nice.  This river can get very crowded but with it being deer season more people were hunting instead of fishing.  Once we got my 7 wt Chromer rigged up Josh pointed out where to start fishing and I did just that.  The first run didn’t produce anything so we moved down to the next run.  At the end of the drift on my 5th or 6th cast I started to go through the motion of giving the fly a couple of “pulses” to try and entice a follower.  I do this by just pulsing the rod back and forth while the fly is straight downstream from me just dangling in the current.  As I was about to strip line in I had a hit.   It caught me completely off guard and instead of keeping my rod parallel to the river with my hook set I did the Orvis straight up and out of his mouth hook set.  Just that quick the fish was gone.  I regrouped and about 5 minutes later I had another hit.  This time I did everything right and I drove that hook home.  A few minutes later my first fish of the day was in the net.

After a few pics and a successful release I made my back up to the start of the run and started over.  On my next cast I had another hit as I was mending my line.  Needless to say I didn’t get a good hook set with the slack line and my rod being pointed upstream.  I fished the rest of the run anyways with no further luck.  While all this was going on Josh was on the phone with another SAO guide who was out with a Father and his 9 year old son.  They weren’t getting into any fish and he was checking to see how we were doing.  Josh asked me if I wanted to fish another river and I agreed.  Josh told them they could have the hole and we moved. on.  I found out later that the boy (Augie) ended up catching his first steelhead from that hole.

While we fished the next run Josh asked me if it was okay for him to point out a few things on my cast.  I said “please do” and he told me to slow down some and quit forcing the cast.  Let the rod do the work and keep that line at a 45 degree angle to the river.  He went on to tell me that when I cast straight across I get a big bow in  my line and the current will point the fly head on to the fish instead of to the side.  A side view of the fly will produce more strikes then a head on shot.  This is what I wanted, to “tweak” my presentation.  That run didn’t produce anything so we decided to try Conneaut Creek next.  That was fine with me since it was west and closer to home.  We stopped along the way and picked up my car before we drove to our next stop.  There were more fishermen here than at Elk so we headed upstream and away form the crowds.  The first two stops didn’t produce any fish and we were running out of time.  We tried one more hole and I started casting.  I was about 20 minutes in when Josh told me that after a few more casts we would be BAM. AIRBORNE, FISH ON!

 

Talk about a last second fish.  After a couple of pics we sent her on her way and headed in before the rain really started to fall.  After getting rained on all last weekend I wasn’t looking forward to it happening again.  I went 2/4 today, all on the swing so I wasn’t going to complain.  After today’s lessons (leaders, line management, presentation, reading water) I feel confident that I can be a little more consistent with my success.  Of course a lot of that will depend on the fish.  Steelhead are nothing like walleye.