September 17, 2014
It was definitely the coldest morning so far this season, as I launched the boat in only 38 degree air temps. Add a north wind blowing around 10 knots and it felt like below freezing. My niece had just tied the knot and instead of taking a honeymoon, they decided to head south this winter. Cristina and Shawn were going to spend today with me in hopes of catching a few fish. Christiane also took the day off work to join us as this was her niece and she didn’t want to miss the newlyweds fishing. Dressing warm to begin was necessary and I handed out a bunch of clothing so they could remain comfortable. We headed out and I couldn’t believe the 58 degree water temps when I hit the throttle! I didn’t want to run far and take them out too early, so I let off soon after and dropped the lines in for a troll. The water temps had gotten a little warmer where we stopped, but I wasn’t sure how these fish would react. I tried a section that should be holding some fish and was surprised that it wasn’t loaded! It took a while for the first reel to fire but we finally got bit. Shawn was right beside me while checking the lines so I immediately handed him the rod. We were hoping for a few walleye to sample before dinner but this one was an over and wouldn’t make the cut. All we could do was snap a few pics and release the four pounder back to the water. Christina had the next rod and she landed a decent northern around 5 pounds. We covered more water in the 2 footers and managed a few other fish with only one of them being a keeper walleye. Shawn had landed one that fell just under the high end for legal size and we were having fish for dinner! I wasn’t really seeing too much activity trolling and decided to change areas completely. All these fish were marking on the bottom and didn’t seem to be moving up to hit the lures, so we were going for sturgeon! When I set up I knew with three lines in the water it wouldn’t take long before one of the rods was bent. About ten minutes went by before Cristina was locked! She had no idea of what to expect and could only hang on for the ride. With much coaching and plenty of burning in the arms, she finally managed to bring the fish up for her first visual. I really don’t think she had any idea of its size until now and absolutely freaked. I was lucky when netting the beast as it turned and curled immediately after entering the bowl. Several pics were taken, but Shawn had to hold it for the shots. There was absolutely no way she would be able to grab the fish nor did she want to! A quick release and it disappeared back to the abyss from where it had started. We resumed fishing in hopes of locking the others up and Christiane nearly got her wish. She had one on briefly, but seconds later it was gone. We spent some time before she finally contacted another and fortunately this time it remained pinned. After a lengthy battle of pain and burning, I finally slid the net under her fish. She definitely wanted a few pictures of her largest sturgeon but wasn’t able to lift it up for the photos. As with the first one, help was needed so I jumped into the picture to lend a hand. Another release and all that was left was Shawn to complete the rotation. They had a few more bites without hookups but then he finally got into one of his own. It may have been the smallest of the day but he still felt the burn from the fight. I was really hoping one of them would hook into a real dinosaur but we would have to settle with only these ones for today. Shawn needed no help in holding his and I was able to take several great shots before the release. As all three of them had caught what we were after, I decided to pull the plug here and try for a few more fish trolling. The floaters were just insane and constant cleaning of the rods was needed every few minutes from the north winds. Although we did manage a couple more fish, they were both pike and we called it a day. I had restaurant reservations and one fish to clean before heading out, so by 3:30 we were done. I’m not sure what the highlight of the day was but between the fish appetizer & the "River Monsters" they landed, life was good! A few tasty beverages, good company and a great meal topped off an absolutely perfect day. It may have been their first time fishing, but I don’t think it’ll be their last. I expect the next time I offer to take them out, there won’t be any hesitations. After today, all they’ll want to know is what time and where! Another great day for fishing!!