The Trifecta

I had the pleasure of fishing with John from North Carolina this morning. He had never caught a walleye, pike or smallie and I planned on ticking all three of the list. We met up at 7 and headed out in a really nice chop for a change and from the right direction too! Although most would shy away from open water in a wind like this, I welcomed it with open arms! Two footers are always appreciated and make for a great drift as well as a great troll.

We settled on an offshore spot right in the heart of the rollers and began drop shotting the deep, open water flats. I had figured on ticking two species off his list quickly but was surprised to see only the walleye biting in this area. Several drifts later he still had only landed walleye so I moved a ways over to see if I could lock him up there. Same thing here as one small walleye after another was brought to net! Eventually I just decided to run elsewhere to see about the pike and pulled out completely.

With lines in, we began the troll and he was into a nice northern pretty quick. Although not a really big one, it was fine with him to have actually caught another fish on his list! We kept at it as I wanted to see if we could upgrade and possible get a big walleye from this area too. Well the northern cooperated as he locked up on one of the larger ones that live here and was really happy to have this fish for a pic. Unfortunately the big eyes never showed and we eventually headed to another spot looking for a big brownie.

The first stop proved to be useless as nothing even showed! I decided to go much shallower and it was here that he managed to hook into a quality smallmouth. This was something he had hoped for and enjoyed the aerials and intense fight! Although he had caught plenty of largemouth & spotted bass back home, this was to be his first ever smallie. Not a bad starter fish indeed! Several pics later she was released and we were back at it again. Although he managed to land one other bass, smaller than the first and missed a few others, it really wasn’t on fire. I opted to finish up the last half hour in deep water looking for those schooling smallies!

We were back where we had began and this time marking more fish than previously. I had high expectations but they still didn’t want to cooperate! In the last 30 minutes he must have boated 6 or 8 fish but they were all small and we were done. We pulled the plug a little after 11:30 as he had a Taxi coming at 11:45 and I had an afternoon booking as well.

This day couldn’t have gone any better except maybe a big eye for his pics. He had managed to catch all three of the fish he wanted and some really good ones too! Let’s just say that he left on a high! Maybe with any luck the next time he gets back to Montreal it might be a little later and the sturgeon bite will be on. Only time will tell but in the mean time, he’ll be savoring the results from today for quite a while!

The Right Wind

A half day booking was made for this morning through a hotel concierge, for a party of two. Turns out it became three and the third person was someone I had taken out just this week. Honas (aka John) from Czech was accompanying Tomas and his son Sebastien and conditions looked great. The winds were light from the SW and this would make for a great drift to start their day. I headed directly to a deeper area to drop shot and instructed the others on what to do. Honas had fished this technique before, so he had a good understanding. His last time out saw us in 3 footers or better and having to use two drift socks just to slow down. Today would be much easier!

A triple header was how they began their fishing day, as we managed to stumble upon a small school of walleye on the first drift. Right after the lines were back in, Honas locked up on a nice smallie and the others weren’t too far behind. Fish after fish were being hooked and some of them even managed to make it to the net while others were either lost or missed completely. This place was loaded this morning and our drift speed was perfect! I just continued to make multiple passes over different sections and they just kept hooking up. Tomas finally got his shot at fighting a nice smallie and the battle was aerial. It must have jumped 3 or 4 times, but the fish stayed pinned and finally came to the net. Everyone was having a great time and the fish were cooperating. There’s no better way to initiate someone than to constantly have them locked up!

After a couple of hours of catching all kinds of fish, they wanted to try for something bigger. Pike would be what we would be going for and trolling would be the technique used. They would love this easy method of fishing and hopefully these fish would cooperate too!

Lines were set and almost on cue the first reel fired with a good northern. Then a second one and we had our first double header! Tomas & his son Sebastien reeled in a couple of big northerns and several pics were taken before they were returned. Back at it, reels continued to fire for a while but with slightly smaller fish. Each time Honas was up, it was really small. Although bigger fish were being caught, it seemed like it was from everyone else. The bite went on for a while with good numbers of fish being caught but we were running out of time. I really wanted to get him a larger fish but it wasn’t going to happen today.

With less than an hour remaining in their morning trip, we headed back to deeper water again to drop shot. This last 45 minutes saw about ten more fish being landed and a pile more lost. A mix of bass & walleye once again and some nice ones too! All three of them had landed good numbers of fish in just a few hours of fishing and with very little down time before we were done. Tomas had a tee off time scheduled for 12:30 and we had to leave.

These last couple of weeks had seen many Czech fishermen in my boat and all from one common denominator. Peter Svoboda had brought me several new clients and I don’t think it will slow down anytime soon! All these people are connected to the hockey world and training here in Montreal during the summer. In fact, Honas will be here in Canada for an entire year training while attending school at the same time. Who knows, maybe we be seeing him in the NHL soon! All I know is that these guys love to fish and I love having them on the water catching. In the next couple of weeks I will hopefully have some of them battling giant sturgeon that will keep them coming back for more. Big fish days ahead!

Another Calm Day

It seems that this year I only have two types of wind, giant or none! I actually thought today that I would be lucky to have something in between, but I was wrong. An early morning thunder storm passed through and by the time I was to meet my guests, it went completely flat. I had arrived almost an hour earlier than them with a nice chop on the water, but it soon disappeared. When they finally met me, the lake looked like a mirror!

Peter Svoboda was back again with Milo and his grandson Adam as well as his father. They were hoping for a similar day to the one we had a week ago. I had set everything up for drop shotting but didn’t know if we would be able to make it happen without any wind. There wasn’t very much current either making this even more difficult! Ironically on our first drift, they all locked up giving them another quad for their start. This was the second time it had happened and it was a very good sign of things to come! All of their fish were walleye but only one of them was legal and found it’s way into the livewell. We made a few more drifts hoping for others to join it but were plagued with only small ones. I shifted to another spot close by and soon found that the current was even slower here. Several more small walleye later we pulled the plug and attempted trolling nearby.

I had hoped to get Adam into a bunch of fish today but it wasn’t looking good. We covered a lot of water and relocated a few times only to come up empty and without even as much as a single rip. I even had to raise the roof when it began to rain so that everyone stayed dry. The skies showed signs of showers in a few areas and I didn’t want to go anywhere until it stopped. Eventually we were able to drop the top and made a long run to a place that I was sure would be holding some fish.

Once we arrived at our new location, it didn’t take long. I barely had time to get the four lines in and one of the reels fired giving Adam a well deserved fish to fight. Within seconds another reel went off and his father was also battling one of his own. Things were actually starting to look a whole lot better now that we were around fish! They both managed to bring their fish to net, making for a great Kodak moment! We returned them afterwards and got right back at it putting several more fish on Adam’s line. I even had to re raise the roof again, but this time it was because of the sunshine. It had become a real scorcher without any wind and we were all baking! Although the trolling bite wasn’t great, we did manage to pick at the fish here & there. Adam even landed a nice keeper walleye that joined the other one in the well. Time was passing fast and I wanted to see more action so we headed to another area and tried our luck at casting for bass.

Once we arrived, I showed everyone what to do and they began casting soft plastics to the fish. Unfortunately it didn’t last long as I noticed some bad weather off in the distance. I could see the heavy cloud masses and immediately checked the radar. There were storms coming our way and I moved to another area closer to the ramp to monitor the systems. I don’t think we were there for 3 minutes when both Milo & I saw lightning. I had thought I heard thunder earlier and now it was confirmed. We immediately packed up and raced back to the ramp to take out. I never mess with electricity while on the water! It had been a while since I opened the motor up, but this gave me a reason to go full pin! We made it back with plenty of time and I knew it was the right decision.

Although our day was cut a little short, it was still a great outing filled with lots of fish. Adam & his father had gotten to experience what the others had already done and everyone had a good time in the process. I would have liked to move around a bit more but we ran out of time due to the weather. Better safe than sorry as no fish is worth risking a life over. There’s always another day!

A No Flow Day

Peter & his son Luke accompanied me today for another fish filled outing! We met up at 7 and were fishing not long after in deep water again. I had noticed something strange this morning, despite the lack of wind and soon realized that we had almost no current. What usually runs about 1 knot was now down to less than half. Not great for drifting these flats! I thought we would give it a try regardless and made the best of it. They both had never used this technique before, but with a little instruction they were soon into fish. Bass & walleye were being landed and we kept a couple of the eyes for their dinner tonight. After several drifts, due to the lack of current, I decided to head somewhere else to troll. We set the lines and almost immediately a reel fired giving them the first pike of the day. Shortly after another and soon after that another again. Too bad they were all on the small side or I might have focussed more on this area! With no current at all here, it was difficult to work the baits properly and after about 45 minutes of catching only small fish, we changed it up once again.

I shifted gears completely to bass and headed over to a shallower area to cast soft plastics. I couldn’t believe it when I arrived as there were two paddle boarders camped directly on top of where I wanted to fish. One of them was snorkeling and they were anchored. Who the heck anchors up a paddleboard? I tried fishing further from them and although Luke had a few fish on, he wasn’t able to land any of them. I eventually just gave up and ran somewhere else to fish!

We stuck with the same pattern but focussed on slightly deeper water and both Peter and his son managed to catch a bunch of bass. This place was loaded and it wasn’t hard to bring the numbers up as they casted the area. Luke was definitely hooking more and after several practice losses, he began keeping them pinned! I guess we remained here for over an hour or so before moving once again. I had decided to fish a few humps nearby and they caught several more fish before we made a long run to the next spot to fish.

I slid in shallow and they began hooking up immediately in the new area! In fact there were so many fish here that they could miss one and on the same cast hook another. Peter & Luke beat on the fish pretty good and we fished it hard for almost two hours before returning to drop shotting again.

With the current the same and no wind at all, the drifts took forever to complete. Scorching heat & humidity with blazing hot sun didn’t help either! On the first pass, Peter hooked into what I thought was a big walleye as it dogged deep just like those ones do. Eventually I realized that it wasn’t one and must be a musky due to how it was fighting. When it went airborne we all knew for sure! It may not have been the biggest fish, but it was his first. Peter fought it for a little while and I eventually was able to net his catch. I didn’t want to stress the fish out anymore than it already was so we released it as quickly as possible. It swam off no worse for wear and returned to the depths. We continued to fish for about 30 minutes longer and they both landed several more walleye and a couple of bass before we called it a day. They were roasting and so was I, and it was almost time to leave too.

This day had turned out to be another interesting one again as you never know what to expect when you get on the lake. A loss of current flow from gates at dams being either closed or reduced caused the fish to position differently and change d

my plans for fishing. They may have landed all kinds of fish today, but it was from making several adjustments on both presentation and location. If the flow remains the same for a while, I know exactly where to be. If not, I will be adjusting just like I have been doing almost daily. Either way, clients will be catching all kinds of fish on all kinds of different presentations once again. Another great day of fishing!

First Road Trip

After a postponement a couple of weeks back due to the weather, I finally headed to a new lake today to join Nathan. He had asked me to help him figure it out and I had one day to get it done! It sort of felt like practicing for a tournament again, but with limited time!

I arrived at his place right around 7:00 and we hit the lake shortly after. Although Nathan had caught a real giant about a week ago, it was only the third bass he had landed so far this season. He was hoping to figure out why today! As with most northern lakes like this one, the water is somewhat stained in color but pretty clear overall. This lake had bass and musky present and although he was catching musky often, he wanted to be catching more bass.

After a quick orientation of the lake, I decided to try top water & drop shotting in a couple of good looking areas. Nothing seemed to be present and interested in coming to the surface and all I had deep were a couple of perch nibbles. We headed into the bay where he had caught the big fish last week and idled around a bit to check it out. I noticed that this was a deep end to the lake and 40 feet wasn’t too far from most of the shore. It looked like it could hold fish but I wasn’t seeing anything on his sonar that interested me. I decided to move a little closer to the bank and cast to a cabbage weed area with soft plastics and immediately hooked up on one of those toothy critters. Although not very big, this 6 pound musky fought like a champ. I always like seeing their copper color on these Laurentian fish! I removed the hook and released it back to the water unharmed. The next location we tried was near where he had landed his last fish and although his sonar was showing marks, I think they were actually tree branches or wood. I got snagged three times while trying to drop shot and lost two rigs! I quickly realized that if we were going to catch bass, we were going to have to move around more and try to develop a pattern. I tried another small point afterwards that also had cabbage weeds present and was immediately bit off by another lunge. Time to relocate!

I had Nathan move us into a bay that he had never fished before and picked up a jumbo perch on another offshore weed flat. From there I had noticed some good rocks on the shoreline and decided to move really shallow to investigate. It was here while throwing soft plastics close to the bank that I got picked up and set into something large. Unfortunately the weight went light quickly and I reeled in a twisted bait without the fish. I was sure it was a smallmouth, continued along this shore and picked up another one not too far from the first bite. Too bad it was also the last one we had! I even noticed another big one just cruising as I headed out to deeper water to relocate.

We idled around more until I saw something that caught my eye. A really large boulder with some sort of inlet behind that need investigation. In front of the entrance there was a good weed bed and on my first cast, I was rewarded with a 3 pound smallie. Things were looking up! We moved closer to enter the narrow channel and I nailed another slightly larger one while making a really long cast to some cover. A third one also was picked up as we moved along and this was starting to look great! Once we entered through the passage the back opened up and seemed like it had the potential to hold even more. Nathan made a few casts and hooked into something large. It turned out to be the big fish of the day and was over 5 pounds. This was definitely worth the time we spent to get back here! Being a small area, it wasn’t expected to hold tons of fish and we headed out not long after without another bite.

We tried another rocky shoreline along a point and Nathan hooked a 3 pounder that fought great in open water. Too bad it was the only bite we had here before we moved elsewhere once again.

The balance of the day saw us covering plenty more water with limited success, but the potential for most of these places looked great. From shallow water rocks to large gravel points, we saw it all. The cabbage weeds in 4 to 8 feet of water were everywhere and on our last stop over them, Nathan locked up on another musky on a drop shot rig. What a great battle from these northern fish! I eventually netted his catch and released it quickly afterwards. We were officially done!

Although there weren’t too many fish landed today, the overall experience will give him many more options, the next time he heads out. I think this lake just needs to be looked at in a different light. Unlike most bodies of water that have large concentrations of fish in small areas I think this one has them really spread out. By covering water and keying in on specific things at the right time, he should be able to have much better fishing days from now on. All I know was that it sure was nice to have a change of scenery and get back into a search mode again! I might even head back there again sometime this season to explore it even more!