Just Miserable

A drastic change in plans were needed this morning as to where we’d launch the boat. The winds were giant and out of the NW blowing 25 to 30 knots. I thought we would be alright where I wanted to fish, it was just how to get there! Herm & I travelled to another ramp instead and decided to put in there as the waters were much calmer. It was a little tricky but we somehow managed to get it done and headed out in search of gold. Walleye were what we were after and I knew that if it wasn’t too rough, we’d get them good!

We ran to where I wanted in mostly 1 foot chop until I got to a section that had current. It was pretty big here with the wind pushing against the flow and 3 to 4 footers were present. Normally I wouldn’t care but the air temps were below freezing and any water that might enter the boat would end up turning to ice. Just when I made it through, I realized that the winds were also blowing pretty good on where I wanted to fish as they were opposite the current here as well. I was even worried about the waves rolling over the back as we trolled!

Our first pass was a little sketchy and a fine line was had to get the boat speed down enough to get bit. Guides were freezing and splashing on the boat was also adhering to the gel coat and rails. This was going to be an interesting day! I made a complete pass over the area I wanted with only a couple of soft hits and no hookups. I normally turn and troll back down but that was completely out of the question with the rollers we were in. I had to use the big motor and elevate the bow not to bring any of the waves in. It was bad enough that we were getting splashed, but at least I didn’t flood the boat. The gusts of wind were strong and it almost seemed like the waves were hitting us from 3 different directions at times. I had now made two passes over the area with only a few missed strikes and was beginning to second guess my decision to come out today. I even switched areas but didn’t stay long there due to the gray water color. I was left with no other choice but to go back to where I was and just grind it out.

With almost two hours into the day, we finally got a glimpse of the sun and right on cue, Herm was locked up with our first fish. It wasn’t a giant by any means but it did show that they would eat and our confidence grew. At just over 22 inches all we could do was release her after a quick pic. We went right back at it and not long after, Herm was on again. Things were definitely starting to look up! It turned out to be another over about 24 inches and was quickly released . With the clouds moving the sun was staying out longer and bites were more frequent. We got into several more fish after and a couple of them were even high end keepers that didn’t get returned. Herm definitely had a hot hand today as he locking up on the majority of fish. I managed only a few, that he reluctantly reeled in!

As the afternoon passed, the bite got less & less and I really had to work hard at staying on the fish. Although I was marking many, they were all pressed to the bottom and not wanting to move up to eat. I would have loved to jig, but between the wind & waves and current, it was impossible. All I could do was troll slowly and hope for one of them to make a mistake! We did manage to land several more walleye & one smallie before we finally called it a day. At just around 3:00 I packed everything up and made the long run back to the ramp. Not much had changed throughout the day in the way of wind & waves and we encountered the three & four footers again while running. Thankfully we passed over them quickly and only had a one foot chop for the remainder of our travels.

This was one of those days when about 1% of fishermen would even attempt to be on the water. We never saw another boat all day, so I guess we made that list! Fortunately, we managed to get into some good fish and had a great time fighting with Mother Nature. She put up a good fight, but in the end I think we won!

Finding The Gold

Today was a nice change of pace as I got to target fall walleye. Darren hooked up with me after 8:30 due to family duties but it didn’t matter. The fish would wait!

We raced to our first spot and I decided to do a little trolling in order to see how they were positioned. It didn’t take long before I started marking big arches and Darren was tight to his first fish. He soon brought a healthy over to the net and after a couple of pics, we released it unharmed. I knew from this fish exactly how we were going to fish and carried on with the troll. About 10 minutes later he was locked up again and this time it was even bigger. More pics and back she went, with us resuming our search for more & bigger.

Darren was on fire today with multiple hookups and fish boated and I still hadn’t had a bite. I was even contemplating a lure change but I was in too deep and now it was personal. I was bound & determined to hook up on what I was using and eventually I set in to heaviness. I exchanged the rod with Darren and as soon as I had his in hand, we were doubled! That’s a fair trade I guess! As the fish I was fighting was smaller, I landed it quickly and went for a bigger net for his. This walleye stretched over 26 inches and turned out to be big fish of the day. It was fat and healthy and a beautiful gold color too! I took a bunch of good pics and Darren released her back to continue growing.

The balance of the day saw similar results with plenty more quality eyes being caught and some of them even made it into the livewell. More than 75% of the fish today were overs but we still managed to box a few keepers for dinner tonight. At one point we even attempted casting drop shot rigs to the fish but pulled the plug after almost an hour with just a couple of hits. These big eyes were scattered and covering water was the only way to get them to eat. Although the bites weren’t that aggressive, they were definitely noticeable if you paid attention. In fact some of them were so light that they never even got pinned. Several misses were had as some of the hits were actually pushes!

We fished until after 3:30 and landed a few more walleye before calling it a day. There may not have been a ton of fish caught today but there were definitely enough to keep us interested. The best thing was that the bulk of the catch were big! Fall is a great time to get into some of the largest fish of the year, for just about any species. These walleye were a nice change to all the bass I’ve been targeting lately and I can’t wait to get back out again. With more bookings ahead, I’m sure I can mix in a few days to fish for big eyes once again. There are still several more weeks left before we switch over to the hard water fishing and plenty of open days are available. I just hope that “Mother Nature” gives us a break with the cold & wind long enough to take advantage of the great fishing ahead!

Ice Cold day

After three back to back cancellations due to the weather, I was back on the water again today. Scott, Manson & Corey were with me looking for more bronzebacks and hoping for some giants. I was just praying that the deep freeze didn’t send them into a lockjaw mode!

Once we broke some ice to get out to the lake, I was surprised to see that the water temps had only dropped to 48 degrees. Amazingly, we had lost just 3.5 degrees since the last time I was out!

Scott was fishing slower than usual this morning due to a rough night, but this would actually be in his favor. With overcast skies and cooler water temps, the metabolism of the bass would be reduced. Fishing slow would be the way to go! He locked up on his first cast but soon found out that it wasn’t what we were after. It was a fall fish and quickly returned to the water unharmed. Not long after however, he nailed another and this time, it was what we were after. Although not a monster, it was photo worthy and made the cut. Manson also hooked into a fish but his too wasn’t what we were after and also returned.

The fishing was definitely tough but I knew they were here and had everyone slow down their presentations in order to get bit. It paid off as several good fish were landed by each of them from the area we were in. Corey managed to hook into a few beauties, but somehow lost the biggest ones while battling them. He did however bring another good one to net before we relocated though!

I decided to cover some water in search of more fish and trolled outside edges, looking for big arches. I marked plenty but for some reason they didn’t want to chase. This would have been a great time to fish live minnows, but under the circumstances, it was out of the question! We would just have to tempt then with artificials! We moved along slowly and eventually a few of the fish I was marking began to cooperate. Manson hooked up and brought a nice one to net that was worthy of a pic. A little while later, Corey hooked into what turned out to be big fish of the day. It was definitely the quality we were after and things were finally looking up! I really thought they were going to start crushing the fish, but this wasn’t the case. Instead, they just picked at them again with one here and one there!

I moved around plenty and each place we stopped, someone hooked up. Manson eventually got into his grove and nailed several on a jig. It wasn’t easy today but the fish were all pretty good ones! Slow was definitely the word of the day and unless you were paying attention, hits were missed. With each new location someone got bit, so I decided to move often in order to keep them locked up.

The last two areas we fished for the day produced some nice fish once again, but it was tough. Corey monopolized one spot by hooking all the fish and landed 75% of his hookups. In fact his final fish of the day was a really good one and became the last pic of the day as well. We were done!

Although today may not have been one of those high number days, it was definitely another quality fish one. I expect the coming weeks to be no different with water temps constantly falling. A little sunshine may get the bass chewing better, but lately that’s not the case. Overcast days have been the norm and I know just what to expect. Slower presentations are accounting for bigger fish and that’s exactly how we’re going to continue to fish. I’ll be back out again real soon!

An Interesting Day

After a couple of successful days prior to today with friends, I was back out with Phil for more smallie action. I began with a demonstration cast, showing him how to work the bait and was locked up immediately! It’s always nice when the fish cooperate! It didn’t take long after the release for Phil to hook up as well and I knew there would be many more. We fished the area for well over an hour and had plenty of hookups, with most being lost during the fight. I wasn’t sure what was happening but at least we landed many as well.

Our next area also produced lots of action and a good number of bass were landed despite more losses. I wasn’t sure why and tried to make adjustments to change our landing ratio. Unfortunately throughout the day, the same thing continued to happen making it very frustrating. If we had of caught all the fish we actually had on, it would have been an absolutely unbelievable day! We did slow down a bit and upped our percentage of fish coming to the boat in the afternoon, but were still dropping a good number. Hooks were plenty sharp so I knew that wasn’t the problem! Must have been the other end of the rod I guess!

With plenty of places being fished today, we were always on fish. Although I would have liked to move around more, the number of boats on the water didn’t allow me that luxury. We could only fish places that weren’t occupied already, but still fended quite well. Big fish were landed today, but no real giants!

Despite tomorrow’s sub zero weather forecast, there will still be plenty more days that are fishable. I’m hoping that this arctic blast leaves as fast as it comes in, because I may have to cancel some of my bookings, starting this weekend. Unfortunately I have no control over the weather and safety always comes first. I’m pretty sure tomorrow will be one of those days and called on account of wind and cold. Let’s just hope that the winds drop & Saturday isn’t the same! This is football season and there’s plenty of them to be caught!

More Personal Bests

Scott & Obie hit the water this morning with me after a cancellation last Monday. Between the winds and the rain, we had to reschedule for today. We did have both again though, but on a much smaller scale! Rains were misty and more off than on making it more comfortable to fish.

Scott got the ball rolling early when he locked up on a giant, from his first bite of the day. Nice starter fish! Although the water was still somewhat stained, the fish seemed a little more active than this past weekend. I thought they were going to crush them after seeing Scott’s fish and instructed Obie how to fish the area effectively. Soon after he was tight to one of his own and battling a nice fish as well. We fished this area thoroughly in the next hour or so and they both landed and lost several more decent bass.

I decided to cover water a bit more and ventured offshore looking for more big fish. Unfortunately all we could find were smaller than average ones and I gave up on this rather quickly. I thought I’d set them up on a steep edge next when I began marking fish and Scott nailed a good one almost immediately. They both missed a few more after and only landed about 50% of their bites before I pulled the plug on the area entirely.

The winds had increased quite a bit more and switched from the west to the N/NW blowing about 20 knots. This definitely made fishing difficult and more adjustments were needed in order to keep them on fish. I figured that the big winds and direction change might have the fish active and went shallow to give it a try. Immediately they began catching fish after fish and some real quality! Obie even landed his personal best and one of the better ones this season. We milked this area for everything it was worth until nothing wanted to bite anymore. The damage was done and we did it!

With time running out in the day I decided to try the area we began in and they managed to land another half dozen good fish before we called it a day. They also missed at least that many hits as well in the time we fished it!

Scott will be back again next week with a couple of other friends and with any luck, the weather will be as nice as it was today. He has a history of wind & rain if not snow and today was probably the nicest it’s ever been! Our luck it’ll be a blizzard and be way below freezing! I’m crossing my fingers and toes for the best!