Breaking The Rules

I had decided last night that I was going to use the ramp, regardless if it was open or not! This morning I launched with Alyssa & Dylan and without any issues! Big deal, the water is at the top of the road and you have to make adjustments! The last few times this week, I had put in at other locations and that was a nightmare. Not today! We headed out shortly after 8:30 in two to three footers and made our way to the flats to fish. Dylan was with me last year as three generations of Robinsons competed on the soft water, for a change! It was earlier this time around and we would be targeting pike & walleye as the bass season remained closed. I set the rods and instructed both Alyssa & Dylan how to get the rods from the holders and it was game on. The first fish to rip line was a northern and Dylan took the skunk out of the boat. We covered plenty of water throughout the morning in 2 foot waves and picked at more walleye and pike, until it happened. Yuup, another visit from the toothy one! Dylan had never experienced anything as heavy as this and I instructed him on what to do. Strangely enough except for her overall size, it fought more like a big eye. I was forced to use the boga grip once again as no net that I had on board would have worked. This beast was post spawn and really lethargic, allowing me easy access and hook removal before being released. It was definitely the largest thing Dylan had ever caught but no proof of a pic was had due to it being out of season. Oh well, at least he has the memories! We reset the lines and went right back to trolling for much smaller fish and much less trouble landing them as well. After another hour or so, I decided to make a move. The winds had laid down considerably so I made a long run to another area hoping for cleaner water and more fish. Almost immediately, two of the rods fired and we had a couple more pike to our total. Alyssa brought another over walleye into the boat and unfortunately it too had to be released. We were planning on getting off the water around 3:00 and figured we had a smooth ride back to the ramp that wouldn’t take too long to arrive. I decided to stick it out a bit longer and managed to have them put two keeper walleye in the boat before packing it up to roll. Unfortunately, Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and kicked up big time! We were heading back in three to four foot rollers and it was going to take longer than expected. I had to tack like a sail boat to get to our destination. This was the only way to run as the waves were big and I would have been hitting them at a 45 degree angle otherwise. We safely arrived and I was glad that I had launched where I did as these giant waves would have made it impossible to take out at the other ramp nearby. Sometimes rules are made to be broken! The day ended with a safe trip and an easy removal of the boat due to my decision. If it doesn’t open real soon, I’ll be doing it again and again! Overall a great day of fishing filled with plenty of memories of the ones that didn’t get away!

Interesting Road Trip

A few weeks back I had an online booking for a trip to a lake that I love to fish. I use to spend 3 to 5 weeks, early in the season, targeting trout & salmon & was anxious to get back. Unfortunately it was going to be a day road trip and a long one at that! I awoke at 3:30 and was rolling before 5 in order to hook up by 7. I had viewed their property for decades from the water and today I was going to see it from the shore. It was even more impressive from land! Eric and his family have multiple properties on the lake including one beautiful house on a large private island. Ironically, their boathouse had served as a shelter for me many, many times in the years past!

Eric was interested in learning techniques and I had no problem showing him what he needed in order to catch fish from this lake. Although the water temps were close to 60 degrees, I was sure we could get bit, trolling with fly rods. They had a bunch of people that wanted to come out and we did it in groups throughout the day. In fact, after lunch one of their boats shuttled the others out to us, miles from where we started. Quite the set up to say the least! I believe they have about 6 motor boats at their disposal as well as many canoes and kayaks!

I covered plenty of water looking for colder temps for a change and when I found it, fish were caught. In fact they even caught their very first lake trout ever from this lake. There were lots of fish landed today and almost all of them were taken on the fly. Although I did run downriggers for a little while over deep water, we didn’t spend too much time as the fly rods were working and they preferred this method! Picture perfect weather had us fishing until about 4:30 before I called the dy. After a short run back to their private launch, I packed up for the long trip home. Unfortunately it was an even longer drive as I encountered a flaming vehicle on the dirt road, while leaving. Luckily the people had gotten out before it ignited into an inferno!

Up at 3:30 AM, home by 8:00 PM. Now that’s a long day! It was all worth it though as I got to meet a bunch of great people and fish a lake I consider one of my top 3 favorites. Life is good!



Double Booking Day

With the ramp still closed, I had to find an alternate place to launch again! Normally it wouldn’t have been a big problem but today I had two half day bookings and needed to pick up the second couple, while dropping off the first one. Fortunately everything went well, including the fishing!

I picked up Bryan and launched, heading to a place that had been on fire only a few of days earlier. What a disappointment to see the water color & temp from the days before. We tried regardless, but without any success in the first half hour, I pulled the plug quickly. We made a long run to a backup area and were immediately on fish. Although mostly pike, there were several walleye in the mix as well. The water temps weren’t great at 53 degrees but the colour was definitely better. After getting his fill of the northerns, I decided to try another area closer to where we launched. We trolled the shallower rocks and found a few more fish for him to play with. No  pike but several walleye and a couple of bass! He had never caught a smallie and was amazed at how hard they fought. We were actually trolling our way back towards the ramp when I got the call. One more fish and I was on my way for the second set of clients. Bryan had managed to catch plenty of fish this morning, despite difficult weather conditions from the previous days. He left quite happy with the results as he had mentioned that he’s usually very unlucky when he fishes. Not today buddy!

Back at the ramp I made the exchange and was right back at it hard! With the sunshine upon us and the temperatures quite a bit warmer, I decided to try the first area one more time. When I arrived I found the water to be a few degrees warmer but still pretty dirty. With lines in, I started the troll and not long after a reel fired. Finocchio was into his first ever walleye and it was a decent one. Being from Italy, he was use to catching pike but had never seen a walleye before. Obviously the fish were here and I fished hard to try & get more bites. We covered plenty of water and picked at them, but not with the consistency I wanted. Eventually I was forced to move and made another long run to cleaner water. Right on cue, it didn’t take long to get the first bite, with another northern falling victim to a slow trolled lure. We remained here for most of the day and he fought many fish in the process. A combination of pike & walleye were landed before we headed to the last area of the day. Back in the shallows, more walleye were caught and Finocchio even hooked into a couple of smallies as well. He too was amazed at how hard they fought as he had never caught one before. Time flew by today both in the morning as well as the afternoon. Before we knew it, 5:00 was upon us and it was time to go! This was a treat for them as it was a stopover on their way to Mexico. It was their honeymoon and they had spent a few days in the Laurentions at a beautiful resort up until today. Finocchio loved fishing so much that he managed to squeeze a half day into their tight schedule. I would have done the same! Although his wife wasn’t much into fishing, she thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon watching him land fish after fish. Plenty of pics were taken by her ensuring many memories of their time spent in Montreal. Hopefully this is only the start of a lifetime of memories to come!


Mother Nature Shines

Who would have thought two months back when this trip was booked that it would turn out like this. You couldn’t have asked for a nicer day! Denis, Bob & Terry experienced flat calm conditions and a really smooth ride to where we started. It was a long run with the ramp still closed but at least it wasn’t hell like I’m use to. We set up and started trolling in 53 degree water and managed to pick at the fish pretty steadily throughout the morning. It was so calm that the Dog Pecker Knats were out in full force, for the first time this year! Early in the afternoon I decided to make another long run to a place in hopes of finding warmer water. With the sun shining and no wind, I was able to find considerably warmer temps and this is where the reels really started firing. Numbers of pike and walleye were landed and Bob even got to catch the fish of a lifetime. A visit from a big toothy critter blessed him, but a quick release was had boat side, as it wasn’t in season. Plans of remaining here briefly soon changed when the fish started cooperating. I wanted to hit another area closer to where we launched but you never leave fish to find fish! We stuck it out for the remainder of the afternoon catching plenty more fish and finished with another over walleye before heading back. Despite the overly high, dirty water conditions, the fish cooperated once we found warmer water. Great day with an even greater bunch of guys. Who could ask for anything more!

First Cold Front

Getting on the lake lately has been challenge, to say the least! One day the ramp is open, the next it’s closed. Add the “Gale Force Winds” most days along with high, cold, dirty water and getting bit isn’t easy either. Today I had the pleasure of fishing with two guys from Tennessee on a layover from Montreal to Italy. No better way of spending it than going fishing! Unfortunately we had a cold front move in overnight, dropping the temperatures about 35 degrees. Two days in a row with 85 degrees or more along with gigantic SW winds blowing over 40 knots. Today, 50 degrees and a big NW wind gusting about 25 knots for the run. Oh yeah and a long one at that with the boat ramp closed once again! Three days earlier, I had launched without a problem, but the water rose and they closed it for the second time.
The run up the lake in a cross wind was a little bumpy, but we eventually arrived at our starting spot. Neither Brad nor Brandon had ever caught a pike and I didn’t think it would be a problem. With water temps under 53 degrees, it would still be a challenge! I set the lines and trolled for a while before a reel screamed and Brandon landed his first ever northern. Brad didn’t wait long before he too was into one. I had stumbled into a few fish and was going to troll up as many as I could. Not one double was to be had today though as every time we hooked up, the fish seemed to be alone. We slowly picked at them and gradually managed to bring up the numbers. The size on the other hand was lacking until I headed to slightly deeper water. It was here that they began getting into more fish and even managed to land several walleye. Brad brought to boat his personal best at just a hair under 7 pounds on the scales. Brandon also landed his personal best, but it wasn’t too difficult as neither of them had caught one before either.
By the time we were ready to leave, they had managed to catch a great number of fish and both were quite happy with the outcome. So much so that there’s a good chance I may see them again when they return at the end of he month. Today may have been difficult at the start but by the time it was all over, it had turned full circle. Numbers of good fish were landed and some real nice walleye as a bonus too. Hopefully the next time I get out, I’ll be able to use the regular ramp and fish closer areas I know are holding fish. Who knows, maybe Mother Nature will cooperate too. Doubtful but we can all dream!