The schedule has been hectic lately and I can feel my “stack of stuff” piling up! So in lieu of a glorious, long winded story about what’s been going on with folks in my boat, let me just update you on some of the current conditions.
Surface water temperatures are approaching the warmest levels that they will reach all summer long. This week I’ve seen readings that range from 76 degrees on the low end, up to 81.5 degrees on the high side.
Overall, water levels remain at or above normal levels for this time of the season. Land-locked lakes remain well above average, but I see water levels falling on lakes that have out-flowing rivers and streams. That said, there aren’t any access ramps that have given me a problem launching “Big Red”, my fiberglass Lund 208 Pro V.
With the warm water, comes the mid-summer “action bite”, the time when you can fish any given stretch of good weed growth and catch every species of fish that swims in your favorite lakes. It’s a given that the species you catch may not always be the species you target. But usually, the smattering of “target species” that come along is enough to satisfy the purists, while other fish keep the action going for folks with restless leg syndrome.
Over the past several days, trolling the weed patches with Little Joe Spinners has produced walleye, northern pike, largemouth and bass smallmouth, rock bass, sunfish, goldeye, sheepshead, bullheads, perch and dogfish. The only species that hasn’t seen the inside of my boat has been a crappie and that’s because I haven’t fished any lake that has a strong crappie population.
Sometimes folks lose sight of the target and get hung up about the odds and ends; fish that they don’t really care to catch. Take yesterday for example, one of the kids wasn’t too impressed with the number of “little northerns” that we were catching. The problem is that if we wouldn’t put up with catching them, then we wouldn’t have caught the keeper size walleye and perch that came along in the mix.
The tricks to managing the warm weather action bite if to focus on the goal and forget about the distractions. I know that if I keep fishing, it’s just a matter of time before I’ll catch something I want. If I have to release 50 fish to catch a few good keepers, I’m okay with that.
The alternative would be to select a presentation that singles out only my target species, knowing that at the end of the day, I may have the same exact number of “target fish” in my creel, but without having the action to go along with it.
The target species only approach might be a good one if your lakes don’t have a very robust variety of desirable species. But if there’s a wide variety of “good” panfish, bass or pike, then I think it is the only way to go.
I’ll catch up some more tomorrow, but right now I gotta run. It’s day #4 of the Daikin Fisharoo and the crew is waiting on me already. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"The heat has turned off the fishermen more than is has the fish this past week. The pool has seen a lot more action than the lake. That being said, the fish continue to cooperate with the ones who choose to go after them.
Walleyes are in their normal summer patterns. Rigs with leeches and crawlers on the main bars and humps will catch fish. The weeds on top of the main bars has been productive for both walleyes and northerns.
Larger minnows with spinners or jigs have been very good while fishing this structure. Most of the walleyes continue to be in the protected slot.
Northern fishing has been reliable, trolling the shoreline drops with larger spoons such as Trolldevles. We had two muskies caught this past week while trolling for northerns. Lori Turnbull from Anna, TX caught a 44" beauty on an orange and green. Ruby Koch, from Reinbeck, IA caught a 46" monster on a orange and gold Eppinger trolldevle.
They came as a surprise as we have not seen or heard of many muskies being caught in the past couple of years.
Perch continue to be very spotty. Hopefully, we can get them dialed in by late summer for some great fall perch fishing.
We have openings for our fall season. Our fall special kicks in on Labor Day, 20% off all cabin rental. Make your plans, and give us a call." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
Main depths are still 29 to 32 feet of water. The main basin is starting to load up with walleyes, some nice fish this week on crankbaits. Various bites happening from structure to mud, from east to west. The key, find the fish.
On the Rainy River, there's a mixed bag for anglers fishing the river and Four Mile Bay. Pulling spinners and jigging depending upon if you are covering water or fishing a spot on a spot the ticket. Some walleyes in Four Mile Bay along river channel edge. Smallies still coming from rocky areas, weed beds and bridges. Sturgeon keep season July 1st - Sep 30.
Great week of walleye fishing for folks up at the Nortwest Angle too. Drifting spinners west of Little Oak still producing combo of eaters and slots. Hammered gold and silver blades strong.
As summer progresses, some walleyes still on structure, some over mud. Jigging and pulling spinners on and around reefs in 16-24' producing walleyes in Ontario. Good fishing continues for smallmouth bass, big pike and muskies." — Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"There is an awesome bite with spinner blades at Little Oak. The jigging bite off Lemms Reef is doing very well. The main basin is filling up with fish. We haven't been on them yet, but we are marking a lot. Hammered silver spinners and gold and chartreuse jigs are the way to go.
We had another week of great bites with a great number of big walleyes caught and released.
Again, with highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's. Great for sweatshirts in the morning and shorts in the afternoon.
We still have some space available in July and August and we expect an awesome bite all summer long. The World Ploughing Contest is coming up at the end of August!" — 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
"Walleye fishing remains a shallow water affair, with good numbers being caught in 6-8 feet of water. Weedbeds have been best, but windy shorelines are also productive. Anglers fishing shallow have been catching walleyes by simply casting a jig and leech or jig and half a crawler. Shallow diving crank baits, casted, is also worth knotting.
Walleyes are also being caught out on the sunken islands, but it’s more of a one or two fish then move to the next hump for one or two more fish. Anglers are reporting that fishing out there is slow, but the big walleyes are out there. For anglers fishing out around the sunken islands, they should focus fishing in 12-15 feet of water, with spinner rigs tipped with a leech or crawler or jig and leech. Blue, pink and gold remain the hot colors.
Smallmouth fishing remains excellent as fish begin to stage on the edge of the first break. Anglers should still be working the shoreline, but out a little deeper in about 10 feet, for the bigger bass. Topwater fishing remains good early in the morning, but as the sun gets up, anglers should switch to spinnerbaits, jerk baits or senko rigs to keep catching bass. Pink, white and chartreuse remain the top colors.
Crappies remain shallow but only in weedbeds. Anglers casting a simple jig and twister, close to thick stands of weeds are catching nice crappies. During the evening hours crappies are being found out on the weed edge and hitting crappie minnows under a bobber, small crank baits or jig and twister. White, yellow and pink has been the top colors.
Lake Trout fishing has been good this last week. Anglers are catching lakers on flashy spoons trolled, with down riggers, in 40-80 feet of water. Stick baits trolled with 3 to 4 colors of leadcore line out, has also been catching lakers.
Northern Pike remain very active, but overall size has been on the small side. Spinnerbaits, buzz baits and suspending jerk baits fished in and around weedbeds, has been accounting for good numbers of nice pike. Big pike are now showing up out on deep reefs and are being caught by accident by anglers fishing for walleye’s. Anglers looking to target these fish, are having luck with large minnow baits fished right on top of the humps." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
Warm water species like Bass and panfish have been very active. Take a look at last week’s harvest of Largemouth Bass by some of our guests. Folks love to target bass because they’re a hoot to reel in, but don’t overlook bass as a good table fare too.
Though largemouth bass in Winnibigoshish were once thought of as an obscure population that were hard to locate and tricky to catch. They have flourished as vegetation becomes more lush and green over the past several years. Bass are now widespread in our own back yard; they are abundant in both the Dam Bay and in Tamarack Bay as well.
Bass can be found in a variety of depths and in cabbage, coontail and bulrush patches. Plastic worms rigged weedless are a good way to find them. Bass can also be taken using spinnerbaits, weedless top water frogs and using live bait like leeches under slip bobbers.
While you’re looking for bass, you’re liable to find some other nice surprises in those weed beds too. Northern Pike, Sunfish, Crappies and Walleyes are all using the same patches of green vegetation. You might even snag into a trophy Musky while you’re fishing for a mixed bag of other gamefish.
Jig and minnow combinations continue to produce fish, and wiggling a lively night crawler on a small jig head will produce fish in the vegetation as well. But surface water temperatures are now at their warmest of the summer and with more warm weather in the forecast, water temperatures will have the fish’s metabolism racing. Fast pace presentations like trolling spinners is already working for many and will probably become the go to presentation as water temperatures reach the 80 degree mark.
Die hard walleye anglers can find fish on the main lake too. The larger main bars are producing fish, so several of the smaller, mid-lake humps in the middle. Key depths vary with light conditions; early morning and late evening look in depths of 22 to 28 feet. Lindy Rigs tipped with leeches and night crawlers will produce fish, so will spinners trolled behind 2-1/2 ounce bottom bouncers.
During the daytime, many of these fish move out and away from structure. Look for walleyes suspended over the deeper soft bottom mud flats. Targeting the suspended fish can be tricky, but the best approach we know of for catching suspended walleyes is power corking. In a nutshell, you have a slip float set at roughly 25 feet deep. Below the bobber, you’ll tie on a 1/16 ounce Live Bait Jig and an extra #4 size split shot about 18 inches above it. The small jig is tipped with a leech or night crawler cut in half.
The presentation isn’t hard; cruise the areas near outer edges of structure watching for fish on your electronics. The instant you spot fish, kick your engine into neutral and drop your lures over the side. Give fish a few minutes to respond, re-position your boat a time or two, catch the active fish and then proceed with your search. If you’ve never tried it, you should; watching that bobber go down is a lot of fun!
Overall, it looks the period of stability should continue throughout the week, with only a few hiccups in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms along the way. — Chad & Melissa Mertz The Pines Resort 218-246-8546 or 1-800-342-1552
Leech Lake Walleyes like a nice chop on the water, sunshine and calm seas are rarely the recipe for the most dependable walleye bite. And when those conditions occur a day after strong thunderstorms rumble through the area; the negative effects are heightened even more.
For me, a half day fishing trip is just barely enough time to rule out a few spots and hopefully, rule in a few others. Even working as efficiently as I can, covering a lake the size of Leech in 4 hours is a tall order.
Even though the odds were less than favorable, we would eventually learn that there still were some walleyes to catch. From what I could see, folks on the lake who knew where to go and how to fish did catch some fish for their effort.
My game plan was to first try fishing 3 “rocky spots”, mid-lake reefs located near the resort on the south end of the lake. I expected that we’d pick up a few smallmouth bass, but we didn’t. Neither did we catch any walleye, pike of perch; maybe those spots will be productive when the wind blows again, but we quickly learned that this was not a productive strategy on Thursday.
The next step was to try some deeper water, wherever there was a well-defined transition between soft mud bottoms and hard sand. There were multiple insect hatches brewing in these areas and at various stages of development. For me and my crew, these turned out to be the “fishiest” looking locations.
The reason those areas were fishy was that entire food chains had set up around the emerging insect hatches. Small minnows and tiny, baitfish size perch were feeding on the larvae. Larger baitfish, what appeared to be Tulibees showed up frequently on my Humminbird too and occasionally, I could see the odd walleye and or pike.
Bugs on the main lake were already airborne over the deep hole between Ottertail Point and Stony Point. There were some tiny white bugs about the size of a pin head and there were some small midge-like looking insects, dark grey and about 1/16 inches long. We’d heard from the dockhands at the resort that there were mayflies hatching, but did not observe any of them in that area.
In Walker Bay, there were areas where I could see larvae on the screen of my Humminbird, but very few of the bug hatches had developed to the point that insects were in the air.
We spent a couple of hours targeting those fish that were scattered along the drop-off in 24 to 28 feet of water. Trolling Little Joe Spinners behind 2 ounce bottom bouncers produced a few walleyes and a 25 inch pike. There were a few other boats out there too and we saw each of them catch fish. So I believe that if we’d stayed in that area and spent the entire day working that pattern, it would have produced a respectable catch. I imagine it would likely have been one of those slow-but-steady bites.
With limited time though, it was important to break away from those fish and see if we could turn up another spot. A quick pass over some weed tops produced a lot of very small perch, but it did also allow Mark to add another walleye to the larder. I could see larger fish lying outside the weed edges and because of that, had the impression that if we’d fished those weeds closer to evening time, there may have been some good action.
In terms of poundage, one might not be able to judge this as a great trip. All in all though, it was not a bad day at all, there was a lot of information generated. There were just enough fish caught to prove that the locations and presentations offered good potential for more action over the upcoming weekend.
If I was headed toward Leech Lake this weekend, I’d be optimistic. At 73 to 75 degrees, surface temperatures are favorable for trolling presentations. That means anglers can cover a lot of territory in a hurry. The weather forecast looks favorable too, more warm weather coming and not many storms on the radar.
If I was on the lake for my own vacation, I’d work those deep breaklines with spinners and bottom bouncers during the day. At dusk, I’d be trolling the weed tops looking for a mixed bag of panfish, perch, pike and walleye. — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL
"Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs continues to be excellent. The mud flats are where most are fishing the walleyes.The rock points when the wind is right are also producing a good number of walleyes.
Smallmouth bass fishing has improved, some days have been excellent while others have been slow. The bite should be more consistent as we get closer to August.
Northern pike fishing has been slow, some Muskies are being caught, about normal for this time of the year." — Terry Thurmer, Terry's Boat Harbor, 320-692-4430
"Although the Northland has been about a month behind it seems from where the fish would normally be this time of year, the recent heatwave has bumped up our surface temps and the cabbage beds are getting thick, good news for us as we target the green cabbage at least 70% of the time on our trips as the heat of summer sets in and we always end up with the most plentiful bags!
The cabbage provides cover, shade and holds tons of baitfish so why wouldn't fish thrive in it?
Walleye: ANYBODY’S GAME RIGHT NOW! No matter your preferred style, they’ll hit it! Walleye can be found in 13’-16’ of water or also in 24’-32’ of water pulling spinners and bottom bouncers tipped with crawlers, Lindy Rigs tipped with either crawlers or leeches, Crank Baits, pitching Shiver Minnows, or Jigging Raps have all been producing well!
Bass: Smallmouth have moved off the shallow flats now. You will find them on the rocky or gravel points, bars, and humps. Try using Drop-Shot, Carolina-Rig, or even Lindy-Rig with leeches. Largemouth are hitting Spinnerbaits in the shallows. Try working the pencil reeds, cabbage beds, or soft bottom bays.
Panfish: Crappies and Sunfish alike can be found, you guessed it, in the cabbage beds as well as off the weed lines. Using small jigs like a Clam Tungsten Drop-T, tipped with either live bait or plastics under a slip bobber, has worked quite well. If you prefer a more active method, toss small Mepps spinners or Beetle Spins.
Pike: Of course, well pulled up several of these through our efforts in targeting others. However, if it is the lurking Northern you seek, you’ll find the best luck tossing spoons such as a Dare Devil or pulling spinners over the cabbage, on the weed lines or along the shallow breaks leading to deeper water. Floating a sucker minnow under a float can be hot early morning or in the evening." — Justin & Alice Wiese, Wheezy Guide Service 218-275-7525
Fishing remains good even with the big hatches. Rigging crawlers blown up with behind a 9’ snell so the bait rides high off the bottom seams to be the ticket. With the bug hatches don’t be afraid to get up a bit in the water column as that is where the fish are feeding.
The smallie fishing has been very good. There are still a lot of fish sitting on the 8-12 foot breaks. A “Ned Rig” has been absolutely lights out. Throw the bait out and let it sit on the bottom. Twitch it a couple of times and reel in and recast. If you aren’t catching fish keep moving until you locate them.
I still have openings for July and August. All full day trips booked in the month of July will receive $50 off!" — Matt Klug, MK Fishing Guide Service 320-260-5494
"Walleye fishing has largely remained good to excellent for many anglers this last week.
Location of the hottest fishing hasn’t been out on sunken islands or mud flats, but rather on shallow water weedlines. More and more anglers are reporting that fishing shallow weedlines in 10-15 feet of water, while casting a jig and leech and slowly dragging the bottom, are experiencing a fantastic walleye bite!
Anglers are also catching walleyes out around sunken islands with mud around the island. Anglers fishing out here have been catching walleyes in 12-18 feet of water with spinner rigs, lindy rigs and power corking, tipped with a leech or crawler. Anglers have been reporting that keeping a sharper eye on your depth finder and tracking the walleyes as they moving up and down the the sunken island helps tremendously with your catch. Blue, gold, pink and purple continue to be the top producing colors.
The once fantastic topwater Smallmouth Bass bite has begun to slow on many area lakes as water temps climb, pushing big bass out deeper. Still anglers who want to catch bass on topwater, should target bass shallow on main lake shorelines. Early mornings, when water temps are at their coolest, has been the best time for topwater.
When the topwater bite cools off and the big bass move deeper during the day, anglers should switch to a simple senko rig, tubes, spinnerbaits and in-line spinners too keep catching bass. Natural colors on clear water lakes and bright colors on dark water lakes has been the rule of thumb for best colors to use on the lake your fishing.
Sunfish fishing has remained excellent in the shallow weedy bays. Anglers have been catching them with small crawlers, small leeches and waxies fished under a bobber in 7 feet of water and less in weedbeds or near lily pads.
Crappies are also being caught in 10 feet of water, inside the weedbeds about 3 to 4 feet under the surface. Crappies have been hitting small jig and twisters while swimming them through weedbeds or a crappie minnow fished 3 to 4 feet under a bobber.
Lake Trout anglers have been catching lakers out over deep water. Jigging large bucktails and white tubes, if your in a canoe, trolling with down riggers and flashy spoons if your in a boat has resulted in some nice lakers being caught. Key depths have been 40-80 feet of water near large mud flats as may flies on lake trout lakes have yet to reach their peak.
Northern Pike remain very active in the shallows, but reports of big 30+ inch pike have become scarce. Smaller pike have been hitting suckers, spoons, spinnerbaits and large minnow baits. Anglers should focus on weedlines, mouths of shallow bays and creek mouths for active pike." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
"On the south end of Lake of the Woods, walleye fishing has been excellent. There's a healthy mix of eating size fish, (under 19.5"), protected slot-fish (19.5 - 28") and also fish over the 28 inch protected slot size.
Jigging with frozen shiners or leeches super effective. Drifting spinners with crawlers also producing nice walleyes. Main depths are still 29-32'. Gold mixed with orange, pink or chartreuse strong color choices. Some walleyes coming on crankbaits.
On the Rainy River, the Sturgeon keep season is open and runs from now through September 30, 2019. Anglers are allowed to keep 1 sturgeon per calendar year between 45-50 inches, or if it's over 75 inches. We've been hearing ositive reports from sturgeon anglers.
Walleyes relating to holes in river, current seams. Smallies in rocky areas, weed beds and bridges. Pike on edge of weed beds. 42 miles of navigable river.
Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye fishing remains excellent. Mayfly hatch nearing end. Drifting spinners west of Little Oak producing combo of eaters and slots. Jigging and pulling spinners on and around reefs in 13-20' and around islands producing walleyes in Ontario. Smallmouth bass being taken on cranks and spinnerbaits over rocks. Big muskies caught and released this week." — Lake of the Woods Tourism, (800) 382-FISH
"Jigging in Big Traverse Bay and pulling spinners in Little Traverse has been really effective with a strong morning bite and slower mid days. We are seeing more traffic with the plug fishing and getting ready to go with it.
We had another week of great bites with a great number of big Walleyes caught and released.
Again, with highs in the 80’s and low in 50’s. Great for sweatshirts in the morning and shorts in the afternoon.
We still have some space available in July and August and we expect an awesome bite all summer long. The World Poughing Contest is coming up at the end of August!" — 1-800-776-3474 Border View Lodge
"Summer bass are a sucker for hard-charging deep-diving crankbaits grinding and ricocheting over the bottom. Wired2Fish's Ryan DeChaine explains how to put these baits to work on deep schools of bass concentrated over isolated hard bottom areas.
The challenge is finding spots that haven't been heavily pressured. DeChaine relies on side imaging to find offshore 'rough patches' overlooked by other anglers - high-frequency side imaging is a powerful tool for locating these areas while waypoints serve as a bullseye for long casts worked methodically over the bottom.
While you'll trigger fish with finesse presentations, DeChaine targets the biggest and most aggressive bass first with a large-profile crankbait like the Rapala DT-16. The trick is to quickly repeat productive casts while the fish are fired up. Consider switching up to a finesse presentation like a Neko or drop shot rig once the crankbait bite slows." View Video and Learn More >> Deep Cranking Summer Bass on Hard Spots
"The walleye fishing has been quite good despite the calm conditions.
Mid-lake structure is the best bet using rigs with leeches or crawlers. Most of the fish continue to be in the protected slot.
These fish are very impressive, though. There are also some fish being caught in the best cabbage weed growth you can find. Look for areas adjacent to deep water in 13-17' of water.
These weeds are also the prime areas for northern pike. Jigs and minnows as well as normal hardware are catching pike. This has been the prime fish for eating this year. There are many under the slot as well as some overs being caught.
Perch fishing is still very spotty. Cabbage weed growth is a good place to start. If you don't find them in the weeds, look at the bottom side of the primary break on the main bars. The key depth is 30' when fishing this structure. Jigs and fatheads or a bare hook under a bobber and a fathead minnow will catch these perch.
The summer season is in full swing. We still have a few openings for the prime vacation season. Check out our availability and give us a call." — Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
"Walleyes are now largely being located out around sunken islands with large mud flats near by. Key depth has been 15-25 feet of water. Walleye’s on many area lakes have been feeding heavily on mayflies, but anglers fishing with half a crawler or leeches, have continued to catch walleyes. Anglers watching their graphs to see where the walleyes are, in relation to where the mayflies are and presenting their baits at the correct depth are having the best luck. One angler even boating a 30” walleye, his new personal best.
On lakes where the mayfly hatch isn’t as big of a issue, walleyes are being found out on the edge of weedlines. Anglers are catching these walleyes with a simple spinner rig tipped with a night crawler. Anglers are finding these walleyes in 10-15 feet of water. Blue, gold and pink remain the top colors for successful anglers.
Smallmouth Bass - Smallmouth Bass fishing has been on fire this last week! Some real monsters have been caught right off the dock. Two were caught that may of changed the current state record of 8 lbs. Both were released, to grow even bigger! Main lake shorelines remain the best area to find these big bass and topwater, senko rigging and inline spinners are accounting for the majority of bass being caught. If you have kids and are looking for a simple and easy way to catch lots of fish, a simple bobber and a juicy leech will also catch a ton of them and put smiles on faces.
Crappie fishing has slowed as crappies move out of the shallows and are now largely being caught, by accident, by walleye anglers. Reason for this is largely thanks to the invasive rusty crawfish and its ability to wipe out weedbeds. If the crappies have no weeds to relate too, they simply roam. Sunfish anglers are continuing to catch very nice sunfish shallow. Anglers should look to shallow bays with lily pads, weeds or downed trees in the water. Sunfish are hitting on small crawlers, crappie minnows or wax worms.
Stream trout fishing has slowed as the water has warmed. Warmer water temps have bushed the trout deeper. The once excellent shoreline bite has slowed to more hit or miss. Anglers fishing out of a boat are having the most consistent luck trolling small glass crank baits or cowbells over deep water. Anglers are reporting that they are marking most trout 15-20 feet down.
Northern Pike fishing too has slowed, as water temps have risen and pushed the really big girl out deep. While big pike has become hard to find, the smaller pike (30” or less) remain shallow and very active. Anglers have reported catching lots of them trolling spoons, burning buzz baits and large suspending minnow baits. Anglers should look for mouths of shallow bays, mouths of streams and weedlines for aggressive pike." — Arrowhead Outdoors, 218-365-5358
"Walleye fishing remains to be extremely good right now on Mille lacs as well as the Alexandria area.
On Mille lacs the walleyes are primarily out on the mud flats. The key is trusting your electronics, if you aren’t marking fish keep moving until you do. Rigging a leech or crawler with a 6-9’ snell, bobber fishing a leech or pulling spinners and crawlers with bottom bouncers is very productive right now.
Alexandria area fishing has been fantastic. Mid lake hunps as well as the largely over looked weed lines are producing walleyes. Using an 1/8 ounce bullet weight in front of a crawler harness and pulling it over the top of the weeds at 1-1.3 mph will produce a great multi species day. Walleye, pike, blue gills, crappie and bass will all eat this presentation so get out there and catch some fish!
I have openings for July as well as August currently. Feel free to call ore text with questions." — Matt Klug, MK Fishing Guide Service 320-260-5494
You’ve had this happen before, you really had the fish dialed in, and you catch them in your sleep if you needed to. All you needed was for weather conditions to remain stable and your next trip to Lake Wishiknewit would be a fantastic success. The night before your fishing trip, the lightning flashes, thunder claps and the rain comes down by the bucket full.
Your first thought; “I hope this doesn’t screw up my fishing tomorrow.” You toss and turn, you think again to yourself; “this is gonna screw up my fishing tomorrow.” You spend the rest of the night restless, wondering how long this storm is gonna last and how bad will the impact be?
In the morning, you check the weather forecast hoping to see some optimistic news. You try to spin the reports into a scenario that will work in your favor, any thread of good news makes you feel like you might beat the odds and have a great fishing day.
When you arrive at the lake, puddles of standing water from last night’s rain cover the parking lot. There are twigs, leaves, dead bugs and other soupy looking stuff floating on top of the murky water, riled up by the storm’s strong winds. Hoping for an optimistic outlook you ask the AIS inspector; “how bad did the storm hit here last night?” When she says “that one was a real doozy”, it finally sinks in, it’s gonna be a tough day on the lake.
Jim Seeley is one of the nicest guys in the whole wide world. All I’ve ever wanted to do for him was go to the lake, put on some bait and catch a few fish without having to scrape and scrounge for every bite. Yesterday was no different, I just wanted to show him and his girl, Susan a good day on the lake. I know that’s definitely gonna happen one of these days, but yesterday wasn’t destined to be the big one.
The series of storms that rolled though the Itasca region during the wee hours of Sunday morning were disruptive in a major way. This was the first full scale thunderstorm we’ve received all summer. In Grand Rapids, it lasted for several hours; lighting and thunder flashed and popped all night long.
On the lake, fish were scattered far and wide. I moved from spot-to-spot, marking a fish here, and two fish there. I kept the back of the boat pointed into the wind to keep our drift speed slow, ranging between .2 and .5 MPH. When I marked fish, I tried to make sure that the baits stayed in front of them for as long as possible. Most of the fish allowed us to pass by, but occasionally, somebody picked one of them off.
We caught a few fish Lindy Rigging leeches and a couple more using spinners, but the best presentation overall was Wiggle Worming. If we wanted to catch them, the light biting walleyes needed to be fed a lot of line and even giving them tons of time, it was a crap shoot whether we’d hook them or not.
The day was spent plodding along, moving from spot to spot, and picking off a walleye here and there. By days end, we had bagged 5 keepers and had released another 8 or 9 slot-fish. Everybody caught something and reviewing photos of our successes, made the crew feel better about the day.
One of my earliest lessons came from an episode of In-Fisherman TV back in the early 1980s. In a segment about fishing after the passing of a major weather front, Al Lindner taught me the rule of thumb; “sometimes you have to work harder and smarter for less.” He was right then and he’s still right today.
Success on some fishing days can’t be measured by how many fish you have in the cooler. It’s the experiences, even the tough ones that add up to a lifetime of fish stories. We’ll have one of those “easy days” one of these times. In the meantime, I’m glad that Jim and Susan and Susan and I added a few new stories to the repertoire yesterday.
This morning I really need to hold my chin up about yesterday’s catch because looking both at the weather forecast and my fishing schedule, there’s a good chance that I’ll look back at yesterday and regard it as one of the best fishing trips of the week. Yes, I’m serious, my schedule is definitely not taking me to the right place at the right times.
I’ll explain more about that later but in the meantime, if you’re felling generous, I might need an extra big dosage of the rainbow fish meditation today. Help me call ‘em in everybody; “here fishy, here fishy …” — Jeff Sundin 218-245-9858 or EMAIL