I just finished three phenomenal days on the water with my good friend and top notch camera man for Babe Winkelman Productions, Nate Berg. Nate is a true “fishaholic”, and when we get together every year it usually results in a lot of fish looking at the bottom of my net. This year was no exception. In fact, it may be the best few days we have ever had together!
We started fishing an inland lake for smallmouth, walleyes, and bluegills. The morning bite was extremely tough, and we struggled to catch anything until about 1030 a.m. Then the cork popped and it was a mixed bag bonanza for the rest of the day. Staging bluegills up to 9″ were caught in 8′ of water along with smallies up to 19″ and a few small walleyes. It was hot and sunny with very little wind, and water temps ranged from 72 to 74 degrees. We were fishing weed edges with slip bobbers baited with crawlers and leeches as well as weedless jigs tipped with crawlers and leeches.
On day two, Nate brought along his friend Ralph JaDoul for his first walleye fishing experience. We went to the St. Louis River, and the action was lights out. We landed over 50 fish throughout the day on crawler harnesses dragged along channel edges in 4′ to 8′ of water. There were periods throughout the day that it was hard to keep three lines in the water as one of us would be hooked up before everyone could get set. Fish sizes ranged anywhere from 12″ up to 21″. They were all very healthy and full of spunk. River fish always seem to have just a bit more fight in them. Water temps topped out at 75 degrees by the end of a very hot and humid day with stiff south winds. I also need to give a big thank you to the two musky fisherman that lent us a hand at the end of the day. My trolling motor and starting batteries decided to all quit at once. Nice! We waved these two nice guys from Minnesota over, and they gave us a jump that got my motor going. Thank goodness. That would have been a long tow! After a day like that, I’d say Ralph is now a fan of walleye fishing!
Day three didn’t disappoint either. We went back inland in search of more big gills, walleyes, and smallmouth. It rained periodically throughout the day and the more it rained, the more the fish bit. It was electric. We caught walleyes up to 17″, big gills up to 10″, crappies up to 11″, and smallies up to 20″ on everything from slip bobbers with crawlers and leeches, to weedless jigs with leeches, to spinnerbaits, to small plastic jigs below slip bobbers. There were flurries in the afternoon that resulted in multiple, multi-species doubles. We needed an extra guy just to man the net! I wish that I could have gotten a picture of Nate reeling in a walleye with one rod while holding another rod with his feed that had a smallmouth on the other end of the line as I scrambled to scoop them up in the net. Chaos! Everything was caught along weed edges in 7′ to 9′ of water, and water temps held pretty steady at 75 degrees throughout the day. Nate and I have caught a lot of fish together over the years, but we both agreed that this will be tough to beat. I’ll leave it at that!