With doom and gloom in the forecast, I thought we were in for a long three days. Good thing the fish didn’t read the script!!! Jason Keesy and his father Marty from Cedar Falls, IA had me reserved for three days of fishing on Chequamegon Bay that lined right up with our first major cold front of the fall that included 40 degree air temps and 40 mph winds. Not exactly good conditions, but the Keesy men didn’t drive here to sit in their hotel room. Wednesday was day one of our trip, and the bay was out of the question with gale warnings, and on, and on… Our only move was to head inland, and what a move it was! Just by chance, the only fishable part of the lake we were on happened to be holding a pile of fish that missed the memo on the cold front. Jason landed a 28″ walleye on his first cast, and that set the tone for a day we’ll never forget. The setting was crazy with falling temps, high winds, driving rain, and steam rising from the lake as we caught walleyes up to 28″ and smallies up to 20″ on slip bobbers and minnows in 10′ – 18′ of water. Water temps fell from 65 – 63 degrees during the day, and poor Marty looked like a popsicle when we were done. It was definitely one of those days that made you question your sanity but really cool to be a part of at the same time. Needless to say, I was proud of Jason and Marty for their effort. What a start to their trip!
With the brunt of the storm past us, we hit Chequamegon Bay on Thursday, and man was it a mess from the day before… Water color varied from chocolate milk, to coffee, to tea, to clear. We headed out to our first spot, and there was a very distinct mud line that had formed with stiff NE winds. I have to admit I wasn’t entirely positive that we’d find any active fish with such turbulent conditions. Now I know mud lines on the bay are an important indicator for those who troll for trout and salmon, but I’ve never encountered a situation where it played a roll in smallmouth fishing. Well, check that one off the list! We set the boat up to drift right along the edge of the line and immediately hooked up on a double. The fish were definitely relating to that mud line, and we followed it throughout the morning catching fish after fish with more doubles than I could count. It seemed like the Jason and Marty were constantly hooked up. Who needs a treadmill with that kind of action??? As stiff winds pushed into the bay, the mud line disappeared and we changed our approach in the afternoon. If possible, the action may have been better as we drifted in 10′ – 15′ of water with minnows. Fish totals were huge by the end of the day with many fish over 20″ and a 21 3/4″ monster landed by Jason. Water temps ranged from 58 – 59 degrees during the day, and I sent the boys back to their hotel with some tired arms.
We were back on Chequamegon Bay for day three. Surely the bite would slow down… It didn’t!!! We started off drifting minnows in 12′ – 14′ of water, and the Keesy’s had several fish in the boat within the first hour. Meanwhile, I began playing with a drop shot rigged with a plastic worm and had several hook ups. Jason and Marty joined the party soon after, and we had an absolute blast catching fish on a variety of plastics from worm to minnow imitations throughout the rest of the day. It was a guide’s dream!!! We bombed casts along a 13′ breakline and boated an incredible amount of fish up to 20 1/2″ including several doubles. I sure got a kick out of watching Jason and Marty get the hang of working those drop shot rigs as they battled fish upon fish. These are two awesome dudes, and great fishermen as well. Water temps held at 59 degrees throughout the day as we experienced everything from sun to clouds and several wind shifts. Typical big lake weather… When the dust finally settled, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a better three day stretch. Thanks to Jason and Marty for letting me be a part of it. What a trip!!! If you’re heading out on the Chequamegon Bay this weekend, stay alert. There’s a lot of floating and submerged debris out there left from the storm. Keep your eyes open, and take your time. Have an outstanding weekend everyone!!!