It’s been an interesting week with some really good people. High winds turned to calm seas over the week, and things got a little funky… Tara and Gene Schmitz from Broomfield, CO returned and brought their friends Cindy and Harry Kaier from Rookledge, FL to fish with Terry Peterson and I for a three day trip. Tara and Gene started the trip off in my boat, and big winds continued to blow in the Hayward area on Tuesday. The topwater bite we had going was null and void… We spent the morning working shallow rocks in 2′ – 8′ of water and caught a few fish up to 18″ on crankbaits and plastics. We found the best action to be in the wind, but boat control was tough. When fishing out of the wind, there were lots of lookers without takers. We decided to switch lakes and tactics in the afternoon and fished walleyes. Tara and Cindy were in my boat, and Tara was super excited to be using leeches again. We caught a bunch of nice fish up to 18″ on minnows and leeches in 5′ – 8′ weedbeds including a bonus 19″ smallie landed by Tara. Cindy had never fished in freshwater before this trip, and did one heck of a job as well. Gene was in Terry’s boat, and we got to watch him tangle with a nice musky that grabbed his jig and minnow. Unfortunately the battle ended with a cut line after Gene fought him to the boat. So close! Water temps were in the mid 70’s, and it was great to have our old friends back in the boat. You’ll get that musky next time Gene!
Gene and Harry were in my boat for day # 2 of their trip on Wednesday. We fished the Hayward area again and had a slow start catching one fish at each of our first three spots. Winds had calmed down, and we had beautiful weather with high skies and light east winds. Around mid morning we started to experiment with different presentations and began catching fish on jigs and plastics dragged through rocks in 2′ – 5′ of water. The top water and suspending bite we’ve been experiencing over the past week had definitely changed to a “down’ bite, and we put some nice smallies up to 18″ in the net before lunch. In the afternoon we switched lakes and fished weeds in 15′ – 18′ using leeches and minnows and had to keep moving to catch fish. The deep weeds are full of forage right now, but the bite was slow and included smallies, walleyes, and pike. Harry was on a roll catching the first fish at each spot, but we had to take his pole from him as the first was usually the last fish… This is a typical pattern when the bite turns negative, and sitting in one spot for too long won’t produce. Catch the active biters at each spot and keep rolling… The fish we caught were on the big end however and included a 20″ smallmouth landed by Harry and a 35” pike landed by Gene. Water temps reached 72 degrees on a sunny and flat day. Big winds to no wind… Go figure?
Gene and Harry wanted to check out the smallmouth action on Chequamegon Bay for day #3 of their trip, and we found a slow bite on Thursday. Winds from earlier in the week along with some rain overnight had things pretty churned up, and the fish weren’t overly cooperative. Water temps hit 68 degrees in some spots with lots of junk floating around. We caught a few nice fish on spinnerbaits and plastics in 4′ – 6′ of water that included a monster 21″ fish landed by Harry. It was a “one here, one there” kind of bite however, and we moved inland for the afternoon. Turns out that the inland fish were on the same page… We struggled to put anything together, but a late day rally put a few smallmouth up to 18″ in the net before quitting time and saved our pride. Plastics were the only thing that would draw a strike as we rifled through the tackle box to find an answer. I was proud of Gene and Harry for hanging with it and putting a few more fish in the net despite the odds. Water temps inland hit 72 degrees on a warm afternoon with little to no wind. Thanks for a great three days gang. Don’t forget the rally seeds and Fritos on your next trip, and I’ll have the leeches ready for you Tara… Have a great weekend everyone!