It's hard to beat the St. Louis River walleye bite this time of year when it's right. After a couple of "off" years, it seems to be right again. I was back there on Monday. Bill Noreus (Zachary, LA) and Fred Power (Tampa, FL) returned for their annual trip and brought along a new partner to the crew. Jim Bryan (Indialantic, FL) agreed to join us as well, and we spent a half day trolling crankbaits in search of some Lake Superior walleyes. The first half of our morning was pretty slow. Water temps had dropped to 67 degrees with NE winds. We boated two keepers along with a few missed rips, but no pattern developed. Finding the warmest water possible has been the key on our recent trips to the river, and today was no different. Wind dictates so much on the Great Lakes, and this was another classic example. Around mid morning we moved to a windblown area in 5' – 6', and water temps jumped up to 70 degrees. It didn't take long, and we were soon into a flurry of action. Things got real in a hurry, and it wasn't long before we had a 3 man limit in the boat along with another "one that got away story". Fred tangled with a beast of a fish for quite awhile that ended up sinking the planer board and snapping the line. At least we got to see it, and it was BIG! Our largest of the day was a fat 24" walleye landed by Bill that had a tag in it. Heck of a fish, and I'm looking forward to learning of its history after the information is sent in to the DNR. Another interesting note from the day involved lure color. The colors that had been producing on our past couple of trips didn't produce much today, and colors that hadn't been producing caught fish. Go figure…??? You can't argue with a fish! Always a good time with this crew, and Jim was a welcome addition. Enjoy that fish fry fellas, and we'll see you next year!
Tim and Marni Jones from Ladoga, IN were back for their annual trip on Tuesday and they brought along a couple of my favorite fishing buddies. Landon (11) and Dawson (7) have caught quite a few fish with us over the years, and our plan was to chase crappies in the Hayward Lakes Area. After stringing together a few dry days, we were due for rain. More rain! Hot and humid temperatures brought in a bunch of storms and we spent a half day dodging them. In between breaks we were able to find a good school of fish up to 12" that were suspended over 12' of water. "Team Jones" got the job done in the short window we had and put enough in the boat for a good fry. Landon and Dawson were a deadly combination while mom and dad pitched in as well to take advantage of what little time we had. Water temps were in the mid 70's, and everything we caught was on plastics after locating fish with our electronics and parking on them. The bite was a bit weird and would come in flurries. I'm sure all of the weather moving through had something to do with that. These boys are growing up WAY too fast, but they're turning into some really good fishermen. Great job today gang. I think we're getting this picture thing down!
The rain finally cleared out, and we were back in Hayward on Wednesday. New customer Brent Kirby from Hudson, IL joined me for a half day of chasing smallmouth. We were dealt a bit of a tough hand with high skies, flat water, and evidence of a huge bug hatch. Not exactly the scenario you want, but we gave it a shot. It turned out to be a classic mid summer bite. We used our electronics to locate schools of fish hugging rock piles in 20' of water and would pick off two or three fish at each stop using minnows and leeches. It's that time of year where the "Rule of 3" kicks in. After you mark a school, you'll catch two or three, but then it's time to move. The fish were on cue for us, and that's exactly how it worked. Catch two or three and move. Brent did a great job and was rewarded with a bunch of nice fish and a couple of really cool doubles as time was running out. Rods and nets flying everywhere. Love it! Our biggest fish was a 20" toad landed in our second double, and water temperatures ranged from 71 – 75 degrees. Glad my prediction was wrong on this one… You don't know if you don't go! Thanks for a great morning Brent, and I'm looking forward to our next trip. Fun stuff!!!
Mid summer patterns have definitely set in for all species. Use your electronics, keep moving, and be patient. There's still plenty of fish to be caught!