And with the promise of a great day’s fishing ahead I was on the water at 7am on Saturday. It just felt like one of those days where you have that feeling you’re going to have a solid day on the water. Unfortunately, the wind died completely by about 9am and the fishing was extremely slow after that. I caught two fish early and thought to myself “this is going to be a good morning”. Little did I know I would wait 4 hours until my next walleye (I did catch two smallies in between though so at least it kept me going). Some of the better walleye fishermen in the area tell me they like the calm days. Personally, for me they equate to tough fishing conditions. Which could mean a number of things one of which being I don’t know what I’m doing. What I do know is that calm “dog” days mean a lot more boats in and around the main channel, especially on weekends. Perhaps more importantly however, when the water is dead calm the surface turns into an aquarium wall. You, and thus the fish, see everything that is going on above and below a flat surface. When the wind kicks up, even a little, light penetration is reduced because an uneven surface retracts light. This allows the angler to “hide” the boat. Another wind benefit on a river is that small, wind-created ripples allow you to read the water more easily. In other words it becomes easier to see evidence of bottom structure on the surface of the water. Sure the wind challenges boat control, but what it provides in pros outweigh the cons. If wind and boat control do become an issue, which is often the case in an aluminum boat, one trick that helps is filling the livewell. The extra weight up front helps stabilize the bow and prevents you from fighting the wind so much, whatever type fishing you do.
After a gruelling 5hours and finally a limit of walleyes in the boat I got a text from a friend who wanted to go snorkelling with his wife. Hallelujah! It was like he read my mind. And since I was thinking about it I knew exactly where I was going to take them. The spot in question basically consists of a well defined vertical ledge pounded by heavy current adjacent to a shallow flat and a deep hole. The ledge, or transition area really, is lined with weedbeds caught in an eternal sway in the moderate current and drops vertically onto a hard sand bottom scattered with small stone. This bottom tapers down to 50 feet of water at its deepest. I had fished this spot numerous times before with mixed results, but I had never snorkelled it. I can’t believe I waited this long to do so. I was amazed to see how many fish used this structure.
Smallmouth and walleyes were everywhere on this wall. Not only were they quite visible, they were inquisitive and curious, sometimes seemingly posing for the camera.
Sheepshead and eel seemed completely oblivious to my presence.
Snorkelling spots is tons of fun and helps you learn a thing or two. There’s nothing like seeing fish behave naturally; getting up close and personal with ’em. As long as you can pop your ears you’re in for a treat if you find the right areas.
The fishing was slow on Saturday, and Sunday morning looked pretty similar weather-wise so I decided to skip out and sleep in a little. By the time I was on the water Sunday it was 11am, absolutely no cloud in the sky, 28C without the humidex…but…windy(er)!
When I fished with a gentleman from Vancouver the weekend prior, I noticed we only started really getting into fish around noon. Although most fish go deep at the height of the day, through trial and error I noticed some fish on the lake hold tight to weedbeds when the sun is at its apogee. Weedy areas provide walters with shade, cover, cooler water, higher oxygen content in the water due to photosynthesis and more importantly, plenty of food. That morning I decided I’d fish a pattern that’s worked for me this summer during the brightest part of the day and it paid off. I was limited out within an hour and a half and threw in my personal best in 2011 as a culmination of the moment. This fish came out of the weeds and hit my bait like a freight train. I thought I had a musky until I saw that beautiful defining white tip on the caudal fin. I took my time with this one.
As fast as I had started the weekend it seems came to an end.That night as I put the boat away and looked out on the lake and felt pretty good about the day.
Until next time, Stay Outside…