Much to my surprise, walleyes were still to be found in feeder rivers in mid-June. The water temp on Friday was 70 and it went up to 74 by Sunday night. The weekend of the 17th and 18th of June was the warmest of 2006 so far and cottagers remembered they had boats and sea-doos. I hate this part of the year. I wish it could be April all year on the lake.
Here’s where things get interesting. Pat and I headed out to the main lake only to find that wind was severely challenging boat control once again. We really didn’t feel like doing the live bait rig thing in channel edges pounded by a 25 km/h wind so we reluctantly decided to head out to a small river to try and bring up a few smallies. We did what we do in May, that is, troll floating rapalas on fireline. I truly believe the fireline and quality rods are crucial for this type of fishing. These lures are fine tuned and even the smallest amount of weed will stop them from working. Without the feel you get from Fireline and a good rod there’s no way you could detect these smaller pieces of grass.
We got passed a marina. The OPP were having a community picnic of some kind. Take a kid fishing day or something. There were seadoos, boats, water-skiers and other spoilers all over the place. We hesitated…but decided that since we were here we may as well start trolling and try to keep our lures away from other boats. We trolled for no longer than about 2 minutes, and while watching a group of about 10 sea-doos go right by us I hear Pat say the magic words : “fish on!”.
He said the fish had some weight and wanted to stay down. He said he felt a headshake so we both looked at each other and thought ; Could it be? Sure enough, I saw the white tip under the fin as the fish saw the boat and desperately tried to head back to the 20 foot hole it came out of. A minute later, we had this 4 pound 9 ounce walleye in the boat, much to the delight of our sea-doo onlookers, and of Mr. Dubeau and his guide of course.
We kept the pattern going all weekend. Turns out we caught about 5 walleyes, a few smallmouth, a perch and a bonus 7.5 pound pike in the warmer main-lake tributary. I learned something this weekend. I should definitely go bass fishing in feeder rivers more often, too windy on the big lake or not.
So I decided to do the cliche father and son thing on the weekend. Go fishing. Turns out it was a great idea. I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to fish we the old man so I think it makes it that much more special. We had a good time. Trolled crankbaits and walleyes were on them. We also managed a few quality smallmouths and a bonus 7.5 pound pike. All this under clear sunny skies, 30+C temps and Seadoos all over the place. Go figure.
Not sure what to expect here really. A top 10 finish would be amazing though. I think the main thing to do here is to make sure to have an outlined plan of attack, to be ready to completely drop that plan, to fish different depth zones and to cover a lot of water. There will be a lot of boats on the lake, so thinking outside the box could mean a paycheck of 1500$ at the end of the day.
All I can hope for is that this one will be around for the Lancaster spring pike tournament.
Well, I put the tub in the water on the weekend. The weather wasn’t great but I did manage to go out for about an hour. My options were pike and catfish, which are the only fish in season this time of year on Lake St-Francis. The wind blew from the North so the North side of the lake was fairly calm. I love getting out this time of year. Nobody else around here seems to have figured out that this is the absolute best time of year to catch big fish in this lake. This one here was a little under 12 pounds and about 38 inches long. She was full of eggs and was ready to spawn. I held her just long enough to take a couple pics and weigh her and then she took off in typical pike fashion, leaving me with a taste of cold water.
She was caught on a yellow 1oz spoon with a red five of diamond pattern. She was warming up in some sunken trees adjacent to a feeder creek and not too far from deep water, ready to pounce on my spoon.
This one was a fighter. I was having a beer with my old man down by the lake and was about to go for a swim. That’s when I spotted a small largemouth under the dock. I quietly grabbed my flipping stick loaded with 17lbs test mono and simply attached a #4 bait hook straight to the line and pinched a small split shot on there for a little weight and control. I had some lively nightcrawlers in the boat so I hooked one once through the noose and just dropped him down beside the dock. As I expected, the little bass eagerly ate it and after a few brave jumps I had him lipped. I let him go. I figured, why not try the other end of the dock under the floating weeds while I’m at it. My worm slowly danced down into the darkness…the next thing I saw was this brute lunge, without hesitation, out from under the dock and weeds and just inhale my entire little rig. I made sure to get a good hookset and the battle was on. She really wanted to get back under that dock and that would spell disaster for me. There are way too many obstacles under there (including a boat lift) to hope to pull a fish of this magnitude back out to open water. So let me tell you I was glad I used 17lbs test line with my flipping stick at that point. No way would I have pulled this girl out with any of my spinning outfits. After a few jumps and 2 reel-ripping runs, she was in my hands. I put her in the livewell with the aeration on and ran to the house to grab the digital. The image quality is not the greatest because the lens fogged up in the intense humidity. Definitely the biggest largemouth I’ve seen personally. I’d say she cleared 5 and pushed 6. Just a guess though. Oh, and of course, she’s still growing as you read this…