Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finally In The Groove

Well after a tenuous June I finally made it back to the pond for the third weekend in a row! Sometimes beggars can't be choosers and this trip saw Mr. Emmons accompany me for the second time in as many weeks. Tom is a great friend to fish with, seldom shows his displeasure and lets me basically run the show with little complaints. He is the only guy that dares to smoke in my boat however he is keenly aware of what would happen should his lighted end get away from him. The day was as perfect as one could ask for with calm winds lasting right up to the time we left. I had my educated night crawlers with but still stopped at Lundeens and picked up ice plus an extra dozen leeches. My boat has 2 live wells and a baitwell which doubles as a great cooler. Generally Bill gives me bulk ice and I just dump it in the baitwell where it lasts all day long as long as I set the plumbing to recirculate. Arriving at the landing we unloaded and headed for Shermans. I generally start fishing the area on Shermans called the cut. It's edge runs southwest to northeast and is a great place to start. Within 15 minutes I caught the first fish, a 15" keeper, one in the box! About 10 minutes later we received a call from a my dear friend Mark Applen, who was on the 7 mile. We decided to head over and tag team the flat. Although it was nice to see Mark the only thing we caught was a 4 inch perch. After a short run to 9 mile we bid Mark ado and headed to the Sliver Flat, the site of Russ's nice fish last week. Almost immediately I hit this nice 25" fish on a crawler. This fish was the second on my educated crawlers, verifying my theory from last week! This fish hit like a freight train leading me to believe that the epic battle by my brave homegrown bait paid wonderful dividends! A couple more passes along this small flat produced little so we decided to switch strategies and don the planar boards. The calm weather proved excellent for trolling and it became a welcome change of pace. Heading between the Boot and Fishers flat Tom noticed his board dancing. Once he reeled the board in and I disconnected the battle was on. I was really surprised how active this fish was since often these fish are effected negatively by the boards. Landing this 24 incher, Tom was finally on the board. It took about another hour before I hit my first walleye on the planers. I have strike indicator flags mounted on the boards which fold back when a fish is on. These work great and makes identification of "fish on" considerably easier. Resetting our spread produced another nice walleye 15 minutes after this fish. We circled back through the productive area which proved to be less productive the second time around. We decided to see if our crawlers were still up to the task and tried a new spot, the southwest tip of the 8 mile flat. We nailed a couple of smaller walleyes but nothing worth bragging about. Although it was beautiful out, it was still hot and we both started smelling like ripe catfish bait. Having caught a few nice fish, one in the box, we decided to head to the Dairy Queen for a malt, some onion rings, and reflect on a great day on the water.
Some parting thoughts about Mille Lacs. The surface temperature is a cool 66 degrees. This is almost unheard of for the middle of July and should be at least 8 degrees warmer. Two years ago the temperature was in the mid 70's causing a massive tulibee die off which scattered several thousand of these dead fish on the surface. Mille Lacs is on the southern end of their range and "global warming" is suppose to be their ultimate demise. Last year was a record tulibee hatch and this cool weather will bod well for restoring the lake's population. It is offical, Mille Lacs has zebra mussels, probably riding on a boat that either came from the St. Louis River near Duluth or more likely a boat that just came from the Mississippi River. Zebramussels are a foreign invader and the jury is still out as to the effect that it will have on the lake. Time will obviously tell. The Minnesota DNR has stepped up exotic species laws meaning you must assure your trailer is clean of any weeds, your live wells and baitwells are empty, and your boat plug pulled at the landing. The fine for failure is about $150 and are strictly enforced. Make sure you pick up the latest boating guide in your area to note the regulations. At Mille Lacs each landing has information posted to your responsibilities. I am sure I will be heading back up this weekend to continue my nightcrawler theory validation. My great friend Chuck Teasley will be joining me the following week and I am really looking forward to fishing with him.


Anonymous said...

sounds like your nightcrawlers "homegrown" are the ticket. I went back up to northern wisconsin and fished bass again. we caught several but only keeping a few this time. I then went back to the mighty miss on monday and kept a 25"er and two 18's and then started to fish cat's. I had my 10 year old nephew with and he had a blast catching all the catfish.

later buddy

Dave Anderson said...

How many cats did you get. Fishing stink bait?

Anonymous said...

Well I kept 5 lost several and could have loaded the livewell !!!!! I had just the right amount or alittle over to fill the smoke house on Monday for our annual catfish tournemant for the cops.