Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harvest Moon Harvesting

Last Sunday's full moon is known as the Harvest Moon. This bright moon is defined as the full moon closest to the autumn equinox which occurs around September 22th each year. It's name derives from the fact that the bright full moon would help farmers continue to harvest their crops well into the evening with the additional light it provides. Harvest Moons occur in October once every four years with the latest being October 13th. Well, the 2009 Harvest Moon did not let me down. My neighbor Tom loves the full moon bite and asked weeks in advance to reserve a seat in the boat. He is as crazy as I and with the ability to put up with my nuances, makes a fine fishing partner.

Our strategy was to launch out of the east side and fish our favorite perch hole first, checking to see if they have moved in shallow before heading out to our evening destination. Checking the wind forecast showed a predicted 5 - 7 mph blow from the NW. Not enough to change our plans we first stopped at Cedar Creek Public Landing. Well, the forecast lied. As one suggested, you are suppose to add the 5 and the 7 to get the real number. It was a strong 15 mph wind out of the NW and the rollers were a pushing 3 feet plus as they had the whole lake to work themselves up. Deciding that it would be too much work to land the boat at the access we headed to Mac's Twin Bay. They have a nice deep protected harbor and the $10 to launch is cheap insurance. Heading east to the perch hole wasn't too bad and we arrived fighting the wind for position. Not wanting to anchor, we drifted around a few boats and caught a number of small 6 - 7 inch perch. Not enough to keep our interest and understanding the pounding ride ahead of us, we decided to head straight to the reef. From our position it was straight into the wind for 7 miles. Nasty ride!! Arriving at our final destination 35 minutes later, the waves were literally breaking over the shallow rocks as if an angry ocean. Of course the good news was the wind guaranteed a perfect drift over the reef. The other interesting thing was the water temperature. Last Sunday it was a balmy 65 degrees as opposed to this Sunday's reading of 52. It had dropped a whooping 13 degrees in 7 days. Looking at the forecast for the next week, it could be in the low 40's soon. At 52 degrees the walleyes should be literally jumping in the boat!

Well, 2 hours of casting shad raps and rouges produced 1 - 13 inch walleye and a 14" smallie. Pretty paltry if you ask me. Standing on the bow, running the trolling motor in the big swells takes it's toll on an old man. At 7:30 I decided to start trolling, a less stressful endeavor. The wind had started to relent for the evening which set us up for what was to come. In the next 90 minutes we caught 14 walleye or 1 about every 6 minutes. They ranged from 12 inches on the short side to the fattest 27.50 incher I have ever seen. What ever it was the old favorite bait, the Rattlin' Rouge proved deadly. Tom's fished the fire tiger pattern and I stuck with my all time favorite, the tiger minnow. My 115 Suzuki trolls down like a dream and with a subtle pumping action, really triggered these fish. The fish were all caught in the 5 to 10 foot range with a surprisingly good number at 7 feet and deeper. We put 8 in the box, the first time I have completed a full boat limit this year. The keepers were very nice ranging from 14 to 17.75 inches, perfect eating size.

What I found very interesting was the amount of minnows that were present in the stomachs of the fish as we cleaned them. Each fish had at least 1 large minnow and most had 2 with some as high as 4. These fish were stuffed like a Norwegian at Thanksgiving! It is no wonder the bite has been tough of late. Certainly the cooler weather has triggered the fish to put on the feedbag. I am not sure where they could have fit anymore fish in their already stuffed stomachs but what the heck, they were biting. My last picture is one of the minnows we extracted from a fish. It was at least 5 inches long and looks like a young tullibee, which is reported in the lake at record numbers. They are predicting a high of 39 with occasional snow showers this weekend. I had better bring the winter gear as I sure could have used it on Sunday. At least we are catching fish!


NeenahPete said...

Came over to listen to some good fishin' music and found you had another good post. Your blog hits continue to be impressive too.

Anonymous said...

Finally some nice fish, its about time,but the rollers don't sound like much fun. Nice to be back in the 5 to 8 feet for trolling too!


Dewey said...

I think it's 'bout time to hunt some grouse Mr. Anderson. We got an inch of snow last night and it's 26 degrees. Good trackin' weather.