Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Rest of the Story

One of the more interesting things we do for our Leech Lake Opener event is to try and take data on the walleyes we catch.  Ron Edberg puts this together as it provides a wealth of information on the numbers, size, and location of the fish. The graph above is derived by everyone recording the length of each fish caught over 12 inches. Because they count towards the individual points and team awards, it is pretty easy to get the guys to participate. The two horizontal red lines on the graph represent the slot limit on Leech Lake, meaning any fish 18 inches up to 26 inches must be released. Under 18 and over 26 can be harvested. The total number of fish caught was 314. Of that 235 were under 18 inches and were legal.  About 80 fish were over 18 with a nice number of them over 22 inches.  Certainly not as good as last year Catch Chart for 2009 Leech Lake Opener, we were surprised at the numbers of fish under the 15 inch size.  Last year fish slightly over the 15 inch size were quite numerous and we expected seeing that population shift upwards to the 17 - 19 inch range dominating our catch.  This years catch represents the all of those 10 - 12 inch fish that we caught a ton during the 2009 opener, but did not record them.  Note that the last fish on the right was my winning 26.5 inch walleye.

As I stated last week, the fish were quite scattered.  Many of the guys scored very well in the evening fishing the shallower 6 - 10 foot water next to Pine Point.  Although the larger females were found in the deeper water off the reef, schools of 13 - 15 inch males were still hanging around the shallow spawning areas looking for a quick meal.  Some of the guys did real well including Troy, who won the team award this year.  Troy's boat had Saturday nights catch totalling 19 fish with Monday night's hitting 22.  Most of the fish were those shallow males still thinking the spawn is on!  This year I concentrated on trying to catch larger fish.  A few years ago my partner Eric Hayes and I discovered a rock hump about a mile up the shoreline from Otter Tail point.  In the subsequent years we seldom saw a boat fishing this hump which topped out at about 12 feet, dropping to 20 at the outer edges.  I decided to try it this year and to my surprise there were about 30 boats on my "secret" spot.  Although I had caught fish on this spot in the past, with all the boats you could see that the action was steady, not fast, but they were getting some nice fish.  When we arrived, Ryan quick called me and told me to get out of his spot!  I had given him this way point a few years ago and he had the same idea as I did.  Before hanging up he confessed that my brother Steve, who was in the boat with him, had just lost a dandy fish appearing to be well over 27 inches.  All I can say is I have caught many 28 inch fish that measured just under 26!  It did confirm the bigger fish were there, however. 

On Sunday morning we did a draft (like an NFL draft) where the lowest point guy got to pick the boat he wanted to go in for the session.  It was an interesting way to mix up the competition and have the guys get to know each other better.  This carried over to Sunday evening where I had the pleasure of having Henry and his nephew James in my boat.  Now James and I are like oil and water.  We are about as opposite as you can get politically.  I will admit however that he did check out some of the facts I threw at him and admitted that I was right!  That's a great start.  We decided to head back to the where the bigger fish were being caught.  Stopping short of the were I wanted to fish, we got everyone ready to go and would use the electric to get us the rest of the way.  In 20 feet of water it took James about 3 minutes to hook into this beautiful 26.25 inch walleye.  This was the largest walleye he had ever caught and I could see dollar signs in his eyes, thinking he just it pay dirt as it would be the largest fish caught as of Sunday night.  Excited as he was, my experience said not to count your chickens before they hatch.  At the end of the tourney James was in second place.  Although I gave James a hard time, he took it standing up.  It was fun to watch him catch this fish as well having both the first and second place fish coming from my boat.  Nice job James!  Henry really enjoyed the night as I fired up the stereo as we rocked to the sounds of 1965, the year he graduated.

This week I caught up on some yard work then went to the Twins/Brewers game at the new stadium on Sunday.  I had a great time as the new Target Field is very nice.  Memorial weekend is coming up and that means only one thing, my maiden voyage to Mille Lacs.  Reports are the fishing has been phenomenal so I cannot wait.

1 comment:

S. Schaub said...

Hi Dave -- If you like fishing for walleye, have you ever come to Fond du Lac, WI for our Walleye Weekend? This year it's June 11-13. Check it out at www.fdlfest.com