Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Walleyes with Welly

It's been an interesting week as we are on a collision course with autumn.  I am writing this from the San Diego Convention Center exhibiting at a medical show.  The weather here is beautiful and consistent, 70 degrees during the day and 65 at night.  Intellicast is saying tonight will be 30 degrees at home.  Usually that number is associated with the temperature at the airport so unless they are wrong we could have a hard freeze.  The garden is in a low spot, so much for my watermelons!  The great news is the mosquito's day's are limited.  I am flying back on Thursday and will assess the damage then.  Sunday was the full moon, the opportune time to fish walleyes on Mille Lacs.  During past September mid month fishing trips to Mille Lacs, I have been extremely successful casting Shad Raps and Rouges on the shallow mid-lake reefs.  An hour before sunset to an hour after, the reef would become the popular destination for walleyes looking for an easy meal.  Admittedly that bite and pattern hasn't been so good lately.  There were evenings where we would handily catch 12 - 15 nice walleyes.  My goal last Sunday was to see if that bite will ever materialize again.  Stopping at Lundeen's, Bill knew my plan and sarcastically ask if I was fishing for memories tonight!  Based on my success of the last 4 years that was a pretty honest assessment.  Even so if you don't try you'll never know so I had to try.   A new fisherman joined me, Welly Chou, an engineer that I work with.  Welly was born in Hong Kong, has developed into an excellent engineer as well an excellent Karaoke singer.  Having won a number of amateur contests, he even opened up for Keith Urban a few years back.  Not much of a fisherman, he expressed interest in accompanying me on one of my trips to the pond.   One thing I really enjoy is introducing fishing to someone who has little experience.  Sometimes I can be somewhat overwhelming with the electronics, methods, and strategies, Welly is curious enough to put up with that for a day.  After buying a fishing license we headed to the east side of the lake the plan was to lead line the nearby deep gravel bars for a few hours then head to the reef and cast shads through dark.   Connecting a #5 purple shad rap to Welly's line and the same in hot steel pattern to mine we let out 5 colors of line and started trolling.  We would go through pockets of fish but didn't seem to strike a pattern to make them hit.  Bill had called to see what we were doing and decided maybe the #5 shad raps were too small and the fish were looking for something different and larger, maybe a husky jerk or a rouge.  After hanging up on him we would switch after we went around the one hump however within about a minute the port rod bent over.  Giving Welly the rod he reeled in our first keeper walleye I had gotten in over 2 months, a nice 16 incher.  Resetting the lines back at 5 colors we went another 100 yards when we nailed another one.  Between the keeper walleyes would often be a single pull on the rod then it would return back to normal.  Reeling in to check the line there was a 9 inch walleye at the end of the lure.  Enough to move the rod but once hooked they would simply be dragged behind the lure.  Because you really want to keep a clean lure going you had to watch the rod all the time.

Within 45 minutes we had 4 keepers in the livewell and by the time 2 hours had passed we had 6 keepers, a nice 12 inch perch, and released a 27 1/2" as well as a 23 inch walleye.  In addition Welly caught a nice 28 inch northern pike, an unusual catch in 30 feet of water.   We ended up with 13 walleyes caught, 1 northern, and 5 perch.  Not bad for 3 1/2 hours of trolling.  As the moon began to rise over the horizon we decide to pull in the trolling lines and head to the reef to cast for walleyes.  As Bill gave me a hard time about "fishing memories" I noticed the buoy marking the northwest corner of the reef had been moved.  It is good that I have the latest Lakemaster chip which overlays the bottom contours (1 foot increments) on my front HDS5.  There were still GPS tracks from last October's trip so following the reef would be easy.  With a southwest wind we stayed on that side of the reef casting with the wind into the 3 - 5 feet of water.  It took about a half hour to cover the entire reef and as Bill probably predicted, not even a follow.  Having to fly to California in the morning, I decided that one pass was enough.  If the fish were there they would have hit.  Not the case.  Maybe Bill is correct as this would be the 5th or 6th time I have tried my hot pattern of 6 years ago with little or nothing to show for it.  I am not sure what has changed but it certainly doesn't look good.  I will try again in a week or so and maybe we just need a little cooler weather (it's coming!).   With surface temperatures in the mid 70's this could be the key, we'll see.

My good friend Adam Mayerich is getting married this Saturday.  I gave his him and his dad a lesson on trolling walleyes on Leech Lake last opener and I am looking forward to seeing him and his family.  Sunday will probably find me back in Eau Claire as my brother Jon has been in Intensive Care since last Friday with a severe case of pneumonia.  I am worried about him as he has had enough medical problems in his life.  I am not anxious to see the frost damage tomorrow but unfortunately it is what it is.  Maybe we'll be ice fishing soon!!!

1 comment:

Welly said...

It was absolutely a fun experience. Dave is a knowlegible fisherman and you can't go wrong fishing with him. I look forward to next time.