Thursday, May 17, 2012

Well, That's Why They Call it Fishing!

Well, the official 39th annual Leech Lake Opener for Team Walleye is now just a memory.  The bite was considerably worse than I expected but like my title says, that's why they call it fishing instead of catching!  Actually it's not that we didn't catch any fish but to say that the bite was tough is an understatement.  The early ice out, cold April, and the enormous lake fly hatch that occurred on the lake this weekend all had an influence on our success.  I don't have the exact numbers yet and will post them as soon as Ron sends them.  There were a lot of positives from this year's trip including a surprise upgrade from our previous 5 cabin arrangement to the brand new log cabin duplex that slept 10 each side, was connected, and had a total of 10 toilets and 8 showers.  Everything from balconies to luxurious beds, Cabins 2 and 3 made us forget about the amount of work needed to assure we had enough fillets for the Sunday night fish fry.  The exciting news is we have secured the same accommodations for next year's opener which will celebrate our 40th year at Leech Lake.  Unfortunately that time will come way too fast these days.  For me the catching was very much uneventful with my largest fish, a 28 inch northern pike pictured, fooling me into believing I had the trophy in the bag.  Truth be told my largest walleye was about 19 inches and the total was 11walleye's for the entire weekend.  I still managed to take 3 honors, top total individual points at 22 (2 points per fish), top draft team,  and #1 Boat Team which is awarded to the captain that had  the most walleyes caught in his boat.  Being the recipient of these awards in the past I do work hard for the guys that fish with me and look for strategies that prevent me from continuing to fish unproductive locations and patterns.  As far as the draft award, we have an interesting and fun event which happens Sunday morning.  After Saturday's results are in and points are assessed we have a fishing draft, sort of like the NFL does but in reverse.  Here the guy with the lowest score gets to pick who's boat he wants to fish in.  6 boats participate and with 3 per boat we have 2 rounds.  12 guys draft and once a boat is chosen it cannot be picked again till the second round.  I was picked first by Matt Taylor then by Kevin in the second round.  We had a great time and put 6 fish in the boat for top honors.  Both Kevin and Matt won a #5 Shad Rap in the new Helsinki color for picking the top boat for the Sunday morning session.

The Monday night session is our last time on the water.  Since my brother Steve started bringing his boat my partners have been pretty random.  While getting ready to go fishing, 2 guys that I had never fished with before walked up to the boat and asked if they could join me, Jeremy and Lurch (Adam). Thinking this could be interesting, a couple of younger guys wanting to fish with me.......of course, come aboard.  Immediately they were informed we were heading to my secret spot, looking for the big fish winner.  A deep reef some 7 or so miles from the resort, I had discovered this 2 years ago when an early spring sent the walleyes deep.  They probably thought I was off my rocker but were willing to take the gamble.  Having been there earlier in the day the walleyes were hugging the bottom like a carp sucking snails.  Upon arriving the marks on the Lowrance showed a few fish 2 feet off the bottom which usually indicates more aggressive fish.  Within 15 minutes Jeremy nailed this beautiful 27.5 inch walleye.  In the history of Team Walleye only once did someone catch a 27.5 inch fish......this one was destined to be the trophy winner as I knew the tough bite would be almost impossible to match this fish.  I was right as he took the Big Fish Trophy for 2012.  It gets even better as Lurch caught a 26 inch fish about 10 minutes later that took 2nd place.  For Jeremy, this was the 3rd walleye he had ever caught so I was pretty pumped.  At my age it's getting to be much more fun to see others enjoy things catching these nice fish and helping them do so.  Fabulous Fish guy!!  So all in all it wasn't a bad trip as my boat racked up the Team Award, Individual Points Award, Top Draft Team Award, Biggest Fish Award, and Second Biggest Fish Award.  It has stopped being about me and shifted to what I can do to help others, honestly it's a lot more fun.

So I will leave you with a gorgeous Leech Lake sunset.   This was taken from my secret spot looking west toward Ottertail Point.  I love sunsets, the vivid colors and the serenity of the conclusion to another wonderful day of fishing.  As always it ends way to soon yet along with that comes more memories as well as things to look forward too.  A special thanks to Brindley's Harbor for making our stay an experience of a lifetime.  To my friends Mark Mayerich and Ron Edberg for arranging a great time as always.  Of course I cannot end without commenting on the Minnesota Bound segment about Team Walleye.  They already have it posted online at  We are the first segment starting at 1:30 into the video and all of us were pretty satisfied with the job that Ron Schara Productions presented.  I hope that you enjoy the piece as well as we did!  This week is dedicated to helping my friend Mark Taylor install a Humminbird Sonar/Chart system into his large cabin cruiser then on Saturday we will haul it to Lake Minnetonka for it resting place for the summer.  Sunday is suppose to rain so a little family activities are scheduled.  I've already power washed the Ranger and rumor has it the bite on Mille Lacs is hot.  It will just have to wait till Memorial weekend.

1 comment:

Duane said...

Mr. Anderson - I didn't know you were a TV star. Nice film clip.
I do agree, it's much more fun to watch the new guys be successful.