Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to Familiar Waters

Lead line and a #5 Shad Rap

It's been a month since the Ranger has been wet and with Alaska wearing off it was time to get back on Mille Lacs and see if the walleyes were still biting.  Saturday was spent putting 250 miles on the Victory motorcycle with my friends Kevin, Tom, and brother Steve.  After trailering to Alma, Wisconsin I dropped my wife off at her cousin's, unloaded and met everyone at my favorite store Fleet Farm, the one in Winona, MN.  From there we headed west through the Root River and Zumbro River valleys in what turned out to be a beautiful day.  This area of Minnesota is similar to my home town of Eleva, Wisconsin full of bluffs, valleys, and winding roads.  Sunday was a family day leaving Monday as my designated fishing day.  I could tell my boat was pretty lonely sitting in the pole shed for a month so away we went to Mille Lacs, my neighbor Lory and I.  The reports were pretty much pointing to deep water trolling as the ticket for success.  Some were getting walleyes in the shallow reefs on bobbers/leeches in the evening but I really didn't want to sit still for any length of time.  After dropping off my Alaskan gift to the Lundeens we headed to the east side, launching out of the public landing at Liberty Beach.  With the stable weather and no wind my first stop was 3 Mile Reef to check out the zebra mussel situation.  Apparently they have completely covered every square inch of the reef however the water was so cloudy that it was very hard to make them out.  I did cast for some smallies but that didn't last very long.  Heading to the deep gravel we got out the lead line rigs, attached some #8 Flat Raps, and started trolling.  The water was simply gorgeous as trolled the 32 foot depths, 5 colors in the water and rods in their respective holders.  It's pretty cool when a fish hits the lure as the rods bend over and do their fish on dance.  When there is only 2 of us in the boat and a fish hits I will stop the motor, reel in the other line as the other guy fights the fish without dragging it at the same time.  This is a lot more fun and
What the walleye coughed up!
you will have to set the line anyway so it's no big deal.  Within a couple of hours Lory had me by a few fish so I switched to a #5 Shad Rap.  Almost immediately I caught this a nice 24 inch walleye that had a surprise with it.  Hooked on the front treble was a small walleye, about 5 - 6 inches long.  I surmise that the walleye I am holding in the picture actually purged the smaller walleye from it's stomach during the fight and it got caught on the front hook of the shad rap.  The small walleye was hooked upside down as you see it and definitely dead.  It has teeth marks on it's body and was still pretty fresh.  A couple of thoughts, first of all it is evidence that the fish have started feeding heavy.  Not unlike the salmon we caught in the ocean, they are stuffing themselves.  Secondly, I kind of find it disturbing to see a walleye cough up another walleye.  I know they are cannibalistic but you can't help but wonder about the biomass as we continue to discuss how messed up the lake seems to be.  Oh well, maybe I am simply being too naive.

Lory's nice walleye

The star of the day was Lory as he had the hot rod.  When we first started trolling I nailed the first 2 walleyes and because they were not exactly jumping in the boat, I was concerned that he wasn't catching anything.  I even offered to have him reel my next fish in, one popped my line but never got a solid hook set.  After that he caught the next 3 walleyes and finished the afternoon with this nice fish caught on his purple backed Flat Rap. Score, Lory Brasel 4: Dave 3.  Neither of us caught any fish in the slot which was under 17 inches.  Lory came close with a 17.5 inch fish but that was as small as it got.  I was interested in getting back to 3 Mile as the sun was starting to set and see if we could nail any walleyes shallow water trolling.  I have a nice milk run that has been very productive in the past and although 3 Mile hasn't been kind to me lately, the "Milk Run" always seems to produce a fish or two.  Well, all we did was waste gas, hook a few zebra mussels, and have a really nice rock bass slam Lory's Flicker Shad.  The water temperature was still in the mid 70's, kind of high for late summer reef trolling as I suspect it will be better in a few weeks when I fish with my brother and his group.  I am sure of one thing, the deep water bite will more than likely continue to be steady.  7 fish in 4 hours, I don't think that is too bad for this time of year.  The fish seemed scattered but we found them and probably shouldn't have wasted time in dead areas where we didn't mark fish.  Well, you have to start somewhere!

A followup on my tractor issues from last week, I got Fergy running like a fine tuned watch.  After putting on a new rebuilt carburetor, rewiring the entire ignition/charging system, and trying a new coil, she still sputtered really bad, maybe worse than ever.  The last thing left were the points and condenser.  As I began to remove the screw that hold the condenser to the distributor plate, it snapped off at the plate.  Now what???  Figuring out how to remove the plate, I checked out the other side and the screw was bent, that made no sense as you could not install it that way, it had to have bent while in the distributor.  Looking at it the only thing that made sense was at some point the centrifugal weights hit the screw, bent it, and more than likely prevented the distributor from operating properly.  After finding and removing the broke end, replacing it with a shorter screw, reassembling with new points and condenser, it was like she couldn't wait to show me how well it would run.  I'll bet it didn't turn over 2 times and it fired off.  A few adjustments and the engine is running perfectly.  I am close to having all the important work done as we have an appointment later in the month to get the rear engine seal fixed as it's leaking oil pretty bad.  It's come a long way in a month, that's for sure.  The plans are to maybe get back to Mille Lacs one more time before the 21st or even hit the river, it's low, slow and gotta be on fire. 

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

It's always fun putting others on fish....even if it's Lory! 7 fish on Mille Lacs during the dog days of 70 degree water and above is outstanding. Kind of scary finding a walleye feeding on a walleye. Never heard of it before.

AK Keith