Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trolling Empty Waters

Guido's first trip to Mille Lacs

With the end of October quickly approaching one has to take advantage of the good days left.  Tuesday was one of those days, 70 degrees, light winds, and a new moon.  Now, full moon fishing in the fall is all the rage on Mille Lacs however few if any pay attention to the new moon.  Both periods offer some mystical effect on fishing and if you have ever been to Alaska it would soon be obvious that the entire fishing schedules run around these moon cycles or tides.  It's important to understand the effect the moon has on our waters as it's gravitational pull, combined with the sun, regulates how much change is happening.  The moon gravity actually pulls the earth's waters towards it, causing it to bulge as the moon passes by.  As well,  our own Earth's rotation causes a secondary bulge at the opposite side of the world.   This causes the water to cycle high and low about twice a day (actually 12.42 hours between).   As well, the sun has the same effect however it's not as strong of influence, yet adds to the process.  So a full moon is the time when the sun is directly opposite the moon and is evident when the sun sets in the west the bright full moon is rising in the east.  In Alaska we know that the salmon run stronger on the highest high tides to conserve energy as they make their way up the rivers.  Here in Minnesota the effect on the water at high tide is minimal as even in a large lake such as Lake Superior, the change is only around 1 3/4 inch at the highest.  That doesn't preclude the theory that fish are affected and are more aggressive during this time.  Where the new moon fits is explained by the  fact that the sun and moon are lined up, therefore both having an additive effect on the water change, which in it's monthly cycle, causes the greatest effect on this change each month.  If you look at the left sidebar you will see 2 gadgets, one of the current moon phase and another that displays today's peak fishing times.  They are all intertwined by the changes which are caused by these cycles.  One factor that helps in a full moon is the additional light available after sunset, the walleyes are very sensitive to this, which gives them an advantage, yet in my opinion the gravitational pull has the greater effect.  Therefore the new moon, where the sun and moon are lined up to create the greatest effect should be pretty good fishing, right?

Another beautiful sunset from 3 Mile Reef

Well apparently not on Tuesday.  We have a gentlemen at work, Guido Viquez, who works as a manufacturing engineer.  From Costa Rica, he lives in Minnesota (Lord knows why!) with his family, was an aircraft mechanic in his prior life, and loves to fish.  He has been pushing me to take him fishing and it seemed like a great opportunity to take the afternoon off and head north.  In the past 3 Mile Reef has been my never fail, go to spot for years.  Located out in the main lake, surrounded by 30 feet of water, it is the ideal spot for late season walleyes, or at least it used to be.  Regardless of the fact that the last 5 years has not been very good on 3 Mile, it's always worth one attempt as last year my neighbor Tom and I had a very successful evening limiting out with 8 keeper walleyes.  Things have changed for sure as the water was crystal clear, enough to see invasion of the zebra mussels first hand.  I knew that they had taken over the reef however because of the water conditions, I had not been able to view the damage until now.  Wow, what used to be sharp rock surfaces, crevices, and large slabs have been transformed into a thick coating of zebra mussels and black looked like a waste land on the bottom.  It's been this way for a couple of seasons now and has it had an affect on the fishing, I really can't say.  All I know is we trolled past sundown with nothing to show for it.  I headed to Lakeside Reef thinking that the fish may have moved in closer to shore with the same success.  Lakeside Reef is actually pretty nice, has the right depths and is a constant producer of fish.  Maybe it's one of those days!  Either way Guido had a great time as it was his first time on Mille Lacs.  I reminded him that's why we call it fishing instead of catching, he laughed.  Trolling shad raps and rouges we probed from 4 - 12 feet and not even a rock bass.  We did get a few nice pictures of the sunset and it was a great time learning about Guido's country, Costa Rica, as he has offered to return the favor and take me fishing down there.  As you can see he was pretty bundled up so a trip south about March might be perfect!

This weekend my good friend Mark Applen's daughter, Jackie is getting married.  She asked if my wife and I would take her wedding pictures, something we have done in the past for others.  We are happy to do this as we will generally take about 700 - 800 photos then sort through them, coming up with about 500 good ones.  When we used film I'd simply give the exposed canisters to the bride and offer my thanks.  Today's digital camera's record everything, which requires them to be adjusted via Photo-shop or some other program.  It's a lot nicer but does take a bit more work.  I am sure Mark will reward me by going ice fishing later this year, maybe back to Lake of the Woods.  Time is running out as deer hunting is now only 2 weeks away.  This weekend might be the last warm one until next April so I might be a fool and head back to Mille Lacs Sunday night but I will check the reports first.  Bill and I also keep looking for a time to go trout fishing, maybe that will happen next week, we'll see!  My Ferguson tractor project is going well, I called the guy working on it and he has the engine back together and I expect it back soon.  I am very anxious to see how she runs.


Duane said...

Time to put the boat away Mr. Anderson. You should be hunting.....

Dave Anderson said...

Right, if I could simply walk out my back door like some people I know!