Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lac Seul, Part 2.

Pete with a nice walleye
So how good is fishing at Lac Seul?  Well, from a consistent standpoint, it's probably the best place I have fished yet.  Starting at around 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon till my final cast on Thursday night, I estimate that both Pete and I landed over 300 walleyes, maybe 400 as you just start losing count after a while.  The bait of choice is a simple 1/4 ounce gold colored jig with a rainbow minnow yet I was determined to buck the trend.  Armed with a good selection of Berkeley Gulp and the appropriate 1/4 ounce jig heads I am pretty satisfied with the results.   My technique was a method perfected by The Griz, a famous walleye guide from Minnesota.  I have met Dick Grizinski many times at both the local sports shows and at Frankies, my boat dealer. The Griz is a pretty well known guide, has a website, and has made Snap Jigging a signature presentation.  An interesting side note, my 2008 Ranger 620T was ordered for The Griz but certain circumstances prevented him from taking delivery and in 2009 I picked up his boat.  So, what is snap jigging?  It's a simple technique of letting a jig settle to the bottom the quickly snapping your rod a foot or so causing the jig to jump off the bottom before settling back down.  I decided to try it on Leech this year as the bite was difficult and had some success.  The problem with snap jigging is the walleyes usually hit it on the way down just when you have the most slack in your line.  Often you can see the fish hit your jig via movement in the line or simply the next time you snap there's a solid hook set and the fight is on.  You do tend to miss some fish as they often hit the jig before you have time to react yet I think the excitement of the strike outweighs the negative aspects of snap jigging.  Using Gulp and snap jigging results in some amazing strikes and I think its much more exciting than simply dragging a jig and minnow.  Looking at our catch rates, I would have to say that my strategy caught as many walleyes as the traditional methods but I didn't have to deal with constantly rebaiting with minnows.  Sharp hooks and special jig heads that have a straight hook shaft with a wire bait holder worked great, my preference is VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig which worked great in combination with Gulp Alive Minnow Grub.

A nice 22 inch Walleye
Fishing was focused in shallow areas on or near points and in 4 - 12 feet of water.  Personally I felt the fish were in very shallow and I did really well casting into the shorelines.  Chamberlain Narrows is a necked down area where the walleyes pass through on their annual spawning migrations and they certainly were in the area last week.  Quite honestly we seldom ventured more than a mile from camp as the walleyes seemed to be everywhere.  One of the best spots was about 300 yards across the channel, anchored in 10 feet of water.  I took a video that shows Pete and I hooking 17 walleyes in 17 minutes.  This wasn't untypical as it seemed everywhere we went we caught fish.  Lac Seul has a slot limit where all walleyes between 18 - 21 inches have to be released, a total of 4 fish per person which only 1 can be over 21 inches. One of the other interesting regulations is that if you keep a fish, you have to kill it.  We accomplished this by simply folding back their heads and breaking the neck.  It's a big fine to have a live fish on board so it's important to make sure the fish are dead.   You can bring back 4 walleyes and luckily you can eat what you want and eat we did.  Bruce has a nice propane cooker on the deck of the cabin and using a deep cast iron frying pan (I call it a chicken cooker) we had fish each night to compliment or main meals. On Wednesday night Garith made his "infamous" fish boil.  Using Zatarain's Crawfish-Shrimp-and-Crab-Boil-In-a-Bag, I was skeptical but after looking at the ingredients ( I am severely allergic to crustaceans) and seeing it was just spices, I couldn't wait.  Apparently Garith is the master at this and after boiling rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, in the pot with the spice bag he added walleye when the water became minimal.  After using a ladle to transfer to your plate, he had melted butter to pour over the mixture and using a little salt and pepper I got to admit it was seriously fabulous.   On Thursday night we had Surf and Turf when Garith made a prime rib and we cooked up the remaining walleyes needed to keep us legal.  I have decided that Garith and I make a great pair!  Along with being his co-pilot, we have the same philosophies, same tastes, same attitudes, and we like the same stuff.  It's never too late to meet new friends!

Cessna at Sunset
I did take some videos of the plane then uploaded them on YouTube with the help of my smarter engineer, Welly Chou.  They are pretty interesting and if you have a fast internet connection, change the resolution to 720P or 1080P, it's pretty incredible.  Here are the links for your convenience.  The first is when we land at Lac Seul called Arriving at Chamberlain Narrows.  Turn the volume up to hear the distinctive sound of a 9 cylinder Pratt and Whitney Rotary Engine  It's really cool.  Next is Parking the Beaver, again a short clip of Garith driving the plane to it's parking spot.  Finally a parting shot of our departure from fishing heaven on Lac Seul called Leaving Chamberlain Narrows. Outpost.  Our flight back took a little longer as we bucked a 20 knot headwind most of the way.  Taking off at 7:30 we stopped at Scotty's Seaplane Base on Crane lake to go through US Customs and refill the gas tanks.  Dropping Tom off at Round Lake, we took off just as Bruce landed his Cessna.  A quick flyover to say goodbye to Bruce and Wayne, we head back to Surfside arriving by 2:20. With plenty to do it was back to the same old grind, planting the garden and getting caught up because the late spring.  Here is one of my more interesting pictures as I walked down to the beach at sunset to capture Bruce's plane, a Cessna with amphibious floats. Certainly after a day of fishing the show Mother Nature put on each night was incredible.

With a sad heart I also learned this week that a fellow fisherman and friend had died over the weekend, Bernie Konter.  Bernie was from my wife's home town of Independence, Wisconsin and was a friend of her brother, John. Back when I first started blogging in 2008, Bernie was one of my first subject, even before I started adding tags to the posts.  Bernie Konter's Fall Fest Pickles apparently caught the attention of his daughter Tonya of Wilmar, MN and on Monday night while I was helping Adam with his boat I received a phone call from a 320 area code.  Answering it, I learned that Bernie's family had searched his name and discovered my post of almost 6 years ago. I was also told that he passed away on Saturday at the young age of 70 years old.  Bernie was a good man as he moved to Buffalo City, Wisconsin after he retired to be closer to his love of the Mississippi River and fishing.  For some reason he was always very nice to me as our relationship was based on the occasional running into each other and talking about fishing.  In 2008 he called to see if I'd meet him and his family at Mille Lacs and I couldn't refuse.  Bernie was famous for his Fall Fest Pickles, a recipe that I make every year without fail.  He loved the outdoors and I guess my only regrets will be not spending more time with him.  Maybe in another life, God bless you Bernie and I hope there's a fishing pole waiting for you somewhere.

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

The ol' deadwells in the Lund Rebels.

Great memories Dave. Thanks for posting.