Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lac Seul, Days 3 and 4

39 inch Northern Pike
Deciding there was too much to write about in one week, my Lac Seul report is broken into 2 parts.  It also works well as I didn't go fishing last weekend.  This trip was my longest to Canada since I was a teenager traveling with the Tollefson's and the Semingson's to Lake Nipigon.  4 full days of fishing was on the docket and admittedly the first 2 were pretty good.  Sunday was our third day on the water so the boats headed back to Wapesi Bay where we had fished the first day and did quite well.  Arriving at the same point my bait of choice was a jig dressed with a 3 inch Gulp Alive minnow, cream colored.  A few bounces off the bottom and it felt like a freight train just hit my bait.  The pole I was using had braided line on the spinning rod and you really do feel everything.  Whatever it was, it was big and after 4 minutes she surfaced, a huge northern pike.  After a couple of runs Dan finally coaxed the fish into my landing net which was not nearly as big as it needed to be.  With it's tail hanging out of the net we managed to get it over the gunnel of the boat and unhooked.  A quick measurement put the fish as slightly over 39 inches, the largest northern I have caught since the 42 inch monster that I had landed while ice fishing on the north side of Mille Lacs in 1994.   She was quite fat and we estimated her at around 17 - 18 pounds, all I know it was difficult to hold her steady while Pete took the picture.  A few snap shots and back into the water she went, one flick of her tail and she was gone.  This fish may have explained why the walleyes weren't as plentiful as they were 2 days ago.  Getting more comfortable with the reading the water and using the electronics, we began searching for active fish.   On Sunday a minor cold front went through and like most waters, it definitely affected the fish bite.  With the wind coming from the north or northwest we struggled to find any area's of concentrated fish yet between the 6 of us we managed to catch enough for dinner that night and get a good start on accumulating our take home limits for the trip which were 4 walleyes each.  With 8 walleyes packaged for transport, we cooked up all the cleaned fish from the days catch and what was left over from the previous day, we were stuffed.

A net full of walleyes
Monday was our last day of fishing on the big lake.  With the second day's success in Tuktegweik Bay, it was decided to return as the wind was already quite strong by the time we headed out.  Having a known previous trail on the depth finder was critical as one now had a trusted route into the bay though the rocky channels.  Of course our first stop was the same point that we named Dan's Hole where 2 days earlier we simply caught one after another.  Although we marked quite a few fish still hanging around the point in 20 - 24 feet of water, they seemed quite lethargic and not really very hungry.  The wind had set up a great drift and while we did manage a few fish it was time to start looking again.  Up the shoreline were a few points that looked promising and the map did show a channel heading to a smaller lake, sometimes these channels can be really productive.  With 8 fish in the refrigerator the goal was to bring home 16 keepers for the day (our definition is 16 - 18 inches), the number needed for all of us to fill out.  Bruce's boat joined us for a while but admittedly the bite was tough and soon he took off for more productive waters.  In the meantime we decided to work the bay marking a few fish here and there, catching a few here and there, checked out the channel which wasn't anything to write home about.  Eventually we fished passed an outpost camp to find a nice sand flat between and island and shore.  Again not much there. Finally at the west end of a small island, the fish marks started to appear on my screen.  Generally speaking, when those marks are a foot or two off the bottom it is a good chance they are active and feeding, and feeding they were.  Dropping the Minnkota and using the spot lock we sat in place while Dan and I reeled in one after another.  We weren't sure what was going on with Pete as he could only sit there and watch the 2 masters at work.  Although I did get a few on Gulp most wanted a real minnow on the jig as the bite was rather soft instead of simply slamming it.  After starting to accumulate a number of fish we talked about how many we should keep in the boat.  If Bruce was having the same luck we'd be over however we decided to keep 12 and assume that we were on the fish and Bruce wasn't.  With a flurry of 3 straight hours of non-stop catching we decided to head back to camp somewhat earlier than usual.  Having to clean fish, prepare supper, and get things packed for the morning ride out, it was the right thing to do as we spotted Bruce's boat in the Narrows.  With only Dave and Wayne in the boat, apparently Bruce had enough of catching fish and was in taking care of business.  A quick question to Wayne, how many did they have.............3 keepers.  The decision to keep our 12 worked out perfect as they really needed only one more to complete our catch.  Luckily within a minute they nailed the last fish as we headed to the dock.  Loading the net with the walleyes I headed for the fish cleaning house with 16 walleyes to fillet.  It was a successful trip indeed.

Waking up to a brisk north wind, the temperature had dropped to a chilly 41 degrees for the boat ride to the landing. Even fully bundled in a rain suit with many layers of clothes I was pretty chilled by the time we arrived.  Enjoying a hearty and hot breakfast at Knobby's in Sioux Lookout we were ready for the 9 hour trip back.  It was another great trip, my third to Lac Seul within a year, I'm getting to like it.  So far I have discovered 3 new areas where to fish beyond the normal spots they go to, it's a lot of fun to explore.  Now it time clean the boat carpeting and see if there are any walleyes biting on Mille Lacs.    

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Knobby's has new ownership and I'm told the poutine is not the same.

Wapesi Bay was my favorite area to fish. Followed closely by Scaler Lake.

Your posts make me want to go back to Lac Seul real soon.