Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lake Oahe, part 2

29 inch Channel Cat
I have to be honest about last weeks post which forced me to use only the pictures I had taken with my phone.  On Monday morning I brought the boat back to the dealer to get the kicker mounted and the last place I remember my camera was in the dash compartment by the steering wheel of the boat. Of course all my bragging pictures were on that camera.  Well, I picked the boat up Friday and the first thing I looked for was the camera, dang, it wasn't there.  A quick panic then a look in my computer backpack......I had it all along!  So Our first day of fishing on Oahe took us south to the area called the Slide Hill.  Although the Lowrance still had the trails we made 2 years, because of the high water, they were now 35 feet deep and all indications stated the fish were in 15 - 20 feet. Contrary to the most popular method of fishing on the lake, pulling bottom bouncers, we like to jig fish.  One never knows what you will catch and it is fun to feel them hit as one sets the hook.  Unfortunately the catfish really like this slow presentation.  Wednesday afternoon I set the hook on a monster fish as it took about 10 minutes to land this nice 29 inch channel catfish.  These things really fight as they really are not interested in coming to the top and a 10 pound catfish feels like a 20 pound northern pike.  We took a few pictures and let it go but not before Steve remarked that his late father-in-law would not be very happy seeing this one swim away.  Wes was quite the catfisherman down in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and was a bonafide river rat.  This catfish was the largest fish we caught for the weekend but certainly not the last.  Unfortunately at this point, Wednesday July 15th was the 5th time I had the boat out, 3 trips to Mille Lacs, 1 to Osakis, and now Lake Oahe and I had yet to land a walleye. Pretty embarrassing if you ask me because eventually the excuse of "I'm still getting used to fishing from a wheel boat" would start to ring pretty hollow!  We fished the Slide hill pretty hard but it really didn't amount to much of anything.  Mark and Steve both caught some walleyes yet I remained walleyeless for the remainder of the day.  Admittedly catching the 10 pound catfish was nice yet we would load the boat up with a look for tomorrow to fulfil that simple barrier to the proper break in of the new Ranger!  The landing area has a great fish cleaning station, complete with water and a fish grinder to get rid of whatever is left.  Mark had caught a walleye that contained a tag through it's lower jaw which should be turned into the South Dakota Fisheries.  Unfortunately we forgot about it and that tag got ground up with the rest of the fish carcasses.  It was interesting that Russ had a tagged fish as well and ended up doing the same thing, grinding it up!  It was after this that we stopped by the Missouri boys camp and got the hot tip for the next day.

Mark with a Beautiful Crappie
After driving to the landing on Thursday and launching, we checked to see where Russ was fishing and stopped to say hi.  We are good listeners and after seeing the Missouri boys fly past us, it was time to follow them up the Moreau River.  It was a 10 mile run but as stated last week, we got an idea of where everyone was fishing and it certainly provided the strategy for the next 3 days.  Still feeling our way around the new area, we worked a shoreline that lead to a bay which curved 90 degrees out to a point on the main body of water.  I did get a small walleye on one of the casts but quite honestly, it didn't count.  As we approached the bay area where the water was calm, there were fish all over breaking the surface.  Hoping it might be stripers, to our dismay the bay was full of 15 - 20 pound carp, milling around in near the shore.  It was fun to watch but were were there to catch walleyes.  A few minutes later Mark nailed a beautiful 14 inch crappie in the bay.  I would normally doctor the picture to highlight both the angler and the fish better however it really shows the unusual background of the shorelines as well as how calm it was that day.  Thursday would prove to be the best of the 3 1/2 days of fishing with both the weather and the water conditions excellent.  Meanwhile the Missouri boys headed east of us trolling the shorelines with shad raps.  We never hooked up with them again so we weren't even sure how they did and I think it would have been nice to see their results.  Oh well.

First "Official" walleye of the new boat!
So I did catch my very first walleye in the new boat on Thursday late morning.  The small one I caught earlier just wasn't picture material and I'd have been embarrassed to even admit it.  When I finally nailed the 17 incher, it was like a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders.  Ok, maybe not that bad but come on, 6 trips to get the first walleye........really?  It was really hot on Thursday and the sun was brutal.  I have started wearing long sleeve fishing shirts that are actually very comfortable and this year decided to buy one of those head/neck protectors that you can slide up over your ears and nose to keep the sun from burning too bad.  Yes, they look goofy but they also work pretty good.  Also I wear my inflatable life vest all the time, either my belt one or the full over the neck one.  The new boat can really move and at 60 years old, I doubt my ability to tread water is for very long.  After a while you never even notice they are on, especially the CO2 type with the automatic inflators.  I look like one of those muslim guys in the boat........thank God we didn't have any border security on the lake!  Friday was an OK day, not as productive as we managed to catch 7 walleyes from the same area as Thursday, up the Moreau.  On the other hand the cat fishing was phenomenal as they loved the slow nightcrawler presentation for sure.  On Saturday the wind decided to come howling out of the west with gusts to 35 mph.  We had 3 - 3 1/2 foot waves coming straight down the Moreau and would be the first true test of the boats ability to handle this rough water.  It was amazing as we easily cut through the waves skipping just the tops as the new Evinrude E-Tec G2 never skipped a beat via the new RX4 4 bladed prop that powered us through the roughest conditions (sounds like a commercial huh!).   We were all impressed by the almost Cadillac like ride, much better than I ever dreamed. The high winds proved challenging as we only ended up with 5 walleyes which put us at 23 for the entire trip.  As we said before the allure of Lake Oahe is the interesting variety of fish you catch, the completely different location and scenery, as well as the company, I'd definitely go back for sure. We ended the trip with a nice hunk of prime rib at a resort up the road as Akaska, SD leaves something to be desired in the steak department.

I am off on Wednesday for my annual fishing trip with Chuck Teasley and this year Dan Hoene is going to join us again.  We always have a great time and in 15 years I have only missed it once. This weekend has been a scorcher with very high humidities.  The tomatoes and cucumbers are growing like crazy as everything is pretty early, I've already made 8 gallons of my refrigerator pickles.

1 comment:

missouri boys said...

Hey Dave, this is one of the missouri boys. We did end up catching our fish that day with a good one of 28 inch and 3 others over 20 inch rest between 16 and 18 inch. We had a good trip. It was nice to meet you guys. Glad to here you had some luck.