Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mille Lacs On the 4th of July

Kam first Walleye, a 26 inch beauty
With everything seemingly taken care of with the boat, the 4th of July has been a traditional day for spending on Mille Lacs Lake.  Actually it was the day I always had a standing reservation to fish with my good friend Tom Emmons, we would fish Mille Lacs for the day then stay long enough to watch some of the fireworks that are held in Garrison, MN.  Admittedly I sure do miss my friend.  Well life goes on and with July 4th being on a Tuesday, the passenger in the boat this day was an engineer from work, Kam Chen.  Kam's brother is traveling so it was a good opportunity to get him out fishing on such a beautiful day.  And fish we did!   Kam is from Hong Kong, is a brilliant engineer and is getting into fishing.  The other goal was to try and learn all of the new additions to the boat including I troll, the remote Panther Steering system on the kicker motor, as well to check out the newly repaired main motor steering and does the kicker motor even run!  Leaving at 9:00, a quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast before stopping in to see Bill at Lundeens Tackle Castle.  There I went over my strategy with Bill before stocking up on some leeches and crawlers.  Having let him know I was planning on some lead line trolling to test some of the additions, he gave me a suggestion on where to fish as he had been doing well out there and he believes that the gravel held some big fish!  A few weeks ago Bill gave me some Jointed Salmo's and asked if I would try them.  Unfortunately I left them on my bench back in the pole shed....pretty stupid!  Once we launched the boat and idled into the bay I opened the throttle and voila, the steering worked perfect!  We headed to the humps just at the edge of the bay but did not do very well.  Next stop was the rocks on Sherman's Point but there again nothing.  I headed to Sherman's Flat and began trolling up and down the edge, something that was a lot easier with my old tiller controlled boat however I wasn't getting too bad at following the contour with my front trolling motor.  This was really a trip to test out my accessories and to help Kam catch some fish.

Kam's 28 inch Walleye
Trolling crawlers on spinner rigs Kam looked at me and exclaimed he had a snag.  Of course I knew that was almost impossible as we were on a mud flat.  Anyway I took the rod, felt a big head shake then handed it back and told him, no this is a fish!  Kam reeled in a very nice 26 inch walleye, nice and fat, probably over 6 pounds.  A few pictures and back in the water she went.  We continued up the cut and back  finally catching 4 walleyes, not exactly on fire but the mayfly carcasses tell the story as walleyes will gorge themselves during a mayfly hatch.   The next strategy was to head to a gravel area and lead line troll some #5 Shad Raps.  This also gave me the opportunity to get more familiar with my kicker motor trolling set up.  I worked pretty nice.  My lead core setup includes Suffix 832 line, it sinks 30% more than standard lead core, instead of 5 feet/color it sinks at 7 feet/color.  We put 3 colors out to take everything down to 21 feet and the #5 shad rap would do the rest and rest it did! It wasn't long before the rods which were sitting in the rod holders went off and we had our first walleye trolling.  Minutes later Kam's trolling rod bent over and he reeled in a nice 28 inch walleye. It was pretty big and he was a little scared of it so I posed for the picture!  We ended up catching 5 nice walleyes on the shad raps before moving to our next stop, a deep rock reef for bobber/leech fishing.  No one was there at the deep water reef so we set up using the i5 trolling motor as our anchor, I have to tell you this is one of the nicest things I have on the boat.  Holds great and it is simple to move around to help locate fish.  Well before you know it Kam's bobber went down.  Telling him to reel up till he feels pressure then set the hook, which he did!  His first walleye caught bobber fishing where he hooked it himself.  It's a  lot of fun to help someone catch there own fish and this time Kam had a triple going, pulling crawlers, Lead Lining Shad Raps, and now Bobber fishing leeches.

We ended up with 4 fish there before we decided to head back.  With 13 fish caught it wasn't the hottest day of catching however I was very happy with the results.  With the crawler rigs I use #6 Tru-Turn hooks and every walleye that grabs the crawler is immediately hooked in the mouth area. Trolling Raps produces minimally hooked fish, and a quick set on the bobber fish meant lip hooked fish.  I know hooking mortality numbers are going to play an important role as the walleye fishing shuts down on July 7th and supposedly scheduled to open back up by July 27th however I don't have much faith in our Department of Natural Resources to do this.  Every fish we brought into the boat was lipped hooked and successfully released with minimal stress.  The amazing bite on Mille Lacs this year will likely result in a total closure for the rest of the open water bite which ends December 1st, 2017.  As stated before, politics is no place in this blog yet affects so many things!  This may have been my only trip to Mille Lacs this year, time will tell.  In the meantime it's time to get the Jon Boat out and start hitting the Mississippi River behind the house.

1 comment:

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Hey Dave, thanks for reminding me of the fireworks at Garrison. I have very fond memories of my dad and I fishing the evening bite at Garrison on the 4th. We got into a nice mess of fish up until the first boom of the night. We watched the rest of the show, loaded up the boat, and then stopped in the Blue Goose before heading home to clean our fish. I miss Minnesota summers (and my dad).