Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lac Seul Opener, part 2.

30 inch Walleye
Admittedly it was hard having to wait a full week before the highlight of our trip to Lac Seul for the 2018 walleye fishing opener was written about but here goes!  On most walleye fisherman's bucket list is to accomplish the holy grail of fishing walleyes, a 30 incher!  Now admittedly if one lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Port Clinton, Ohio, or on the Columbia River in Washington State, this may not be such a revered goal, however for us guys stuck in the bowels of Minnesota, a 30 incher is a fish of a lifetime.  Walleye fishing for over 40 years now in Minnesota, the closest fish that I have ever come was a 28.5 inch walleye caught a in the late 1980's on Mille Lacs.  Two years ago in June, Bruce's father-in-law landed a 30 incher in my boat fishing Tuk Bay, that was a nice fish, but it wasn't on my line.  This year with Pete, RJ, and myself in the boat we were fishing on Monday, May 21st, our last day of fishing for this trip.  The fish were really on the bite and on that last day our total fish count for the day, not including northern pike, was 158 walleyes caught.  The total time fished was 7 hours and if you do the quick math it comes to a walleye caught every 2.65 minutes, all day including running time in the boat!  We were on the point just north of camp and the walleyes were stacked in the 10 - 11 foot range.  We typically use what I call the Canadian method of impaling our minnow on the jig, simply run the hood through the mouth and out the gills then rotate the hook around and stick the point through the top of the minnow, just behind the head.  The fish are so aggressive that if you simply hook the minnow through the lips, you will end up losing many fish and wasting minnows.  With the Canadian method, one can often catch 2 or 3 fish on one minnow before it needs to be replaces.  Well, I had caught a number  of fish on a minnow when it finally was about to separate into two parts, the head still on the hook, then the body.  Simply discarding the head, the remaining body was threaded on my jig, basically just a piece of meat on the hook.  Dropping it beside the boat, it hit the bottom, reeling in the slack and bam, a nice fish hit the jig.  Setting the hook revealed that there was something substantial at the end of the line.  A few head
Right on the 30 Inch Line!
shakes later Pete was summoned, get the net, this one is a dandy!  One often doesn't get a real idea until the fish is visible next to the boat, UFFDA, this was the largest walleye ever to grace the end of my line.  Carefully instructing Pete....Head first, Head first, he slipped the net under the fish and hauled her in.  She was hooked solid, so we removed the hook, took a few pictures and measured her.  Exactly on the 30 inch line with the tail squished together, that was good enough for me and we let her go.  She swam right away and I believe that she was in pretty good shape.  Her estimated weight was around 10 - 11 pounds and of course she was recently spawned out to a month from now she might have been a pound or two heavier, never the less a beautiful fish.  I don't know if I'll get a graphite reproduction of the fish or not but at over $15/inch it will take some thought.

Sunday's beautiful Sunset
So the 2108 Canadian Fishing Opener at Lac Seul Outposts is in the history books and according to Bruce it probably was the best he's ever witnessed in the 30 years they have been coming up to camp.  The fish totals for the Ranger and it's 3 occupants were 145 on Saturday, 101 on Sunday, and 158 on Monday, a total of 404 walleyes caught.  What was impressive was the total number of walleyes over 20 inches, I would say that over half of them we caught were over 20 and half of them were over 22 inches.  That is an impressive total of nice walleyes.  We did extremely well on plastics as the fish were quite aggressive.  The ride in on Friday was absolutely terrible as we got soaked however the next 4 days were beautiful, with an accompanying gorgeous sunset to finish each of the days.  One of the things I like to do is stop in at the bait shop and buy some large minnows.  It really paid off this year as the big fish loved the big minnows.  Unfortunately the bait well in the boat drained out and many of our big minnows had died on Saturday night.  It really didn't seem to matter much as the walleyes hit those as easily as if they were alive, so we cleaned them out nicely.

One of the issues was having to park my boat on the sand beach next to Bruce's boat.  One of the things that was installed on my boat from the factory was a keel guard, meant for just this.  Everything turned out OK as we were able to plug it in each night and as well, RJ was a master of tying knots and did an awesome job of securing everything in place.  It was a pain to get in the boat with getting sand in it and backing off the sand bar was challenging as there were scour holes from previous outboards trying to push their boats higher, and or trying to back off the sand.  The Ranger is pretty heavy and really doesn't move that much so it did take some addition persuasion from RJ and Pete.  So what do we do for an encore?  The fish are biting on Mille Lacs and the Smallies are just coming off their spawn so that will more than likely be the next adventure.  We are so far behind at home, the garden still needs to be planted, trees need to be moved, mowing needs to be done.  We were at my niece's daughter's graduation last weekend so not much got done this last weekend either.  Honestly it was too hot anyway as Memorial Day hit 100 degrees, almost too hot to fish!

1 comment:

Jeff King said...

Congrats .....get a mount is my humble advise.