Spring is far ahead of schedule again this year. The ice was long gone when I arrived at camp on April 28. In fact, the tops of the poplars were already green. It is the most advanced Spring that I have seen in 20 years. We have had the normal cold fronts, but the surface temps are still in the range that we would expect for early to mid June. The main lake is all well over 50 degrees. Some of the back bays have already been up to the high 60’s and today the main lake average was 55 – 58. The lake level started out higher than last year and has risen steadily but not as fast as 2005.
As you would expect, we are fishing spots and patterns that we would normally be working in early June. Overall, the walleye bite has been excellent both for volume and top end size.
Jigs and cranks are the go to presentations for ‘eyes. We have been bouncing back and forth between very active fish shallow and more neutral to negative fish deeper on off-bite times. Sunny afternoons are tops for the hot shallow water bite. On mornings after cold fronts, we are all geared slow in deeper water (8-20 ft.) for light biters. The rest of the time we have been working back and forth between the two in an effort to stay on top of the changes in activity level. Jigs have been mainly ¼ oz with or without tails and minnows. Pitching shallow on sunny afternoons with jigs and plastics has produced outstanding numbers. Most of the really big fish were found a little deeper and were mainly taken on lead heads with “straight meat.” Shallow water crankbait patterns were primarily Husky Jerks in size 12 and 14 and the X-raps also produced very well. A huge advantage to the crank presentation was the incidental smallmouth and big pike bite. (We have been using fine steel wire leaders.)
Walleye volume was very high this week with daily reports averaging over 30 fish over 18 in. per day. The highest daily total was 83. For the week, we caught and released 31 walleyes over 27 inches, including 5 – 29s, and 1 – 30. Pike numbers were also strong with 19 Northerns over 37 in. including 3 – 40s, 5 – 41s, and 1 – 42.
Smallmouth volume and size continue to improve every year. Each season we find the population expanding into new areas and we catch just as many as incidental catch as we do targeting them. The biggest fish do tend to be found in traditional smallie areas. For the week we had 75 bass over 17 in., including 18 – 18s, and 3 – 19s.
Overall, it has been an excellent opening week and we look for the trend to continue with warmer than average temps predicted for the 5 day forecast.
*** Cancellation Notice ***
I did receive a cancellation for the outpost on Vaughn lake for the week of July 8 – 15. This housekeeping cabin on Vaughn has direct boat access to Lac Seul and this time spot is prime for guys targeting Big walleyes. Call the lodge at 800 567 8538 for details.