Objectively evaluating the day’s bite on the lake is one of the most difficult things to teach a first year guide. It is also difficult for me to take a step back from a season as it is happening and make balanced and objective comparisons and observations. The previous year’s fishing reports help and so do the data sheets and monthly trends. In overview, I would describe 2007 as an “extreme” season (Not that there really is a true “normal” for weather up here.) The volatile weather described in previous reports continued again this past week.
The week started with more rain and unstable weather. We had a few post frontal days and then another big blow without rain 2 nights ago. The week ended with the early stages of what is forecast to be an extended period of bright sunshine, light winds, and hot daytime temps. The result is a very tough bite deep for big fish and an increasingly strong shallow weed bite. In response, the guides end up “spot checking” the extremes several times during the day or they make a choice with their group to commit to one or the other depending on whether volume or size is the goal
Aside from variable production, the most significant trend that we have noticed with the walleye fishing is a widening separation in the depth zones holding walleyes. The population that is trending shallower and shallower is primarily the volume bite with lots of 20 – 23 in. fish and very few over 27in. The deeper water populations have been shifting steadily down, are not producing volume, tend to be very inactive, and are holding bigger fish. In the past I have mentioned that we are catching walleyes between 8 and 38 feet. We still are, the difference is that there are progressively fewer and fewer fish being caught in the middle depth zones. Many of our traditional early summer spots are not just slow, they appear to be devoid of walleyes. Most of these spots were most productive in the 15-25 ft. zone. The lake and the fishery are always in a state of transition and we expect minor changes, but this observation for this season stands out as “significantly different” and is most likely indirectly related to weather trends and the effect that they have on the forage base.
Walleye volume for the week was variable again, with daily guide sheets averaging 30 walleyes over 18 in. per day. The highest daily total was 68. For the week, there were 33 walleyes over 27 in., including 11 – 28s, and 3 – 29s.
Bouncers and spinners with minnows were responsible for 20% of the walleye production and ¼ – 3/8 oz. jigs with minnows were responsible for the rest.
There was one 39 in. pike caught while walleye fishing and about ½ of the bass were also incidental. For the week, there were 14 smallies over 17 in. caught and released, including 5 – 18s, and 1 – 20. Most of the targeted smallmouth were caught on diving crankbaits.