This week we saw it all, weather-wise. The week started great, days were sunny and the nights stayed unusually warm. That was pleasant for fishing but our big pike hunters kept hoping for a chill to cool the lake down – most years our best fall pike fishing comes after lake surface temps drop below the 60 degree mark. Mid-week we saw the weather begin to change and we finished the week with our biggest cold front of the fall. The last few days of fishing saw rain, wind, and steadily dropping temperatures.
Our big walleye were coming from transition depths and locations through most of the week, though volume could still be found out in the deep ‘summer style’ water. There also was a recognizable difference in what the fish wanted in these locations. The walleye answered to slow, subtle presentations – 1/8th oz. jigs still fished – in the deep water, but a few good bites were found with a little bit of speed and movement in the transition depths/locations. This week we had 29 guided days that were spent pursing walleye and another 13 guided days that were devoted exclusively to big pike. Our walleye anglers caught and released 18 walleye over 27 inches, including 10 over 28 inches and a giant 29.5 incher.
Our ‘gator’ hunters spent the week moving back and forth between the fall rock patterns and checking the few remaining weed patches. Both showed us good fish, with our two biggest coming from weeds. The 13 guided days of pike fishing produced 16 northern over 37 inches with the three biggest at two 40’s and a 41 incher.
The 2016 fishing season has come to a close here at Silver Water Wheel Lodge. At the season’s end, we always look back over the summer and from a guide’s perspective there were some interesting trends through our fishing season.
Through our spring and transition seasons the walleye kept us jumping back and forth between deep and shallow water, and between fast, aggressive presentations and slower subtle styles – finding a good bite meant checking all the extremes, in presentations and locations.
It seemed to take longer than usual this year, but eventually the walleye did settle in to their summer locations. Once they did we found they regularly liked things subtle, but there were still times when good size was produced with speed. Figuring out what to do that day took constant checking on the alternatives. Success with walleye on Lac Seul has always meant being ready to switch things up but this year it seemed to be even more so.
We missed out on some of our favorite bites this season. A combination of ice out timing and early season warm weather meant the post ice out big pike bite was already finishing up by the time we got some guests on the water. A few of our guides’ favorite walleye hot spots also missed their window this year – just the result of wrong wind and weather at the wrong time. That made it ‘a must’ to go out and find some new water, and we added a few spots to our repertoire that turned into great producers of big walleye this season.
For a fishing guide, these changes that Lac Seul throws at us every day, every week, and every year are what makes each new season a different challenge. That challenge is what keeps me coming back to see what answers – what new tactics, presentations, or locations will produce great fish over the course of the season. I think that’s what makes fishing Lac Seul interesting and fun for anglers and guides every day, every week, and every year.
Hope to see you all at ‘The Wheel’ in 2017!
At Silver Water Wheel Lodge