Apart from the lake level, it was a very normal week for the middle of June. There were some rainy days, some sun, some wind, and some flat calm. Despite some fairly significant rains, it feels like we may be close to the peak and that water levels may begin to fall in the near future. Tonight, the lake is at 1,170.7 ft. above sea level. We still have 4 – 6 inches before it goes over our fixed docks and I am hoping that this is as high as it gets.
The big pike bite was once again very strong this week, although it did taper off quickly at the end. For the week, we caught and released 21 pike over 37 in., including 3 – 40s, 2 – 41s, 1 – 42, and 1 – 44. The big ones were still shallow at the beginning of the week, but several major weather changes sent them into transition by the end. Spoons and big cranks were the top producers.
One of the big questions that is yet to be answered is what the high-water level is going to do to the cabbage weed growth this summer. Surprisingly, we are already seeing 2 – 3 ft. of weed growth on our electronics in 8 – 9 ft. of water. The cabbage may not top out by July 1, but my feeling is that the weed growth is going to be pretty normal, despite the high water.
As production began to decline for big pike, the guides shifted gears and began to focus more on hunting big walleyes. This week, we caught and released 40 walleyes over 27 in., including 7 – 28s, 2 – 29s, and 1 – 30. The pattern is that there was no pattern. We caught some big ones pulling big gulp at speed in the shallow, warm water areas we typically fish in spring and we caught big ones dead sticking light jigs and minnows on main lake points and transition zones. The quality of the bite often changed drastically from one area to another on the same day. The best strategy, was to continually experiment with different presentations, speeds, locations, depths, and regions. With that many variables in play, there was a difference in volume and production from boat to boat. Overall, guide sheets averaged 35 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day.
As a walleye guide, the first question that I want to find an answer for every day is the key depth. Again, there wasn’t one. We found some active fish and some big walleyes shallow (4 – 10 ft.) We found just as many walleyes, including big fish and walleyes that were not active in deeper water (14 – 24 ft.) The key this week was to keep an open mind, regardless of the results and to continue to experiment.
The bass are pulsing shallower, but there is still no major push into the spawning bays. We are still catching many random bass while walleye fishing, but most efforts to target big bass have resulted in modest returns. For the week, there were usually 4 -5 bass on every guide sheet, even when they were not being targeted. We did release 5 over 19 in. with 1 – 20.
June is a major month of change and I will not be surprised if next week’s synopsis is very, very different from this one.