The walleyes are in the weeds. It was another warm, sunny, and mostly windless week on Lac Seul. The mayflies are emerging in many areas of the lake. And the lake level is beginning to slowly fall.
When we talk about the walleyes being in the weeds, there are 2 key concepts to consider. Fishing in the middle of a cabbage weed bed is extremely difficult. We know that there are fish inside the thick stuff, but presenting baits to them in an efficient manner is very difficult. We basically fish jigs with live bait or Gulp on the deep side of the weeds in 9 – 15 ft. of water. You occasionally foul your hook with weeds, but you can still cover water. The other issue is that not all weeds are holding walleyes. In fact, there are far more weedy areas not holding walleyes than are. If you try 2 or 3 weed beds without success and then give up on the pattern, then you are likely going to get your feelings hurt when you hear the reports from your fellow guides at the nightly round table. Further complicating the puzzle is that you can find different results from the same weed bed on different days. Like any other pattern, you have to remain disciplined and focused to find the day’s best bite.
We continue to check and there were a few walleyes out on the main lake summer sand and rock spots, but they were very negative and very difficult to catch. Even with some ups and downs, walleye volume was better this week with guide sheets averaging 35 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day. 95% of those fish were caught between 8 – 16 ft. There were some big walleyes in the weeds as well. For the week, we caught and released 32 over 27 in., including 5 – 28s and 1 – 30. The lone 30 was caught out on deeper water, main lake sand. It was a 50 / 50 split between minnows and Gulp this week.
The health, depth, and size of the weeds were also a draw for numbers of big pike again this week. We released 24 pike over 37 in., including 2 – 40s, 1 – 41, 1 – 42, and 1 – 44. Big spoons were responsible for more than 90% of pike production this week. The William’s Whitefish was still very difficult to beat.
There were a few smallmouth bass caught this week, but almost all were incidental while fishing for walleyes. We released 2 – 19 in. bass. The environmental indicator for the end of smallmouth bass season for us is the emergence of mayflies and it proved once again to be accurate.
The Take Away: I heard one of my guides wishing that the walleyes would move back out to main lake sand and rock where they are easier to find. I reminded him that it’s a walleye’s world and we have to chase them where they choose to be.