This week it felt like the Fall. Cool evenings and cool to downright cold mornings on the water. A lot of North winds, at times heavy, and cool air temps even when the sun was shining. But most tellingly, we had fewer boats on the water.
As always, this time of year, we have staff heading off to other activities and fewer anglers at the lodge. We totalled 55 guided days this week, compared to an average summer week of over 85 days. Those reduced days leave us fewer total hours to try experiments out there and search for the next pattern, just when the fish are likely to be changing their behaviour and shifting between locations and depths. We count on our guides to be aggressive and flexible to identify when the fish switch to fall patterns and back again.
As one of those experiments, as soon as the fall weather started, our guides headed for some of our favourite fall locations – shallower water more isolated from main lake basins. The fish were there and responded well when the weather was right – clouds and wind. A return to summer structures was the way to go when the weather stabilized, but we also noted changes on the summertime structures – key depths varied between extremes day to day, and even over the course of the day. Our guide boats were often jumping between fishing 35-40 feet and 15 feet. That meant more time needed to thoroughly check a structure for fish and fewer spots visited each day. As a result, volume was down from last week – Guide sheets averaged 27 walleyes over 18 inches per day. The top end was still there – We caught and released 24 Walleye over 27 inches, with 5 – 28’s, one 29, and a 30 incher.
Like last week, very few of our anglers invested any time in hunting for big pike. Only one boat devoted just a few hours of their 3 afternoons on the lake to Pike fishing, with a couple of other boats spending an occasional hour or two here and there. Volume for pike was quite low, but for the few angler-hours spent there was a good return on big fish – 6 Northern over 37 inches with 3 – 41+ inch fish.
Yep, it’s fall.