After last week’s roller coaster ride, we started down the road to more typical fishing patterns this past week. The walleyes were a bit more predictable and even though they did not completely move back into deep water, they were moving in that direction. Until today, when they went right back shallow again.
This was also the first week of the year that I have had significant partial cancellations and absolute last-minute cancellations. It was also the first day in months that the full guide staff had dinner in the dining room. There were only 7 guided boats on the water today. I am not complaining, I am just stating the facts of the week. And yes, it is a frustrating when we manage a huge waiting list of groups hoping to fish with us and then the cancellations are so late that we can’t fill the spots. A lodge owner’s motto, “it is what it is.” At the same time, it is difficult for me to reconcile the issue of repeat groups treating their bookings casually when I have so many groups on the waiting list that really want to come up.
Rock and sand spots adjacent to the main lake basin both produced walleyes this week. The majority of the fish were caught between 18 and 25 ft. There were a few exceptions, but that was a fairly consistent starting zone for most of the week. Production was fairly evenly split between moving fast with Gulp and vertically fishing live bait and small jigs (1/8 – ¼ oz.) over arcs. The guide crew has been using heavier jigs when fishing plastics lately. The ½ to ¾ oz. jigs give you the option to move faster over water when you are not marking fish. Sonar coverage improves when we fish deeper than 18ft., but even then, we caught a surprising number of fish in areas where we weren’t really marking much. It is a hard thing to accept, but even the state-of-the-art sonar does not show you walleyes that are belly to the bottom in 25 ft. I still believe that there are 2 – 10 walleyes down there for every fish I mark.
For the week, we caught and released 21 walleyes over 27 in. including 7 – 28s, and 1 – 30. Volume improved with daily guide sheets averaging 35 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day.
When the walleyes are not cooperating, the guides often shift gears to pike. Several groups had good results, but this bite was also a bit slower. For the week we caught and released 14 over 37 in., including 1 – 39, 2 – 40s, and one monster. Kyler Kinn caught and released a world class 44.5 in pike. This fish was a giant.
Spoons and in-line spinners fished around main lake weeds were key to success for both volume and size on pike.
It is hard to believe how fast the summer goes. This week begins our transition into Sept. We have new lodge staff hired and, on their way, up to replace our students returning to school. Missy is getting packed up to head back to Iowa at the end of the week with Blake. She will be helping Brooke get ready to begin her freshman year at the University of Iowa. After Brooke is settled in, Missy plans to return to the lodge for the remainder of the season. Time flies.