This week we had 56 guided days on the water, averaging 9 boats on the water per day. Our guest’s focus was divided, about two thirds of the boats fished walleye and one third chased pike. Walleye volume was good – the daily guide sheets averaged more than 28 walleyes over 18 inches per day. For the top end, we boated 13 walleyes over 27 inches, with 4 over 28.
Fall fishing is always less predictable than summer, but there are some trends we anticipate. This time of year, we’ve come to expect the walleye to push up into transition depths – 15 to 20 feet deep – as soon as water temps lower and the wind blows. Well, water temps are down around 60 degrees and we’ve had plenty of good winds – so we keep checking for the push to shallow, but haven’t seen that change yet. Almost all our volume came from summer structures again this week, both sand and rock, and most of our fish were caught from 30 feet deep or more.
I was happy that we were able to return to a gulp bite, it’s a fun way to catch walleye and it’s good to be able to change things up. The heavy jigs and big plastics pulled at speed on deep sand produced some of our best volume days this week. Even though most of our fish were caught deep, there were a fair number of medium to large walleye caught on pike lures in shallow water. It’s an interesting trend and might be the first sign of walleye pushing shallower, but we haven’t been able capitalize on it yet…
Once again, this week pike fishing was a big part of the story. Of the 58 guided days mentioned, 17 of them – so about a third – were focused primarily on pursuing big pike. Those 17 guided days produced 16 Northerns over 37 inches, including 2 – 40’s, and a 43.5 incher. Over the course of the week the guide staff shifted the focus of their pike efforts from big weed beds to rock points and back again a few times. When the skies were cloudy any of our favorite rock structures that had some weeds remaining produced fish. When the weather cleared the big pike were back to being caught on classic summer weed beds. If you could visit enough of these structures a big pike could be found. Spoons and blades remained the top producers, but we added more jakes and diving baits – getting deeper by the rock structures was often effective.
This week also turned into an unofficial “Friends and Family Week” here at Silver Water Wheel Lodge. Two of our former guides – Kurt and Tyler – have come back to fish with us for a few days. Also, this week three of our current staff members have friends and family members up to fish with them. We are happy to have them here – I think it’s great for the guides to be able to show their family members all the work they put in and the fishing success it can lead to. Speaking as a staff member, the chance to bring friends and family fishing is one of the best perks of working at SWWL – I bring my family out to fish as much as I can, and I look forward to sharing with them great fishing on Lac Suel each time.