Fall arrived with a vengeance this week. Last week I talked about fall starting – the changes in the weather and the changes in the fishing we’ve come to expect this time of year. But this week was a reminder that real fall comes with the first true big front blowing through. It hit us early mid-week, and we had the first days this year where it was windy enough on the water that some folks decided to take a couple hours or even the afternoon off.
Looking back on the week we almost need two separate reports. The first two days of the week began as a regular fall week – we caught a good volume of fish, a couple of guide sheets “filled the back” – more than 60 walleyes over 18” for the day. Most reports for those two days had walleye at mid depths, 20-30 feet, on regular summer spots. Both live bait and plastic produced fish and some big ones – standard fall fishing. Then the front arrived.
As the front blew through it was windy enough that all our boats avoided the main lake and just fished locally and sheltered. When the lake calmed down and we headed back out to the main lake basins it seemed like a whole different fishery out there. The fish had moved, reported volume dropped and big walleyes were hard to find. Any fish we did find were deep and negative – almost every report had guides spending the whole day deeper than 30 feet, and finesse presentations were the norm.
Due to some last-minute cancellations, there were fewer boats than usual on the water. We averaged just six boats fishing each day for a total of 37 guided days this week. Volume was down – and I’d love to blame it on having fewer boats on the water, but the truth is that during and after the big front the walleye bite was extra tough. Our daily guide sheets averaged 24 walleyes over 18 inches per day, and the big fish numbers were down as well. We boated just 9 walleyes over 27” this week, and none over 29.
Northern Pike were the best story for us this week. As a group our guests devoted less time pike hunting than walleye fishing, less than 1/3 of our time overall. But time spent pike fishing ended up being more productive – we caught and released more “photo fish” pike than walleye. There were a total of 13 Northerns over 37 inches – including 3 – 39’s, a 40, a 41 incher, and one of our long-time guests Bob Hansen caught a massively heavy 43 incher. Spoons and Blades in the remaining weed patches or on rock produced the most fish. But during the front some experiments with deep running plastics and jigging spoons produced fish as well.
I always wish every weekly report could be nothing but great fishing, but there will always be some tougher days out there. Despite the gloomy tone of this report, lots of good things still happened on Lac Seul this week. A couple of our anglers caught their personal best fish, and some anglers caught two or three trophy pike in a day. The weather has turned nice, the bite is already picking up, and guess what – we get to go fishing tomorrow!