The sudden hot weather at the end of May actually has balanced out the effects of a late ice out. Surprisingly, this week was a fairly normal first week of June. The big pike are on their way out of the shallows, the smallmouth are just starting to move in, and the big walleyes are in high gear.
To put things into context, the main lake temps are in the low 50s, many of the transition and back water bays are in the 60s, and some of pike spawning areas have already been over 70. That is about as normal as you can expect. The only difference is that the main lake heating up as fast as it did, has resulted in many main lake transition areas holding walleyes much earlier than I expected. Without the massive temperature difference between main lake and back bays, there just wasn’t as much motivation for all the walleyes to push back into the shallow back water bays.
That same trend affected the big pike. There are still small pike back in the shallow spawning bays and the random cruiser, but most of the big pike this week were caught on transition spots. For the week we had 20 pike over 37 in., including 4 – 38s, 3 – 39s, 4 – 40s, 2 – 41s, and 1 – 43.
It was a great week for big walleye action. Volume was really good with guide sheets averaging 35 or more walleyes over 18 in. per day. For the week, we caught and released 55 walleyes over 27 in., including 15 – 28s, and 5 – 29s.
Most of the big fish were caught off the first break in 10 – 15 ft. of water, but there were also a few big fish caught along with numbers of smaller fish pitching gulp or plastics into the shallows. Pollen is such an important indicator for hot shallow water bites this time of year. You can see yellow streaks of pollen pushed into inside corner shorelines and these often coincide with pockets of warmer water and bait fish. Many times we find a pod of fish by pitching shallow and then we move out deeper looking for the big ones.
The bass actually showed a little more resistance to moving up shallow in response to the warmer surface temps. We tested out our normal early spring spots and found a few, but they are still not up in force. For the week we caught and released 22 over 18 in., including 6 – 19s, and 1 – 20. Some were caught as incidental catch while pike or walleye fishing. Another week of warm or even normal weather should begin to push them into the shallows.
Despite the Horrific Winter and Spring, it was a great first week of June on Lac Seul. Nothing makes a boat of anglers happier than their guide sliding the net under multiple 5 pound plus walleyes in a day.
I know that many of you reading this report south of the border are wondering why it took so long to post the first fishing report. Those of you living closer to the Canadian border already know. It was a Horrible, never ending winter. I planned to arrive at the lodge 5-6 days later than normal and that was 2 weeks too early. We had to plow to get in, there were 5 – 6 foot snow drifts and 2 ft. of ice on the lake. I will spare you the details, but it was the most difficult opener that I have ever experienced. The official ice out date for Lac Seul this year was May 26. That is 3 days later than the previous record.
Spring arrived on May 23 and lasted for 6 hours. The last ice went off the lake under a blazing “summer” sun. Missy and the kids arrived on May 25 and the high temps have been at or over 80 every day.
The extremely late ice out and surprisingly hot weather resulted in the most unusual spawning conditions that we have ever seen. Both main lake walleyes and Pike spawn occurred at the same time. The walleye spawn was more intense than usual. And we found more than a dozen new main lake spawning locations this year.
We had to cancel all of our first week guests. I tried to steer most of our 2nd week guests away as well, but with no dates available later in the year, some chose to come up anyway. The first few days were tough. We started fishing with only 8 miles of open water with the main lake still locked in ice.
As a guide, there is no way for me to explain how fast the fishing has changed in the last week that will make sense to the casual angler. At ice out, the pike fishing was absolutely awesome. And the overall take away from this week’s report is that this was likely the Peak of the big pike fishing season. For the week we caught 61 over 37 in. , including 13 – 39s, 11 – 40s, 3 – 41s, 2 – 42s, 1 – 43, and 1 – 44. To put that into context, those results were from fewer than 20 anglers. We smashed the big pike.
Walleye fishing was a different story. It was cool to watch them spawn and to discover new spawning areas, but getting them to bite was not easy. We fished both spawning locations and isolated, warm, shallow water areas that attract post spawn fish this week. Both produced at times, but at the end of the week, there were 50 times more locations producing walleyes than at the start of the week.
Locations that held zero walleyes 4 days ago with surface temps at 42 degrees, today produced great volume and size with temps pushing into the mid-60s. Today was the first day of truly good walleye fishing. Many of boats caught lots of fish from a number of different locations. For the week we caught and released 20 walleyes over 27 in., including 5 – 28s, and 2 – 29s.
During iced “Iced-in Guide Training Meetings” last week, I told my new guys, that in just a few weeks we will have forgotten about the days of staring at stubborn ice. It may take a little longer to forget this year, but it is beginning to feel like a good Lac Seul walleye fishing season again.
Hello again from the North!!
Sorry for the delayed fishing report this week, the Internet has been down for a few days. But we are back up and running, and with only one more group left to arrive at camp for the year, this will be the final fishing report of the season.
Once again, this report starts out with a familiar summary: we had an excellent week of fishing here at SWWL. The weather continued to be great, with a nice mix of sun and cloud, milder temps (much nicer than some Septembers), and even the stormy days turned out to be nice and fishable once the weather passed.
The big story this week was the Pike fishing. It has been absolutely awesome. Most of the guided days on the water were dedicated toward chasing big pike around, and our guests caught both excellent numbers and great size. For the week we had 24 pike over 37 inches, with 12 over 40, including 3 X41s, a 42, 3X43, and the largest pike of the year, a 45.5! It was an exceptional week of Pike fishing to say the least. The guides were covering lots of water, and fish were found where they should be: shallow, targetable water with nearby weeds (or the remains of old weed-beds) and deep-water access. All of the pike came casting simple presentations such as large spoons and in-line spinners.
For the few boats that were walleye fishing this week, it was still good! Guides managed to fill up their sheets, averaging 30-40 fish over 18 inches per day. The highest daily total was 72 fish over 18. For the week we saw 12 fish over 27 inches, with 2 28s and 1 29. For those groups yet to arrive (Larson), things are still looking good out there!
On a personal note, I feel like this has been one of the best years I have had yet working at Silver Water Wheel. It just seemed to have it all: Great guests, a killer staff, amazing fishing, awesome weather, and lots and lots of fun. So thank you to all those who made it a great one, and especially to all of our valued guests. Let’s do it again next year!
Wishing you all a great year ahead, and looking forward to seeing you next season.
Senior Guide, SWWL.
The first week of September has been a beauty up here. The weather still feels a lot like summer, with temps being 20-25C and the water temps hovering in the high 60s / low 70s. This fall seems to be going faster than some, but I think it is simply due to the cooperative weather, good times, great guests, and of course, awesome fishing.
As with every fall up here, it is around this time that we start dividing our attention 3 ways. On any given day we usually have 3-4 boats walleye fishing, 2-3 boats pike fishing, and the other 2-3 guides working on the bear hunt. So our big fish numbers for the week may look shy but in reality they are decent considering the reduced number of boats out there slaying.
This week was great for walleye fishing, and the volume bite was especially excellent. We had 3 or 4 days with multiple guides having daily totals exceeding 60 walleye over 18 inches for the day. The highest daily total was 72. Overall our most successful depths and tactics stayed the same: 20-40 ft. jigging deep sand and rock. I had some success moving fast with bottom bouncers and spinners, and even some gulp, but overall moving slow and jigging pods of fish vertically seems most effective. For the week we saw 15 walleye over 27 inches, including 2 28 and 3 29s.
The pike fishing is starting to heat up as expected, although we are still waiting on those cold nights to really bring them into shallow, targetable water. For the week we saw 10 pike over 37 inches, with 2 40s and one 41. I am still running into A LOT of mid-30s pike down deep on the sand breaks while walleye fishing, so it feels like the majority of the larger pike are yet to arrive up shallow. It should just keep getting better from here on in.
From a personal perspective, I had some of my favourite guests up for a 5 day trip this week and they caught a total of 7 walleye 27 or better, with a 28.5 and 2 29s. That makes this week one of my best weeks of guiding this season for big fish. I am not saying that to “toot my own horn”, but to stress that there are lots of big fish yet to be caught out here this year. If you have never been up to see ‘The Wheel’ in all its fall glory, and the huge ‘eyes and pike feeding up for winter, there are a few gaps in our book for next year that have yet to be filled, so get on it!
I hope you all have a great week and check in next Saturday for our next fishing report.
Senior Guide, SWWL
It has been an incredible week up here at Silver Water Wheel Lodge. But then again, I say that about most weeks on Lac Seul, as it is simply an incredible place!
The weather has been unseasonably warm, as it has been most everywhere this week. The temps were well above 30C on most days, with humidity so high that all of our big fish pictures on the photo board were curling up. I’m talking ‘bout hot! It is crazy to see the birch leaves turning yellow in the forest and the water temps reading 80F on top. So begins the most wonderful time of the year: Fall at The Wheel.
The fishing was great this week, although there were some hard days, especially in the afternoons. The wind would lie down, the lake flattens out, and we have to play the 1/8th ounce jig game. That said, overall the fish cooperated and we found both numbers and size, and of course, had lot’s of fun. Much of our success this week came from jigging deep rock, moving at slow to moderate speeds, and gearing down to more finesse approaches when necessary. Our average depths were in a larger range than normal – 20 to 38 ft., with some fish also showing up in the mid teens, possibly progressing towards fall feeding trends.
This week our guests saw 41 Walleye over 27 inches, with 7 28s, 2 29s, and 2 30” fish being caught. Volume was also good, with guide sheets averaging 35 fish over 18” a day. The highest volume day saw one boat catch 82 walleyes over 18 inches! What a fishery, that’s all I can say.
These numbers are on pace with some of our best weeks this summer once you take into account that some of our guide staff (and fearless leader Mike Willems) are now off the water and finished for the season. But the 9 of us will keep hammering away, and it is looking like a great month coming up for those guests that have yet to arrive.
I describe the pike fishing this week as “on the verge”. There were a number of afternoons that guides dedicated to chasing big pike, but only 3 over 37” were found, with one 38. By “on the verge” I mean we are entering into the prime-time for hunting trophy pike on Lac Seul, but apparently they are not yet ready to commit. Even though we only boated a few big pike this week, the roundtable reports described at least a dozen fish over 40” seen following baits, or hooking up and getting off. So the big pike are now arriving to more targetable locations for their fall feed, and our guides are getting ready to chase them around for the next month.
That’s it for the report this week. I hope you all have a great week and check back in with us on Saturday for our next report.
Senior Guide, Silver Water Wheel Lodge
The end of season always sneaks up on me.I think every year I begin this week’s fishing report with “I can’t believe my fishing guiding season is over already.”And yet again, it is time to pack up and head south to get ready for Fall deer guiding season in Iowa.Missy is already there and the kids have already had their first week of school and soccer practice.
On Lac Seul, summer returned this week with some of the warmest and most humid days of the year.The weather and temperature did stabilize and the walleye fishing improved.For the week we caught and released 34 walleyes over 27 in., including 4 – 28s, and 1 – 29.Volume was good with guide sheets averaging 40 over 18 in. per day.
All of the cabins were occupied this week, but some of the groups were smaller.That combined with preparations for Fall bear hunts resulted in fewer guide boats on the water this week.Considering the decrease in effort, it was overall a good fishing week.
The walleyes did pulse back and forth between favoring main lake rock and main lake sand.Preferred depth ranges broadened with some fish moving into shallower zones while others remained deep.Most were caught between 20 and 35 ft.Jigs (1/4 oz.) tipped with live minnows were the preferred presentation.There were some fish caught on Gulp, but when the bite became more challenging, live minnows were the key.
A few guys spent some time chasing pike and they were successful.For the week, we caught and released 10 pike over 37 in., including 4 – 38s, 1 – 39, and 1 – 41.The weed beds are beginning to come apart and as the water begins to cool, the big pike fishing should improve.
Brett and the SWWL crew will continue to chase fish for another month and Jesse will take over the fishing reports for the end of season.
It was Fall weather all week again, until today. And now we are back to summer with warm, humid south winds. Conditions are all over the place and so are the guides and the walleyes.
When it is good, we tell it like it is. When it is a tough, we also tell it like it is. This week was a challenge. Walleye volume was still good. We caught tons of eaters, slots, and just overs, but the big fish were very tough to find. For the week, we caught and released 23 walleyes over 27 in., including 2 – 28s, and 1 – 29. Daily guide sheets averaged 35 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day. The highest daily total was 73.
There were many walleyes caught off traditional deep water sand and rock spots this week. On occasion, Gulp trolled deep with big jigs was successful, particularly for big fish. But the Gulp production was still limited. We checked the shallow water bite with traditional walleye gear for poor results. Yet there were walleyes caught in the shallow weeds by anglers casting for pike with spoons and spinnerbaits. In all cases, the big walleyes were hit and miss and hard to find.
You do have to keep in mind that this analysis is based upon Lac Seul Southern basin 2013 season standards. We know we were spoiled, but we still can’t help comparing production to what we saw earlier this season. To put things in perspective, I would have called this an average – good week of big walleye production back in 2008. But now we know those big fish are out there, it is just that we are fighting the weather conditions and 5 – 10 ft. deep clouds of baitfish everywhere we turn. Fat Lac Seul walleyes are well fed. Well fed fish don’t always bite.
The lake is changing. The weed beds are breaking up and dying. The water is distinctly clearer than we have seen in the recent past. And the surface temps never peaked into the 70s as they have over the past few years. The main lake is in the lower 60s and has been for quite some time.
I will admit that I was a grumpy guide this week when I couldn’t figure out the big fish puzzle. But I did realize that I am the only one that can put things back into perspective for my guide staff. I had a first time guest in my boat today take a picture of a 21 in. walleye. And I thought – Wow, we truly are spoiled. And yet that didn’t stop me from talking up the season and pushing to move to find bigger fish. The truth is that a bad day of walleye fishing on Lac Seul is still way better than the best day of walleye fishing on neighboring water. I strive for the balance, but I know why it is hard to maintain. When it is good, Lac Seul is just sooo good. When it is slow, it is still the Best walleye game in town.