September 27th, 2022 by

Tom Larson 42.5

Monday, September 26, 2022.  End of Season.

Our 2022 season has come to a close here at Silver Water Wheel Lodge.  Our first full season of fishing since 2019.  A number of guests asked me out in the boat this summer if we had seen any difference in our stats after two seasons of much less angling pressure.  They were usually wondering if the year had been especially strong, if there had been an increase in the numbers of big fish caught compared to 2019.  I was asked this question often enough that I came up with a stock answer – The bad news is: there was no difference.  The good news is: there was no difference!

Of course, we would have all loved to have seen a bump in big fish.  We haven’t finished counting all our stats yet, but it’s already pretty clear there’s no big walleye bump – that’s the bad news.  On the other hand, if there had been a significant increase in big walleye caught this year, that would mean that for all those previous years our angling effort had been having a negative effect on the fishery!  The fact that we have seen no difference in overall results between 2022 and an average pre-covid season is evidence that we are not – very good news!  We should be able to look forward to many more seasons of big walleye on Lac Seul.

For this final 10 days of our 2022 season, we were back to more usual fall weather, a more usual number of guests, and back to the usual numbers of walleye.  Air and water temps got chilly, there were 55 guided days on the water, and daily guide sheets were back to averaging 24 walleyes over 18 inches per day.  There were 17 walleyes over 27 inches caught, and the big one of the week was 29.5 inches.  Slow moving, finesse presentations were the norm, and a lot of our big fish came from 35’ or deeper.

There were no anglers devoting their whole day to hunting big pike during these last days, but a number of boats spent at least a few hours of their day casting.  Our guides had to switch gears frequently again this week, moving from weed to rock and back again as the weather changed.  For the week there were 10 Northern over 37 inches, with a 40, 41, and 42.5 incher.

After two seasons of not fishing every day, it was refreshing to be back on the water all season long.  Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone.  The last two summers have been a good reminder to me of just how much tracking fish day to day, week to week, and all the way from spring to summer to fall matters to a guide.  And a reminder of just how much I enjoy that!

Here’s looking forward to tracking down those fish with you all in 2023!

Friday, September 16, 2022

September 16th, 2022 by

Tim Lein

I started writing this report in the afternoon today.  I stewed about it for a while and I began with this sentence – “There’s no two ways about it, this was a difficult week of fishing on Lac Seul”, and things went downhill from there.  I was half-way done with the report when supper rolled around and I went down to eat with the rest of our guide crew.  Over supper we commiserated with each other; no big fish today, lower numbers on our guide sheets, and having to sort through so many small fish in the last couple days.  The report to be written tonight began to look even gloomier…

Then I spoke to some of our guests after supper and at checkout.  What they talked about was; the high number of fish caught, the afternoon they spent on a hot bite, the 27 or 28 incher their boat caught earlier in the week!  The difference in perspective was black and white, and a good reminder that those of us lucky enough to fish on a lake like this all day, every day, all season long can easily become “Lac Seul spoiled”!

The first half of the week the weather was pleasant; cool and sunny, with light to no wind.  Good walleyes could be caught, but they only wanted slow moving, finesse presentations – we had to be patient and work for them.  The weather shifted mid-week, and our guide staff expected the fish to get more active on the leading edge of the front.  We spent that first day of the weather change looking for an aggressive bite that just did not happen.  Our conclusion was that the walleye still wanted finesse presentations, but now they were harder to get to and harder to finesse in the big winds and rain.  There were, as always, a few exceptions – some boats had great days during the week.  And even if the average size had shifted below 18 inches, there were still lots of fish caught.

Volume on our guide sheets was down this week, our boats averaged just 19 walleyes over 18 inches per day.  For the week we boated 11 walleyes over 27 inches, with 2 – 28 inchers, and a 29.75 incher.  The straight up number of big fish is low, but there were just 34 guided days this week, 13 of which were spent primarily hunting big pike.  That left 21 walleye days, translating into one 27″+  fish for every 2 guided days of walleye fishing.

We did have a lot of boats hunting Northern Pike this week.  Our staff did some scouting for pike on their down time last week and reported lots more weed beds green and healthy than expected.  With that information in mind, we focused on summer patterns early in the week – targeting main lake weeds.  There were big fish there, but we moved or saw many more than we caught.  As the wind and rain began the bite shifted to fall patterns, fish were deeper and often on rock structures, fewer fish in the weeds.  However, numbers went down and the bigger fish became harder to find.  For the week we boated a total of 7 over 37 inches, including 1 – 40 incher.

There are still no two ways about it, the numbers we’re reporting this week are lower than we’re used to.  But Lac Seul remains a great fishery, and it’s good for those of us who are “Lac Seul spoiled” to remember – the very next bite could be the fish of a lifetime!



Friday, September 9, 2022

September 9th, 2022 by

Bill Jablonowski 30″

The highlight of this week is 7 walleyes over 29 inches, including 3 over 30 inches.  With just 42 guided days this week – that’s about half as many as a typical summer week – that many top end fish really stands out.  In contrast, daily guide sheets had relatively low volume, averaging just 26 walleyes over 18 inches per day.  When I look back over our stats from previous years, that kind of contrast for a week is very much an outlier compared to a typical week.

These outlier numbers came despite unusually stable weather.  We experienced a long stretch of warm temperatures, sunny days, and south winds.  That kind of stable weather usually leads our guide staff to return to summer patterns, and pretty consistent bites.  This was not the case.  All through the week, our daily guide reports once again had fish being caught anywhere from 15 feet and 35 feet.  While fall spots and depths were often the answer despite the summer type weather, most of the big fish came from summer structures.  We also saw very different bites day to day, and spot to spot.  Walleye seemed to become active or go negative in different locations without any significant weather or condition changes.  One of our guides described it as “boom or bust fishing”.  Results each day were either great or terrible, not much middle ground.

As a group we did almost no piking again this week.  Very few anglers chose to devote even a few hours to piking.  There was some scouting by our guide staff on their down time, with limited success.  We totaled just 4 Northern over 37 inches, including one 40 incher.  Our scouting reports did note that the weed beds are just this week beginning their die off.  That is often a sign that the best piking of the fall is still to come….


Friday, September 2, 2022

September 3rd, 2022 by

Tom Dahl 28 and George Noguchi 27.25

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.

Friday, August 26

August 27th, 2022 by

Gabe Vergman 29.25


This week Lac Seul gave us just a hint that fall was coming. Nights and mornings were cool for a short stretch, and when they were we caught walleye in fall locations and depths. Most days those bites were not long lasting, they changed as soon as the weather did – but a couple of our biggest fish were caught in those bites. The weather returned to summer later in the week and we went back to catching walleye on summer structures.

Lots of calm wind days led to guides switching back and forth between presentations – all through the week and the weather changes our production was pretty evenly split between live bait and plastics at speed.

Daily guide sheets averaged 32 walleyes over 18” per day, but volume was highly variable – by day and by location. Interestingly, the variation was not by structure type or depth but by area of the lake. On a day-by-day basis, whole sections of the lake produced high volume regardless of whether they were rock or sand, or deep or shallow. Other sections held low volume regardless of how we fished them. But it’s worth noting that our top end walleye were caught both in the low volume regions as well as mixed in with big numbers. This week we boated 26 walleyes over 27 inches including 7 – 28’s, 3 – 29’s and 1 – 30 incher.

Almost no pike fishing this week, but not for any particular reason. Our guests just chose to focus on walleye. Without much information to go on it’s hard to identify any trends, but for what it’s worth the two boats that spent a couple of hours casting each caught a photo fish.  For the week there were 1 – 37, 2 – 38’s, and 1 – 39 incher.

Lac Seul teased us with little bit of fall early in the week, but then went back to summer weather – it’s still T-shirt temperature outside well after dark tonight as I write this report. The walleye may have returned to summer along with the weather, but that brief hint of fall was a good reminder keeping us guides on our toes and ready to change gears and try it all out there.


AUGUST 20, 2022

August 20th, 2022 by

Brooke Bailey 27

It was a normal summer week of weather and fishing at Silver Water Wheel Lodge.  There were a few glass-flat sunny days and a few days of showers and Thunderstorms.  We spent most of our time fishing walleyes on main lake sand and rock structures in 20 to 30 ft. of water.  There were a few exceptions, both shallower and deeper, but jigs and minnows fished slowly in that zone were responsible for most of the walleyes caught this week.

Volume was good, with guide sheets averaging 30 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day.  We caught and released 32 walleyes over 27 in., including 6 – 28s, and 4 – 29s.   A few of the big walleyes were caught using big Gulp, but the majority fell for small jigs and minnows.

Several groups spent a fair amount of time casting for pike this week.  The volume of fish in the weeds was good, but the bigger fish were harder to find.  For the week, we caught and released 6 over 37 in., including 1 – 38 and 1 – 40.  Big spoons were most productive.

The lake level has remained high all summer and continues to be at 1170.

There is still more than a month left of the fishing season, but it is getting very close to time for me to start thinking about packing up and heading back to Iowa for my Fall deer guiding season.  Over all it has been an excellent summer.  The highlight for me was welcoming all of our old guests and friends back to the lodge.  Many were surprised at the changes and improvements we made during the Covid years, but most were just genuinely happy to return to a place they love.  Demand for openings has never been higher, but I will do my best to find some spots for guests on the waiting list.

August 13, 2022

August 13th, 2022 by

Trisha Schmitt 27

It was a solid, summer style week in the south-central basin of Lac Seul.  The walleyes are back on the main lake.  We have not seen the trend to deeper water yet, but most of our good walleye bites were near deep water.  We caught a few walleyes in 35 ft., but the vast majority were caught in 20 – 28 ft.

The bite depended on the mood of the walleyes each day.  We had a few days where Gulp at speed was the winner and we had many more where you had to find them with electronics and keep a live minnow in front of their face.  I don’t mean to be repetitious, but we really do so much better as a crew by fishing the extremes.  After an hour spent pulling big Gulp at speed and another hour spent dead sticking 1/4s or 1/8ths with minnows over arcs, then you are going to have a pretty good idea of how to spend the rest of your day.

Volume was good this week with guide sheets averaging 35 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day.  There were some faster days and there were some slower ones.  The hard part of writing the fishing report is disconnecting my personal day of fishing on the last day with what happened for many of the guide boats for most of the week.  I fished with my parents today and we had a nice day out, but the lake went flat after lunch under a blazing sun and we had a hard time getting lazy fish to bite.  I spend time reviewing the guide sheets before I write the weekly report and I was pleasantly surprised by how many great guided days we had this week.

The totals – for the week we had 33 walleyes over 27 in., including 4 – 28s, 2 – 29s, and 1 – 30.  Most of the big ones were caught one level deeper than the average bite.  It was an even split between plastics at speed and dead sticking minnows with light jigs.

The surprise for the week was a tough, big pike bite.  Several boats spent time chasing gators and the results were marginal at best.  For the week, just 2 over 37 in. with one 39.

Missy, the kids, and Arya are back home in Iowa.  School starts soon and football practice is already under way.  The summer goes by so much faster when we are non-stop busy.

I did have some terrible news this week.  The first guy to hire me as a guide in Northwest Ontario was John Grace, the owner of the Old Post and Village on Lake St. Joe.  He died in a boating accident this past week.  I hadn’t seen him in several years, but the tragedy of Wendy and the boys left behind is heart breaking.  We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we had some great times.  The news of his loss hit me harder than I expected.  He was a huge part of how I began my professional career and I will always have great memories of him and my early years learning to guide on Lake St. Joe.

August 6, 2022

August 6th, 2022 by

Will Armstrong 27

The trend is still headed in the direction of a more normal summer bite, but day to day results are still hit and miss.

If we did well one day on summer sand, that did not mean that we won there again the next day.  Main lake rock was good for several days this week, but also got quiet again when the weather changed.  For walleyes, the over all trend is heading towards deeper water.  If I had to pick a depth range that was consistently mentioned most of the time at nightly round table meetings, I would have to go with 25 – 30 ft.  There were some days that shallower was better and other days that deeper was the key, but overall, that was the best starting range for the day’s experiments.

If I tell you that the guide sheets averaged 35 walleyes over 18 in. per day, you have to understand that many times on the same day, we had guides with close to 60 fish on and others with only 20.  The guys that put numbers on were the ones that found a pod or found a bite and stuck with it.  I always like to run and gun and I can tell you with great certainty, that was not the most favored path to success this week.

For the week, we caught and released 28 walleyes over 27 including, 5 – 28s.  The super top end was missing this week and it was not for lack of trying.  Often, this time of year, the big ones are one level deeper than the nice fish and our guide crew knows how to work that angle.  It was not the case this week.  The deeper edge was much quieter.  Jigs and minnows worked well on some days.  Gulp worked well on other days.  You had to fish both every day to figure it out.  There were some schizophrenic round tables where one boat smashed them at speed with Gulp, another racked up good numbers and size dead sticking minnows, and then several others couldn’t put a pattern together after trying both in multiple locations.

The big pike bite has still been pretty good.  If the Fall cools off well and the big girls come back up, this could be one of our best seasons ever for big pike.  The goofy part is that there are weeds everywhere this year.  Deep water and bigger baits made the difference.  For the week we caught and released 11 pike over 37 in., including 2 – 40s, 1 – 41, and 1 – 43.  Double bladed in-line spinners turned some of the biggest fish.

The Take Away:  I cannot help that I am a stats, numbers, and details guy.  Some of that focus has attracted a specific type of angler to the Wheel.  The numbers and big fish may have been the initial attraction, but the guests in camp this week are simply thrilled to be back and spend more time talking about the guides, the staff, and the improvements.  This week just had a good feel and a nice vibe.

July 30, 2022

July 30th, 2022 by

We are not quite back to a normal summer bite yet, but it is close.  This week began the way last week ended – with challenging fishing.  Walleye volume was up, but the big fish were few and far between.  As the week wrapped up, we found more and more walleyes on both main lake rock and sand and the big ones were finally there as well.

Surprisingly, the weather that broke the tough pattern was big storms, rain, cold fronts, and wind.

The Gulp bite improved as the week progressed.  Most of the guides are on big ¾ oz. jigs now when fishing plastics and it is a toss up between the 6 in. Nemesis and the 5 in. crazy legs.  At the same time, there were many times when we marked fish down deep that would only respond to finesse presentations.  Light jigs and minnows or in some cases, drop shots with minnows were the only way to turn neutral to negative walleyes in 20 – 30 ft. of water.

Walleye volume for the week averaged 35 walleyes over 18 in. per guide sheet per day.  What that stat fails to show is that there was a huge difference between Sunday and Friday.  The back half of the week was much better walleye fishing.  For the week, we caught and released 22 walleyes over 27 in., including 5 – 28s, 1 – 29, and 3 – 30s.

There was some effort made chasing pike this week and the results were mixed.  In previous weeks, the pike bite saved many guiding days.  There were quite a few more quiet piking results for this time period.  For the week, we caught and released 8 over 37 in., including 1 – 38, 1 – 39, and 1 – 40.  Big spoons were still top producers.  Deep weed edges were still the key location.

The Take Away:  Almost all of our groups now are returning guests.  Most have been away for 3 years and they are just excited to be back.  The guide crew felt the impact of the tough bite more than guests.  We were reminded by our guests that it is still fishing.  The weather is always a factor and a “tough” day on Lac Seul still crushes compared to walleye fishing anywhere else.

July 23, 2022

July 23rd, 2022 by

David Salo 28

It was a difficult week for walleye hunters.  The guide crew works very hard to try to figure out where the walleyes are and why.  Last week, we could tell you that they were in the weeds.  This week, “I don’t know.”  Those are my three least favorite words in the English language.  I hate it when I don’t know and this week, we don’t.  For years, I have preached that the Mayfly hatch made little or no difference for walleye fishing.  Or if it did, then you could move to a different region on Lac Seul and fish for walleyes in areas where mayflies were not an issue.  Part of my argument was that from the angler’s perspective, mayflies hatch when the weather changes and those weather changes are more important than the hatch.  This week, I don’t know.

Here is what we do know.  The walleyes are definitely not on main lake sand.  Catchable walleyes are mostly in 25 ft. of water or less.  Main lake rock is only holding a few walleyes in shallow water.  The weed bite has slowed dramatically and most importantly, we aren’t finding the big ones there.  We fished from 5 to 35.   We fished sand, rock, weeds, flats, transitions, retro, and anything else we could think of and we never came up with a pattern or a solution.  We did find plenty of small walleyes in many areas, but we could not pattern the bigger fish, despite all of our efforts.

It is what it is.  Guide sheets averaged less than 25 walleyes over 18 in. per boat per day.  For the week, we caught and released 20 walleyes over 27 in., including 6 – 28s, and 1 – 29.  Results were evenly split between minnows and Gulp.

We did have some groups shift gears and chase pike and they did have relatively good results.  For the week, we caught and released 14 Northerns over 37 in., including 5 – 38s, 1 – 39, and 3 – 40s.  Big spoons were effective, but double 8 in-lines also turned a few big fish.

The Take Away:  I am asked often, what is the best time of year to book at the Wheel.  My response is, whenever you can find an opening.  Historically, the 3rd week of July has been one of the most productive weeks of the year.  It was definitely slow this year, but next year will be another story.