Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Jewel in the Crown

Swan Lake is fifteen miles south of Webster, South Dakota.  The bait shop just kept saying this was the place to go for quantities of walleye.  Also, it has northern, which always adds to the excitement.  This turned out to be a jewel in the crown.

Since I was fishing during the middle of the week, traffic on the lake was light.  I headed out the next morning to give it a try.  About fifteen miles south at the top a hill on the right side of the road stood a grove of pine trees.  Right before I reached the trees, there was a turn off.  I missed it the first try and had to back-track.  The road to the lake was narrow and it dropped very quickly downhill to the lake.  On the left the DNR had cut out parking spaces in the trees and the area to park was down at the bottom of the hill. It was limited.  One must get there early.  I  pulled my vehicle and trailor nose first against the side of the lot.  It was steep here.  I would recommend four- wheel drive to pull out on the slick wet gravel.  The ramp was two steel ramps for each wheel.  There was room for one boat only, and a flag marked where the ramp ended.  I had to be careful. The dock was adequate and padded on the sides, but there were steel poles supporting the dock on the sides and the end.  I was careful. 

This is the second worse boat ramp I have ever been on.  Be careful.  It is steeper than it looks and you can only put in on one side. Additional parking is up the hill in between the trees.  I found out later to fish along the shore to the north of the ramp.  That would be to the left side of the picture. Excellent northern were in eight to ten feet laying in weed beds.  Walleye in twelve to fifteen just off the weed beds.
I was told to head southwest toward the trees and tall banks. It was recommended to fish in about fifteen feet of water.  Moving in toward the shore, weed beds were encountered around ten feet.  Just off the weed beds, I picked up small northern.  That was great fun as the smaller fish really put up a fight.  They were marginal, so I threw them all back.   Moving back out beyond  to the deeper water produced some hits. 

Timber southwest of the landing ramp at Swan Lake.  Fish either side for walleye.

I was fishing a new spinner advertised in all the sporting good stores.  Pictured below is the lure and it is available in different colors.  The one pictured here is the one I used as the water was very clear and it was a sunny day.

Northland Fishing Tackle Baitfish Image? Holographic Spinner Blades - #5 - Silver Shiner

Northland Fishing Tackle Baitfish Image? Holographic Spinner Blades - #5 - Silver Shiner
In the deeper water 14 to 18 feet, I began to score.  Smack smack!  They liked the color and the taste of the crawler.  I also added some Berkley's Powerbait for Walleye to give it just a little more flavor.  None of the fish I caught were over fourteen inches initially.  Moving out to deeper water, I picked up a sixteen incher.  The bigger fish appeared to be in the deeper water, but they were few and far between. 

Further southwest along the bank was some standing timber in the lake. It was here that I picked up a couple of keepers in the fifteen plus range.  They were very healty fish and nice and plump.  I also lost several spinners in the timber.  It never fails, you get too close and you get tangled up.  I fished with ultralight rods with six pound test line.  Backtrolling with the kicker motor, the goal was to fish as vertical as possible. Split shot or a good lead sinker will weight the spinner down.  In that way, I can find the bottom and then lift the lure up into the zone where the suspended fish are located. Keeping the spinner in the zone with the suspended fish generally produces results.  With all the junk and grass on the bottom, I stayed away from jigs.

From the boat ramp looking south west. Head for any standing timber on the bank or in the water.  Weed beds line the shore out to ten to twelve feet of water.  Northerns lay in the weed beds, but the walleye are out a little farther in fourteen feet.  To the northwest (right side of the picture) is a bay. Fish the entrance and the northwest bank starting from the tree to the east.  Walleye and northern abound.

By 2 PM the wind had gone down and the lake became dead calm.  There was not a cloud in the sky.  The sun was burning me all over and it got really hot. 
Time to leave.  It was a great morning and early afternoon until the wind went down.

A break was taken.  I went back out on Waubay for a couple of hours, but produced nothing.  It had gotten really hot and there was not a breath of breeze in the air.  With the lake totally placid, and the sun on the horizon, I headed to the dock.

Swan lake is a real producer and with the right weather pattern will provide some excellent fishing.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.   Hank

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