This is eastern South Dakota. Throw out the plans and the weather forecasts. Just as we had planned, the weather changed in 24 hours and scattered clouds moved in with winds from the northeast. The old saying goes, "winds from the east fishing is least, winds from the west fishing is best." We did not come 300 miles to sit in a motel all day long. Sportsman Cove recommended Swan and said the forecast should be good enough to fish the bank along the east shore. That was agreeable to Pam and myself.
This was probably one of the worst boat ramps I have ever been on. There was just one dock with a metal ramp that went into really shallow water. The ramp is at the bottom of a very steep hill and parking is at a premium when the weather is nice and there are a lot of fishermen. We were the second boat on the lake, and the high bank gave some shelter. The plan was to fish three to four hours keeping track of the wind. If it moved to the west or northwest, we would have our hands full getting out of the lake. I have waded into a lake before to get my boat on a trailor.
|This is a former picture of the ramp. The steepness is just not as noticable on the picture. If you fish there, be very very careful and keep the wind in mind. |
Moving close to the bank provided relief from the wind, but it was way too shallow and we moved out to 10 to 15 feet. Here we graphed fish. My local Bass Pro store had a promotion on fish finders earlier in the year, and we added a 2nd one to the back of the boat. What was interesting was they both worked at the same time. On previous boats, adding one to the back always caused one or the other not to function properly. This time they both worked. The front one is Lowarance and the new back one is Hummingbird. It could be the sonar waves have a different frequency. If anyone out there knows, let me know.
A picture of the unit purchased is pictured below. Click on the link for more information and to order from Bass Pro.
Humminbird 586c HD Sonar Fishfinder - Marine Electronics
The wind just poured down through a low spot in the bank forming a funnel that was making boat control almost impossible. Additional boats joined the bobbing, rocking and rolling and everyone was having the same trouble. Swells were starting to get deep. We moved to another part of the lake out of the wind. Then it shifted more and became straight out of the north. We were accomplishing nothing and headed back to the dock after a two hour beating. As we pulled out other boats joined us.
Back at Sportsman Cove, they suggested fishing the north end of Pickerell Lake. Here is a glacial lake that is just beautiful. People that live around the lake must also think the same thing as there are very expensive homes on the west side. It is an excellent crappie lake that produces some really big slabs and northern. This lake has always produced for me. The wind was worse by now. It was blowing straight into the ramp with 2 to 3 foot swells. No way would we get on this lake. It would be a battle getting off too.
We went back to Webster, grabbed a sandwich, and took a nap to wait until the wind went down. Sportsman Cove suggested Antelope Lake. I have had experience on that lake, and a spot was available close to the ramp that would be somewhat protected.
We started picking up Northern Pike. Not big ones, but decent sizes that were worth keeping. A mix of two to three pound Northern Pike were caught and by late evening we had a nice limit of pike for each of us.
|Most were about this size. They filet out really nice and the link below shows you how to get out the Y bones.|
Pam and I like Northern Pike, and we will take all we can get. We have friends over for dinner who always ask us to fry up some northern if we have any. The link below is the best set of directions I've seen for taking out the Y bones. When the narrater says have a dull knife for the first cut, he really means it. Don't throw the northern back. The Y bones can be removed and the filets are excellent.
Removing Y Bones from a Northern Pike
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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank