Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wind from the East, Fishing is Least

 After my great night's sleep in the Midwest Motel, Stockton, Kansas, I found the morning was absolutely magnificent.  When you are out in the great plains, the humidity is low and that makes the sky a brilliant blue.  Restaurants were in limited supply in Stockton.  There was no place for breakfast, and only three places for something to eat besides the quick shops.  You can check out the town on their website.  I went to the quick shop and loaded up on Gator Aid, water, power bars, breakfast sandwiches and coffee.  The night before I had dinner at Cune's Corner.
Here it is.  Some of the best ice cream in the world and it is right in the middle of Kansas.  Sandwiches and a dinner special are available.  The shop is within walking distance of the Midwest Motel.
A better shot of Cune's corner.
I headed for the lake.  The wind was dead calm.  That was not what a walleye fisherman needed.  A little ripple on the water helps break the light penetration and can bring the fish off the bottom.  With the water clarity it was very important to have some ripple. 

Many years ago, when fishing Lac Lacroix in southern Ontario, an ardent walleye fisherman and good friend wanted all the waves he could get.  The more the lake rocked and rolled the better.  Boat control was a problem and we needed to wear rain suits, but in the right spot and close to shore the walleye would stack up.

After spending about an hour fishing, absolutely nothing happened.  Then the wind came up, and it really began to blow.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that it was right out of the east.  Fishing this location was not the right thing to do. 

Here is the landmark to key off of.  It is the lone black tree with no branches.  In the morning, it is a little hard to find as it appears somewhat gray.  It is right in the middle of the lake at the west end.  Head right toward it and fish out as far as 200+ yards.  Also fish to the south (facing the picture, that would be to the left). 
Moving back along the tree line the water shallowed up to about five to eight feet.  Still, the surface temperature was not above 70 degrees.  The thought was the current from the wind would push the fish off the spot from yesterday into the tree line.  The belief was the bait fish would be carried with the current from the wind and the walleye would follow.  Boat control was a problem.  Still, my plan was to move and fish just above the snags.  With the lake giving plenty of big ripples, the walleye would move up.  It was not happening.  I used my field glasses and saw that the locals were fishing out of the wind and were anchored.  That meant they were jig fishing in one spot or using a bobber.

This is the spot where all the keeper fish were caught the day before.  It is about a 20 degree angle out from the big tree.  Head to the tree first then out to the top of the tree sticking up.  There is a line of trees that move north and south with the water moving up from 15 feet to 8 to 10 feet.  This might be an old road bed.  Fish this spot.  On the second day, with the east wind, nothing was caught at this locatiion.
I moved out of the gale to find a good spot to fish and maintain a reasonable drift.  Going into the backside of the timber was the next choice.  The graphs both showed about eight to ten feet of water.  A few walleye were picked up, but it was one here, fish for an hour, catch another, fish for 30 min, catch another, and so on.  Periodically, a crappie was caught in the ten to twelve inch range.  Those were really nice fish.  Also, a few white bass were picked up.  By the end of the day, there were four of them in the boat.  They were nice size bass and would fillet nicely.  Still, walleye were hard to come by. 

In addition, there was not a cloud in the sky and it was really hot. I drank plenty of the Gator Aid and water  to avoid dehydration.  

Finally, by 5 PM I moved the boat to the north shore right along a tree line.  Ten yards out from the trees the water was five to eight feet deep, then it dropped right down to twenty feet.  This must have been the original river channel. The waves were 50% less along this bank.  The boat was maneuvered so that it drifted with the wind along the drop off.  In this fashion, the sun was behind me, and both graphs were easily visible. 

The north shore.  The water drops down very quickly indicating the original river channel.  The fish were right along the drop off.  They did not hit well and it took a little time to set the hook.

Finally two more keeper walleyes were picked up.  Total time on the water was in excess of eleven hours and this had turned into work.  Plus, the sun had done it's damage on my face, arms and neck. 
Notice the boats tied up to the trees.  They had moved out of the wind as much as possible and must have been vertical jigging. 

Was it worth it?  A bad day fishing is always better than a great day at work.  The fast action yesterday had spoiled me.  Now it was time to clean fish.  The iron in my blood had turned to lead in my backside.

I own one of these hats.  If I had worn it, I would not have suffered the sunburn I expeienced.  This is the hat I wore in Egypt which helped keep me cool and the sun off my face and neck.  Click on the picture or the link below to price and buy from Orvis.  I highly recommend this hat.


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Good hunting, good fishing, good luck.  Hank.

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