Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pierre, SD or Bust

It is the middle of June, and my wife and I have only taken one trip to a local lake.  We promptly got skunked, so both decided we needed to go where fish have been caught in great quantities. 

The month of May was lost due to business appointments and some of the worst weather I have ever seen both here in Iowa and in the Dakotas.  It was difficult to pick a three day period where the forecast would hold a high pressure, stable conditions and westerly flow.  Then it hit.  A big system rolled through northern Nebraska and into South Dakota bringing tornadoes, heavy rain and easterly winds.  Right behind it was a forecast I had been waiting for that claimed to last for four to five days.  This was it.  We made reservations at a motel, hooked up the boat, and headed to Pierre, South Dakota. 

Berkley Flicker Shad Crankbaits

Berkley Flicker Shad Crankbaits
This is the lure to buy from Bass Pro.  My wife and I use it the majority of the time when fishing for walleye, white bass, or even crappie.  They all go for it.  Buy one today and send me an e-mail with your results.

The forecast was for southwesterly winds 7-14 mph with temps in the 70s.  It cannot get any better than that.  The drive up still held easterly winds so we had great fuel consumption being pushed by the winds.  We were in the room by 8 PM.  The restaurant in the motel opened up at 6 AM.  We ate breakfast and then headed out to Farm Hill Recreation area. 

This is a small lake just off the Missouri River.  The access to the river is closed but water and fish can still migrate into the lake from the river.  This makes for excellent fishing and the number of boats is very small.  We both liked this as there was not much competition for prime spots on the lake. 
The lake runs parallel to the Missouri River.  Looking south, the opening to the river is at the south end. This is a beautiful lake and easy to fish and there are no underwater obstructions.

The wind was not what it was forecast.  Does this come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog today?  Instead of out of the west, it was due south and really whipping up the lake.  Still, we had not driven this far to sit in a motel room so we hit the waters with great optimism. 
South Dakota either has great boat ramps or they stink.  This is an excellent ramp, and there is a fish cleaning station nearby with a grinder that grinds up the cleanings.  They expect you to clean up your mess.

The first few hours we did not have one solid hit, and the graph did not show a lot of suspended fish.  Not a good sign.  We worked down to the south end of the lake.  It got shallow running around 4.5 to 3.5 feet and then really shallow.  Pam's rod was smacked with a bang.  We both believed this was the start.  She landed a really nice white bass.  We would take all of these we could get.  This was in 4 feet of water, and we were pulling plugs.  It was not easy as we constantly got our lures weeded up.  Still, we held our rods up and skimmed the tops of the weeds.  This let us fish a little longer before the inevitable cleaning of the lure. 

In 3.5 feet of water my wife got all tangled up in weed, or so she said.  I stopped the boat, and she pulled in a nice walleye.  Not bad.  They must be lying in the weeds and not in the main part of the lake where they usually suspend.  Thirty minutes later she had another.  No strike, just the pull that makes you think you are now tangled in weed.  We both had learned to set the hook if the rod felt heavy, and that morning we set the hook on a lot of weed.

Bass Pro Shops Gold Series Folding Landing Net with 35 Fixed Handle

Bass Pro Shops Gold Series Folding Landing Net with 35 Fixed Handle
This is the net I now use and after watching the video of Vladimir Putin catching the nice northern, I noticed his people use this type of net.  It make scooping them up easier and it has a long handle.  Click on the pic or the text to order from Bass Pro.

The fish she had on was big and would have fed four people.  Now, I broke one of my rules.  Keep the net in the water along the side of the boat and when the fish is pulled to the side of the boat, dip down and bring it up quickly.  You will never lose a fish.  Instead, in my excitement, I reached out to net the big boy.  Pam must have let the line go limp and we lost the fish because he threw the plug. 

We kept the strategy up by fishing in the weeds to the edge and would periodically pick up a white bass, but the walleye were very difficult.  The wind switched to the northwest and blew a gale making boat control very difficult.  Around 5 PM we gave it up having fished the whole day with a couple of walleye and a half a dozen white bass. 

Tomorrow is another day and a person must always remind himself/herself that it is called fishing, and not catching. 

Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank

Click on the banner and shop Gander Mountain for great buys.
Gander Mountain

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