Sunday, August 14, 2016

Three Days of Walleye, Day 2

We woke early the next morning to a major disappointment.  The wind was not blowing, it was close to howling.  The direction was right where the forecast said, but it was way stronger.  Our plan was to go to Bitter Lake south of Waubay, but with this wind and my lack of knowledge of the lake, we were uncomfortable.  Still we had driven 300 miles to get up here and the plan was to fish Bitter on day two of the trip.

We drove down to Bitter to take a look and the lake was really rocking and rolling.  There must have been fifty boats in the two parking lots, and they were all in one area hoping to catch a fish.  With the wind from the southeast a 100 yards from the dock, things really got rough.  This was not for us, especially with the lake so low.

We headed back to Webster and went to visit the folks at Sportsman Cove. We told them about checking out Bitter and were now going to try to get on Waubay.  Kanago access was not recommended as the wind would be driving the waves into the dock.  Access to the lake would be really tough and it would be harder getting off.

North of Kanago access is West Bay Ranch.  There is a dock and boat ramp used by the campers.  You pay $5.00 for using the dock for the day.  It was still windy there, but somewhat protected by the banks.  The area is a small bay that leads into Breski Bay and the main part of Waubay Lake.  We paid the $5.00 and put in.  My wife Pam said that we might have trouble getting the boat on the trailer if the wind got any worse, and it did.

We headed out and positioned the boat on the north side of one of the islands but still within some wind to pick up a good drift.  Using spinners and crawlers we drifted with the wind with the spinner just turning at a good speed.  We were using chartreuse for the color as that was what we caught fish on the previous day.
Pelicans followed us all around duck island as we fished.  At times we turned and they were within 10 feet of the boat.  I think they are looking for a handout after we catch something and throw it back.

This drift produced solid hits and a couple of keeper fish.  It was a fine way to start the morning.  The wind continued to pick up and we moved up to the next series of islands and positioned the boat on the downwind side.  The area we moved into is called duck island and we started out in 10 feet drifting into 15 feet.  The temperature was cool and so was the surface water temperature.  The feeling was to start out in the shallow water and drift out to the deeper.  The game fish would feed on the bait fish that would be hanging close to shore.  We got nothing.

Why keep doing the same thing when you do not catch anything?  We moved the boat and started the drift in the 15 foot range and let the wind take us out to the 20 foot level.  The lake at this location is not much deeper than 20 feet.  Bang, bang, bang, we started hitting fish.  That was the good news, but the bad news was they were all white bass.  I have nothing against white bass, but we wanted walleye.  We will take all the white bass we can catch.  Experience has shown that after you skim off the red meat on the fillet, they taste really good.  We caught a lot of small ones and they were thrown back and now and then a really nice keeper. After we had boated a half a dozen, we moved the boat away from an island we had kept as a guide post.  My wife Pam caught the majority of the white bass.  It just seemed like every time she dropped her lure in the water she had a hit.

Pam did some damage to the white bass population.  Most of the fish caught were smaller that these, but we had some really nice bass.  They eat good.

Moving the boat over made a big difference.  In a range of about 20 yards of drift, we consistently caught some really nice walleye in the 15 to 16 inch range.  These were keepers and they went right into the live well with the white bass.  We stayed in this general area about two hours and until we were totally sunburned. It slowed for us here and we still had two more walleye to fill out our limit for the day.  Again, Pam caught the majority of the walleye.  I truly believe when it comes to fishing with live bait women have better hands and can feel the soft strikes and when they swallow the bait.

This is the typical size we kept.  Filleted out they make a great meal for two people, not unless you are so hungry you eat two.
Moving along the chain of islands and staying out of the wind, we tried some new locations that we had never fished.  There was a really good reason we had never fished here.  There were no fish.  Still we tried it out.

What was taking place was the wind had started to pick up considerably.  While fishing behind the islands we were totally unaware of what had been taking place.  Now to get to the dock.  Once inside the bay where we had put in, all would be well, but we had to cross a windy part of the lake.  Moving out from behind the islands, the swells were running two and one half feet high with a three footer now and then.  We motored slowly and got the boat into the bay. The bow of the boat would really dip down and the stern and motor at time I thought would come out of the water.  We moved very slowly.  If water had come over the bow, I would have move to the back of the boat and run the kicker to the bay.  That would keep the nose up and prevent water from coming over the bow. We made it.  Fortunately, at the dock was a person who was fishing and he helped us hold the boat while I backed in the trailer.  The forecast was for the winds to pick up even more later in the day.  It was a good thing we got off the lake.

The reason I like to bring all this up is that I have fished this lake for almost 20 years and it really pays to keep track of your conditions.  It just seems like you never know when it is going to change regardless of the forecast.  Having said all that it is still a good place to go.

We drove up to the Grenville access to see what it was like.  It was worse than the Kanago Access as the wind was driving the water right into the dock and boat ramp.  It would have been close to impossible to get your boat off the water without banging the motor on the concrete ramp or damaging the boat on the trailer or dock.

All in all, we had a good day and caught a lot of fish, and that is what it is all about.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

Gander Mountain



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