Counting Fish

Sometimes when I am having trouble sleeping, I like to replay some of my favorite fishing trop memories. Consider it my version of counting sheep – except I am counting walleye, pike, and bass! For whatever reason I find I rarely get past 3 or 4 of these short stories before I fall asleep. Here are a few of my favorites:


The Little Walleye Spot that Could, and Did

As Dave and I headed out from the dock at Island 10 we were excited and nervous. We had been the main drivers of this trip, cajoling and convincing Mark, Pete, and Willy to come along based on potential, not necessarily solid proof of walleye, pike and smallie success. We had been to a different lodge on Lady E two years prior and while we had a blast catching bass and a few pike, we really didn’t get into much walleye action. Lady Evelyn Report

As we motored out, we headed to a small island not much farther than a John Daly drive from out cabin at Island 10. I scanned the depth finder and noticed that there was a very pronounced ridge running off one corner of the island that created a big depth change. I kept motoring out and watched the bottom quickly drop back down to 30 feet, noticing small arcs on the fish finder. As I slowed down Dave asked what I was looking at “Well there is a prominent point coming off that island, I think I see fish arcs and the drift is perfect for us to drop our lines in 30 feet and push us right to the point” I said. Dave was game so we quickly rigged up a Balsam Lake special – worm harnesses with 4 or 5 split shots placed about 6 feet from the lure. We dropped over and started drifting back – just as we started to move up the break, I let the familiar tick tick of a fish. I set the hook and proceeded to pull in a nice 1t5 inch walleye. Dave and I let out battle cries worthy of a 30-inch fish – we were just that excited that within 20 minutes of heading out we had found a walleye! We turned back out to our original starting point and drifted back – this time Dave set the hook on a 14-inch walleye, then I pulled in a 13 incher and finally Dave capped it off with a 17 incher.

The wind died down and so did the bite, but man were we amped – success! That gave us more confidence to find similar structure and just be patient and while we didn’t kill the walleye, we generally were able to scrape up a limit most days. That spot was where I caught my biggest walleye of the trip - a nice 25 incher.


Dave with one of the first walleyes caught off the little spot that could!


The Troll

For the first two days of our trip to Brennan Harbour we mainly focused on catching walleyes as we had more confidence in our abilities to catch smallmouth bass. Brennan Harbour Report One afternoon we found a great area – large rock piles surrounded by a nice green patch of cabbage. The first few times we fished it we had success using wacky rigged senkos and jerk baits, however one day we returned and neither technique seemed to be what the fish wanted. Trying to re group Whitey and I motored to another rock pile about 200 yds away to check it out. On the way there I asked Mark to throw out his lure, just as we approached the new rock pile, and I could see the cabbage starting to show on the depth finder Mark hooked into a nice 2 lb. smallie. Interesting. We tried casting around the rock and again we were thwarted - no fish came to play. We decided to both tie on jerk baits and troll back to the other rock pile. Well, what happened next was epic, for the next 2 hours we experienced some of the best bass action I have ever witnessed. Almost every time we approached the cabbage, we got bit. I am talking bass and walleye. It was like playing a video game – watch the depth finder, see the weeds, push a little speed, and cut the bait out from the thick stuff and bam – fish on! I don’t know how many fish we caught but I do know that both of us caught multiple 3 lb.+ bass and two that came oh so close to that magical 5 lb. mark. We also caught 6 or 7 incidental walleyes as well, smaller ones but fun, nevertheless.


Mark with one of the big walleyes caught at the troll!


Perching for Walleye

On our Pickle Lake fly in we really enjoyed the after-dinner fish. Pickle Lake Report We had a solid routine going, perc some coffee while eating dinner, top said coffee with flavour of choice, head out with a plan to prospect in different areas and then get on the radios and report. One nigh Dave and Scott headed shoreline that had a small 8-to-10-foot flat section and then quickly dropped out to the basin. They were nailing the walleye on jigs. Mark and I were doing okay but after the 3rd call of “Man this is crazy” on the radio, we reeled up and motored (as fast as 2 guys could go in a 6 HP engine lol) The only thing I can compare it to was fishing over a school of perch with a worm and bobber. Since the fish were up feeding on the flat, I probably had less than 15 feet of line out. Drop you jig and minnow, lift the tip and you got a hit. It was awesome. None of the walleye were huge – biggest was probably 15 inches but the volume of bites was incredible. I would guess the action only lasted for 45 minutes but in a 125 yard stretch we must have caught 40 walleyes between the two boats and lost a another 20.


Mark and I setting up for one more drift down the "perching" shore


So – next time you are struggling to sleep – try counting fish. Specifically try conjuring up you’re some of your favorite fishing experiences – see if you can get past 4

Cheers

Andrew

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