A Weeks Worth of Fishing
Fish or No Fish, Always A Good Day on The Water
I had a chance to get out on the water each day this week with mixed results. I always think that the best time to go fishing is when you can. Of course there are more productive times than others to fish during the day. Most anglers consider the "low light" periods around sunrise and sunset the best for catching fish. I generally agree with this and try to get out there when I can. However, during the summer sunrise is about 5AM and sunset near 8:30PM. This can make for some pretty early mornings and late nights. If you are in the county on a fishing vacation, you can focus your fishing during these times. However, when you live here full time as I do, you can't be getting up every morning at 4 (Unless you run a charter boat!). Believe it or not, I actually do work sometimes (if I can’t avoid it) and my wife occasionally has plans for me that do not involve fishing. So, I get out whenever I can. At times that may be in the middle of the day. Perhaps not the best time to fish, except maybe for bass. That all said, the only thing I know for sure about fishing is that "If you don't go, you won’t catch them!" Everything else is conjecture. I have not caught many fish sitting in my house on the couch. So this week I went when I could. Sometimes I got them, sometimes I didn't.
Early in the week I went out with Paul on the big lake. There were quite a few boats fishing out of Baileys Harbor. It was not too long ago that we had the lake to ourselves with nary a single boat in site. Not any more. It is still not crazy like it will be later in the summer, but you do have to pay attention to where the other boats are heading. We nailed one rainbow on a shallow running spoon. Not huge but it made a good dinner. The surface temperature was in the low 60's but 50' down it was a lot colder (mid 40s). We saw an awful lot of baitfish clouds off Cana Island as well as plenty of "hooks" on the sonar in 70-100FOW. For whatever reason, we could not elicit many strikes so we had to head in with just the one.
I did try the lake again but this time I had to go out a mid-day. I was fishing with Scott, a former teaching colleague. The lake was calm and we thought maybe we might be able to snag a steelhead or two. After three hours of dragging six lines, all we had to show for it was sun and fresh air. Still, never a bad time on the water.
Later in the week I finally had some better action on the Bayside for smallies. The water temperatures in the northern parts of the county are still a little cool (mid 60s) and there are still a lot of fish on the shallow structure (breakwater, docks, marinas, etc.). I got fish on small crank baits and tube jigs. I ended up with over a dozen smallmouth in a couple of hours of fishing including a few nice ones. Even the little ones are fun though. This little fish (see pic) hit a bait about half as big as him. I want to catch this one again when he grows up.
Finally, I made an early morning salmon run on Friday. On the water by 4:30, lines in the water before 5. I got a lesson right away on why it's critical to get out early. Before I had all of my three lines set (or the net deployed), one of the downrigger rods popped and started to throb. I yanked it out of the rodholder and sure enough, “fish on!!" If you have not battled and landed a salmon in a small boat by yourself, let me tell you, it is a real challenge. Simultaneously keeping the boat straight, the line tight, steering the fish clear of the other lines and one-handing the big net requires at least four hands when only two are available. It is quite satisfying and a bit of a relief when you lift that fish into the boat and see it flopping on the floor. I ended the morning with two Chinook and a rainbow. One of the salmon was 30" and about 14 pounds. He's already in the smoker.
I was trolling off Baileys Harbor in about 80FOW. I got all three fish on small spoons about 40' down. It was kind of a "matching the hatch" thing with all of the small alewife in the area.
Might get out this weekend, but then again, maybe I'll just sleep in.
Tight Lines, Bruce
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