Good Start to the Brown Trout Season
And Now "Tracking Snow"!
Boy, I am sure glad I took the opportunity to get out on the water several times this last week, because given the weather this weekend and the forecast for next week, it might be a while before we get conditions that would allow any sane person to venture out onto the lake.
Waking up this morning to a heavy, wet snow was quite a shock and a bit depressing. I drove down to the marina to take few pictures of Baileys Harbor blanketed in the fresh spring snowfall. As I passed by Lakeshore Adventures, I observed the "First Choice II" up on chocks in the parking lot covered in white. Not the best conditions for outfitting the boat for the season's charter runs. It was a sad sight to see. Continuing down to the marina, I was a little surprised that no one had launched this morning. After all, this is the weekend; the browns are hitting and brown trout anglers are nuts. I guess not all that nuts. However, as I pulled into the boat launch parking area, there was an intrepid shore angler braving the blinding snow. This fisherman was on the pier with two rods attempting to coax a brownie to take his offerings. I had to meet this guy. Scott, as I learned his name was, had not yet had any action but he was hopeful. Ya gotta respect Scott's tenacity, if also questioning his sanity. I did not go get my rod and join him.
I got out three times this week in a variety of conditions. I fished solo with light southeast winds and murky water early in the week. Then I went out with Paul confronting shell ice and fog midweek. The Pamela Ann did her best impression of the "Mobile Bay" breaking ice before we could find enough open water to deploy the planer boards. Finally, I ended the fishing week with Scott (the not so crazy one) in bright sunshine, clear water and shifting winds. Water temperatures were 34-38°F.
We fished primarily the area between Baileys Harbor and Jacksonport, mostly in shallow water, 8-12 feet. I did pick up a few fish a little deeper in 20FOW using stick baits and a little weight. I have been doing a little better with darker colors (blue, black & silver) as opposed to the usual orange and fire tiger. #13 & #11 Rapalas have produced the most fish for me. We ended up eight for ten for the week with a couple of 12-pounders. I saw a few boats also fishing in the area and most of the guys I talked to were boating fish as well.
If you check out the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament Facebook page, you can see some pictures of some nice brownies caught this spring including an absolute hog caught through the ice up at Washington Island.
A heads up if you are heading to Baileys Harbor to fish in the next week or so. Mark, Baileys Harbor Marina Harbormaster, informed me that spring dredging operations while begin soon. While the harbor is being dredged, the boat launches will be closed. You can still launch at Bues Point in Moonlight Bay, however. You might want to check with the Marina Office (920-839-9778), Town Clerk (email@example.com) or the BH Visitors Center (920-839-2366) to check out the status of the boat launch. If all else fails, call The Cornerstone Pub (920 839-9001). They can just look out the front window and tell you what's going on at the marina.
Let's look for some better weather soon. The 30th Annual Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament will take place on April 19-22nd. Hopeful we won't need to shovel snow off the boats or break any ice in the marina by then.
Tight Lines, Bruce
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