Fishing Friends Are Good To Have
The Pike Bite Is On!!
It's great to have friends. It is even better to have friends that love to fish. I have several. What really is great is if you have a friend that has a boat. I have a good one. The issues with my outboard continued this week. (See previous post) and what with the wind, rain and generally crappiness of the weather this month, my time on the water has been not as much as I necessitate. It is fortunate that I have had the distractions of Fall hunting and the Brewers, or I'd be climbing the walls. Don't get me started on the Packers.
Normally, our Fall regime of fishing entails fishing the bayside and lakeside bays and marinas typically targeting zombies, walleyes, northern pike, big smallies and the occasional brown trout. The Pamela Ann has been set up for just this type of fishing. She sports a Minnkota 65 pound thrust electric trolling motor with iPilot, which allow you to set a course and speed which the motor maintains. It also has a fabulous dynamic anchoring function that allows you to stay on a spot once you locate fish. She also has a 9.9HP kicker hanging off the transom for trolling. Out of the boat I can deploy a mast trolling system, planer boards, downriggers and even a drift sock. In other words, just what the doctor ordered for seeking the shallower Fall fish. Well, for the last several weeks the Pamela Ann has been unavailable for her duties. It turns out my fishing buddy Paul has an emergency back up boat ready for just such circumstances. It is Paul's "other" boat. I think he has three. I have tried to convince my wife, the other Pamela Ann, many times that a man needs at least three boats to be truly happy. More is better.
So it was Paul who came to my rescue. Since his boat is a little undersized to be chasing salmon on the big lake, we targeted northerns around the county. Typically the pike bites starts to heat up this time of year. Last October we had a day when we boated 34 pike between us all between 25-32". It was a fun afternoon. So we started searching the local waters with high expectations and were not disappointed. The first time out the fish were hitting fast and furious. We boated over two dozen pike with a 34"er being the topper. More than that though we had a lot of hits that we missed. The fish were aggressive. Our most effective lures were large Countdown Rapalas (#9 or #11), silver or perch colored. Orange or white plastics moved slowly on the bottom also produced some fish. I have had success with #4 & #5 Mepps spinners. A thin wire leader (Invisa-Leader) is a must. A long nose pliers and a jaw spreader can be useful extracting the hooks from the toothy jaws. We caught most of our fish in 10-14FOW with some weeds. I have noticed that water temperatures of 55-59°F seem to produce the best pike bite. Most of the bays from Sturgeon Bay to Rowleys Bay have been producing northerns. I have not fished the bayside much specifically for northerns, but I have picked up a few while trolling for walleyes or browns.
We tried a couple more times this past week in between the blasts of wind and rain with less success, but we always had action. Hopefully next week the weather will improve and can expand our fishing options.
Speaking of fishing options sans boat, I have seen a lot of anglers in the Baileys Harbor marina and other locations about the county fishing for Fall run salmon and trout. Most of the guys I talked to bemoaned the fact that there are just not as many fish around as there used to be. Well, that's true. Since the revelation that there is now a natural spawn of Chinook salmon in rivers in Michigan, the agencies around the lake, including the Wisconsin DNR have to cut back on artificially stocked fish. This was to prevent having too many predators in the lake and decimating the baitfish populations, alewife, shad and smelt. This happened on 2003 in Lake Huron and caused the crash of the entire fishery. See this previous post detailing the Chinook stocking program. Bottom line is that Chinook salmon return to the rivers they were stocked in, so those natural fish are returning to the rivers in Michigan. Less fish stock in Wisconsin means less 4-Year olds returning to "attempt" to spawn. Not good for the Fall shore anglers true, but good for the overall health of the lake.
One last thing, a shout out to the Baileys Harbor Community Association, sponsor of the Baileys Harbor website and this blog. I attended their annual dinner at the Florian II Supper Club this week. I got to renew long time acquaintances and meet some new people. Thanks to Brynn and all those at the BHCA for a great night.
There is a lot of soft water fishing remaining in the season. Take advantage, it won't be long before you will have to drill to find fish.
Tight Lines, Bruce
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