Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sleet, snow and high winds -- brrr!

I had the roughest trip of the season yesterday getting back to camp from town.
High winds straight from the west made big waves for the entire trip. To make matters worse it began sleeting and there were even some big snow flakes coming down.
The temperature was in the 40s F or about 8 C. Truly nasty weather.
The weather has been "going out" now for a couple of weeks.
It's the kind of conditions that should send the geese streaming south but we've only seen a couple of flocks, probably because the wind direction has been wrong. The geese here fly mostly east to west in the fall, from Hudson Bay to Manitoba. We've had a lot of westerly winds so they would have flown into a head wind if they tried.
Fishing is about as tough as it can get, except for lake trout. The trout are right on the surface and are on a feeding frenzy in preparation for spawning in a week of two.
All trout here must be immediately live-released.
There is only one way to fish for walleyes in these conditions: anchor or drift and use minnows for bait, either on a hook and sinker, a spinner or a jig.
Trolling at any speed is just too aggressive for these fish.
Probably the best way to catch northern pike is to fish for walleye. They are down there eating them.
You can get a few pike by casting but the fish are almost entirely in deep water now.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

2011 reservation availability is on the air

Next year's fishing reservation availability is now online.
Just go to the website and click on Availability.
We will be in touch with guests with existing reservations in about a month asking for deposits to secure those reservations. This is earlier than in the past but reflects a trend in vacation planning.
Many people are inquiring right now about coming to camp next summer.
We're still having a tough time getting on the Internet here at camp. I hope I can get one of my computer-savvy brothers-in-law to figure out the problem when they come moose hunting in October.
I still cannot upload or download photos, not even small ones. That's a real bummer because I have some great photos I would like to share.
If nothing else, I will be able to get full Internet access once we return home in November.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rotten weather impacts the fishing

There's nothing anybody can do about it, of course, but crummy weather like we had last week really does hurt the fishing.

The weather went from bad to worse ending up Friday with a horrendous downpour, gale-force winds and plummeting temperature. Earlier it had only been windy and rainy.

Except for Friday, most everybody was able to get out fishing despite the inclement conditions.

They mostly found the walleye lethargic at the beginning of the week and then biting well by Thursday. Pike were hardest to get but Thursday, which was sunny, was also the best day.

Several people caught and released lake trout while walleye fishing. The trout have been shallow all summer, I think because their former forage fish, smelt, have all but disappeared.

Smelt are an exotic species that somehow got into the lake about 20 years ago. Their numbers exploded and they became a favorite food fish for all species because they are rich in calories. They mostly existed in the deepwater, the same location as the trout.

The smelt largely displaced native ciscoes also known in Red Lake as tulibee. Then the smelt population crashed two years ago. No one knows exactly why but it happens every time they invade a new lake. Their numbers skyrocket, then crash, and finally reach an equilibrium which will be just a tiny fraction of what it once was.

We are seeing signs of a comeback of tulibee now that the smelt are gone but it will take a couple of years. In the meantime the trout don't have much to eat down in the depths and are coming shallow looking for the same food the walleye are gorging upon: shiners, daces, other minnows, perch, etc.

The "eats" in the shallows are apparently very good indeed. Walleyes and northern pike are the chubbiest we've ever seen them.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Computer-Internet woes continue

Sorry about the lack of blog activity.
I have had a terrible time connecting to the Internet and once I do, for some reason, cannot upload photos to the blog or download e-mails with photos.
Also I just don't have the time necessary to solve the situation. I get a couple of ideas and try them and when they don't work, don't get another chance to try something else for several days.
The weather has turned cool and damp. Fishing has been slow although some people have no problem catching walleye. Most folks, however, are struggling.
The key, it seems to me, is to anchor, not troll, and fish on the bottom with a hook and a sinker. Sliding sinkers are probably best as the fish cannot feel their weight when they pick up the bait.
You absolutely must be able to keep your bait on the bottom or you are wasting your time. With that in mind, you need sinkers from 1/2 oz to one ounce. Pretty heavy stuff but as long as your line slides through the sinker the fish don't know it is there.
Minnows seem to be working best now.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Northern pike seem to like the unruly weather

Anglers are doing quite well on northern pike this week.
All four fishermen in one cabin, for instance, have joined the "Over-40-inch Club."
The weather has been very unsettled with lots of high wind and cold fronts.
This has made for tough walleye fishing, at least for the big ones. We're still getting lots of smaller walleye -- up to 23 inches -- but the really big ones are either lethargic and not biting or have moved.
We've also caught quite a few lake trout while walleye fishing.
We heard the first sandhill cranes migrating yesterday-- a sure sign of fall.
Incoming anglers are reminded to bring excellent raingear and rubber boots.
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