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Walleye Season 2013 Begins…

26 inch walleye

First walleye of the season… Junior bags a 26.5 incher.

Well, the never-ending winter of 2012-13 finally ended (I think) and despite missing the first week or so of what should have been the walleye opener we finally got out to do a little fishing. Water temps are slowly crawling up into the 50s and hopefully the fish will start to settle into a good spring post-spawn pattern.

League started a week late (due primarily to the fact that Lake Bemidji was still covered with ice) and of course our first evening was punctuated with a nice cool breeze to go with the icy water temps. The teams gathered at Taber’s Bait in anticipation of a fresh new season. “Mystery Lake” was pulled and so we all threw our favorite lake into the hat and were rewarded with an evening on Lake Irvine.

See the rest of Walleye Season 2013 Begins… →

Walleye League – The rest of 2012

It was about 40 degrees in Minneapolis yesterday while we checked out a place for Junior on the campus of the University of Minnesota.  As I type this post it is -15 in Bemidji.  So what better way to relax on a bitter cold Sunday than to revisit my long-neglected blog and catch everyone up on the rest of the 2012 walleye league.

I believe I left you at week 7, a fairly productive evening on Wolf lake.  The memory is probably clear because the following few weeks were not pretty.  After the 4th of July break we headed out to Beltrami.  We’ve had a mix of luck on that lake over the years, but for some reason lake Beltrami had our number this year.  Out of a total of 4 nights of fishing I think we might have found one walleye… and week 9 was no different.  We hit every go-to spot we had and wound up with our first blank of the year. Fish were definitely caught that evening and so we gave up some ground as the rest of the pack added precious points to their totals heading into the last few weeks of the season.

See the rest of Walleye League — The rest of 2012 →

2012 Walleyepalooza Champion

20121104-192735.jpg

I know, I know… I haven’t posted in quite a while. It’s been a busy few months, but I am still kicking and will be forthcoming with the finish to our walleye league. However, since we have now reached the Minnesota firearms deer opener, it’s time to announce the Walleyepalooza champion. With a 6 fish limit of 28.77 pounds, Turtle River Walleye Guy has claimed the 2012 crown. I spent some time fishing with the boys from Turtle River this past season and while I don’t want to give away too many secrets, my advice to any would-be walleye anglers is to experiment with various combinations of night crawlers and Pabst Blue Ribbon. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Congratulations my friend. We’ll see you on the water next season.

WalleyePalooza Update

24 inch walleye

Turtle River WalleyeGuy - 24" Walleye - Gull

The WalleyePalooza action continues with several entries and a new angler mixed into the fray. TurtleRiver WalleyeGuy clutches on to his lead with a couple of nice 24 mid-summer walleyes enticed with beer-soaked crawlers trolled in a wildly unpredictable zig-zag pattern.

Tyson proves that Kansas can produce some very nice fish with an impressive string of over-20 walleyes. These fish were all coaxed into the boat with either a pink or gold jig tipped with a shiner. He now sits in second place with a full complement of 6 fish.

Walleye Journal Brandon finally steps into the mix with the 22.5 incher to the left and he brings with him a new competitor… “Peter T” who posts a monster 29.25 incher.

Enjoy the photos:

24 inch walleye

Turtle River WalleyeGuy - 24" Walleye - Northern MN

20 inch walleye

Tyson - 20" Walleye - Clearwater Pipestone Chain, KS

22 inch walleye

Tyson - 22" Walleye - Clearwater Pipestone Chain, KS

23 inch walleye

Tyson - 23" Walleye - Clearwater Pipestone Chain, KS

24 inch walleye

Tyson - 24" Walleye - Clearwater Pipestone Chain, KS

23 inch walleye

Tyson - 23" Walleye - West Jackfish Lake, KS

22.25 inch walleye

Walleye Journal Brandon - 22.25" Walleye - Cass Lake

29.5 inch walleye

Peter T - 29.5" Walleye - Cass Lake

2012 Walleye League – Week 7

wolf lake walleyeTo say that we have been on a bit of a dry spell walleye-wise would be an understatement. Three trips to Lake Bemidji produced nothing, and we have been fishing another league on Thursday nights with a bunch of good guys on a variety of lakes in the Turtle River area. While the other guys have been coming in with good numbers of fish, we’ve managed to weigh a whopping two fish in about four nights of fishing. So we showed up at Taber’s on Tuesday with a bit less confidence than on past evenings. Nasty weather kept us off the lake for week 6, and although there was no rain in the forecast, we had a stiff breeze to contend with as we ventured out to Wolf lake for the night. The highlight of the evening was watching the team of Templin and Youngberg, a team that typically fishes out of a very nice Ranger boat, head out in about a 14 foot aluminum resort boat custom painted in camo and outfitted with what looked to be an old 6 hp Evinrude. With two big boys and dangerous quantities of beverage weight there was sure to be some fun in the chop that evening. The first hint of fun started after they got the boat in the water and Aaron proceeded to rip the starter rope clean off the motor. My stomach still hurts from laughing.

As I’m sure I have mentioned in the past, Wolf lake is a great lake early in the season. It is the first stop for walleyes heading back from spawning as far upstream as the Power Dam on the Mississippi River. But as the season moves along the bite gets a bit tougher. That is not to say that there aren’t fish to be had in the right spots, but it can be tricky to find those right spots. We had a plan in mind and, as usual, decided to ignore it for the first hour. We headed straight to the north end and tried pitching jigs and shiners in the heavy cabbage along the shore. I could barely keep the boat moving forward in the wind let alone try to keep it along the edge of the weeds, so after one friendly northern bite we opted to try a couple more spots on the west side. We were able to get out of the wind a bit, but the two humps that we tried were pretty quiet. We marked fish and worked between deep and shallow with crawlers and leeches, but had nothing to show for it after a couple of passes. So we put our original plan in to action. There’s a big hump in the middle of the north half of the lake that has all of the earmarks of a good walleye magnet. We started at the north end and bucked the wind all the way to the southern tip sticking with the same leech and crawler combination as before. We moved fairly slow and picked up a couple of perch along the way, but nary a walleye bite. As we approached the end of the southern half Trev pulled out the jigging rod and tossed out a shiner. I have no idea how many times he did this but I heard him say “fish” and turned to watch him working in what looked to be a decent fish. When he had it near the boat it zipped off a few feet of line and we were sure we were going to be dealing with a northern, but as he got it up to the boat we were pleasantly surprised to see a nice 18 inch walleye. So we started pounding that end with the shiners. Unfortunately, it appeared that we found the only walleye that was interested in that particular presentation. It was closing in on 8:30 and we were considering our other options. As is our custom at low-light, we pulled out the crankbaits and started working the top of that hump from north to south. At the north end Trev latched into a smaller fish that turned out to be a walleye just barely over the 13 inch mark. Hopeful that fish were starting to move up on the hump we kept at it. After another pass at the south end Trev had another one hammer his #5 shallow runner. This one had a bit more heft to it and as he pulled it in I dipped the net under a nice 19 inch walleye. We kept up the same pattern back and forth, but we couldn’t manage to find number four. Pleased that we at least had something to weigh for the night, we made the three minute jaunt back to the landing.

The looks on most faces pretty much told the story for the night. Guys either found no walleyes, very few walleyes, or they found several fish but they were too small to weigh. One team had their four fish, but as it turns out our three were a couple hundredths of a pound heavier, and the monster 19 incher in the photo above was big fish for the night. So with a very mediocre showing we managed to take first place and 15 points on a night when 9 out of 14 boats were able to scrounge up a few fish.

We take a break this coming week for the 4th of July holiday, but might have to try to get out for some night fishing on Bemidji under the full moon. The mayfly hatch really put a damper on the bite, but things should begin to pick up as we move into July. Hopefully we can find a few for a nice summer fish fry!

2012 Walleye League – Week 5

Chocolate Lab FishingEvery once in a while we like to take our hunting buddy Magnum out fishing just to see if she can bring us a little luck. We’ve brought her 2 year old pup Winzor out with us a few times, but she tends to be a pain in the neck… thinking she needs to fetch every jig and lure you toss into the water. Way too energetic for a fishing boat. So Magnum came along last Thursday to help us find a few walleyes for league night. The lake for the evening was Irving. Attached to Lake Bemidji by a short stretch of the Mississippi river, Irving can be hot and cold. A person might think that the patterns would be very similar to Bemidji, but this theory does not seem to always hold.

We did bring shiners figuring that we would spend a little time pitching jigs in the small patches of cabbage we could find, but an hour or so of this without result prompted us to make a change. There are a couple of prominent humps in the middle of the lake and we seem to usually have a bit of luck fishing along the southern-most of the two. The top of the hump rises to about 5 or 6 feet at the very top, but the majority of the top comes up to about 9 or 10 feet. We pulled leeches and lindy rigs north and south noticing that we were marking fish in about 11-12 feet along one side in particular. We were getting a few bites, but nothing seemed to want to commit. Another interesting feature of this particular hump is that it is covered with clam shells. Every once in a while you feel the sinker stop and it feels like it might be a fish gently sucking in the bait, but when you set the hook you find yourself with a nice half a clam shell hanging off the end of the line. Trev finally hooked a small walleye along the edge giving us a little hope that the fish we were marking might still be tempted by the leech. Not long after, he hooked into a keeper 15 incher. Happy that we once again avoided the blank we continued working the edge, but were unable to coax anything else into the boat. As is our usual custom, as the sun started sinking lower in the sky we pulled out the crankbait rods and started pulling shallow runners over the top of the hump and along the south edge. This has been a great tactic on this spot for us in the past, but produced only a single northern pike on this occasion. Slightly irritated that we stuck with this area so long, we headed to the landing wondering how the others fared.

I dropped Trev off at the dock and let him weigh the trophy. We launched on Lake Bemidji, so I had to hover outside the landing until he was done. There were a few choice comments from a couple other boats leading me to the impression that the fishing was less than stellar for the other rigs on the lake that night. Trev came out to the dock with Magnum and as I rolled up they jumped in and he let me know that enough boats came in with fish that he lost interest in seeing where we finished. As it turns out, our 15 incher was the lightest weight of all the boats that caught fish. The good news was that only 7 boats caught fish, so we came away with 9 points for the night. Lesson: One fish is better than no fish. We’ve slipped a bit since week one, but we are still hanging on to third place. I’m writing this on Tuesday night of week 6 as thunderstorms roll through the area. League was scrapped for the night due to the weather, so my next report will be for week 7.

WalleyePalooza Update

25 Inch Walleye

Northwoods - 25 Inch Walleye - Boundary Waters

Time for a few updates to the 2012 WalleyePalooza. Northwoods finally made his way back up to the Boundary Waters and enticed a few keepers for the contest. A 25 incher and a couple of 24s were fooled by a bobber rig and leech, the bigger fish coming off the rocks and the other two hanging out on the mud. Nice work!

Northwoods - 24 Inch Walleye - Boundary Waters

Turtle River WalleyeGuy - 25 Inch Walleye - Canada

Turtle River WalleyeGuy took a little hiatus from the grind of fishing in Minnesota to do a little fishing in Canada. He’s adding a nice 25 incher and a 23.5 incher to his WalleyePalooza-leading total. Couldn’t have been the PBR… there’s no drinking allowed in the boat in Canada.

Turtle River WalleyeGuy - 23.5 Inch Walleye - Canada

2012 Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic

25 inch walleyeFresh on the heels of our weekend on Mille Lacs, we had a week to prepare for our first time fishing in the local Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic on Lake Bemidji. A popular 100 boat event, the Kraus raises money for some great local groups like Special Olympics, Fishing Has No Boundaries and Let’s Go Fishing to name a few. We have always come down for the weigh-in and finally decided it was time to take a shot and sign up. Trev and his mom took advantage of the beautiful summer weather to do a bit of pre-fishing during the week. A windy Monday made it tough to fish, but when the winds calmed down on Tuesday and Wednesday they were able to lock in on about 5 good spots where you could literally see the walleyes you were trying to catch. The focus was on shallow, cabbage-covered areas where good numbers of walleyes have been hanging out since the opener. They caught fish on every spot including the nice 25 inch walleye to the left. We could only hope there would be more like it on Saturday. As the week progressed it was fun to hear how others were out doing the same thing and that some very nice fish were being caught. We had a feeling that there were going to be some nice weights at the end of the day on Saturday. Things started off on Friday afternoon with the rules meeting. Teams had to register and pull a number out of a box to determine their starting order. I signed my name and then put on a display of awesome luck by pulling number 100 out of the box. We would be the last boat to pass the starters on Saturday morning. Nice.

Kraus Anderson StartMy great luck continued on Saturday morning as we prepared to pull out to get bait and head to our designated landing. I put the truck in reverse and the trailer brakes kicked in and forced me to a screeching halt. I rolled forward again, backed up and they locked up again. Now, I understand clearly now what was going on, but at the time it was the first I had learned of this problem. Of all days to happen, it had to be this day. For a few short minutes it looked like we were dead in the water with a boat that we could not back down the driveway. After a call to a very gracious friend who owns the local Lund dealership I had a clear idea of what was going on. The surge brakes were kicking in when I backed up the boat. Something with the backup lights went haywire and they weren’t disengaging the solenoid that kicks in the brakes. So I simply needed to keep the trailer tongue from sliding backwards and keep it from engaging the brakes. A quick operation with a couple of nuts and some tape and we were backing down the driveway. Catastrophe averted. With some time to spare, I headed to the landing and Trev headed to the bait shop and we were soon on the water and headed to check-in.

23 inch walleyeWith the stress of the morning past, we relaxed were feeling glad to just be out on the water with the rest of the anglers. Mr. Joe Vene started the morning with the National Anthem and about 12 minutes later boat #100 made its way past the starters. We headed off to spot #1. This location is no mystery to most anglers who know Lake Bemidji and it was the location where Trev found that nice 25 incher on Tuesday. There were only a couple of boats working the area, so we slipped in and started pitching jigs and shiners. We worked the area for about an hour with nothing to show for our efforts, so we opted to let it go for now and give it a shot later in the afternoon. Spot #2 was another area loaded with thick cabbage, and we pulled in to a large opening between a couple other boats working the same stuff. The cabbage was a bit heavier here, so we stayed just outside the edge and pitched our jigs just into the weeds to try to coax the fish into a bite. We were soon rewarded when Trev hauled in a nice walleye very close to the 19 inch mark. A great under for the live well. We worked up and down this weed line for a while longer and pulled out a few more fish, but soon opted to move on to spot #3. The north end of the lake has scattered patches of cabbage and there were several groups of boats camped around these various spots. Trev had marked a shallow area during the week and we started working around those marks. On his first cast as we arrived Trev boated a smaller keeper. We had plenty of unders, but we needed some improvements and soon got one when I was able to haul in a walleye closer to the 18 inch mark. The spot was definitely loaded with fish, but most of what we caught seemed pretty small and we opted to move on to spot #4. Again, this was a shallow area with scattered patches of cabbage in the southern part of the lake. There was only one boat in this area and we moved to the areas Trev had marked giving them plenty of room to do their thing. Again, we were fortunate to catch a few walleyes as we worked our way south along the shallow weed line. We had improved our weight a bit and now had 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19 inch walleyes in the live well. We needed to find some bigger girls and decided our best shot was back at spot #1. The afternoon was wearing on and there were few boats working this area. We pretty much had this entire area to ourselves until another boat arrived to try their hand at working the cabbage. We made our way north staying just outside the edge of the thickest stuff. I finally tossed out and felt a nice little whack and set the hook into what felt to be a little nicer fish. I had her up near the boat and guessed that it was another 19 incher, but was pleased to find out after Trev pulled it in that we had our first over with a decent 23 inch walleye.

While we both knew that we certainly didn’t have enough in the box to win the tournament, we were both feeling pretty satisfied that we had managed to work a decent game plan to find our five fish without really having to scramble. We worked that area for a while longer when we decided that we could burn up a bit of time looking at a couple of deeper areas in search of a big fish. We really wanted to improve on that 15 incher and would have been happy with anything near the 20 inch mark. We buzzed to about three or four different locations marking fish along the way, but nothing we tried produced a bite. We headed back to the north end to see if we could coax something out of the cabbage up there, but the bite seemed to have slowed down. We didn’t have a ton of time left before we had to head to the weigh-in so we figured we would try ripping through a couple of our spots with shallow running crankbaits to see if we could get a reaction bite out of a wandering walleye. We were able to hit two of our spots, and had a little excitement at the very end when Trev latched into a good fish that turned out to be a hungry northern pike. We took that as our signal to call it a day and packed up and headed over to the west side to line up for the weigh-in.

We speculated on our weight as we headed in. I was guessing we would be close to 10 pounds, a respectable total for this field. We had to play bumper-boats for a while with a pretty stiff wind coming out of the southeast and several boats waiting to get to the docks. I was finally able to get Trev dropped off with our fish and he headed to the bump tanks while I buzzed down what seemed like a mile to pull the boat up on shore. As I was walking back to the stage I heard them call up boat number 100. I guessed that Trev was answering a couple of questions… divulging all of our secrets… and then heard the magic number, 9.64 pounds. We missed 10 by a fraction. As it turns out, the father and son team of Kelly and Kaleb Hanson had a dream day on Lake Bemidji with a coupld of nice 27 inch walleyes and three 19 inchers for whopping 18.08 pound total. Easily the nicest basket I’ve ever watched come in at the Kraus.

So our first Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic is in the books with a 52nd place finish out of 96 boats. We definitely have room for improvement, but we were pleased to come in with a limit. Congratulations to the Hansons on a great showing. We’ll definitely be looking forward to moving a little higher next year.

Cabela’s NTC Walleye Tournament – Lake Mille Lacs

26 inch Mille Lacs WalleyeLiving in Northern Minnesota it’s easy to get spoiled by the easy access to many excellent walleye fishing opportunities within minutes of my home. So it should be easy to understand why someone in my position has always suspected that the buzz about lake Mille Lacs was a mixture of hype and a by-product of the lake’s size and proximity to the Twin Cities metro area. I fished the lake once before in my teens and hadn’t considered returning since. But when we were given the opportunity to fish the Cabela’s NTC tournament on Lake Mille Lacs we decided to grab it and take our shot at the big pond.

As is my nature, I began preparing by reading everything I could find regarding the lake and the variety of tactics anglers use to put walleyes in the boat. For the 2012 season the state DNR expanded the protected slot to include fish between 17 and 28 inches. In other words, our basket of fish had to be comprised of fish under 17 inches or over 28 inches. So the strategy going in… which I’m sure we shared with 250 other boats… was to find the unders as quickly as possible and then go looking for a big girl.

The weekend before the tournament we made the 2.5 hour drive to do a little pre-fishing. We picked a great day… winds ripping out of the east, threats of rain… welcome to Mille Lacs. I was in no mood to pound the rivets out of the boat, so we took a leisurely 1 hour ride to go about 8 miles to one of several candidate locations we had marked on our map. The good news is that on our first drift across reef #1 Trevor boated a great mid-20s walleye. A couple more drifts and another nice walleye was enough to convince us this spot had potential. We bounced around to a couple more locations and were a getting a bit frustrated as we watched other boats pulling in fish using the exact same presentation. We began to wonder if our drift speed was a bit too fast. We had one last spot we wanted to hit for the day. We hit the leading edge and started drifting across when I latched into another nice mid-20s walleye. After a couple more drifts we decided to drop the bow mount trolling motor and hunt around the edges for fish. As it turns out, this was a very fortunate accident. I motored around to the southeast corner of the flat and pointed the nose of the boat into the wind. Right of the edge of this corner we marked a good bunch of fish and dropped our lines with the boat nearly hovering over the fish. I immediately had a bite and reeled in another fattie. We kept working through the school and picked up a few more fish and were convinced that our earlier assumption was correct and that we needed to keep the speed of the presentation as slow and as nearly vertical as possible. In all, we were pleased with what we were able to learn and left encouraged that we would be able to find a few more spots and get similar results.

We planned to head back down on Monday, but the thunderstorm activity we saw on the radar was enough to make us scrap the trip for the day and take our chances that the Wednesday before the tournament would yield enough information to give us a shot at weighing some decent walleyes on Thursday and Friday. We arrived early again with a much lighter wind than what we had been greeted with on Sunday. We headed straight to the mud flats at the north end and started scouring the tops and edges of a few we had marked on the map. Our plan was to search and only drop a line when we actually marked fish. The idea was great, but again our natural stubbornness kept us on a couple of humps a little longer than we probably should have stayed. We continued this pattern bouncing from flat to flat, east to west marking a few fish here and there, but not really finding anything to get too excited about. We finally made our way back to the southwest end and a large flat that we had marked as a possibility. We marked a few fish along the edges, but wanted to explore some interesting structure between the flat and the shoreline. As we moved closer to the area it appeared that a few other boats were working the area. We marked a few fish, dropped our lines and almost immediately had fish. Over the course of the next hour we boated enough sub-17 inch fish to easily conclude that we needed to start Thursday on this very spot. Pre-fishing concluded.

27.25 inch walleyeThursday turned out to be a beautiful, calm morning. We made it over to Izaty’s for check-in and take-off and headed right to the flat we ended with on the previous afternoon. Several other boats had already settled in with the same idea. We were in a mix of tournament and non-tournament boats and it was apparent from the beginning that the bite was not quite the same as it had been the previous afternoon. Our first keeper was just over the 14 inch minimum and was followed over the next couple of hours by a few smaller fish, one just over 17 and another couple of over-20 walleyes. We decided to cut out and head to our “big fish” option hoping that we could find one or two more unders to add to the live well. The walleyes were still hanging out on the same corner of the flat we found them on Sunday and it didn’t take too long to start catching fish. As was the case on Sunday, most of what we boated were walleyes in the 23-26 inch range, but we were lucky enough to find another small keeper to put in the live well during our search. We had our most exciting moment of the day when I latched into a fish that was quite obviously more substantial than anything we had boated to this point. She stayed down for what seemed like an eternity, but I was able to slowly coax her up to the boat where Trev got the net under her and hauled her in the boat. We quickly removed the hook and laid the fish out on the ruler to discover that we were .75 inches short of the magic 28 inch mark. We snapped the shot to the left and sent her back to the depths. After catching a few more big fish we decided to head back to our original spot to try to get three more fish to weigh. The crowds had thinned out but there were still a few fish to be had. As it turns out, Trev was able to hook into two more small fish to at least give us four to weigh. We blazed back to Izaty’s and recorded our 3.92 pounds for the day. Not exactly stellar, but we still had a shot at cracking the upper ranks with a big fish on Friday.

The game plan for Friday was to head straight to our big fish flat and work as hard as we could to find a big girl. Hopes were high as we almost immediately marked and caught walleyes. Big walleyes. Which was beginning to get a little annoying, odd as that may seem. We worked that flat all day and slowly ground out fish with the rare keeper mixed in along the way. The excitement for the day came when I latched into an obviously heavy fish. I was pulling a crawler in about 30 feet when I simply felt resistance. When I set the hook there was no give and my heart started to pound. I was able to reel up to the point where we could see the slip sinker and then she zipped off a few more yards of line. We were sure we finally found our over, but when I finally raised the beast off the bottom we were greeted with a musky that measured well into the mid 40 inch range. Exciting, but not exactly what we were looking for. At about 2:00 we started talking about moving back to our flat on the east side to pick up a couple more keepers to fill our limit when we pulled in keeper number four. Sure that it would be easy to catch one more in the next hour we hung on. We had boated a few fish around 26 inches and knew that there had to be a bigger fish on this flat. This point was proven shortly before our afternoon ended when another team in a blue ranger started hooting and hollering as they pulled in what was surely one of the few 28 inch fish caught for the day. We never did get our fifth under, but we left feeling like we gave ourselves the best shot at finding a big fish. Our final weight was just over 4 pounds which put our total just over 8 pounds… middle of the pack.

There has been a bit of grumbling about the slot on lake Mille Lacs, but it really is hard to complain about the number of fish we caught over the course of the week. The keepers were hard to find, but that was probably more a function of preparation on our part. For the most part, when we marked fish we caught them… a walleye angler’s dream on any lake. After years of ignoring Mille Lacs, I think it’s safe to say we will make another trek south in the future to try our hand at boating some big walleyes.

2012 Walleye League – Weeks 3 and 4

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of fishing activity. In addition to Tuesday league we fished the NTC tournament on Mille Lacs and I type this post on the eve of the Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic on Lake Bemidji. I’ll be writing about all of that stuff as soon as things settle back down. Back to business… we have two weeks of league to review!

Week 3 – Lake Julia

One of my favorite lakes primarily because you have a great chance at catching some big walleyes. The wind was nasty when everyone arrived at Taber’s bait and Cass Lake was pulled. Cooler heads prevailed and a decision was made to go with a smaller lake and Julia was the next draw. When we hit the water the cold rain started making the mid-40s temps even more miserable. The first hour or so of fishing was a combination of cold, wet and wind. We pulled our live bait rigs around with crawlers and leeches and Trev finally hooked into a small keeper walleye. My hands were frozen and nearly useless in terms of tying line or re-baiting a hook. I had to do some jumping jacks in the boat to get the circulation going again. As the weather slowly passed and the evening wore on the rain subsided and we decided that we would pull some crankbaits along a line of cabbage we’d had some luck with in the past. We were getting some hits on each pass and picked up perch and northerns, but we finally latched into another keeper walleye. Again, veering into the cabbage Trev though he was hooked up in the weeds when he realized a fish had smacked his crankbait and he eventually hauled in a nice 22 inch walleye. We worked that edge until shortly after 9:00 when Trev finally pulled in another keeper. We had our 4 fish and figured we were probably in good shape for a top four or five finish, so we opted not to try to improve our weight and headed for the landing. Much to our chagrin, the night was another stellar night for several boats with weights in the 11 pound range for a few of the teams. Our weight, just over 6 pounds, was sufficient for 7th place and 9 points. Another lesson learned.
Week 2 Summary:
Weather: Cold (mid-40′s) and raining
Wind: Steady from the northwest
Water Temperature: Low 60s
Presentation/Location: Crawler and Leech on live bait rig, crankbaits over the cabbage.

Week 4 – Cass Lake

With improved weather conditions and fresh off of a few day’s fishing on Mille Lacs, we headed to Taber’s to learn that the lake for the week would be Cass. Cass is a great lake, but can be tricky because there are so many options. We didn’t hit the lake with a very solid plan. We brought shiners thinking that we would find some cabbage and try to plunk out a few walleyes pitching jigs, but we ended up monkeying around on a couple of different points north and south of Cedar bar. We did mark fish, but could not get them interested in biting. After switching over to crawlers and leeches without any better luck we headed back south of Star Island to work a couple of humps. Try as we might, we just could not get anything going. We had wasted a bunch of time running north and south and figured that our best option at that point would be to cover some water pulling cranks. We started on a hump off the southwest corner of Star and managed to pluck out a (barely) 13 inch walleye. We then buzzed over to the flats west of Cedar Island and made a couple of passes through 8-9 feet with scattered cabbage when I finally lucked into a nice nearly-20 inch walleye. A bit more encouraging, but a couple more passes yielded nothing and we decided to head to our go-to bar further west where we almost always find a walleye or two. But on this evening our go-to spot coughed up nothing but tiny perch and a northern. By 9:25 we had to call it an evening and so we barreled back to the landing. The sob stories there were pretty much the same, with the exception of one boat, none of the baskets were stellar. Our two pitiful fish were good for a 6th place finish and 10 points. So we have fallen back a bit the last couple of weeks, but should still be sitting in second place, not too far behind the leaders (who have been on fire the last three weeks).
Week 4 Summary:
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Wind: Steady to moderate from the southwest
Water Temperature: Low 60s
Presentation/Location: Jig and Shiner. Crawler and Leech. Crankbaits in 8-9 feet.