Every week should start like this… Jay Zaleski (Walden, NY) and his brother Mike (Normal, IL) fished with me out of Northland Lodge on Monday, and we had a day that will be hard to beat in many ways. We started out chasing walleyes and found some really nice fish up to 19″ along weed edges using jig and minnow combinations in 5′ – 7′ of water. Every spot didn’t have active fish, and we moved around a lot to stay on the bite. The fish we caught were fat and coughing up perch that they were feeding on. Water temps were 68 degrees on an incredibly beautiful day with south winds. With a limit of eyes in the livewell, we switched to crappies in the afternoon. After searching for a while, we found scattered schools of fish up to 11″ suspended over mud flats in 18′ – 21′ of water using jigs and plastics. They weren’t as concentrated as last week, and we had to do a lot of looking before setting up on active schools. Once we located them on our electronics they were willing, and the Zalinskis taught em a lesson! It was one of those days you hated to end, and I had an incredible time with these guys. Lots of fish and lots of laughs… Thanks for all of the tips today Mike. Jay and I can’t thank you enough!!! See you next year boys!
The Whitfield gang was back in the Hayward area this week for their annual fall trip. My partners Terry Peterson, Dave Brown, and I teamed up for one of our favorite trips of the year. The Whitfields have been fishing with us for many years, and our trips are always full of lots of fun and big fish. We stuck with our usual assignments on Tuesday. Bill and Ruth (Fayetteville, AK) fished with Terry, and Cindy and Debbie (Fayetteville, AK) were with Dave. Cheri and Mark Holzer (Cincinnati, OH) were back in my boat, and we struggled to locate fish early in the morning. After bouncing aronund to a few spots, we finally settled in on a good pattern. We found some big smallies holding on rock and weed edges in 12′ -15′ of water using minnows. It was our first day this season that really felt like fall with northwest winds, and I shouldn’t have been surprised that the smallmouth had moved shallow. Cheri and Mark put some impressive fish in the net before noon that included a monster 21″ fish landed by Mark and a sweet double to wrap up our morning. Terry and Dave were on a good walleye bite in the morning, and we started the afternoon targeting eyes. After we caught a few up to 17″ in 30′ – 35′ of water on minnows, Cheri was ready to get back after the smallies. I don’t blame her! In short order, she landed a couple of tanks up to 21″. Our afternoon was definitely the “Cheri Show”, and she deserved it. Not that anyone is keeping count… Great day with a great group. Always a blast with this bunch of Razorbacks!!!
The Whitfields were back at it on Wednesday in the Hayward area and we turned our attention to crappies in the morning. Mark and Cheri were in my boat once again, and we put a hurting on some really nice slabs up to 12″ over weeds in 12′ – 13′ of water. Calm winds and high skies made for a bit of a tough bite, but we were able to catch way more than we needed on plastics under slip bobbers. Funny thing is that they wanted the presentation sitting still. Usually when things go flat I like to do a lot of twitching, but that wasn’t the answer today. Go figure??? Cheri also boated a bonus 18″ largemouth along with feisty high 20’s pike on light tackle. Water temps were in the high 60’s with absolutely spectacular weather. After the Whitfields fed Terry, Dave, and I a gourmet lunch at their cabin we spent a few hours in the afternoon chasing smallmouth. Cheri and Mark added to their tally and put a few more whoppers in the boat up to 20″ on minnows in 15′ – 18′ of water. It was a perfect way to end a couple of really great days. After some of the weather they’ve dealt with over the years, this was a well deserved reward for one of or favorite families. Great weather and great fishing. Job well done Whitfields. That’s going to be tough to beat, but I can’t wait to try!!!
Thursday was spent back in the Hayward area with some incredible old friends of mine. Dan Martin (Maple Grove, MN), Cory McClure (Maple Grove, MN), and Steve Berg (Minnetrista, MN) were back in the boat, and it was sure good to see them. We’ve shared lots of stories and laughs over the years, and this trip was no different. Therapy for everyone! We started out targeting walleyes in shallow weeds, but the bite was slow and funky from the start. We caught one small walleye and one pike along with several short hits and misses. Time for lunch! After a stop at Angler’s Haven we turned our attention to crappies on a different lake and found a pile of cooperative fish up to 12″ in 12′ – 14′ of water over weeds using plastics. The boys performed well, and put enough slabs in the tank for one heck of a fish taco dinner. Water temps held at 67 degrees throughout the day with extremely comfortable conditions. It was sure good to have this gang back in the boat, and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. Always a good time with these guys!
Friday was a bit of a bummer… Dan, Cory, and Steve had muskies in their sights, but mechanical issues cut our day short. With much regret, I sent the boys back to Minnesota early. Thankfully Damon, Archie, and Matt at Hayward Power Sports were able to work things out, and we’re back in business. These guys are life savers, and you seriously need to check them out for any of your marine sales or service needs. I’m so sorry for the quick end to our trip fellas, but it was memorable nonetheless. You’re down to one Dan, and it’s the deepest lake you’ve ever been on!!!
Fall colors are starting to pop, and the next few weeks should be spectacular. Have a great weekend everyone!