My wife Dawn, daughter Deanne, and her friend Kayla, recently stayed with Dawn’s aunt Kathy and uncle Harold on Cass Lake in Minnesota. The first night we got there Harold offered to take me out to do some trolling for Walleye. Of course I was all too happy to go. We trolled shallow running Rapalas in about 4 to 8 feet of water off of Star Island and then moved to a narrow shelf near there that ran about 4 to 5 foot deep with drop offs on both sides into 25 plus feet of water. We caught 6 Eyes on that shelf before the bite died off and we called it a night. 3 of them were nice eater size fish, between 14 and 18 inches, so we kept those and released the smaller ones. Unfortunately that was the best bite we had all week for Walleye. We did catch a few Walleye pulling crawlers and leeches, and Dawn caught the big Walleye of the trip (21″) on a crawler.
I got dad out fishing again on Friday. We were on the water fishing shortly after 6 am. I decided we would go back to basics to assure that dad would catch fish. To me, this meant slip bobbers and night crawlers for Blue Gill. We pulled up on a spot on the northeast side of the main lake, so it was shaded for a while. It also had a flat that came out a ways,10 to 15 ft deep, before it dropped off into deeper water, 30 ft plus. We started catching some keeper Gills right away. Not giants by any means, but keepers. We worked our way slowly down the shore, filling our basket as we went, mainly with Blue Gills, but also a few Yellow Bass. We also caught a few Channel Cats and an occasional Large Mouth, which we didn’t keep, but were fun to fight on the ultra-lights we were using. After fishing down that shore for a few hours we went into a cove down near the dam. We had little to no success in the cove, so the fish that were easy pickin’ there earlier in the year seem to have moved out to the main lake. From there we moved over to the dam where we tried the bobbers and worms a bit, but soon switched over to an 1/8 ounce jig with a white curly tail grub and an 1/8 ounce white and silver rooster tail, which produced some smaller Large and Small Mouth Bass, before calling it a day around noon. We kept about as many fish as I wanted to clean, 13 Blue Gill and 7 Yellow Bass. All in all a pretty enjoyable morning and it’s always good to get dad out fishing.
I’ve seen fisherman going after schooling Hybrid Striped Bass that were chasing shad on the surface on fishing shows before. I’ve also witnessed them breaking on the surface before while I was on the shore and didn’t have a boat to go after them. I watched this happen many times last summer, where they actually covered a large part of the main lake, so I was anticipated it happening again this year now that I have a boat. Jim and I were out fishing on Wednesday when we saw them hitting the surface near the mouth of a cove we were fishing. We had several rods in the boat, one was a light rod with a small jig (1/8 oz I think), with a white curly tail grub on it and another light rod with an 1/8 oz rooster tail, silver and white, on it. As soon as I saw this I started to cast the jig and suggest Jim throw the rooster tail. I soon hooked and boated my first Striper of the day. It took Jim a little longer to get hooked up, but I was in the front of the boat. We continued to chase a few schools around the main lake for the next couple hours with moderate success. A couple of times we both had fish on at the same time. No giants, the biggest around 16″, but they were especially fun on the light rods we were using. We did not see nearly the large numbers of fish I saw hitting the surface at times last summer, so I expect this pattern to get better as the summer progresses.
We’ve all heard stories about the one that got away, now I have one from Saturday night. My friend Jim and I were trolling Shad Raps around the lake after dark. We had been trolling for a while with not so much as a nibble, when all of a sudden my lure stopped. Then is started taking off in the other direction. Jim heard my drag screaming, got all excited and grabbed the net, while I got the boat going in reverse as quickly as possible. After backing up quit a bit and fitting the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, I was finally able to see the massive fish. It was a nice Muskie hooked near the tail. Jim was trying to chase the fish down with the net, but I kept telling him he had to get in front of the fish or it would never work. I got her up to the surface one more time and Jim tried to scoop her up, but all he came up with was my Shad Rap and the fish was gone. End of story.