Discussing some fishing-related ideasAs long as I’ve jigged for walleyes in the Missouri River, I’ve been a strong advocate of tying the jig directly to the end of the line. No leaders. During the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, I’d lose a lure on occasion to a toothy northern pike, but not often enough to outweigh the number of additional strikes I had because of a leaderless presentation.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
As long as I’ve jigged for walleyes in the Missouri River, I’ve been a strong advocate of tying the jig directly to the end of the line. No leaders. During the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, I’d lose a lure on occasion to a toothy northern pike, but not often enough to outweigh the number of additional strikes I had because of a leaderless presentation. The pike seemed nonexistent through the first decade of the 21st century. Well, my old habit of not using a steel leader may be in for a change.
During my 2010 fishing season on Lake Francis Case, I had my lure sheared off about a dozen times. That was annoying, but not enough to change my ways. On the plus side, it was good to see that a few northern pike were showing up. This trend continued into the 2011 season. There were individual outings when my lure was snipped off three or four times. This was especially common when fishing rip-rap.
When I make my first open water outing for walleyes on Francis Case this spring, I’ll be using fluorocarbon line. I’ve never before used fluorocarbon line, but I understand that it tolerates a lot of abrasion. I’ll see how it holds up against northern pike. If the pike shred the fluorocarbon line, I’ll go to using a fine black steel leader. I’d like to know your thoughts on this subject.
The last time I fished Saskatchewan’s Lake Besnard, we made the trip from the campground over to Banana Bay on the west side of the lake. Banana Bay was known for holding big northern pike in numbers. I couldn’t get the big northern to strike. In desperation, I went to one of my favorite largemouth bass techniques.
I tied a large floating minnow directly to the end of my line, cast it out and waited until the rings from the splash settled, and then gave it a twitch. The floating lure was both inhaled and sheared off the end of my line at the same time. I then tried the same technique using a steel leader. No takers. I went back to the leaderless presentation and caught a half dozen big pike while losing that many lures. Since fluorocarbon has come along, I’ve dreamed of going back to Banana Bay to see how effective fluorocarbon line really is.
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As mentioned in last week’s column, friend(s) and I will be heading to Saskatchewan’s Reindeer Lake in June for some grayling, lake trout, northern pike and walleye action. We will drive to Lynn Lake, Manitoba, where an airplane will pick us up and take us to Tate Island Lodge for five days of fishing. I spent the last two years perusing brochures and talking to outfitters about this trip, and I’m satisfied that the Tate Island folks offer the best deal.
In 1990, my father and I fished Reindeer with the Lawrence Bay Lodge people. The fishing, accommodations, boats and food were excellent, and I’ve gone back to the Lawrence Bay people a number of times since to fish their outpost camps. Why change? Tate Island is further north, and I look for better grayling fishing because of it.
One thing has changed for sure at Lawrence Bay and a number of other lodges since 1990. In 1990, dad and I brought back big boxes of frozen fish fillets. For one thing, the limits were far more liberal in 1990 than they are today. Today, most of the northern lodges have gone to a strict catch and release policy. They have learned something. Fish grow very slowly in cold water. Even in a lake that is 300 miles long, the continuous removal of fish will hurt the quality of fishing. For me personally, I will not support a northern lodge that sends its anglers home with fish. It tells me something about the lake.
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This leads to today’s third topic. What if an angler wanted to make a fishing trip where he/she could take enough fish home to feed the family for a year. I’m talking about the fishing equivalent of an elk or moose hunt. (Betsy and I are still munching away on our 2010 elk) Anyway, it could be done!
I was mildly surprised when South Dakota went to a no possession limit on catfish. Obviously, South Dakota is one of those places that could feed the family for a very long time as catfish are certainly an under-used resource. Are there other such opportunities?
Late last March, Dave Henning and I fished Arizona’s Lake Powell for a day. We were the first outing of the year for our guide, which tells you we were a long way from the height of the season. We fished exclusively for striped bass, a salt-water transplant that can easily reach 40 pounds in weight. Lake Powell is overrun with stripers stunted in size, and there is no limit on them. Like catfish, stripers are very good on the table.
On that particular day, in spite of a cold front, Dave and I conservatively caught 50 stripers. Let’s estimate that those fish averaged six pounds apiece. We could have taken three pounds of boneless fillets from each of those fish while improving the health of the overall lake population. That’s 150 pounds of fillets in one day, or 450 pounds for a three day trip! In doing the math, those fillets are costing about a dollar a pound, and you get to see the Grand Canyon on top of it!
My Lake Powell idea is not all bad. God willing, I’m going back to Powell next fall, when the big guys are hitting on surface lures, and I’ll take some of those fresh fillets home with me.
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I’ve been asked about the Texas aoudads shot by Doug Koupal and me last month. Was the meat wasted? Though aoudad is not coveted as table fare, the bulk of the meat went to a poor Mexican family that appreciated it. Doug and I brought the back straps home. If an old ewe makes good chislic, a young aoudad should be awesome deep-fried on sticks. Let me know if you want to be included on this chislic fest.
*See you next week.