I was able to get out one last time here in Thunder Bay, before I head north to the lodge. We had been excited about this trip for over a week, and did not want to let the weather get us down. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of the more miserable days I have ever spent on the water. I have been told Thunder Bay has been placed in a state of emergency due to the high volume of rain in the past week which has caused flooding all over the area. Yesterday did not help! Anyways, I decided to create an all encompassing report to show you exactly what I was doing, and exactly where I was doing it. I will cover everything we did in as much detail as I can. Hopefully that can make up for the fact that I was unable to take any photos. It poured on us the entire day, and once we arrived back at the launch there was no time to lose as the road had been washing out the entire day, and we still needed to get my buddies boat out. So, no pictures this time.
Anyways, we had decided to fish the mouth of the Dog River, in the northwest corner of Dog Lake. This is typically a great spot for early season walleye as they congregate in the river following their spawn. This is usually a productive spot until the fish begin moving back out into the lake as the water reaches 55- 60 degrees. There are a few launches on the lake, but the closest and most reliable is located at the beautiful Dog Lake Resort. If you don't mind paying a small fee, this is the best option. The rain thankfully held off until we climbed into our 18 foot Crestliner Fish Hawk, and we were under way.
The river is almost at the complete opposite end of the lake, and with the chop, it took us almost 20 minutes to reach the mouth. As you can see from the photos, the river channels are all over the place and you have to been careful in there and really watch for submerged logs and islands. The rain was really coming down as we entered the river so we tucked into the spot I named point A on the map, and began fishing.
We tucked ourselves into the back eddy and anchored just off shore. The water here went from about 4 feet, where our boat was, to around 25 feet a short cast away. We were essentially casting out into the main flow of the current and then slowly working our bait up the steep incline into the slack water. At around the 15 to 10 foot mark is where we got our hits. I assumed this to be the walleye holding spot where current met slack water. There was a flurry of strikes right away, a few fish caught, none of any size, and then nothing. There was an abundance of debris on the bottom as well, that inhibited our technique and required a few to many reties so we decided to move to another location.
This was an area where a number of currents, and sections of the river met. There was no single channel so we decided to anchor in the middle and work all around us until we found some fish. It was in this way that we landing one of the biggest fish of the day, roughly 25 inches and one of the ‘blue-est’ walleyes I have ever seen. Before we could really work this spot the wind picked up and we were forced to move or freeze, so we pulled anchor and headed for cover.
The wind was coming almost directly from the west and was sending some nice sized waves straight through the mouth of the river. We found a calm patch of water, Point C, but still had to contend with the constant rain.
There were two other boats around the river that day, and one of them had been set up at this spot but as soon as the wind picked up they took off. Lucky for us, we just zipped over and tucked away out of the wind. This spot quickly began producing and there was no reason to leave for the rest of the day. One of us was constantly bringing one in, even the odd northern found its way to the boat. We had stumbled on a great spot, and I wondered why the other boat had left. We had anchored in about 10 feet of water just off a small rock face. Our boat was pointed towards the channel where the wind and waves were, and in between us and that was a hole about 30 feet deep (see diagram). I began casting so my bait landed right on the seem of the channel/calm water. I would then let it hit bottom before I very slowly retrieved it, striking bottom constantly the entire way back to the boat. The water was only around 7 or 8 degrees at the spot, pretty cold considering the early season we have had, and I think this made the bite a little less active, but the fish were there. One of my fishing partners Mike explained that he has always noticed “you feel the little ones bite, but the big ones just hold the bait”. That is exactly what it was like yesterday. The smaller eyes, 15 inch and under were a little more active and on a couple of occasions hit fairly well, but none of the ones we caught between 16 and 25 inch hit at all. You just knew something wasn’t right with your line, and if you held off the urge to set the hook immediately, you landed more fish. This can be true of walleye fishing all year round, but when the water is this cold you have to be patient and delicate in your presentation but also your hook set.
Throughout the day we tried a variety of jig head, mostly ½ ounce. For me orange was the ticket, but white also worked very well, along with pink and green. We tipped all our jig with medium sized minnows, and by the end of the day we had gone through 12 dozen! We even had a couple sucker minnows that we rigged up and set on bottom, caught a couple pike, and to my surprise even one large walleye. Overall it was a cold, very wet day, but it was successful and we ended up bringing enough fish home for dinner so there really wasn’t any complaining.
As I stated earlier, we just were not able to get any pictures this time but give me a couple more weeks and Ill have some laker pics up from GREAT SLAVE!