BWCA Day Four (The Milk Run (copyright T. Holschlag))
Eggs and hashbrowns or smallie run of the trip… ?? Coffee with cream or monster dolomieu smashing baitfish patterns like Ike v. Tina? I just couldn’t eat breakfast man – and this day had a good feel to it from the start. I got up late ~6:40 or so, but see we’re only an eight minute paddle from hog heaven, so a short sprint put me there. I parked the canoe in 8-9 feet of water – on a great little drop – I think it’s a drop between two plateaus: one ~4-6 feet and the other maybe 10-12 feet. Hard to say but it felt fishy, and the water was calm. I started out with poppers – just trying to force them on the fish… nothing at all despite very good conditions re light and water. Somewhere around 745 or so a pike came completely out of the water, jack-knifed and came down on my popper – sheared it right off and said “hey you tooley – put on a streamer!” I then watched some baitfish flee an unseen predator –they were literally skipping out of the water, swimming for their lives… finally put on a clouser. That turned out to be a money move. Here is the sequence, as I can best remember it:
(1) Pike bit off clouser.
(2) Landed 17” smallmouth on clouser (see pics).
(3) Landed small walleye on clouser.
(4) As I was releasing walleye, pike bit off clouser as it dangled in water.
(5) Landed 18” smallmouth on clouser (see pics).
(6) Pike came like a missle from under canoe and bit off clouser.
(7) Landed three 15” smallmouth on the one remaining clouser in my fly box (started off trip with five – had lost one earlier).
It was the best hour of fishing of the trip – hands down. Poppers are great – love them best… but I have to admit – there is something to feeling a smallmouth slam a streamer. They were just crushing it. I was supposed to pick up one of the guys at 830, but I just couldn’t leave. I said “if I cast three times without a fish or a bite off I’ll leave.” Took a while before I paddled away… made the trip for me in a way – with respect to fishing that is.
Later in the day – using my newly developed fishing from shore techinique – landed a decent walleye trying for more of those smallies (oops). I also had shots are FIVE pike, but landed only one – cool thing it was on a diver fished with sink tip line. I truly believe that the reason I missed/lost four of five pike was the smaller hook gap – I went away from that big baitfish streamer which is tied on a big hook… in favor of some smaller DB eye flies. Didn’t work out man. One of them grabbed it right at my feet and just RACED to the side – very cool – never saw the fish – I was a big mess of line at my feet trying to get a handle… popped off. Could have been a great fish – could have been a mini – they are all fast. Another railed the fly so close to me that his tail splashed water in my face.
Nice day of fishing – one for the books I’d say. I'll put a pic of a 15" in here (great fish by any standard) just to show how it pales in comparison to the 18" and 17" as reference by the paddle. These fish were taped.An Honest and Beautiful 17" SmallieAn 18" - how do you like the bulk of that fish as it tails away?A 15" smallie - looks puny compared to big brothers.