25 Dec Friday October 2
Read all about the latest fishing conditions from Captain Matt Whitney of Whitney Charters.
Well it’s been an interesting month since the last report. The water got cold, then warm, then cold again and the fishing followed suit with sporadic success. Prior to this last blast of north and east winds we had great numbers of baitfish showing up from 125 – 250 FOW and pretty decent fishing to go along with the presence of bait. The last few days have pushed the bait beyond the venturing point of most fisherman as the guys I’ve spoken to have turned around before getting out further than 240 FOW as the strong offshore winds have made life out there rather uncomfortable. The reports that have come back with those guys didn’t offer much encouragement as while they were able to find warmer water they did not find baitfish or more than a couple of steelhead or lake trout in those waters. A few coho and some very small, less than legal length kings, have been caught around the piers. On my trip last night we even found a nice 32″ northern pike that was hanging out in the channel looking for a meal. He offered some excitement, which was greatly appreciated, but it was not what we were hoping for. Right now the tops of all the trees are still aiming at Wisconsin and the forecast doesn’t show much to make me think anything is going to change for at least 4 or 5 days. Continued strong easterly winds swinging to the northwest after the first of next week don’t exactly indicate that the warm water and schools of young baitfish, along with our favorite predators, are headed back this way any time soon. Should you choose to enjoy a day on the water though, here’s what did work for more than pike.
Chrome plugs equivalent in size to a #3 JPlug took a few hits fished on 1 and 2 color lead cores as well as on a downrigger 20′ down. Standard Stinger sized spoons in bright red and orange combinations succeeded in aggravating mature cohos too when trolled in the top 15 feet of water. Most of the mature kings have headed up river but there are fish staging around the warm water discharge near the power plant. If you decide to venture offshore, and please use caution and don’t be a lone ranger if you’re in a small, single engine boat, spread your gear from the surface to about 100′ down. The water temperature varies little when you’re in the cold water and when you find warmer water the young baitfish will be up high so skip worrying about the fact that your temp sensor says 62 degrees or even warmer and leave some small, bright colored spoons up there. Smashmouth, Blue Veggies, Capt. Gary and Fireball patterns were all pretty reliable before the wind changed. Most of the fish have preferred Super Slim and standard Stinger sized blades but my best deep spoon has been a magnum Fuzzy Bear Modified Blue Dolphin on a 450′ copper. For my deepest downrigger the Trash Can with a Green/Yellow Spin’N’Glo has been my go to rig. Steelhead, lake trout and kings have all fallen prey to this combo lately so don’t write it off just because you’re not a lake trout fan. Overall my trolling speed has been a little faster lately and 2.7 – 3.4 mph (yes, even when fishing the dodgers) has been my most successful speed range. The current that will be generated from all this wind is likely to drive you crazy as you go deeper so watch your gear closely and change speed and direction accordingly.