I am no biologist, but that may had something to do with it. Or it is just cyclical (like most things) and we have been on a down turn in that cycle. BUT I wouldnt call it a bad year, this place is ALOT better than say...the Ohio River!
I have to agree with Bob's assessment. There have been many more cold fronts this year than last. But, I wouldn't call the fishing all that slow this year either. Of course I only fish for walleye so I can't speak for the other species of fish. I know that last year we were successfully jigging all year for walleye on the Canadian side of Peche island in 30 FOW. This year, with the exception of a few days, the walleye seem virtually non-existant in this area. Last year was a lot warmer than this summer so the fish were probably more apt to be in the deeper water, where as this year has been alot cooler so the fish have wandered more into the shallows of the lake. Of course the walleye always follow the bait fish as well so there could easily have been a change in the minnow runs this year. I went out for two hours yesterday morning and picked up two in the most southwest corner of the dumping grounds and the fish stomach content were full of minnows.
This is what i think. And I'm not debating this, just my opinion. Being into weather there really hasn't been that many cold fronts go through and cold fronts effect the fisherman more than the fish I think. FISH ARE ALWAYS BITING. For example cold front comes through and the winds pick up. # 1 negative, that effect us. # 2 usually rain is associated with cold fronts. # 3 the barometric pressure rise's, but under three feet of water i think the actual pressure doesn't change hardly, so fish don't feel the pressure differance. There's alot of pressure in the water the deeper you go. That's why your told to bring fish up very slowly from deep water or there swim bladder will turn inside out and come out there mouth. I've seen that happen.
I think simply, if fishing is slow for you first it's LOCATION, second it's PRESENTATION, and fishing pressure sure does hurt no dought. Hey the guy yesterday caught most of the fish in this location so gee i'm not getting bit here.
Things i think will help, # 1 lite line (fool the fish) # 2 downsize, just try a 1/8 oz. jig married with a Berkley 3in Gulp Grub, or 3in. Power bait grub, in white, or pumpkin color, tied direct. Use 4lb. line and i won't say what kind. lol Work it slow and just off the bottom. You have nothing to lose trying this when what your doing is failing. But remember, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!! Be patient, 10% of the lake holds the fish.
I think the cooler weather, higher winds in the early season, and slightly increasing water level has changed forage fish patterns. I say this because my notes show that I've been finding more musky this year in places where I haven't in the past: mostly nearer to shore and around structure where I usually find bass and other species.
A friend of mine swears by fishing the windward side of rock walls, seawalls, any walls on big wind days. He says the bait fish are right there this year - he's a live bait mostly minnow guy.
last year i had my best year ever
walleye on st clair(only missed a limit once in 12 trips-with many 20-30 fish days)
erie steelies(only missed limit once in 10 trips-many 20 fish days)
no limits for walleye on st clair(usuallu 2-4 fish)
smallies never got into them
steelies-one trip skunk
salmon-did limit out, but it was with lakers and no salmon
QUOTE(h2o @ Aug 11 2004, 05:15 AM)QUOTE(muskiebobsr @ Aug 10 2004, 03:11 PM) I think it is beause we have had more fronts every couple of days all year than ever before. The fish are as confused as we are.
Not every couple of days my master.
Bob; I agree with you and would like some advice on this weekend. Friend of mine and I are scheduled to fish this weekend on the S. end of the lake. NOAA has North winds Saturday 15 knots, waves 1 to 2 ft and Sunday North winds, 15 knots, settling down to Northwest, then variable, 10 knots. I think we should pass. He is planning on driving in from PA and I don't want him to have a bad time. This front in my humble opionion will shut the fishing down. What say you. I think a better weekend should be coming up.
Icet, Those northerlies will really weed up the south end of the lake too. If he does decide to come in, maybe you should fish the north end and if your going for `skies, try around the s. channel mouth. I would suggest another weekend.
It has definitely been a down year for me. I've never struggled this badly before. But I will say this. There are some that are doing quite well. Last night's GNT winner had 19.5lbs. With a several others in the 15-17lb range. Which is phenominal for a 4-hr/night tournament. Winning weights have consitently been 15-16lb. Again up for typical Tuesday night tournies. Last weekend 3 bags over 20lbs were brought in. All from Clair. In fact I believe, Clair is starting to compete with Erie in terms of size (well almost). That being said, my experiences this year have been far less then any other I can remember. But they are out there.
As to a reason fishing has been tough for some. I beileve this Spring had a lot to do with it. We started out very warm and I was looking forward to an early spawn/summer. Then we had some of the nastiest weather we have had during late Spring. With high winds and heavy rain almost daily. This really stirred up the lake. Water clarity was very poor and temps fell. Causing reduced sunlight penetration in a number or areas that are effected by silting from heavy rains. Inhibiting weed growth in some areas of the lake, plankton, etc. Some places were weed choked due to all the additional nutrients from the wash out and good water clarity. Others are still barren that shouldn't be. This subsequently forced many other changes in the lake as well. Just my opinion.
Thanks for the comments. Had not thought too much about weed harvesting. Thought we might hit the Radlin's soire this weekend. I know how the weeds are, been pulling weeds a lot with the winds this summer.
Totally agree with the weed comments. Did some bait fishing this past weekend and hit some areas that have produced and tried some new ones. One thing I noticed that where there used to be a lot of weeds, very sparce. One place had none and it used to have acres of the stuff.
As a side note, Bob, I will be there. Just remind us when the time comes. I am getting older and suffer from CRS. Haven't missed too many of your talks. What is amazing you always have some fresh stories.
Thanks Chris that is the nicest thing anyone has said about me in a long time. By the way all the paper work has been sent to Hayward Wisconsin so it is just a matter of time how things will turn out. I don't know if you guys heard but Dave Richey the ex sports writer from the Detroit News has been nominated as a writer to the Hall this year also. Let it Go Let it Grow. Bob
I think it is evolution. Sooner or later the fish were bound to evolve into more intelligent creatures, thus eluding us fishers on a more consistent basis. Blame the weather if you like or blame the alignment of the sun and moon, but honestly, how many fish can you expect to catch on a Redeye on a consistent basis? Or a PowerGrub married to 4 lb fireline? Let's face it, the fish are just plain smarter than us now...
Good point jcheetam. Years ago we used to troll allmost nothing but Flat fish for Muskie now I haven't caught a Muskie on one in 40 years. As far as the Red Eye goes it has been around since the 1860s and it still takes fish. This has been a weird year all season. Still see a lot of fish but it is much harder to get them to hit.. I can't remember when I have seen so many cool mornings in August before. look out for this winter I have an idea that it is going to be a pip. Good Fishing. Bob