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Juls WFA Blog

Fishing with Rob and Doug 4/16/19

by Capt Juls on 04/17/19

Left the house at 5:55am and got to the White Caps Motel a little early...15 minutes early, so I waited on my crew who showed up right on time at 6:15. We made our introductions and loaded into the old excursion to head into town. I needed to stop and top off the gas in the Ranger, and then hit Rickard's Bait for some ice and a couple dozen crawlers.


After the two big NE blows this past Friday and Monday, that muddied up the entire basin West of the Bass Islands, the plan of attack would be to troll Bandits and P-10's on the east side of the islands. I did pick up some crawlers to try too, because even though I usually don't offer them meat until the water temps are up a little more, I thought, "Well, if they can't see it, maybe they can smell/taste it". You never know until you try. ;)

We headed out of Mazurik's a little before 7am, and headed north out of the launch. The lake was pretty calm since there was a just a 5-10 mph SW wind. When we were in the middle of the "chute"...between the mainland and Kelly's...I looked to the east to see if I could see cleaner water...it looked like there was. I made a right turn and then headed up the east side of Kelly's in search of that clean water, but with like any optical illusion out on the water, I was chasing a ghost. The water never cleaned up on that side, so we just kept going north until we made it around to the north side of Kelly's Island, and found it.

There were good marks showing on the Helix just as I passed through the island and the shoal...the water was 42.7 degrees there and the clarity was decent too. 

Here's how I read the water with my cavitation plate and prop on my motor. Others may not agree, but it's how I was taught, and has been a good rule of thumb for me to follow all these years.

Too Muddy = Can't see my cavitation plate / Don't bother stopping
Mixing/dirty = I can just make out my cavitation plate / it will be a tougher bite
Mixing = I can just make out my prop / the bite should be good
Too Clean = The prop is clear and sparkling

That's not to say that these rules have never been broken by some suicidal walleye, because they have...but, for the most part, it's pretty accurate.

We marked fish for about a 1/4 mile and then turned and set up to go back through that area with some baits in the water. Bandits were on one side at 65/75/90 and the other side was set up with crawler harnesses with 1oz and 2oz inline weights at 25(1oz), 41(10z), and 60(2oz) to see what they wanted. Speed was 1.2-1.4 mph.

We were only set up for a short time before I got a couple texts stating "just set up...first one in the box". Then, the next text just 5 minutes later..."4 coming in now", which told me that there was a fast bite happening someplace else, so we picked up and moved to the west side of the island. In hindsight...I should have stayed put, as we were the only boat there...we had marks, and chasing someone elses bite is never a good idea. lol

The wind had picked up a bit, and was now blowing more like 10-15 mph. The waves went from nothing to 1-2 footers, so I kept the waves on the corner of the boat, so I could control my speed better.  We made the same pass, with the same leads, same baits, same colors, and same speed. We caught ZERO on that pass. I think the pod was moving and staying just under his boat. Ha! But, whatever it was, it wasn't happening for us. I think from now on, I'm just going to turn my phone off when I'm in the boat, and go fishing. lol

Anyway, to make a long story short...I never did go back to that first spot, but tried three more passes in different areas on the northwest side of Kellys, and the east side of Middle Bass and North Bass. After 9 hours of trying different things, we only ended up with 7 spunky eaters to show for it. By the way, in case you were wondering...nothing was caught on a crawler yesterday.

Rob and Doug were great to spend a day in the boat with...especially when it's a tough bite. They were just happy to be out of the office and floating on a lake in a nice boat, and their company was enjoyable.  They are both CPA's and had their hands full with clients this past tax season, so they were ready to just breathe some fresh air and relax. The sun did make an appearance in the afternoon and warmed things up nicely. The wind died too, so the lake was pretty calm, which was a added bonus. woot! woot!

We were supposed to go out again today, but I had to make a call this morning based on the forecast that was available at that time, so we all decided to do it again another time when conditions were better. 

Thursday's trip, Friday's trip, and Saturday's trips are all being rescheduled too, due to weather, and Sunday's trip....while the weather is fishable...we are rescheduling because it is a customer and two of his three sons....he forgot it was his youngest's birthday (along with it being Easter), so I told him we should reschedule that day. I'll be back out Monday with my regulars...Steve and Jeremy Champman. :)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Can You Say, "Chocolate Milk"? ...4/15/19

by Capt Juls on 04/15/19

Hi everyone,


I know I haven't blogged for a week now, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I know many of you are planning on heading this way this week, and I just want you to take a look at the satellite picture from today first. You can find it by clicking the weather tab at the top of the page and then clicking on the satellite button on that page. 

The lake is muddy, muddy, muddy! But, for those of you who still plan on coming out, just know that the fishing will be tough. There are some spots with cleaner water on the east side of the bass islands. The east side of Kelly's is marginal, but maybe fishable....and you will see that in the satellite picture. Those are the areas I would target first going out tomorrow.

If the trolling bite is nonexistent...try jigging with hair jigs or blade baits to see if that works. (I loaded my spinning rods in the boat too...just in case!) ;)

I called my guys for tomorrow and explained the same thing to them, and gave them the option to reschedule, but being CPA's who just finished up with taxes today...they want to go and unwind. So, we'll be heading out in the morning.

Good or bad...I'll blog the trip tomorrow afternoon. 

Good luck if you get out there, but go with low expectations....and then, if you catch fish, it will feel even better! ;)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Daren and Aidan Cable 4/7/19

by Capt Juls on 04/07/19

My crew was meeting me at my house at 6:30 this morning, and as usual, I was dressed and ready to go WAY before I needed to be, so I took that hour to go into town and gas up the Ranger and stop off at Rickard's Bait to buy a few more Bandits. The Buck Fever color, which is a purple back and a chrome belly, has been hot for me all spring, so of course, I needed more. lol


Anyway...I digress...lol

My crew showed up right on time and Daren and his son, Aidan, jumped in the truck and off we went over to the launch on the Portage River.  Just like yesterday, as we headed out the river, we were greeted with another beautiful sunrise and a calm lake. I put the throttle down, and the G2 let her 300 horses gallop across the 6" chop up to the Niagara area, where I ended up yesterday.

The setup was the same as yesterday...65/75/80/90 with Bandits, unassisted. Speed was 1.3 mph. Buck Fever, Huff Daddy Chrome, Golden Huff Daddy Chrome, and Green Clown all took a fish there this morning.  The bite was much slower this morning than it was yesterday, so I decided to move to Mouse for a pass...(same set up)...we caught our two biggest there...again, on the purple/silver Bandit.

We heard about some good marks in another spot, but because it was info given to me, I am not at liberty to give that info out, since they might be using it tomorrow...sorry!  We went there and caught three more...giving my guys their limit and one of mine. 

I have been wanting to go to Clinton Reef to see if they were in there yet, since the water temp there is 44-45 degrees now, while the other spots I was at were still holding at 40 degrees. Unfortunately, there's not a happy ending....the Humminbird didn't show any marks, except for a few perchy looking fish on the bottom every now and then. So, needless to say, but I'll say it anyway....we didn't catch anymore there and headed in when our time was up with the 9 fish we caught earlier. 
Oh well....at least my curiosity was satiated. ;)

Daren wanted to take this trip to learn how to run the Off Shore boards that he bought for his boat. By mid-morning he and his son were running them like they have been doing it for a long time, and I have no doubt he will have the skill and confidence to use them in his boat and be successful doing so. Well done guys! Woot! Woot!

They said they had a good time and learned a lot, so that makes me happy. :)

Tomorrow's trip has been rescheduled, due to a medical emergency, so I'll be taking the day off to clean my house and do some grocery shopping, and play with the dogs. Back at it Tuesday and Wednesday with a crew from South Dakota, who will be staying on Kelly's Island.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Neal, Dave, and Luke 4/6/19

by Capt Juls on 04/06/19

I left the house at 5:45 and swung by the White Caps Motel to pick up my crew at 6am for breakfast, before heading back to the Portage River Fishing Access ramp next to their motel, to launch.


It was still kind of dark out when we headed down the river at a bracing speed of 5mph for the 20 minute "no wake" zone until we hit the lake. The sun was just lighting up the sky when we hit the end of the channel, and showed us a calm and glistening lake of glass.  It was going to be a very nice day. The forecast called for winds less than 5mph for most of the day, and sunshine to warm the air temps into the 60's.

By the time we hit the mouth of the river, the E-TEC was all warmed up, so I hit the throttle and away we went. The Ranger glided across the lake like at a nice cruising speed of 40, so we could react if we saw one of those super giant logs that are floating out there right now. Some of them are over 20 feet long!

We headed north out of the river for approximately 15 miles before slowing down to check some marks that the Helix was alerting me to. They looked like the right fish, and the water wasn't too dirty, so we set up with the Bandit program at 65/70/80/90 back (unassisted) on both sides of the boat, and set the Ulterra's speed to 1.1-1.3 mph. The surface water temp was reading at 42.2 degrees.

We went 0 for 2 in that spot, and decided to go check another spot closer to North Bass. There were some good marks up there, but the water temp was reading 2 degrees cooler, and the water was much cleaner there. Not quite the mixing water I was looking for. I just didn't have a strong feeling that we would do well there, so we moved back down to the first spot and changed the trolling direction.

We headed south from the original spot and started to pick away at them. We went 11 for 15 in total, but we did manage to land some really nice chunkers. The largest was a 10.3 beauty... another was a 9.9 pounder...a set of 7.6 twins, a 7.4, a 6.6, and the rest just little eaters. The 10.3 was let go to live another day and hopefully get even bigger, so someday someone can catch a new state record walleye for Ohio. ;)

Today, we celebrated Neal's birthday, which was back in December. His wife bought him this trip for his birthday, and we're just now getting it done. Neal brought his brother in law, Dave, and their nephew, Luke along for the trip too. Luke is an awesome young man...he impressed me a LOT (and, that's saying a lot..lol)...I only had to tell him something once and he was doing it like a pro. He made my day so easy, and if I could hire him as a first mate, I would!  Great job Luke!! ;)

It was a fun day with this crew, and I'm looking forward to a perch trip in the fall that they want to come back and do with me, and that makes me happy. :)
Hopefully, Neal will bring his wife along on that trip too.

Tomorrow's trip is with Daren Cable, who called me yesterday to fill a spot that was left open when I had to reschedule a couple for medical reasons. He wants to learn how to run the Off Shore boards, so this will be a learning trip with...hopefully, some walleye as a bonus!

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls


Fishing with Vito and Saunders 4/5/19

by Capt Juls on 04/06/19

Vito, and his buddy, Saunders, came down from Wisconisn to fish with me today, and then he'll use the Ranger he bought from me last fall to fish the rest of the weekend with his Dad and Saunders. His dad drove in this afternoon.  


We met at my house this morning, and ate some sausage gravy and homemade buttermilk biscuits for breakfast, thanks to Chris Utter, who was here earlier in the week and brought me a big bag full of venison breakfast sausage, chorizo, and assorted summer sausages, from Wisco. Yum! :)

Saunders had brought me some Wisco cheese curds and string cheese too! You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take Wisconsin out of the girl! Thanks for thinking of me you guys! It's so very much appreciated! ;)

After breakfast, we headed over to Mazurik's to launch and hit the water at 8:45.
The northeast blow we had yesterday muddied up the waters inside, so we headed north until we found clean water with some marks in it, and then went a little further up to the line...turned around, and set up. 

We ran Bandits at 65/75/80 on one side and 75/85/and 50/30 w/2oz on the other side. The two running up at 65 caught fish, and one at 75 had one on, but it broke off when a big stick and another board got in the way on its way in. I sure hope that fish gets that lure out of its mouth  somehow. It was a smaller fish from what I saw when it was up on the surface...sigh.

Speed was surging this morning with the big NE rollers coming in. But, by keeping the boat's corner on the waves, we were able to control the speed a little better and tried to keep it at the 1.1-1.4mph range.  The waves would settle down as the day went on as the winds died down, so that was nice.

When we picked up to go back and make another pass, I decided to keep going further east towards Middle Island and make a longer pass along the border, but instead, made the decision to go look on the east side of Gull Island Shoal for fish.
I hadn't looked there lately, and in the past, in April, it's been a good area when there was a NE wind....well, it wasn't the case today...sigh.  No fish there. 

Then, we moved down to the NW corner of Kelly's and had better marks, but no takers. The water was a little dirtier there too though.  Then, we moved back towards where we started this morning, but didn't go as far north this time.  There was a huge pack to the south of us, so we set up and headed south. We hit two fish right away, and then nothing for the rest of that 3/4 mile pass. So, we picked it all up again and started again in the same spot....picked up two more fish right away, and then nothing, but this time it was time to go in, so we headed in with only 6 fish.

We had a good time, and I told Vito, "Well, at least we eliminated a lot of water for you this weekend." To which he replied where he planned on launching from and where his starting point would be. ;)

Tomorrow's weather looks even better. The winds are forecast for less than 5mph out of the NE and temps in the 60's. Of course, it will be cooler on the lake, but it should be sunny, which will make it feel warmer.   I am SO ready for flip flop weather! I hate wearing all these layers.

I'm fishing with Neal DeWolf and some of his family members tomorrow, and will be looking for new water to fish.  Hopefully, a lot of this mud will sink overnight, and give us some more areas that are holding our finny friends to fish.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Kent, Doug, and Kevin 4/2/19

by Capt Juls on 04/02/19

Today was day one of a two day trip with my crew from South Dakota. Kent bought this trip for his Father in Law Doug as a belated Christmas present, and also brought his brother in law, Kevin, along for some of the spring walleye fun.


They are a real pleasure to have in the boat, because folks who come from the Dakotas know how to fish! woot!woot!

My job was made very easy, since they knew how to set the boards, and retrieve lines when fish was on. It was almost like I was on vacation with them. "Merry Christmas to me", I say! lol :)

We ran 4 Bandits on each side of the boat behind the Off Shore boards, set at 60/70/80/(20/20 2oz)on one side and 65/75/85/(20/20 2oz) on the other side. Every setting took fish.

We ran mostly chrome colors: Purple/Silver, Black/Gold, Green Clown, and Huff Daddy Chrome. We also ran Khaki and Firetiger stock colors which both took multiple fish today too.

Speed was 1.2-1.4 mph

Water temp was 37.6 degrees

The north side of Kellys has both pre and post spawn fish right now....wink wink

Tomorrow's weather is going to be a gusty West wind, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Bill, John, and Stan 4/1/19

by Capt Juls on 04/02/19

This is just a short report, due to having started late and fished late, and not having enough time after fishing to get everything done!


Had a great trip with Bill, John, and Stan from Iowa....we only had 4 fish after 5 hours and then got a call from a friend about a hot bite close to the first spot we fished on the north side of Kelly's Island.

Bandits 60/70/80 back at 1.1-1.3mph....anything chrome!

We stayed out an extra hour and finished with our four person limit. :)

The boys were happy, and will be out fishing in their boat today.

Good luck guys!

I'm fishing today and tomorrow with two fellas from South Dakota, who only want big fish....soooooo....fingers crossed! 

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Tim, Matt, and Wyatt 3/27/19

by Capt Juls on 03/28/19

"Today is going to be a great day", I said as I walked down the hallway to the kitchen to make some coffee. The forecast was calling for mid to high 50's by early afternoon, which is always something to look forward to this time of year.

It was a chilly high of 29 degrees when I took my coffee outside on the back deck to check the wind conditions.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a peaceful morning of calm wind.

Tim and Matt McGlothlin have fished with me several times a year, for many years now, so they too are more like family than just customers. :)

Matt brought his son, Wyatt, along on this trip. Wyatt is 8yrs old now, and his first trip with me was when he was just 4 years old. They agreed to meet me at my house this morning, since they were just down the road at the White Caps Motel. We hit Ala-Carte for a delicious breakfast and then headed to Catawba to launch.

On the way into Catawba there were boats leaving, and I said, "Ruh Oh...Looks like there might be a line at the launch". I was right. When we pulled in, I could see a back up of boats waiting to launch, so I took a short cut through the Cliffs to the other side of the island and headed to Mazurik's instead.

It was a good decision, because there were only two boats ahead of me...one was Lonney Goman...a guide on Green Bay, and his side kick Hunter Lambert, of MI.
They came up to say, "Hi" since we are Facebook friends and have never met. That made me happy. :)

The launch was a little icy this morning, but we made it in with just a little slipping. I knew it would be fine once the air warmed up. 
We headed out of the launch and headed northeast, to the east side of Kelly's.
It's always nerve racking to do something different, and out of the ordinary, from what everyone else is doing, but I wanted to try it.

It was really nice not having another boat in sight for most of the morning. One or two other boats eventually showed up out there, so I thought to myself..."Those guys are as crazy...wait...they think the same way I do...Hmmm....I think I like those guys". ;)

The Humminbird lit up with really good marks in 43 feet of water. The water temp was 37.5 degrees. I kept moving until the marks ended and turned the Ranger around and deployed the Ulterra and set a course from NE to SW at 1.1-1.3mph. The fish were all on the bottom 1/4 of the water column, so we started out with Bandits and P-10s all with 2oz snapweights. The P-10's were set 30/30, 30/50, and 50/30. The Bandits were set at... 85 back, unassisted...30/30, 30/40, and 30-50.

The Lemon Lime Crush (stock color) P-10 took the most fish today with the 50/30 2oz snapweight program.  The Bandit set at 30/40 took one. The first fish of the day was a little eater that came pretty fast after setting up. But, then it was dead for about 1/2 hour when a big fish pulled a board back.

Wyatt reeled that one in with the help of his Dad, and said he wanted to let it go after we took a picture, so that's what we did. She swam off to live and survive another day. Maybe someday she'll get to be a "Teener"...those fish, that we all want so badly.
They can only get to be a "Teener" if they never get caught, or they get caught by someone who let's them go, to get bigger. ;)

We marked a lot of fish, but couldn't get anything really dialed in and ended with only 6 fish in that spot. We picked everything up and moved to the north side of Kelly's. I marked some fish out near the east side of Gull Island Shoal, but when we finally got set up on the westwardly track...the marks disappeared....(deep sigh). Dang it!  Okay...let's go a little bit and see if the marks return here. Ugh..they didn't. So, this time, I said, "Let's pick up one more time, and move until we find some fish...this isn't going to cut it, and we're burning daylight". 

I ended up marking some fish on the NW corner of Kelly's, but not like what was marked there before the last blow. The water temp there was 38.0.
We trolled around there for about 45 minutes, marking a fish here and there, but we didn't catch anything. One more time, I said..."Let's move guys...let's pick'um up and move again".

I had a feeling the lighthouse might have some fish hanging out there, since I had heard some fish were already spawned out. I figured they were the "east girls" and would be heading back home earlier than the rest.  Those fish take the south passage home, and have to pass right by the lighthouse to get there. The water was 39.3 degrees there, but it was muddy. I could just make out the cavitation plate, but we tried it anyway.  The marks on the Humminbird were outrageous. So big!! I used some Pro-Cure goop on the tail ends of the cranks to aid in detection, but to no avail. No takers there either. Then, we were out of time.

They said they had a good time, on a great day, and relaxed. I could actually see them unwinding and shedding a winter's worth of stress on their faces.  That's why I love fishing....it's good for a person's health, and renews the soul in ways nothing else can. :) 

They were supposed to fish with me tomorrow, but something work-wise came up for Tim, unexpectedly, while we were all at dinner, so we rescheduled. I'll see them again on Memorial Day weekend for a couple of days. 

My Saturday and Sunday are most likely going to be rescheduled, due to weather, so I won't be out again until Monday. 

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Ed and Ben Jacobson 3/24/19

by Capt Juls on 03/25/19

Woke up and took my coffee out on the back deck to check the wind and temp, early this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find just a very light SW wind and temps in the high 30's. The forecast was for light SW winds, less than 10 mph, all day and a high of 50. I was looking forward to spending a fun day with my Father and Son crew from Wisconsin.


Ben bought this trip for his Dad, for the purpose of getting Ed on some big walleye. 

I ran into town to gas up the boat and get some ice, before picking my crew up at 6:30. After a hearty breakfast at Ala-Carte, we drove back over to White Caps to launch. 
At 7:45 AM, as we motored down the channel towards the lake, the sun was just peaking up over the horizon. It would take us 20 minutes or so to get to the mouth of the river, so I took that opportunity to put some RPM time on the baby E-TEC. I needed to get an hour of time in on it with the RPMs over 2500, before I start using it for the summer.

The plan was to hit the firing range cans, so I headed to G Can area first. The Ulterra was deployed and set for a south to north troll near the can at 1/2-1/4mph. After a quick tutorial of how to use the line counters and the Off Shore boards, we got busy. I set up using the Bandits that were productive on my last trip out. The leads were set to 45/55/65/75/85, and 90 back unassisted (no weight).  We spent about 20 minutes there...not marking anything while we trolled, so I had them pick everything up and we headed down to H Can. 

I was SE of the pack, with only a boat or two around, when we set up again with a SE to NW trolling pass at 1.2-1.4mph. It wasn't long and the first board went back with a violent tug. I said, "Here we go! That looks like it's a nice one!" It was a nice 5 pound(ish) walleye, and the biggest Ed has ever caught, so it was the first PB breaker in the boat today. :)

Ben saw the next board go back and said, "Fish!" "Take it!", I said and scurried to move rods around while he reeled in the outside board. That fish was a twin to the first one, so after a picture of the two of them with their fish, we put them in the cooler and started to set the lines out again. The next board went back before we could get the last line in. And, of course, it's always the outside board, so again, I moved rods around and then had to quickly get the lures out of the nets, so I could use one to net the fish.

The third fish was a 7.75 pounder and definitely Ed's biggest to date. Both of them were very excited and few high-fives were given too. But, before the excitement waned, another telltale sign of a "fish on" was spied. It was Ben's turn this time, and he reeled in a nice 9.49 pounder. Another personal best for them both. 

We had four fish in the boat, and two baits still swimming. I decided to make a turn and go back over that pass again, but was knocked off my line by others who had the right of way. By the time I got back to the starting point and turned around again, there were 4 or 5 boats that were drifting and jigging on the line I wanted to go back over....(deep sigh). I gave in, and got out of the pack, and headed north to the area I was at the other day...north of Turtle Creek. 

We set up in a little deeper water this time. The 26-27' of water was holding fish, and the Helix showed some good marks near the bottom and mid water column. 
To make this long story shorter, and with our time on the water running out...we would only catch 5 more eaters there, and then head to the waters east of Ballast Island on another tip from a friend, that I wanted to check out. 

Again, we set up in 26-27' of water. The clarity was cleaner than anywhere else we had been today, and the marks were very good too. We would catch 6 more fish there. We only caught a total of 15 today, and kept our 12. Not a fast bite like I thought it was going to be when we started out, but it was a fun day none the less, and I can't ask for more than that.  I have talked to people who were not even as fortunate as that, so I can't complain one bit!! 

Ben and Ed said they had a great time, and would like to come back again sometime....and, that makes me happy! :)

Tomorrow is a blow day, and Tuesday is going to be a high of 36 (no thanks!), so I won't be back out until Wednesday with my two regulars, Tim and Matt McGlothlin. They are here for two days, but Thursday is looking "iffy" right now. We shall see.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Steve and Jeremy Chapman 3/21/19

by Capt Juls on 03/22/19

I wanted to go out of Turtle Creek, so I had Steve and Jeremy meet me at my house and we rode over there together. We launched at 8:45 and found a foggy lake waiting for us. It was gloomy and misty on shore, but it wasn't that foggy, so it was a little surprising to see thick fog on the lake itself.


I turned the navigation lights on, and set out to find some fish. The Helix wasn't marking much near shore, or out by Locust Reef, so we headed south towards the cans, where I fished during the previous outing. It was a slow ride down, and we were straining our eyes for any silhouette of a boat that might pop up in front of us. We could only see about 100 yds in front of us at times, and other times, we could see 1/4 mile or more. It was very patchy fog.

Anyway, we made it down to H can and set up with Bandits running unassisted at 75/85/90 back at 1.2-1.3mph.  The first fish bit, and was a nice female that we took pictures of and put back to swim another day.  Another fish came a short time later that was also photographed and sent back swimming, but it was a slow bite for us.  

A friend had texted me and said he launched out of Turtle shortly after us, and had caught his first one too. After about an hour he texted me again and said he had 7 in the box, had good marks, and the water clarity was perfect, so we made the decision to make the drive back up in the fog, towards the NW side of the reefs, and give it a try there.  Once we got up there, the Helix was showing much better marks, so we set up with the Bandits again at 65/75/80 back unassisted (no weight) at the same speed. 

Within 10 minutes of setting up, we caught our first fish...a nice eater. That one went in the box. The next one was another fat female that went 28 1/2 inches, so she got her picture taken and let go to do her spring fling thing for another season.
At some point, the fog cleared up and the sun came out, which was appreciated by all of us! 

I changed a depth to 55 on a couple baits, and we hit a triple of 2-3 pounders that went in the box too.  The hottest color for us is one called "Buck Fever". It's just a purple chrome bait that is just purple and silver...no color on the belly.  Pink Squirrel was another hot color for us.  I have heard reports of others saying that all green baits, or all white baits were the ticket for them. So, basically, these fish are hungry and if you put a bait in front of them...they are going to eat it. I don't think the color is going to matter very much at this point.

It was a nice day on the water, and fun to spend some time with two of my longest regulars that feel more like family than customers now. ;)

Friday is going to blow, but Saturday is undetermined at this point. My Saturday customer changed his date to the 31st, because of a marine forecast he saw yesterday afternoon, but this morning that forecast has changed for the better, so I'm not sure what we will find Saturday morning....weather wise yet.  I may or may not be fishing on Saturday, so my next trip out is Sunday with another Father/Son team from my home state of Wisconsin. 

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

First Day Back on the Water! Woot! Woot!

by Capt Juls on 03/19/19

I didn't have a guide trip today....well, I kind of did...let me explain.


I didn't have a scheduled trip, but I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and get the new Ranger out for a shakedown run, and try to see if I still knew how to catch some walleye for my trips coming up this weekend. ;)

I asked a young couple to go with me, so I could run more lines. Mark works in the produce dept of the local Kroger store, and his girlfriend Cassie works at "Waldo Peppers", a local restaurant with some pretty good food. Mark had run into me at the last place I did a seminar and mentioned that he had never trolled before...he was a "caster".  I had remembered when I talked to him at the store, that he mentioned that he had Tuesdays off, so I sent a text to see if he wanted to go...and, he did.

It was a fun morning west of Catawba. The wind was light out of the west to start, and died down as the day went on. It was switching though...at around 2pm it was coming out of the east for  a short time...then, it died again, and switched to the SW.  
 It was chilly early on, but when the wind died and the sun was out...it got warm. Then, if the sun disappeared, it felt about 5-10 degrees colder. I didn't know whether to put my warm hat on or take it off...it was a decision made several times today. lol

We ran P-10's  with 1 oz snapweights 25/25 and 30/30 at 1.0 to 1.2 mph to start... we caught 5 fish on those. In the afternoon, we switched to Bandits at 1.2-1.4mph with no weight at 75, 85, and 90 back. We caught 9 more with the Bandits, in much less time than it took to get the first 5 with the P-10's. We fished 25' of water with the p-10s and 22' of water with the Bandits....wink wink. ;)

The Helix wasn't marking a lot of fish at the Cans either. We would see a pod of fish, get a little excited and then... nothing. Then, see another small pod, cross our fingers, and then...nothing. Deep sigh.

I didn't make any runs to other areas, since I was just making sure everything was working as it should, and teaching my crew how to run the Off Shore inline Planers.  It was more about revitalizing my soul today than putting fish in the boat. And, today was a good day for that.  Of course, it's always better in flip flops...but, we're not there yet. 

Thursday, I'll be fishing with my regulars, Steve and Jeremy Chapman. They're always game for an adventure, so I'll be exploring a different area than today. ;)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

The Lake Ice is Leaving...

by Capt Juls on 03/11/19

On Saturday, March 9th, 2019 there was ice on the lake, but not safe ice...which was the reason 46 of 146 ice fishermen had to be rescued off Catawba after a crack in the ice opened up and left some stranded.


100 of those were able to walk off the ice on their own, but the other 46 were not so lucky and were rescued by airboat and USCG helicopters.  

That night, big SW winds appeared along with some warmer temps and some rain. I took a drive around the lakeshore yesterday morning to see what the ice conditions were like, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was open water for as far as I could see, west of the islands. 

A drive around Catawba island showed the same. Sure, there was floating ice out there, but for the most part the big sheets of ice were no longer in the passage or east of the bass islands. I'm sure there was still ice up in the triangle, between the bass islands and Green and Rattlesnake islands, as a SW wind would be pushing right in there.

This week, we are expecting above freezing temperatures, so hopefully that will help open up the ramps. However, I am not one to play with floating icebergs, so I won't be one of the first ones out there. We're still dealing with gusty winds, and when the water temps are what they are, I don't take chances just to make a buck or catch a walleye.  One mishap could mean someone's life at this time of year, and when I am responsible for my customer's lives, it's something I take very seriously. Besides, my dogs wouldn't understand why I never came home...and, that thought helps me make better choices. ;)

My first trip is scheduled for next Monday, but if the winds don't die down...it won't be until the following weekend...23/24.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

A Few More Weeks Yet....sigh

by Capt Juls on 02/28/19

After the big winds, warm temps, and rain we had over last weekend, I was hoping it was the end of the ice on the Western Basin, but the cold came back and so did the ice.  


The next warm up, that would melt ice, isn't forecast until around March 9th, if accuweather.com is to be believed, so if I have to pretend to have a crystal ball, I'm predicting it will be the third week of March before the lake is free of ice and the ramps are open.

I hope this spring is a case of "In like a lion and out like a lamb", because I'm sick of this cold and wind, and need to get some sunshine on my face again. lol

It won't be long now, so I'll be back to posting fishing reports very soon! :)



Trolling with the Ulterra and the E-TEC in Tadem...:)

by Capt Juls on 02/14/19

While I was out walking the Dexter Meister this afternoon, I received a message asking if I would Blog about how I use my Minn-Kota and my baby E-TEC together, to control my speed, direction, and the life of the batteries.


When I am trolling at a speed that needs to be above power level 5 on the Ulterra, I'll fire up the kicker, and lock it in the straight position.  

I'll set the Ulterra's power level to 4 or 5 and then watch the speed on my remote, as I adjust the kicker's RPMs to match the speed I desire. I'm now pushing the boat with the kicker and using the Ulterra for steering. At this point, I check the remotes speed with the Humminbird's SOG display, and make any adjustments as needed.

Typically, I know that on a good day the power 5 level will easily pull the boat along at 1.5-1.7 miles an hour...so, the dual motor technique is a tactic I use for anything over that speed. 

Wind, waves, and current will dictate my speed at any given time.  Depending on what direction I'm going in relation to the current I will either need to speed up or slow down. If you don't have a cool toy like the Fish Hawk, that reads the speed at depth, check the baits at the side of the boat to make sure it has the desired action you want. A slow wobble is what I want in the early spring when the water is cold. And, in the warmer summer waters, I want that bait just a wiggling like a wild little thing.

Paying attention to the changes of those elements, as they happen, can greatly improve your productivity on any given day. :)

Capt Ross Robertson wrote a very good article where he discusses speed/current/wind that you might like to read too.... (click the link below or copy/paste it in your browser's search bar)

https://www.fishusa.com/Learn/Article/Walleye-Speed-Control?fbclid=IwAR0jh3PHEH9etapf0DdAkM3piFFdzgxZONVrxPG8PJ_098q2NFNqe5Fonag


The two motor set up also helps keep the batteries from draining too fast, and keeps the starting battery charged up....a win-win. :)

I saw some open water out there today as I walked Dexter, and it was much nicer to look at than a lake of ice, so I'm hoping it doesn't freeze up again. Sorry Ice guys...lol

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Available Spring Dates Right Now...

by Capt Juls on 02/10/19

Here are the available Spring dates I still have open as of this morning, if you're interested in booking a trip for a chance at a trophy walleye. :)


I'll update this post as the dates get reserved, and are no longer available.

April:  7, 14, 15, 21, 24, 26, 29, and 30

May: 1, 7, 10, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30

Thanks, and have a great day! :)

Capt Juls

Just Thinking Out Loud...:)

by Capt Juls on 02/09/19

The Columbus Fishing Expo was this weekend, but due to a cold snap I was unable to leave the dog door open for the dogs, so I had to stay home.


Today, I was invited to an annual "Harness tying Party" at a friend's boat condo. We never get around to tying harnesses though, because it's basically just a get together with a dozen or so people who talk about their memories, boats, and all things fishy...while partaking in copious amounts of food and beverages. It's always a good time. 
I took Dexter with me, and he was showing off by being a good boy...:)
(Jill is getting too old for a concrete floor, so I let her stay home to lay on her comfy bed).

All the talk about fishing really has me fired up to get going again. But, there's still ice on the lake, and rivers raging with ice and mud, so it's going to be a little while yet, before we can get out.

The reservations are coming in now, and dates are filling up....but, there are still some early spring dates left March and April if you're looking to try and catch a trophy walleye. May has a handful of dates left open right now too.

The new 2019 Ranger was "broken in" before it iced up, so she's running great and ready to go as soon as the ice goes out!

Who else is ready for spring? :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fish ON! Dang...it's the outside board...Do I Clear the Inside Boards?

by Capt Juls on 02/06/19

Let’s set the stage: It’s a beautiful morning, the wind is light, there’s a beautiful sunrise happening, and there’s a small chop on the water, and I have great expectations for a good bite here on Lake Erie. I have new customers in the boat that have never fished with Off Shore inline planer boards before and are excited to learn.

 

My Off Shore Boards: I use the Tattle Flag system on mine. The front arm has the OR-18 black “Snapper” release on it, and on the back, I like to use the red OR-16 release. The Snapper has a toggling closure that allows me to use it two different ways, but I only use it one way, with the closure pushed down, to put the pin in the front of the line, keeping it from releasing until I take the board off. The OR-16 has a pin in the center of it, so when the line is put behind that pin it will not release from the line until I take it off. 

 

There are many different set ups used by many different people, and what works best for one person might not be the best for another person. The way that works best for you is the way to use them.  That’s why Off Shore Tackle has a plethora of release options to choose from.

 

I have used mine this way for 18 years, and it hasn’t let me down. Is it the best way? I don’t know, probably not. But, it works best for me. Will this work for you too? It most certainly will!

 

The first question from a novice board user is, “How do you bring in the outside board when a fish is on?” “I’ll show you”, I say. This is something that I’ve started doing, and it seems to work out pretty well.  Will it tangle with the other lines inside? Sometimes, but for the most part it’s tangle-free.

 

I’m usually running three boards per side and will try to run leads as short as I can. That means, if I have to run the baits deeper, I’ll use a “Guppie Snap Weight” on a crankbait, or a “Tadpole” on a crawler harness. By doing this, the outside board has less chance of tangling in the other lines when a fish is coming in.

 

For the sake of my story, picture the outside Off Shore board going back with the tell-tale sign of a big Lake Erie Walleye on the line. The board wiggles and falls back violently. I say, “Fish on! Let’s go…who’s up?” The next angler takes the rod from me, and I give these instructions:

 

“Point the rod tip to the other side of the boat…let that rod bend in half if it needs to, but just keep reeling nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow.”

 

At this point, I move the middle board rod, and the inside board rod, forward to the next rod holder. This allows those two boards to move forward in the water a couple feet. It’s usually enough to allow the outside board to come in behind them. When the outside board has cleared the inside board, I have the angler straighten the rod up, and keep it at a 45-degree angle. At the same time, I tell him/her, “Now, move back between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, and keep the rod tip over my outside shoulder” … (meaning the shoulder on the side of the boat that the fish is coming in on).  When the Off Shore board is a few feet from the boat, I grab the line and start bringing the board up to me and undo the releases from the line in one smooth action, as the angler keeps reeling.  


Once the board is off, I have him/her move to the back corner and keep the rod tip pointed out to the side of the boat. This allows the fish to come up off the corner, where I can net it easily, instead of behind the boat where it can, and most often will, get in the motors.

 

More often than not, this procedure works well, but there are times when a fish just has evil intentions and decides to take a run at the other lines too, and it might bring in one or both with it. However, it doesn’t take long to untangle and reset the Off Shore boards in “Marching Soldier” fashion again.

 

Give this a try next time you’re out and see if it works for you too. One tip though, if you don’t keep that rod pointed on the opposite side of the boat and bent in half until you clear those other two boards, it will never work. That is the key!

 

I wish you all the best of luck fishing and hope you find this helpful!


If you're looking to learn how to run inline planer boards, a guided trip is a great way to shorten the learning curve.  I pride myself in being able to teach anglers how to run them, so that when they go home they will be able to take what I've taught them and use them confidently on their own outings.


I still have open dates from ice out to ice up, so if you want to book a trip, just give me a call or email me for open dates, and let's get you on the calendar now! The fishing will be fantastic this year...don't miss out! :)


Spring is on its way...woot! woot!


Stay tuned...


Capt Juls

Arctic Blast...What to do While Stuck Inside the House?

by Capt Juls on 01/30/19

All the talk right now is the Arctic Blast that's happening across the midwest. Here in Ohio today, it's no different. We're experiencing the below zero temps with gusty winds along with everyone else. So, what is there to do when you're stuck in the house?


If you're like me, and you have a "fishing room", now is the time to get in there and play with stuff. Organize it, and start looking at hooks that need to be replaced, or check your inventory of crawler harnesses and perch rigs that you can make to replenish your stock before the season starts.

My room was so full of old boxes from electronics, that I thought I'd better keep, that I couldn't even walk into the room without having to step over something, so I threw them all out.  Just like when I go through my closets to get rid of clothing I haven't worn in more than a year, I decided that I had no good reason to  keep boxes with little pieces and parts any longer either. I did keep the pieces and parts, because you know as soon as you throw them out, you're going to need one.

I put all the little pieces and parts in a small box and put it away in the closet. Will I ever need them? Probably not. But, it's better to have and not need than to need and not have. I just didn't need to have the big boxes sitting around anymore. Maybe next year I will clean that stuff out again, but for now there's room to store it.

The other day, I got in there and cleaned it all out. There was so much room in the closet after doing that, that I was able to clear the entire floor area in the room, and organize it nicely in the closet. Now, I can go in and watch a movie while piddling around with my creativity making harnesses and perch rigs, without the nagging feeling that I've become a crazy horder lady. lol

I know the next question you're going to ask...."How do you make your crawler harnesses?"  It's very simple. Here on Erie, for the harnesses I troll behind the Off Shore boards, I use two hooks....a #4 treble in the rear and a #4 singe hook in the front. For harnesses used behind bottom bouncers I like to use two single hooks.
 
I use 20# test Sunline Super FC, and attach a barrel swivel on the tag end, so if I don't want to switch out the snap to a snap-swivel on my mainline, I don't need to.

As far as beed colors go...I have a plethora of colors and just have fun creating different combinations. I like to use #6 Colorado blades the most often, but if there's a cold front, I downsize them to a #5.  I have found that during a Mayfly hatch they like the rootbeer colored beads along with a #4-#5 gold hammered hatchet blade.  

There are hundreds of blade colors out there now, but I feel most are to catch the fisherman rather than the fish. lol

I believe, the bottom side of the blade is the most important, since I feel that's what the fish see's more so than the front side. Am I right? Who knows...it's just my gut feeling. I'm not a walleye, and don't talk walleye, so I can't actually ask a fish what it sees. lol

Having all the color options available to use and figure out what they want best each day, is key.  Own all the base colors...gold, copper, silver....along with antiefreeze, pink antifreeze, chartreuse, pink, green, purple, and orange. That will give you enough to choose from without having to own a fortune in different fancy painted blades.  You'd be surprised how often you can get away with just using the three base colors, so if you don't want to spend a lot of money, just buy some gold, copper, and silver, and you should be okay.

Now that I can walk in my fishing room, I'm going to go spend the rest of the day going through some boxes of building stuff that need organizing...while hoping I make it through the next day and a half without my pipes freezing or the power going out. ;)

Stay warm everyone....and, have a great day!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Driving in "Big Water"...How I do it. :)

by Capt Juls on 01/23/19

I run the Ranger 621 FS, which is a 21’ 10” beauty, and is rated for up to 350Hp motors. My 621 is powered by a Evinrude 300 G2, which is more than enough HP to reach speeds up to the mid to high 50’s. I am not as concerned with top end speed as I am with the mid-range torque, since there are few days where I can open it up, due to lake conditions, and powering up a wave with ease, is what I’m most concerned with.

 

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and the Western Basin is the shallowest of the entire lake.  With shallower water, comes the dangers of boat handling when the wind blows. Unlike deeper waters, shallow water creates waves that are closer together, and peak higher with lesser winds. 

 

It’s important to have a boat that can handle the conditions that the lake can throw at you, and for this reason, I run a Ranger.  There is one thing that Ranger does better than any other boat manufacturer, and that is, they fill the hull cavity with spray foam to completely cover every nook and cranny, which would keep the boat horizontal in the water in the event that it was to ever to fill with water. Most boats will not do that.

 

Good boat handling in rough conditions will prevent you from ever having to find out if your boat will float or sink, if you’re unfortunate enough to find out.

 

When I first learned to run big water, it was out of a Ranger 620. My mentor told me something that I have never forgotten…”If you can feel it in your ass, the boat can too”. Which, basically means, if you’re beating yourself up, then you’re beating the boat up too.  No one wants to get back to shore and then have to spend hours fixing loose screws, getting the windshield fixed, or listening to your fishing partner swear at you for hurting their back!

 

Here are some tips I learned for running big water, that might help you too.

 

1. Do not hide behind the windshield, if you have one. Get up above it where you can “read the waves”. If you can see what’s coming, you can adjust your speed to accommodate it. I change out the original driver’s seat pedestal with one that is a little higher. On the days where I need a little more height, I fold the seat down and sit on the back of the seat.

 

2. Keep your hand on the throttle at all times. Unless you run a “hotfoot”, one hand should be on the steering wheel, and the other on the throttle. 

The best reason for keeping your hand on the throttle is for “driving”.

While you’re reading the waves, you will be on and off the throttle continuously driving through the waves.

 

If you simply pick a speed, you’re going to get into trouble, because not all waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a few boat wakes from other boats, that turns the wave action into a “washing machine”. If you are not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will find yourself in trouble.

 

Power up a wave, let off on the throttle a little bit, and let that wave go under you, so that you don’t drop off the top of it, and fill the boat up with water at the bow, then power up the next one.

 

Even on the calmer days, I still drive with one hand on the throttle, because that one or two seconds it takes to take your hand from the wheel to the throttle could be the difference between safety and tragedy…ie: submerged log you spot at the last second.

 

A following sea is the most dangerous, but can be the easiest to run if you have a lot of patience. This is what I call “surfing”. Keep the motor trimmed down when running a following sea. This keeps the prop from blowing out, and keeps a grip on the waves.

 

Power up the backside of the wave, reduce speed on the top, so you can surf it, and then let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you.  If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave. Not only will it basically stop the boat in its tracks, but it will fill the boat with water from the bow. Now, all those waves that were following you will be filling your boat from the back end too.  This is why it is imperative that the operator have a lot of patience and just enjoy the “surf” until he or she is safely back to port.

 

The smoothest ride you’ll find, when it’s rough, is “running the trough”, or between the waves. The boat will roll back and forth with the waves, but it won’t get pounded.

 

Becoming a great boat operator takes a lot of practice. And, with practice come confidence. Having confidence to know what to do when the conditions change for the worse, will get you back home safely. 

 

When I run my charter business, I usually don’t take customers out when the wave forecast is calling for anything over 3-4 footers. Reason being, most customers do not have the big water experience and will usually have trouble getting out of their seats. This is not fun for them, and it’s not fun for them, it’s not fun for me either. Fishing and boating is all about having fun!

 

The worst conditions I ever ran my Ranger in was during a tournament back in 2003 out of Dunkirk, NY on Lake Erie. Luckily, the lake is the deepest at that end, so the 7-10 foot waves were spaced much further apart than on the western end, and the 10-mile run back in was safely done. I seriously doubt any small boat could safely handle the same conditions on the Western end of the lake. 

 

It’s important to check the weather forecasts, and wave forecasts, before heading out, so you know what is coming in for the rest of the day, and prepare accordingly. 

 

With today’s advances in technology, there’s no excuse to not be prepared. And, always keep a plan in your mind throughout the day, as to what you will do if conditions change unexpectedly, and you need to find shelter from a storm.  Always, have a plan, and keep safety your number one priority when playing on the big water. 


Live to fish, and have fun, another day!

 

 

Dreaming of Spring....:)

by Capt Juls on 01/14/19

Lake Erie Spring Walleye Tactics

 

My first trip to Lake Erie was in the fall of 1999, when I was invited by one of the areas greatest walleye anglers, Rick LaCourse, to do a little night fishing out of Huron, OH. It was a balmy December night, with a light 5mph South wind, and the temperature outside was 60 degrees. There was a full moon lighting up a clear sky, that shimmered on the calm water, making it look like it was made up of diamonds.

 

The fishing was incredible, and the size of the fish astounded me at the time. I’m originally from Wisconsin, where the walleye fishing is also very good, but it was nothing like what I experienced here for the first time at Lake Erie. 

 

That night, we trolled with crankbaits behind Off Shore Tackle inline planer boards at slow speeds. The boards were lit up with glow sticks attached to the flags, so when a fish hit, it looked like a shooting star going back in the water.  Seeing a large walleye, with a mouth large enough to stuff a grapefruit in it, coming up behind the boat elevated my excitement to the next level. I was hooked! I knew then that Lake Erie was the place I wanted to fish forever.

 

A couple years later, I had had enough dreaming and made the move from Wisconsin to Ohio. I had quit my job as a color correction specialist in the pre-press dept of Reiman Publications, sold my house, and moved to Ohio to pursuit of a career in the fishing industry. With much work and dedication, I have achieved that dream by first fishing for many years on the Pro/Am walleye circuits across the country, as a journalist covering the tournaments for Walleye Central, and for the past 8 years as a guide on the Lake I love. Many of my sponsors have been with me through this entire adventure and are the ones responsible for making all my dreams possible. 

 

The first spring that I fished Lake Erie with Rick, he told me that they start by “ice fishing” out of the boat and then, by jigging with ice fishing baits. Then, as the water warms, they would start jigging with regular jigs, and then on to trolling with crankbaits.  This made me scratch my head, because it confused me that we could troll in the fall when the water was almost the same temperature, but we couldn’t troll in the spring when the ice went out. It didn’t make sense to me, so I asked him if we could try trolling instead of ice fishing out of the boat. Being the kind of guy, he was, he indulged me, and we put the crankbaits out.

 

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the first one to try this, because I’m probably not. I’m just saying that in the circle I was in at the time, it wasn’t done that way.  As it turned out, it was successful, and we never had to ice fish out of the boat again, which is something that made me very happy!

 

In the spring, the walleye spawn in the Western Basin of the lake, where there are plenty of reef complexes and rivers. This happens in late March and April as the water warms after a long winter. The opportunity to catch trophy sized pre-spawn and post-spawn fish is at its highest during this time, and several tactics to catch them can be used.

 

For those that like to jig the reefs, a 3/8oz to 1oz hair jigs (best used with stinger hooks) are often tipped with Emerald Shiners, or soft plastics, but can also be successfully used without bait or plastics. Color can matter, so having an assortment of colors available to you will better your chances of catching fish. Popular colors are Purple, Chartreuse, Orange, Pink, Blue, Green, and Black.

 

For those who like to troll, most anglers will start out with some popular proven crankbaits like the Smithwick Perfect 10 and Top 20’s (very similar to their earlier “Rogue” baits), Rapala Deep Husky Jerks (size 12 and 14), Bandits, Bomber Long A’s, Berkley Flicker Minnows (sizes 9 and 11)  and both the shallow and deep diving Reef Runner baits. I know other baits get used, and the list could be extended, but these are the baits I have used over the years and are the ones that I put in my boat each season.

 

I was taught that when the water is in the high 30’s to low 40’s, the fish are sluggish, so trolling very slow is key. A speed of .8 to 1.0 has always been recommended.  However, that’s not always the case. For instance, over the years, I would hear of someone trolling at much faster speeds, at the same time that I was trolling slow, and they were catching fish too. So, keeping an open mind and trying new things can make you a better angler and increase your catch rate.

 

If you’re marking fish, and not catching for some reason, it only takes a few minutes to try a different speed. Get radical and try a fast speed like 1.5 to 2.0mph, to see if it triggers any response from the finny critters below.  Sometimes, I’ll use the “Rabbit” feature on my Minn-Kota trolling motor to speed up the baits, and then turn it off again, to slow it down. My thinking is, it gives the fish something to react to and can sometimes make the difference between a slow bite and a fast bite.

 

Changing colors often, until one stands out from the rest is another tactic I use while trolling. Sure, I have my favorites that I start out with, but if they are not in the mood for those colors, I have a plethora of other colors to try until I find the ones, they like best. It’s a lot more work, but it’s worth it when the bite becomes steadier.

 

Boat handling is another tactic I use to improve the catch rate. To help find the right speed, I will make turns during my trolling passes to determine if they want the baits faster or slower.  When you make a turn using inline boards, the boards on the outside of the turn will be moving much faster through the water than the boards on the inside of the turn. If a fish hits on one side over the other, and it’s repeated so I know it wasn’t a fluke, I will slow down or speed up to give them what they desire.  

 

The most actively feeding fish will be higher in the water, and not always seen on the sonar picture, so I always like to have at least one bait up in the top 10 foot of the water column, just in case. It’s not uncommon to end up having all the baits running that high during the spring.

The walleye I see on my Humminbird’s sonar screen, that sit close to the bottom out on the flats, are usually in a negative mood, and will not usually eat a bait that is trolled by them.  

 

The walleye up on the reef complexes, that sit close to the bottom are fair game for the anglers who prefer to jig though.  While I prefer the trolling game, I will take customers out to the reefs to do some jigging if they want to. Sometimes, it’s fun to feel that bite at the end of the line and feel the weight of the fish as soon as it hits. I must say though, that a jigging trip is much more fun for my customers than it is for me, because I don’t get to fish when we are jigging. I just man the net for them. It’s not that I don’t know how to jig, or that I’m not good at it… I just wouldn’t want to chance catching a big one right out from under them and steal that opportunity for one of them to catch it. 

 

If the chance of catching a trophy walleye is on your bucket list, then I highly recommend a trip to Lake Erie’s Western Basin from March through the end of May. June and July have some tremendous fishing too, but as the water warms the bigger fish that migrated from the east end of the lake, have already headed back to their summer haunts by then. That’s not to say, that some bigger fish do not stay in this area, because it’s not uncommon to find a trophy walleye hanging around from time to time during the summer. But, if table fare is your desire, then June thru September is the time to come here.  The catching can be very fast during these months, when conditions are right, and a ton of fun! Come fall, until ice up, the big fish move back from the east and we start the process all over again.

 

If Perch fishing is more to your liking, then I recommend looking at August thru ice up for limits of the green and gold treasures.

 

Now is the time to book your Spring Lake Erie fishing Charter for a chance at a trophy walleye, so don’t procrastinate, or you might be left wishing you had reserved your date(s) earlier!