Secrets to Catching Walleye over 27″ is that many times they show up in places where you don’t want to go back to. Like if you get ready to leave an area and you catch a big one way off the structure, a place you won’t fish again. Or you get to a spot and drop a jig in way ahead of the spot and you drop it right into a big fish’s mouth, and you won’t go back to fish that again because there was nothing there. Or you’re making a pass and get off course or extend the pass and just as you turn around you catch a big one. Or you fish around some wood, catch a big one and then can’t fish it again without getting snagged. I see these things happen over and over. I have seen the DNR radio track big fish and find them on flats between wingdams where no one fishes. They may show up really shallow, or really deep. They may be in slack water or in raging current.
The hardest thing for me is to extend my passes, you end up wasting a lot of time, but then one day a big walleye will reward your efforts. Some of my biggest fish at lake erie have been accidents, I run into a quick rise in depth and before I can get the lines reeled in I catch a big walleye, sometimes on every rod! Try to kep on this and you will be losing a lot of lures for nothing. When I troll lake erie I keep one line in about 6′, another half way down and one close to the bottom,,which may be 3′, and big fish show up at any depth. It can be a mistake to key in on a few fish, because the biggest fish don’t follow crowds, they go out on their own and that’s how they get big without being caught.
I don’t like fishing the tailwaters but with this high water there isn’t much else this time of year. Now we got more rain so it may rise again or slow the receding levels. The flow is at 70,000 fps at fulton, it should be about 35,000. Wingdams are possible but you’d have to run a kicker motor and use heavy weights. Not my type of fishing. So I have been hitting the rock quite a bit for something to do. Fishing hasn’t been good, they really need to stock that lower pool, but it’s something to do. I heard they are biting at dixon dam but expect crowds. It’s been a terrible Fall for photos and fishing. I may have to do some ice fishing this year to make up for the lost Fall fishing.
Here is some rock river photos from this week:
People might think i’m paranoid about people watching me but I’m not. I am just aware of people doing it for sinister reasons. After getting my 400mm lens a few years ago I started noticing fisherman watching me and then showing up where they saw me fishing. This might be from a boat or truck. It might be just a head sticking up over bushes, which has happened more than once, (starting back in the late 80’s when I tournament fished). But otherwise I could care less if they want to watch me catch fish, just don’t be sitting where you saw me so I can’t fish there the next day. Most guys do it so they have a story to tell about where they saw someone catching fish. Tournament guys do it to wheel and deal in information.
Then there’s the neighbors. I have caught window peekers. I do notice when someone aims their large security camera at my front door so they can see when I come and go. Then things start coming up missing or things start happening to my truck like flat tires, broken brake lines etc because I complained about them dumping hazardous waste in the empty lot next to my house. Or aiming floodlights and sensors at my front door just to be a nuisance because I complained about them dumping waste directly behind my house so the farmer would think it was me.
There is not an endless supply of big flathead in the Rock river. There are some community holes but most of the time no one is fishing there because they get tired of not catching anything, so they stick with channelcats which are numerous or they just get tired of fishing for nothing and give up and only fish occasionally. So how does one flathead guide do so well that he can take out numerous people every week for most of the year? Well he just does a lot of talk and doesn’t produce. If they hook a big gar or snag a carp, he will say that was a big flathead and they lost it or missed the hit. To keep clients happy he will throw out at least 2 rods for flathead with large shad, then 2 with small shad or large minnows for channelcat and 2 with smaller baits for walleye. Then he’ll sit and do a lot of talking and if they catch a nice channelcat or a decent walleye they are happy. But this is a scam, no one will hire a guide to go out and catch one walleye. But they get a chance to listen to him talk all day. Talk about all the clients that did catch a big flathead and maybe they’ll even get at least a small flathead even if it isn’t the giant they hoped for.
This one guy can’t hold down a job, but has a very expensive boat. He doesn’t care if he takes people’s money, he has to, it’s how he pays for the boat and plays the game of being so called good at catching big flathead. I see him out there all the time. He doesn’t look around, he just goes to community holes and anchors in the same spot every time. Now since I walleye fish I know where the flathead lay because I catch them sometimes and he doesn’t even fish those spots, he fishes close, but instead he keys on where he sees me catch walleye so he can make his clients happy. Channelcat lay in the same spots too, so catch a decent channelcat and clients will gladly pay him and give a good review.
But the truth is he doesn’t know what he is doing. If the walleye were there and biting I could catch 10-40 fish while he may catch one or 2 if he is lucky. Anyone can go out and toss out 6 shad in all directions with heavy weights and 80 pound test line and catch a flathead if they go enough and wait long enough. He is not better than most others, from what I see he is much worse, he just goes more and can sit all day with out catching anything and go back the next day and fish the exact same spots, especially if he is getting paid. But they get to sit and listen to him talk and he loves to tell stories. Now that’s worth a couple hundred bucks isn’t it?
The reason he can’t hold down a job is because he is hard to get along with. He has a huge ego and thinks he owns the world around him. He fights with other fisherman all the time, no one likes when someone moves in on you or you go fishing and find him anchored where he saw you catching fish the day before. He does it to me, so I know. Now I have been fishing for 50 years and people moving in on me is nothing new, I get that sometimes every trip put. I just ignore them and either leave or fish around them. He can’t handle any pressure at all and calls the sheriff on people. His biggest trick is to hog a deep water hole that has room for several boats by casting out as far as he can in all directions, sometimes even using planer boards so he doesn’t have to share the water. Meanwhile, he isn’t even fishing where the fish are because he doesn’t look around. He is scamming people and people deserve to know how he works.
Fran Riley called me after the local paper did a story on my photography. He wanted to do a show about 3 months later in october. He called to confirm it about 2 weeks prior and it was all set. Then at the last minute, after I went through some trouble to prepare for it, he called and cancelled. He said he couldn’t get a camera crew because they were busy doing something else with drones. Then he made excuses about rescheduling, saying he had to take vacation, that his manager was more business oriented these days, blah blah blah. They recently did another story on a nature photographer, so I know it was a lie about being more “business oriented”.