Thursday, October 23, 2008

Highlights of the 2008 Fishing Season

The Year 2008 will go down in history as the Year of the Walleye.
We caught walleyes like crazy right up to the middle of September. Average size from late June to early August was about 22 inches. Largest walleye brought into camp was a 29-incher but there could have been larger ones released out on the water.
We also caught some huge lake trout, mostly while fishing for walleye, but the largest, reported to be a 52-incher, was caught by our anglers looking for lake trout.
Trout must be live-released on Red Lake and must also be angled using lures with single, barbless hooks, without bait. These anglers were fishing in late June and were using large bucktail jigs with the barbs pinched down when they tied into the humungous trout.
In proper conservation fashion, they didn't even bring the fish aboard, just alongside the boat where they held its tail at the transom and made a mark on the side of the boat where its head reached. They then extracted the jig from the fish's mouth and let it swim away. On reaching camp they got a tape and discovered the fish was 52 inches. That's a record for us. Our previous largest trout was 45 inches and that was tied again this summer. Some of these 40+inch trout have weighed over 40 pounds.
These latest anglers were here in September and were fishing for walleyes when the giant trout bit their walleye spinner. It was quite a feat to get the lunker into the boat using light line meant for walleyes but they did so and grabbed a photo before releasing the fish.
Anglers caught lake trout all summer while fishing for walleyes and northern pike. It's not known why these normally deepwater fish were up in the shallows but the likely reason was the water stayed cool. We had a late spring, lots of rain in the early summer, and the lake never really warmed up.
That same weather phenomena might explain why northern pike were not at their best most of the summer. We did get some 45-inchers but in general the pike weren't as abundant as usual. The "eaters" that folks brought us to clean had been eating crayfish just about the whole summer. That's unusual. They usually only eat crayfish for a couple of weeks in mid-summer. The best pike fishing came late in the year when they were back in the regular haunts and eating their usual things, like white suckers and walleyes.
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