Crappie, Northern, & Walleye

What a trip. It happens a couple of times a year if you go often enough, and this was one of those times. Checking the weather for Webster, SD high pressure was prevailing with winds from the west to southwest not over 15 mph. This was perfect.

I left Wednesday evening with my wife and we had a really strong south wind blowing us north. Arriving at Webster the wind was really stiff and the lakes we drove by on our way in were really rocking and rolling.

Up early Thursday, we grabbed some minnows and crawlers and headed to Waubay Lake. The wind was not a factor at this time, but it switched to the northwest and really began kicking up the waves. By noon, I was done fighting with boat control and we headed in for lunch and paid a visit to Sportsman Cove. The forecast had changed and was for stronger winds in the afternoon. So with that in mind we headed to Pickerel Lake.

Pickerel Lake is a beautiful body of water. It is long and narrow running north and south so we could hug the west bank and be out of the wind. Immediately we started picking up crappie, and they were really nice slabs about ten to twelve inches. The walleye we picked up were really small, less than fifteen inches and we threw them back. To my amazement, we were getting smacked by small northern and this went on all afternoon. When this started to happen, I took a pair of pliers and bent down the barb on the hook. I wanted to get them off as easily as possible. I have never lost fish doing this. We were pulling red and white spinners with a minnow attached. The northern were really aggressive. The walleye would just mouth the bait and you would just feel a slight tug on the line. The crappie took hold like food was going to be rationed the next day. We picked up a nice limit of crappie and one northern was kept that was a decent size.

Friday looked like it was going to be a good day. A little ripple was on the lake. At the boat ramp I met two gentlemen from Aberdeen, and they told me where their favorite spot was on the lake. So we followed them over. I had never fished the south shore much. We found some outstanding structure and graphed lots of fish. Immediately we started catching small walleye in about eight to ten feet of water. This was shallow for this time of the year. I moved out deeper and worked back and forth into the bank in eight feet and back out to fifteen. We were getting some action. Then it just plain shut off. The lake went totally flat, and there was not a breath of breeze. This is unusual for this part of South Dakota. The temperature rose into the 90s and there was not a cloud in the sky. We broke for lunch and headed back to the motel for a short nap. The rest of the afternoon, we stayed off the lake. However, several of the guests staying at the motel came in with some nice fish. You don’t catch anything unless you go.

Saturday morning the wind was brisk out of the south, so we headed for a location near the boat ramp. I had never fished there before, but the people at Sportsman Cove gave it a strong recommendation. What a call. The wind was around 15 to 20 mph. We drifted into about six feet of water and back out to 15. Then we started the process over and over again. We started fishing around 7:30 AM and were done with a day’s limit of walleye each by 10 AM. All the fish caught were sixteen to eighteen inches in length and made really nice filets.

We folded up and headed for home.

Good fishing, good hunting. Hank

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