Waubay Again

The weather looked great in eastern South Dakota, so I loaded up myself and my wife and we headed north to Webster for a couple more days of fishing.  The fishing was good the week before and the weather had settled down where the wind was not a factor.  I wanted to be on the lake early in the morning fish till noon, take a break and a short nap, then hit it again in the evening till almost dark.  I generally do not fish in the dark.  You always see great pictures of people that have been night fishing, and their catches are outstanding.  It is not for me.

After a nice evening drive up to Webster, the early morning hours brought high overcast, and light winds from the south to southwest.  Perfect for early morning fishing.  I had called the local bait shop and they told me to stay to the west end of Waubay Lake, and put in at Kanago boat access.  I like to fish the other end of the lake, just east of school bus point and put in at Grenville, but he was emphatic.  Do not go to Grenville.  With that type of a recommendation, the decision was made.

We headed straight south out of Kanago and it was just starting to get light.  On the south shore there is a rocky point that sticks out into 10 to 12 feet of water that gradually drops down to 20 feet.  I was told to fish in 8 to 10 feet of water.  That would put us pretty close to the shore.  Using a red and white spinner and tipped with a minnow, I wanted to back troll into the point starting at 15 feet and then letting the boat drift back out again.  I also wanted to keep the spinner about 2 to 3 feet off the bottom.  Years ago a guide told me suspended fish are feeding fish.  My wife has a favorite jig that is a killer for her.  She began by dropping it to the bottom, reeling it up about two feet and then bouncing it up and down.  Works for her, and she has the proof with some outstanding catches. 

It took 15 minutes, but we both were getting some soft hits.  Nothing really strong, just the usual walleye peck and mouthing the bait.  The start of the action was in about 8 feet of water.  Moving a little deeper we started really getting some nice hits, and were picking up small fish 13 to 14 inches in length. At this time I bent down the barbs.  I have never lost a fish doing this.  It makes it easier to get the small fish off the hook and back into the water without damaging the fish or holding it in your hand.  Many times, when I see what is there, I just let the line go slack and then tighten it up and shake them off.

We stayed in this area about one hour and picked up three nice walleye in the 16 inch range.  These will fillet out nicely.  Other boats were heading our way, so we picked up and left as I felt we had milked the area enough and we headed toward Bresky Bay.  This is where the people at the bait house had told us to go initially. 

We started about 1/4 mile from the entrance on the west side of the lake.  There is a point that sticks out into the water several hundred yards and I wanted to work along the deep side of the ridge.  Finding it is easy.  If you stay out about 100 yards, all of a sudden the lake bottom rises quickly to about 6 feet.  You are there.  From here we worked in the 10 to 15 foot zone, back trolling into the shallow water and drifting back out again in to the deeper sections of the lake.  We picked up a couple of nice fish, had a lot of hits and they were solid.  That is always a good sign.  If the lure is getting smacked periodically, sooner or later you will catch something.  We worked out to 15 feet of water and back into the starting point of around 6 feet.  We were somewhat sheltered out of the wind as the high bank to the west southwest of us kept the water calm.  I would prefer to have more ripple.  We picked up a couple more fish in the 16 inch range again.  These will make great fillets.  More boat traffic was showing up so we knew this was the hot spot on the lake. 

There is a ridge that runs north and south and I consider this the dividing line to entering the bay.  Also just a couple of hundred feet from the ridge is a big tree in the water sticking up and this is the starting point for me.  I back trolled down the inside of the ridge in 8 to 10 feet of water.  To the north end there was standing weed and lots of moss.  I wanted to be on the edge of this and not in it.  We worked south with the trolling motor and drifted back north using the motor to keep us on the edge of the ridge. My wife continued to pick up the balance of our daily limit with her favorite jig tipped with a minnow.  By noon, we were limited out for the day with four really nice walleye apiece. 

The sun was starting to appear from behind the clouds and the wind was picking up.  With this in mind we headed in to clean the fish, and rest up for an evening of fun catching fish and pitching them back. 

The next morning the wind had really picked up out of the northwest and we headed over to the point.  This time we started in the 20 foot range of water and let the wind carry us into the shallows.  With the wind blowing us into the shore, I felt the walleye would be stacked up along the area that dipped into the deep water waiting for bait fish to be swept into them.  Nothing.  We did not get a hit.  The wind was really beginning to whip itself into a frenzy and we moved to Bresky Bay.

We started at the south end of the ridge we had worked along yesterday and back trolled against the wind trying to stay in about 8 to 10 feet of water.  Mid lake we got nothing, but up close to the weeds we both picked up some keeper fish.   Letting the wind drift us back to the south shore was more like a race than a drift.  I threw a drift sock out of the boat, but we were still moving along at a good clip.  This was still faster than I wanted to move.  My wife was getting the hits, as I was too busy running the boat.  She picked up a couple of nice walleye, and I got nothing.  We had been at it for 4 fours and decided with the wind starting to pick up even more we would throw in the towel. 

Off the lake by 11, we headed back to the motel, cleaned the fish, and picked up the eight caught the day before.  This was a really good day and a half with 10 decent size walleye.  We headed for home.

Good fishing, good hunting, good luck  Hank

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