Oops, Bad Call

The fishing was so good the week before that I followed the weather intently for a week, then picked three days to go up to Webster, SD and fish Waubay.  Three days was all I would need, and that included driving time.  Brimming with confidence, I started asking around to see who would like to go catch some walleye.  I could not believe what happened.  No one wanted to go.  We have had some unseasonably hot weather in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area with extremely hot and humid days and nights.  The weather I saw up north had 80s in the day and 60s at night.  A little different. 

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  I just planned to go by myself and catch fish.  I had not looked at eastern South Dakota temps for 4 days.  All I did was follow the frontal patterns and it was positive.  They had some really hot days before I left. 

I got up early, drove hard, and arrived in Webster, SD around noon.  I had a quick lunch, checked in at the motel, got the cover off the boat, and headed to the bait store.  Their recommendation was a little different than before.  There had been some hot weather, and the fish had gone deep.  It was recommended to work in the 15 to 20 foot range.  That was ok with me.  They also recommended minnows and or leeches if I was going to fish with live bait.  Stay off the south shore as no one was having any luck in that area.  That was different than before.  The one consistent item was not to go to Grenville.  That end of the lake is my favorite and I have two spots that I have always had luck. 

I headed to the Kanago access and was on the lake by 2 PM.  A brisk wind out of the northwest was creating some good waves which should help provide some good walleye fishing.  Not liking the recommendation of not going to the south shore, I headed there anyway.  That was a waste of time. I worked the point back and forth from ten feet to twenty and not one smack on the lure.  Staying there one hour was enough as I did not have a strike.  The second part of the downside was the graph showed very little fish.  Compared to my previous trip this was just the opposite.  Full of fire, I headed to Bresky Bay.

Fishing the entrance and staying deep, very few fish were graphed.  No hits and I was the only boat in the area.  Last time here, by 10 AM it was like Grand Central Station.  The DNR should have provided traffic control.  Having good winds to provide some wave action, there was no action at all.  Moving east out of the bay along the north bank as recommended, I graphed a lot of fish, but no hits or even gentle taps.  The fish were not feeding, or I was using the wrong type of bait.  Switching from minnows to leeches made no difference.  As recommended, I moved farther east along the north bank.  No luck.  It was now past 7 PM and up north you get a little more daylight, so I started working my way back to where I had started.  Changing colors of the spinner, changing to jigs, pulling plugs, working deep then into the shallow, made no difference.  I could plainly see that I was not going to catch a thing this day, and I quit by 9 PM.

Next morning I was up really early, and was on the lake just at first light.  I headed to the south shore again just to try it out.  A gentle southwest breeze was creating a nice ripple effect on the lake, and I really felt good that today was the day.  Fishing there for an hour produced nothing, and I headed to Bresky Bay.
At the mouth of the bay I stopped to work the point that stuck out into the lake.  I caught nothing.  Moving into the bay and working the ridge, I caught nothing.  I was not even getting strikes.  A boat came by out about 200 yards and I could see they were pulling plugs.  Now here comes a secret.  I watched them for a short period of time with binoculars to see if they were catching anything.  I have seen happier fishermen and these two guys were not looking too happy. In fact they were a little glum.  I have now been on the water about three hours and then the lake went calm.  The wind totally died.  There was not one breath of air moving.  There were no clouds in the sky.  The sun was beating down on me and it was getting hot. I decided to go have some lunch.  At the boat ramp a couple of other boats came in and no one had caught anything.

Back on the lake by 1:30 pm, there was no wind and not a ripple of movement on the lake.  The algae always present this time of the year in the lake was in full bloom.  Heading to the entrance to Bresky Bay and working down the north bank, I graphed fish, but no takers.  No wind and no waves and not a cloud in the sky was the condition.  It was hot. I moved all the way to school bus point, and then decided to go to my old haunts and give it a try.   As I plowed through the dead calm waters there were large bands of milky white streaks on top of the water.  It looked like the gulf oil spill I had seen on TV.  As I plowed through it, there was a very strong oily odor and great big globs of algae mixed in.  The area I wanted to fish was covered with this milky appearance. 

By now it was 6 PM, and I was burned to a crisp.  Having caught nothing, it was time to throw in the towel and head for the barn.  Pulling the boat out of the water, the underneath side was covered with a light brown foam.  I immediately headed to a car wash and sprayed it all off.  The next morning I headed for home. 

I had several calls on Sunday from the people who had remorse for not going on the trip.  Everyone was glad to hear they missed nothing.  It is called fishing, not catching.

Good fishing, good hunting, good luck  Hank

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