Yesterday I put in a good fourteen hour day on two different lakes. If the weather would hold, tomorrow should be outstanding as the blowout period just took place and the fish should begin to feed aggressively again. After the dynamic lunch at Perebohms restaurant, dinner was not needed. A power bar gave me enough energy to make it through the rest of the day.
After surfing channels to get South Dakota weather, they all looked alike. The weather should remain like it was during the day with southwesterly flow, but winds picking up after 2 pm and a possible strong thunderstorms moving into the area. That was all the time I needed to get the job done. I was on the fish.
This trip should not have been called a job, but that was what it was starting to feel like. I had received two phone calls from friends on this trip, and the question was, “How many walleye have you caught, and when can we come over to feast with you and your lovely wife?” I felt like telling them that I was limited out, but then stop over at a fish store in Omaha when I got home and buy some. Instead, I spilled out the truth and I felt guilty.
In the morning the sun was out and the winds were light. With great hope, I headed to Antelope Lake first. I could spend a couple of hours and knew this was the correct spot. On arrival, the wind picked up but still remained on a southerly flow. I knew all was well.
|Just a few hundred yards from the boat dock this bank that stretches about 250 yards had always been a producer. If you fish the lake work into the bank up to 5 feet of water and then back out to about 18 feet.|
With the water so clear, and the bright morning sky, I grabbed a big shiny spinner. The boat was S turned into five feet and out to fifteen working slowly against the wind. In the meantime, the sky began to show a dark cloud bank to the south. Therefore, I changed the lure to a red and white spinner. I also moved to crawlers from minnows. The wind picked up more and shifted more to the southeast. It was obvious that no one was paying attention to my wants and needs as the weather was doing just what it wanted to do.
|As it gets daylight, it is obvious that this is not going to be a good experience.|
After one hour into the experience, the wind now shifted more to the east southeast and the clouds became almost black and began to spit a little rain. Not much rain was falling, but just enough for me to put on a rain jacket and say to myself, “Only the weathermen can be so wrong and keep their jobs.” The question asked now was,”Is this just passing through or was it in for the day?”
|Forget it, I am out of here.|
After another hour of no action, I pulled out. Driving over to Waubay, there was no way I could get the boat off and on the trailer by myself even if someone was with me. It would have been a really bad idea. But hope springs eternal. There is another lake with a beautiful sheltered bay. Fishing could be done out of the heavy wind, but results might not be so good. Pickerel Lake north of the town of Waubay is my favorite lake in the area.
|Just north of the town of Waubay is a Buffalo ranch.|
This lake is lightly fished and mainly by the locals. Housing surrounds the lake, but the water is crystal clear and has a deep solid bottom. Reefs abound so you can move from deep to shallow and back to deep again in just fifty yards. Crappie is the big thing on this body of water, but I have caught walleye, nice sized northern, and small mouth bass here.
By the time I had arrived at Pickerel, the wind was a howling gale and the rain had picked up considerably. I saw a boat with three soaked fishermen coming off the lake and went to help them with their boat. They were blown off the lake but had two nice walleye. They had fished the lake for several hours before getting smacked around. Even the bay was showing more wave action than usual. At 11 AM I folded my tent and hit the bricks for the five hour drive back home to face the questions, “Where is dinner, and why didn’t you catch anything?”
|This was as close as I could get to the herd. Notice the high fence. I am told they can go right through it if they want to. Also, I love the beauty of the South Dakota plains.|
The few fish caught were kept for my wife and myself. My friends were fed with Elk roast that they thoroughly savored. It is called fishing, not catching.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck Hank.