Fighting the Wind on a Big Reservoir

We fished hard the previous day and it was way too hard.  When the lakes go calm and you have a bright sunny day, it is time to get off the water from my perspective.  It just gets really hot and you burn and swelter.  We did not do that and kept right on fishing till 5 PM.  I said to Pam, “I have had enough.” She said, “What took so long for you to get around to admitting defeat.”  Defeat, it was not that bad, but almost.  Still, we caught a lot of fish of which were thrown back, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Looking behind me as we took off out of the bay and headed to the red rock location.
 Next morning we hit Shorty’s cafe right at 6 AM for a big breakfast.  That would last us all day long till evening with a small snack in between.  The weather forecast was for light breezes in the early part of the AM and turning really windy by early afternoon.  We figured we could hit a couple of the spots where we had caught fish yesterday, limit out, and be off the lake around noon.  Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men.  Whoever said that needs to be congratulated for that piece of wisdom. 
On the lake by 7:15, we moved at the highest speed possible to hit it really hard and be gone. Pam had her pole already set up with the Flicker Shad.  All we had to do was maintain trolling speed and start hitting the fish.  Then the wind began to come up.  It did not come up gently, but with great vigor and force.  The lake immediately began to rock and roll.  I was reminded of why I do not like big reservoirs.  Swells began to reach two and a half feet with some reaching three feet.  This is the ultimate max that this boat should be out in.   After throttling back,  Pam made the suggestion that we should forget this idea and head to the east shore.  We would be out of the wind and work back toward the dock.  I agreed.  
Since the wind was out of the southeast and the easterly shore would be protected, the urge to head straight across the lake existed.  Moving the boat to almost straight across might have gotten us thrown over with a three foot swell.  I angled the boat to about a 60 degrees and throttled way back.  We immediately donned our life jackets.  Pam was hanging on to the support bars behind the windshield. I was hanging on to the steering wheel and the throttle. We kept a good lookout for big swells where I would turn almost straight into them.  The nose of the boat would rise up and then crash down into the lake.  Spray would come over the bow, but we did not get into a situation where there was solid water coming over the bow.   My fall back position, if that would have happened, would have been to go with the wind and work slowly toward the east shore.  We were in no danger, but it is very uncomfortable pitching around on that big lake with the wind increasing.  I wanted to get a picture of this, but I was too busy to grab the camera and wanted to keep my hands on the steering wheel and throttle.
Finally we got to a position closer to the east bank where the wind and waves would not throw us around.   I was able to kick it in the fanny and move to the much calmer water.  That was about 150 yards from the shoreline.  At this location, we could  move out to about a depth of 50 feet, then move closer to the bank and fish in the 10 to 15 feet.  The graph showed two bands of fish.  One band was at ten to fifteen feet, and the other was out at twenty-five to thirty-five feet of water.  An interesting point is even though the temperature during the night had dropped to 50 degrees and the morning was cool, the surface water temperature was 78 degrees.  If the boat had been thrown over with the big swells and waves, and with our life jackets on, we could have floated to shore in the comfort of nice warm water. 
We tried the  fifteen foot depths first, and all we picked up were white bass.  As I have said on the previous blog, we had all the white bass in the freezer we wanted so they were thrown back.  Moving out to the deeper water, we picked up a small walleye periodically, but nothing in the range above fifteen inches.  This was done with spinners and crawlers and weighting the line down to get to the depth.  The method was to let the line out and feel the weight hit the bottom, then crank up several turns on the reel to guess that the spinner was in the right zone.  It is a guess.

Bass Pro Shops XPS Walleye Angler Spinner Blades - Colorado
This is the spinner blade we both used.  I have had good success with this blade in clear to bright waters.  Click on the pic or the link above to buy.

At the deeper depths, we would pick up a walleye periodically.  There was no hit, so they must have been sucking the bait in and then hanging on.  Your line would just get heavy like you had picked up weed.  At that time we would let out a little line giving the fish some time to really take hold and set the hook.  We would drag in a small walleye that was immediately thrown back.  After about an hour of this, the wind had picked up considerably and we were now tighter to the shore.  It had also become more southerly and was going straight up the lake.  It was really rough farther out and we gave it up.
Berkley Gulp Alive Freshwater Spray Attractant

Berkley Gulp Alive Freshwater Spray Attractant
This is Pam’s favorite fish attractant, and she sprays it on all baits whether live or hard baits.  It is not messy like some of the oils that I use and she gets great results. 

We were off the lake and looking across the water.  It was really rough out there.  We could not have waited much longer to make the decision to get to calmer water and then head for the dock.  At the ramp we met a fisherman that lived in the area.  He gave up all his secrets to fishing the lake, from  where to go and when.  We were really at the end of the great fishing on the reservoir as he believed the fish moved into deeper water and were more scattered.  We should have been fishing the first of June for excellent success.  He also said to fish at the piers supporting the bridge across the lake.   A person should tie up to one of the supports and jig off the bottom.  That sounded really interesting.  He had also gotten off the lake due to the wind.  We had great conversation about the area and picked up a lot of valuable information for the future.  Then we moved on to do some exploring at the dam site and home.
Good hunting, good fishing and good luck.  Hank

Hammacher Schlemmer



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