Oh My Goodness

Gander Mountain

 In the morning be first up, and in the evening last to go to bed, for they that sleep catch no fish.

Pumped is hardly the word for it.  The forecast was for winds northerly at 5 to 10  mph but with only a 20% chance of a rain shower late in the morning or early afternoon.  My wife, Pam, and I were both excited about the promise of getting into some really fast action as I experienced on a previous trip.  Opitz is the lake to pound if this type of action is what you are looking for.  To catch your minimum limit of walleye that you can keep, you will have to catch a lot of 13 inch to 14.5 inch to score one.  Plus, you are only allowed to take two over 15 inches out for the day.  Still, you can have a lot of fun and you are constantly catching fish.

The forecast and the reality did not match up.  It was a cloudless morning and not a breath of wind at all.   Still we checked in at Sportsman’s Cove to see what they recommended.  We had talked about going south to Swan, but the people at the bait shop said that a no wind condition was not good for Swan.  Antelope Lake was just to the south and fish had been caught in a windy or a no wind condition, but their information was not positive.  They also said that Waubay would not be a good choice.  Pickerel Lake had too many pleasure boating tourists, Lynn was not good in a no wind condition, and Opitz was our best choice.  We just wanted options, and there were not any.

The lake looks like a mirror

Bitter to the east was another option, so we decided to hit Opitz first, see how we could do, then go to Bitter in the late afternoon.  Our goal was to fish at least four lakes on this trip.  We had fished Waubay yesterday.  It would be Optiz this AM with Bitter in the later afternoon and evening.  Then the next morning we would be hitting it to either Swan or Antelope.  Where else can you go that you have so many options?

The algae came into full bloom.  That is a clump of algae on the water.

On arrival, the lake was flat as a pancake and there was not a cloud in the sky.  The lake was showing a lot of algae and it looked like it was in full bloom.  This would not affect the fishing, but just make a mess in and on the boat.  I noticed the other boats were up against the shore line or in the trees that surrounded the lake.  Sitting and watching through the field glasses, I saw no one catching any fish.

I repeated the same process as done two weeks ago, but this time the kicker motor would be used to move the boat around.  Out in the middle of the lake, walleye were picked up, but they were all less than the 15 inch minimum.

It is a pretty lake.  Notice we are starting to get some clouds.

Moving through the narrows that opened up to another larger body of water, I noticed the boats were in the trees or just outside the trees and working jigs.  Working my way over to a standing group of trees, small walleye were picked up, but none for the live well.

Along the tree line, small white bass were picked up, but none worth keeping.  Closer into the trees, we each picked up small walleye again, but these were just under the required minimum.  Changing spinners, trying different colors, using jigs, trying different colors, did not make any difference.  We just did not catch a fish worth boating.  This was the same thing that had happened to me two weeks ago on this lake.

We caught the usual small fish along the tree line.

Periodically we noticed some clouds had formed and they were the cumulus type.  That was nice because we were able to get out of the sun.  Then it became very black to our north and as we watched, it appeared the black clouds were moving to the east and we were safe.  Not so.

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It began to rain.  We were caught in a torrential downpour with lightening all around.  Scrambling to get our rain suits on that made little difference, we were already soaked to the gills.  The boat was slowly motored over to a high bank where would not be sticking up above the level of the lake and be hit by lightening.  Now the wind came up and there was driving rain, wind and lightning.  All this seemed to go on for about 30 minutes.

Through the whole experience we saw a boat with the fisherman sitting on the bow running his electric trolling motor and continuing to fish.  We soon lost sight of him, but as we headed back to shore and the boat dock, we passed him again.  He was still fishing in the rain.  He had no suit on, and only shorts, a billed hat and a T shirt without sleeves.  He gave us a big wave.  We could see a head sticking up from the bottom of the boat, and later found out it was his wife.  She had gotten her rain suit on, and was weathering out the storm in the safety of the bottom of the boat.

I have never seen anyone sit out in a thunder and lightning storm and keep fishing.  He has used up one of his nine lives.

Soaking wet, we quit.  Next morning half dried out, we went home.  It happens.

I just got back from a 5 day Caribou hunt in northern Manitoba.  Next week, we start the report on the action. 

Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck.  Hank

Gander Mountain

Men's Clothing at Basspro.com

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