While we were burning up in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, the temps in northern South Dakota were in the low 60s in the evening and middle 70s during the day. This is good weather and it means the lakes will not be warming up too much. Now, I just needed to pick a three day pattern that looked good with not the usual South Dakota blow that bends over the trees and whips up the lakes.
We found it the third week of June and the storm patterns had moved east. For a three day period it looked really good. The winds were forecast in a southerly pattern and the temperatures were stable. With no frontal activity this would be a good time to hit it. My wife and I hooked up the boat, loaded up with snacks and took off.
I need to touch on the motel situation. The old Holiday Motel is now Boomers and the rooms have been totally remodeled. In addition, they have built a new building right next to the highway, and it looks like it will be really nice. Fish cleaning was to be done down behind Perebooms restaurant in the fish house they have there. I would call for rates, as there is wide variance between the three place I stay. Circle Pines is the cheapest, with Boomers (the old Holiday) next. Then the Galley is the highest, but really nice and they have a great fish house with freezer.
Up I-29 the next morning we made the trip in the normal 5.5 hours, checked in at the motel, and then down to Sportsman Cove for some advice and bait. Bait is also sold across the highway at the station next to the A & W. The prices here are a little cheaper, but there is no advice given or recommendations. We pay the extra just to get the advice.
The advice today was to go to Bitter, but also Waubay was recommended. We decided to go to Bitter tomorrow and so it was off to Waubay and Kanago lake access. Wind was out of the north and a good chop was on the lake. We headed south out of the access and then east to avoid the the hidden reef. (The next blog will have a lot more on the hidden reef.) We headed to the first island and started fishing on the northwest side in about 10 to 15 feet pulling chartreuse spinners each tipped with a minnow or crawler. We picked up little fish and they were promptly thrown back. Moving out to 15 to 20 feet, a couple of keepers were landed in the 15 and 16 inch range. The fish were not smacking like feeding fish, but all of a sudden, our lines got heavy almost like our lures had run aground. Waiting at least 10 to 20 seconds, then doing a hook set would produce results. Sometimes we pulled up a bunch of weed or moss. We also picked up a large mouth bass and some small mouth bass. I am really disappointed that South Dakota put bass of any kind in this lake. My experience is that when the bass move in, the walleye move out and your walleye fishing diminishes. Fishing today is not like it was 20 years ago when I first started coming up to the glacial lakes.
We fished over closer to Breski Bay and picked up a couple of walleye after about 60 minutes of working the area. Keeping only fish that are 15 inches or greater we would catch some hungry walleye and we had to do a lot of sorting.
A couple of weeks ago, we had worked around Duck Island and had really hammered some nice fish. The plus side was we caught a mess of nice size white bass the eat really well when you skim off the red meat before you cook it.
|These are a little small, but we caught a lot of them. White bass seem to be plentiful on Waubay. Skim off the red meat after filleting and you have a good tasting fish.|
We started in the 10 foot to 15 foot range around the island, but caught nothing and did not even have a strike. Moving out to the 15 to 20 foot level was really productive, and the fish seemed to be hitting the lure instead of mouthing it. We also added either Power Bait or Bait Alive in the spray bottle. That seemed to help and the hits were strong. Trying to stay in the depth range, we tried to stay within 50 – 75 yards from the island as we moved around it. We went through a time period where we were picking up a fish about every 10 to 15 minutes and culling out the smaller ones. Finally we had a limit for the day of four walleye apiece and it was only 6 p.m. That would put us off the lake by 7 p.m., fish cleaned and packed by 8 p.m., and then dinner at the Galley Steak house.
This was really a good day, and we were looking forward to hitting Bitter Lake tomorrow.