This where it begins. Off the point straight ahead and to the left is a line of rocks reaching out into the main body of the lake. What is the one thing that walleye fishermen do not like? The lake is calm, and we like ripple.
Today we fished an area we had never been to. South of Platte is a bay off the main body of the lake surrounded by points and smaller bays with a lot of rock surrounding the lake. On the edge of the main body is a point of rock pointing onto the main lake. This is where the slaughter took place. The day before the guide took his two grandsons to this area and was limited out in less than three hours.
The boat ramps and parking facilities in South Dakota are excellent. The state really does a nice job of providing good access to the lakes. They also maintain one of those no flush toilets near the parking ramp.
We headed out of the bay to a point that stuck out into the main body of the lake. Beautiful day is not a good walleye day and I would rather have clouds, some wind, and even a little rain. What amazed Pam and I were the size of the boats. They were all expensive, big, and had a lot of horsepower for the main motor plus a kicker on the back. Fancy electric trolling motors on the front and everyone we saw was well stacked with electronics to locate fish and structures. Our guide’s boat was one of those. You still have to find and catch them.
Looking of Pam’s shoulder this does not look good, but the day before the guide and his grandson had cleaned up on the fish and left the lake after a couple of hours. There is nothing better than fast fishing when you finally get on top of them.
Almost to the point we dropped down and started to fish. In this case we were not pulling plugs or spinners, but jigging off the bottom. of the lake. Depth was about 25 feet. A colored jig head, preferably chartreuse, and a minnow was the tools we were using. When we started seeing some action, the fish did not smack the bait and seemed to mouth it. This took a lot patience. Also, I have always believed the fish hit the lure as it drops down while jigging the bait, and as you lift up the rod you feel weight and the line goes tight. We learned quickly do not set the hook, but just hold the rod upwards and keep the line tight. Then give that giant fish a little time. (They all feel like you have a giant initially.) We kept the line tight, then added more pressure until the fish started to act up and the hook was set. We kept losing fish over and over until we started using this method.
The important thing was we made a lot of errors trying to set a hook the second we felt the fish. This where an experienced guide comes in as he immediately diagnosed what was going on and changed our method of landing fish.
Was fishing slow at this location? The answer to this was yes and no. It sure wasn’t fast, but we always seemed to be getting excited, tightening the line, lifting the rod slowly and then finding a fish had been there and made off with the minnow. I think fishing with a jig takes more patience because you are always testing the equipment to see if something is pulling against the line. Decades ago I fished with a hard core walleye fisherman who always complained about his hands and he said they were like iron and he did not feel the line like his wife. The guide said his wife had better feeling in her hands as to when a fish was on the line mouthing the lure and minnow. We both noticed Pam’s patience as she just held the rod, lifted up the rod tip slowly and felt the line to see if a visitor was sampling the wares on the other end. Pam caught the most fish that day.
This is a good size walleye for Francis Case and most of the fish we kept were were in the 16 to 17 inch range. Not big, but they filet out well and are excellent dinning.
It took up till noon but we limited out and got off the lake as it was heating up.
The lodge was filled up with fishermen that brought their own boats and did not use a guide. So at the recommendation of the lodge owner was two choices, the Dakota Inn or Molly’ Manor a bed and breakfast. For this stay we chose Molly’s.
Outstanding is the best word I can use to describe our experience at Molly’s. This is a success story where a lady that grew up in Platte, moved away, joined the business world in corporate America, then returned to Platte and built this business from a really old house. If you are crossing South Dakota on I 90 and need a stop stay over try it. It is worth the 30 miles south of the interstate.
We will be back next year and stay at Molly’s.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank