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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 4-24-2013

by Mark Walters

Anything for a Walleye

 Hello friends,

The fieldwork for this week’s column goes back to March 28th and was completed on April 18th. As usual this week I am writing about the outdoors and a go for it attitude.

My goal was to catch a large walleye or numbers of walleye out of my canoe and I fished the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers.

Thursday, March 28th
High 36, low 17

The Rivers Edge Resort and Tackle Shop are located on the Wisconsin River about two miles south of the dam at Wisconsin Dells. I am actually embarrassed to say that I do not believe that I have fished walleye from Rivers Edge, north to the dam and anyone that has ever tossed a jig knows that this is big time walleye country.

First bit of info, every report I am hearing as I prepare to launch my canoe and talk to lots of fishermen, is that nothing is biting. Minimal current “water flow” and cold weather has kept the bite down to walleye under 15-inches for most fishermen.

Next, I begin paddling; I have three methods of fishing, paddle trolling with crankbaits, and anchored or drifting and using jigs and also a dead stick with just a hook and a fathead minnow.

Memories created, I am in the only canoe on the water, no one seems to be catching a legal walleye and lots of people are catching sturgeon or in most cases having sturgeon break their line.

I fished until just before midnight, hid my canoe and crashed in The Chevy Hotel, sometime in the night a friendly Lake Delton police officer knocked on my window, said Mr. Walters I am just checking on you. In parting he told me that he enjoyed reading my column and I went back to la la land.

The following morning the walleye bite was even less, it was Good Friday, but I did get a picture of a fishermen with a 50-pound flathead catfish. I remember he was from Pardeeville, and I lost the notes with his name “sorry”!

I had my chance at a sturgeon; it got away!

Wednesday, April 17th
High 38, low 29

It was exactly 90-days ago that the weather in Wisconsin changed to cold and wet. I asked Mother Nature for that favor. Now I am asking her to let it be warm and bless us with an inch of rain a week.

I was out of time for this deadline and had to leave. That is how I consoled myself as I loaded up my canoe in a thunderstorm/downpour and headed for Green Bay for a couple of days of catching huge walleye, out of my canoe on the Fox River.

The thunder was so loud on the drive that I could hardly hear the radio. When I arrived at Fox Point Landing in DePere (I think that’s the name) there should have been 30 trucks with empty trailers in the parking lot there was only one.

The wind was out of the north, which sucks because the Fox flows north and that meant drifting would be difficult. When I began paddling I truly was a happy man, I had not chickened out because of a measly thunderstorm and high winds, that’s what they make life jackets and rescue squads (hopefully not a dive team) for.

First thing that happened was as soon as I hit the bottom with my jig a good fish hit it and the fight was on. Next I lost the fish. Next I fished for a very long time and it became dark. I tried drifting and jigging. That plan did not work very well as I kept getting pushed into shore.

I noticed there were not any other canoes on the water; actually there was only one boat, plus me. I wondered if my five hundred dollar accidental death insurance policy would pay up should something go wrong? I also wondered if I should upgrade it to a thousand bucks?

I noticed that the only thing that I could catch was a cold. It became dark; the fish still did not like my crankbaits, dead sticks, or jigs. I paddled up by the dam, scary current, when I turned around my crankbaits that I was paddle trolling with swam a head of my canoe.

Even though it is dark vultures are flying overhead sensing an upcoming meal, the wind is picking up. Just like that, my “Husky Jerk” (that’s a lure not your next door neighbor) gets hit by something big and I know that I am like a genuine hero.

The fight is on; the big fish swims into the Shad Rapp that I am dragging. I net my trophy! It’s huge! I am the man! I have overcome adversity! I shine my headlight on the big Kahuna in the net. It’s a carp.

Eventually I paddled back to the Chevy Hotel where I have slept for probably a year of my life in the eleven years that I have been driving it.

The next morning, it was very windy! It was raining and I may not have caught anything!  Don’t sweat the small stuff! Sunset