Home from my trip late Tuesday night, fished with Tom and his grandson Ben on Wedensday. Gone for 11 days, I was surprised at what had changed and what had not. The water is now about close to 2' low (typical for this time of year) the water temp when I left was 67, now 57. I was expecting some pretty prime fall colors, not even close yet, apparently all the rain has delayed the colors. I think this may bode well for some prolonged colors this year, some years they change fast and a big wind takes them down quick.
The fishing? Was glad we brought crawlers which usually aren't in the boat this time of the year. The fishing from what we found, had changed very little from when I left ,still a late summer pattern of deeper wood then we fished some cribs for panfish. Tom Ben and myself ended the day with a mixed bag of fish: 3 walleye,2 perch,3 crappie and 8 blue gills. tried some fall walleye pattern spots and didn't find many fish in them yet. The day cold temps, north wind, and off and on rain squalls, my customers took it in stride with humor. Tom who I would have guessed (which I don't do) to be in his late 60's was 81, his grandson Ben 26. I asked Tom some of the secretes to good prolonged health, Tom," eat good, get enough sleep, exercise and don't drink cheap scotch." I may have to upgrade.
Today I had the pleasure of fishing with solo customer Steve, the morning started out cold and cloudy, by afternoon it had turned into a nice sunny day. Steve was most interested in fishing for walleyes, they were slow, half way through the day I mentioned the panfish option, he wanted to stay after walleyes, I liked that answer, I don't mind a challenge. we kept plugging away at a mix of spots, did try some fall spots but most fish came from deeper wood structure about half on crawlers and half on minnows, again most years at this time, no crawlers. Steve landed our 6th walleye at 4:20, we did catch and release some small walleyes the 6 fish limit we kept were from 13-17". We caught fish on bobbers but most walleyes were caught casting 1/8 oz. slow fall jigs. we again had a nice mix of fish, one of the bluegills a little over 9-1/2".
The advantage to also having crawlers is that crappies will take them but especially the bluegills that occupy some of the deep wood spots that the walleyes are still on, aggressively bite the crawlers. Often one of us cast a minnow and one a crawler.
Met a lot of friends through guiding had some ask how the hunt in Alaska went. Quick summary: I scouted 10 hours, hunted 12 hours and cut and packed out moose meat for 38 hours. Aside form times with family it was the best outdoor experience of my life. If I follow Tom's advice I hope to have many more years hunting in Alaska. I did some writing at night with my headlamp on, hope to put a story together with some pictures on my web site in the next couple of weeks.
Enjoy the fall!