Just a few updates on what is working and what is NOT.
Walleye - compared to the efforts and client's desire for whitebass, I've been putting a small effort into walleyes. For me, the last week has been very disappointing. Dragging crawlers, plastics, and leeches has had very mixed results. 22 walleyes ranging from 9" to 27" in one run in 3hours on day to just a couple dinks the next. I've only been spot checking my preferred runs from the mouth of Poygan up and others may have found a better run holding fish.
The trolling bite on Poygan has been very good (I don't troll so this is all second hand info) That cemented my earlier theory with so many walleyes that spawned down near the Rat this year. We had about 6 phenomenal days/nights and those fish were done and went back to the lake.
Friends have been texting me some pics of HUGE female whitebass they are getting in the lake while trolling. If/When these fish run the river is a true guessing game.
Whitebass - This spring is truly a roller coaster for numbers and presentations. Some guys have them dialed in well and are running/gunning spots to find active fish and getting more than most. Others have been sitting in one spot with 3-way rigs out and just getting a handful. This has been where quality electronics have been paying for themselves.
Time and time again I have stated the importance of using/understanding your electronics. Now is as important as ever if you want numbers. Clearly we have seen an irregular year with tons of small males, some very big males, and mostly small females. Fremont has always been the crown of the tree so to speak for the bio-mass of up run fish. We see huge schools arrive and then begin to disperse. Along the way, may stop to spawn before Fremont, at Fremont, and others continue up for miles. Last week I was finding schools 3 to 6 feet thick and hundreds of yards long. This last week, 1 to 2 feet thick and maybe 50 to 100 feet long. Some are stationary in the runs/holes and others are still cruising up.
This last week also gave us unstable/colder weather and water temps have fluctuated. Yesterday averaging 59.X in most areas I went. Whitebass and cold are not usually a good combination unless you understand their habits. Cold fronts and cold snaps will normally push them deeper and more congregated. They often won't hit aggressively, but they do still eat.
Heavier weighted spinnes like the Wordens Rooseter Tails in 3/8, 1/2 oz have been good for some fish. Blades and cranks have been very slow. As much as I hate live bait, I caved in and have been taking the bucket of shiners along. I can't argue with the numbers. For the first time in the last probably 10 or more years, I have consistently more fish coming on small minnows Vs all other presentations combined.
The last few outings have been a grind with moments of great fast and furious action. For a lack of better term, I'm using my Wieland rig for the best numbers. Gamakatsu #4 Drop-shot hook, 18" leader, barrel, 1/4 to 3/8 tungsten bullet weight, slip float, and stop. I set the depth of the stop at having the weight at the center point of depth that I'm marking fish. Example - 11FOW and most concentrations of fish are 8-1/2 to 10 feet down - I set my depth to 9 to 1/2 feet down. The float size should be matched so it is almost neutral buoyancy. The best part of this rig is how the leader/bait drifts freely behind the weight. I have had a number of very finicky schools that I have pulled up on that this presentation has put great numbers in the boat in very little time. It also has been out producing jigs, 3-way rigs, and split-shot/hook.
FYI I also use this rig for dragging walleyes by setting the depth of the weight to be ticking the bottom. Great presentation when fish are negative to neutral.
Catfish - Still picking up cats in all the deeper runs. The big females are showing themselves and we've boated a lot of nice size channels. I'm getting most of them as incidentals to walleye fishing, but they have been biting well. I had two nights out with Rippin Lips leaking livers and the Bootlegers paste in bloody along with some cut bait. We were n't fast and furious, but had steady action. All produced well. For the guys looking for the rippin lips Bootlegers, I see Chris at Fremont Bait/Tackle just got another shipment in.
Good luck and be safe