Sometimes it’s actually fishing in Saginaw Bay and not catching. The waters north and east of Big Charity Island had cooled to 65 F, thanks to the weekend’s storms–not good walleye temps. Boats working Little Charity Island gave the same report, so we headed the TERMAR south out of AuGres in search of warmer water and active fish.
As we cleared Point AuGres the water temps started to improve, until several miles down into the bay we found 70 degree water. Time to set lines.
The next three hours only produced three nice walleye, so we kept trolling southward in a “lazy S” pattern from 13 feet (where the water was warmest) out to 22 feet, where it dropped a degree or more. Eventually we found a band of 71.4 degree water and the action started.
A Tattle Tail Flag dropped on the Off Shore Inline Planner Board off the port side. “Fish on!” Minutes latter another flag dropped. Then another. Within the next hour-and-a-half our clients were “high-fiving” their limit catch of 18-21 inch walleye. Interestingly, all these fish had come from the exact same area we had fished last year under similar conditions this time of year.
Frank Arleth, one of the finest anglers I ever fished with, taught me years ago, “Find the right temperature fish prefer and you’ll find the fish. And always remember what the conditions were and where the fish were caught.”
My first mate, Loren Draves, used a combination of bottom bouncers (run off the TERMAR’S 12-foot stern) and two ounce inline weights three feet ahead off Wally Pops and Silver Streak No. 5 Colorado blade crawler harnesses. Ideal trolling speed was between 1.5 and 1.8 (max) mph on our GPS unit. Hot colors were chartreuse (Walley Pops) and Blue Huckleberry and Pink Panties on the Silver Streak blades.
In addition to our location, radio traffic also indicated fish were being taken in the Slot off Sebwaing, the 9-10 foot depths off Thomas Road (east side of the bay), the shallow water depths off Eagles Bay Marina south of Standish, and near channel markers “5” and “6” of the Saginaw river.
A couple days of stable weather should get Saginaw Bay’s “World Class” walleye fishing back on track again–at least for a couple more weeks.
And by the way, check those gas tanks before heading out fishing. At least two boats had to be towed in because they ran out of gas. The coast Guard will refer you to Tow Boat U.S. (unless it’s a life-threatening situation you’re in), and that could cost a couple hundred dollars or more, depending on your location. Nearby anglers will often help (not always) but asking them to give up their day’s fishing isn’t fair to them because you forgot to gas up . So check those tanks before you leave port.
School starts in a couple of weeks so be sure to get the kids out fishing a couple more times. It’s a long time until next summer.
Capt. Terry Walsh