Walleye action over the weekend out of Au Gres was “as good as it gets” many anglers said, though most also said a bit less heat would be nice. I would certainly agree on both issues.
Leaving the channel at Northport Marina just north of AuGres, one could see boats in virtually any direction. A virtual armada stretched from the 30-foot depths off the AuGres Rivermouth as far south as the eye could see. Hoping for less boat traffic by going north, we were following up on a tip by the captain of the charter boat ABSOLUTELY that there was good fishing north of the Big Charity Island.
When we rounded the northwest corner of the big island, another armada of fishing boats came into view. So much for the less boat traffic idea. There had to have been more than a 100 boats stretching across the northern shoreline of the island and beyond.
We elected to go way to the east to a favored waypoint that would put us on the outside of the fleet of anglers and in the 20-foot depths. The move paid off handsomely, as we started catching fish almost immediately–nice fish and all in the 2 1/2 to 3-pound class. The action was steady from the start, and seldom did we manage to get all eight lines set.
Crawler harnesses behind two-ounce in-line weights run 28-35 feet back behind Offshore In-Line Planer Boards worked their magic. Color of the harness blades and beads didn’t seem to matter much, as we caught fish on everything we tried. It did seem that chartreuse and gold blades were especially good. Trolling speed wasn’t real critical either as long as we stayed under two miles per hour. Catching a four-party limit of 20 walleyes was pretty easy.
North of the Big Charity means fishermen are in the open waters of Lake Huron, and definite caution must be exercised. Never venture out without a good marine radio, and pay attention to the weather station. Make certain there’s plenty of gas in the tanks for the long run out and back as well as several hours of trolling. (At least one boat I know of had run out of gas and was asking for someone to tow him back to AuGres). USCG certified life jackets are mandatory for everyone on board. It’s virtually impossible to drown in a life jacket and awfully easy without one. Finally, take plenty of water along, as it’s easy to get dehydrated in the July heat.
Be safe and remember to take the kids fishing, too.
Capt. Terry R. Walsh