Well, the never-ending winter of 2014-15 finally ended (I think) and despite missing the first week or so of what should have been the walleye opener we finally got out to do a little fishing. Water temps are slowly crawling up into the 50s and hopefully the fish will start to settle into a good spring post-spawn pattern.
League started a week late (due primarily to the fact that Lake Bemidji was still covered with ice) and of course our first evening was punctuated with a nice cool breeze to go with the icy water temps. The teams gathered at Taber’s Bait in anticipation of a fresh new season. “Mystery Lake” was pulled and so we all threw our favorite lake into the hat and were rewarded with an evening on Lake Irvine.
There isn’t too much mystery to Irvine at this time of year. The Mississippi river runs into the lake at the south and and pours out at the north end. In the spring the walleyes concentrate at these inlet-outlet areas. So it was no surprise that by the time everyone had launched and headed out there were a couple of tight little bunches of boats at each end of the lake. We dropped the anchor and commenced to pitching jigs tipped with shiners. The breeze was cold and the fishing started slow for us. There were a few fish caught around us… only 20 feet away Winky and his fishing partner seemed to have a pretty nice little pace going with several walleyes caught to our zero. By about 8:30 Trev was starting to start that crazy talk about moving a little deeper then immediately stopped that foolishness when he latched into a fat 21 incher. OK… on the board. We sat in that same spot for the remainder of the evening and managed to grind out our four fish with one bonus 13 incher pulling a crank in front of the launch just for giggles. At the weigh-in it looked like just about everyone caught a few fish, mostly smaller, but at least the night was not a bust. Trev’s 21 incher turned out to be the big fish for the night and our total weight was enough for second place for the evening. So a pretty decent start to the 2015 season.
We made a couple of treks during the week to two of the smaller lakes in the area with moderate success. Again, water temps are just starting to get to the point where the shiners might start to think about spawning, but we focused mostly on jigs and shiners in the shallow areas that typically hold cabbage. For week 2 Trev decided to come down with some kind of nasty bug (food poisoning, by his reckoning) rendering him out of commission for fishing for the night. So it was up to his mother to fill his shoes as we headed out to Cass lake for the evening. Cass is a lake that we should fish more, but unfortunately only seem to hit once a year during league. It’s a great lake, but a complex lake with a ton of places to fish and too little time to fish them all. We decided to try a spot close to where the Mississippi river comes in on the west side. We found some nice reed beds with some weed growth close to a sharp drop and started to work close to the edge in about 6-8 feet of water. We managed to boat a few northern pike, but no walleys. We hopped to a couple other spots with no better results. In fact the icing on the cake was when I noticed that the St. Croix Eyecon I was using had a break about half-way through the shaft near the tip. This was the second broken rod of the season (my Loomis snapped completely in half when I set the hook on a nice bulrush the previous week) and had me sputtering a few choice words that shall not be repeated on these pages. So my bride suggested we just break out the cranks and give it a shot. I was all for it. We headed to one of our mid-season spots and I was rewarded in short order with a nice little 14 incher for the live-well. We were on the board. Unfortunately, that was the highlight. We bounced to a couple other favorites that produced absolutely nothing and we pulled in to the landing to weigh our pathetic .77 pound fish. Again, most teams had a few fish… no monsters, but at least it made for a good night.