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2013 Walleye Trip

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Starting to plan a walleye trip for next spring or early summer. Was thinking Saginaw bay or Detroit river. Would be bringing my father in from Pennsylvania for 3-4 days and taking my 18' Lund over, but thought once I narrowed down the place and date, that a charter might be a good way to start the trip and learn a lot about the local water and methods. Would also make a nice X-Mas present for the old man.

He is mostly a jig and drifting harness (or casting cranks) guy on inland lakes in PA; seems like this is not used much at all on Saginaw despite the water depths being perfect for it. Any reason for this on Saginaw...even after fish are located? I have enough trolling experience now with trolling Lake MI that we can figure that out if needed.

Any input on locations, time of year for some decent size fish, and charter recommendations would be appreciated.

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I just don't get any real joy out of trolling for walleye so I drift and cast spoons, weapon rigs, and jigs. Lots more fun to feel the hit and fight the fish on 8# spinning outfits. The three trips I have made to Saginaw Bay it seemed like I was the only boat out there not trolling though. I am sure that trolling is more productive but since I go fishing to have fun and if it takes a little longer to catch the fish... well that just means more fun.

I have not had much success before June with the casting on SB. This is about a month after it starts being a good technique on Erie. My usual strategy on either body of water is to search for marks on the graph and then set up a drift to go over them.

The Detroit River fishery is usually productive much earlier in the season (shortly after ice out in late March into April) and is for the most part a vertical fishery with plugs or heavy jigs with good chances for big fish. April is also a great time for fishing on Erie's reefs for eater 'eyes casting and vertical jigging feather jigs, jigs with minnows, and blade baits. This is usually great for eater size fish and can be fast and furious action.

After the fish move off the reefs and the big females are done spawning in mid to late April, lots of big walleye are caught trolling body baits in the 20-30' depths with the fish varying from 10' to the bottom depending on the water clarity and temps. The area north and west of Big Sister Island to the Mich/Ohio state line and the Toledo shipping channel is usually a productive area.

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Starting to plan a walleye trip for next spring or early summer. Was thinking Saginaw bay or Detroit river. Would be bringing my father in from Pennsylvania for 3-4 days and taking my 18' Lund over, but thought once I narrowed down the place and date, that a charter might be a good way to start the trip and learn a lot about the local water and methods. Would also make a nice X-Mas present for the old man.

He is mostly a jig and drifting harness (or casting cranks) guy on inland lakes in PA; seems like this is not used much at all on Saginaw despite the water depths being perfect for it. Any reason for this on Saginaw...even after fish are located? I have enough trolling experience now with trolling Lake MI that we can figure that out if needed.

Any input on locations, time of year for some decent size fish, and charter recommendations would be appreciated.

Something I've always wanted to try but just can not get the logistics down is one of Lance Valentine's teaching charters on the Detroit River. Very personable guy, plus a really good teacher. His web site is www.walleye101.com. He will be booking his trips pretty soon for the spring and he always fills up. He keeps his boat at Wyandotte and has a list of hotels and other logistical stuff for the area. A trip with Lance and then fish the rest of the time after the "Learnin" part.

Sounds like a fun trip however you do it.

Paul C.

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Jason, sounds like a great trip you are planning. There are several of us on this board that fish Saginaw Bay. For a one time trip on the Bay, I would recommend Mid to late June. The weather is more stable than earlier in the spring, and the walleye are typically grouped up in the normal productive areas by then. Where you choose to stay is a tough choice, there are no bad choices. Linwood Beach Marina offers camping and is an easy port to get on the fish quick. Bay City has several good launches with the DNR launch at the mouth of the Saginaw River being the most convenient anywheres. Bay City also has the State Park if camping is your thing. Sebewing as a nice county park for camping and a boat launch on site. Fishing out of Sebewing is the quickest way to get on fish if they are in the "slot". You can literally be on fish in a couple mile run from there. With water levels on the Bay dropping like a rock, Sebewing is the most effected by this followed closely by Quanicassee.

Like you said, 98% of Saginaw Bay fishermen troll. It isn't to say that you can't find fish, set up on them and jig with success, it is just that trolling is by far more productive. I have buddies that jig with success occasionally. If you have trolled Lake Michigan, you can easily adapt for a walleye program. Everything from crawler harness, crankbaits, to spoons all produce in good numbers. If you are comfortable with crawler harness pulling like your post implied, that is a great way to catch Saginaw Bay walleye.

Feel free to ask all the questions you have, this is a great site for information. Booking a charter is a great way to get a feel for the fishery and see some technique, however, many members on here will be happy to take you out for a learning trip, much easier on your wallet. The offer is open on my boat.

Sundaylunker.jpg

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30fishboxSundayLillo.jpg

That is what you can expect from Saginaw Bay in June.

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Appreciate all the replies;and thanks so much for the specifics on the ports. Sounds like I need to figure out if I'm going to hit the river in the early season or wait till June for the Bay. Or maybe both! :grin: I am getting excited for it already. I may take you up on that offer to learn a little on Saginaw as that cooler of eyes looks pretty tasty!

Couple of questions:

I have 2 used Master 180 reels (spooled with 17 lb Big Game mono), 2 Magda Pro 20 DX's (spooled with 17 lb Big Game mono), and 2 Magda Pro 30 DX's (spooled with 50 lb Power Pro). I also have a couple of Diawa Sealines rigged with 2-3 colors of Lead for SWRs for salmon. Good enough to start with for trolling spoons or harnesses?

I have very little for spoons, harnesses or bottom bouncers...any input on putting together a small start up kit on each of the items listed? How heavy on the bouncers (1 oz, 2oz). Looking for some local favorites for brands, sizes. I think I have a small collection of stinger and ministreak spoons for coho and early season salmon that should work. See a lot about purple in the reports...don't have much of that.

My boat is currently set up to run 4 boards per side plus riggers or dipsies; sounds like with 3 people on board (most convenient) I would be best to stick to 3 boards per side?

Sorry for the barrage.

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Tony,

If you have an open trip and Jason is in - I may want to tag along if there is room:thumb:. Jason fishes on my boat when he is not on his own and I would love to learn a little about Eye fishing as I'm sure it could be usefull around here at times.

I cannot remember the exact details, but this one was the lone fish on a Thursday tourney night and they would not let me weigh it:lol: - somewhere around 100 FOW south of Holland.

walleye.gif

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Shane, no problem, love to have you aboard.

I run almost exclusively a SS spoon program. I will pull crawlers in May sometimes until the water warms past 50 degrees, then all spoons. If you choose to run crawler harness, it is very easy. You can use bottom bouncers if you like, or just a 3/4 or 1oz rubber core sinker 6-8 feet above your crawler rig. Either works perfect and is easy to get the dive curve worked out quickly.

For spoons you will need to use either a mini dipsy, Big jon mini disc, or my favorite, the Walker Mini discs to get the spoons in the zone. All of your rods you described will work fine for walleye. I would make up 7' leaders for between your divers and your lure, I use 10lb Triple Fish mono. I can help you with the details and dive curves when the time is closer.

Plenty of guys still have good success pulling the tried and true Hot-n-Tots. The 3/8 oz originals work pretty good still to this day.

Sounds like you will have a good range of rods to work with. 3-4 boards per side will work great, and will also work nice with either spoons or crawlers. If you are running spoons, I always run a pair of slide divers right over the corners. I put Silver Streak standard size spoons on these setups, minis and Jrs on the boards. You would think that those spoons are way to large for walleye, but those little 14" fish will eat one and think nothing of it. Some of my larger fish come on those rods. They almost never catch the most fish, but almost always put a quality fish or three in the boat.

I have had success pulling short lengths of Blood Run copper way out behind everything else. Sometimes that will get a few extra bites on slow days. So your leadcore setups could be thrown in your spread if you get bored. Having said that, I only got that bored a couple times last year. Most of the time the fish cooperate and you will find that keeping 8 rods fishing is hard work. There are plenty of days where you will find yourself pulling rods out of your spread to slow things down.:eek:

If you are picking colors for either spoons or crawler rigs, like you said, pinks, purples, yellows, greens, and any combinations of these are great. When the water is stained (and that is what you are looking for), the UV's kick some tail. For blades, the Colorado style blades in larger sizes are the most popular. I have had really good luck with Doc Shelton blades in some custom colors done by CJ Baker. You really can't go wrong, the fish will cooperate.

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Yeah, the 3+1 rules were just not liberal enough for that stray walleye Shane! A true shame. Trying to talk Shane into some winter night fishing on Muskegon Lake and figuring that out. Too cold he says! ;)

That would be a good time though in all seriousness.

Good deal, I will work on some harnesses after Christmas. I have a reasonable collection of std streaks as well as a couple of lite bite slide divers I've been playing with for salmon and steelies.

Unfortunately we have some time to kill before May and June roll around. Let's stay in touch and discuss dates later in 2013. Let us know how far out you need to plan Tony.

Appreciate all the help Tony! From the sounds of it, I have a feeling a may be making regular pilgrimages to yet another great lake after this spring.

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If you guys come down to the fishing show in GR there is a group from the other side of the state that has good quality spoons at a good price. i believe 5 for ten bucks, also they are a good place to buy harness components. http://dbfishing.com/walleye_spoons.htm

I use a lot of these on erie as well as the spoons jans netcraft sells that you assemble. As far as colors as long as it has a copper back i seem to do better on erie not sure about the bay. Of course silver streaks. I have boxes full of em. One i dont like is Stingers walleye sppon as the paint is off of em in a couple fish or they get bent getting them out of the packaging. I like to run JRs on my slide diver lite bites both high and low divers. the rest typically mini sized spoons. Tony gave you some great info on the bay. pretty much same things on erie. If you are going to pull meat make sure you have a way to get your boat down to about a mile and a half an hour. Also at the show is the place to get the big jon mini divers there is a guy that is from the bay city area that sells them 3 for 12 bucks. They are 6 bucks every where else. AS far as weights for harnesses cabelas has the best price on rubber cores and bottom bouncers. I like 1 1/2oz and 2 oz bouncers and one ounce and .5 ounce rubber cores. With the rubber cores i can get what ever weight i need that way 1.5 or 2 oz depending on how deep you want them to run.

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I would highly recommend Doug Demming at Fish Point lodge as a charter captain. He has 2 boats one set up for the Saginaw river and one for the bay. A very hands on guy who will work his butt off to find you fish. And willing to share info including GPS numbers best colors,lures etc. I've fished twice from his big boat and once in the winter thru the ice and have not been dissapointed.

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Early spring =detroit river and jigging lake erie ohio reefs( launch from luna pier and 4 miles out).

how early are u thinking? We dont start sag bay till end of may. Detroit and erie are hard to beat march thru april

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If any of you still have your boats out a buddy and I fished out of Linwood 2 days ago. Straight out in 18' limited with 10 Walleyes all on stick baits. All fish were from 4 to 8#. We fished about 2 1/2 hours.

Not too busy out there as we saw 1 other boat about 2 miles away. LOL

Still good fishing to be had until ice out. :grin:

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