Monday, March 19, 2012

Canton Lake Walleye Spawn 3.17.12

Saturday, I was happy to be at home sitting around doing nothing, even though there is so much to do.  It was ugly and windy outside.  It was still warm.  The sky was hazed with dirt from all the wind.

Somewhere, from deep inside, my will to go fishing gradually took over.  Leo and I left around 3:30 to head to Canton Dam for our 2nd day of the walleye spawn. 

We got there around 5:00 and found us a good place close to where we had seen the walleye roll 2 nights before.  I cast beside the rocks and right away had a walleye on my chartreuse grub. 

The wind was blowing Northwest and made it miserable for Leo trying to cast.  Sometimes his lure would go straight out.  Sometimes it would go behind him in the rocks when the wind would gust.  He snagged a lot more than the last time out.

I had just gotten his lure loose from a rock and was walking it back to him when one of the large rocks I was walking across rolled.  It trapped my foot between it and another rock.  At the same time I went face first toward the rocks below me.  I stuck out my hands to try to catch myself on the way down.  The momentum was too much and my arms buckled under the pressure and akwardness of the fall.  Luckily my face buried into my crumpled arm to avoid smashing into a rock as well.

I had gotten lucky.  My shoe came off so I avoided a broken leg or ankle.  My arm shielded my face from the rocks.  Unfortunately, my shoulder thumb and wrist on my right fare well from all that weight being thrust on them all at once at an akward angle. 

My head was shaken, my pride was diminished, and my legs, knees, arms and hands were all scraped up.  I rolled over with my feet still up in the air and my head down toward the water.  For several minutes I laid gathering my thoughts and figuring out how I could get back up.

Finally, I got up.  I was o.k.  We continued to fish.  Leo was a little shaken and decided not to fish much more after that.

I ended up catching 6, only one of those was a keeper. 

My knee was aching from the fall and Leo was cold so we called it a night around 9:30.  When we got to the top several other anglers came over to admire our walleye.  Then the game warden stopped to look and to check my license. 

Leo was pretty excited to be able to show off our fish.

Even though it was windy and ugly and I almost broke myself apart on the rocks, it was still one of my favorite days.  I got to fish with my son and caught a pretty nice walleye.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Canton Lake Walleye Spawn

After work yesterday, I picked up Leo and headed to Canton Lake to test the theory of the walleye spawning when the dandelions bloom.  We got to the lake a little before sunset and started fishing.

Leo caught the first walleye about 15 minutes later.  It was short of the 18 inch mark so we released it.  At that point he started to pour on the talk about being a better fisherman.  Not long after that I hooked into one that was a little short, then one that was right on the line that I threw back to avoid any unneccassary fines.  He quieted down a little.  Then I hooked into a bigger fish.  It gave quite a fight as I pulled it into the rocks.  He got my blood pressure up with excitement when I saw him.  He was about 4 pounds. 

Leo was excited because we got to keep a walleye.  The sun was down but there was still some light left so I knew there was time for one more bite.  I hooked into one more as the visibility from the sun was going away.  He looked smaller than the one I threw back earlier but I wanted to measure him anyway.  He was skinnier but went a 1/4 inch over the 18 inch mark so we put him on the stringer.

Once it got dark the fishing slowed down fast.  I did get one more bite and it was a monster fish.  It was stripping drag and I could not get it turned as it headed for deeper water.  I was going to let it play itself out when all of a sudden my pole went limp.  It had gotten off. 

We left around 9:30 as Leo was done fishing and playing in the rocks.  I think the fishing was going to start picking up again as the night grew on but I want to keep him interested in fishing so we headed for home.

When we got home, Gavin was still awake.  He asked where the fish were so I pulled them out.  His eyes got real big.  He asked, "What are you going to do with those fish, cut them up and make food?"  I said, "Yes."  He then let out a loud "Yea!"  It was pretty commical to hear a 3 year old say that.

Dad called today and wants to meet there tonight.  It's been a lot of years since we have been fishing a walleye spawn together.  Some of my fondest memories are my late nights on the rocks with Mom and Dad fishing for walleye.  Tonight, Leo, Dad and I will be hitting the rocks together chasing after those elusive monster walleye.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Walleye Spawn & Dandelions

Growing up Walleye and Dandelions have gone together like bread and butter.  In the spring I watch and wait to see the first Dandelion flower.  Most people think of it as a weed.  It is one of my favorite flowers. 

I learned long ago that when you see the first Dandelion flower of the year the Walleye are usually staging to spawn.  I'm not the one who originally made that connection and passed it on to our family.  Dad always said that every spring.  I'm not sure if he made the connection or if he heard it from somebody else. 

For the most part it has been true.  From reading about fish spawning habits, I would go a step further and guess that the first full moon around when the Dandelions are starting to bloom is the likely time for Walleye to spawn.

Today I saw several Dandelions and it made me think of that.  It also reminded me of all the times we would drive to the lake after Dad and Mom would get off work.  We would crowd in along the Dam and fish all night trying to catch one of the many Giant Walleye that would come in close to the rocks.  Most of the time we would catch several of the smaller males.  A couple times Dad got one of the 8 pounders.

Tonight, I may start that same tradition with my boys.  When I was their age I was bundled up and sitting on the rocks until the wee hours of the morning, sometimes sleeping on the rocks so I could get some rest for school the next day.

These are the things that I remember from my childhood.   I would like to build their memory banks with such fond memories of their Dad as I have of mine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Broken Bow Oklahoma FLW BFL

Thursday Evening I left work with nothing on my mind but getting to the lake to do some fishing.  The weather had been nice the last couple days with temperatures around 70 degrees. 

My trip would start with a stop in Oklahoma City to visit my good friend Mizike and stay the night at his place.  The drive to Oklahoma City was great.  The wheat fields are turning green and it was light for a majority of the way there.  All winter I have made these long drives in the dark after work.  It felt good to see outdoor colors again.

A few days prior to my trip I started getting a cold.  The last couple nights I had hardly slept due to my coughing and choking on mucus running down the back of my throat.  I was tired by the time I reached OKC.  I barely spent any time chatting and hit the sack pretty hard.

The next morning I was up early ready to continue my adventure.  I packed and waited for somebody to arise so I knew I could leave without setting off an alarm.  I had just gotten my shoes tied when Kimmers came out of the room and wished me good luck as I was out the door.

From OKC I would travel roads I have never been on.  I traveled I 40 to a Turnpike going South.  About 20 miles out of OKC I stopped for some McDonalds breakfast.  I made it a ways down the turnpike before seeing a sign last stop for 77 miles.  I passed it and as I did I realized I had made a mistake.  I should have stopped.  The McDonald's breakfast was not settling well and I was not sure I could make it 77 miles. 

77 miles later I was feeling o.k. and continued on.  I was following GPS since I had only a general idea where the lake was.  I saw a sign that I was almost to Texas when I realized the GPS was leading me astray.  It said I needed to go 45 more miles before turning off the road I was on.  That would put me well into Texas.  I pulled off the road and did something I have not done for years.  I pulled out the Atlas and mapped the rest of the way to the lake. 

I pulled into town around Noon.  The weather was perfect except for some decent winds.  I stopped at Walmart and picked up some supplies.  From there I drove to find the motel I was going to stay and then on to see the lake.

The lake was extreemly scenic with the mountainous backdrop and the tan rocky shoreline that extended down past the pine trees several feet.  There were islands jetting up out of the water throughout the lake.  It didn't take me long to find some parking and walk to the water to try some casts.  I walked up and down the bank trying to get a bite on a lure I later heard was working well in the same area.  After a couple hours I decided to go get checked into the hotel room and get a bite to eat. 

The hotel room was being cleaned when I got checked in so I sat a couple bags in the room and went off to a Mexican eatery in front of the hotel.  My meal was unbelievably good and the plate it was served on was gigantic.  The meal took up most of the table.  I don't know how 2 people could eat at one table there.  Somehow, I at most of the food and drank a couple of cokes before paying and heading back to the room.

As I was walking back, I noticed that several boats were getting back from the lake.  I stopped to talk to a couple of the boaters who were extremely nice and gave me a couple hints for the next day.  We had our pairing meeting in a couple hours so I went up to the room to lay down for a bit. 

On my way to the car for the pairing meeting I saw several more boats had arrived.  I asked if anybody wanted a ride to the meeting so they didn't have to unhook their boats.  A few guys agreed to ride along and made the pairing meeting more fun.

My partner was called at the pairing meeting and we met up.  He told me we would be fishing some deeper water with the cold front that was coming in that night.  We decided to meet at Walmart in the morning and I would follow him to one of the ramps.

After the pairing meeting a few of us talked outside the rooms for a while before calling it a night. 

The next morning I got up to a busy parking lot as everybody was preparing to head for the launch ramp.  At walmart I didn't have to wait long for my boater to arrive.  I was putting my fishing gear in the boat when one of the guys with him said, "Hey, I know you!"  I looked over and realized this was the group camping close to me at Grand Lake.  My boater was one of the first people I met in the Okie BFL. 

I didn't have to back the boat in since his buddies were with him so I met him at the check in.  We waited as our number was called and then rocketed across the lake to his first spot.  I was glad I had packed my cold weather gear as it was really cold that morning. 

We fished the first spot for a couple hours waiting on the fish to turn on.  My boater caught one Kentucky that made the length requirements.  I had one bite but missed.  We moved in to work the bank for a minute to let the spot rest and my boater caught a decent largemouth.  A boat looked like it was watching our spot so we went back out to where we had been fishing.  After not getting bit for another spell my boater decided to work the bank again.  This time the other boat moved right into the spot. 

We fished a couple more areas quickly and came back to get the marker from the first spot we fished.  The other boat was still there so we headed across the lake to try another area my boater had luck on the day before.  My boater picked up another decent largemouth there.  We then moved back to our first spot of the day.  The other boat was working the bank so we picked up the marker and tried the area a little more.  We fished the bank for a little bit again then headed back to where my boater picked up his last bass.  He caught one more keeper, so we kept working around that area. 

During all of this I was trying anything I could think of to catch a fish.  Finally, I put on a swimming senko and cast out to a windblown point.  I felt a light pull so I set the hook.  My hook came back empty.  My boater cast out to the same spot and brought in his 5th keeper of the day. 

He decided that since most of his bass have came from areas that he had not practiced that we would try a few new spots.  They looked good but produced no bass. 

With about 20 minutes to go in the tournament we tried one last area.  My boater said that he didn't think he could catch any more bass until I caught one.  My next cast my rod about got jerked out of my hand as I hooked into my only bass of the day.  Also, my first fish of the year.  My blood was pumping and I was completely excited as I knew I would save my points and still have a shot at regionals.  Right after that he said that now he can catch that kicker fish.  He got a bite right away and yelled, "It's a big one."  It was a big bass between 4 and 5 pounds.  He was able to upgrade quite a bit with it.

The weigh in showed that the day of fishing had been good for a lot of people as my 2.4 pounder brought me 74th place out of 106. 

I learned a lot in this tournament, probably more than any tournament I have fished up until this point.  Even though I did not catch a fish in deeper water, I learned how you should fish it to catch fish there.  I have no doubt that on a different day we both could have loaded up with bass off that first spot we fished.

My boater showed patience in waiting for the spot to turn on, and at the same time to move away to catch some other fish in case it didn't.

He finished in the money for the tournament.  It sounded like most of the people had luck in shallower water that day.  A few of us gambled that the fish in the shallower water would be shut down due to the cold front that moved in and dropped the surface temperatures 5 degrees and the fish in the deeper water would continue to feed.  The fish definately didn't let the cold front bother them.  They were still eating.

That afternoon I left the weigh in and decided to try another route back to OKC.  I am glad I did because the first 80 miles were through mountainous terrain that kept me in awe around every corner.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


After months of waiting since the Grand Lake Tournament last season, tournament season is finally here.  I am only fishing the BFL's this year.  At least I have something to look forward to each month.  Once a month feels about right, with having family, and wanting to camp and spend some weekends with them.

Tonight I drive3 hours to Oklahoma City and spend the night at Mizike's.  Tomorrow morning I will make the remainder of the trip (4 hours).  I have a motel room booked so I should be able to look and play around all day Friday until it's time for tournament meeting.

Saturday is the first Okie BFL at Broken Bow.  I will be trying to trick any ole bass into joining us in the boat for a ride around the lake.

A three day weekend is awesome in itself.  A three day weekend getting to fish for bass and spend some time with friends is just outstanding.