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Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
03-15-2019, 08:31 PM,
Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Sites been unusually recently so I figgure everyone is A fishing or B tying a bunch of new inspired creations.\
Been fishing the GMR so nothing edible or IMO not edible.
I went 6x in January caught 2 smallies and 6 saugeye
February was a bit more productive got out 5x but caught 14 total saugeye, 3 crappie, 5 smallies
Been out 4x this month but too much water catching fish though.  Saugeye must of gotten  lockjaw or washed away.  Only 1 so for this month.  Smallies are quite active must love the rushing water.  7 so far including 2, 3 1/2 pounders on the same trip. And 3 channel cats and a carp.  Think I caught a huge shovel head but never got it close enough to find out.  Been using  a variety of Jigs 1/32 to 1/4 some with plastics some with real crawlers, some tied.  Nothing seems to be better at this point although I will say you gotta go fishing to catch a fish.  I think catching right now is mostly luck, but its nice to get out and give it a whirl,.

Best colors so far, Watermelom. orange, greem pumkin , and hot pink.  Big smallies were on white with brown bucktails
Wishing all, Tight Lines and Bent wriggling rods!
03-16-2019, 08:28 AM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Finally got out for about 2 hrs on Wed. when snow,rain, wind, and ice around Pittsburgh finally ceased and we had 70* calm weather and open water. I wanted to test a concept of using a short, springy, silicon "leg" from a kid's "squiggly ball", as a trailer for a Hawnjig !/28 oz roundhead. The little tail had a constant "nervous action" and 8 nice sized, full bodied brook trout were landed in the short time fishing (had an appt to get to !). Some info on this type tail below-

When the Going Gets Tough
Craig Riendeau 28 May

Categories: Fly Fishing
Craig with smallmouth caught on a Big Willy fished float-and-fly style

Smallmouth caught on a Big Willy fished float-and-fly style

I sat by my computer for a good ten minutes before I came up with this title. I could have gone several directions with the information I’m about to disclose. We were fishing for smallmouth bass in Door County, Wisconsin right after opening day of the season. The bass were in all stages of the spawn…pre, spawn and some post-spawn. The weather had been yo-yoing up and down twenty-five degrees. The wind couldn’t make up its mind on which direction to blow from but it had decided to blow hard from whichever was the direction of the moment. The warm tannic waters of the Mink River would be blown out of the river mouth and onto the rocky flat at its mouth only to be blown back up river several hours later. Plus, the word was out that the bass were in and there was a parade of boats of all sizes going up, down, in and out of the river. The conditions weren’t good and were constantly changing, rarely for the better.
There was a crowd at the lake looking for smallmouth

The word was out that the bass were in

How to deal with any of these situations individually is a story of its own. But the one thing they all have in common is the fact that they make the angling tough. Tough is tough and I’ve got a one size fits all solution to them. Just how good is this? In less than favorable conditions I managed one hundred smallmouth in three days with most bass over three pounds, a third over four and half a dozen at the magic five-pound mark. Got your attention now?

The greatest part of what I was doing was its simplicity. I guess that saying of keep it simple is true. All I was doing was an extension of my favorite way to fish, with a float and fly system. If you follow my website you already know of the Wee Willy Wiggler. Well, welcome his cousin, Big Willy and his brother Double-Wide. Before you go thinking I’ve been out in the sun too long, these are the names of two of my latest fly patterns.

Wee Willy is a size #8 jig type fly with a one-inch long rubber tail made from a child’s toy, a Googly Ball to be exact. A Big Willy is the same pattern tied on a #4 hook and made with a two-inch rubber tail from a jumbo Puffer Ball. While a Double-Wide is a #2 jig hook with twin three- inch rubber tails, yes from a child’s toy with a silly name. Despite the goofy names of the toys and the odd names of the fly patterns, these are the single most effective fly patterns that you could fish under tough conditions. This isn’t bragging, exaggerating or alternative facts but the cold hard truth. No fly pattern that I have ever fished has worked so well and consistently under tough conditions. It’s no slouch under favorable conditions either.
Original Wee Willy Wigglers (bottom right), Big Willys (left) and Double-Wides (top right)

Original Wee Willy Wigglers (bottom right), Big Willys (left) and Double-Wides (top right)
Googly Ball and Jumbo Eyeball Creature toys

Where the Wee Willy Wigglers, Big Willys and Double-Wides come from

Now that you know the what, here’s the how. As I stated, float and fly. The Willy’s are all tied on ninety-degree jig hooks and weighted to rest in a horizontal position when strung under an indicator. A half inch round indicator will support a Wee Willy and either a three-quarter inch round or a two-inch crappie float will hold the two larger versions suspended. A six to seven weight fly outfit will cast the larger fly and float easily. My personal choice is a Sage II 290 gr smallmouth bass rod. This outfit (comes with a specially weighted line) will readily cast your fly effortlessly even into a stiff wind. Plus, I feel that the 7’11” rod length is less fatiguing to cast all day.

As tied all three versions are weighted enough to get themselves down most of the time. If I’m fishing deeper than five feet or if there is a fair amount of water or wind current I will add a small clam shot six inches above the fly. Getting the fly to get to and remain at the correct depth is crucial. Most of the time the smallmouth bass are hugging the bottom. Under unfavorable weather, water conditions or extreme fishing pressure they become reluctant to leave it.

Craig with one of many smallmouth averaging 4 lbs

The closer you can suspend the fly to the bottom without dragging on it the better this will work. Being no more than a foot off the bottom is key when it’s rough going. You can suspend the fly at mid depth when conditions are good because in clear water the bass are always looking up. Knowing the depth of the water around you is critical. A depth finder is a great help but just sticking your rod tip underwater to find bottom is by far the most accurate way to know where to set your indicator in water depths less than the length of your rod. At times I alligator clip a weight to my fly to find the depth but I’m constantly checking to be sure I’m still fishing the zone.

Here’s a tip about bass fishing and wind. Bass of all species love to be by or in weeds when they are available EXCEPT when the wind is blowing hard. This tidbit is worth the price of admission alone! Besides all the sediment and debris being tumbled about, the weeds themselves become the equivalent to sitting next to curtains by an open window on a windy day…annoying. The bass relate to hard structure in high winds. They relate to things like piers, seawalls, blow downs, fish cribs and oh, ROCKS!
The wind was blowing hard in Door County, WI

The wind was blowing hard in Door County, WI

All of Rowley’s Bay and the mouth of the Mink River is nothing but rock. The river itself has some rock but mostly sand and clay with substantial weed growth along the drop offs. There’s more places to hide and be secure along the weeds but only when it is relatively calmer. When the wind wants to gale, the many of the bass move out into the river delta or surrounding flats (which depending on water color and temperature). Smallmouth love current, so the wave action that is tossing your boat around and making anchoring difficult is heaven to them. This is also where you want to fish.
Picture of Craig with smallmouth caught on a Big Willy fished float-and-fly style

This was just a small one

There are always some scattered fish along the flats searching for their next meal but the concentrations of bass are along the edges of the drops along the river delta. Fish these areas just as if they were on your favorite stream. Suspend the fly to work the depth needed, be aware of which way the current is going. There is a strange seiche type current at this river mouth that changes speed and direction with no rhyme or reason. Then cast your rig so that you achieve a downstream dead drift. If the current is slack or slow, give your indicator a foot-long strip periodically. I guess I could add to set the hook if the indictor stops or goes under but that’s about it.

Told you, simple. Put a relatively small bait in their face and keep it there for the longest amount of time possible without gluing it to the bottom. I believe that the vertical presentation keeps the fly line and most of the leader out of the fish’s view in clear water. This cannot hurt your cause. That’s how you catch fickle fish. Plus, it’s addicting to anticipate the indicator sliding under water when a fish takes it. It brings you back to being a kid watching a bobber over a cricket while fishing for bream… except these are five-pound bass.
Craig with one of many smallmouth averaging 4 lbs

It’s never really tough when you catch over 30 fish a day averaging 4 lbs.

Tags: Bass, Float and fly, Fly Fishing, Flyfishing, Lake Fishing, Smallmouth bass, Wee Willy Wiggler
← Float and Fly for Lethargic Fish

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Author:About Craig Riendeau
03-16-2019, 12:09 PM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Weather, and my schedule have both sucked. Been once for about an hour on a lake I haven't fished since "93" It finally got enough water last fall to launch my boat. It will be a learning process, but I'll get there.
>>>------------> Make It Count!!! <><
03-17-2019, 02:11 AM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Checking records, ZERO warm water action till the end of April historically, so only trout here. Resource in continual decline as meatheads harvest the fragile resource, keeping EVERYTHING. This Winter notable by an almost complete absence of smaller fish and only a few far between holdovers. Only one fish per mile of river, but they are nice ones. Seems like my smallest 1/16 ball #8 & #6 plain fur jigs have been best to entice the wary survivors.

Last year's productive canal has near zero trout which fisheries management blames on the reservoir source hot Summer fish kill.

Warm water species also in continual decline in the 4-1/2 years i've been here and worried about the upcoming warm water season. Unusually cold Winter forced a full month zero window period February - early March.

Kdog, are you catching from boat or shore?
03-17-2019, 08:25 PM,
Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
I spent lots of time on the ice over the last 2 months. That came to an end 2 weeks ago. Did anyone see ice rescue from Catawba Island in Erie? Think it made national news. I wasn't in the group but I did know a couple who were. I stick to smaller inland waters mostly. Did good in restocking my freezer. Almost got my 30 limit of yellow perch one day on Sandusky Bay. I've NEVER caught perch through the ice like that, pretty amazing day. I will attach some pics. Only 1 open water trip since the ice and it was a skunk day. Have been doing some tying lately too. Have a youngster who gave me 2 deer tails from hunting season and making him a package to re-pay him. Hopefully get some pics of the jigs soon.

[Image: e16731fe26075f63028bf71a4dd4eca0.jpg]

[Image: 9e8480b64b632a83068e2e68306b3417.jpg]

[Image: da9973cb5ad4be2f74b6a24ef4cb6289.jpg]

[Image: 131773d1a96f42d0afa4a63365fc175f.jpg]

[Image: 8156d19ad97afc00c32236a53194814b.jpg]

[Image: c2bfe7c428c44eaef2b9f7b8e7d66a6b.jpg]

[Image: a3397676b43095cc05c84be05e48639a.jpg]

[Image: 7cd24b81ed8f963022d95258e9acf9db.jpg]

[Image: da5cfa332334b92c4effe8b36292c363.jpg] : Co-Founder
03-17-2019, 10:46 PM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
have not been out in the boat. leave work around 330 and am fishing 10 mns later. right now little pressure and easy access. I do not think Ive been more that 1/4 mile from parking lot.
Wishing all, Tight Lines and Bent wriggling rods!
03-17-2019, 10:48 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-17-2019, 10:49 PM by Kdog.)
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Dang Russ, wanted to see you fillet that fish from pic #2. Nice perch dinner in that one shot
Wishing all, Tight Lines and Bent wriggling rods!
03-18-2019, 11:03 AM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
(03-17-2019, 10:48 PM)Kdog Wrote: Dang Russ, wanted to see you fillet that fish from pic #2. Nice perch dinner in that one shot

It has to rank up high for one of the smallest i've caught with hook and line.  Those little guys would come through in waves up at East Harbor.  For 5 minutes the bottom foot of water would be loaded with marks on the flasher.  Work and work to get them to chase and then that would come up through the hole.  5 minutes later it was back to catching 9" and 10" bluegill and pumpkin seeds.  I didn't catch a single keeper perch in 4 trips there.  Made up for it on that one trip to the bay though.  Cool : Co-Founder
03-18-2019, 01:28 PM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Wow, thats a lot of fileting ! Any particularly successful lure (s) ?
03-18-2019, 04:08 PM,
RE: Anyone Fishing yet, Anyone catching???
Lures and baits were all over the place.

Best option for the bluegill was a tungsten jig tipped with a maggot or waxworm. The jig is a Fiskas Wolfram jig that i tied a dry fly hackle to. Left the point out the back end and then palmered a couple wraps around the shank. Can tell on the flasher if i loose my bait and often would leave it down and just jig more aggressive to get another bite.

The crappie and bass all either came on a rapala jiggin rap or a z-viber. Just got some of the tiny 1/16 z-vibers this year and pretty impressed by them. They are a very small lipless crankbait that come with only a single hook out the back. I upgraded to a single treble on half of the ones i bought.

The outstanding perch day was caught almost entirely on a small spoon i made tipped with a minnow head. The spoons are small blanks (from Hagens) that i put a slight bend in, add solder to the back and then powder paint. Also add on a 00 size willow blade to the split ring when i add the treble. A shiny gold/black one did the trick. It was kind of funny because i was invited to a private marina by a new friend, first time i had been fishing with him. He caught 1 bluegill that was big enough to keep..... i caught all the other fish in the picture. I gave him a couple of my spoons but he just didn't have the same trick i figured out i guess.

In all, i probably put 150 pieces of fish in the freezer, pretty much all panfish along with a couple largemouth for sandwiches. The filleting is a bit of work but well worth it. Only had 2 bags of panfish left in the freezer when the lakes froze up and have enough for a few meals now. : Co-Founder

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