Riege: Lazy Days of Summer

Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Softly, the giant swell rolled upon the gravel beach. A hushed silence followed, only to be followed by the muffled roar of another slow rolling wave. With each wave the gravel would shift, then settle back to its original position. Lake Mille Lacs was seeing one of its calmer days. Yesterday’s storm could only be detected by the gentle wave action, which caressed the gravel beach at my feet.

The small town of Isle, MN now plump with tourists and on weekends was swollen with vehicles that pulled boats from all over the Midwest. As often during the days of late June and early July, the day was cool, refreshing and the lake was partially covered with early morning ground fog. It would be a wonderful day to fish the giant body of fresh water. Walleyes, northern pike, and smallmouth bass should be working the rock piles and points just outside the harbors and points north. Two hours remained before the first sign of the hurry-scurry of gaily-clad tourists would begin to buzz in and out of the local establishments. This made me want to go fishing.

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My outboard quietly propelled the boat out across the harbor onto the open lake. Heading north I began to troll. The heat of my motor rose in steaming clouds, drifted aimlessly, then disappeared as it blended with the lake bound fog. The atmosphere was lazy kind of happy. It was a good day to be alive! It was a great day to be fishing.

Ten minutes after turning north, a small walleye came to the net. He wasn’t big – maybe two pounds – but for eating, the size was just right.

Big Point was in sight before a second fish struck the # 7 Shad Rap, silver in color. This fish gave me a little more of a fight. As the walleye started to come to the surface it would quickly dart side ways and then bulldog towards the bottom, with headshakes and erratic movements that told me that this one was a good fighter. Moments later I scooped up a nice four pound walleye that would be a good meal for my mother and friends she was planning on having for dinner.

Number three came as I rounded the huge rocky edge of Big Point. It to was a good fighter with some pretty impressive runs. It proved to be a three pound walleye another fish for my mother and her friends.

Maybe I should head back? Breakfast would be waiting for me soon and Ginny wanted to spend some time on the water.

My return trip to the dock was uneventful. No fish attacked my Rapala, and as I approached the dock I could see that the town was starting to come alive. Soon those boats that are made more for speed and the jet skis would be flying around catching more glances than fish.

Trolling in unpressurized waters is a very successful way to take walleyes in the lazy, hazy period of time. It involves no fine sense of touch, not casting precision, and in fact it is a fishing technique that is so simple in its basic form that you can do it while you think of something else. Yet that, is one of the reasons people like it, for they can relax and do it without worrying about whether they are doing the right thing in the right way.

Structure is very important; you can have structure without fish, but never fish without structure. Fish move from sanctuaries or home areas in deep water to the shallows to feed by following breaklines and breaks in the structure. Variables such as color, profile, vibration, smell touch, and taste are important as well but many times the fish dictate to you what they want and how they want it.

How simple is it? Well, you have several choices to make: the speed you will troll at, the time of day you’ll fish, the particular place you’ll troll, the size of your lure, and its color. Frankly, most of these decisions are either forced choices, or they don’t make much difference! Most people I know feel that trolling for summer walleyes is simple, deadly and not very fancy way of fishing. It works, simple or not, like nothing else works on summertime walleyes.