As I glided my jig over the subtle pull of the bottom of the moving river, I felt a sense of dead weight and lifted the tip of the cane to see the slight bend confirming that my cold, covered hands. gloves could barely detect.
I finished the climb in a hurry and the tip of the hook of my parrot-colored jig found its place in the jaw of the walleye at the other end. Soon the splashing and flipping golden-sided fish made its way to the net under the gray early afternoon skies like the one a few minutes before it, and I knew my buddy Kevin and I were on a good set. of fish.
It was a solid job to wipe the cold water of the Missouri River off my hands to drop the 16 inch into the fishpond before blowing a breath through them, drying them on my pants, and re-breastfeeding.
This has been the story of two springs so far in the open water season, with March hot and sunny, and April being cold and windy with more snow in the past two weeks than the previous month and probably at some places, in January. . I often find myself bemoaning the change and strangely asking for early spring conditions instead of what we find now.
The fast-forward movement suddenly stopped with running fish seemingly reversing their course or at least standing still in small places like the break line in the side channel of the river where we found them. While I normally hunted for spawning bass on the lake to the north or flipped a fly for sustainable trout in a handful of nearby tanks, walleye were a welcome break and offered a new learning experience on water that I wanted more and more. to know better with each hookset.
“I’ve always said walleyes are easy to catch,” Kevin said of our situation while referring to another, “it’s hard to find them,” he laughed.
After a few stops in similar side channels, the loop between the fastest stretch in the side water – which was about a throw or two wide at best, but an incredible 22-foot depth in the middle – was the where we found them, mostly male walleye in the 14-16 inch range which provided quick action. The challenge, after locating the fish, was to secure the hook. We probably started as many walleyes as we sailed, as the cold fingers and attention span distracted by sleet, rain and wind reduced how quickly we loaded the fishpond.
But a pattern appeared for me and I reported it to my friend. Every time my jig came out of the depths, about two-thirds of a cast-iron length behind the boat, it got stuck on a small rise in the silty river bottom before breaking loose and moving the boat. along the edge of the apartment. There, on the break line, the walleyes were waiting, and more often than not, I felt the sensation of dead weight, a light tapping, or that not quite right sensation of a fish on the other end.
Although it took a while to factor in the slight disturbance in the orderly recovery, it all came together when my penultimate fish entered the tank and we decided to troll back home. , starting first with the upper edge of the side channel. , where my friend grabbed and released a bigger female, before I ended the day with one last keeper.
As spring has suddenly come to a halt in recent days and cold temperatures and wintry mixtures of rain, sleet and snow fill the air, the break has certainly produced some great fishing despite the conditions.
Finding what we were looking for during the break at the fork in the river where the walleye had stopped for at least an afternoon was a welcome consolation and well worth the relaxation… in our outdoors.