Multnomah Channel walleyes, 3 July 2015

bass
bass
I met up with my friend Brian (minnowmagnet) to do try some MC walleye fishing. I got to the ramp shortly after 5am and Brian was already there. He had filled me on on the technique so I was set up with a worm harness and a short dropper with a 4oz cannonball. Brian was using a similar harness (chartreuse smile blade) but he had a real bottom walker with a 3oz weight.

I have to admit I did throw a topwater for a 1/2 hour or so when we first got there but I did not have any luck with that. After that I went out to where Brian was fishing and he explained how he was trolling. The idea was to troll downstream a bit faster than the current and to keep your sinker on or near the bottom. He had not had any bites yet but said that the area had been producing earlier in the week.

I started trolling along near him but it is a funny thing when you are trying a new technique. It is difficult to know if you are doing it correctly or missing something subtle until you have some success. For about an hour we trolled the area that had been hot without success. Eventually Brian said we was going to head upriver a ways. I decided to go back to fishing for bass since the East bank still had shade.

For about an hour I beat all kinds of structure along the bank without any luck. I decided that was kind of pointless so I headed upriver to look for Brian. I went a fair distance without seeing him, so since I did not have any better ideas I went back to trolling the area he had first shown me. I trolled again and again, trying various depths and speeds but I did so without much confidence and without any success.

Eventually I saw Brian off in the distance as I was heading upstream to start a new run. I pedaled up to him hoping to hear a tale of success but he said he had only caught a couple of catfish. It was starting to feel like one of those you should have been here yesterday kind of days.

We trolled together for a while but without any success. We decided to switch it up a that point and Brian tried drifting a jig and I tried throwing a crankbait for smallmouth. Brian picked up another bullhead and I finally broke the ice with a gorgeous 4" perch :( Around 10 or so Brian said he was about done and that he was going to troll back towards the ramp. I decided to keep tossing the crankbait since I had call "all" my fish on it. We both briefly lamented not bringing our sturgeon gear and then parted ways.

I did not find out until I got home, but Brian had picked up a nice walleye on his way back. I kept stubbornly throwing a crankbait and shaky-head jig around promising looking structure but I never found any bass. Finally around 1pm I was tired, sweaty and frustrated. I decided that as long as I was not going to catch any fish I should focus on not catching walleye since that was the purpose of the trip.

I headed upstream a ways and started trolling back, it was hot, the sun was brutal and I was fading fast, but not quite ready to throw in the towel. I decided that I really needed to completely focus on zig-zagging through the mini drop off and really focus on the feel of my harness. I started to get that zen sort of feeling that you sometimes get when you finally feel like you are figuring something out. I was now dragging my rig along the bottom instead of bouncing it along. I watched my sonar like a hawk and when I would see a tree or snag I would lift my rod high to get over it and then after ticking it I would drop back down. Even though I was not getting bit I felt like I was finally fishing efficiently. It was now getting close to 2pm but I hung in there.

Part way down my second run I felt something that felt different from the rocks and things I had been banging off of. I set the hook and I thought I could feel some weight but I was not sure. I reeled my line in and to my surprise and delight I had caught a small 12" walleye. Even though the fish was a total dink it gave me confidence that I was doing things correctly. I released the fish, re-baited and went back to trolling. On my next I felt another bite but missed the fish. I reeled up a worm that had been chewed on by something and bitten in half.

On the next pass I did not have any action but I pedaled back up to give it another try. About 1/2 down my troll I am feel some rocks and gravel and then BAM! Something hammers my rig, no doubt this time. I start battling the fish and immediately realize I have a big fish on. I start pumping it to the surface and I gain 10' of line and the lose 5 as it dives back to the bottom with some serious power. In my mind I am chanting, "don't be a sturgeon, don't be a sturgeon". Finally I get the fish to the surface and see that it is a big walleye. I swing the fish in close and get my way too small net under the fish. I lift up and the fish is just sort of half way in the net with its tail sticking out. I drop my rod and grab the tail with my free hand and with one hand on the net and the other on the tail I hoist it into the kayak.

P7030683%20Small_zpsauxmpu6c.jpg

The picture does not do it justice. I quickly got out my scale and weighed the fish, 6lbs 3oz. I did not measure the length but it was probably around 25 ro 26". It is hard to describe the elation that I felt after catching that beautiful fish after almost 8 hours of very little action. Right before I released it I held it up to show a man and a woman in a passing power boat and he said that he was from Minnesota and that fish would have been considered a trophy there. I know lots of folks have caught bigger walleye and that a 10lb fish is what it takes to really be considered a trophy around here, but I am not sure any fish I have ever caught has felt as special as that fish. I really felt like that fish was a triumph of personal willpower in some very physically and mentally tough conditions.

I fished to another hour and a half but did not have any more bites and that was OK. Finally around 4pm, totally soaking wet from and dripping sweat I called it a day. I may not have caught much, but it was a great day of fishing!
 
C_Run
C_Run
Great story and congratulations. I wouldn't have made it eight hours in this weather.
 
E
eugene1
bass said:
About 1/2 down my troll I am feel some rocks and gravel and then BAM! Something hammers my rig, no doubt this time. I start battling the fish and immediately realize I have a big fish on. I start pumping it to the surface and I gain 10' of line and the lose 5 as it dives back to the bottom with some serious power. In my mind I am chanting, "don't be a sturgeon, don't be a sturgeon". Finally I get the fish to the surface and see that it is a big walleye.

Awesome write up, bass!

How cool to break into a new to you fishery and get into a hawg!

They are great eating if from clean waters.

Best,
 
S
Steelheader3875
I love the way you wrote that story. By the end I was really Cheering you on! [emoji106]?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
M
minnowmagnet
killer write-up John. I'm glad I talked you into giving that a try. You definitely have the character to go after walleye here. I don't know why I keep coming back for more because some days I just troll and troll and troll for maybe one nice quality fish, then I get it and just toss it back. Great perseverance on your part and really nice fish.
It really is an involved technique like you said staring at the FF, honing in your speed and working the area while keeping the harness within that 18" strike zone and not snagging all the time. My belief is that if you can hook walleye in the channel than you will probably be pretty good at nailing early season springers on the shelves in the Willamette. Let's do it again and next time maybe catch more fish (and bring sturgeon rods too?).
 
bass
bass
Thanks guys. It was a 1% inspiration 99% perspiration trip for sure. It is always a challenge learning a new fishery, even with expert help. I love that moment though where you start to feel like everything feels right and makes sense. It took me quite a while to get there on Friday, but the destination is worth the journey. Plus, it is always better to be lucky than good on any given day :)

MM, thanks so much for talking me into going and showing me how to do it. On Saturday I bought some hooks, smile blades, beads and corkies and tied up my own eye-burning chartreuse harnesses (about $1 each instead of $3 each). I am definitely stoked to try that again. Next time lets definitely bring the sturgeon gear, although I have to say I am glad we did not have sturgeon gear with us on Friday. If we had brought sturgeon gear I would have caved early on and never found the feel. Next year you can teach me how to springer fish!
 
B
Berg03
Nice fish Bass! its always nice to finally get the fish you are after, especially when it tested a lot of your patience.
 
bass
bass
Thanks Berg, but I don't think patience is the right descriptor. I am horribly impatient. I am just too dumb to quit when they aren't biting. When I got home later than planned my wife told me she knew they were either biting like crazy or not at all :)
 
S
SailCat
Sometimes dogged persistence will overcome impatience an allow you to find success. As you pointed out, however, the lack of sturgeon gear was contributory.

Your stories are always a delight, bass. I've long wanted to catch walleye but have yet to try for them. And this with a world-class fishery here (or so Minnesotans tell me). I'll be looking forward to your next adventure!
 
bass
bass
SailCat said:
Sometimes dogged persistence will overcome impatience an allow you to find success. As you pointed out, however, the lack of sturgeon gear was contributory.

Your stories are always a delight, bass. I've long wanted to catch walleye but have yet to try for them. And this with a world-class fishery here (or so Minnesotans tell me). I'll be looking forward to your next adventure!

Thanks SailCat!
 
G
Gettin' Jiggy Wid It
Great fish tale, Bass. Way to stick with the new technique until you found success. That dropper rig is the same for salmon, just switch the worm out with a herring and troll away.

--GJWI
 

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