: Should I stay or should I go?
12-07-2002, 02:32 PM
Heres something for us to chew the fat on. When ice fishing the bay how long do you hang out in a hole that appears to be dead? I used to be a hole hopper that is try a hole for a 30 to 45 minutes, then move on quickley trying to find a productive spot. Its true walleyes are constantly on the move for forage so is it better to hang out and try to bring the fish to you? Once while on the bay we fished this spot for over 3 hours with out getting a hit nothing on the electronics either. I was getting itchey to move so I walked over to my buddy's shack and told him lets get out of here and go to another spot. When I got back to my shanty one of my rods was going down the hole, I grabbed it the fish was still there I landed it was a nice fish about 9lbs I yelled to my buddy to drop back down. I quickley took the fish off rebaited and dropped back down the bait never reached the bottom. This fish was over 11 lbs meanwhile my buddy was wacking them too we limited out in about a half hour. Flip side to this I have sat in a hole jiggin my butt off for 8 hrs and caught nothing so I guess it can go either way. So what do you guys think should I stay or should I go?
12-07-2002, 05:40 PM
I dont have to tell you of all people, that the Saginaw Bay is pretty much a flat, featureless bowl, bottom wise. Oh, there is a few drop off's, humps and minor ledges that run along the shorelines. But structure?........little if any. I've caught most of my fish along or just inside these subtle depth differences and trust these spots the most. The most moves I've made in a day has been 3. Caught my limit once in 2001 after 1:00pm in the afternoon, after setting there all morning with nothing. So like your experience, moving may be the worst thing to do. I'm a firm believer (like you) that waleye are always moving, but just more-so at certain time of the day. And that seems to always vary as well.
12-07-2002, 06:25 PM
I am in complete agreement with you Dan when I first started fishing her I ran with some local guys 20 minutes to a hole is all they spent just a running and a gunning all day back then it was good for me because I got to learn the lay of the land also got to see alot of different jigging techniques. But now I much rather stick to my guns and jig it out.
12-07-2002, 08:24 PM
I have a hard time sitting at the same hole for more than a few hours without any action. Usually though, it never pays for me to hop around too much. I think during prime time, it is best just to sit tight. In the middle of the day is a good time to go lookin for greener pastures or just other pastures.
12-08-2002, 05:13 AM
Good point WAeyes the only problem is I think prime times change as the season goes on and sometimes I have had a good bite in the mid morning say 11am. I am one of those guys that is in my shanty set up and jigging a half hour before daylight but two years ago is was all for nought because most mornings there was no early bite for me anyways the bite started at 8:30- 9 am but that could change too. I was just reading a article on big water walleyes by Dave Genz where he states the key is to stay mobile and keep looking for fish. I know one thing the fish move around a lot on the bay. Manytimes I have had a good hole, marked that location on my gps returned there the next morning and caught nothing. Many times have the walleyes come in like gangbusters then a half hour later they are gone. I use aggressive jigging techniques to get them to the hole then try to adjust to the mood of the fish once they get there. I will move on though,later in the season I will move shallower for the afternoon/night bite.
12-08-2002, 09:27 AM
If you are not getting any action before 9:00am, I would guess you might be out too deep for the early bite. Try making a few holes that are up on top of the structure you are fishing. This may be 2 feet shallower or 10 feet shallower but I guarantee you they are feeding at first light. It sounds like you are getting the fish in your area after they begin there movement back to their mid-day holding areas. I am usually walking off the ice by 9:00am thinking of a good hot breakfast...walleye and eggs of course ;)
12-08-2002, 10:46 AM
The closest thing to Structure on Saginaw Bay is usually an old snowmobile or pickup truck that went through the ice in years past. The closest thing to sharp ledges on the Bay is the river channel going into the river. And that shallow morning/deeper afternoon thing, just has not proven itself as a dependable variable on our Bay.
12-08-2002, 11:41 AM
Waeyes yeah that morning bite was pretty much at that time all season even in late febuary and march when I was fishing shallow wondering if it was the same for Capt Dan. or was it just me? When I mentioned moving in for the afternoon night bite I think I said later in the season as I have been lucky enough to find some structure up there and I want to know when the fish get there as they will generally hold in these areas and I can return to those spots time after time and be succsessfull. Thanks for the replys as I can never learn enough about fishing Good luck and good fishing.
12-08-2002, 02:01 PM
Its been my own experience historically throughout the years, rather its been fishing the rivers or bay, spring, fall and winter, that late morning (after 9:00/10:00am) has always been more productive. I've concluded persoanlly that it has a lot to do with the feeding cycles of the walleye. I think they get active and put on the feed in the early morning hours, or just prior to daylight during the summer. Leaving them less active until they get hungry again around 9:00/10:00am. I dont even leave the dock until 8:00am during charters in the summer. And it pays off. Dont see why much would change during the winter.
12-08-2002, 04:05 PM
Dan your not saying that you can't catch fish before 9am just that you feel after 9 is more productive right? Because I have limited out before 8:30 a few times on the bay and the river Mostly the bay its a lot harder to limit out on the river. How many times I couldn't tell you I used to keep a log when I fished everyday but I haven't in years.
12-08-2002, 05:17 PM
Nope, saying never when it comes to fishing, given any technique or body of water would truly be foolish. Similar to my "Only Jesus can guarantee fish" tag statement at the bottom of my posts, one can only go by what one has observed in his own experiences. And in my experiences on the Bay and rivers, using both trolling and jigging techniques, 9:00am to 10:am starts the best time to fish for me. This is not to say I wont be set up and jigging at daylght like you:-).
12-08-2002, 07:17 PM
Dang, so if I was to fish Saginaw Bay I could sleep in and still go walleye fishing? Talk about having your cake and eating it too...;)
12-09-2002, 02:58 AM
WAeyes, oh yeah I sleep in when I am fishing the bay untill 3:00 am leave the house at 4:00 am. I don't like crowds so I get there early go out get set up and have a coffee in the shack before I start jigging. I don't like to rush because you make mistakes when you rush around and the bay isn't the place to make mistakes. Dan just for ##### and giggles I will document this morning bite thing for the whole season and see what I come up with but after 40 plus years on the bay I would think you know what you are talking about. Can't wait to get out there cause blood on the ice is twice as nice.
12-09-2002, 03:02 AM
Waeyes walleye and eggs sounds kinda gruesome for breakfast how do you prepare that? Or are you just yanking my chain?
12-09-2002, 07:11 AM
No yankin Dreaming. Fried walleye with eggs and hash browns is the breakfast of champions :9
12-09-2002, 07:13 AM
I'll give you my theory on why I think the bite (in general) starts a little later in the morning, besides my own documented observations. I guess for one, the water temperature might warm up some, with the morning coolness wearing/burning/lifting off. This starts everything from the bottom of the food chain up, moving around in the water column. Now, some of these theories may be more sound, given the different seasons and waters temp and conditions. But even in winter, through ice, those litle microscopic rascles start to move around when the light of day hits the ice. And along with them fallows the bigger micropodes, the small minnows who eat them, and the bigger fish who eat them, and finally the prey fish at the top of the food chain.
And I'll tell you, that I did indeed catch as many fish starting just before or at daylight back in the mid to late 80's, because I think they had to forage in longer periods. Why? The water clarity.
I dont know how many of you remember what the Saginaw Bay used to look like. It wasn't always clear like it is today. The zebras did us that job. The Bay used to look like a cup of coffee with cream in it back then. And even given the walleyes great underwater site (See's 9 times better than us) under water. He was having a little more trouble finding prey in the mud, than in the filtered pool he lives in now. So now he can forage better, more efficiently in the dark and in shorter time frames than before. He can use any avalilable light to start, and this first light starts well before daylight to him. And thus, finish his forays earlier and need to eat again a little later in the morning, say 9:00 or 10:00am. And like I said before, I'm not a fish Biologest......or play one on TV. Just a guy who notices things.
12-09-2002, 03:25 PM
Dan you are right I never fished the bay before the zebra's so I don't have a clue on what it was like back then. What you say makes sense though. I feel like I am attending saginaw bay walleye school and I like it. You keep posting and I will keep reading I can't know enough about that bay.