Long overdue update to the ole' blog here, but here it is!
The 2017 Lake Superior light tackle and fly fishing season was another great adventure with lots learned and many new friends and experiences picked up along the way. It was a tough year for many of us as we lost one of our best friends and guide mentor, Captain Roger Lapenter. Roger helped me get to where I am as a guide and also as a person in many ways. He always wanted to leave the Bay better than he found it and he sure did. It's our responsibility to keep it that way and to continue his conservation efforts.
2017 In a Nutshell:
I launched a boat for the first day on April 1 this year and was able to to share the day with Sam Cook, Outdoor Writer for the Duluth News Tribune. We chased Browns along the ice covered spring shorelines of the Apostle Islands and had some luck, despite the water being 32 degrees. You can read the full story HERE
With ice out progressing at a fairly normal pace, we were able to continue chasing browns for the better part of April, and we put many nice fish in the boat. Once May rolled around it was time to head to our beloved sand flats and chase those infamous Lake Superior smallmouth. I'm pretty lucky to have grown up on and live on a Smallmouth fishery where one can possibly catch the biggest smallie of your life every time you head out there. It never ceases to amaze me at how big some of these fish are. Anyways, as May began we had perfect water conditions and the fishing was banging right away. In fact, probably some of the best fishing in terms of numbers of fish caught and size of fish happened in the first 2 weeks of the season. There were A TON of smelt around during the pre spawn bite, and that helped and hurt things. The fish were feeding aggressively during windows throughout the day, then would go on break. It was a blast. We had one good week of nice weather the first week of June, then things started to get tough. Throughout the month of June, we had lots of rain, clouds and cool temps. The fishing was still great, though the conditions made it tough to fish the way we like to. Also, with the higher water levels on Lake Superior, the currents and seiche were ripping at an all time high, tearing up the bottom in certain places. It's a force and power you have to experience to really understand. It's no wonder these fish are strong, living in conditions like that. We spend the final days of June grinding out a tough few days of weather working on an upcoming warmwater fly fishing project with filmmaker Robert Thompson The post spawn bite in early July has become one of my favorite times of year to fish. We can find fish shallow, we can find them deep and there's no shortage of spots to hit. This year, the fishing was epic, but mostly in the deeper holes for the bigger fish. Lots of smaller, 17-18 inch fish stayed shallow for a long time, which made for some good fun too, but with water conditions being dirty, it was day to day on where to find clean water to make it interesting. Mid summer is another sleeper time of year on the Bay for Smallies and this year I pretty much just ran early morning dawn patrol trips to get on the good early bite. Leaving the Marina at 5am is tough, but makes it worth it to watch that sun rise while a 5lb smallie bears down on the end of your line. In fact, the biggest smallie landed in my boat this year came at the end of August.
We started chasing Fall Brown Trout pretty early, right around the middle of September and were happy to see lots of fish already patrolling the shallow rocky flats and points of the Apostle Islands. We chased these fish until December 3rd this year, which was the last day in the boat for us this year. There's too many good things that happened this fall to talk about here, so you'll have to come check out this fishery for yourself. Good friend Tom Hazelton and his buddy Dave tagged along one day, read about that day HERE. Perhaps maybe the coolest thing to see was multiple fish blowing up on topwater baits, which gets us really excited for next year. Also, the size structure of the seeforellen browns keeps increasing every year, which could make for some very big fish in the coming years.
Well, that's pretty much the rundown. We're booking up fast for 2018, so let us know if you're interested in a trip and we'll see what we can do!