Joe and Marty’s Somewhat Excellent Adventure

Marty and I just returned from VBL and, for the most part, we were humbled by the walleye and pike this trip. For the past four years the late summer walleye bite in the Vermilion Bay area has been outstanding with lots of fish caught, including many large fish. Not so this trip. Although we caught dozens, most walleyes were in the 14-16 inch range. Our biggest went 23″ and each of us caught one in the five inch class. I’d never seen a walleye that small before.
We worked the hell out of deep areas (25-55′) with bottom-bouncers and crawler spinners that held plenty of fish, but the bite was very tentative. Mostly, our baits were ignored. The pike were even less cooperative. Again, the fish were running on the small size. The sole exception was a fat 34″er that I got on Clearwater Lake. But overall, the pike bite was slow for us. We weren’t alone. Most VBL guests were running into the same situation that week.
My conclusion is that Marty and I were doing something wrong. Otherwise we would have caught more and bigger fish. This I need to contemplate.
Lake Trout fishing was good the day we spent on the West Arm of Eagle, running our lures in the deep water of Trout Holes #1 and #2. This is typically a “hit or miss” situation. And it’s not unusual to get skunked. But this area holds some big lakers and anything 35 inches or more is a big laker. Several fish in this class have come to net in the last few years. They fight incredibly hard and for a long time. For my money, these are the best fish to catch in Eagle.
Marty wanted one of these bruisers more so than anything else on this trip. His wishes materialized with the monster 38 ” laker shown above. This heavy fish was successfully released. Gord estimated it’s weight to be about twenty-five pounds and I think that’s pretty close. This was one of six we caught that day, which also included three piddlers (caught by me) and a pair of 26″ers caught by Marty. Four years ago, my buddy Andy also caught and released a 38″ laker from Trout Hole #2. According to Gord, these are the two largest lakers ever caught on Eagle by VBL guests. I hope to catch one someday as well, but netting both of these brutes was very thrilling, regardless.
The top picture reveals the basic set-up we use for lake trout. It shows my St. Croix Trolling Rod, Dawia Line Counter Reel, three-way swivel, eight oz. lead weight and typical spoons. The reel is spooled with 14# FireLine. The spoon and dropper weight are tied to the swivel with 14# fluorocarbon line. A system like this will catch big lakers, but sometimes we have 225′ of line out to get our lures down into 70′ of water.

8 thoughts on “Joe and Marty’s Somewhat Excellent Adventure

  1. Professor,

    If Marty was a true friend he would let you in on his little secret. It worked for me!

    More importantly….wasn't this "musky madness week"? Gord needs to post something about the trials and tribulatons of this event?


  2. Hey, it takes time to come up with a decent post!

    By the way, does anyone else feel somewhat depressed after reading the Professors fishing report?

    Walleye update……the deep bite is now off. Reports of fish in 7 to 20 feet are rampant!

  3. Gord,

    I didn't find the post depressing. I owe the professor a call, but your post is just a reminder. Things change. We caught plenty of walleyes in the 23"-27" class when we were up there, but they were in slightly shallower water then in the past. We rarely fished in that 35-45 foot depth. The magic number for us was around 31'. That's an indication they were already beginning to move shallower. Another pattern I have noticed over the past few years -The big walleyes seem to hang out in different areas then the "eaters". We had one spot over by Strawberry that we could hit for a short time and have our limit of eaters. However, we didn't catch a single big one in this location. However, there were other spots near Burnt Island that we hit that yielded nothing but big fish. We never spent much time in areas where we weren't marking large numbers of fish. If the fish were there in large numbers, they always seemed to be hungry.

    The great thing is that something is always hitting somewhere on Eagle. That was a VERY nice laker that Marty caught. Some people could fish there whole life on this lake and never catch one like that. They have been coming up on a pretty regular basis the last few years. However this was a bite we didn't experience when we were up this fall.

  4. Gord…Now that you mention it, I am feeling a bit depressed after reading this report. But that could change if my efforts to purchase a boat materialize on Sunday.

  5. Hey Marty fantastic fish, thanks for the tips on how to fish for them Joe I'll keep that in mind when next I go to VBL. My wife and I are hoping to move to Vermilion Bay in the near future so I can take better advantage of the peace and quiet and the fishing although it was a tough week of fishing during Muskie Madness.

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On behalf of the Boyes Group, I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for hosting the Muskie Madness Week and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at VBL and had a great time!! This was our 7th year on Eagle Lake and we have stayed at a few other lodges but VBL takes the cake hands down! You can definitely count us in for next year. I’m happy to see you post some of my pics, they turned out well. Thanks again Gord for a wonderful week of fishing and your stellar hospitality, you run a first class operation, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Trevor Benner

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