As I started to write the other night, the trip to Saginaw Bay was one of the best overall fishing trips I have had. Its no small wonder it rivals Erie as the Walleye Capitol in the country. The bite, the ready supply of tackle at its many stores, and places to stay made it a great trip all the way around.
Steve Webb and myself, got there Thursday night, and set up camp at the former Hoyles Marina, now called the Linwood Beach Marina and Campground. Not a bad deal for $25 a night for electric and water right at the camp site. Just a short walk to the shower, bathroom and laundry building. A nice facility to be sure. We did the tour through Frank’s Great Outdoors, which totally blows Cabela’s away in selection of beads and blades to make up crawler harnesses. Not so much in numbers, but just the types of blades available in the newest colors and sizes.
Friday morning we made the 35 minute drive up M-13 to Au Gres where the Mack’s Lure 100 was to be held on Saturday. Passing through Pinconning and Standish, and place called Omer. Now Omer has signs proclaiming that it is the smallest city in Michigan. After the tournament on Saturday, the sight I saw made a believer out of me. Here was a wild turkey walking right down the sidewalk on main street. Pretty brave hen and not seeming to have a care in the world.
Conditions on the bay were two to three foot waves on Friday, and we started trolling three miles out from the river. In the first pass that we made, walleye were almost jumping in the boat it seemed. We kept changing colors on the blades to see if the eyes’ had a preference, which they didnt seem too, but three colors might have edged out the rest. The Northland chartruse/orange Baitfish Image #5 blades, and a pink and purple mirror, 1.9 inch Smile blades. While copper blades don’t seem to have caught on in popularity as it has down here, a blade I had painted with a chartruse body, with three orange dots was working pretty darn good.
Even though we were fishing in 30 to 35 foot of water, it really didnt matter where in the water column we were when we started catching fish. You compare that to Erie in waters that deep, and 90 percent of the time those fish will not rise up more than 5 foot to strike at a bait. I have to believe that it something to do with the colder water of a deep lake like Huron being blown into the bay. Where Erie is a shallower lake, Huron’s waters are deeper and colder and don’t warm up as fast as our little lake, thus making sense of the wide ranging walleye.
We caught well over 50 fish that day, but the largest only being 20 inches. Getting back to the camp, one of the neighbors said he had done well trolling around the bay’s famous “Black Hole”. He had a couple of nice 24″ and 26″ fish to prove it. We filed that information for the next day.
Saturday morning the fishing was again fruitful. And the variety of boats was astounding, from Lunds and rangers, to 26 to 30 ft cruisers, to the mom and pop set up, everyone had an equal footing. Unfortunately there wasn’t a trace of wind to be found. Not that it stopped us from getting our limit in the first half hour, but every kind of little bug seemed to be hatching. They were everywhere, and soon covered the boat. They weren’t very tasty!
We switched sizes and colors, but never seemed to shake the smaller fish. So we jetted down to the hole to try our luck. This did produce some better fish, but still only topping out at the 20″ mark, hardly tourney quality fish. Finally we decided to head east from where we made our orginal pass, and after going 12 miles to get there, we found another pack of boats.
Eventually we managed to cull out the two other 15 inch fish we had in the well. Still we only had three 20 inchers and two 18’s. Only 13 lbs. Turns out at the weighin, it would have put us in the top 25. but still out of the money. The big fish of the tourney only came in at a little over 8 lbs, not one of the 10 to 14 pound fish the area is famous for.
So we filed away what we learned about the bay and locations, to be used another day. If you ever get into a tournament, and the “100” is a great starter tourney for only 100 bucks, never go away mad, take what you learned and apply it to the next time.