Dave Schabell / Bill Hagedorn/Roger Beiting
May 10th - May 31
Bill Hagedorn and Dave Schabell - Week One, Two, and Three
Roger Beiting - Week Two
Spanish River Fishing Trip
|We did not make a trip to the Blue Heron in 2012, opting out for a fly-in trip to Pine Portage instead.
Well, I guess that having had relatively successful, fulfilling, fishing trips to the Blue Heron annually since 1991, we were due for a clunker.
On May 8th, our travel day to the Soo, it began raining in torrents overnight, causing us to spend an additional day there, which proved to be a
harbinger of things to come.
Snow was stacked up on street corners and in front of houses, and there was snow on the southern shoreline, for the second year in a row, and again the
water temperature was 43 degrees. The water levels were the highest that we had seen since the turn of the century.
Our plan was to launch, keep our boat "downtown" and fish the bay exclusively the Week of May 10th, before moving to the docks at the Blue Heron
for the remaining two weeks. Little did we know that the river would not recede, and the docks wouldn't be put in until two weeks following our stay -
condemning us to fishing the bay exclusively all three weeks.
For the first time ever, because we couldn't fish the river for walleye, we never cleaned a fish, didn't eat a fish, and didn't bring a fish home.
We were also deprived of fishing around camp. Tried trolling one time to no avail, and only entered Gagen Bay, on one occasion.
Winter simply refused to go away, with temperatures dropping into the upper 20s, and low 30s overnight, and only reaching the low 50s during the days,
which were often rainy, windy and grey. Long underwear was the order of the day, and four or five layers up top was also the routine. Never did I get a
chance to fish in white pants. The trees hadn't budded out yet.
With all of this being said, we were able to get out and fish for at least a portion of each day, and we caught plenty of fish.
Bill caught a myriad of fish on his trusty Zara Spook on the surface, and I remained true to plastics - Yammomoto grubs, lizards, brush hogs.
Our best day was on two occasions when 47 fish came over the side of the boat - always a combination of pre-season smallmouth bass and Northern
Pike. We did catch four walleye, but they were all in the 16"-22" slot. We did not encounter a musky this trip.
Roger Beiting joined us for Week Two and had a good trip despite the challenging conditions.
Our three weeks went quickly, and we departed before the fish moved out to the islands, and before the pencil weeds came up.
As a result of back-to-back late springs we have decided to push back a week in 2020, in hopes of more comfortable fishing conditions.
We have come full cycle in regards to water levels. The water was at the high water line back when we began
coming to the North Channel in 1991, then in the early 2000s the water levels dropped dramatically, about four
feet, and have now returned to their previous high levels. This has caused the Blue Heron folks problems
putting their docks in, and water is right up to the front door at Vances' Gas Bar.
The trees that grew on reclaimed exposed ground have now died out due to the high water, and provide the fish
a nice buffer in which to hide.
We saw a lot of Eagles on this trip, but then we were the only boat out there fishing most days.
We sport fish, and catch a lot of smallmouth bass, which are out of season until the third Saturday in June.
We catch a lot of them because they are plentiful in the bay.
Over the three weeks that we were there and the hundreds of fish that we caught we did not experience a fish
Ryan Shelton and his cousin Randy Hater followed us in and experienced similar results. They too were
restricted to the bay, and did not catch a walleye, nor have a musky experience. They did catch a few
largemouth bass, which is beginning to trend up.
My brother Mark and his group will be coming to the Blue Heron during late July - Better beer drinking weather.
Through the 2000s
|We always discover driftwood in unusual
shapes and sizes.
We nicknamed this particular piece of driftwood,
Bill said that if that thing started swimming,
we were out of there.
|The signs shown here normally stand on the shoreline
|Eagles were in evidence throughout our trip