Trolling Bete Grise

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After calling 5 people yesterday trying to find a fishing partner to no avail, I had decided I’d be fishing alone. Well, I thought, at least I’ll be able to fish. The wind was predicted to be minimal so steering the boat should not be a problem. I was preparing the boat with the appropriate rods and tackle, when John called and said he’d like to come. “Great”, I said, “I was planning to launch at about 8 am, but I’m flexible about departure time and I should be back by early afternoon, so bring a lunch and coffee and warm clothes, I’ll have everything else needed for fishing.”
After a little discussion, we decided to leave a little earlier, at 6 am to be exact. At this point I was still in Calumet and Margaret was on her way home from Marquette. She planned to come to Lac la Belle with me and stay the night, since the next day was our 30th anniversary. Needless to say, we were up pretty late, so when my alarm went off at 5:15 am I could hardly open my eyes. Even so, I was excited to fish for the first time on Bete Grise for the season, so I jumped right out of bed, got the coffee going and made a quick breakfast of eggs and packed a light lunch. I checked the weather forecast, which looked less than perfect with a good chance of rain with wind coming in later in the day. I then took off to pick up John, less than one mile down the road on the way to the launch.
All seemed to be quiet at his place, so I knocked on the door with no answer. I then called him on my cell and he answered right away, reminding me that I had said 6 am… it was only 5:45. Soon we were on our way. We set lines even before getting out of the irons, and caught our first fish, a Splake in less than 1 hour. An hour later we landed our 2nd on and soon after that, 2 more. I threw one back since it was only 16 inches. 15 is legal size, but I’d like to let the little ones grow up to give a better fight later, so I let him go un-harmed. All told, we caught 4 Splake, the largest at 3.5 lbs.
We trolled for a good hour and ½ with no strikes, not surprisingly, because the lunar tables showed exactly what we were experiencing. It looks like I’ll have to start believing more in the loony lunar game and fish feeding tables. Even so, I still say the best time to go fishing is whenever you can, no matter what the feeding tables say.
The water temp was right around 50 where we fished in close to shore, in 20 to 50 feet of water. One fish was only 5 feet down from the surface, one was right on the surface and took a lure pulled behind a planer board, and the other 2 were about 25 feet below surface. The deeper ones were caught on a downrigger and a tadpole. For lures, 2 came in on a purplish 4 inch no-name spoon with some glow tape on the back. One was caught on a 6inch silver streak with white glow tape and the other was a monkey puke silver streak.

Ate fish for lunch and froze some for smoking later on.

I plan to be on the water over memorial weekend, if not sooner.

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About Brian Helminen

Brian is the owner and Captain of Sand Point Charters, LLC. He also owns and operates Designotype Printers, Inc. with his wife, Margaret. They have a cottage on Lac La Belle that can be rented by the week in the summertime.

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