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Fishing the Saginaw Bay and Tittabawassee River From Essexville Michigan
by Captain Dan Manyen Visit Dans Website Walleye
Dan Manyen, at Walleye Express Charters.
"Spring Walleye Roundup"
By Captain Dan Manyen
"Fishing Dynamics 101"
Did you ever fish in a small, narrow
river or stream? It doesn't really matter what specie you were fishing
for. It always seemed that no matter what side of the waterway you were
on, you'd inevitably end up casting to the opposite side. This is usually
done by novice, young or inexperienced fishermen. It just made sense to
be as far away as possible from the bank you were fishing from. Some fishermen
today, young and old, still do the same thing. They blindly stumble out
onto the lake or river, maybe with the right equipment, maybe not, looking
for the crowd to lead them to fishing success. They haven't learned the
most import key to being successful on any body of water. That important
key is dynamics. Webster describes dynamics as, "The part of physics that
deals with force, energy and motion and the relationship between them".
Knowing the dynamics of both the waterways and the species you're fishing
for, then equate and apply it to your fishing techniques and equipment,
give's you an advantage to figure out that successful fish catching game
plan. This can only be done by people who let themselves get fully involved
and aware with what they are doing. Then, both apply and understand nature's
variables and how it effects her water bound creatures. I'm only writing
this to inform you new walleye chasers that it's not a vast conspiracy,
and that often getting skunked doesn't mean that you employed the wrong
technique, or had the wrong color, size or type lure on. Learning and remembering
how and where your prey lives, feeds and most importantly reacts
to certain climatic variables will do more to make you successful than
a lifetime of (how-to) seminars.
With all that said, I'll try and explain the techniques
I use on both the Saginaw Bay and the rivers that connect to it during
the Spring. Again, the dynamics of what the river is doing often has an
impact on what, where and how I approach the fishing day.
"High Spring Water"
Being able to read the river and its currents can really
help during high water levels. Nothing beats a jig head tipped with a minnow
in high water. Walleye tend to pod-up in swift water and keeping the offering
in their faces is best and easier with a pinpoint weapon like a jig.
Precise anchoring and quarter casting while slow hopping a jig behind Points,
Wing Dams, Ledges, Brush piles and even flooded flats out of the main current,
is a great producer in high water on the Tittabawassee River.
||After 15 years of Drift Boat guiding and reading Steelhead and Salmon
holding water on Michigan's best rivers, along with my walleye charters,
spotting a good holding spot for walleye has become second nature.
"Low Clear Water"
There are a few techniques that work well when the river
is low and clear. This river condition seems to happen more often lately,
with the water tables being what they are on the Great Lakes. With the
deeper, darker holes being at a premium in these conditions, getting offerings
away from the boat and covering more water pays off big time. A technique
called (Dragging) works well, but will cost you a few jig heads. Simply
let your boat drift downstream with the current, usually on the outside
bends of the river, while you let the combination jig head/twister tail/piece
of crawler, bounce along the bottom at a 45 degree angle. I use this technique
a lot, but with a variation on the offering. A small (#6) 2 hook harness
with three (6 mill) green beads, with one 00 blade, orange or red. Tip
this rig with a whole night crawler, and drag at a 60 degree. A single
small #7 split shot is often added if the current seems to fast. You want
it to tick along bottom fairly regular. This last technique can pay big
dividends when the small males aggressively start feeding after the spawn.
And small males (2 to 4 pounds) make up 90% of what you'll catch on the
Tittabawassee after the season reopens. The larger females can drop virtually
all their (up to 10,000 eggs) in just a couple nights when the conditions
get right, then hastily retreat back to the Bay in just a few days. Casting
# 5 and #7 shad raps or blade baits along the shoreline in likely looking
spots as you drift, can also at times be outstanding. Trolling # 7 floating
shad raps Silver/Black has also made me look like a genius on a few river
charters in years past. Finding a deeper slot or run that's long enough
to use this technique is the only tough part on the Tittabawassee.
Although not for everybody, catching walleyes at night has a
charm all its own. Both the Saginaw Bay and the Saginaw River has started
to give up some of its (Dark) secrets the last few years. Casting #14 Rapala
Husky Jerks along the river shore lines and around bridge abutments from
Saginaw to Bay City after the season reopens, has proven to be worthwhile.
That, along with the night time trolling bite on the Bay itself, can really
spell a great time for savvy anglers. I say savvy, because I highly suggest
you know your equipment and it's limitations on the Bay at night. Being
able to navigate with your GPS in the Plotter mode and knowing exactly
where the marina channel is and how to correctly fallow it (STRAIGHT) in,
has become a must in these low water conditions. The proper boat navigation
lights, spot light and (on board) boat lights will be some of the necessary
equipment needed. I've seen to many guys in 12 to 14 foot boats with absolutely
no lights at all, virtually almost too late in the pitch dark. It's not
funny when it happens, believe Me.
These body baits imitate perfectly the abundance of suckers, spot
tailed chubs and smelt that arrive in the close to shore waters about the
same time the post spawn walleyes are dropping back out of the rivers,
looking for large, quick energy meals. Running short leads off of Inline
planner boards with blinking red lights attached to their flags, is about
as neat a trick as fishermen have devised in the last few years, and it
works like a charm to telegraph any strikes in the dark.
||Your dealing with water temps still to cold and life
threatening, to be taking an unexpected dip. Slow trolling the monster
#18 Rapala's along with an assortment of Husky's in every size has rewarded
me in Spring's past.
In conclusion, nothing teaches you how to be a better fisherman
more than getting out and doing it. That is, if you learn from each trip
out. Absorb as much about every aspect of what you're doing and the variables
you're dealing with as well as what the guys around you are doing on every
trip. Pay attention and "BE THE FISH" and you will be a better fisherman.
Good luck and Tight Lines, Capt: Dan Manyen, Walleye
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