Memorial Day Slump and redemption

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tom's picture
Memorial Day Slump and redemption
<p>So with the warming temps, dropping river levels, and some free time over the holiday weekend, I was&nbsp;pumped to catch some fish. Turns out, everyone in the tri-state area had the same idea. Saturday and Sunday were duds. With fishing pressure at a seasonal high, and every bank spot already overcrowded, I decided to strike early Monday morning. I got up with the birds, dragged my kayak down to the beach, and was surprised to find the banks not only empty, but devoid of the dead drum and trash that usually follows a busy holiday weekend here. Still, knowing the crowds would likely be on their way, I paddled downstream to my go-to F-off leave me alone spot, a big rock bar only accessable by watercraft. With morning fog still on the water, I reached my destination. Finally some solitude, just me and the pelicans.&nbsp;</p> <p>First to bite was this wiley Shovelnose Sturgeon. He was missing his tail, but you'd never know it by the way he fought.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor, water and nature" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=pINrVAED6rYAX_rBRCw&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=5b485f6a235b8ee441994929c5faa49b&amp;oe=5EF2BF58" /><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=UOlY78O3hCwAX9a1DYH&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=78c2ef35e9f980c8a3fc8a3e1999b599&amp;oe=5EF57B44" /></p> <p>Next came the first of many Mooneye this day.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=eqTEUp9i5jMAX8UdDcG&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=97f8601aa1eaf6f65d9dd72d372e507e&amp;oe=5EF34438" /></p> <p>As evident in the hacky photo, as I was getting a pic of this fish I heard my drag zipping away and turned around to see my other rod getting pulled violently out its holder. A few minutes later, I landed this nice Smallmouth Buffalo.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=Zn4aP3F_GkgAX9MHUoJ&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=68268ab65f6d746a19098c60e579d62e&amp;oe=5EF2119D" />I caught another one almost identical to this one later in the morning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Next came a little baby Lake Sturgeon.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=6rkAqp15Xx8AX8qIVIp&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&amp;oh=4f3a56e57dbfa1fd00798cd5dc46f208&amp;oe=5EF2CEDC" />Nothing sizable, but I got a lot of small Channel Cats too.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor, water and nature" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=tPG-c5zlIZwAX-jn4Tj&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&amp;oh=c67cc7d0b4208dc0bd4d77ccaf0f2ff9&amp;oe=5EF29872" />And some dink Walleye, got a few nicer ones too. No pics though.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: sky, outdoor, water and nature" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=lRZfrrhltsMAX9aiIGl&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=8daf5440fd89bd98c3b46ad4582de12a&amp;oe=5EF41295" /></p> <p>Post spawn shorheads made a regular appearance as well</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor, water and nature" src=";_nc_sid=07e735&amp;_nc_ohc=eZqasnRS5ssAX-vDFG9&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;_nc_tp=6&amp;oh=eb495a896251c306d447f5df937e54e2&amp;oe=5EF2C09C" /></p> <p>With bites slowing down and clouds approaching, I opted to paddle across the river to a nice little niche under the protection of overhanging trees. I had just begun to wonder where the heck all the drum went when this little guy bit.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: sky, outdoor, nature and water" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=ahrvD2b6biMAX9tlECF&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=4efc5423e7863600bd434ef074734ce4&amp;oe=5EF24A0E" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A huge school of Mooneye came through terrorizing shiners. I had to go down to one line for a bit, as they would savagely hit my bait mid drift. After they moved on, I set my hook into something bigger that went tearing off into the current. As he came up to the surface mid river, I saw a dark, sickle shaped fin emerge from the water. I thought it was a blue sucker at first, but turns out it was (what I believe to be, anyway) a black buffalo<img alt="Image may contain: outdoor" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=Hp0Uf9HKB_4AX9BmEFo&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=e84d48f585c150673da76798e23d1ab5&amp;oe=5EF4D7A6" /><img alt="Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor" src=";_nc_sid=8024bb&amp;_nc_ohc=EBsj9hGGFSoAX8amuC8&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;oh=4aeb83be1c5095ee2c0cc0611c8cee7e&amp;oe=5EF452C5" />.&nbsp;</p> <p>Either a small river redhorse, or a wonky shorty with a huge mouth. This photo op was interrupted yet again by a big bite.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water" src=";_nc_sid=07e735&amp;_nc_ohc=fajrbbkXR24AX_k4Z14&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&amp;_nc_tp=6&amp;oh=9e0cdc5745380f2e24c463071d62f0c2&amp;oe=5EF23ECA" />The last notable catch of the day was this fat carp. Kinda cool, I don't see these too often here.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor" src=";_nc_sid=07e735&amp;_nc_ohc=3LRxZ2BiSB8AX8CjhSD&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.xx&amp;_nc_tp=7&amp;oh=36790c68a24c00f08f9f97812e959af7&amp;oe=5EF2EF5A" /></p> <p>The wait was worth it. Beat the crowds, hammered some fish, and was home by noon. By far, my best sesh on this water so far this season.&nbsp;</p>
tiefsa's picture
Smallmouth buffalo

I've never caught a smallmouth buffalo on the Wisconsin River, either!  Great day!

drawer.bli's picture
Beautiful fish!

Beautiful fish!