2017-08-10 / Columns

Outdoors This Week in the Eastern U.P.

By Stephen King

As usual for this time of year, just about everything with scales is biting. That includes pike and walleye as well as blue gills, rock bass, and even sunfish. There are also the occasional catfish, bullheads, and carp. One huge problem that a lot of fishermen have this time of year is that a lot of the smaller lakes and rivers have a lot of weeds in them. In a lot of lakes, the weeds are literally right from the bottom to the top of the water.

One in particular that is famous for weeds is Millecoquins Lake, right about where I live. I have fished this lake a lot, and know about every hump and bump and weed in the place. I catch a lot of fish there. Having all of the weeds pretty much eliminates trolling, and for a lot of fishermen, that is the one and only way they know how to fish.

When I head out onto the water, I have one purpose, and there are a lot of ways to put those fish on the stringer and into the frying pan. My favorite way is vertical jigging. You take a basic jig, with the tie on pointed up and the hook at a 90 degree angle and pointing straight out. Then, you take a piece of a night crawler and thread it onto the hook. Don’t gob it on. You want about a third of the piece dangling off the end, not a huge ball.

The idea here is that it will hang straight out in the water and the bit that hangs over the end of the hook will jiggle a bit. What this will do is drive a fish bonkers. So we have a presentation the fish will like. Now, we have to present it to them. That is where a lot of people fall apart. They throw on a bobber and toss it out. Not a crazy idea, but you can do better.

Before you toss it or drop it, try to make sure Moby Blue Gill is around. One place may be all of those weeds you can’t troll through. For the cabbage-type weeds, like the ones that just about fill Millecoquins Lake, I just float about looking the situation over. What I am looking for is a small hole in the weeds. Sometimes it might only be a couple of feet across. You need a gap in the bed, a place you can drop that jig down into and get the fish back up.

Then, I anchor. Use two if you have to, one on the bow, the other amidships or off the stern. This keeps the boat in one spot.

Then, I use two poles. One, I just dead stick. What that means is I take my jig, and just drop it over the side of the boat. (Making sure the pole is secured to something, my knee, a pail, a rod holder. Something so Mr. Fish doesn’t take off with it.) I drop it to the bottom, bring it up about a foot or so, and just leave it. The action of the boat will keep it moving just a bit. Even on the calmest days, there is always just the smallest bit of rocking when you’re on the lake. You might not even be able to feel it, but your bait will move just the tiniest bit. I have gotten so many fish like this.

For the other pole, I use a variety of tactics. First, I jig right alongside the boat. This usually produces a few fish. Or, I toss on a bobber and toss it out away from the boat. The one thing here is how deep to set the bobber. Depending on the day, the light, and a whole lot of other things I haven’t figured out yet, the fish may be just off the bottom, just under the surface, or somewhat in between.

This is why I start off jigging right beside the boat. By jigging there, with no bobber, I get an idea of about where the fish are located in the water column. Then, set the bobber accordingly.

Different colored jigs work better at certain times. This, I have never figured out completely. Some days the fish like white. Then next, black. Other days, other colors. But, there are a few rules. Black and white work best. Chartreuse works really well, especially for walleyes. When you head out, take a few different colors with you and change up until you find one they like.

The size of the jig depends on what you’re after. For blue gills and perch, I use about a 1/8 or 1/16 ounce jig. For bigger fish, like pike and walleye, use a bigger jig. I have fished with pro Mark Martin and have seen him use this technique for walleye. Mark actually taught me this. Only, Mark uses a minnow instead of a crawler. I have used it for pike, really big pike in deeper lakes. Feels like you’ve hooked the bottom. Then, the bottom starts to fight back. Always an eye opener.

Try this technique next time you’re on the water. So, get off that couch and onto the water. It’s summer. Have fun Outdoors in the Eastern U.P. this week.

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Having personally met Mr.

Having personally met Mr. King, I read his weekly columns religiously. If every fisherman on Millecoquins Lake used the info in this one there wouldn't be a fish left in it. You're a good teacher, Mr. King..... Didn't know you lived on Millecoquins.

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