Just returned from our annual four week stay on the North Channel of Lake Huron, based at the Blue Heron Resort on the Spanish River in Spanish, Ontario Canada. (May 10-June 9th)
Here is the link to the complete trip report:
Following a tough, cold, flooding, late spring three weeks at Pickwick Lake, Tennessee, it appeared to be more of the same as we pulled the boat from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan/Canada along Highway 17 east to camp, only to see bays frozen over, a sight that I've never seen in May in Cananda, and then snow on the south shore when we hit the water and did our first fishing. Water temperature was 43 degrees - another all-time first for cold water.
I had pretty much convinced myself that we were too early this year, but was pleasantly surprised, when the sun came out on our third day, the water began to warm up and the fish began feeding vociferously.
We caught our usual assortment of Northern Pike, Walleye which were up shallow, and Smallmouth Bass. One of my first fish was about a 3 pound largemouth, our first ever caught in the open water of the big bay. We later caught 5 or 6 more which speaks positively for the future possibilities of the largemouth populations. The Northerns were right at home in the cold water, and had already spawned. Our first few smallmouth bass actually had a pinkish tone, having just come out from under the ice, and weren't very agressive, early on. The walleye gave us a head start in putting a few in the freezer to bring home, and serve a fish dinner or two.
While the air temperatures dipped below freezing overnight for the first two weeks, it rose into the mid-fifties on most days, and then on our third week, got downright hot, rising to the sevenites and eighties for an extended period of time, driving the water temperatures to 64 degrees in the big water, and higher in the creeks and small bays off of the river.
It took the Black Flies a while to come out, and when they did, the heat and dry conditions killed them off quickly. Mosquitos are always a factor before dark during Week Three and Four.
Overall I would guess that we (Bill Hagedorn and myself, Dave Schabell) caught about 800 fish, and were we fishing in Ohio would have qualified for about 150 Fish Ohio awards.
On Week Four my brother and his son arrived in camp and my brother caught a 45 inch muskie his first night in camp while trolling for walleye. We were all really happy for him, since this was his first lifetime muskie. He then followed up by catching a 40 incher on a spinner bait the following night, and then another 45 incher his third night there - and his muskie catching exploits were wearing thin on us, since no other mamer of our group caught a major muskie this trip.
Our biggest Northern Pike was only 32 inches, but man, we caught a lot of 22 to 26 inch fish, with many in the 26-28 inch range. Bill Hagedorn caught a 27 inch walleye, which was his lifetime best, and we caught a lot of 23 - 25 inch males. Smallmouth Bass, although out of season, dominate the landscape. They are plentiful and plump, closely resembling footballs pre-spawn. They keep things interesting. Our biggest was a 21 1/2 inch brute that weighted in at 5lbs, 8ounces, by my all-too-honest digital scale - a six pounder in anyone else's book.
With the late spring, we did not get to fish the evening summertime conditions that we enjoy, when the fish are active and hitting surface baits. The weeds were just beginning to poke their heads through the surface in our final days, but we had a ball running spinner baits just under the surface and having bass and pike blow up on them.
We stay at the Blue Heron Resort on the Spanish River, which sells out annually throughout
May and June. We fish the Spanish River, Gagen bay, and Frenchman's Bay in the North Channel of Lake Huron. I have a 17 foot Bass Tracker Deep V with a 75HP Merc, which suits the conditions admirably. Wind is a major factor, as it blows hard from the west some days and will put you off of the water shortly after noon. Since the overnight temperatures were cold, and I and Bill are in our seventies, we simply delayed our fishing until about 10 am when the temperature reached 45 and then made a day of it. We were never caught out in the rain on this trip, which is a rarity. I got to fish in white pants about 7 times, equal the times that I was armed with long underwear.
I hope that each person on here who is serious gets to experience a trip like this sometime in the future in Canada. Crossing the border on both sides was a flash, and the exchange rate favored the US Dollar, $1.28 Canadian for each greenback.
I have presently done a fine job of outliving my assets, so I'm not sure if there will be repeat trips to Canada in the future. They will be a top priority should the opportunity present itself.