Had the pleasure of meeting up Z-Man for a day of R&R out on Lake MI for a little trout action. Expectations had been set pretty high since the harbor action has been on fire since late in October. Days of over 50 fish for 2 guys have been common and I haven’t seen a day of less than a dozen – until today.
At face value, conditions looked perfect. Stiff west winds died down the evening before, crisp clear night added a layer of skim ice, and the water clarity looked outstanding. It didn’t take long to figure out that the conditions were NOT favorable. The skim ice extended out beyond the gaps of the Milwaukee Harbor, the harbor water was nearly gin clear, and there was no current to be found anywhere. The community wall discharge was non-existent and no alewives or shiners to be found. The gaps were stagnant with no water moving in or out. The perfect recipe for a very tough bite and the fish to be scattered throughout the harbor.
Like the old saying “A dog will get what it wants if it stares long enough”. We knew the day would be a grind and persistence would be the key.
We moved away from the crowd and started to hit all the structure points we thought may hold fish. Working a variety of colors of blade baits and plastics, we kept pounding spot after spot. Then returning and hitting them again. Finally a glimmer of hope as the winds finally began to increase from the south and began to get the water moving through the gaps. I was able to connect on a nice Laker to get the skunk out of Z’s boat. (Laker season is closed on Lake MI and we could not specifically target them). It smacked a white/green-chartreuse blade like a freight train.
Ed followed up with a nice chunky brown trout on plastics. From there, it was a matter of continuing to move and pound every square foot of water we could. We never hit the glory hole with any significant concentration of fish or bait fish. But we managed to pull off a decent day and grind out some nice fish.
Too often we take for granted the incredible days of pounding good numbers of fish. It’s fun when it comes easy! But I think we need to also reflect on the tough days to learn and benefit from our experiences. Sometimes it can be as simple as a color change, a change of location, or a subtle change in presentation. Other times, it’s much more challenging to see the combination of factors that influence what we need to do. For some, it may be that moment where Mother Nature says it’s time to go home. For me, maybe I’m too stubborn to quit? Hard for me to really know as I have lived by the motto of “The ONLY thing worse than losing………IS QUITTING!!!!!!!” since I was a little kid. More times than not on the tough days I have found that persistence makes the difference.