Thursday, June 24, 2010
Oneida Lake Walleye
My good buddy and professional fishing guide Rick Miick invited me to go for walleyes on Oneida Lake. He called from the lake on a Sunday morning and had all he could do to just talk to me. His play by play: “There’s another one…hold it while I land it…boy this hook is deep…Oops, there’s another one…” and so on, had me considering jumping into the lake (I only live a few hundred feet away from it) and swimming out to join him.
In the two minutes we spoke--actually it was more like me listening to splashes, grunts, groans and all the other noises fishermen make when they’re on a hot bite--he landed three walleyes ranging from 17 to 21 inches.
Now I know he’s good with steelhead and smallies, but we never fished for walleyes. His telephone antics sounded almost too good to be true. I was a little skeptical.
But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and set a time and place to meet him and Stan Oulette, a buddy of ours. We launched at early light and headed out to the eastern half of the lake, into water that would range from 30 to 20 feet deep during the drift.
I was the first to get my Heddon Sonar into the water. Letting it sink to bottom, I snapped the rod back to jump the lure and get it vibrating. I reeled in the slack as the bladebait dropped. After jigging in this fashion for about 15 seconds, a 16-inch walleye hit me.
By the time I landed him, Rick was battling what seemed to be the biggest fish in the lake. After a five-minute struggle, in which time the beast took the line under the boat, around the wind socks (both of ‘em) around the prop, we finally got it to the net; a 15-pound sheepshead. I’ve heard they got that big but I never saw one before.
Then it was Stan’s turn. He nailed a carp that went at least 25 pounds.
When we set back for home four hours later, our score was three carp, a couple white bass, three sheepshead, and 12 walleyes, nine of which were big enough to keep; all on Sonars.
Rick says the largest schools are still pretty close to the creeks in which they spawned, and if you know where there’s a tributary mouth with water 25 to 35 feet deep nearby, the walleyes will be there. Look for them too in the deep water west of Shackleton Shoals, in Oswego County's 25- to 40-foot depths, all summer long.