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Smeds

End of season report & Thanks Royal Dutchman! (with pics)

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Smeds

A banner year on the Rainy! Fished from Tuesday thru Saturday, following the ice as it progressed downstream. We caught 239 walleyes, 3 northerns (1 @ 38"), and two sturgeon (47" & 57"). Hooked up with probably 10-15 other sturgeon, but after one a piece on walleye gear we just tightened down the drag and snapped them off quick to get back after the big girls. Tried to target the larger fish, large plastics tipped with big rainbows as well as large shallow cranks behind bottom bouncers creeping upstream. We caught (2) 30 1/4", (5) 29", (8) 27", (12) 26", and lost count of the 22-25" fish. Weird ... no 28" in the mix. Definitely one of the best years on the river I can remember! Big thanks to Doug & Marilyn @ the Royal Dutchman ... the best accomadations & hosts we have yet to find! Doug always stopped by at the end of the day to get our report, and to give his. That's one good woman you have there ... let's you fish quite often, and when she's with you, goes and gets the truck @ the launch! I had along a first-timer this year, and he taught me a thing or two: #1) try to fish with guys at least as big or bigger than you (the little guys make fish look huge!) grin.gif #2) If you have to fish with someone of smaller stature than yourself, and who PUSHES EVERY FISH TOWARDS THE CAMERA, make sure you follow suit! Luckily, I took multiple pics of the same fish ... a fisherman can tell what you're doing there Junior! LOL grin.gif Here's the twin big girls, both 30 1/4", mine was 11 lb. 10 oz., Juniors' 11 lb. 1 oz. His is huge compared to mine (see notes 1 & 2 above). Same fish on the scale.

[image]TOMS30.jpg[/image] [image]TOMS30-1.jpg[/image] [image]JR30.jpg[/image] [image]JR30-1.jpg[/image]

Here's Junior getting busted holding a fish way out again ... same fish in both pics! [image]JR.jpg[/image] [image]JR292.jpg[/image]

And a couple more 29's:

[image]TOM29.jpg[/image] [image]JR29.jpg[/image]

Always good to bust your buddy's chops on a public forum! grin.gif Hope everyone enjoys the pics ... and Doug & Marilyn, give me some time to catch up @ work, and I'll burn a CD of the pics and put it in the mail. Thanks again for a great time, we'll see you next year!

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tearin' lips

Nice pics Smeds, not a bad way to end off the walleye season in border country...I am jealous, being down in Duluth at college has deprived me of a good spring walleye run on the Rainy...First time I have missed it in the last few years frown.gif

Take Care and Good Luck Fishing!

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bturck

Smeds: I talked to David this morning and he said you guys really pounded on some big eyes, I can see that from the pics. I'll bet it was really an enjoyable time. Sure hope you don't have to go through carpol tunnel surgery because of the stress on the rod hand grin.gif Again thanks for posting some really nice photos. Bill

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gorrilla

Smeds, nice fish.

Don't take this the wrong way, and don't follow it if you don't want to, but we've started to weigh less large fish with the hook under the gill plates to minimize damage on heavy fish. You can get a pretty close reading by weighing them in the net and deducting the weight of the net later. Its also less likely for the pigs to flop off and hurt themselves on the floor.

The other problem I have is when people(usually locals sick of long distractions) intentially bust off numerous jigs in sturgeons mouths. I don't think its good for a fifty year old fish to have a fuzzy-grub with a stinger cloggin up his pie hole because "we" don't feel like wasting our time on him. Granted I got a little braver on horsing my big one this year after two hours went by, and oftentimes they just break, but I hate hearing guys bragging they break them off like its beneath them to "waste" time on these trophies. If thats such an issue, then use some 14# Fireline next year, usually with the clarity on the Rainy, you can get away with it.

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PieEyed

Gorrilla,

I agree with your comment on weighing fish. I don’t see the point in weighing them that way. If you have to weigh them I’d weigh them in the net as you described.

As for the sturgeon comment. I think I have to disagree. A friend of mine is a fresh water biologist and he claims that the fatigue you put on a fish fighting it for two hours, in his opinion is so much worse than letting the fish deal with a hook in its kisser. Quite often these big fish are snagged too. At that point you will have to fight that fish until near exhaustion. I’d like to think my 66” this year survived, but it was so limp and dead tired when I released it who knows. Now that I’ve caught a big one, unless I’m fishing for them or happen to have a heavy set up at the time, I’d have to say with the fish’s interests in mind I’m going to break them off intentionally.

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Smeds

Gorilla ... No offense taken. I usually don't even weigh any fish @ the Rainy. It's usually just a quick pic, then back in the water. The other guy in the photos was a rookie, and he only weighed the two biggest fish. From here on out, I'm going back to no weighing at all ... quickest way to get them back in the water! As far as the sturgeon, I'm kinda torn. First of all, I would never think sturgeon are "beneath" my efforts, or waste my time. Also, we never use stingers on the Rainy. Usually it's the small walleyes that a guy misses, and thinks he needs a stinger. I'm sure some misses come from big girls as well, we just never see the need to mess with a stinger. The two sturge we did get in the boat were both foul-hooked. Both fish were exhausted (as everyone knows) after a long fight against walleye gear, and fighting backwards to boot! We did feel pretty bad about it, and figured any future hook-ups we would snap off. If I had my musky gear, and was targeting sturge, of course I would bring them all to the boat. Out of all my years on the Rainy, I think we've caught 1-2 fish with the hook in the mouth. We NEVER anchor and drag jigs or let them sit, so it just seems that every one we hook is incidental (I think they just get in the way of lifting the jig while vertical jigging). Anyway ... good points, and I'm glad you're concerned about that awesome fishery and the fish that swim there!

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gorrilla

Yeah, smeds and others reading this, I guess despite "the biologist" saying other wise, I'd personally prefer to put the bones to them and consistently lift while following w/ the trolling motor. We got a 53" up that way in about 15-20 minutes. I am also torn about fighting a fish for two hours. Thats why I'm thinking about bumping up to some fireline next year just for the Rainy. Unlike what some people say, the modern day jigs and hooks don't rust or fall out in a couple days. They are made to last and I'm sure its not good to leave something inside the big sucker mouth to get infected.

For the record my 62"er was caught in 34 degree water, never netted, never weighed, never dropped, and only lifted in leg supported diaginal position briefly for a picture. In the future I will only hold them horizontally though after looking at my pictures. We discovered that the gill plates aren't very similar to pike or walleyes in bone structure and don't make the best handholds because of it.

That pig swam away pretty seemingly spunky though.

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Northlander

Nice fish smeds. Gorilla thats a great point about not weighing the pigs by the gills. Either dont weigh them or do so in a bucket or net.

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wallegator

Thanks again Royal Dutchmen, I was the one out with your boat today, I will try to send you the pic of the 68" and/or post it on here. I believe it was around 68", I tried to straighten it out accross the boat (tape measure only went to 40"), it went about 6" beyond the width of the boat, didn't want to take too much time since the fight was 1.5 hrs??? Anyway, if I get the pic posted I guess we can have a discussion on how long it appears (and remember fish always look 10 lbs lighter on camera) wink.gif

Next year hopefully I can get out for the ridiculous walleye bite!

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Royal Dutchman

Great discussion! Makes me think about a lot of things we do as regular activity & fish handleing is a big one. A lot of room for personal observation and input from trained professionals. I'm not seeing any dead fish of any species floating by here but I guess they may not float, so who knows?

Walleygator, glad you had some action today. Pix are great! Better bring a longer tape next time, eh?

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Tim_Anderson

Doug....being in that close proximity to those canooks across the river must be rubbing off on you, EH! Think I have the same thing happening, my brother comes to visit from British Columbia (with his wife and 6 kids who all say "eh" regularly)and then I find myself saying it all the time. Gotta give you a hard time anyway....

Paul and I once again really enjoyed our stay there the last couple of days. Paul got several nice sturgies in the mid to upper forties, and his best ever, a 51. He had a blast.

Back to the discussion. I too am impressed by what's going on here. Sometimes you read a post, take a deep breath, and think "oh boy...here we go...somebody just opened a can of worms." It seems that there are always those who are quick to be agitated or get defensive. But I like the attitude of the folks here who are willing to have an open mind (gorilla and smeds), take advice for what it's worth, and learn from one another. This is what it's all about.

I like it!

I recently bought a 65# digital scale and put it in my glove compartment...mostly because of the huge muskies that are being caught down here on Mille Lacs and just in case we get a record contender in the boat this fall. Forgot to use it on the sturgies, and probably just as well.

I also have a few people in my boat who insist on taking a vertical hold on these big sturgeon for a photo. But their gill structure is obviously very different from those of pike, musky, and walleye. They don't have the bone structure to support that kind of weight (cartilage instead), and their gills are much more dense (they're not separated like those of pike, walleye, etc.), leaving much less room to get fingers in there without mashing the gills themselves.

A couple of times, I have seen fish that came into the boat completely healthy leave with torn gill plates and bleeding gills. So the rule in my boat is going to become horizontal holds only, or I'm not taking the picture.

Good discussion guys,

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wallegator

i think i figured it out.

Sturgeon011.jpg

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LEECH21

Anyone looking to stay up North by Baudette has to look up The Royal Dutchman. My cousin and I stayed up at their place last weekend, and let me tell ya, Doug and Marilyn made the stay "top-notch!"

Thanks to you guys, are trip went from "what-are-we-gonna-do-now?" to an awesome weekend! You guys rock! Sorry it took so long to get the pics of our fish up. I had a little bit of computer trouble that had to get squared away by the folks at HP. We caught some huge fish this year. Thanks again Doug for the boat. You went above and beyond what I expected. Again you guys rock! I'm already looking forward to next April.

A 52"

006_12.jpg

A 46"

009_9.jpg

A BONUS 29 1/4" WALLEYE

005_13.jpg

MY COUSIN SCOTT WITH A 65" STURGEON. WALLEGATOR...MUST BE A LUCKY BOAT, HUH?

014_3.jpg

ME WITH THE SAME 65" STURGEON

012_5.jpg

WE ALSO HAD THIS 53" STURGEON ON AT THE SAME TIME AS THE 65" . LET ME TELL YA, THE BOAT CAN GET DESTROYED IN A QUICK HURRY WITH TWO GUYS IN A SMALLER BOAT WITH DOUBLES ON!

001_23A.jpg

and a 56"

011_13A.jpg

We caught many other sturgeon over 40 inches and a few other walleye around 25-27 inches. All in all we had a great time on the water. I even got time to take in a little sun!

cool.gifcool.gifcool.gif

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gorrilla

Leech, dandy stoogeys...

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Royal Dutchman

Excellent pix guys! Just goes to show that you don't need a $30,000 boat to fish the Rainy! Not that I would mind having one of course, but that little 16 footer put you on top of fish and you figured out how to get a picture taken with them. Good job.

Andrew, some quality bonding time with the dad-in-law, eh?

Jesse, think you were the only guy on the river with a brighter face than mine! Wish you and Scott could have had a picture of your double.

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wallegator

No, that was quality time with my dad, I lost the goofy accent a while ago. i usually try to get the quality time in with the possible future father-in-law when I go deer hunting in SE MN, but a fishing trip to the rainy is a good idea, lots of brownie points grin.gif

If your boat is out during the tourney, I have my money on it taking 1st with a 100"!

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