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tarpon6

I've spent two weeks at Vermilion the last 3 years in a row.  I've really enjoyed it.  The smallmouth fishing this year was mostly catching.  I caught dozens of quality fish, only 3 fish under 2 pounds (including one that was no longer than a Senko).  I love smallies.  The one thing that was lacking was the pike fishing.  I did not catch any quality fish and even the hammer handles were down.  I wonder if rusty's are to blame for both the big smallmouth, and the lack of pike in the usual areas?  Are pike relating more to rocks and eating rusty's?  I did catch a couple pike smallie fishing and got cut off 3 or 4 times.   

 

Looking for better pike waters I got to thinking about Crane.  Out of Crane you have access to 3 or 4 other lakes, and some trophy pike water.  Is the smallmouth fishing going to be as good in September? Is the fishing overall good enough to leave a good thing on Vermilion?  I hate to leave fish to find fish. How are gas prices on the water up that way, about the same?   Really torn on this one..

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blue_healer_guy

I to have noticed a big decline in pike over the last 15 years.

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delcecchi
2 hours ago, blue_healer_guy said:

I to have noticed a big decline in pike over the last 15 years.

The musky guys wrecked the pike fishing on Vermilion in my opinion.   Not on purpose but by hammering many of the same spots I fished pike.   Now that they are all out in the middle all pelagic, I have done better the last year or two.  Got a 40 incher last year.   

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Wanderer
29 minutes ago, delcecchi said:

The musky guys wrecked the pike fishing on Vermilion in my opinion.   Not on purpose but by hammering many of the same spots I fished pike.      

 

I believe I’ve witnessed the same thing on my favorite pike lakes that have some muskies.  10 years ago was way different for quality.

 

Fish are still in the lake - I think... 

 

On pressured waters sometimes you just have do things differently though.  Switch up bait sizes, types and retrieves.  Get away from the norm.  Burn em.  Slow roll em.  Try it all.

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FishinCT

Pike spawn on submerged vegetation while Muskies do not. We all know what the rustys have done to the vegetation so that explains the decline of pike and rise of muskies on the east side at least.  

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CLOTAGAMES
8 hours ago, FishinCT said:

Pike spawn on submerged vegetation while Muskies do not. We all know what the rustys have done to the vegetation so that explains the decline of pike and rise of muskies on the east side at least.  

Vegetation was at an all time high on the west end of Vermillion this year and pike numbers are down there also.

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delcecchi
Posted (edited)

What you see for pike population is from spawns of yesteryear... And looking at the DNR test netting stuff, Vermilion has never been a numbers lake for pike, perhaps due to limited spawning habitat.  They use areas that are practically swamps to spawn, and there is really limited amounts of that, at least on west end.    

 

The presence of Muskies also might have changed pike locations.   That is just a conjecture since I don't know much about how the two species interact.    Or maybe it is global warming..😉

 

Personally I had a pretty good year for quality pike.

Edited by delcecchi
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tarpon6

I was on the East Side and definitely saw more vegetation and cabbage than the previous two years, but it takes time for that to translate to more pike.  I've also seen less rustys, so I think the fish are keying in on them, which helps the vegetation.  The smallies were spitting them up like crazy.  

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chucker1101

Disclaimer first: I target Walleye almost exclusively on East End. Occasionally SMB.

 

I've caught more Pike while fishing for walleye over the last three years, than in the 10 years before that. Probably l0-12 last year, from 28"-35". This year hasn't been as many, but October has been when i've got a lot of pike. Worms, crankbaits, minnows, leeches -  i've got 'em on all those.

 

Whether or not they're down in numbers, i don't know. They seem to be in the Walleye feeding areas a lot more now, though, than in the past.

 

 

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CLOTAGAMES
10 hours ago, chucker1101 said:

Disclaimer first: I target Walleye almost exclusively on East End. Occasionally SMB.

 

I've caught more Pike while fishing for walleye over the last three years, than in the 10 years before that. Probably l0-12 last year, from 28"-35". This year hasn't been as many, but October has been when i've got a lot of pike. Worms, crankbaits, minnows, leeches -  i've got 'em on all those.

 

Whether or not they're down in numbers, i don't know. They seem to be in the Walleye feeding areas a lot more now, though, than in the past.

 

 

I would agree about being more in the walleye area. Unfortunately they are hard on 6 lb. test and no leader when walleye fishing.

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BrianF

Del, curious...you’re an astute angler, what are your thoughts about why the muskies have gone pelagic?

 

As for pike, we never target them on V, though catch them regularly while fishing other species.  The big ones sure are fun.

63847B82-E3ED-4C8D-AFCB-126AEB1F47CE.png

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FishinCT
16 hours ago, CLOTAGAMES said:

Vegetation was at an all time high on the west end of Vermillion this year and pike numbers are down there also.

I’ve never been on a Vermilion without rustys, so I guess I can’t speak to whether there used to be more pike on the east end or not. I used to do a lot of casting for bass all over the lake and never ran into much for pike on either end. So can’t speak to why there is a lack of them on the west end, but there is definitely a problem with spawning habitat on the east end. I have noticed more weeds on the east end the last few years as well, but I have to imagine that when they are laying their eggs so they stick to weeds then they would need some pretty dense mats of weeds for the best results. And that kind of cover is still not present on the east end in very many, if any areas. 

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tarpon6

Those if you that target large pike, what lures and type of structure should I look for?  I found cabbage this year, but only a few small fish on it.  I'm artificial only, single hook, C&R.  Cut the trebles off the inline spinners and add a grub to make it weedless.  

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SkunkedAgain

I don't necessarily target large pike, but do target them in general because they are fun at most sizes. However, I've always remembered a bass book that talked about where to find the big ones. The big ones don't usually hang out in the normal places. That's how they were able to stay alive longer and get to their size. So work the abnormal areas and see what you find.

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delcecchi
22 hours ago, BrianF said:

Del, curious...you’re an astute angler, what are your thoughts about why the muskies have gone pelagic?

 

As for pike, we never target them on V, though catch them regularly while fishing other species.  The big ones sure are fun.

 

I don't know if the muskies have gone pelagic, or if they have always been out there at times and now the fisher people have figured it out.  I recall a few years back posting here about seeing several boats out in the  middle of wakemup narrows, down towards the east end and asking what the heck they were doing out there in the middle of nowhere.  

 

Astute?  surely you jest.  

 

I just wish they would put some lights on at dusk.   One of these days I am going to take out a planar board and I will feel bad.   And my motor might too.  I have had several close calls on the way home.   

 

It's funny, I can sort of tell what is working by looking where the boats are.   A couple years ago we saw that there was like a line up to get into the bay we are in.   One boat after another.   Last couple years not so much.  But now the flotilla is out to the west of Schmidt Island   in 40 feet.    Makes a guy want to pull up, throw them a beer and see if they are having any luck....😁

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Wanderer
22 hours ago, tarpon6 said:

Those if you that target large pike, what lures and type of structure should I look for?  I found cabbage this year, but only a few small fish on it.  I'm artificial only, single hook, C&R.  Cut the trebles off the inline spinners and add a grub to make it weedless.  

 

Jig and minnow, crawler harness, or leech on a Lindy rig mainly.  Fished .5-2 mph along hard bottom transitions. 😉

 

Really I mainly use scaled down muskie baits and fish typical pike habitat when the water is a bit cooler.  Varying the speed of retrieve is something I change up a lot.  In the heat of summer I keep an eye on the sonar over deeper water for the big archs associated with bait pods and will troll bigger minnow baits over them.

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chaffmj
On 10/1/2019 at 4:01 PM, tarpon6 said:

  Looking for better pike waters I got to thinking about Crane. 

 

tarpon6 if it was me I would go to Crane. It always fun to try some new waters and Crane is a beautiful lake!

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