Sunday, June 8, 2014

Willard Crappie and Pineview Musky

Fishing Time:  Willard – 6:30 AM to 10:30 AM, Pineview – 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Weather:  Willard – breezy turning windy, clear skies, T-50s, Pineview – Strong wind, clear, T-70s
Moon Phase:  77% Moon
Location:  Willard/Pineview
Best Baits:  Willard – small curly tail grubs on 1/16 oz jighead, Pineview:  7-inch swimbait
Water Temp:  Willard - 70˚ F, Pineview - 69˚ F
Who Went:  Bobber John, Dunc


The reports coming from Willard Bay recently have been ridiculously good for walleye, wiper, and crappie.  Willard has always kicked my butt with only a couple trips out of around ten producing any fish, but these reports sounded to promising to pass up.

We arrive to Willard Bay at 5:30 AM to find a locked gate.  Apparently the ramp doesn’t open until 6.  Okay.  Off to the gas station to grab a bite.  Back to the gate at 5:45 and sat there and rigged rods until the magical gate suddenly opened at 6 AM. 

We launched at the north marina and went around the corner to the north where there are some small underwater humps.  
We were hoping to find some crappie.  The area proved to be successful and we began catching them one after another.  Not monsters but respectable from 9-12 inches.  We filled the livewell with our limit then moved on to wiper/walleye fishing.  
You can check out our Crappie success by clicking on the link below:

As usual the walleye/wiper fishing produced nothing.  I did have one bite on a bottom bouncer rig, but that was it for 2 hours of trolling.  We bottom bounced using worm harnesses going 1.0 to 1.2 mph.  We also trolled at 3.0 to 3.2 mph with various crankbaits trying to luck into a wiper.  Unfortunately luck was not on our side.  By 10 AM the wind was whipping and the long rock dikes of Willard were getting really boring to look at as we trolled aimlessly from one end to another.  

We loaded up the boat and conceded to another wiper skunk at Willard.  The crappie made it a successful Willard trip though.  After loading the boat, we filleted our crappie, put them in a cooler on ice, and headed up the canyon to Pineview.


We arrived to Pineview around noon and were greeted with 20 mph winds and a lake full of recreational boaters.  We thought about bagging the whole idea, but then realized we don’t make it up that way very often and decided to tough it out. 

After launching we motored through the gauntlet of boaters, and made our way over to a shoreline that was somewhat protected from the wind and had a few less boats running around, but was still miserable due to boat wake that continued to pound us all day long. 

We worked the entire shoreline with me throwing a 7-inch Berkley hollow belly swimbait rigged weedless for musky and Bobber John using a jig/trailer hoping to land a bass or two.  Midway through the run, Bobber had an unexpected bite followed immediately with cut line and a long white flash appearing along the weedline where his jig was.  We knew immediately that it was a musky trying to inhale his bass jig.  This got the juices flowing and we worked the area hard hoping to entice another bite, but it didn’t happen.

We tried fishing a few other areas, but quickly realized the wind was not going to allow it and headed back to the wind protected area.  We must have worked that same shoreline 4-5 times with no bites before Bobber switched to his trusty marabou jig underneath a bobber and put a few small crappie and perch into the boat.  At least he was catching something.
He took one perch and sliced out a 1x1 inch square to bait a second rod for musky.  He left this second rod hanging from the boat as he fished with his marabou under a bobber rig.  It wasn't long, before the bait rod was doubled over with a musky gnawing at the other end.  He let the fish run with the bait for a few seconds and then set the hook on a very nice musky.  You can check out the epic battle of musky vs. Bobber by clicking the link below:

As soon as I put a net on the musky the hook fell from his lip.  Whew.  We pulled him onboard for a quick photo shoot and then Bobber set him free to swim another day.  I’ve never seen a musky with that much fight left in him after landing them.  No doubt he is still swimming.  They are one of the coolest looking fish in freshwater. 
Unfortunately this ended up being the only musky bite of the trip.  I casted all day long with various swimbaits, spinners, and even a large tube jig, but never could entice one into biting.  That makes two Pineview trips in a row for me not even getting a bite, and each trip I never stopped casting.  It seems these fish are getting harder to catch.  It also seems my body is getting older because I was sore the next day.  Dealing with boat wake crashing the boat all day and casting large baits took a toll on these 33 year old bones! 

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