The shorter birch trees are turning yellow. They’re dropping their leaves. The weather fronts are a bit stronger, with more rain and wind. And the fronts seem to come and go more quickly. Our guests report experiencing both summer and fall weather patterns in their days on our lakes and streams. And they are experiencing excellent fishing as well. Our nights are quite cool, and daytime highs often struggle to reach 72. Sunday we waited out a four-hour fog and rain event to fly our guests, while the Fetty family of Michigan reported the best fishing of their lives. 100 walleyes in three hours, and they even marked the spot on the Ogoki Lake map for us.
Last week Bob Menza reported his best trip at Zig Zag…and caught this fish …and snapped a pic to share with us. So we sent the photo to Rick Gollat the Armstrong area MNR fish biologist, and asked him if Bob’s reference to the fish as a “red horse” was correct and Rick said, “It appears to be a Shorthead Redhorse sucker. Most fishermen commonly refer to them as “northern redhorse” or “red sucker”. The scientific name is Moxostoma macrolepidotum. The Genus name (first part of the scientific name) is Moxostoma, which includes all the ‘redhorse’ suckers. Of the 7 or more ‘redhorse’ sucker species, the Shorthead and Silver are the only two occurring this far north. They are typically 1-2 pounds in size with a maximum length of 20 inches. They are bottom feeders as are all suckers, feeding mainly on insects and aquatic invertebrates. Redhorse suckers inhabit the shallow, clear waters of lakes or clear, weedless rivers with bottoms of sand or gravel. They are highly susceptible to pollution or continuously turbid water”. Thanks Rick! Well we are telling guests to fish slow and fish deep for the walleye bite, and when they do, they are also getting a shot at every other fish that’s deep. When you think about it, the fact that the Shorthead Redhorse, is the “miner’s canary” for pollution in our lakes …and is doing quite well thank you…indicates that our lakes remain clear and clean. And that’s good news for everybody, Redhorse and angler alike.
Since we had Rick’s attention, we asked him “So how’s fishing?” After all, Rick keeps good records on angler and outfitter news in this area. He told us, “In general, fish abundance (year class strength), is tied to length of growing season, water temperature, forage availability and habitat. The year 2001 was an exceptionally warm summer, which has resulted in large numbers of walleye and pike … now showing up in the angler catch. Based on the type of summer we are experiencing this year, it can be expected that another strong year class will result with an abundance of fish showing up in the fishery approximately 4 years from now.”