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Atwood Saugeyes

Discussion in 'Walleye & Saugeye Discussions' started by Saildog, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. Anybody have some advice for late summer saugeyes at Atwood? I was out Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Caught a couple small ones on small white jigs tipped with minnows, fished right on the bottom where the lake bends (water goes from about 15' down to 9'). Also caught a few crappie and one yellow perch in the process. Wasn't catching many and nothing of any size, so we switched to trolling Shad Rap's at 10'-12' with no luck at all. Thanks for the help...
  2. Lewis


    Verticle jig silver Hopkins jigging spoons on hardbottom contours,drops and humps.
    1/2 oz. Shorty's or NoEqls work pretty good.

  3. Thanks for the help. What kind of water depths should I be looking for? Vertical jigging sound like a deeper water tactic.
  4. Lewis


    Not necessarily.
    I have fished several Saugeye tournaments on Atwood,and this was always a good summer pattern.
    You can be very productive with this method on Atwood anywhere from 10-18 ft.Just look for hard bottom structure on this lake.
    Jim Corey showed me the ins and outs on this lake,and we have had pretty good success.
    In spite of this most people are still reluctant to put in the time to learn the spooning technique.
    It is deadly on most Saugeye lakes.
    I might have oversimplified things when I stated to verticle jig.
    We start out casting our spoons,and snap jig them back to the boat.
    When you get the spoon near the boat,begin verticle jigging for a minute or so,and let the fish tell you what they want.
    About 75% of the time for me anyway,they want a verticle presentation.
    But on some days they want the spoon swimming erratically.
    Fireline with a florocarbon leader really excels when using this method.
    It will allow you to feel that subtle tick of a Saugeye bite.
    Another tip...remove the factory stainless trebles on these lures and replace them with a high quality wide gap treble hook.
    I hope this helps.
  5. Corey

    Corey OGF Team-Charter Member

    Ditto what Lewis said............also, if you were trolling Shadraps in the 10-12 foot depths you were doing something that should produce Saugeyes at any of the lakes that have them. The fact that you didn't do well prompts me to ask a question that I ask many of my customers who have trouble with catching Saugeyes. Question part #1-Is your "eye fishing background one of targeting Walleyes, rather than Saugeyes? Part #2- Were your Shadraps of a large enough size/did you have enough line out to ensure that your lures were digging bottom or within a few inches of bottom at all times? Many anglers with a background in Walleye fishing who target Saugeyes tend to just let out line and pull a lure around without the constant tweaking and adjusting to ensure the bottom contact necessary to consistently catch Saugeyes trolling cranks.
  6. One line had a #5 jointed Shad Rap in firetiger with 80' of 10 pound test mono out. That should have put me at 12' depth. The other line was a #7 yellow back/silver foil standard Rap running back about 90', which should have me at 10' depth. That's going by the dive charts in the trolling guide. I did feel the bottom occasionally, especially in the shallow areas aroung the islands.

    Here's a couple of more questions, if you don't mind. #1 - How sensative are these fish to boat/motor noise? We've got a small Boston Whaler with a 25hp four stroke Merc. It's very quiet for an outboard, but should we really be sticking exclusively to the trolling motor? #2 - Does trolling with or against the wind/waves really make much of a difference? I did notice a fair amount of wave noise slapping against the hull when trolling into the wind.

    I have fished for a lot more walleye than saugeye, though I've done a bit of everything from Pennsylvania brook trout to west coast albacore tuna. Always open to new things...we'll give the spoons a shot the next time we're out. Thank you!
  7. I bought a cottage on Atwood last year and the lake has really defeated me. I always thought that I could figure out any lake, but Atwood has me stumped. The fish are there. As a writer I got to go with the DOW to electro-fish and the fish are definitely there. I also know a guy who put down a video camera and was shocked by the size and amount of fish. Atwood fish seem to be a bit fickle and I think they might have a lot of forage.

    Try trolling just off the public beach and check out the sunken island just before you get to cemetary bay.

    I think there is a tournament on the lake this Saturday so it should be interesting to see what these guys catch.
  8. Corey

    Corey OGF Team-Charter Member

    I don't believe that the Saugeyes in our area lakes are effected much by boat noise, although calm days or lakes with extra clear water call for sneakier approaches. Bigger, older, more experienced fish may be more easily spooked, although I've caught many good 'Eyes directly under the boat in shallow water under gas power. Wind generates current, especially in narrowed down areas, and fish of all species tend to orient to current by facing into it. Trolling downwind presents a lure coming directly at these fish from the front, rather than one that is coming up from behind them. Boat control and the ability to maintain exact trolling speeds are also easier when trolling downwind. I troll both ways most times unless I find a direction that is producing when others aren't. Then I stick with the producing direction. On calm days or on days when the fish are extremely aggresive it doesn't seem to matter as much. The wind factor can also be important when casting jigs or jigging spoons. If you are in a situation where you are feeling hits as very light "tics" and having fish come unbuttoned at or just after the hookset, try moving to a position directly downwind of the area you are fishing. Cast into the wind and retrieve into the faces of the fish rather than bringing your jig or spoon up from behind them. The hits will feel more agressive because the fish will be moving away from you as they strike and your hookset percentages will improve greatly.
    "I did feel the bottom occasionally" isn't good enough. The strike zone for Saugeyes on most days is a very narrow band of water within that bottom 6 inches or so. While guides like The Precision Trolling Handbook are great tools, they are of little use for Saugeyes, other than as reference to find maximum diving depths for various lures. Figure the maximum depth you are targeting and set up to pound bottom at that depth. I run the lure you mention, the #5 jointed Shadrap, in 8 to 15 foot contours on 165 to 175 feet of 10# Fireline. With this setup I don't lose bottom contact till between 15 and 16 feet. The only place I do it a little differently is on the roadbed at Piedmont. The broken up old road surface will eat crankbaits so I can't pound bottom the same way as I like to do in other places. The roadbed tops out at 20 to 21 feet at full Summer pool. There is an area on the West side of the lake, when approaching the roadbed from the Marina, that stays at a consistent depth for a long stretch. I use this approach area to set my lures to consistently tic bottom at 20 feet so that. when I swing out over the roadbed, I can troll the length of it with minimum chance of snagging. The Saugeyes that are on top of this structure are on top for one feed, so they are in an aggressive mood and the strike zone is a little broader, maybe a foot. What is your trolling speed? In the Summer, the quality Saugeyes caught by trollers are mostly caught by anglers trolling at much higher speeds than traditionally used for Walleyes. The trollers using the 1.5 to 2 mph traditional speeds are mostly taking small to medium size fish. The 6 to 10 pound fish are being caught by anglers using larger baits, like #8 and #9 Shadraps, in 8 to 12 foot water depths, at speeds from 2.5 to 3 mph GPS/SOG. You can imagine how these big cranks are pounding bottom in those depths.
  9. Once I get my motor cleaned out or fixed or whatever, I think I'm going to go casting some metal for them toothy rascals.
  10. Well, I'll definitely try some deeper depths and faster speeds. We've been down in the 1.5 mph range. One thing I have noticed on the lake recently is the huge amount of baitfish that the saugeye and other predators have to feed on. We spend the occasional night sleeping out on the lake in our sailboat and the number of baitfish rising to the surface at night can be amazing. Do you think that by the time the shad are out in summer, these fish have so much food that larger fish have less interest in smaller lures?

    Thanks again for the advice...I may not be able to wait for the weekend.
  11. Corey

    Corey OGF Team-Charter Member

    That's a definite possibility Saildog, but I have a theory that the reason that bigger fish are consistently caught by using big, noisy lures, at high speeds, has little or nothing to do with feeding, available forage, time of day or month, or anything else that we have read about for years regarding fish habits. C'mon, what possible member of the food chain is represented by a 1/2 ounce Firetiger Rattletrap moving through the water at high speed????????? I think it's a matter of defensive instinct. I don't think that instincts, whether they are relating to fish, deer, or humans, differ much in certain areas. If a Raccoon wanders into a herd of deer, the young bucks will play at defending and attacking, but if a bear comes near, it's the alpha buck who does the work. I think fish see some presentations as threats and react by running or attacking, and I think that the bigger fish are more likely to attack.
  12. I can see that. Thinking about this more, the larger lure has another big advantage on most Ohio lakes - that being that the fish can see/hear/feel it better. Humans are very set on the visual sense, but fish can't possibly be. Half the days at Atwood I can't even see my prop! This is made even more profound for saugeyes that stay on the bottom where there is less light. The bigger lure cannot only be seen from farther away, but it also will make a larger disturbance in the water so they will hear and feel it farther off. Also helps explain the higher trolling speeds.

    My thought on don't buy lures, people do. Most of those paint jobs are for catching consumers, not for catching fish. That's not to say they won't catch fish or that we can't have fun buying them. Kind of like my wife with shoes...
  13. Corey

    Corey OGF Team-Charter Member

    Wonder what a set of big trebles on one of your wife's high heeled mud stompers would do.................?
  14. Not sure what the fish would do, but I can imagine her reaction. Let's leave the hard hitting to the fish...
  15. Lewis


    Noise and Saugeyes..kinda reminds me of a story.
    Jim and I were fishing a tourney on Atwood one hot midsummer day.
    Using our spoons of course.
    We had a few nice fish in the box by high noon.
    Jim Corey was running the throlling motor.
    He motored just outside the buoys that contain the Pontoon boat swim area.
    High noon,bright skies,and a couple dozen swimmers splashing around and making all kind of noise.
    I have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical at his choice of areas to target.
    I was wrong...we managed to pull 2 nice fish from this area that no one would even attempt to fish under the conditions.
    Yep...we won! :D
  16. Saildog: There were not many caught by the tournament saugeye anglers on Saturday. I caught a couple on Friday using jigs.
  17. I was tempted to go down middle of last week, but opted to hit Nimisila instead. It's 5 minutes from where I live, rather than 45. I did make it to Atwood for a half day on Sunday, but it was the rare day that we had good wind and we chose to sail. For about a half hour the wind died down and we were holding a steady 2.5 knots. I was really tempted to troll a line behind the sailboat, but then I considered the mess I would have if I snagged. Not like I could just put it in reverse (or even stop that fast).

    Hopefully I'll get the chance this weekend.
  18. A friend of mine hit Atwood one day last week (I believe Thursday?) and ended up with several nice saugeye trolling firetiger Rapalas (not sure which exact lure). One fish was 28 inches and was around 8 pounds and another close to 5 pounds, then several smaller ones. Said he took the big one close to boaters beach area. He fished all day and all the fish came within about an hour and a half.
  19. Saildog, Should we try to kidnap that friend of All Eyes? :D Maybe we can make him or her tell us some secrets.

    A friend and I trolled Thursday for a couple of hours with no hits. The wife and I trolled Saturday with the same results. Unless my Lowrance is nutty, we are going over a lot of fish. I try all the usual spots like off from the beach and near the boat-swim area as well as the sunken island and a few other spots where I mark fish, but I'm doing something wrong.

    Still having fun, though! :)
    Bill (a.k.a. Star1pup)
  20. Too much business travel recently...not going to be able to chase the eyes for a couple of weeks. Glad to hear that someone is catching some. I think that the first big Saugeye I catch is going to feel like slaying the dragon.

    I definitely want to get the trolling technique down. I've seen it work too well for too many other kinds of fish. Even though Atwood isn't a very big lake, trolling still lets you cover as much water as you can in the peak times of the day.