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  1. Eyes are shut. Almost had the guts to leave family gathering Christmas evening, water looked perfect... but thought better of it. Wife and brother in law looked at me and asked, "You're not going to go fishing tonight?" They were serious... So I bit my lip, pretended like it was no big deal, and had another egg nog. Snow dump on 26th switched the lights off must be. Took a chance on the 28th, and most of the south shore access points I haunt were already filled with bergs and crappy ice... stood on shore and debated whether it was suicide or proof of insanity that I was contemplating breaking through to wade out to my favorite hole... neither option seemed to put the odds in my favor - two guys in a pick-up with a sled trailer in the parking lot musta thought I was depressed, confused... If they were watching and waiting for the ice to stretch and finish what it started, they're probably still there now... dunno. Found one or two open areas with only smallerish chunks of ice floating around and gave it the old college try. Nada. On a positive note, watching where the ice formed and stopped gave me a better idea of where the bottom changed and why the spot I had so much luck in was likely so productive - water talks if you listen, but ice screams, "Go home you silly bastard. Here's a clue for next year if you're not as dumb as you look and you haven't been planted after an unexplainable drowning." Hope all had a great Christmas, and and early Happy New Year. By the way, all of the last 11 fish I brought home were females. After checking with some other guys, it seems they all noticed the muted, but measurable uptick in the catching department around the end of Oct / early November as I did... a couple weeks later than usual, but that seems to have been the best of the past few months... and the bunch I caught after the first week of Nov into early December were just the late adopters... mostly females. Peace. tc p.s. funny, was in Wegmans a couple weeks ago, and they had a 6 or 7 pound Canadian walleye on ice - never seen walleye behind the glass there before. The fish dept manager said a woman had come in a bit before I got there and asked to buy just the egg sacs. I've eaten fish eggs before - caviar (yuck), smelt (yum), and know of folks who like shad roe, anyone ever eat the eggs from the walters? Concerned that they might be high in fatty / higher-concentrations of bad ju-ju... but figure they're probably tasty if prepared right... dunno. Also, picked up a couple "ITO type" lures on eBay... painted silver, nothing else, no eyes, no hardware, etc. - dollied one up to try on the 28th... had great action, stayed close to the surface, can't wait to try it again when there's actually fish around - anyone ever used one of these lures? Any positive results? tc
  2. Skunked last night - just got cold and wet, mostly where the water got under the neoprene cuffs on the sleeves of my jacket - gore-Tex worked dandy otherwise. Wading, almost had a couple of rogue waves take me out... So I got out of the lake and tried elsewhere. Same results - nuthin'. I started hearing phantom fish-smacks and that unmistakeable Tshhtt!!! noise in the waves and figured I had better go home before I heard Sirens on the rocks and started swimming over to find 'em. Re: Ontario in spring, yes, post - spawn near feeder / lake points with big stick baits - until the shad / alewives are really going - then it starts getting tougher... 6lb + fish are common, and 8-10+ lb'ers not that uncommon... (I drop 'em back in... So do most others... But there are always a few taken - not sure why, as they're typically big female breeders and I assure you, do not taste very good IMHO... Just fun to catch... ) P.s. the days start getting longer again in a couple days! Significant only if those pesky Mayans forgot to figure in leap years... Then we're either ok to ask Santa for more gear or really screwed sometime in February while steelheading or jigging perch thru the ice.
  3. I've been fishing all by my lonesome most nights... Got one right off the bat last Thurs, then nada for two hours... Need better winds and some churn without chocolate milk water... Good to know I am not the only loonie still taking advantage of the lack of ice... Would love to learn more about southern tier eyes... If / when I am down there, it is usually for trout on the w. branch or in the skinny waters near my mother-in-law's outside of Cooperstown... I did accidentally catch a walleye in the Susquehanna just below Goodyear Lake one time though... It's just that the piggie walleye fishing in spring on Ontario is so good, and the fall bite in Oneida is so good, reasonably close, and so familiar for me... ... Keep me posted on the bite in your area... I will keep reporting until the ice forms, or my wife burns all my gear in the front yard... Not quite sure which will happen first
  4. So, the Fat Lady is warming up perhaps. But fish still there. For what it's worth - since Oct 1st, total of 31 males, 12 females - most of the females caught in the past three or so weeks. Nothing over 20.5, 5 under 17, only one under 16. Traveling more to find them now, putting up with iced guides and 14mph east winds and rain, but they sure are tasty critters. Anyone else still fishing / catching? (I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've got an Excel spreadsheet with all the data and no matter how I slice and dice the numbers, true to walleye fishing norms, there were no norms this fall) tc
  5. Fat lady was no where to be found last night... If you we're willing to deal with wind and rain (mild temps made it tolerable, fish made it bearable) - caught fish on three very different lures too... Just to make sure there continues to be no clear patterns... It just had to be in their face I guess...
  6. Skunked Sunday 12/2. May get one more night in this week. I figure 30+ walleyes this fall wasn't bad, but sure wish it hadn't taken so many hours standing in the water... (I live in Rochester, work in Buffalo, but drive to my old hometown to fish for edible eyes... We catch much larger fish in Lake Ont May - Julyish - a night with 5-7 walleyes in the 7-9 lb class is not completely unexpected in the first few weeks of open season... But they all get dropped back in)... Time to begin targeting the Finger Lakes now...
  7. Curiouser and curiouser. Three males 11/23, all three females 11/27. That puts my ratio at 6 or 7 females to 25 males - what's that, a little less than one if 5... anyways, maybe that just means the big ladies are going to make their appearance here right before the first ice up... dunno. Absolutely no clear patterns at all this fall... signing off and putting down my pencil to see if I can pick up a couple more while I can still wade and still feel my fingers after 2 or 3 hours... good luck to all. tc
  8. Guess I'm just over analyzing things... but I'm going to clean another half dozen from a couple of nights in the past week... I think only one (21 inches - biggest of the year so far...) is probably a female... had no hope of catching fish the other night - gin clear, glass calm, but two volunteers surprised me in the first hour of fishing... one more much later... in keeping with my recent overanalyzing kick, I've figured I've put in 100 hours of time standing in the water washing lures in Oct and Nov, with a 3 hours of fishing to every fish caught ratio... man, I gotta get another hobby tc
  9. ...just wondering if any other Oneida night fishermen have noticed what seems to be an unbalanced number of male to female walleyes being caught?? October was tough for me - but November has been productive - but so far, only 3 females out of 25 fish... perhaps another bigger one last Friday (I'm only guessing though - it was a big fat fish that was able to pop my metal stringer snap right open... went to put a second fish on and got that awful feeling of "not enough weight" on the other end of the stringer...) can't seem to convince myself of any patterns at all this fall from south shore... only one "one right after another" night so far, way back on Nov 2nd... lots of fishless nights - if I include October, probably 3 nights skunk for every night with fish, but 2+ fish most of the nights I've fished in November... perhaps it's going to wobble right into December if we get the warmer weather I saw predicted... tc
  10. Thanks Mike. And oh yeah, forgot about the longer softer rods - I tend to go with either a 7 ft light to medium light rod - or, like last night, a 7 and 1/2 foot St. Croix quasi-noodle rod. I also swap out all my hooks with Owner or Gamakatsu trebles - and let the fish stick themselves. Those hooks are incredibly sharp and light wired and easily catch and penetrate. tc
  11. I love it. Follow the good advice about mono or surgical tape to minimize slippage on the spool, but be careful to lay the initial layer on with consistency and evenness and as small an arbor knot as possible to avoid the line layering up unevenly or bulging on the spool - makes it a pain to cast (if this happens and I'm in a hurry, I bring a 3/4 oz Cleo and chuck it a mile to straighten out the line and put it back on the spool more evenly). I use it in Oneida all fall until the air temps go below freezing - the stuff (as well as braid) holds water and freezes up and makes a mess when you're wading in light chop - I go back to mono then. But I catch my share of eyes, and use 20 lb Fireline to a swivel and then 2-3 feet of 16-20 lb. Magnathin mono to my stick baits (nearly always a metallic Thunderstick jrs. or Yo-Zuri Pin's Minnows). A friend uses straight braid to a snap with similar success. In fact, tonight I caught my first spring eye - 28 inches, probably 7-8 lbs using PowerPro (I am not very consistent with my set-ups I guess, just happened to have packed my Stradic tonight and it has P'Pro to swivel and then 2-3 feet of 12-16 lb magnathin). My buddy caught a 24 incher with my other rod which was set up with 14 lb Fireline Crystal to a swivel and then 2-3 feet of 12 lb magnathin. I was using a 5 1/2 inch stickbait, my buddy a thunderstick junior (3 and 1/2 inches??). Go figure. For stickbaits in low light, this set up works fine. I don't fish walleyes during daylight much, and rarely use jigs, so I would defer to those who do and who may suggest lighter or longer mono or flouro leaders in those conditions (especially in bright sun and clear water). In the fall in Oneida I like the heavier mono leaders at night - with a loop knot right to the stickbaits - and it doesn't seem to affect the hook-up rate (when the eyes are plentiful that is). In fact, I think the heavier line keeps smaller lures up higher since smaller diameter leaders and line seems to bring my floaters down an extra 6-12 inches from the surface - even with a god-awful slow retrieve. And sometimes that makes all the difference. Everyone has their preferred combination of rod, line, reel, lure and retrieve for eyes in different situations. I just tend to fish evenings and night time with stick baits and love the performance of Fireline and PowerPro. (also, if you go with the Fireline - I like to "wash" and "condition" new Fireline for 10 minutes before I actually fish - casting and retrieving line with a heavy spoon - until it gets softened up - because right out of the box, the heavier stuff tends to be stiff and can knot up - in fact, I have my favorite King salmon reel spooled up with 30 lb Fire line - after three seasons and dozens of kings on spoons, the line looks a little fuzzy, but it's still strong!!). Hope this helps. tc
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