Silver Lake has been a thorn in everyone's side all year this year. It has been very stingy for numbers of fish, and those that are caught are running smaller. The reason, I believe, is enormous amounts of bait fish. During the summer, bait fish can be seen anywhere and everywhere. All the bass have to do is swim around with its mouth open when it wants to eat
I know there is a very healthy population of bass here, DEC shocking proves that almost on a yearly basis, with reports of 10+ pounders being shocked, along with hundreds of "normal" bass in very short stretches of shoreline. Also, tx's prove now and then that when the fish are feeding on our lures, some mighty good fish live in this lake, and alot of them. But this year was tough, to say the least.
Well, I didn't want to leave the lake on a sour note for the season. While it is merely a few miles down the road from me, this is only my 4th time on it this year.
Silver is not known for its smallmouth fishing. It wasn't until a few years ago when I was pike fishing in May did I realize the potential. The water was ultra clear that day, and spawning beds with big fat smallies on them were all over the place in 8-12 feet of water. Hmmmmm, where are these fish during the Summer months!! Over the years, I don't ever remember catching a smallmouth on Silver during "normal" warm weather fishing months. But November is a different story LOL!!
I started in a familiar stretch, just off the weedline, and drifted tubes on the bottom. What else, right? I worked the area very slowly, but not even a sign of anything being alive down there. Water temps are already in the low 40's here, but even at that, something ought to happen. I suddenly drifted over an area that had alot of debris on the bottom and fish arches according to the graph. I did have some some "little peckers" on the tube, but no hookups. I thought this might be a great spot to circle back and try a spoon. I dropped a half ounce Hopkins right over this debris, and two jerks later BAM! I quickly reeled in a nice 5" perch?? I dropped the spoon again, and BAM!, another little squirt perch. A few minutes later I reeled in this awesome double (LOL!)
I played with the perch for awhile longer, actually in hopes of catching a walleye seeing the smallies didn't want to bite, and decided to move to another area. Once there, I repeated my unproductive pattern of dragging just off the weedline, but had the same results. It was then I decided moving from the 12-14 foot depths I was working to 18-20 foot depths. If anyone is familiar with the extremely sharp drops of Silver Lake, you would realize I only had to move about the length of the boat. After situated out there I immediately got the thump on the tube I was looking for, and a nice hard battle was under way. A few minutes later, this 3.4 pound smallie was posing for this picture:
She looked kind of small in the net, in the picture, but this was one solid fish from head to tail. About 5 minutes later along the same drop, this 2.7 pounder was landed:
I circled through this area another time, but no takers on the 2nd try. I again bounce to another spot, with a slower taper from the weedline to the depths, and found ALOT of activity in the 14-15 foot depths. I threw the tube and before it hit the bottom I had a nice bite. Set the hook and reeling in a nice 10" perch. In the livewell it went, in case I caught a few more! I worked that area for awhile but couldn't get another perch, so I released the one I had. Back to the original area I started in, to see if the 18-20 foot depths worked there. Nope! Back to where I caught the two fish earlier, and caught my last one of the day at 2.4 pounds. All three smallies I caught were very fat for their length, and very happy.
Not bad for 3 1/2 hours of fishing I guess. I caught the same number of fish today as I did in the last three trips to Silver, combined! Plus about 3 times the weight to
I did discover something odd today though. Well, odd for this lake anyway. While dragging, I was picking up alot of grass, the kind that looks like a big blade of lawn grass (not sure what it is called). This grass was present all the way down to 24+ feet in most areas I fished. Also, mixed in with that grass, was milfoil and coontail growing to at least 20+ feet. Typically, this lake has a distinct weedline anywhere from 10-14 feet, and usually there is NOTHING, as far as grass goes, outside of that. As you can imagine, dragging a tube through it was not that easy LOL!!
Could this deep grass be resposible for the tougher fishing this year?? Most guys are used to that usual weedline, and probably never went out past that too much. But maybe the bass were in the weeds out in 20 or more feet. Hmmmmm, something to keep in the back of my mind for the future I guess.
I'll see you in the winter on the ice, Silver Lake!