A few highlights from the trip follow:
-Paddled in Thursday the 11th and out Monday the 15th.
-Expected ice on LLC but didn’t run into ANY
-Water surface temps as cold as 42 degrees and as warm as 54 degrees
-Bought Wendell the Ruffwear Float Coat before the trip and he did a great job wearing it while he was in the boat – he seemed very comfortable in the coat and it fit him very wel (size medium coat, Wendell is Aussie Mix roughly 50lbs). This is the first time I brought him on a fishing opener trip – and the longest at 5 days – and it went great. Float coat helped me feel secure as I was responsible for his safety the 8-10 hours/day we were in the boat. Yellow color is great for high-visibility in the woods!
-Lake Trout fishing was tough, fishing on the main body of water (colder water) was tough, but the Walleye, Pike and Bass fishing was REALLY good by moving water. Walleyes were mid/post spawn, feeding in water anywhere from 6-30’ deep during the day. The warmer water flowing from surrounding lake(s) was really the only place we had good fishing the entire trip.
-We ended up catching just shy of 150 fish (Smallmouth and Pike are open and OK to target on LLC before statewide opener as it is a border water) between the four of us during our 3.5 days of fishing.
-Took the larger Champlain, in addition to my buddy’s NW17, to accommodate for room for Wendell. The Champlain paddled like a dream, was super stable for fishing and had plenty of room for two large packs and a whole open area between thwarts for Wendell to be comfortable.
-Pictographs on LLC were breathtaking – A must see!
-Explored Fish Stake Narrows and Lady Boot Bay where we saw NO ONE!
-Only ran into a handful of groups after Agnes – LLC was not as busy as I expected for opener weekend. If I had to guess, only about 40% of the campsites in Tiger and Boulder Bay were occupied.
Weather: Unseasonably warm and sunny! Upper 60’s to upper 70s for highs and overnight lows just barely dipping into the high 30’s. Lack of wind made fishing difficult, but I can’t complain about the sun.
Bugs: zero bugs for the first 2-3 days of the trip but by the end we saw multiple mosquitos and black flies. Still too early to be biting, but I would bet after our recent rain and a little more sun/warmth they will be out in numbers.
Additional Highlights: LLC Blue Walleyes, Fantastic 5-star campsite adjacent Warrior Hill and Pictographs, spring walleye bite (jig and minnow by far our best bait), lake trout dinner, bonus 46” northern pike I caught jigging for walleye
All photos credited to @eric_in_ely and @wondrouswendell