By Dave Lamoreaux
The early season (opening day-Mid May) is the best time of year to catch numbers of Eyes on the ” Desert “. For the first couple weeks in May, the fish are usually in some part of their spawning ritual – pre-spawn, spawning, or post-spawn. For that reason, they tend to be fairly shallow, 4-9 feet, near the harder, gravel, or small chunk rock banks. Areas on the east shore of the lake, as well as the Islands are historic spawning areas.
The “Point” on the west shore, and the numerous humps and parts of the south shore are also good areas to target for spawning fish. All of the bays also have smaller areas of gravel on the banks, although a little harder to find because they may only be 10 feet wide, can be very productive and somewhat overlooked by other anglers.
Looking for these areas can pay off big time, fishing pressure can be a little heavy the first week or so. Finding an underfished area of the lake is the best way to consistent action.
Many baits will work well early season, jig-fathead minnow, in yellow green, or orange green combinations work best for numbers of fish, also is my bait of choice if fish are less aggressive or are pressured.
Slip-bobber fathead combos can’t be overlooked once you have located fish, because once a Walleye has been caught, its a good bet that there are 20-30 more walleyes nearby.
Small crankbaits thrown in 3-7 feet of water, along the gravely banks, is another good way to find fish holding areas. Recommended baits would be #3 #5 #7 countdown Rapalas or other sticklike crankbaits, in black/silver or bronze/ silver colors.
As the month of May progresses, the Walleyes start to move out of the spawning areas, in search of weeds, but not just any weed, fresh growth, large leaf cabbage. These weed beds start coming up as the water warms, creating great cover for baitfish, as well as great habitat for all of the lakes gamefish species, especially the walleyes.
With limited amounts of deep water in Lac Vieux Desert, the walleyes tend to relate to the weeds for the majority of the season. New weedbeds appear and disappear from year to year. This is when using and understanding your locator is critical, but that’s another article. Look for weeds less than 2 feet high, in water from 6-12 feet deep.Try to identify the weed edge, using a marker buoy can be very helpful, (especially if fish are found), it can be windy at this time of year, and very easy to loose track of weedbeds sometimes as small as your boat, that hold eyes.
Limits vary from year to year Lac Vieux Desert, and being a Wisconsin, Michigan border lake, only adds additional regulations to the fishery. Motor trolling is not allowed, and laws and limits are different on each side of the border, and change constantly. Know the regs before you go out. Being a popular destination, the warden is out frequently. Good Luck on the Water.
Dave Lamoreaux is the owner of Wind Drift Resort the only cabin resort on the Michigan side of Lac Vieux Desert. For more information on Wind Drift Resort please visit www.winddriftresort.com