Walleyes in the Park

div align=”center”a href=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_uazGpGrGm98/TA6BBymYiwI/AAAAAAAAAco/NQkUifbOXWs/s1600/6-8+walleye+2.jpg”img style=”TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0px auto 10px; WIDTH: 265px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 400px; CURSOR: hand” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5480459664319089410″ border=”0″ alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_uazGpGrGm98/TA6BBymYiwI/AAAAAAAAAco/NQkUifbOXWs/s400/6-8+walleye+2.jpg” //a emspan style=”font-size:85%;”Oswego’s Night Eyesbr /br //span/embr /div align=”center”a href=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_uazGpGrGm98/TA6BBGxf7XI/AAAAAAAAAcg/y37qwTA57bc/s1600/6-8+walleye+1.jpg”img style=”TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0px auto 10px; WIDTH: 262px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 400px; CURSOR: hand” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5480459652554550642″ border=”0″ alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_uazGpGrGm98/TA6BBGxf7XI/AAAAAAAAAcg/y37qwTA57bc/s400/6-8+walleye+1.jpg” //aspan style=”font-size:85%;” /spanemspan style=”font-size:85%;”Oswego’s night life includes bass too!br /br //span/embr //divdiv align=”left”br /Oswego is a leader among New York’s metropolitan areas. It was the first port city on the Great Lakes, has one of the greatest teachers colleges in the country and boasts three nuclear power plants side by side. But its greatest claim to fame is being the walleye capitol of the world.br /br /br /br /Oh sure, there are a lot of larger, prettier cities on major rivers like the Mississippi, Ohio and Delaware that offer walleyes from their banks (shoreline, that is), but none coughs up the quantity of true trophies that the Oswego River does near its mouth. In fact, anything smaller than a six-pounder is considered loose change and 10-pounders don’t even warrant a second look.br /br /br /br /I went up last Wednesday (June 2) to try my luck at some trophy catfish in the upper pool between the city’s dams. Unfortunately–and some would kill for this kind of luck–the ½ dozen dead shiners I brought along for the job were quickly gobbled up by smallies. And the lures I started tossing around didn’t fare much better. Now, I like to tackle with feisty bronzebacks as much as the next guy, but this time of year they’re protecting their fry and I don’t find much sport in pulling males off their nests and leaving their offspring at the mercy of gobies and other predators.br /br /br /br /So I went downtown, pulled into the west bank parking lot below Bridge Street and headed for the fenced-in walkway. I cast toward the middle of the river and got snagged right when my jig hit bottom. Before I could even think of working it free, some guy walks up to me, straining pole in his right hand, and asks “Hey dude, you got a long-handled net?”br /br /br /br /“Nope.”br /br /br /br /He became distressed. “How’m I gonna land this walleye? It’s my first!”br /br /br /br /“Ask those guys over there,” I suggested, pointing downstream.br /br /br /br /They had a long one and even landed the fish for the kid. It wasn’t the greatest walleye–in fact at 23 inches it was tiny by Oswego River standards–but boy, it sure lit up his face.br /br /br /br /A couple minutes later, his buddy nailed a smallmouth of a couple pounds.br /br /br /br /Then I got to work. Tying on a fresh ¼-oz. Northland Vegas Glitter Jighead, baiting it with a 3-inch Berkley Power Grub, I cast across the current, let it sink to bottom and commenced bouncing it, teasingly.br /br /br /br /Nothing.br /br /br /br /I tried again.br /br /br /br /Nothing.br /br /br /br /And again.br /br /br /br /Bingo!!! A smallmouth of about 16 inches shoots out of the water shaking its head like a cat whacking a mouse. I horsed him in, removed the hook and released him so quickly he never lost a breath.br /br /br /br /About 20 casts, and three snags later, I’m down to my last jighead. I baited it, tossed it upstream and started bouncing. Suddenly I feel resistance and, figuring it’s a snag, prepared to break off. Bad move! The thing starts pulling back, hard, much more forcefully than a walleye generally does.br /br /br /br /Finally getting the fish to the wall, I see its long white belly shining in the moonlight, a big eye attached to the upper end. I look in both directions for the guys with the net. They’re nowhere to be found.br /br /br /br /I tried lifting the walleye, inch by inch, with the 8-pound-test line. I raised it about three feet, barely a foot from my yearning fingers and I figured I got’cha! Right when I’m smacking my lips to visions of fresh walleye in the frying pan, she swings (females are the biggest of the breed) and hits the wall. A split second later I hear a sickening snap like someone cracking a whip. She falls into the drink and fades into the dark water like a dream into sunlight.br /br /br /br /Hearing the splash, the guy downstream asks “what was that?”br /br /br /br /“Bullhead,” I replied, trying to discourage him from inching his way too close to me.br /br /br /br /Last year big walleyes were downtown all summer long. This year promises to be the same. There ain’t a lot of ‘em, but there’s a disproportionate number of big ones.br /br /br /br /They’ll hit all the usual suspects, from jigs, spoons and crankbaits to worms on spinner harness and minnows.br /br /br /br /Although they’ll hit in daylight, they bite best at night.br //div/divdiv class=”blogger-post-footer”img width=’1′ height=’1′ src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4587593463340152030-1804606997038858546?l=fishingandhuntinginoswego.blogspot.com’ alt=” //div