GRASS ISLAND 10/4/20
I love this area of the river. It is a wonderful area to cast since it is relatively shallow compared to our usual haunts upriver, in Tonawanda and Buffalo. 15 feet is considered deep there, except for a few spots. There are nice thick, defined weed lines that do not drop off very much. When I was there the other day, some of the weeds had grown to the surface making them easily visible from a casting distance away - a critical length and term for me - 75 to 100 feet away, depending on the wind and the lure. It is my desired casting distance from the weed line. I always want to position the boat this distance from the weed edge, with front angler casting at weed line and parallel to it and rear angler casting off the back. I call it, “walking the line”.
It was comforting and nice to see what I consider normal weed growth in the river. A feature I have not noticed in upper for many years. This lack of weed growth may be one of our problems with the possible decline of the Musky population. During the opening week of the season I could not find any weed growth. So where are the Musky supposed to spawn? Musky lay their eggs in the weeds, where did they go this year or last year? Musky need weeds, to spawn and hide their eggs, to hide in and grow to maturity and to ambush and find their pray. We should discuss this lack of weeds at our conservation meeting this February.
When wishing Grass Island, I use the LaSalle boat ramp. It has plenty of water and multiple ramps. The only concern is that you cannot go to far back or the trailer will fall off cement block of the ramp, it is out of the wind and with very slight current. From the ramp follow the channel south out to main river. The channel is well marked on the last part.
Just as you get past last marker to main river, head east to the trailer park passing the first weed line. Drift back casting to the weed edge until you pass entrance to the ramp. Then fish LaSalle Island.
Next, I head south across river to the Sandy Beach Yacht Club. Do not head towards front part of Grass Island! This area is dangerously shallow in front of island, the east side of island. This shallow water is why tourists park and party there. There are two floating jugs marking the shallow area. One is marking a rock as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. This rock comes very close to surface. We call it Elephant Rock because it likes to reach and grab your lower unit. I suggest staying close to Grand Island and the yacht club when heading in between Grass Island and Grand Island. I like being able to cast to shore and the boat docks. Continue along the docks until you pass the last house. Then look towards shore you can see the white sandy bottom along the shallow shoreline. It comes out 10-20 yards then drops off to the deep darker water 10-15 feet. I have a reoccurring dream in which I cast a Wiley Musky Killer up on the shallow sand and retrieve the lure out to the deep dark water and seeing an open toothy critter mouth coming up out of the darkness to eat Mr. Wiley.
Continue fishing down the shoreline passing Burnt Ship Creek, so named because there was four or five French war ships that burned to prevent them falling into enemy hands in the 1750’s. A very interesting story if you google it. The current park has a walk bridge over it. Follow the weed line all the way under the North Grand Island Bridge to the passage through the break wall and Navy Island.
Now I turn around and troll up river snaking back and forth one to two times casting distance from the line. Going back into the channel between the islands to Elephant Rock. Then I start casting at the rock, drifting back through staying casting distance from the weed line.
There is a huge weed patch behind the island, west side of island. The weeds are now to the surface making the line easy to follow. As the weeds end you hit one of the deep areas, near Green marker # 47, it goes to 20 plus feet. It looks like a good spot for jigging and is very fishy, but it is one of the few spots down there I have never seen or heard of a fish.
Next, I troll up the outside of Grass Island staying outside casting distance to Elephant rock again. This time drifting and casting at reeds on the outside of north side of island. Continuing fishing the outside of the huge weed bed.
Lastly on way back to ramp I find the hump and weed patch in the middle of the river. Casting both sides and then trolling spinner baits over top.