Friday, December 31, 2010

some new ice fishing gear

Christmas was good to me and I found myself with a few extra bucks to spend. The final decision was made on my first ice fishing flasher. I was looking at the 3 entry level units from Vexilar, Hummingbird, and Marcum. After much thought and seeing it action I opted for the Hummingbird Ice35 unit which was purchased yesterday from Cabelas. I normally don’t find myself shopping there due to the distance from my house but Cabelas had the largest selection of ice gear still in stock. Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain were picked over and I was looking for instant gratification. There was no time for online shopping because the plan is to break it in this weekend.

hummingbird ice35
While shopping I also was able to purchase a Cabela’s brand pop up shelter which, compared to the other brands pop up shanties of similar sizes, seemed like a steal for only 129$ Here are it’s specs and expect a review after I break it in.

cabela's ice team hub shelter 6 x 6
Cabela's Ice Team Hub Shelter – 6' x 6'
  • Accommodates two to three anglers  
  • Covered in durable, 600-denier, 100% polyester
  • Absorbs solar energy and retains heat
  • Internal pocket for gear and bait
  • Four windows with covers
  • Dual doors for easy entry

Dimensions: 72"L x 72"W x 78"H.
Packed dimensions: 56"L x 10"W x 16"H.
Weight: 27 lbs.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays

As the 2010 fishing season reaches its final few days Neal and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks for a great first year. As we move into the new year we have been doing some planning. We have some exciting trips scheduled, new videos in the works, and some interesting product reviews on the way.

In the last few weeks we have setup a Facebook fan page and are hoping that our return visitors will take the time to click the “like” button and subscribe. On the fan page we will have more photos, stories, and videos and not just the ones that make the blog. It will also be a great place to network as well as keep in contact with some of our returning readers. If you have ever enjoyed our site or found it useful then “click this link” and sign up as a fan.

Happy Holidays and have a great new year!
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

pistakee bay and petite lake double header

Thursday morning was our holiday office party and me and Neal had the rest of the day free to prospect for panfish! Even though very little work got done, those 6 hours seemed to crawl. After minimal work, holidays gifts, and an expansive buffet we burned rubber back north towards the Fox Chain of Lakes. There was plans to meet Damien out on Pistakee Bay fishing until dark and switching over to Petite for the night bite.

Met Damien and a couple of his friends out on Pistakee Bay around 2:00pm, they had been fishing since 11:00am. Our reward for showing up late was an abundance of predrilled holes, a refined location, and a dialed in presentation. They were not just on fish, they were on some big sunfish with a few crappie and bass mixed in. Pistakee was crowded and there were 2 major clusters of fisherman one in shallow and another out over deeper water. Damien had a hot hole and was crushing some huge bull bluegill consistently without even moving once. Neal and I scratched some nice fish here and there but found ourselves bouncing around a little more the Damien. We fished with them until the sun set and parted ways each with our fair share of fish.

my biggest was smaller then a dozen of damiens gills
After stopping for a quick bite (eaten in the car) and a pack of smokes we found ourselves standing in the middle of Petite Lake just after dark. The air temperature had to be 25 degrees and without a gust of wind, it was really quite a pleasant night to be out. We started to hand drill a series of holes which we marked depths from 5 to 12 feet. A few holes located close together had some steep drops in-between them and we really blanketed those drops with our tip ups. The shack was set in 10 foot and the propane heater deployed. We gave the holes in the shanty a good hour of fishing and tried to call the fish to us with some glow jigs and a swedish pimple pounded on the bottom. Not a bite or even a nibble was felt during that first hour and the decision was made to push out to deeper water.

Leaving the warm shack behind we grabbed just the necessities and headed out into to evening air. One lantern guided our way as I started drilling a second series of holes. I zigzagged our holes out towards the middle and Neal followed 2 holes back with the vexilar looking for even the slightest bit of movement. When something would peek his interest I came shuffling up quickly to have a closer look at the screen. Watching carefully as the bait fell, the reaction from the fish came quickly and almost for certain we would watch the 2 little red lines rise up from the bottom. A quick hook set and a fish played from 17 feet down would reward us for all the hard work we were doing. Hand cranking through ice is no easy task and when your finding a fish every 6 holes and it has to be a shared duty. We never found a pocket of multiple fish and we never caught a second fish out of the same hole (even returning later)! A handful of bluegill and crappie fell victim to the glow rat-finkie with glow plastic tipped with a spike. Mobility was a huge factor in our catches and I’m willing to bet that staying in our shelter would have left us fishless. Here’s some footage I shot while we hole hopped halfway across Petite lake.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

skunked in waukesha county

A lot of planning is involved in taking a 4 year old ice fishing. Making sure they are properly dressed for the elements is the number one priority. Lucas (my 4 year old son) and I were meeting up with Neal to fish a small Waukesha County lake that we had not visited since early September. This is smaller lake with some good depth and some clean water. Like most smaller lakes the structure (as far as I know) consisted of a few shallow flats, a main point and a few smaller ones, and a bowl shaped basin that quickly drops to 30 feet. The bottom composition has good amounts of sand and some larger stones present in areas. The previous outing was the first time we had ever fished here and this would be the first time through the ice. Both Neal and I have been eager to return, and passed on some decent bites to go out there and poke around and do some exploring. Catching a good multi-species bag the last time, we thought our chances would be good for getting on a variety of different bites. "Click Here" to view the trip from last time.

70 miles, the entire “Despicable Me” movie, and an order of hot cakes with chocolate milk is what it took to get there. We met Neal there at a quarter to eight and walked out to the main point on the lake. We popped about ten holes within a 50 yard radius and began to mark the depths. We had a shallow hole at 5 feet and not to far away it made its way down to 20. We placed out 6 tip-ups with a variety of sizes of fatheads and shiners making sure that we had all areas off the drop off covered. After the flags were placed we began to try to jig up some pan-fish to get the action started off. The sad thing is, the action never got started. We soaked to tip-ups and pounded those pan-fish rods for almost 2 hours with not even one bite. It wasn’t until a home owner came out and started to snow blow the ice that we decided to pack up and move. I guess they were making a skating rink but that made for a good reason to change things up.

the first area we fished
 We moved back to the north side of the lake close to where we put in. Here there was almost no structure but was where the creek channel enters the lake. We found the shoreline to have a much steeper drop and quickly fell all the way to 30 feet not too far from shore. Again we set our flags and again we pounded for pan-fish. We fished all the way out to 30 feet without even the slightest bit of action.

2nd area we fished
After 5 hours in total we decided to throw in the towel. Lucas was cold and had resorted to playing games on my cell phone 2 hours before then. It was then we finally excepted the skunk!

the skunk
In retrospect, I will never learn a new lake while fishing with a 4 year old again. Even though he still had fun spending the day with his dad and his buddy Neal I could tell he was disappointed. Sure there’s a few good lessons here-
  • Your not always gonna catch fish.    
  • Fishing is about spending time with family and friends.
  • Its called fishing not catching for a reason.
I’m sure the list goes on but nothing is better then the smile of pride he wears when we catch fish together!

there's that look!
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

early ice pond fishing (kenosha county, wi)

Made it out yesterday with Neal, Randell, and Luke. This was early ice and the pond was anywhere from 3 inches all the way down to 1.5. Some spots were looking real sloppy and wet so we avoided those. We all set out tip-ups and fished a panfish rod. Fishing was good early and slowed around mid day. Waxies and spikes seemed to do the trick. Fished plastics for almost 30 minutes before dropping a waxie back down the hole, hooked up instantly. Deadsticking helped detect bites from small fish and soft biters. We weeded threw 100 small panfish to find just one keeper but you will see from the video there were times when you could land 3 fish in one minute. Couple flags that resulted in 2 bass and one nice catfish for Neal. Crappie, bluegill, and whitebass were all present. Had a great first ice trip and made it off just as the rain started.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

early ice pond bass (kenosha county, wi)

Neal sent me a photo from his brothers that he received yesterday while we were at work. Here’s a shot of an early ice pond bass taken from Kenosha County, Wi. Neal’s brothers are out fishing while we are working but that’s ok cause us weekend warriors have some big plans for Saturday. I hope everyone is ready for ice season… Stay tuned to see how we make out!

early ice pond bass - is he smoking?
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

early winter action on the root river (racine, wi)

There are still some fish in the Root River. A trio of fisherman set out last Sunday looking for some last minute fish in the rivers before our local lakes freeze over. Moderate flows and clear water was what they found on the Root. The temperatures outside would freeze your boots the second they exited the water. To be able to last for any length of time out there, its sound advice to keep your feet dry.

The trio spent the morning drifting nymphs, streamers and egg patterns down in Island Park. The temps have been cold enough that sheets of ice were floating down river. Any misplaced cast could leave your line hooked on the edge of one of the pieces. The wrong speed on a drift and you would find your line stuck on or under the thin plate of ice.The hazards and the difficulty fishing that portion of the river quickly drove them upstream.

The trio found themselves at Quarry Park near the tailwaters of the Horlick Dam. Things looked a whole lot better there, no ice floating and some intermittent fish were being spotted in the pockets. The frozen 3 laid claim to their own respective spots and peppered their pools with an assortment of flies. They didn’t get one strike until one of them had a bright idea of downsizing to a size 10 yarn egg trailer. He tied this to a flashy streamer and instantly hooked up with a large fish that bulldogged its way to the center of the large pool. After a great big tug the tiny trout fly popped out of its mouth and the line went slack. That was all it took for them to dial in on a pattern. Two more fish were hooked after that. The big burly brown was lost in a small deep pool soaking the anglers arm as he tried to wrangle the fish. The last fish was landed and turned out to be a smaller coho. Cold day to get in the water.

early winter coho on the root
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

From Feather To Fish

GL Deceiver - Perch
From Feather to Fish
Just came across a new local Chicago based blog focused on fly fishing and fly tying. Nick over at “From Feather to Fish” is just getting his feet planted in the blogger world and I wanted to show him some Chi-town love. He seems to be a very skilled when it comes to fly tying and can’t wait to see what else he has to offer as his blog starts to take shape. Above is a photo from his blog, it’s a pattern called the GL Deceiver – Perch Pattern. I can’t wait to give this one a crack. Show Nick support and stop by his site and give him a follow. Click here for the link.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tough fishing on the root (racine, wi)

I made a solo trip Saturday to the Root River in Racine, Wisconsin looking for some fresh steelhead. The rain from last week showed a tremendous impact in the flows. The Root River was flowing higher and faster then it had been in the last month. It’s sad when 50CFS is considered to be high flows but either way I was extremely optimistic to be fishing moving water. I felt that the mid week rain could have pushed some fresh fish up into the tributaries.

The weather on Saturday was freezing cold with moderate wind and some ice was starting to build over the puddles. As I stepped from my car I could see my breath in the air and feel the sting of the cold in my nose and this is a sure sign that winter is knocking on our door. I put my waders on over my jeans and my wool socks even though I planned on not setting foot in the water. The waders gave me an extra layer of protection from the elements. Cold or not it was time to get to work.

sunrise on the root river
The river was empty and I came across only a handful of others who were out fishing. I spent the entire morning drifting nymphs and egg patterns through pristine looking steelhead water. Not even a bump. I made it to lunch time before deciding to retire for the day and head out. Every condition, in my mind was perfect for a big day on the water but the fish had something else on the agenda for the day. I saw no indications of fish in the river but that doesn’t say much. Steelies are elusive, and you aren’t gonna catch one without a line in the water. To all those other die hard river rats who made it out, my hats off to you.

good flow on the root river
Neal’s reports from the Pike River on Sunday were worse then what I saw Saturday. He found a lot of the pools iced over. Maybe it was thin ice but it was still capped off. I did manage to whip up some new egg patterns on Sunday.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

forget about the cohos, steelies, and the browns lets have turkey

Happy Thanksgiving to all and just in case you find yourself looking for something to do, check out these couple items to pass some time.

Fishing Headquarters newly released quarterly magazine, 1st issue ever!!!

Todd over at Addicted to Angling just yesterday put up a great video on local ice fishing for steelhead!!!
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

late fall coho on the oak creek (south milwaukee, wi)

I made it out this weekend with Neal targeting coho on the fly rod. The coho run is quickly coming to an end in Wisconsin. The fish that were left in the river this weekend were sluggish and tired. Some fish had even started the transformation from silver rockets of pure muscle to the moldy and crusty zombie fish. These are the types of fish we are all scared to grab, God forbid a tail falls off in our hand.

Our search for fish began in the lower section of the Oak Creek where we worked some of the deeper pools stripping streamers. Making our way downstream we spotted a few fish in the shallow holding water and Neal took the opportunity to make a couple casts to them. These fish in the shallows spooked before the line even hit the water. Any movement from the shore and they would fly out of that pool and make their way for safer water. Down river we found the deeper pools close to the mouth already being fished. A few spin fisherman sat above the deepest pool fishing from the wall. They were a hospitable group and we made some small talk about the current conditions and shared a couple stories. The water down there was still and had absolutely zero movement. The salmon were also silent, no courageous leaps, splashes or jumps. This scenario was totally different then last week and in a nutshell it was dead slack water. The group of guys had yet to hook a fish so it was time for us to move on. Neal went down river to fish the mouth and I opted headed north.

Up north I found some better looking “fishy” water and Neal quickly made his way to join me. These pools were still holding minimal numbers of trapped fish. We were able to work these fish relentlessly pulling line as our streamers darted past their faces. I spotted a smaller coho sitting in the shallows and presented the same fly to him 15 times before anything happened. He made a complete 180 turn in the opposite direction of the fly and came back around and charged after it at full steam. Strip, strip, strip, and stop and man did the fish hammer it. Hookset! All this unfolded in the crystal clear shallow water right in front of our faces. Truly awesome!
late fall oak creek coho
We finally decided to head back to the car. Along the way Neal caught a glimpse of some movement in a dark pool. After a closer look we realized that it wasn’t just one fish but actually closer to 8 fish. We devoted nearly 30 minutes to this pool before I hooked up again. After a short battle I beached the fish and Neal swooped in to hoist this fish off the stream bed.

male coho in spawning colors
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

saturday fly fishing coho (milwaukee county, wi)

Saturday I went out again with Damien. We hit the tribs for some late fall cohos. This has been a dry fall and some adjustments had to be made when it came to fishing. Here is a few tips I put together for my experiences this year adapting to no rain and low flows.
  • Sometimes even when you think the conditions aren’t good, you just need to get out there and fish (often times you will be rewarded).
  • When water conditions change then change your tactics.
  • When water conditions are extremely low give some attention to the lower areas of the river and around the mouth, its normally deeper here.
  • When water clarity is clear then naturals aren’t a bad choice for color selection, but never rule colorful out.
  • When there is no flow then you must give your fly its action.
  • Low flow is the best time to check a river out, remember good looking spots for times when flows are higher.
  • Any influx of water no matter how small will greatly improve the fishing, timing is everything.
  • Fish are especially wary under these conditions, approach with caution.

As for comments, could anyone add some tips to fly-fishing low flows?


blake starts the morning with a coho

modified bead head purple and pink alaska-boo

coho salmon time for damien

coho salmon wearing spawing colors

smaller coho with great coloring

nice salmon!

wisconsin tributaries scenery
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    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    fly fishing coho on the pike river (racine, wi)

    I fished mid-day on Saturday the 13th after doing some chores around the house in the morning. I didn’t spend too much time out there but was able to hook up on this nice chrome hen. Coho seem to be in all the major tribs right now and are very willing to take a well placed fly on the move.

    this coho fell for a grey wooly bugger
    pike river coho

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    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    late fall coho on the oak creek (south milwaukee, wi)

    I had made plans to fish on Saturday with Neal and our new fishing buddy Damien. We made plans to head up to Oak Creek for a morning chasing coho. The flow were almost nothing but Damien was sure there were still some fish holding in the deeper pools.

    Friday was my daughters birthday and we went out for dinner with some family and friends after work. After the kids went to bed I had time enough to tie some streamers for Saturdays fishing trip. I got maybe a half dozen finished before the clock reached 11:00pm, I decided to call it quits and head for bed.
    Saturday morning was freezing cold and the temperature gauge in the car read a frosty 27 degrees as I pointed the car north on the expressway towards the dairy land. We met at 7:00am and the sun was just barely coming up over Lake Michigan. We fished our way up the one of the more famous bends sighting a few fish along the way. The fish, just as Damien had said, were all hunkered down in the deepest pools. That’s where we focused our effort because every shallow run and riffle only held inches of water.

    Fishing with almost no flow is different the relying on the current to impart the action on your fly. We were making short cast to the opposite sides of the bank and relying on stripping and jigging to bring the fly back to us. Neal and I quickly found out that Damien had no problems enticing fish like that because he was the only one to hook or land anything. He hooked a nice female from the deepest section of the pool, and sniped a small male from a section of water in-between a log jam.

    our new fishing friend with a female coho
    Early in the morning we had multiple fish that were turning on our flies and some that were actually following them out of the deeper pools. The fish lost interest in our flies mid-morning and that was it for the action today. Stayed till almost 1:00pm and headed for home. I’m sure that we are destined to see some fresh steelhead moving up any time now we just need a spike in the flows to facilitate that. Until the next major rain I expect fishing to remain slow.

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    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    southeast wisconsin trib fishing video

    Here's a clip from a recent fishing trip. This can also be found under the new video tab at the top. This video was shot on my cell phone.

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    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    root and pike river fly fishing salmon (racine county, wi)

    Every week during work me and Neal will spend 10 minutes a day talking. We both work for the same company even though we are in separate buildings. We get together on the phone to talk about previous fishing trips, discuss current conditions, or to strategize our upcoming weekend outing. This week was no different as we made plans for early Saturday morning to hit the local tributaries for whatever salmon were left over. We both woke up later then planned but got out there in time to have a very relaxing morning.

    Last weeks rain brought in a decent run of late season fish. That water has disappeared leaving the rivers depleted again. We were prepared for low-water conditions again and spent most of our day trying to sight fish deeper pools on the Root and the Pike rivers.

    The Root River was flowing around 40CFS and the Pike River was flowing in the single digits. We spent the morning on the Root combat fishing shoulder to shoulder. We would try to hold down a small section of river real-estate but it was inevitable that somebody would creep up and try to fish the same pools. It took all of two hours before we had enough and decided to hit the road. As we left the only thing I noticed was a completely full parking lot with more people arriving.

    We made our way south to the Pike with hopes of receiving some solitude. There were 2 cars parked on the bridge and that look far more inviting then the parking lots we just left that had probably 20. Far less people were fishing the Pike and there were far less fish but I guess that only makes sense! Neal hooked up and landed a nice fish on his first cast. The rest of the morning we walked a good distance and only came across a handful of fish all of which were sitting in the deepest pools.

    neal with a low-flow coho

    another look at the fish
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    Monday, October 25, 2010

    fly fishing salmon (southeast, wi)

    The salmon run in southeast Wisconsin, is it coming to an end or has it only just begun? Being only my 3rd year fishing the tribs I haven’t quite put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet to make that call. I will tell you that timing is one of the critical variables in catching lake run salmon. Without timing throw location, presentation, and luck out the window. When I say timing I’m speaking not only about the time of year or the date, but also weather patterns and flows. With no fresh fish pushing in its gonna be a tough bite on whatever trib you do fish.

    Saturday night was spent at a beautiful wedding downtown on Michigan Ave where my wife’s cousin was married and threw one hell of a reception. Free booze, delicious appetizers, and a first class meal wasn’t enough to take my focus off my cell phone for longer then 10 minutes. What was I doing you might ask yourself? I was watching the storm roll through southern Wisconsin area real-time with my live Doppler radar app. That was only interrupted to take a quick glance at the river flows or pick back up on my conversation with Neal via text. Conditions in the area were perfect and this rain could be pushing hundreds or maybe even thousands of fish into the rivers. Needless to say, Saturday was a long night for both me and Neal but we had confirmed plans for early Sunday morning..

    1:30am I arrived back at my house on Sunday morning. I packed then to avoid doing that in the morning where I might be just a little more forgetful.

    2:20am Sunday I put my head down on the couch to catch a couple hours of shut-eye and it wasn’t long before my alarm was going off at 4:45am.

    My enthusiasm shined through loud and clear when I arrived in Racine, Wisconsin before Neal had even made it out of bed. He finally picked up after the third call and guided me in the rest of the way to his new home on the river. What a lucky bastard, he can walk from his house to prime water in under 5 minutes! Honestly though he’s working hard and deserves a great place to start a family so CONGRATS BUDDY! After I arrived we really went back and forth on picking a fishing destination. After what honestly was 30 minutes of debating we finally had our minds made up. I’ll let the pics do the rest of the talking.
    oh my god, one of the coolest fish i have ever landed
    my last fish today- a healthy female coho
    look close in that mouth
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    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    salmon fishing the sheboygan river (sheboygan, wi)

    I spent the entire weekend fishing the Sheboygan River for lake-run salmon. This was a rare event being able to be out for the entire weekend on account of the wife and kids visiting cousins in Kentucky. I made sure I capitalized on every second.
    the sheboygan river

    sheboygan falls dam
    It’s been a crazy year for tributary fishing. The lack of rain has lead to reduced flows up and down the western Lake Michigan coast line. Many anglers I know have been left scratching their heads not exactly sure how to make heads or tails of the current river conditions. Sure we have scraped together a couple fish here and there but some of the smaller rivers have had a complete lack of fish. The larger rivers that have a more dependable base flow received a larger run of fish. Reports looked good on the Milwaukee and the Sheboygan so I chose the latter being a river I’ve never fished.

    saturday afternoon salmon (3)
    The flows through the entire weekend were averaging in the mid 80’s which is well below the norm for this time of year and made the fish easy to spot. Most of the fish I found were relating to the top side of the fast water. They were sitting on the top side of the riffles and runs resting and waiting to push their way through the next set of fast skinny water runs. These fish were easy pickings but actually getting them to turn on a fly was something that was near impossible. Some of these better areas were holding close to ten fish at a time and foul hooking them was something that almost couldn’t be helped. After fighting one tail hooked salmon you will quickly realize that’s something you’ll never wanna do again. After foul hooking a fish I became a master of popping the hook right off their backs and tails but every once in a while it just stuck and the battle was on. Watching the salmon and placing the fly in their mouth does take some patience but is possible. One thing to remember is that the fish aren’t here to eat and the number one way to get them to hit is to piss them off.

    salmon sitting at the top of the runs
    A fellow angler I had the pleasure of sharing a pool with had really done a good job taking some clean hooked fish. Most of the flies he used were giant compared to mine, but nothing elaborate. Lots of natural browns and golds with some flash and a bead head.

    sunday morning salmon (1)
    I brought a lot of fish to hand and had a blast pushing my equipment to the max. I hope the forecasts are correct and we receive the rain this weekend as predicted. It will certainly be interesting to see how the fish react in some of these smaller rivers when they finally fill up so late in the season. I’m praying for steelies!

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    Friday, October 15, 2010

    fly fishing salmon on the pike river (racine,wi)

    low flow on the pike river
    We spent the day moving into a new home that's right against the golf course. Even though we were moving boxes and furniture I still found the time to make it down to check out the river. With almost no flow we were surprised to see fish barreling up the river with their whole bodies out of the water. I couldn't help myself and had to take a couple minute break... Back to the house to grab a rod and this is what we got!

    low flow pike river salmon

    randall with a king salmon on the pike
    I think I'm gonna love my new house!!

    fish in the shallows
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    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    multi-species fishing (fox chain, il)

    fox lake in the fall
     Today me and Neal fished the Chain of Lakes on a favorite point on Fox Lake. The wind was constantly blowing hard and the temperature never made it above 50 degrees the entire time we fished. We were fishing bottom rigs with a combination of corn, worms, and minnows for bait. Click on the photo to see our set-up.

    make sure the swivel is big enough to not slip through
    We were out there for just around 4 hours because we weren’t really prepared for the weather but we did manage to catch a good multi-species bag. Our fish totals were:

    10 fish caught today-

    • 4 carp
    • 3 catfish
    • 1 drum
    • 1 bluegill
    • 1 walleye
    fox lake carp
    Minnows played a major role today in the fish that we caught. All fish were caught in 2 separate 15 minute windows where we would have almost a flurry of rods getting bit. Most bites came in the shallow water as well.

    neal with a nice bluegill

    neal the catfish king
    It was a lot of fun running around as different rods were getting bit. Neal was busy landing a nice carp so I went to real in my closest rod to avoid any tangles. As I gave the reel a couple turns I felt a small tap and set the hook on my first chain walleye in a long time. It was just short of legal but was still awesome to catch!

    nice to see a fox lake walleye
     Later, I had just landed a modest catfish and Neal was just about to take a picture when the farthest rod away from us got a good hit. Without my photo I put the death grip on the catfish in my hand and took off running for my rod. I was halfway down the beach when I hear Neal yell “Drop the fish”. In mid-run I launched the fish 20 yards out into the water. The reward of all that excitement was a healthy 8 pound carp. The photo of the carp sure turned out a lot better then the photo that got away!

    the carp i ran for!
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    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    salmon fishing (milwaukee harbor, wi)

    So to say the least, this year hasn’t been the greatest start to the salmon run (mostly due to the lack of rain). I also contribute this to the apparent fact that I’m a terrible harbor fisherman and have had some terrible luck on delivering the fish when I have hooked up in a harbor. Others that I have met do a tremendous job plucking fish off inside the harbor walls before they hit the rivers.

    Tom Harris over at Great Lakes Angler seems to be one of those guys who can catch fish in the harbors and in the rivers. I’m beginning to believe he thinks like a salmon. He has some great posts recently on how he’s been taking some big fish out of a little kayak. That takes some real guts. Great fish Tom, thanks for sharing them with me. There’s a ton of great info on his site, make sure you spend some time reading his past posts.

    big salmon in a little boat

    better shot back on land
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    Monday, September 27, 2010

    vulcan lakes preview (mchenry county, il)

    Ever since I’ve been able to drive and started to travel to different locations I’ve heard the rumors of a private gravel pit that held fish of monstrous proportions. Bass and walleye past the 5 pound range, and pike the size of children always kept me wondering if it was worth the risk of sneaking in? This place has long been a no trespassing area and it was strictly enforced by local police. The signs along the highway clearly stated the cities intent to keep this hidden gem a secret for just a little longer.

    vulcan lake, crystal lake, il
    Well things do change and a 10 year itch is about to be scratched. Residents of Crystal Lake are probably already aware but Vulcan Lakes is about to be opened to the public. I spent Sunday afternoon in the Huntley area going to my oldest son’s football game (go Timberwolves) and was able to stop by and see it with my own eyes. They are building a beautiful new facility that very much reminds me of Independence Grove. It also seems that it will be operated very much in the same fashion as IG. They will have pricey boat rentals and even steeper prices for those who aren’t residents. I’m not sure if it’s residents of the city or county but either way being from Lake County I’m going to be taking a hit. They are going to be open Oct 1st till the end of the month which is just enough time to give us a taste of what’s to come. From what I read they are going to be strictly catch and release for the first 2 years and haven’t heard anything about ice fishing.

    Fishing should be great and people should make the time to check this out. If you’re a fan of IG it’s a must. Here is the link and the map...

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