Sunday, February 27, 2011

oak creek gives up a brown trout

Fishing with Damien is always alot of fun. He is top notch at knowing exactly when to give a fly that subtle twitch. He proves it again with a nice (estimated 8 pound) brown trout taken from a deep bend on an egg sucking leach.

taken on the twitch

oak creek brown trout
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

ice fishing lake geneva part 2

As my friends in the fishing world grow so do the number of reports that get sent to me via email and text. I've been fishing with Randal (a long time friend of Neal) for 3 years and would put him toe to toe with the best of them. He always seems to be the first who is calling the jig color that puts the rest of us on the bite.

On his last trip to Lake Geneva he came back with some real toads and these crappie might actually top the previous. Great job to you and your father-in-law!

lake geneva slob crappies

10 inch red ear

2 big crappies dwarf the rest
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Friday, February 25, 2011

the pike river in early spring

Neal sent over some photos earlier of the pike river just a short walk from home. Looks like almost all the ice gone and the river was as cold as he had ever felt it. No Fish sighted but steelhead conditions look promising.

pike river in racine wisconsin

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

another local blogger steps up to the plate

Nick from Brookfield Angler is another local blogger from the greater Chicago-land area that is just starting to establish a name for himself. I just recently came across this site from a local fishing forum and spent some time giving his site a read. Even though the site is in its early stages, I found the content and writing thoughtfull and to the point.
Being a new blog, they have just a few followers at this point. I've already followed and would be greatful if people in the blogger world would stop on by and show him some support. Click this link to be taken to Brookfield Angler.
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

ice fishing lake geneva wisconsin

Our friend Randal sent these shots over this evening from his trip today to Lake Geneva, Wi. Looks like he got a nice mixed bag with some good size fish...
a nice lake geneva bluegill
a lake geneva pike

lake geneva crappie

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Monday, February 7, 2011

late winter sunfish in northern illinois

Plans were made with the attempt to give us the shortest walk to reach a decent fishing destination this weekend. If Neal and I were going to fish then we wanted to pull our cumbersome sleds the shortest distance through the 2 foot snow drifts as possible. This was a small lake that had its main point just a couple minutes from good parking . This is one of the few times we have actually gotten off the chain this winter. We made it out just as the sun began to rise and quickly realized that all the extra snow had wreaked havoc on the above ice conditions. While walking on top of the snow, the weight of your body would cause you to break through down into the layer beneath which consisted of slush and water. It was like there was 3 layers on top of the lake, you had the initial ice cap, a wet slop layer, and finally the light fluffy snow on top. Either way, towing gear was hard work and by the time we made the main lake point we were winded.

sunrise over a small lake in northern illinois
We were lucky to find that the wind had blown a lot of the snow right off the point leaving us with some firm ground to walk on and some ideal tip-up conditions. Could you imagine having to set a tip-up in 2 foot of snow? You couldn’t just leave it on top of the snow, your spool would never hit the water. Digging it down into a snow drift would never allow you to see the flag tripped unless it was super long. Anyways, we set our flags on the perimeter of the “hard” ice we had to work with and decided to prospect the middle for some sunnies.

a few random visitors
It wasn’t long before we narrowed down some good gill holding water and popped up the shelter. We had an action packed day with some above average sized fish mixed in. I fished mainly a size 12 tungsten jig with half a ripped waxie most of the morning. Ever catch so many fish you get tired of opening your bait puck? By mid morning I switched over to plastic tipped with the tiniest pinch of “meat” and by early afternoon I was dropping straight plastics. We sorted out 10 nice gills a piece.

i like big gills with lots of meat on their bones
Flags went a lot slower then we had anticipated. We both soaked 2 jumbo roaches a piece for 5 hours. Neal used a combination of one automatic fisherman and one tip-down arctic warrior. I used 2 tip-ups. We both managed one bass each and this was Neal’s first fish on his automatic fisherman, which put the hook right in the corner of the fish’s mouth. We both enjoyed an action filled morning and my haul went straight into oil that afternoon!
neal's first fish on the automatic fisherman
my tip-up bass
a pile of keepers

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Friday, February 4, 2011

late winter panfish on petite lake

Sorry for the late report but all is well here in Northern Illinois and we survived the Blizzard of 2011. With work early this week and digging out of the nearly 24 inches of snow dumped on us Tuesday and Wednesday I’ve been admittedly quite busy. Nonetheless, I was a part of a large group of friends that made it out on Petite Lake for some late winter ice fishing just prior to our big storm.

petite lake in late winter
It was a very busy day on the lake (which we attributed to a recent fishing forum post) we had never seen so many people out on this 160 or so acre lake. Despite the numerous clans of fisherman, we found a decent pod of fish after our 2nd major move to an almost exact mid lake basin area. Fish were in a negative mood and we had a whole lot of lookers and a whole lot of small white bass. After a couple quick scans from the underwater cameras we quickly came to the conclusion that we were on top of fish and the real challenge was just getting the strikes. Knowing we were on top of a mixed bag of crappies perch and small whites we decided to stay put. I’m becoming a believer that it’s better to stay on top of negative fish rather than prospecting barren water or finding another pod of fish just as negative. The real key is finding a good combination of bait that will induce the strikes and that could take many combinations of jigs, live bait, or plastics. The real key is to keep trying something different and also to be on top of the fish when they actually start to turn on and the feeding frenzy begins...

a nice crappie for neal
petite lake mixed bag of keepers
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