Tip.of.the.Week

Tip of the Week

Colors matter especially in the coldwater when lures move slow and fish can see them for a long time.
Colors matter especially in the coldwater when lures move slow and fish can see them for a long time.

April 14, 2018

It is true you will run into favorite colors, colors you find you come back to time and again.  It is also a good idea to try a lure color you’re not so sure about as the results may surprise you. Change often.

April 3

The best buffer to a slow bite caused by lowering water temps is a minnow.  Fatheads can be used with ringworms to trigger a bite.  If you look on my report page the monster walleye 12+ pound fish was caught with just that plastic AND a minnow.

March 20

Setting the hook while jig fishing is mostly an instantaneous action.  However there are times like today on my guide trip that the fish would mouth the minnow and if you waited a second or two and then set the hook when weight was felt you’d get that fish.  If you set the hook when you felt the fish mouth the minnow  – WHIFF! Spoken from experience. lol!

However …and my tips often have a however…there is a Thump bite that is unmistakable and exhilerating this is Thump! comes when the jigs in the mouth – so set it NOW! No waiting.

This fish hit with a thump! I had to back reel several times when it ran. Back reeling is even safer than the most expensive drag you can find.
March 20, 2018. This fish hit with a THUMP! I had to back reel several times when it ran. Back reeling is even safer than the most expensive drag you can find when it comes to landing fish.

March 13

Certain rods feel bites great but aren’t as good at converting a bite to a solid hook up and to a boated fish. For some reason the anglers that tell me about loosing fish or them becoming “unbuttoned” use extremely expensive rods.  These rods are really fast really light and feel like a magic wand.  I like fast rods too but that have some give and when the hook is set they load perfectly and hold.  They convert bites to boated fish really well.  Limit Creek Rods such as the LCS69MLF and the LCS510MLF are great examples of rods that detect bites and convert bites to caught fish.

Jig and minnow fishing is an all time favorite of anglers. This fish was caught on a Limit Creek sweet jigging rod. LCS510MLF.
Jig and minnow fishing is an all time favorite of anglers. This fish was caught on a Limit Creek sweet jigging rod. LCS510MLF.

March 6

Einstein said ” A short pencil is better than a long memory.” Keep a fishing log.  Make little drawings and notes. Draw structure and where the fish were and your approach.  Sure there is a lot of intuition and feel  needed to catch fish and it helps to get into the “zone,” but the older you get its easy to forget bites and locations and your set up.

Naming your spots is always fun. it also helps remember the spot better. This fish came from the "hogs den." on the river near Red Wing.
Naming your spots is always fun. It also helps to remember the spot even better. This fish came from a place I named the “hogs den.” on the river near Red Wing.

February 20, 2018

Looking for some 35 to 40 degrees days coming up to start fishing Pool 4.  During the early early spring season or late winter season whatever you prefer to call it minnows are needed on most trips. I will use plastics as well when the bite favors plastics, but minnows are for sure in the boat.

Learned something new today from Art at  http://stillwaterturfandpower.com .  So my trusty gas auger wasn’t starting. I explained to Art what I did at the end of last ice season… and he told me that I should keep gas in the auger over the summer, but when ice comes back to swap out the old gas for new gas.  I ran the auger dry and out of fuel prior to storage, and so my carburetor either dried up or gummed up.

In two cycle engines keep the gas in the tank for storage, and change out gas when your going to use again.

Also use NON ethanol gas.

January 23, 2018

Notes,  take notes and keep a journal. I regret to say that over the last 20 years of guiding there are spots and stuff I have done that worked that I can’t remember.  If you do take notes be thorough, I was looking over some of my chicken scratch and I couldn’t figure out what I was saying! ha.  The best notes I have show little sketches as to the flow and boat positioning with time of year and current rate.

December 1 

” When the winds from the north fish bite short”  Short biting fish do not want to feel a heavy action fishing pole. THEY WILL drop the bait.  I use Limit Creek Rods. “The Smoothie” a medium light has been a walleye slayer in my boat for almost fifteen years! The Smoothie will land any fished fish in the river, if you fight it right. The 5′ 10″ spinning rods are mint.

They’re great rods I believe in and not $249.00!!

http://www.limitcreek.com

They also have a line of very sweet ice rods!

November 9

When in doubt a Rapala Firetiger is a solid bet. Me with some St. Croix Gold.
When in doubt a Rapala Firetiger is a solid bet. Me with some St. Croix Gold.

About ten years ago I started to surmise that the reason angling is called angling  is not because the word for hook in Old English is angle, but rather that the angle in which you present line to the fish is of utmost importance.  For cold water fishing it is true and I learned this on Pool 4 of the Mississippi River.  I can’t tell you how many times that vertical mattered or dragging jigs mattered.  When the bite is HOT that stuff wasn’t as important. Its when the bite is  off that line angles are so important to consider.

November 1

Plastics for walleye?? yep people been catching walleye on Mr. Twister Tails for years, but there have been improvements. I love cold water walleye fishing because eyes love plastics!! THUMP! that’s the hit.  For some top of the line walleye plastics check out:

https://www.prescottbaitcompany.com/basswalleye-baits/

 

October 17 2017

Fishing is an outdoor activity all people can enjoy successfully, and from many types of boats, and shore fishing as well. Don’t get caught up in thinking an expensive boat loaded to the gills is needed to catch fish, all kinds work.

We did a trip with Josh, Kyle, and Jay in Josh's pontoon fishing machine. The guy had a good time fishing, I ran the boat and netted fish. Jay is holding one of the keeper saugers.
I did a trip with Josh, Kyle, and Jay in Josh’s pontoon fishing machine, it was a well laid out toon. The guys had a good time fishing, I ran the boat and netted fish. Jay is holding one of the keeper saugers.

So I use the word successfully above in terms of catching – all types of boats can catch fish.

Here is a pic of Josh's pontoons live well with nine keepers caught during a half day trip. We also got white bass and sheepheads.
Here is a pic of Josh’s pontoons live well with nine keepers all saugers and one walleye caught during a half day trip. We also got white bass and sheepheads.

 

October 2017

Crankbaits must track true (dead straight) to be of optimal fish catching performance.

Sharp hooks are a must.

September 18

You can land large fish if you play the fish right. Here are a few things to remember:

Big fish can be landed even when you are under powered with the line test strength you are using. Tips below:
Big fish can be landed even when you are under powered with the line test strength you are using. Tips below:
  1. Time is on your side, there is no rush to get that HOG in instantly.
  2. If the fish runs… let it. Have your drag set right.
  3. Some times the fish will do a burst and your drag can hesitate to give.. help the drag and pull line off of the reel at the same time of the burst.
  4. If the fish runs – a burst – give the fish the rod tip and even stick most of the rod in the water. I do this all the time. – while keeping tension.
  5. If the fish runs do NOT pull up or away from the fish.
  6. Fight the fish with a bent pole and not by continuous reeling.

Show a big fish some respect and play the fish. and of course ENJOY the moment!!

September 9

It is never too late in the season to fish the windward side to find fish.  Often anglers use the wind to their advantage to fish game fish while fishing on the windward side of the river or a lake. Or fish the windward side of underwater structure like a reef.  To me this wind tactic peaks in the height of summer.  My tip is that this tactic is still effective in late summer and early fall.

August 17

Quality line is a must.  Suffix 6 pound Elite is very dependable while river fishing,  With your drag set right and the fish fought properly there isn’t a smallmouth bass that can break it.

August 4

Fathead minnows are good when teamed with a spinner rig. You can also use two fatheads on a two hook “crawler harness” spinner rig. This double minnow rig shows a beefy presentation to the fish.

July 14

If  you fish a lot and use your battery power trolling motor you need to make sure the battery cells are full of water to keep them running most efficiently.   Keep the water level just over the cells. use distilled water as well.

Crankbaits are only as good as their hooks are sharp and as true as they track straight.

June 29

People just don’t hit the water in the rain.  Even fisherman – well some.  What does that mean on a busy body of water? It means you can have a lot of places to yourself and find a bit more relaxation.  In my business catching fish is a big deal.  But in my opinion the ultimate goal should be to come back refreshed by getting away from it all for a little while, not being frustrated if you don’t get fish.  Easy to say – I know… but food for thought…

June 17th

Spinner rig fishing tipped with livebait either crawlers, minnows, or leeches is a great presentation to find active and aggressive walleye.  You must use a high quality swivel to prevent line twist when “spinner” fishing.

In the past I have used a ball bearing swivel as they are high quality – costly too. By accident I started using a high quality but still much less expansive – Rolling Swivel – and it is as good as a ball bearing swivel, but a fraction of the price.  Who doesn’t love to save some moolah!!

June 8th

If you can fish two lines well… do it!  If fishing two lines makes you miss fish on one of your rods fish one rod then.  A rod hold helps a lot when fishing two rods. Consider one a “deadstick” and leave that alone compared to the one in your hand.

Two rods fish well can really make a difference in your catching. BUT two rods done wrong can land you less fish. Heck some guys don't want fishing to be much work. I say more power to you! If you want to just relax... so be it.
Two rods fished well can really make a difference in your catching. BUT two rods done wrong can land you less fish, as a result of snags or having your line at the wrong depths constantly, or two lines eating up your concentration as to where the boat needs to be…. Heck some guys don’t want fishing to be much work. I say more power to you! If you want to just relax… so be it.

May 30

North of Stillwater is good fishing. However when the water is over the islands it is tough.  This is because the flow doesn’t stay in the same channels as normally directed by the islands.  Consequently the fish scatter then and spread out.

May 24

Smallies open this coming Saturday on the St. Croix. The “bronze back” as they are called are a willing attacker of soft plastics.  A great places to start to catch these fun fish is a tube worm on a jig. Slide the jig head into the tube. Smallies love this presentation on a cast – fall – hop – fall (repeat).

Axel with a beast smallie! His fellow 10 year old buddy netted it. I sat back and let the boys do their thing. Fun to watch.
Axel with a beast smallie – caught on a crawler! His fellow 10 year old buddy netted it. I sat back and let the boys do their thing. Fun to watch.

May 18

If you are getting short bites, you need to feed fish line. this is one of the best reasons to use a “Lindy Rig”.  a “rig” employs a sliding weight, held on the line by a swivel, then swivel to leader and hook.

May 11

Using light line catches more fish.  Fish become line shy of heavy thicker lines. All fish do…  This short story solidified my belief… On the TV show “Wicked Tuna” The captain of the Wicked Pissah explained to one of his crew members why he used a lighter line than a heavier one.  To sum up the conversation, The crew member told the captain that heavier line won’t break – the captain told the crew member that the heavier line won’t get bit!!! Right on captain! Even in the Atlantic Ocean captains consider line diameter.

The lightest line pound test rating you can use is the test strength you should use.
The lightest line pound test rating you can use is the test strength you should use.