Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sturgeon Spearing 2012

Ice is beginning to form on the Lake Winnebago System, which means the countdown to Sturgeon Spearing Season 2012 has begun!  The deadline to purchase a license for the 2012 Sturgeon Spearing Season was October 31, so hopefully you remembered to send in for it!

The Wisconsin DNR reports selling 12,182 licenses for Lake Winnebago for the 2012 season, and 498 of the possible 500 licenses for the upriver lakes.  This brings the total number of spearers to 12,680, a 2.1% increase from 2011.  Since 2007, license sales have gone up nearly 50%, a sure sign that the popularity of the sport is growing statewide.

There are several reasons that Sturgeon Spearing is growing as a sport.  The Wisconsin DNR changed the rules of the game a few years back, by only allowing spearers to fish from 6:30-12:30 rather than from sun up to sun down. 

Another potential reason the sport is growing could have to do with the size of the Sturgeon currently in the system.  The last 3 seasons have produced some of the largest Sturgeon in spearing history!  Also, the DNR now allows 500 spearers to spear on the upriver lakes per year, rather than allowing anyone to spear on the upriver lakes every few years.

Media coverage of the sport has also spiked interest, as well as talk on the internet.  Many anglers use fishing websites like Lake-Link to discuss where they are seeing the Sturgeon prior to the season or where they are finding the best water clarity.

Since Sturgeon Spearing for the first time in 2009, I can honestly say that it is quite a rush when that Sturgeon finally swims into your hole and you get to throw your spear!

Catch More Fish with the Salmo Hornet

A friend of mine introduced me to the Salmo Hornet early this spring, bragging about how productive it had been for him last summer while trolling for Walleyes on Lake Poygan and Lake Winnebago.  I asked him what made it any better than a Flicker Shad or Shad Rap, and he simply said that it catches more fish than the others, consistently.

Now I have had some pretty good days myself trolling with the Shad Rap and Flicker Shad, so at first I was a bit skeptical.  A few weeks later I picked a few of them up while at Fleet Farm and decided to try them one day while trolling the reefs on Lake Winnebago.

Green Tiger

We ran 2 Salmo Hornets, 2 #5 Shad Raps, a Wally Diver, and a Flicker Shad on our first pass over the reef.  Within a minute of our baits pulling up onto the reef a planer board went back.  We netted a nice and healthy 17" Walleye, and guess what he had in his mouth, a Salmo of course!  The first fish hit a Salmo, as did the next 3, all of which were Walleyes in the 14-17 inch range!


I switched up a few colors of the Shad Raps and Flicker Shad, took the Wally Diver off and replaced it with another Salmo Hornet and took another pass over the reef.  This time two boards pulled back at the same time, a Winnebago Walleye Double Header!  The Salmos were on fire, green tiger, viking, and gold metallic orange all put fish in the boat!  On the third pass a black and gold Shad Rap finally put a fish in the boat.

If I hadn't tried these Salmo's I can guarantee that I would've been off to the next reef in search of the Walleyes, when they were at the first spot all along!  After catching over 20 Walleyes on Salmos that day, I have expanded my selection of the baits, and also looked into what makes them better than most other crank baits.

The Salmo Hornet is made of a dense Aerospace Foam rather than Balsa Wood or Plastic, which is more durable and also allows the bait to run true at any speed. Another key feature of the Salmo Hornet is it's unique action.  This little bait has an intense wobble that gives of lots of vibration which fish simply cannot resist. 

The Salmo Hornet comes in 4 different sizes and many different colors, I like the #3 and #4 for chasing Walleyes, while the #5 and #6 can be used for Bass and Northern Pike. 

Gold Metallic Orange

See for yourself if the Salmo is the bait for you, get a few and try them the next time you get out on the water!  Most sporting goods stores now carry Salmos, but if you cannot find them in your area, check out their website at to order online, look at their colors, and also check out other Salmo products.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Steelhead Report 12/3/11

As the open water season is quickly coming to an end here in northeast Wisconsin, the Great Lakes Tributaries continue to produce good fishing for Steelhead and Brown Trout.  Hopefully the harbor action picks up as well!

I decided to try my Automatic Fisherman from the dock for open water fishing and was pleasantly surprised with how well they worked.  I had a brief hookup with a nice Brown Trout before it was able to wrap around some dock pilings and snap my 8 pound line.  I was a little nervous that the fish might be able to pull the bases in, but they held surprisingly well!

After spending the morning hours at Manitowoc Marina with only a small Rainbow and a lost Brown Trout to show for my efforts in the pouring rain, I headed to the West Twin River in hopes of tangling with some spawn minded Trout there.

Within minutes my bobber sank as it drifted through the first pool I chose to fish.  A missed hookup had me bummed, but determined to catch that fish!  A new spawn sac was all it took to catch this fish.  The very next drift my bobber once again popped below the surface and this time I had chrome on the other end!

After a quick fight in the current I had my first Steelhead of the day, a small but pretty little guy.  The fish measured 16 inches and was promptly returned to the river to grow up and fight another day.  Fishing pressure in the area and a lack of fish in this area once again had me on the move.

I have been wanting to get to the Kewaunee River for some time, so I headed north in search of more chrome.  I stopped at a popular spot known as Footbridge and talked with a guy that had been fishing there all day and caught 1 Brown and 1 Rainbow here on spawn, which was encouraging.  I headed to one of my favorite, less known spots on the Kewaunee and began fishing spawn.

After experimenting with my bobber rod and trying different drifts, I casted my bobber tight to the opposite shoreline and had it sink almost upon hitting the water!  Another missed hookup!  I quickly casted back into the spot and the fish hit the spawn even harder!  Another hookset and I was once again fighting a Steelhead!  This fish had broader shoulders than the last! 

After a 30 second fight the fish jumped out of the water right at me and sent my bobber flying right back at me!  Unfortunately this fish was able to shake me twice, and my time had run out, so it was a long drive home wishing that I had started in this area rather than end there!