Monday, November 26, 2012

Sheboygan Harbor Trout Fishing

Rather than head to the mall and partake in the Black Friday shopping madness over the weekend, I chose to get out of bed early for a different purpose, Harbor fishing for Trout!  Mother nature made things interesting in the morning, dropping the first snowfall of the season, bringing with it slippery roads and unprepared drivers.

After the long drive going way under the speed limit, I finally reached Sheboygan at 7:00 am.  I headed out onto the docks of the harbor and began the pursuit of the Great Lakes Trout that can be so challenging to catch! 

It didn't take long for my first action of the day.  A Great Snowy Owl flew overhead and landed at the peak of the Harbor Centre Marina!  This is the second year in a row that the owl has made its way to the Sheboygan area, which is a rarity I am told!  After snapping a quick shot of this furry fella, it was back to fishing!

At around 8:00, I had a 3-4 pound Brown Trout follow my X-Rap in, so I quickly did a figure-eight and to my surprise, the Brown Trout followed it!  The fish followed the lure around for a couple laps, but just wouldn't bite!  About 20 minutes later I had another Brown do the same thing!  Not sure what the deal was, but these fish both seemed very interested in the bait, but for whatever reason wouldn't eat it!

I was just about to change lures when my X-Rap got hammered!  Fish on!  I wrestled the fish to the dock and slid the fish into the old Frabill.  Finally I had connected with a Trout casting crankbaits!  The fish was a 6 pound buck Brown Trout, which I decided to release.

At 9:00, my friend Cameron Lewis of Walleyes Extreme Guide Service showed up with his boat in tow.  We launched the boat and began covering some water with our crankbaits.  It didn't take Cam long to get into the action, as he landed a nice buck Steelhead within the first 15 minutes!

After an hour of casting with nothing to show for our efforts in the harbor, we decided to check out the gap and also the power plant just south of town.  We didn't mark anything special hanging around the gap worth fishing, so we headed out into the lake and down to the power plant. 

The water was a nice milky color and as warm as 49°, but we began to realize quickly that today wasn't the day for this spot.  Every cast resulted in green moss on our baits.  You could actually feel the lure foul with moss after only a few cranks, and there were large clumps of the moss floating on the surface.  With this option quickly eliminated, it was back to port.  This time we chose to head upriver and do some exploring of the Sheboygan River.  Water clarity in the river was great, but water levels were very low and there seemed to be an absence of fish as we worked our way down the river without a bite.

To end the day, we decided to take another swing through the area we had landed the Steelhead a couple hours earlier.  Cam maneuvered the boat back into the spot and began fan casting the area.  Third cast was a charm as Cam had a nice Brown Trout hit his bait just inches from the surface at the end of his cast!  I quickly grabbed the net and landed a beautiful hen Brown Trout that was all spawned out!  We took a few pictures and left her on her way to be caught another day!

This was all the action we had today, which wasn't fast and furious, but still a great late November day on the water!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making Memories on Little Bay de Noc

Even though the most popular outdoor sport in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is the Gun Deer Season, a fair amount of fishermen have taken to the water rather than the woods to take advantage of some of the best Walleye fishing of the year for trophy Walleyes!  Unfortunately for me, I spent the past 4 days in the woods with nothing to show for my efforts, while my friend Steve hit the water and enjoyed the great weather and awesome fishing with his son in Little Bay de Noc!

During the day Walleye fishing can be tough this time of the year, but as that sun hits the horizon the Walleyes begin feeding!  With falling water temperatures and much less daylight, Walleyes have an instinctual urge to fatten up for the winter.  This coupled with the females developing spawn produces the heaviest Walleyes of the year!

Steve and his son spent the daylight hours rigging with Suckers and Chubs along the breaks searching for Smallmouth Bass, Walleyes, Pike, or whatever else that would be willing to eat a 6" Minnow!  The daylight hours proved to be slower than the night, but they still managed to tangle with several Smallies, including this one that went 20" and 5.3 pounds!

As the sun began to set, the two packed up their jigged sticks and swapped them for 6 trolling rods.  Deep Reef Runners were their baits of choice, and they chose to fish an area near Butler Island.  Before they could get all 6 planer boards in the water, a planer board sank back!  For the next 2 hours, the father and son had constant action setting lines, reeling in fish, netting fish, taking pictures, and sharing the enjoyment of the night. 

By the end of it all, the two had reached their limit of 10 Walleyes, all in that 20-24" range, and were also able to release a couple fish between 25-28".  This was the first a a two night trip, which had already made the 5 hour one way trip worthwhile.

The next day, the two slept in, cooked up some fresh Walleyes for breakfast, and hit the water by mid-afternoon.  Rigging Chubs was again on the itinerary, since the two had such a blast fighting those Bay de Noc bruiser Smallies!  The two were only able to land 1 Smallmouth on this trip, but also managed a Walleye during the day which was a nice bonus for Steve's son!

It was once again that time when the sun hit the horizon and the trolling rods were once again called on.  The two again set lines and began catching fish as the daylight faded into darkness.  The two already had enough eater Walleyes from the prior night, so this night became a trophy mission.  With most of the fish in that 20-24" range, Steve knew right away that he had something special on when he watched his outside planer board disappear into the frigid depths.  Sam was instructed to clear the other lines as Steve had no choice but to open his bail and let the fish take line.  Once Sam had the lines in, Steve handed him the rod and fired up the motor and threw it in reverse.  This was the only way the two would be able to gain line on this mammoth fish!

After a 15 minute battle in the darkness, Steve put the net under a giant Walleye!  This fish had fought like no other Walleye the two had ever seen!  The two of them just let out screams of joy as the fish was finally in the boat!  The fish topped the scale at 13.2 pounds and measured just over 31"!  This was truly a fish of a lifetime for anyone, especially 12 year old Sam!

The two were able to spend a weekend together enjoying the fantastic fall fishing that Bay de Noc has to offer, and more importantly create memories that will last a lifetime!

Monday, November 5, 2012

FLW Walleye Tour Ends, Cabelas National Walleye Tour Begins

For the past 12 years, FLW Outdoors has been the one constant professional Walleye Series in America.  Over these past 12 years the sport has had its ups and downs, but nobody expected things to end so abruptly.  Many anglers have committed their careers to this circuit, running tournament sponsored equipment to qualify for cash contingencies, as well as traveling the country hoping to qualify for the annual FLW Championship and hope to claim the coveted Angler of the Year Title.  It is a sad time in the Walleye Industry as we say goodbye to a circuit that has played a key role in growing the sport so many Midwesterners live for.  Despite the sadness and uncertainty of what the future will bring, a new professional Walleye Circuit hopes to rise from the ashes and continue right where FLW has left off.

Cabelas has been a long time sponsor of Masters Walleye Circuit, which is the largest team format Walleye series in the country, so its not too surprising to see them take on the National Walleye Tour.  There is still a fair amount of uncertainty about this new series, especially since all of the details have not yet been released.  Here are a few of the things we do know.

The tentative schedule has been released for 2013, beginning with a stop on the Mississippi River out of Red Wing, MN April 26-27.  The next stop will be on Lake Erire out of Port Clinton, OH June 14-15.  The third stop of the series comes to Sturgeon Bay, WI on the waters of Green Bay July 26-27.  Anglers that fish all 3 events will automatically be qualified to fish the NWT Championship on Devils Lake, ND September 12-14.  The championship will also have an entry fee, which is a change from the FLW format.

Major sponsors of this circuit already include; Cabelas, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Triton, and Stratos, with more sponsorship announcements to follow.  Contingencies will also play a big role in determining winnings, like they did in the FLW.  Another major difference with the NWT, is the fact that all sponsorships unique to each angler will be allowed for all days of the tournament, and will recieve fair media attention.  This was slowly becoming an issue with the FLW events, as anglers weren't allowed to wear their sponsors apparel during the final day of events due to conflicts with FLW sponsors.

Entry fees have also changed a bit from the FLW format.  Pros will pay $1500 an event, while co-anglers will pay $350 an event.  This is a slight increase in entry fees from the FLW, which corrolates into higher purses in the events.  Based on a 125 boat field, the winning pro can expect to earn $15,000 cash, and a fully rigged brand new Ranger Angler 1860.  If this winning pro qualifies for the Ranger contingency, he/she will automatically get the boat and engine upgraded to a Ranger 620VS powered by a 250 horsepower Evinrude!  Second place would earn $20,000, third $15,000, and 31st would earn $3000. 

On the co-angler side, the first place angler would recieve $6,000, second $3,000, third $2,000, down to 31st earning $400.  Co-anglers can also qualify for contingencies, bagging up to $3,000 in contingecy money for the winner if they have a qualifying boat and motor!

The fine details of the contingency money have yet to be finalized, so look for more details to follow on those specifics. 

As for the fishing format, expect to see a live weigh-in and most likely a 5 fish limit, which are both similar to the FLW format.  Tournament hours, prefishing rules, and many other fine details are still being created, so if you have an opinion of what you would like to see feel free to send your ideas to, or call (612)-424-0708.  To get more infomation on this new circuit, check out there website at