Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 Cabelas NTC Championship Video

Just found this link to the live broadcast of the final day of the 2012 Cabelas NTC Championship on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota, it was a nail biter down to the very end!

The 2013 NTC Championship will once again be held in conjunction with the MWC, this year it will be held in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on the St. Mary's River.  For more information on this event, check out The Walleye Federations website at

Here is the edited version that was made into a TV show, there are also more videos on You Tube of each day of the event, all were posted by AmericanaOutdoors1.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lake Winnebago Ice Shoves

The scene on the East shoreline of Lake Winnebago near Brothertown is an astonishing one!  As a major blast of Arctic air pushed in from Canada, 30-40 mile per hour winds out of the West caused the entire ice sheet covering Lake Winnebago to shift!  The ice had nowhere to go on the East shore, besides onto the shoreline, where it caused damage to docks, boat houses, and even piled up on local roads, hampering travel.

To make matters even worse, this event also caused a nearly 100 yard wide area of open water that stretches from Oshkosh to Neenah!  Getting on and off the ice safely will be dangerous until new ice has a chance to thicken.  Ice anglers should use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice along the entire West shoreline of Lake Winnebago, since this area is expected to skim over and look like the rest of the ice.

Back on the East shore of the lake, crews will need heavy equipment to move the ice off of the access points.  Some of these ice piles are upwards of 30 feet high and 100 feet wide!  Fishing clubs are expected to get the launches accessible before the spearing season, which is encouraging.  There are also a few areas that have reportedly opened up during that monumental shift, so if heading out, stick to known areas to avoid potential disaster!

Despite the crazy ice shift, the cold temperatures that are now in place should really firm things up out there and with a little luck, anglers could still be taking full size trucks on the lake for the Sturgeon Spearing opener!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kewaunee Trout Fishing

Took one final ride out to Kewaunee in hopes of learning a new spot and catching a few fish.  At 9:30 on Friday night my friend called to let me know he wouldn't be able to make it due to his girlfriend being sick.  My mission to learn new water became a bit compromised at this point, since 3 lines makes it tough to learn a new river spot that is 100 yards long!  Despite the news, I set my alarm for 5am and made it to the spot by 6:30 to give it my best shot.

The weather was perfect, calm, warm, and overcast with the barometric pressure around 29.50.  I knew that if there were fish around, they would be biting.  As I trekked in on foot over a half mile to get to the spot, I found that someone had fished this spot the day before, since there were open holes all over the place, and tracks in the snow that had fallen that morning.  There was also a large area of blood on the ice where a fish had been bled out.

I was a bit frustrated at this point, because I could clearly see that this area had been pounded hard just a day prior.  Despite not liking what I saw, I set my 3 Automatic Fisherman in different parts of the river and waited.  There is just something about being all alone with nothing but wilderness surrounding you that is special.  Within 20 minutes, I watched as my bobber began to raise on the furthest Automatic Fisherman.  I sprinted over to it as I wached the unit trip, only to find that the fish had chewed up the spawn sac and escaped.

Over the next half an hour, this same Auto went off 2 more times with the same result each time!  For whatever reason, the fish wasn't getting the hook in it's mouth before the Auto would trip!  Turns out this was all the action I would have in this area, despite moving my Automatic Fisherman several times and trying different presentations.  It was now 9:30, and my confidence in this spot had dwindled, so I packed up and headed to the Harbor.

My friend Josh had been fishing the Harbor all morning, and never had a bite, but I knew there were Trout in there and figured my odds were better there than in the river.  By 10:00, I was once again fishing, this time I set 2 Automatic Fisherman and decided to jig with a new ice fishing lure I had been sent to try out for Dynamic Lures.

The HD Ice, as it is called, is a 2" jigging lure that looks like a shad or small minnow.  It has a rattle inside, and gives off quite the vibration when jigged upwards.  I began jigging the HD Ice, and within minutes had a large fish fly up to it on my flasher!  Unfortunately I must have done something the fish didn't like, and as fast as it showed up, it was gone!  I continued jigging, attracting the occasional fish, and even had one on briefly before losing it under the hole.

At noon, Josh had enough and decided to head home.  I told him that I would give it until 12:30 and then do the same.  I had not yet been skunked this year for Trout, and really didn't want to tell the wife that I didn't catch a thing today!  At 12:20, I glanced over to one of my Automatic Fisherman, and noticed the bobber seemed to be raised a bit higher than I had it set at.  I watched it for a little while, and then decided to walk over and check it.  As I began walking towards it, the bobber rose all the way up and set the Auto!  It was now a mad dash to the tip up!

As I was only a step away from the Auto, I watched the rod tip go still, the fish had gotten off!  I was really disappointed, as I was now 0-4 on bite on my Autos today, which is very rare!  I quickly put a new spawn sac on and dropped it back down the hole.  I began walking away towards my jigging hole, when I heard the unit pop again!  This time I was able to get there in time and land a nice 6 pound Buck Brown Trout!

The fish immediately spit up 5 Shad onto the ice, which isn't surprising considering I was marking bait everywhere I tried jigging!  This had to be the same fish I had just missed less than a minute prior, which proves that these fish will come back after the Auto trips in their face!

After a few pictures, I quickly sent him back down the hole to grow up and be caught again!  I then packed up and called it a day, which was sad considering I have no plans of chasing Trout for a few weeks, since I have a Little Bay de Noc trip planned for Walleyes in a couple weeks, and also some scouting for the Sturgeon Spearing season!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sturgeon Spearing 2013

Well we are now less than a month away from the Sturgeon Spearing opener, and ice conditions are finally improving.  Hopefully the cold continues and the heavy snowfall stays away from Lake Winnebago!  Warm weather last spearing season led to poor water clarity, unsafe ice conditions, and less spearers.

Hopefully this year will be another one for the record books like 2011, as Shad numbers are once again high, meaning the Sturgeon will be well fed and that state record fish is likely lurking Lake Winnebago somewhere!

Make sure to check out my new blog dedicated to Sturgeon Spearing, where you will find up to date ice conditions, water clarity reports, harvest numbers, spearing regulations, success stories, and much more!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ice Fishing Trout in the Wind

Spent the morning this past Saturday on the ice once again fishing Trout in a Lake Michigan Harbor.  The morning started off nice, with temperatures sitting in the mid 40's overcast skies, and a moderate wind out of the southwest.

Fishing also started off nice, as my brother landed a nice 7 pound hen Brown Trout, that was loose with eggs!  I have been fishing for the past two months without landing a Brown Trout with eggs, and my brother was able to do so in the first hour he spent on the ice this year!  Luckily, he was more than happy to let me have the eggs, so I wasted no time, I quickly bled out the fish and milked the eggs into a  bag.

I told him to keep an eye on the tip ups, as I went up to the truck to tie a few spawn sacs up with these fresh eggs.  While doing so, one of my Automatic Fisherman tripped, but the fish somehow managed to avoid the hook.  I finished tying around 10 new spawn sacs, and headed back down on the ice.

There were two other guys fishing the same area, so I decided to offer them some fresh spawn also, since they seemed like nice guys.  To my surprise, they had been using store bought Salmon spawn!  I explained to them the importance of having the right type of eggs for Trout at this time of the year.  I gave them enough spawn sacs to change over all their lines.

Around 20 minutes later, the two were running to one of their tip ups.  After watching them run to several "wind" flags prior to this, I paid little attention to them.  A minute later I glanced back over to them, and saw them battling a fish!  I ran over to see what they had on as they hoisted a beautiful buck Brown Trout through the ice!  Both of them were extremely thankful for me giving them some spawn, and I was glad to see them land a Trout!

As the morning wore on, the sun came out, the winds picked up and switched out of the west, and the barometric began rising, all of which are negatives when fishing Trout!  Although we never landed another Trout, it was still a fun and successful day on the ice, making new friends, and spending quality time with others on the ice.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Otter Street Walleye Tournament Receives Makeover

Over the past 5 years, the Otter Street Fishing Club’s summer Walleye Tournament has seen its numbers of entrants steadily decrease, which has led to drastic changes in the structure of this prestigious event for 2013.

Otter Street Fishing Club has teamed up with Battle on Bago to increase payout, open the tournament to the entire Winnebago System, and are also working on making this event a CRR event, similar to the format used in the AIM Walleye Series.

Catch, Record, Release will allow anglers to “weigh” their best five fish, rather than being faced with tough decisions on which fish to keep in a no cull tournament.  This format also allows for the immediate release of the fish, which will just about eliminate tournament fish mortality.

Opening this tournament to the entire Winnebago System will allow anglers to fish the upriver lakes, which often times hold some of the largest Walleyes in the system at this time of the year.  This also allows the 300+ boats to spread out over more area, making for a less crowded experience for anglers.

This year’s event will take place June 15-16 2013 out of Menominee Park in Oshkosh.  The entry fee per team will be $400.  Anglers will be competing for a $20,000 first place prize, and also daily big fish prizes of $1,000 per day.  The total payout for this event is expected to be over $100,000, which will be made possible with the support of several sponsors.  This year’s sponsors include; JJ Keller Foundation Inc., Lund Boats, Frabill, Mercury Marine, and Associated Bank.

Be sure to check back for more updates on this event as more information becomes available, or check out the club's website at

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trout Action Continues

Despite having to work this week, a few of my friends were able to get out on the ice the last two days and catch some nice fish!  It really makes for a long day at the office when your friends send you picture messages of their catch of the day!

Derek, Tyler, and Tony fished the Sheboygan Harbor with hopes of landing a few Trout.  They set tipups with Shiners and spawn sacs, and also decided to do some jigging.

Tuesday started out slow, but eventually Derek landed this nice buck Steelhead on his jig rod!  He also lost a small Brown Trout on his Automatic Fisherman after a brief fight.

Tyler also got in on the action, landing this nice Northern Pike on a tipup with a Shiner.

Overall the fishing wasn't fast and furious, but its tough to beat a day on the ice with friends!

Wednesday really made up for the slow day on Tuesday.  Before all the lines were in, Derek had 2 hits and drops on his tipups!  This action would continue throughout the morning, as the 3 were also accompanied by Derek's father, who caught this nice Brown Trout, which was his first through the ice!  Congratulations Dale on a great fish!

Tyler landed a small Rainbow Trout, and Tony finally put a fish on the ice as well!  The crew lost a few other fish and had several other flags throughout the day which made for an action packed day on the ice!

To top things off, Derek landed this incredible 8 pound hen Steelhead on his Beaver Dam tipup!  The fish made several long runs, nearly spooling Derek several times!  I wish I could've been there to get video of this battle! 

Overall the Trout fishing continues to go strong, but caution is advised when venturing onto the ice in the Harbors and Tributaries, as the warm weather and windy conditions have caused the ice to deteriorate quickly!  Remember, no fish is worth your life!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekend Trout Report

Took another trip over to the Lake Michigan shoreline this weekend in search of Steelhead and Brown Trout in a new spot that I have always wanted to try through the ice.  As with every trip, this day would prove to be a learning experience that will hopefully lead to many future successful days on the water!

Fishing started out with a bang, as we set our Automatic Fishermen and Tip ups before I began jigging.  I wasn’t jigging for 5 minutes when a nice little Steelhead took my jig and found his way onto the ice.  This was a great start in a new spot, which gave me high hopes for the rest of the day.

As the sun came up, one of my Automatic Fishermen tripped, and I could see the fish bending the rod from 50 yards away.  It was a mad dash to the hole, where I grabbed the rod and began fighting the fish.  After a great 5 minute battle, we landed a nice 5 pound Brown Trout.  This fish had the hook deep in the back of its mouth, chalk another one up for the Automatic Fisherman!

An hour later one of my Beaver Dam tip ups tripped, but unfortunately the fish took 2’ of line, chewed the spawn sac, and spit it out before I could get to the tip up.  Catching these Trout on standard tip ups once again proved difficult, as this fish escaped!

After moving a few tip ups and changing the bait on them, another flag popped.  I sprinted over to the flag, hoping to get there in time.  The line was straight down in the hole, and I could see that the fish had taken about a foot of line again.  I check the spawn, and then dropped it back down the hole.  I set the tip up and began walking away from it, when it went up again!

This time I watched the spool on the tip up go around twice slowly and then stop.  This fish seemed to be just toying with the spawn sac!  I pulled the spawn sac up again and this time just watched the tip up without setting it.  The fish again grabbed the spawn and this time started taking more line.  I grabbed the line and set the hook, fish on!

The fish went nuts and took a good run before showing itself in the hole.  Despite toying with the spawn sac like a small fish, this was a 8-10 pound Brown Trout!  The fish took off on another run, and then once again came into the hole.  Once in the hole, the fish rolled in the hole which allowed the hook to pop out of its mouth!  The fish wasted no time getting out of the hole, as I knelt there in disbelief!

Unfortunately this was the last action of the morning, as we decided to pack it up at noon and get home for the Packers playoff game against the Vikings!