Friday, February 27, 2015

Preparing For Battle: Battle on Bago 2015

We are less than 24 hours from the 2015 Edition of Battle on Bago, which will most likely go down as the most productive season yet!  Fish have been cooperating system wide this winter, as there is a real lack of forage in the system this winter.  The challenge has been finding the fish; once they are located the fishing has been really good on most days!

Tickets can be purchased online until midnight on February 26 on the Battle on Bago Website. Tickets for the fishing portion of the event can also be purchased at these locations:

Fleet Farm – All Wisconsin Locations
Fish Tales – Oshkosh
Critter’s Wolf River Sports – Winneconne
Dutch’s Trading Post – Fond du Lac
Festival Foods – Oshkosh
Fox River Bait & Tackle – Oshkosh
Jerry’s Bar¬ – Oshkosh
All Ultimart and Holiday Food & Sport –  Locations w/bait
Wendt’s on the Lake – Van Dyne
Vinland Still & Grill - Neenah
Noffke’s Landing

There are also raffle tickets available for purchase for a chance to win one of many great prizes. Raffle tickets may be purchased at Mills Fleet Farm stores as well as The Reel Shot in Appleton and Oshkosh. You can also buy your raffle tickets at the Battle on Bago tent on Friday and until 4:00pm on Saturday.  These tickets are a great option for those wishing to get in on the action without even fishing!

There have been a few rule changes to the event for 2015, which I feel are for the better.  The big one is the elimination of the Burbot (Eelpout) as a weighable species.  Last year these fish dominated the top weights of the tourney, which was hard on the species as many fish were harvested while trying to spawn.  This also made it tough for the people targeting Panfish or White Bass to even have a shot at placing high enough to win anything, thus the elimination of the Burbot.

The next rule change was the addition to a size limit on Walleyes.  There were lots of 7-9” Walleyes registered last year that were harvested for no other reason than to fill a ticket.  The fish had absolutely no chance of placing high enough to win a prize and were being killed as a result. Walleyes must now be at least 12” in length to be registered.

Ice conditions on Lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, and Poygan are at their peak for the 2015 season as recent cold temperatures have really added to ice thicknesses throughout the system.  Most of the lakes have around 24” of ice at this time.  Lake Winnebago has more cracks this season that normal, so make sure to be aware of this when traveling out there!  Try to stay in old tracks when traveling away from the roads, and never drive too fast to be able to react to poor ice conditions ahead of you.  There are some drifts on the lakes as well, so 4WD is recommended at this time.

Make sure to donate to the local fishing clubs if possible as they spend countless hours and dollars working on the roads to provide the most positive experience possible for those venturing out!

Here is a current map of Lake Winnebago showing the ice roads in blue, the major cracks in red, and the bridges in green.

I hope everyone has a safe and productive Battle on Bago 2015, there should be some really nice fish brought to the scales this year!

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