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Ice is here!

Well, at least a little ice is here. When I say little, there are reports of 1 to 1 1/2 inches on many back bays and channels.  Now, I am a diehard fisherman and love nothing more than getting on the ice to get a nice meal of tasty gills, but my number one concern is safety. Why do people…

It’s almost here! Preparation for ice fishing

My personal favorite fishing season almost has arrived. I thoroughly enjoy hard-water fishing, and one reason I’m successful is because I prepare my equipment weeks in advance. If you haven’t done so, the first thing I’d recommend is inventorying your tackle. I have a walleye ice tackle box and a panfish ice tackle box. That strategy makes fishing so much…

Our last shot at open water: rivers

By now, fish in most water bodies are starting to move toward their winter haunts. On rivers, our last bastion of open water this time of year, I focus my walleye search on current breaks, like wing dams, clam beds, eddies, or anything that breaks the current. Such seams are logical attractors for transition-season walleyes. I fish some of these…

Making the case for pre-ice crappies

Crappies definitely change locations after the summer, and earlier in the fall, they’re relating to green weed edges. When these weeds start to die off by early November, however, everyone forgets fall crappies. My advice? Check the rock piles. Freshwater plankton and algae need sun to grow, and these shallow, open-water rock piles nurture that growth. This attracts minnows, and…

Anglers question brook trout proposal

Many anglers and trout guides are not pleased with a recent decision by the Natural Resources Commission to override a Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division recommendation on Upper Peninsula brook trout creel limits. Earlier this year, the Department of Natural Resources sought to get anglers' opinions on the brook trout creel limit. Currently set at five fish per day…

Predicting record lows

Will Lakes Michigan and Huron set a new (modern day) record for low water level this winter?  All signs point to yes. For the past decade the levels in these lakes have fluctuated up and down annually a foot or more but always lingering on the down side of normal. Now, last winter's relative warmth and last summer's drought and…

Fall fishing equipment changes

With the preponderance of specialized fishing gear and tackle these days, one might believe that hardcore anglers own specific tackle for every open-water season. My terminal tackle stays mostly the same after the hard-water disappears but techniques and presentations change. There are ways to match that gear to just about any species during open water. That said, I make some…

Fishing 101: How to catch big boss bluegills

’Round about late summer, I fall into big bluegill mode. Not every lake has them, so I first find information about a specific lake that will produce those big ’gills. Sometimes I’ll be fishing  walleyes and pick up a big bluegill. Most people might think “fluke,” and move on. Mark that spot! You may have discovered something no one else…

Top fishing tactics for any weather

Few topics drive more questions at my fishing seminars – open water and hard water alike – than weather. How does weather affect fishing? So many factors come into play, but I generally sum it up by saying that fish prefer stable weather. I find my best bites occur after three to four (or more) days of stable weather. Now,…

Have a fall fishing game plan before hitting the water

So often, guys at the boat landing or bait shop will tell me they’re fishing for “whatever bites.” They’ll drop a bobber with a worm and see what happens. It’s better to concentrate on one species, and have a game plan. I can’t emphasize enough the need for planning your fishing, then fishing your plan. This definitely comes into play…

Salmon are the symptom

Lake Michigan salmon fans are all abuzz with the recent announcement that beginning next spring 68 percent fewer king salmon will be stocked in Lake Michigan. Why? Because the best science says there are so many salmon in the lake they are going to eat all the alewives. (Alewives are the small baitfish king salmon depend on for food.) There…

Time to prepare for the fall kings

With the fall weather arriving, it is a sure sign that the king salmon will be making their fall runs into the harbors up and down the lakefront.  For these beasts there are a few tricks I have learned to increase your opportunities and hooking into one as well as keeping them on the line. 1. The first thing is…

DNR asks fishing tournament organizers to 'cut it short'

A month-long stretch of fish kills reported up and down that state has resulted in DNR asking fishing tournament organizers to implement "additional precautions regarding the catch and handling of fish during upcoming tournaments . . . due to continued hot weather and drought-related water conditions." Incidentally, a cool front is expected to hit a large portion of Illinois this…

The basic skill we don’t respect: boat control

Boat control is a major factor when fishing for any species of fish. It’s an important element for success on any body of water. If you can’t maneuver your machine in order to put the bait or lures exactly where the fish are at, you’re wasting your time. We often think fish will travel that distance, but they will not….