Anderson: Twin Cities angler is big smallmouth booster

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2014 - 1:03 AM

Tim Holschlag, 63, has made a good living out of teaching anglers all over the country about the wonders of fishing for smallmouth bass.

Growing up in northeast Iowa, Tim Holschlag fished a small stream near his home and was happy enough landing creek chubs and bullheads.

Then he laid into a feisty smallmouth bass. And his life changed forever.

He was 10 years old.

“That smallie pulled harder and jumped out of the water,’’ Holschlag said. “It was only a 12- or 13-incher. But I was impressed.’’

Now 63 and living in Minneapolis, Holschlag is one of the nation’s smallmouth bass gurus, a river-guiding legend sought by anglers nationwide who also are impressed with the fighting prowess of smallmouth bass.

“I’ve had a few real jobs over the years,’’ Holschlag said by phone Thursday from Southern California, where he was touting the many attributes of his favorite fish to a West Coast angling club. “But mostly I’ve been a fishing bum.’’

Holschlag will return to the Twin Cities this weekend to offer smallmouth bass seminars at the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, which runs Friday through Sunday at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

A timeless favorite of anglers who love a fish that will hit a surface plug or fly, the smallie is enjoying its heyday just now, Holschlag believes, crediting in part the earlier and warmer springs that northern tier states have experienced in recent years.

“As a result, the growing seasons are longer,’’ he said, “leading to more smallies in more waters, and bigger ones, too.’’

After Holschlag moved to the Twin Cities in 1979 following hitches in the Army and at the University of Iowa, he hung out a guide’s shingle, advertising his river-fishing services in brochures he printed and distributed to sporting-goods shops.

Simultaneously, he began penning his first book on smallmouth bass fishing.

“In those early days, I found two types of people who wanted to go smallmouth fishing,’’ Holschlag said. “There were the hard-core bass anglers who knew smallmouth fishing and really loved it. And there were those who had fished in many places, Alaska, Belize, wherever, and had heard about smallies and wanted to try it.’’

Holschlag’s initial craft of choice for river smallies was a customized 15-foot johnboat, with comfortable seats for him and his client. Ruggedly built, the boat could be dragged over rocks as necessary, or powered by a small outboard he hung on the stern.

But mostly he propelled the boat by rowing it from one likely smallie haunt to another, and another still, all the while directing clients when and how to deliver plugs or flies.

“At first, I had about half and half, spin fishermen and fly fishermen,’’ he said. “Now it’s almost all fly fishing.’’

As the Internet has become more pervasive, Holschlag’s popularity has grown. He still fishes the St. Croix and Mississippi. But nowadays he also hosts trips to an Ontario resort, and on given summer afternoons he’s as likely to be in Upper Michigan casting a fly, or in Maine, as he is in Minnesota.

Regardless of water fished, everyone in his boat abides by one basic rule: All bass caught are released.

“Today, with digital cameras, the photo of someone holding a nice fish is generally regarded as just as valuable, or more so, than a stuffed fish on a wall, anyway,’’ he said.

In addition to guiding and leading seminars, Holschlag these days is kept busy responding to clients who contact him through his websites (www.smallmouthangler.com and wwwsmallmouthflyangler.com). His wife, Lyn Verthein, is a big player in this effort as well, packaging books, bass flies and videotapes for shipment to anglers who, like Holschlag, can’t quite get enough of smallmouth bass.

“The videos work real well in explaining how to fish smallmouth bass,’’ Holschlag said. “It helps explain in visual terms what flies look like underwater and how smallmouth bass strike a bait.’’

Hours today of the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo at the National Sports Center in Blaine are 3-8 p.m. Hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Daily adult admission is $10, with youth ages 12-17, $7. Kids under 12 are free. More information is at www.greatwatersflyfishingexpo.com.

 

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 3 2nd Qtr 11:36
Rice 16
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close