Josh Hagemeister

Capt. Josh Hagemeister, who runs Minnesota Fishing Guide Service, has been a successful multi-species fishing guide throughout Minnesota for 20 years.

Posts about Fishing Techniques

Camp Fish-- "The Finest Most Comprehensive Angling Camp" is busting the surface...again.

Posted by: Josh Hagenmeister Updated: December 24, 2013 - 12:25 PM

Imagine waking up in the morning at Camp Fish.  The sunrise is warming the insides of numerous knotty pine cabins nestled in tall pines, surrounded by 7 lakes, calling loons, and a gorgeous historic lodge. A glance at the lake provides the reflection of a new day full of fishing anticipation.  The shimmering surface is of Long Lake just west of Walker, Mn.--the home of Camp Fish and dreams come true.  Soon the bell tower rings sending the signal of  the beginning of your day.  A day full of immersion into the sport of freshwater fishing and the exposure to fishing knowledge you never new exsisted--the knowledge you need to become the most versitlie, successful,  and consistant angler you aim to be.  It doesnt matter if it's bass, walleye, crappies, pike, musky, perch, or whatever swims--you will learn how to catch them all under any condition using simple and at the same time complex formulas  that tie all the behaviors and habits fish have together. Finally, you realize you are at Camp Fish--a place where anglers of all ages and skill levels can go and get a one of a kind, hands-on, fishing education experience for days or even a week at a time.

Starting back in 1983,  Camp Fish anglers sent vibrations of fishing lures through the waters of the Leech Lake area all summer long.  That was before the ice fishing boom--even the internet!  Wow!  Todays Camp Fish is striving to encompass the entire year--Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  Imagine going to "Camp Ice Fish"--living and learning hands on in comfort all of the ice fishing information you can swallow, using electronics, learning fish location, fine tuning presentations from a pool of fishing experts, professional anglers, professional fishing guides, and fishing industry icons.  And don't  forget the three square meals a day, classroom time, seminars, question and answer sessions--and of course--a minimum of  four to five hours of actual fishing time (depending how many times you say "on more minute") to use what was just learned.  Now apply that same concept to all of the open water seasons as well and throw in a few "specialty" weekends or sessions such as "Musky Mania", "Club Walleye", or "Bass Bonanza". These are the hardcore anglers dreams come true--36 hours of nothing but the fish you care about--hammered into your head all day and night---extreme fishing camps. Throw in a little relaxation, a campfire and some story swapping just for good measure.  Sound like fun yet?

A few years ago the Camp Fish "family"  had a reunion celebrating Camp Fish and the relationships and memories that were created for us (staff/family) and the campers.  It was a week long reunion that consisted of well over a hundred of past Camp Fish staff (myself included) fishing the heck out of all of the lakes in the Walker area, visiting old haunts, finding new ones, and simply having a grand old time.  Talkin' smack, sleepin on the floor, and fishing 14 hours a day (kinda like I do now..hmmm.) with old buddies made the week fly by!  The week ended with appearances and speeches by Al and Ron Lindner, Camp Fish staff and campers.  The best part was listening to the Lindners talk about all of the sacrifices they and their familys made to make Camp Fish a reality and also how difficult it was to finally have to close Camp Fish almost 20 years ago.  Al's speech ended with the hopes that some how Camp Fish would be a reality again--along with his endorsement to do so.

Since that hot August day on the shores of Leech Lake, a group of us (Camp Fishers) have been searching for donations, sponsors, and have been working on a plan to bring Camp Fish back to life.  It is coming together slowly but surely.  The old Camp Fish grounds are available, we have verbal financial commitments, and people to help get it up and running.  I have commited time and energy in trying to help out as much as possible (on top of my busy guide schedule)--but I know it's not enough.   Not many days go by that I dont think of Camp Fish.  It was/is that important to me to this day.  So, this morning I decided to at least write a blog about Camp Fish to share with others what is happening.  Any feed back, thoughts, ideas, or advice would be extremely valuable in helping the mission to bring Camp Fish back to life and  teaching the great sport of fishing to anglers once again.  Feel free to contact me at or  Happy Holidays and good fishing of course!  Capt. Josh Hagemeister.

Don't miss the boat, book you favorite fishing guide now!

Posted by: Josh Hagenmeister Updated: March 27, 2010 - 11:02 AM

It happened again this week, I had to turn down another  fishing trip because I was already booked the first week in August.  How does an angler avoid that situation?  What's the best way to plan a guided fishing trip?  There are alot of factors, but the number one factor is to plan early so you dont miss the boat!

Calling to book a fishing trip with a fishing guide should be done as soon as you have decided that you are going to need a guide or want to try one. Never take for granted that the guide will be available.  A good guide will be booked months and in some cases a year in advance for certain weeks during the summer.  As a rule of thumb, June July, August and September always get booked first.  And of those months,-- believe it or not, Saturday can be the slowest day of the week due to resorts using that day as "turn-over" day.  I would say the most requested days for fishing trips are are actually week days because of the lodging schedules most resorts carry.  If I had to narrow it down further, monday  and tuesday are highly requested days because anglers want to learn some "tips" they can use the rest of the week on their own time--it's a smart move if your new to a lake or resort!   So my advice is if you want to fish on a tuesday, call ahead sooner than you think!   How soon is soon?

I always recommend 2-3 months in advance --especially if your window of fishing time is narrow.  A good example is you are sent on a  business trip somewhere and you have the afternoon off and you think you might want to go fishing for a half day.   Another reason is that you are having a family reunion at a resort and you want to hire the boat for the entire day so everyone can get for a little bit.  On the other hand, if you have a larger window of opportunity (a week long family vacation at a resort) its probably a little less crucial.  But again, if you want to hire a guide to get you on fish the first day of your stay--so you can have a good week of fishing in your own boat,  then I would say call 2-3 months in advance.  I knew last November I was going to Key West on a trip in Early March, so the minute I booked the flight, the next most important thing I did was book a chartered fishing trip.   Loding was last on my list, LOL.

The busiest month for a good guide is all of them,  many clients are surprised that they cant get a trip booked on a tuesday in October, a monday in May, or a thursday afternoon in July because the guide is already booked from the previous year.  Here's a way to look at it.   I take out 600 anglers fishing one summer and they all have fun.  And suppose 80% are able to go again next year and book when they get home or at the dock when the trip is done, that doesn't leave many openings for new clients--atleast for my personal boat.  

Well thats my short story on calling ahead to get a fishing trip arranged.  Sorry for the abrupt ending (again like a bad movie) but I m going ice fishing for the last time today.  I think I hear the trumpets in the back ground.  Today is definetly a bitter sweet day, the last day of the 2009/10  ice fishig seaon but the beginning of the 2010/2011 season--and the boats are ready!  Good luck and have fun--rule #1--have fun!



River Crappies--Go with the flow!

Posted by: Josh Hagenmeister Updated: November 19, 2009 - 10:47 AM
So Im walking around the yard the other day after another couple of days of deer hunting and Im looking at the boats that are crying to get on the water a few more times, I look at my watch, take a breath of 50 degree air and decide to go fishing.  What does a guy do on November 17th when its 50 degrees and the suns out?  I decided to head to the Mississippi and try some crappie fishing.  After a five minute trip down to the bait shop in St. Cloud to grab a couple of scoops of fatheads, I found myself  cruising down stream to fish crappies behind some pilings and ice breakers-usually decent spots for mid-river slabs--especially in the fall.
So i grab a 1/8 oz chartreuse/orange jig and tip it with a healthy sized fathead minnow and begin my search for a school of slabs.  After a few run- throughs with the sonar I spotted some on the bottom at 23 ft behind an old ice breaker.  The cool thing was that the fish were 35 yds back from the actual "visible" current break.  That told me that the fish had probably not been bothered by other anglers because of the fact that most river anglers that I have observed will fish directly behind/next to an object that breaks the current--not 30-40 yards down stream of the object.  The fact is that there is usually an underwater
"eddie" quite a distance back from most objects on or near the bottom of the river.  In the deeper water, there isusually not any visible  surface evidence that the bottom "eddie" exists.  The bottom "eddie" will create a pocket of "dead" water on the bottom.  These elusive pockets of water usually are full of fish that never see a bait.  So now what?
I started by "slipping" down stream with the trolling motor vertically jigging the bait and dragging it along the bottom.  At times I "hover" the boat when a bunch of fish are "marked".  When I exhaust that display of bait dragging out I switch to holding the boat steady and chunking the bait cross current through the school of fish--this will entice the fish that were not triggered by the simple "drag the bait dowstream" appproach.  After slipping the bait cross current from one direction I change  the boats location over to the other side of the school of fish and give them the old cross current trick form the other angle.  The more angles/directions you can deliver the bait to the same school of fish--the better.  This idea also applies directly to any open water fishing situation that is encountered throughout the summer--lake or river.
One more option to try before I go.  Just when the action starts to dwindle and I'm ready to find a new school of fish, I tip a jigging spoon (like a swedish pimple) with a minnow head and flutter it through the fish a few times.  Usually I can score a couple of bonus fish before I head out.  Speaking of heading out, If I leave now I can be catching more crappies in about 45 minutes, See ya and good luck.   Capt. Josh

Are Red Tails An Over Rated Fall Bait?...Yes!

Posted by: Josh Hagenmeister Updated: September 22, 2009 - 2:56 PM

Im putting my head on the chopping block--that is if you're into fishing the almighty Redtail minnow.  It is amazing to me how many anglers rely and depend on Redtails as a staple bait to catch walleye--summer or fall. Even many fishing guides I know are addicted to the redtail curse.  The curse is the $12 per dozen minnows.  I did a little math the other day and if my boat used just one redtail per walleye all summer and fall my bait bill would easily run into the $6,000 range--ouch!!.  That doesn't even include the minnows that die, fall prey to other fish, or missed hook sets by numerous clients.  So what do I do?--I utilize the almighty night crawler.  
I depend on thousands of devoted night crawlers to catch walleye from May through October with water temps as low as 39 degrees.  They are cheap, durable and catch everything--they are my best employees.  Crawlers work in 3 ft of water or 60ft of water, clear or murky, sunny or cloudy --and they are also much easier to transport from lake to lake--especially now that live wells must be empty when on the road.  Who wants to dump $30 worth of minnows in the grass every day--not me!   The crawlers simply go back into the fridge after each day--not wasted.  If I do decide to bring a few minnows for a boat ride I will use the Rainbow Chub or a good mix of river run bait.  They are just as lively (and almost as big) as the redtails--and 1/2 the price.  It should be a simple decision to rely on crawlers more than redtails, but boy do I get into some heated conversations with the redtail society  (anglers that swear by them) about fishing with crawlers vs. redtails.  Its almost like Green Bay vs. Minnesota.   I dont think I will ever win the 20 yr old sales pitch about redtails and walleyes.  When your buddies are not looking, try a crawler, you will be amazed, besides--whats in your wallet?   Good Luck, Capt. Josh

September Fishing Is King!

Posted by: Josh Hagenmeister Updated: September 4, 2009 - 12:17 PM
Wow, its been a while since I had time to blog anything--but that's a good thing because that means I've been fishing.  The summer has been a great summer of fishing all over the state--many good catches and big fish too!   With Labor Day about under the bridge, Septemeber fishing is here!.  
I just finished a booking a trip with a client from Missouri and we were talking about how over the years September has become just as busy for guided fishing trips as June, July, and August.  She was surprised to hear that.  I began to explain that the weather is about perfect and predictable (unlike May or June), its not overly hot and humid (unlike July or August) and the fish are well into the Fall pattern "feeding mode" which actually begins (in my opinion) in mid to late August.  Not ot mention, the fish are already on the feed bag for winter--maybe not so much the real big fish (October is for the big fish), but the numbers of fun to catch eater size that ultimately anglers pay to catch are hungry.  Oh yeh, did I mention no boat traffic ( and less fishing pressure) giving added tranquility to entire experince of a guided fishing trip? -- I just did.  How about lodging advantages?  That's another good reason for a September fishing trip.
   Reduced lodging rates and time requirements also help make September a good time of year to plan a last minute fishing trip.  Short term lodging can be much easier arrange than it is in July.  After Labor day, many resorts will no longer require a full week commitment in order for you to stay in a cabin or room. That translates into many of the resorts loosening the rules a bit and allowing  the one or two night group --which makes it easier for anglers to plan a last minute fishing trip.  What's also nice is the fact that most resorts will consider lodging "off peak" after Labor Day thus charging lower rates per night.  That equals for extra cash for fun stuff like new tackle or steak on the grill instead of a burger.  And what about the fishing?  
I almost forgot the obvious--the great fishing.  The fish are already in "Fall" mode making it generally easier to catch.  Bass, Walleye, Northern--all of them are starting to fatten up for winter--abd this year it is obvious.  Just yesterday I commented on how "fat" the fish were for their length--already.  Whatever the reason, the fish are eager to feed making for some real memorable fishing trips.  So dont delay, --Go Fish!  See ya one the water and have a good weekend.  Capt. Josh


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