Like many "opener" fishing excursions, the majority of anglers I observed were trying shallow water probably somewhere between 5-12 ft deep--and with some success. Atleast for my boat, last Saturday pushed us into a couple of different depth ranges. Now that I think of it, we didnt even fish shallower than 19ft. The majority of the fish we boated were pulled out of 25ft or more. Not surprising to me at all, but maybe to others? What's at 25ft? Schools of shiners and perch fry--walleye food that is. A jig and a minnow was all it took to have a fish fry that night. Besides the deeper water , we also had success using another pattern--new green weeds.
With the warm spring we have been having, the weed growth in many lakes has had a jump start almost thrusting the weed developement into summer mode, So what the heck, I decided to look for some green cabbage weed. To my surprise the weed in some areas was already 4-5ft tall, --should make for a good Musky opener? Anyway, the walleye were using the weeds to their advantage and taking the jig/minnow OR the jig/crawler combo with no regrets. What do you look for? I recommend looking for the new weed growth close to spawning areas. Typically the best weed beds will be just off the edge of a large flat with deep water (30 ft or more). The weeds themselves should be in the 8-15ft range. Why? Thats just a common depth range for cabbage weed to grow in most lakes throughout the state. Find the base of the weedline using your electronics reading skills and simply work the deeper edge looking for pockets/points/ anything irregular on the weed edge. If the band of weeds is narrow, do not forget about the inside weed edge --the edge on the shore side of the weed bed.
This time of the year I'm a fan of blue/white colors and maybe a green as well. Try to stay shiner minnow orientated when picking your colors. Although when fishing weed edges it doesn't hurt to lean towards chartreuse/orange combos (perch colors). Tip the jig or live bait rig with a lively 3" shiner minnow and you are in business. These ideas will work for another couple weeks untilt he shiner spawn is finished. And dont worry about the sunlight, its all about food this time of the year. Personally I would rather have a nice calm sunny day--more fun to fish in that;s for sure.
We'll I better get packing, after spending the last 10 minutes writting about weeds I'm heading north to Rainy Lake to fish rock/sand for the most part. Although, there is a really good shallow weed pattern there as well. Thats a little different--3-6 ft cabbage in side bays and castinc plastics or crankbaits--basically fishing walleye with bass tactics. Will be fun--not to mention the bonus monster pike! Good Luck, Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com
It's no big secret or new information as far as spring crappie fishing is concerned. I just was thinking on the way home the other day that I really haven't observed many kids out fishing yet. Why is that? There are plenty of adults in a boat or on shore fishing, but where are the kids? Its actually a concerning issue to me. It's the shore fishing in the spring I remember most as a kid, and then second comes dangling a hand line over the edge of a small boat catchin sunfish. I know what my kids will remember if I have anything to do with it--fishing, fishing, fishing, and hopefully whatever they learn in school, LOL. Hmmm.
Cost to Take a kid fishing off shore--about $25, Cost of happy hour or dinner out-- much more and a meaningless experience in the end. Take a kid fishing. Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com
I like to fish for a variety of reasons and frankly for me fishing has turned more into a sickness or disease. If I dont fish for even 3 or 4 days for some reason, I simply start to get grouchy. Is there a prescription for that? I've tried to question myself and wonder why I get that way, and Im not sure why. I wonder what a shrink would say? For $100 he/she would probably say go fishing and call me in the morning. After intense (not really) contemplation, I have actually narrowed the reasons I like to fish down to three. Take a deep breath--here they are.
The anticipation. You know that feeling you get the night before the fishing opener, deer hunting opener, duck opener, your drivers test, or whatever it may be?--Thats how I feel before every trip. It drives me crazy, even though I may have multiple patterns nailed to the wall, been on the water every day for weeks, and the fish are coming in easy, there is still the anticipation of what may actually happen. Enough said. Another reason?--yep.
The Challenge. Just like in any sport (actually I think fishing has more invisible factors) there are uncontrollable/invisible factors that create a challenging environment. The challenge of the game. The challenge of not knowing and trying to figure out a non-human opponent. The challenge of trying to figure out the under water the angler cannot see. The challenge of beating the clock. The challenge (when guiding) of helping others succeed. The challenges are endless. Especially in walleye fishing where everything is usally a non-visual event, --deep water fishing type of stuff. Thats where the electronics come in. Sorry bass anglers, but most of your factors are visible in my opinion making it much easiers MOST of the time. Exception--suspended bass, deep weed edge bass, island hoppers, and even "pit" bass, oh yeh--reef bass. Alright I guess there are more non-visuals than I forst thought--forget that. Really, fishing is like a chess match, brain power, ambition, and a time clock. The challenge also comes when simply picking a playing field (lake/river), the right equipment (rods/bait/etc) , the game plan (options and plan of attack), adjusting what you really need/want to do to fit the others abilities in the boat--and still catch fish, wow--it's endless. Simply, I like all of the challanges involved. Reason number three.
The reward(s). Thats the obvious factor in my boat (no pun intended). The big fish, the numbers, the feel of the fight, the smile and thrill seeing others catch their big fish or first fish. The thrill of the reward is the same for me as it was when I was 4 yrs old. Even after all of that I still need more! I am thinking on naming the boat "reel addiction" , --although I believe that belongs to a boat out of Baileys Harbor, WI. Maybe I will simply call it "My 3 reasons", So have fun, good luck fishing, and feel free to post any info and hot fishing tips on my Minnesota Fishing Guide Service Facebook page www.facebook.com, I would supply a direct link, (a basic facebook search works) but Im not that good on these things, If this was a Lorance or Hummingbird
"lap top" I could..LOL, Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com
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! www.minnesotaguideservice.com
The rule for panfish this winter--atleast for me and my clients, has been to fish shallower than "normal". Meaning those deep holes ( 30-40 ft) that usually produce nice quantities of nice panfish did not produce on most of my "go to" lakes. However, the shallow bite (5-15ft) never really died off like it tends to towards mid winter.
Ultra green weeds might have had something to do with it. Along with a delay in the cold fall weather I think postponed many panfish movements up to 45 days. And because our winter is so short (yes, I said short) I dont think the "normal" patterns that most anglers rely on to catch fish through the ice really kicked into full gear this season resulting in poor fishing reports. I personally think catching deep panfish is more fun for some reason (longer fight?) verses the shallow bite (set the hook and the fish flies out the hole) . Regardless of what I like, I definetely found more active 'gills in the shallows all winter long. I kept wondering if it would ever end, and here we are--it didn't end-- as a matter of fact, the fish are now expected to be found where I have been catching them all winter long. Hmmmm. that's fishing for ya. I didn't really change tactics either.
My standard "searching" approach includes the smallest "Genz bug" tied horizontally in either glow white or chartreuse, tipped with a waxie or two or three "spikes" of different colors. Remember, keep the bait small--even a big 'gill has a mouth the size of a Cherrio. The bait is tied to 3 lb test clear ice line and presented with a nice long sensitive rod so I can feel and see the bites at the tip without using a bobber or a spring bobber. Why 3 lb test? -- I like to compromise between 2 lb. and 4 lb. Armed with some sonar, find a good area --maybe the top edge of a big weed flat near deep water, drill 10-15 holes based on what is found shooting the sonar through the ice (do not drill holes first) and work the bait however the fish like it. Could be fast twitching, slow dragging, simply fluttering the bait from the surface down to the bottom, or maybe from the bottom to the surface (just under the ice). The sonar will show you how the fish react and cause you to react accordingly. What I'm trying to say is--do not simply drill a hole by a bunch of other anglers or fish houses, drop down a hook and bobber and expect to catch fish--doesn't usually work. A few more weeks will change that!
In about 2-3 more weeks--when the fish are getting schooled up just outside potential open water feeding/spawning areas, ( remember where you caught them last spring in the boat?--yeh, just outside those areas) it is possible to walk out to a bunch of anglers, find a hole that is not frozen at any time of the day, drop down just about anything and catch a pail of fish. Average depths for this kind of activety is the 4-10 ft. range where there is new weed growth combined with some old dead weeds. When the water is running down the holes because of inproved sun light and warm air temps--thats the time frame Im talking about. Dont forget to try just below the surface of the ice, they are there as well. The other thing--be carefull, dark ice is not safe--actually no ice is ever 100% safe, but its gets a little interesting the closer to April we get. So have fun and be careful! Good Luck, Capt. Josh. www.minnesotaguideservice.com