2019 Articles

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June 2019

Speed Rig Walleyes
by Jason Mitchell
Rigging has continued to evolve over the years and remains a deadly way for catching walleye throughout the season. Rigging can be a lot of different things depending on the angler and region. The classic live bait rig was a simple sliding walking or egg sinker above a small swivel that was attached to a three to seven-foot snell in which a size eight to four live bait octopus hook was used to p... more
Easy Tactics For Early Summer Muskie
by Craig Ritchie
They're supposed to be the fish of 10,000 casts. But when it comes to catching muskie, June is an exception. That's when large numbers of post-spawn fish converge on shallow areas where they actively feed to regain lost weight. It's not prime time for catching the biggest muskie of the year, but when it comes to catching numbers of nice fish, June just can't be beat. It's the one month where every... more
Find Their Food, Find The Fish
by Bob Jensen
A very basic yet often overlooked principle of fishing is that you've got to put your bait near a fish if you want to catch a fish. So often we consider lure shape, color, size, or speed, when, in reality, those things don't matter if the fish don't see the lure. Once we've found the fish, those other things make a difference, but first we've gotta' find them. From now and through the rest of... more

May 2019

Running and Gunning for Spring Walleye
by Craig Ritchie
Ask a group of walleye anglers what their favorite technique is, and you'll get a lot of different answers. Some will say jigging, others will answer slip-rigging with live bait. A few will respond that their favorite is trolling with spinner rigs and snap-weights, while others still will prefer a drop shot rig. All different answers, but all similar in that they're all finesse tactics that can re... more
Dredging and Burning Spoons For Spring Pike
by Craig Ritchie
Spoons have long been a staple for spring pike fishing, when post-spawn fish remain concentrated along shallow shorelines. The standard technique of fishing with spoons - constantly casting as you move slowly through a weedy bay or along a promising-looking shoreline - is a big reason for their effectiveness on pike. This basic approach of covering water with a lure you can fish fairly quickly wil... more
Slow Down In The Spring For More Fish
by Bob Jensen
If you want to be successful when you go fishing, you need to first, find the fish. Once you've done that, you need to give them what they want to eat. If you do those two things, you'll catch more fish more often. One really important thing to remember is that fish behave differently at different times of the year. Sometimes they want a bait that's moving fast, other times they want a slo... more

April 2019

Targeting Weedline 'Eyes
by Jerry Carlson
I have been involved in many discussions that focused around the strategies of locating fish. Although there are quite a number of theories that have merit, there are few anglers that disagree with the importance of focusing on edges. Edges can be created by a large variety of situations. However, when it comes to locating fish throughout much of the open water season, it is hard to beat the ed... more
Plastics for Spring Panfish
by Jerry Carlson
I can't begin to count the number of panfish I have caught in the spring of the year on small, feathered jigs. There is something about the subtle appeal of these tiny jigs that crappies and sunfish seem to love. However, just because something is working great doesn't mean that anglers shouldn't experiment with a concept that is a little different. I have always been one to try new approaches ... more
Save Your Eyes And Catch More Fish
by Craig Ritchie
Walk through any well-stocked tackle store these days and it's a sure bet that somewhere onsite you'll find a display rack with a range of polarized sunglasses for fishing. Some of the glasses on display will be cheap and cheerful, while others can cost several hundred dollars. There are plenty of reasons for wearing quality sunglasses any time you're outdoors. Polarized sunglasses filter out ... more
When To Use Mono, Braid or Fluorocarbon
by Craig Ritchie
Buying fishing line used to be easy - you picked the brand, tint and breaking strength you like best, and head for the cash register. There wasn't much more to it. Not so today, with fishing stores offering braided lines, fluorocarbon lines and monofilament lines in a huge range of sizes, colors, brands and styles - to the point that some anglers are starting to feel they need an engineering de... more

March 2019

Get Ready For Open Water
by Bob Jensen
The winter of 2019 appears to be winding down, at least a little bit. I'm guessing that I've got a couple more ice-fishing trips in me, but I can't get out now, so I'm getting ready for open water. Here's what I'm doing: I almost always start in my jig boxes. I've got a box for walleye jigs and another one for bass jigs. Fire-Ball Jigs are my go-to jig in the spring. The short-shank wide-g... more
Enjoy Fast Action With Ice-Out Crappie
by Craig Ritchie
While each of the four seasons has its own charms, it's tough to beat the surge of activity that comes in early spring as winter finally relaxes its icy grip. Fast-slowing streams across the Midwest attract big runs of powerful steelhead, open waters on the Great Lakes offer salmon close to shore, and warming shallow bays attract spawning pike in mass numbers. Yet I find one of the most enjoyable ... more
Prime Time For Winter Steelhead
by Craig Ritchie
As much as I enjoy ice fishing, and as much as I look forward to a mid-winter trip south to get in some open water casting, my favorite winter pastime has always been river fishing for steelhead. Each year, starting in late February, winter begins to release its icy grip from the rivers flowing into the Great Lakes, and those rising meltwaters trigger a substantial migration of steelhead on their ... more

February 2019

Search Strategies for Jumbo Perch at Late Ice
by Jason Mitchell
Ice anglers have long been infatuated with big jumbo perch and late ice is a prime window for targeting perch on a lot of different fisheries. In some states, game fish seasons close prior to the late ice period where as perch and other pan fish seasons remain open year-round. Part of the allure for ice anglers targeting perch can be the highs and lows of perch fishing in that we often need to m... more
Easy Tactics For Mid-Winter Panfish
by Craig Ritchie
It's well known that the best ice fishing happens early and late in the season. Many species are still putting on the feed bag when the first ice seals the lakes shut, while longer days and the approach of spawning season for many species brings another burst of activity before the ice gives out altogether. But in between, things can slow a bit in what some anglers refer to as the February Blahs. ... more

January 2019

Hunting Gators
by Jason Mitchell
Northern pike have a rap sheet with ice anglers. These top end carnivores have always held a special place in ice fishing lore simply for their attitude. Some of my earliest ice fishing memories involved staring down a hole in a shallow weedy lake. The weeds seemed vibrant like a neon green carpet. We would stare down the hole for hours watching pike and perch swim underneath. Each pike seeme... more
Use Winter Nights To Prepare Tackle For The Coming Season
by Craig Ritchie
If you really think about it, an angler's year can be divided into three neat periods. There's the open water season, when we're fishing every chance we get. There's the winter, when we still fish, but through a hole in the ice. And there's that brief, panic-stricken few days in between, as the last ice melts and it's a mad scramble to get our gear together for another open water season. If yo... more
Winter Is Prime Time For A Tennessee Grand Slam
by Craig Ritchie
Ice fishing is fun, but I prefer casting in open water to drilling holes in a frozen lake. Thankfully, winter brings all sorts of great opportunities that are just a short drive away. Tennessee isn't far from my home in the Midwest, but it's a world apart in January. While our lakes are capped with a layer of ice, lakes in Tennessee remain wide open, and you fish out of a boat instead of an ice hu... more
Crappie Main Streamed
by Jason Mitchell
Crappie inhabit so many different environments and ecosystems. What has always made ice fishing so much fun for me is the simple fact that each body of water will have its own personality. And that my friends is fun to figure out. There are some fisheries where we often find crappie on rock structure for example and yet other lakes or reservoirs where we find fish using locations that might see... more

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