Fishing reports and lake information for Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota and South Dakota

2015 Articles

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January 2015

Times were tight for Dan "Bimbo" Gifford back in the summer of 2012. This longtime union carpenter and laborer was looking forward to retirement after a 30 year career. He had just 72 hours to work before qualifying for a full pension. Dreams shattered in an instant when Gifford severed his Achilles tendon and was unable to get work. Gifford and his wife were able to survive with the small income she brought in and from a small panfish fly Gifford tied while trying to recover. He calls his bait the Bimbo Skunk. When two anglers living 250 miles apart asked if I had ever heard of the Bimbo Skunk in less than a week it was like a whisper from the Holy Spirit. I had to find this ... more
Recently we talked about how lure color can have an influence in our fishing success. And, while color certainly can have a role in determining how many fish we catch, there are other factors that also come into play in our fishing success. Let's talk about some of those factors. Size is a really important consideration in open water or under the ice, but I think it's even more important under the ice, especially when panfish are the target. A few years ago I was ice-fishing with some friends on a lake in Wisconsin that received a lot of fishing pressure. We were after bluegills. I was using baits that were the size I usually used for bluegills: 1/32nd ounce or close to that. My f... more
It's All About Efficiency by Jerry Carlson
The deep water basin that typically holds winter crappies was void of activity. There was not one single house in the area and very few old holes. As my fishing partner, Charlie Simkins, and I walked through the region taking readings through the ice with our Vexilars, it became evident why this perennial hotspot was being ignored this year. There were simply no suspended fish anywhere in the vicinity. We didn't waste our time. Once we were convinced it was hopeless, we pointed the four-wheeler towards the landing and left. Once at the landing, we were loaded and off to a different lake within minutes. Thirty minutes later we were marking fish on new water and drilling holes. There ... more
Walleye on the Edge by Jason Mitchell
By midwinter on many bodies of water, walleye location can often trend towards off shore structure and in many cases, deep structure. With the advent of map chips, more anglers are discovering and fishing these locations. A mistake I have made in the past when fishing deep structure is relying too much on what the contour line on the map charts. What is more important than any contour is the transition. The transition between one type of bottom and another. Could be an edge where gravel meets mud. Could be where large boulders transition to smaller rock. This edge is often where it is at for finding offshore walleye. Sometimes the transition lines up with a contour but so often it do... more
Fifteen years ago I was living the ice fishing dream, spoiled by limits of big panfish nearly every outing on the lakes around Madison, Wisconsin. I was very fortunate to have become friends with Kevin Fassbind who taught me the ins and outs of ice angling for panfish on the Madison Chain. The real key to success was to aggressively search weedbeds for concentrations of gills and crappies. Underwater cameras were a relatively new innovation at the time and we utilized them to the fullest, drilling dozens of holes and probing each with the camera before ever wetting a line. Our strategy was based on the fact that panfish are relatively stationary in thick weeds - find holes with concentra... more

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