A Guide's Day Off

By Ted Peck - June 1, 2011
What does a fishing guide do on his birthday? Take the day off and go fishin', of course!

Another day on the Mississippi would feel too much like just another day at the 'office'. Time for a road trip to my second most favorite water on the planet-The Wisconsin River between Merrill and Brokaw.

Walleyes don't run as big here as on Pool 9, but muskies are almost pests and the smallmouth fishing is outstanding. Anglers are also few and far between, because a cartopper, canoe or boat with a jet drive outboard are the only platforms which allow safe travel on this water.

Kurt Schultz knows every inch of this water, with knowledge far beyond his years. He's a hoot to fish with, partially because he sometimes forgets that I have been guiding almost twice as long as he has been on the planet. But he still manages to teach this old dog a trick or two every time we fish together.

My birthday challenge to Kurt was simple but tough: Let's NOT catch any muskies!

Species specific targeting of smallmouth bass on this water requires targeting extremely shallow water with worm baits like Chompers Salty Sinkers. Natural colors work best.

Probably the best all-around lure on the Merrill to Brokaw stretch is a #4 Mepps Black Fury spinner. But this lure will find muskies-and the occasional walleye-besides bass.

Schultz said his previous two smallie trips produced 32 and 28 fish over 16 inches. Impressive stats by any measure.

Author Ted Peck
Ted Peck
Cap'n Ted Peck has over 30 yrs. guiding experience, specializing in multi-species fishing on Pool 9-10 of the Mississippi from Genoa, Wi. to Prairie du Chien. Cap'n Ted is a pro staffer for Lund, Northland Tackle, MinnKota, Bill Lewis Lures, Evinrude, Uncle Josh, HT Enterprises and Custom Jigs & Spins. When not guiding Cap'n Ted communicates the outdoors experience via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and through seminars. This work has taken him all over the midwest, Canada and beyond... but he always returns to the upper Mississippi which he considers the most diverse fishery in North America. Click here for more info on Ted's guide service. Cap'n Ted's new book Mississippi Musings with the Old Guide is a personal account of his long career as a professional fishing guide on Old Man River.