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December 2019

  • Where To Start For First Ice Action

    Where To Start For First Ice Action

    We've all heard that the best ice fishing of the year often comes at first ice, just as soon as the hard stuff is thick enough to safely walk on. But that can take a bit of time to happen and, for most of us, there's a gap of two or three weeks since we last visited the same waters in the boat. Bein...
  • Crappie on the Ceiling

    Crappie on the Ceiling

    Never say never and never say always with fishing but when it comes to catching big crappie through the ice, there are a few lessons that seem repeating. Doesn't matter if you find crappie suspended over basins or classic wintering holes. Could be shallow weeds or pencil reeds. Maybe sharp breaki...

November 2019

  • Winter Steelhead

    Winter Steelhead

    Among anglers, the arrival of that first blast of snow and those first nights below freezing can mean vastly different things. For those who enjoy pursing warm-water species like bass and panfish, ice on the driveway means it's finally time to put the boat away for the year. Muskie and walleye angle...
  • First Ice Panfish

    First Ice Panfish

    Ice has arrived on the ponds and small lakes earlier than usual in the northern areas of where people go ice-fishing. In fact, there are some places where anglers are already on the ice and catching fish. Ice-fishing action can be good all season, but it seems like anglers get really excited about...
  • Hunting Walleye at First Ice

    Hunting Walleye at First Ice

    The first ice period often offers opportunities to catch aggressive walleye in shallow water. On many fisheries... prime time is typically around sunrise and sunset. Ice anglers often anticipate this prime-time period and experience great fishing. While these fish can be aggressive and easy to ca...

October 2019

  • Night Bite Walleyes

    Night Bite Walleyes

    If you want to catch a big walleye, fall is the time to do so. There are lots of bodies of water across walleye territory that are home to true trophies. If the walleye-of-a-lifetime is your goal, center your efforts on the bodies of water that have a history of producing big walleyes. Often t...
  • Switch Species For More Fish

    Switch Species For More Fish

    Fall is in full swing and many anglers consider fall fishing to be the best fishing period of the year. However, even during the best fishing period of the year, there are days when action might be a little slower than we like. There are things we can do to try to get the fish to bite, things like...
  • Fall Perch

    Fall Perch

    Some friends invited me to join them for an afternoon of fishing recently. I quickly and gladly accepted their invitation. We wanted to enjoy each other's company and the nice fall weather, but we also wanted to catch some fish. Several in our group wanted to take a few fish home. The walleye bit...

September 2019

  • How Wind Affects Fish

    How Wind Affects Fish

    There's an old saying that nothing screws up a day of fishing like the wind. But that's not really true. Wind can be a very good thing for fishing, especially if you like catching big fish. That's because of all the environmental things that happen above the waves, nothing else has such a direct imp...
  • 3 Ways To Catch Fall Crappies

    3 Ways To Catch Fall Crappies

    Wherever people fish anywhere in North America, and that's almost everywhere, there's an excitement right now about fishing. Fall is a wonderful season to be on the water trying to get a fish to bite. And, if you put your bait in front a fish, chances are good that it will eat that bait. In the a...
  • Tactics For September Smallmouth

    Tactics For September Smallmouth

    There's something about September and smallmouth bass that makes a magic combination. Perhaps it's the cooler early-fall weather that makes it all so much fun, or perhaps the lack of bugs. Maybe it's that most anglers forget about bass come Labor Day, or that they've switched gears to other pursuits...

August 2019

  • Ten Tips for Fall Walleye

    Ten Tips for Fall Walleye

    Lots to like about fishing for walleye in the fall. Traditionally some of the very best fishing of the entire season particularly for trophy class fish. Great fishing, big fish and less people. Lots to like about fishing for walleye in the fall. Traditionally some of the very best fishing of t...
  • Crankbait Selection Part 2

    Crankbait Selection Part 2

    In our last article we looked at how to select crankbaits based on depth and action. But other factors are also important, such as the material that the lure is made from. Crankbaits come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of materials. Walk down that tackle aisle and you...
  • Crankbait Selection Part 1

    Crankbait Selection Part 1

    Open any angler's tackle kit and it's a sure thing that you'll find a whole bunch of crankbaits in different shapes and sizes. Deep-runners, shallow-runners, floaters, sinkers, suspenders. And if the owner is like most anglers, these expensive baits probably seldom see the water. It's an amazing ...
  • End Of Summer Fishing

    End Of Summer Fishing

    Summer took it's time arriving this year, fishing has been good for many people in many places. Now we're thinking about fall fishing. It certainly is true: The older we get the faster time goes by. Late summer and fall fishing can be very good, but if we want it to be very good, we need to chang...
  • Kayak Fishing:  Getting Started

    Kayak Fishing: Getting Started

    I began fishing from a kayak 15 years ago and have enjoyed it over the years. Sure, I love getting out in my fishing boat, but there are areas that just aren't appropriate for a bigger boat. And, there are times when being out in one of my Jackson kayaks is just what my mind, body and spirit need....
  • Fly Fishing For Summer Trout

    Fly Fishing For Summer Trout

    Trout fishing in the Midwest is a seasonal game for most anglers. We line the rivers flowing into the Great Lakes in early spring and late fall, chasing migratory rainbow trout and brown trout long before and after prime fishing seasons for everything else. But it's wrong to think of stream fishing ...

July 2019

  • Saddle Up For Big Fish

    Saddle Up For Big Fish

    We all have our favorite fishing spots, but mine is straight out of a spaghetti western. While scores of other anglers pound obvious spots like shoreline docks and pad beds, I head straight for places you can only see on navigation charts. Because these unseen gems see little fishing pressure compar...
  • New Trolling Angles

    New Trolling Angles

    Crankbait trolling for walleye is so effective come mid-summer. Besides covering water, crankbaits also simply trigger fish. Most of the prominent trolling patterns in the Midwest are basin, contour or open water orientated. Trolling crankbaits is popular on big locations and shine for breaking d...

June 2019

  • Speed Rig Walleyes

    Speed Rig Walleyes

    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 attach...
  • Easy Tactics For Early Summer Muskie

    Easy Tactics For Early Summer Muskie

    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 whe...
  • Find Their Food, Find The Fish

    Find Their Food, Find The Fish

    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 o...

May 2019

  • Running and Gunning for Spring Walleye

    Running and Gunning for Spring Walleye

    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 d...
  • Dredging and Burning Spoons For Spring Pike

    Dredging and Burning Spoons For Spring Pike

    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 effe...
  • Slow Down In The Spring For More Fish

    Slow Down In The Spring For More Fish

    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 diff...

April 2019

  • Targeting  Weedline 'Eyes

    Targeting Weedline 'Eyes

    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...
  • Plastics for Spring Panfish

    Plastics for Spring Panfish

    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...
  • Save Your Eyes And Catch More Fish

    Save Your Eyes And Catch More Fish

    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 ...
  • When To Use Mono, Braid or Fluorocarbon

    When To Use Mono, Braid or Fluorocarbon

    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,...

March 2019

  • Get Ready For Open Water

    Get Ready For Open Water

    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 an...
  • Enjoy Fast Action With Ice-Out Crappie

    Enjoy Fast Action With Ice-Out Crappie

    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, a...
  • Prime Time For Winter Steelhead

    Prime Time For Winter Steelhead

    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...

February 2019

  • Search Strategies for Jumbo Perch at Late Ice

    Search Strategies for Jumbo Perch at Late Ice

    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 f...
  • Easy Tactics For Mid-Winter Panfish

    Easy Tactics For Mid-Winter Panfish

    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 alt...

January 2019

  • Hunting Gators

    Hunting Gators

    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 carpe...
  • Use Winter Nights To Prepare Tackle For The Coming Season

    Use Winter Nights To Prepare Tackle For The Coming Season

    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...
  • Winter Is Prime Time For A Tennessee Grand Slam

    Winter Is Prime Time For A Tennessee Grand Slam

    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 ...
  • Crappie Main Streamed

    Crappie Main Streamed

    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 struc...

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