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Jerry Carlson's Articles

July 2020

  • Fishing the Multi-Species Option

    Fishing the Multi-Species Option
    by JERRY CARLSON

    There are days when my fishing efforts revolve around targeting one species of fish. On these outings, I may pick a bass lake or walleye water, or maybe even look for panfish. However, there are those times, especially when I am taking less experienced anglers, that I opt for the multi-species appro...

March 2020

  • Targeting Early Panfish in Clear Water

    Targeting Early Panfish in Clear Water
    by JERRY CARLSON

    I will never forget my first experience with early season panfish on a lake that had super clear water. It changed the way I approached early season angling forever. The small, isolated bay we had selected to fish looked like an ideal spot for early season panfish. It was protected by cattails on...

January 2020

  • Winter Angling May Require Persistent Searching

    Winter Angling May Require Persistent Searching
    by JERRY CARLSON

    You can't quit looking. It's as simple as that. Hard water fish that aren't located where you expected them to be can create some location issues. Sometimes, you just need to find an alternate location where the fish are biting. This is the message I kept telling myself as an unusual winter began...

April 2019

  • Plastics for Spring Panfish

    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...
  • Targeting  Weedline 'Eyes

    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...
  • Rigged and Ready for Live Bait

    Rigged and Ready for Live Bait
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Live bait rigging for walleyes is about as classic a walleye presentation as anyone can find. It is a standard for catching fish on just about any body of water anglers choose to visit. However, there are subtle tweaks to this presentation that can make something great even better. One of the fir...

January 2018

  • Love Those Deep Basin Panfish

    Love Those Deep Basin Panfish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Many times I have heard anglers share frustrations over the lack of winter panfish that are showing up in their favorite honey hole. I have been known to make the same complaints from time to time. However, I have also learned the remedy for staying on winter crappies and bluegills. When it comes...

December 2017

  • Lake of the Woods: A Fishing Destination

    Lake of the Woods: A Fishing Destination
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It had been a couple of years since I made my last trek to ice fish on Lake of the Woods. Because of this fact, I was quite thrilled to be invited to join tourism director, Joe Henry and a group of Ice Team anglers on a mid-March excursion to Arnesen's Rocky Point Resort. Although it was my firs...

November 2017

  • Early Ice Panfish Junkie

    Early Ice Panfish Junkie
    by JERRY CARLSON

    The early ice is always an interesting period in the fishing calendar. It is definitely one of my favorite times of the year for angling. Although most of my open water fishing is spent targeting walleyes and bass, when it comes to the early ice period, I most certainly become a panfish junkie. I...

June 2017

  • Thoughts on Big Baits for Largemouth

    Thoughts on Big Baits for Largemouth
    by JERRY CARLSON

    I have often had conversations with anglers about their favorite go-to bass lures. This is always an interesting topic as it seems every angler has their own personal favorites. However, most anglers will agree that big baits not only catch big bass, they are also appealing to smaller fish, as well....

April 2017

  • Tweaking the Classic Live Bait Rig

    Tweaking the Classic Live Bait Rig
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Sometimes I get the feeling that the angling world is moving in a direction of extreme sophistication and technical fishing. I am not against that movement as I have seen the rewards from experimenting with something new. However, I think it is still okay to fall back on the good old basics that con...

November 2016

  • Early Ice: A Quiet and Productive Time of the Year

    Early Ice: A Quiet and Productive Time of the Year
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It was mid-morning when I stopped to pick up long time fishing companion, Charlie Simkins. Although the air was cool, this particular winter day did not have the bite to it we sometimes feel in early winter. After a short greeting, we loaded Simkins' gear into the truck and we were off. Our goal ...

June 2016

  • Fishing the Transitional Edges

    Fishing the Transitional Edges
    by JERRY CARLSON

    During the course of the year, I fish several dozen different lakes. For the most part, each lake has its own personality when it comes to structure, water clarity, weed growth and the size and quantity of fish. Even though lakes differ greatly in their personality, there are some similarities t...

February 2016

  • Love Those Winter Panfish

    Love Those Winter Panfish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    When it comes to ice fishing, I am definitely someone that thrives on panfish. Crappies and sunnies have a way of keeping me entertained through the entire frozen water period. Occasionally, I get a little grief for not targeting walleyes during the winter months, but I can handle the criticism....

January 2016

  • Put a Little Spring in Your Bobber

    Put a Little Spring in Your Bobber
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It happens to me several times every winter. Someone that has not experienced the pleasures of modern ice fishing techniques asks me to take them panfish fishing. I gladly oblige. Each time out, there is quite a learning curve that must be gone through. The concept of seeing your bait on the Ve...

December 2015

  • Targeting Deep Basin Panfish

    Targeting Deep Basin Panfish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It was clear we had the lake to ourselves as we drove into the landing and looked out over the frozen landscape. This out-of-the-way body of water received little pressure during the winter months, especially midweek. As we unloaded the four wheeler, I explained to my fishing partner about the p...

August 2015

  • Rainy Lake Keeps on Giving

    Rainy Lake Keeps on Giving
    by JERRY CARLSON

    This was the eighth year for our group of anglers that make an annual trek to Island View Lodge on Rainy Lake. Although every year is a little different, the one common theme that runs through the entire eight year period is the successful walleye angling we encounter. In 2014, the high water mad...

June 2015

  • Do Your Homework before Exploring New Water

    Do Your Homework before Exploring New Water
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Every summer I make an effort to explore a few new lakes to see if there are bodies of water I am not familiar with that need some attention. I also make a concerted effort to spend time looking for new fishing spots on my list of regulars. Either way, there is some research that is done before I ge...

May 2015

  • Worming The Deep Weedline

    Worming The Deep Weedline
    by JERRY CARLSON

    When it comes to targeting summertime bass, there are truly a multitude of methods and strategies that will catch fish. These strategies vary from angler to angler and will cater to the demands of working a particular type of bass holding structure. I have certainly been successful at finding and...

April 2015

  • Adapting to Conditions Is Part of the Game

    Adapting to Conditions Is Part of the Game
    by JERRY CARLSON

    As we drove into the lot at Island View Lodge on Rainy Lake in northern Minnesota, it only took a moment to realize this was going to be a different sort of walleye trip for our group. Instead of being greeted by the serenity of the landscape, we were greeted by sandbags and huge pumps spewing water...

March 2015

  • The Spring Panfish Bonanza

    The Spring Panfish Bonanza
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Every spring, I look forward to the days when I can drop a boat into open water and fish the shallow water panfish bite. For me, this is an enjoyable time that frequently offers some of the best crappie and bluegill angling of the year. Most anglers understand that this early season rush to shall...

January 2015

  • It's All About Efficiency

    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 ...

September 2014

  • Tactical Thoughts for Fooling Canada Geese

    Tactical Thoughts for Fooling Canada Geese
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Every year when goose season starts, I hear people talking about strategies that will help them defeat the wiles of the Canada goose. After years of trying to solve this problem, I have come to the conclusion that there are tactics that will put the odds in your favor. However, geese are geese and t...

June 2014

  • Simple Refinements for More Summer Bass

    Simple Refinements for More Summer Bass
    by JERRY CARLSON

    As anglers settle into summer patterns for bass fishing and we start working a little deeper water for bucket mouths, I find there are some refinements I can make that will increase my level of success. These refinements are simple yet will get results. One of my favorite presentations for workin...

April 2014

  • Refine Your Live Bait Presentation

    Refine Your Live Bait Presentation
    by JERRY CARLSON

    There are a lot of different ways to catch walleye and I have tried most of them. Some of these techniques have worked well under certain conditions, others have not impressed me very much. There is one presentation that has consistently been successful for me, especially early in the year. This...

March 2014

  • Follow the Basics for Spring Panfish

    Follow the Basics for Spring Panfish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Over the years, I have read a kajillion articles on how to catch spring panfish. Some of them have been excellent and some have been a little farfetched in my opinion. I believe catching spring panfish is not that difficult if one sticks to the basics. The first and most important concept in catc...

December 2013

  • Deep Basin Crappie Towns: A Reliable Strategy

    Deep Basin Crappie Towns: A Reliable Strategy
    by JERRY CARLSON

    The public access was almost empty when I pulled in. As I unloaded my four wheeler, I could see a few vehicles still on the ice, but for the most part, the lake was quieting down for the mid day lull. Once on the ice, I pointed my rig toward the cluster of houses at the far end of the lake. As I ...

November 2013

  • Five Tips for More Winter Panfish

    Five Tips for More Winter Panfish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Every year at the start of the winter season, anglers get all pumped up about spending time on the ice. They often buy some new equipment and make big plans about how they are going to target fish a little differently this year. However, when it comes right down to it, they frequently fall back into...

August 2013

  • Location Can Determine Honker Success

    Location Can Determine Honker Success
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It was not much to look at. The 20 acre field of small grain was tiny compared to some of the other potential hunting spots in the region. According to the landowner, the geese had pretty much been ignoring it, favoring the larger fields instead. Still, I was totally thrilled to get permission to...

July 2013

  • Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Angler

    Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Angler
    by JERRY CARLSON

    I believe there are a lot of similarities between golf and fishing and often make comparisons between the two. For instance, no matter how good a person's game is, there is always room for improvement and we strive to become better than we are. Now, let's talk fishing specifics. Every angler I ...

June 2013

  • Fishing From The Mixing Bowl

    Fishing From The Mixing Bowl
    by JERRY CARLSON

    I arrived in Nevis, Minnesota early in the morning to begin a two day marathon fishing outing with guide and fishing expert, Kelley Cirks. Each summer, Cirks and I hit the lakes in the Park Rapids region in what has become an annual event. As I loaded my gear into his boat, Cirks informed me we w...

May 2013

  • Live-Bait Rigs Are Always an Option

    Live-Bait Rigs Are Always an Option
    by JERRY CARLSON

    I love to fish and I love to catch fish of all species. I enjoy scrappy panfish on light tackle. Watching bass squirt out of the water in an effort to throw the hook is always a treat. However, there is no question that there is something special about catching walleye. When it comes to sticking...

April 2013

  • Making Withdrawals from the River Bank

    Making Withdrawals from the River Bank
    by JERRY CARLSON

    As I look back on my angling experiences from my youth, there are few memories that grab me like the ones spent fishing for suckers on the banks of a river. Now that I am a few years older and gray is a dominant color in my beard, I still relish opportunities to make withdrawals from meandering wate...

January 2013

  • Minimize the Effect of Auger Noise

    Minimize the Effect of Auger Noise
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Even though I had my back to the approaching vehicle, I could hear it coming while it was still a quarter mile away. It wasn't that the muffler was bad or the engine was revved, it was the ice moaning and groaning from the weight that was the clue. I watched the fish on my Vexilar, hoping I could...

December 2012

  • Snow Geese Arkansas Style

    Snow Geese Arkansas Style
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It was the last day of our Arkansas snow goose hunting adventure with Goose and Duck Smackers Guide Service. The early morning rain that had been promised by the weatherman had not yet arrived. However, the leading edge of the clouds was present making for a spectacular red and orange sunrise. As...

November 2012

  • Many Lakes, Many Fish

    Many Lakes, Many Fish
    by JERRY CARLSON

    During the course of a winter of chasing panfish, I like to roam. I find it difficult to return to the same lake again and again, even if there is a respectable bite taking place. New water and fresh ice just appeals to me. My roaming itch is easy to scratch. I don't have to travel hundreds of mi...

September 2012

  • Family Ties Are Strong

    Family Ties Are Strong
    by JERRY CARLSON

    When it comes to laying out decoy spreads for Canada geese, there are many different strategies to draw from. How a person goes about setting a spread depends on a number of variables. These variables include things like personal experience, location, weather and the time of the year. When it com...

August 2012

  • Finish More Geese with Better Concealment

    Finish More Geese with Better Concealment
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Unless you are hooked on chasing Canada goose, it is hard to explain the enthusiasm for hunting that starts to develop in late summer. If you are a goose hunter, you know exactly what I am referring to. For us goose hunting junkies, the off season is always too long. When you enjoy hunting geese ...

July 2012

  • Working the Walleye-Northern Connection

    Working the Walleye-Northern Connection
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Everyone that has fished a reasonable amount has had a northern experience or two they will never forget. These experiences are broad based and include fish that were caught, ones that got away and the ferocious strikes that can occur when a northern hits a hooked fish you are trying to reel in. ...

June 2012

  • Twitch Baits Are a Viable Option

    Twitch Baits Are a Viable Option
    by JERRY CARLSON

    It had been a couple of tough days for our group on Rainy Lake. For some reason, we couldn't seem to zero in on an early summer pattern that would provide consistent walleye action for our anglers. In an act of desperation, I suggested to a couple of people that we should try something different....

May 2012

  • Quitting is for Quitters

    Quitting is for Quitters
    by JERRY CARLSON

    Every year I try to get together with long time fishing friend, Kelley Cirks. Cirks is a great angler that spends a lot of time on the water in the Park Rapids area of Minnesota. Normally, when he calls to say the fish are biting, I can pretty much count on a sure thing. Of course, there is that wor...

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