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

2000 Articles

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November 2000

First or Last Cast by Robert Piorkowski
So you are heading out for a day of fishing, or for a few hours. You are mentally ready and have all your tackle prepared. Here is the question that I'm asking. Would you rather catch a great fish on your first or last cast of the day? Speaking from experience, I've had lots of these days on the water, including zero fish days. From my observations, it's interesting to see the different reactions to this question. Last fall I planned to spend an afternoon fishing on the Fox River near Geneva,Ill. I bought some bait at a local tackle store, put on my waders, locked up the car and walked to the river. While standing on shore, I picked out the first eddy I would fish, and de... more
Are you stuck for an idea for vacation next year? Are you tired of going to the same places, seeing the same things, putting up with the same crowds, year after year? Well, hey, sit back, grab a beverage and let me give you an idea. First of all, if you have school age kids....Bummer! Or maybe your kids can miss a little school, if so, that's a good thing. Because the first thing I'm going to suggest is that you schedule your vacation for mid September. Whoa! What happened to June, July and August? Well, if you're into mob scenes, tired, cranky family members and burned out summer help, then go for these times. But I'm here to tell you that I went on a September trip that was one ... more
A lazy retrieve of my Road Runner Jig was interrupted with a violent THUMP! The next few seconds included my light action spinning rod being buckled over, 4# Solar Trilene being peeled off the ultralight reel, and a real nice battle. Those events ended as my guide Steve Tieman of the Rock River Guide Service slipped the net under a beauty walleye. Fall temperature changes usually bring about that Indian Summer period followed by days in the 50's and nights in the brrr's. This is the time to get out to a river near you for some excellent walleye action on leadhead jigs. Sure a fish or two may be persuaded with a ‘crawler harness or by dragging 3 way crankbaits, bu... more
There are three methods that an angler on ice is equipped for and uses during an ice fishing season to travel over lakes and other bodies of water. They are Ultra Light, Medium Light, and Stout Light. Each is used for different times of the ice fishing season and for different types of lakes. Ultra Light For the Ultra Light traveling method use a small hand pulled sled to carry your equipment. The amount of equipment taken fishing is limited to the basics. I use a small 18" wide x 6' long sled. This sled is equipped with a bucket that carries my ice rods, strainer, etc. and doubles as a jigging seat. It's also loaded with two automated ice angling units (Finicky's Fish Factory), ... more

October 2000

Pond Fishing Review by Robert Piorkowski
There is a small pond near my neighborhood where I frequently fish. The Pond is pretty small, its size is less than 5 acres. I'm close enough that I am able to walk over and be fishing in about 5 minutes. Plenty of neighbors have asked me my destination as I walked by with rods on my shoulder. They are usually surprised to hear that anything lives in the pond, let alone bass. Early in the year, I was throwing everything at the fish with only minimal results. Crankbaits, Chug-bugs and plastics weren't catching the fish. It was by accident that I tried a mini-chug bug. I had snagged a semi-productive lure on the bottom, and I wanted to stay with a dark green color. ... more
"I'll circle past the swirl, and anchor so you guys can pinpoint the spot with a few quarter casts ahead of that fish." That was the strategy set forth by our guide and Kankakee River veteran, Matt Mullady. "Pop it and let it sit a few seconds, and pop it a couple more times" finished Matt's instuctions. After three unsuccessful passes, Pat's Chug Bug struck pay dirt. The water erupted from below as a 19 inch smallie. Five minutes worth of tug ‘o war ended when Matt slipped the net under her belly. "That's a Kankakee River bronze warrior sow !" exclaimed the 20 year plus river guru. Two snap shots later, the fish darted back to the structure of midstream boulde... more
Throughout many years of bass fishing I have seen so many different products that have been introduced to the bassin’ industry that I lost count years ago. Some products have been exceptional, some good, some just okay, and some not so good, and with the industry being in the multi-billion dollar bracket there are literally thousands of products on today’s market, and out of these "thousands of products" there are just about a handful that I surely wouldn’t be without, mostly because they have proven themselves time and time again to gain the "Exceptional" reputation they so richly deserve. I would like to talk about some of these unique products that I have stumbled onto over the years,... more

September 2000

Catching Fire at Dusk by Brian Athern
The last bit of sunlight was fading past the tree line and I knew it was time to expect good things to happen. I was not to be disappointed. A half dozen or so casts later by my brother and myself delivered the answer we were looking for. Fish on! Almost as fulfilling as booking that trip of a life time and then catching fish that make great memories in the photo album is the after work, weekday mini-trips. I know many are ready to turn the page to someone else's article but read on for a moment. By record, the post work trips have produced some of the best action over the past 5 years for myself and a slew of other anglers. Case in point, last August my br... more
Lost Resource by Robert Piorkowski
In my area, there are numerous ponds where I like to fish and spend a little quiet time. Specifically, one pond is located five minutes from where I work. Including driving time, I get to spend 20-30 minutes fishing at any one pond. I've spent many lunches wetting a line and noticing that the time had passed in a flash. It's not like fishing the big lake, or Canada, but it's relaxing and enjoyable. Most times I know what to expect when fishing a familiar pond. I can usually expect some fellow fisherman, changing water levels, sunlight conditions, species, and productive baits for catching. Something was different on a recent visit to the pond by my work. Before I co... more
Anyone that knows me might say that I'm obsessed with fishing. I'd argue that point but my wife would be standing behind me, nodding her head yes to all the points proving that obsession. Those same people also know that muskies will get me fired up beyond belief. So then, why do I love fishing Chequomegon Bay so much?? It's simple... those darned smallmouth bass!! For those of you who haven't made the "Pilgrimage to Mecca", if you love smallmouth bass, and lots of them, YOU'VE GOT TO GO! NOW!! If your idea of heaven is doing battle with these rod bending, line snapping, never surrender, bad attitude bruisers of the bass world, then you must make the effort (?) to "Go North ... more

August 2000

While enjoying an outing with my mentor and editor Mike Yurk in June 1999, I relearned a valuable lesson. That lesson was the unforgiving toll the elements take on the human body. Now most people know about extreme cold and how it kills, but Chicago just a few years back saw heat and humidity as a killer also. I hope to present some food for thought for anglers and outdoors people to avoid the misery of exposure. Frank, Mike, and I were enjoying some good largemouth bass fishing until about the last hour of our fishing day. I had developed a pounding headache, nausea, and felt a bit light on my feet. I sat in Mike's van as he and Frank loaded up, sipping water un... more
O.K., it's August, you've got some vacation time coming and you're off to a resort. The only problem is that you've never fished this lake before. What in the heck do you do? Well, you could hire a local guide, in that case, I hope you come to the Rhinelander area. No, seriously, a guide can be a great help in deciphering a lake. They know the water, they know what lures/bait are hot at the time and a good guide can eliminate a lot of fishless time on the water. But, say a guide's not available or the family budget is a bit stretched......NOW WHAT? First of all, get a good map of the lake. Fishing HotSpots has an extensive line of maps as do several other companies. There are even... more
Fishin' Docks for Summer Bass A dreary day was set forth and I was less than optimistic. I was elated to be sharing the boat with my new friend, actually old family friend, Frank Hyla, while he prefished for the Northland Bass Tournament on the Madison Chain last summer. What I hadn't realized was all the little stuff a pro does to seek out, scrutinize, and then conceal that one spot that may produce some fish worth a paycheck. I had imagined how fun it would be since we talked at the Chicagoland Fishing, Hunting, Outdoor, and Travel Show about doing some fishing. The technique I was to be taught, skipping grubs, would not only prove to be deadly that day but ... more

July 2000

Borderline Bronzebacks by Brian Athern
The rhythm of the jigs soft pop-flutter was interrupted by a violent THUMP! That's when all h-e double hockey sticks broke loose. What began as a tug of war in strength soon progressed into an aerial display of grace and beauty. Canada would not deny me on this cast though, finally surrendering a gorgeous 18 1/ 4 inch smallmouth bass for a few photos. My partner, Frank, profiled the fish well in several shots for my album and then I was rewarded with returning the favor and releasing the fighter.Someone else would tangle with that stocky bronzed warrior another day. Thus begins the time of year that many savvy smallmouth bass enthusiasts live for in the northwoods... more
It was just like you see on the fishing shows. I tossed out my fly, mended for the drift, and slowly worked the bottom. After several bumps I felt the familiar steady pull. Fish-On! My goal this summer was to get out and flyfish at least once a week. I spent the winter watching tapes, reading books and magazines and attending seminars. I was ready to catch anything that swam. My homework paid off on several occasions. With the high water, I changed my fishing location from the major rivers to the feeder creeks. These tributaries would have high water after a rain event, but will empty quickly. Some tributaries will actually become flooded due to the main river. These are the tri... more
Walter, Wally, Marbleyes, those %$*@ miserable ~%^*$, all these are common names for walleyes, that wonderful tasting, mysterious gamefish that seems to disappear just about now, only to return in the fall. If you're like I used to be, these glassy eyed buggers were a piece of cake to catch early in the season, then you'd swear that they grew wings and migrated somewhere else, usually around vacation time. Where'd they go? All the spots that produced earlier in the year are devoid of fish, the points are empty, the gravel shorelines a wasteland, and casting crankbaits with the hooks removed at the cat is more exciting than those mid-lake humps. You've emptied your wallet buying livebait,... more

June 2000

DesPlaines River Tributaries by Robert Piorkowski
The DesPlaines River has many feeder creeks and streams that enter the river from Libertyville to Channahon. Some creeks have considerable flow, others only flow during storm events. Some of the best fishing in the Chicago area is 100 yards or less up these feeder creeks. Because of storm events, deep channels have been formed in these feeder creeks due to high flows of storm water. Some small feeder creeks can have pools and channels eroded up to 6 feet deep. Deep channels and steep banks with overhanging limps provide excellent structure for fishing. But the best characteristic about small feeder creeks is that they provide a retreat from the fast current of the main river. Between ... more
Northwoods in June by Steve Huber
When most people think of fishing in northern Wisconsin, images of the elusive, legendary muskie (or that finicky yet tasty morsel, the walleye) appear. But June for me is BASS TIME!!!! June is great; the bass are usually done bedding now so I fish them without the worry of taking a spawning fish. During the bedding season, bass don't seem to feed much and so they are now REALLY hungry. Making up for lost meals, bass typically remain shallow or just adjacent to shallow water after spawning and frequently make feeding forays. When bass are in the skinny water, lure presentation can be fairly simple and straightforward. However, I won't tell my wife this, I try to make her believe that... more

May 2000

Angling Etiquette: 101 by Steve Huber
This article is somewhat of a departure from my normal monthly ramblings. What I'd like to discuss is etiquette. Not what fork you use for the salad or what to do with the finger bowl, but trailering, boat launch and fishing etiquette. I fish quite a bit, some ten months (or more) each year. What I see every year, on the roads, on the lakes and at the landings is quite often nothing short of appalling. First of all, BEFORE you ever take the trailer out of the driveway, please make sure that your trailer lights are working. I don't know how many times I've seen boats going down the road, with not a single light working. Now I don't know if they forgot to plug in the lights but I've... more
Fox River Memory by Robert Piorkowski
As prime fishing season begins, I like to remember the great days fishing of last year. Its the memories and thoughts of past time spent on the water that keeps me returning for more. It was late in the summer and I wanted to fish a little after work. The sun was setting so I only had about a half hour of power fishing. The plan was to try the Fox River near Batavia for smallmouth bass. Because of the calm water and shaded steep banks, I decided to use top water baits. I slowly waded out to get the best angle to the shore line structure. My lure choice was a brand new Rebel Pop-R, with a tiger/bass pattern. (My wife is tired of me buying new lures, she thinks a full tackle box shoul... more
In my last article "Understanding Bass Part-1" I covered a bit of information about a few of the "key factors" that an angler should really know about the bass when it comes to becoming a more successful angler such as: Food, Oxygen, and Cover. which a bass needs to survive, as well as water temperatures and how it effects bass, along with a few others to help you increase your knowledge in the field of Bass fishing. In this article I will cover a few more key factors to give you a broader knowledge when it comes to understanding bass such as the senses of a bass. All of these elements and factors are extremely important to know if you wish to become a more successful angler. Just loo... more

April 2000

Ahh Spring! by Steve Huber
It's springtime in Wisconsin and a man's thoughts turn to......Fishing!!! I mean c'mon, you didn't really think that I'd give you that old tired "thoughts turn to love?" Well, love of fishing perhaps. Spring in this part of the world is a special event. The ice is finally gone, the birds are singing, the grass is greening, the sun is shining...."Well three out of four isn't bad." This is a great time, especially if a river is nearby. I've been plying the Wisconsin River for the past month and a half, catching a typical Wisconsin grab bag of game. Walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass, crappies, perch, they've all been given a guided tour of the inside of my boat. Depending on ... more
Bass fishing is a sport like many others that when it comes to knowledge and the understanding of the opponent it allows one to become more successful. You may look at it kind of like deer hunting, the more the hunter understands the scrapes, trails, food areas, water areas, runs, and habitats of the deer the more successful the hunter will become at locating them. The same is true with Bass fishing (Bass angling), the more you understand the Bass along with the many different circumstances and conditions you run across the more successful you will be at catching them. So let’s talk about a few key factors when it comes to a better understanding of the bass. The first one we will look at wou... more

March 2000

Have you ever noticed whether it be Club Tournaments, Divisional Tournaments (B.A.S.S. Federation, Red Man, Anglers Choice, etc.) and even the Pro Tournaments, usually you will see a hand full of the same anglers consistently "In-The-Money" most of the time. Then while you’re There are several "Tricks-Of-The-Trade" or "Shortcuts" you can use to give you the edge you need to eliminate a good portion of the field of participants... driving home after fishing some of these tournaments without much success you ask yourself "What are these anglers doing so different than I am." There are many different reasons for these same anglers to consistently "Cash-In" or "Place in t... more
Winnie's Calling!!! by Steve Huber
I'm sure that most of you out there, like me have heard tales of the Jumbo Perch in Lake Winnibigoshish in Minnesota. If you're also like me, you've probably thought, "Yeah, I've got to get there sometime." Well, Bubba, the time is now! We just returned from "Winnie" and let me tell you, if this was bad fishing conditions, I've gotta get back when it's good! We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the weather was warm, clear and way too nice for what I'm used to when icefishing!! We threw (literally) our gear in the cabin and hit the lodge for the latest perch report. We were told that there was 30 inches + of ice and that the perch were hitting in 30 feet of water. Butch, Steve, Gil and I... more

February 2000

O.K., it's winter here in northern Wisconsin and the weather really stinks. First, we had no snow and warm temps for the deer season, then, when it did finally get cold and freeze, it snowed. Now whenever you drill a hole and try to ice fish, you end up with 6 inches of slush and water on top of the ice....nasty stuff, you can't walk easily, snowmobiles get stuck and 4 wheelers aren't doing much better. The boat is covered, I've watched fishing shows until I'm twitching and I sit on the sofa with a new reel, endlessly reeling, staring blankly into space. I'm bored, bored, BORED!! It's time to do some planning for next season. "What???? in February???" Yup, get off the couch y... more
Why Bass Fishing? by Roger Brown
Everyday it seems that more and more of the general public (men, women, boys, and girls) are starting to take notice that there may be just a bit more to bass fishing that meets the eye than just the Sunday morning bass fishing shows they see on TV. Why is this so? They see bass fishing in regular TV commercials (I'm sure that you have seen the commercial where 3 men are in a boat, fishing with artificial lures, and one of them throws his lure around a tree branch, and the spokesman says; "even the fish are comfortable"). This advertisement is about clothing! "Jeans." Or, how about the grocery stores...... Yes, even in food stores you will find a picture of a famous Bass Pro on a box of Whea... more

January 2000

Ice 'Eyes' by Steve Huber
It's always with great anticipation that I approach the first ice fishing trip of the season. The question is....."What do I go after....and where?" I mean, up here in northern Wisconsin, there are sooo many lakes to choose from. If you've ever looked at a map of Oneida county, there is almost as much blue as green. And each lake seems to be just a little bit better for one type of fish than another. Some lakes produce walleyes, others really crank out the northern pike (which I dearly love to fish for), others are real panfish factories. So you can see my dilemma. I decided on walleye fishing, and being the highly organized fishing machine that I am, figured I was... more

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