It’s been an incredibly busy few days, and I can’t believe we’re actually into the season. It’s crazy how fast time flies when the weather is nice! On the eve of the traditional Wisconsin fishing opener, I had the opportunity to join DNR Fisheries Biologist Max Wolter and his crew checking fyke nets on one of the Hayward area lakes. It was a cool treat for me and an incredibly neat day. Terry Peterson had joined them the day before, and his report indicated that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I wasn’t! Max, along with his partners Russ Warwick and Scott Braden, couldn’t have been more hospitable. These guys are a well oiled machine and professionals at their craft. Scott would pull the nets, Russ would measure the fish, and Max would record the data as we moved from net to net around the lake. I gained a new appreciation for the work these guys perform without glamour and fame, and I can assure you that the fish in Sawyer County are in good hands. Max has aggressively been studying trends in our lakes and implementing changes that could have an incredibly positive result on the future of our fisheries. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website to see what they’ve been up to, and you’ll find a ton of useful information on the lakes in your area. Thanks to Max, Russ, and Scott, for putting up with me for the day. You’re a class act. I learned a bunch and can’t wait to do it again!!!
Opening day of the Wisconsin fishing season is usually reserved for my partner Terry Peterson and my father Jim. There’s been very few (one to be exact) that we’ve missed over the past 22 years, and I can’t imagine kicking off the season without having these two guys in my boat. With all of the nice weather we’ve been having, Chequamegon Bay smallies have been on the brain. That’s where we chose to break the ice for the 2015 season. Weather always plays a role in our openers, and we couldn’t have had it much better for this one. Sunny skies and moderate winds prevailed throughout the day, and the fish were definitely where we thought they’d be. Terry landed the first fish (of course) on on a crankbait, but it took us a while to dial in on the right presentation and color. Once we did, it was lights out. We pounded them in 5′ of water on crankbaits and plastics with water temps ranging from 51 – 55 degrees. Three fish landed were over 20″ with plenty in the 17″ – 19″ range. Terry pointed out that this may have been one of our better openers in terms of numbers. After looking at my records, I couldn’t argue. This was definitely one for the books. Lots of laughs, lots of stories, and lots of fish with two very important guys in my life. Can’t think of a better way to start the season!
Monday and Tuesday were spent with Dave Brown from Keyes Outdoors Productions as we layed down some footage on Chequamegon Bay with Rick Quade and Tony Brown for a new show that will air in 2016 on FSN. Trophy Fish Hunter will feature a variety of species and destinations while using products from Reaction Strike. With only two days to film, we had a tall order to fill. Smallmouth were first on the agenda with a trolling piece second in line. Day one of the shoot went as good as could be expected. We found a pile of smallies in 5′ of water, but they weren’t overly aggressive by any means. After sorting through a variety of lures, the Jerky J made it’s presence known. Flat water and high skies called for a subtle presentation, and it was the perfect solution. Once the bite was dialed in, we caught plenty of nice fish up to 20″ in 3′ – 5′. Water temps ranged from 55 – 58 degrees. With plenty of smallmouth footage in the can, it was on to trout and salmon. Tony Brown (Big Business), joined us as we headed for the big water. He’s been fishing this water his whole life, and his expertise was evident from the start. He got us dialed in on depths, colors, sizes, etc., and the fish did the rest. We found browns up to 20″ and lakers up to 25″ while pulling a variety of crankbaits in 8′ – 15′ of water. Finding warm water was definitely the key as even a half degree made a difference in finding active fish. 48 degrees was the most productive temperature we found with a variety of colors and styles drawing attention. We also lost a few big fish with yours truly breaking off on a heavy dude. Where have we heard that before???… The XRM’s and BD series proved to be our best producers, and I was completely impressed with this line of lures. From trout to smallies, these baits will catch them all! Thanks to Rick, Dave, and Tony for a great time and all of your hard work. I had a blast, and can’t wait to do it again! I’m just wondering what I should do with this bill Big Business???