Living the dream

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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:13 pm

What little snow was on the ground here in the Tomahawk area will soon be gone as a steady rain continues to fall in the area Wednesday afternoon. In the 30 some years I have been ice fishing in northern and central Wisconsin, I cannot remember a later start to the ice fishing season than is being experienced this year. There just isn't much ice out there now due to the recent rain and warm weather, and I don't expect an upcoming cool down in the forecast will do much to improve conditions by this coming weekend. I checked a couple areas on Nokomis, Mohawksin, the Spirit and Lake Alice (Anglers Lane boat landing) where some had been venturing out a while back and most the ice is now gone. The sheltered bay at Bradley Park was about the only place with any significant amount of ice left, which means we will pretty much be starting from scratch once the temps do again cool down. I'm going to remain hopeful that by Christmas there will be consistent fishable ice, although warm weather forecasted for next week might make that even iffy. Hard to imagine a December in northern Wisconsin where there wasn't enough ice to fish in December. To put into perspective the severity of the situation, I actually finished up my Christmas shopping yesterday well ahead of when I typically get done on Christmas Eve. Suffice to say, all I want for Christmas is about four inches of consistent ice on area lakes.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby Old Scout » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:59 pm

Not the first time we haven't had ice or snow this time of year. I recall back in the early to mid 80's, (not sure of the exact date) the Tomahawk scout troop held a winter camp out on Scout island in Mohawksin the week between Christmas and New Years. There was no ice at all and we went to the island by canoe and camped on bare ground as there was also no snow. One of the strangest winter camp outs I have ever been on. :D
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:24 pm

Chief Meteorologist Matt Benz from WJFW in Rhinelander said the last time a brown Christmas occurred in Rhinelander was 2002. Since records began being kept in 1908 a total of eight brown Christmases have occurred in Rhinelander. Good to at least see some new ice forming this morning with lows dropping into the teens last night. Lows in the single digits tonight should really help build ice. Hopefully we will have plenty of safe ice by the Christmas break this year. If not, I might just have to pull one out of the Boy Scouts' bag of tricks and bust out the canoe!
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:26 pm

A white Christmas might not be in the cards this year as a steady rain continues to fall in the Tomahawk area this Wednesday afternoon. However, the snow-melting rain could turn into an early Christmas present for local ice anglers. Some recent cold nights had allowed enough ice to form on area waters to allow anglers to once again start venturing out. Sunday anglers could be seen out on Lake Alice off the Horseshoe landing and Monday I spoke with a buddy who was out on the Spirit who said he had about three inches (both of these spots had open water when I checked Dec. 17). Forecasters are calling for about a half-inch of rain to fall today and into tonight. However, unlike previous rain storms earlier this month that were followed by warm weather that completely ruined the ice, the good news this time around is overnight lows are expected to drop below freezing tonight and stay there into tomorrow, meaning the rain will freeze and add to the ice base. I suspect by this weekend certain protected bays and places where anglers have been venturing out already will be in good enough condition to ice fish. Expect ice conditions to very widely considering some places still have yet to freeze and there likely will be higher flows on the flowages again thanks to the recent rainfall. Make sure to chip along with a spud to check ice conditions and to carry a pair of ice picks just to be safe. Fish with a friend, have available a flotation device and throw rope and avoid any areas where ice depths might be questionable. Planning to get out over the weekend and will report back on the bite. It only took till Christmas, but it finally looks like the ice fishing season is upon us. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. Good luck and be safe to everyone heading out. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:40 pm

We finally were able to get the ice fishing season underway Sunday here in the Tomahawk area. Fished in a pretty well protected bay on a local reservoir and found five inches of good, solid ice. Foot travel wasn't too bad as areas of the bay had a light coating of snow while other areas were just ice covered, which made things a little slippery in some areas. Fished for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and did manage a few fish including a very large bluegill and nice perch. A couple flags resulted in a small pike. All were released and no walleyes were caught. Panfish were caught jigging waxies in six feet of water over mud. Pike were hitting shiners on tip ups set along shore. A pair of eagles soared overhead as we set up. Guess we weren't the only ones out there looking for a meal of fish. Still areas on local flowages that are not safe and even still have open water. Make sure to continue to use caution and check ice depths with an ice spud if unsure.The shoreline was still a bit of a mess as a result of a lack of deep frost in the ground. A big snowstorm scheduled to hit this evening and dump up to a foot snow will not help build additional ice. Hopefully it doesn't turn into a big mess out there with all the added weight that will be on the ice. At least we were finally able to get the season started and had fun seeing the first flags fly of the year. Seasonably cold weather is in the forecast for the foreseeable future, so hopefully things will continue to firm up as we head into January. Need some cold weather to freeze up the swamps and then some snow to fall so the snowmobile trails can open for the year. Planning to hit the ice hard this coming weekend and will report back on the bite. Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous New Year. Good luck to everyone heading out. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:06 pm

The ice continues to build here in the Tomahawk area with 7 to 8 inches in the two places we fished on a local folwage Saturday and Sunday. With that said, I was also contacted about a snowmobile that went through the ice on Lake Nokomis over the weekend, so make sure to use caution and KNOW the ice conditions where you plan to go before heading out. We found finicky panfish both Saturday and Sunday as they could be seen coming up to the bait on the flasher and then backing off without biting. The one marginal bite we did experience was the walleyes. Set tip ups tipped with shiners along channel edges Saturday and caught four shorties. Sunday tried a mud bottom bay in about five feet of water and caught two legals again using shiners on tip ups. Tried jigging for panfish at both places and found uncooperative fish each time. There was a couple inches of snow atop the ice, which made for safe and easy travel, but also made for a bit of work to haul around the portable ice shack and all the gear. Hoping to get out on some better panfish locations in the coming week and will report back on the bite. Until then, make sure to continue using caution if heading out by foot or on an ATV or snowmobile. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:41 pm

A week of significant cold here in the Tomahawk area will greatly improve ice conditions on area waters. Sunday night bottomed out at minus 21 degrees and daytime highs for the past few days have struggled to make it into the single digits. Suffice to say the ice is building quickly. I did hear of some nice sized walleyes being caught on area flowages leading up to the big cool down. Temperatures are forecasted to begin trending upward heading into this coming Free Ice Fishing Weekend in Wisconsin, which allows families and newcomers to sport to fish anywhere in the state without needing to purchase a fishing license. Once again coinciding with the upcoming free fishing weekend, Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited (TFU) will be holding its annual Family Fishing Ice Fishing Contest at Road Lake Pub and Grill Saturday (the Packer Game will be on the big screen). Anglers can fish any body of water they would like from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with fish registration at Road Lake, located at N8796 STH S, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (any tie goes to first fish registered). Register in advance to take part at Road Lake Pub, Chuck's Sports Shop, Aquatic Arts Fishing Pro Shop, Viegut's Do-It-Express, Tomahawk bp, all in Tomahawk, and Rutt'n Rod in Merrill before noon on Saturday. Tickets are $3 youth and $5 adults and cash prizes, based on registered anglers, will be given for the biggest catches in five fish categories in the adult and youth divisions. The first 50 registered youths at Road Lake will also be given a free ice fishing rod and reel and goodie bag.Even those not registering a fish or taking part in the tourney are encouraged to stop out, as TFU will be raffling off a number of exceptional prizes Saturday night (must be present to win). Tickets will also be available for the big raffle TFU has been selling tickets for that includes a first place Henry Goldenly .22 Caliber Lever Action and second place Marcum VXII Color Flasher among other prizes. The big raffle drawing will also take place Saturday (need not be present to win). Food and refreshments will be available starting at noon. Proceeds from the Family Fishing Contest go to support the TFU Free Kids' Summer Fishing Contest, held on the summer Free Fishing Weekend in Wisconsin in June. Just a reminder to anyone taking part, the new walleye slot limit is in effect on most area waters requiring fish from 20" to 24" to be released. It is also illegal to transport live fish or lake water from any body of water (two gallons not containing lake water allowed to transport minnows). With warming weather heading into the weekend it should provide a great opportunity to take the family out and get the kids hooked on fishing. Good luck to everyone heading out this upcoming weekend whether taking part in the TFU tourney or just enjoying the beautiful God's Country we are blessed to call home. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby Old Scout » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:16 pm

I'm guessing that you have plenty of ice now after this stretch of cold weather. :)
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:43 am

Hey Old Scout,
From the anglers I spoke with who braved the cold to take part in the Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited's annual Family Fishing Contest this past Saturday ice conditions are starting to build rather nicely here in the Tomahawk area. I heard anywhere from eight to 10" Saturday and would expect a couple of additional inches have been added since as overnight lows have remained well below zero. A couple of people said they ran into some pockets of slush in places, which is always a stinker that will hopefully be frozen up by this coming weekend. The lack of snow is not good for the snowmobilers or cross country skiers but does provide easier access for ice anglers. I expect area waters will see a lot of activity this coming weekend as temps are forecasted to climb back into the 20s. This looks like it will actually be one of the first nice weekends of the winter to get out there and enjoy. Also on a side note, this is the time of the year to start watching for the amazing courtship bald eagles perform each winter starting in late January and February. The birds lock talons at a high altitude and "cartwheel" toward the ground before unlocking claws right before impact. Watched this on a lake just north of Tomahawk a few years ago and was left in awe of the death defying ritual. Actually remember being concerned I might have to make an emergency visit to REGI (Raptor Education Group Inc.) in Antigo that day because of how close they were coming to hitting the ground. Caught some pretty nice perch that day come to think of it, so I think I know where I will be headed come Saturday. Good luck to everyone heading out this coming week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time. Listed below is some of those brave ice anglers I mentioned above who took part in the TFU Family Fishing Contest. Proceeds from the contest go to support TFU's annual Kids Free Summer Fishing Contest held during free fishing weekend in Wisconsin in June.
Adult category:
Walleye – 1st place, James Sargent, 18 7/8”; 2nd place, Craig Hansen, 15”; 3rd place Joe Haring, 15 “
Northern – 1st place, Nelson Reynolds, 26 1/2”; 2nd place, Bob Chojnacki, 25 1/2”; 3rd place, Gus Frank, 24”
Perch – 1st place, Tim Gerdman, 11”; 2nd place, James Sargent, 10 1/2”; 3rd place, Al Cottrell, 10 3/8”
Crappie – 1st place, Ginnie Mootz, 13 1/2”; 2nd place, Gail Behm, 12 1/2”; 3rd place, Josh Merrigan, 12”
Bluegill – 1st place, Josh Merrigan, 9 5/8”; 2nd place, Kevin Bolder, 9 1/8”; 3rd place, Josh Merrigan, 9 1/16”
Youth category:
Walleye – 1st place, Riah Petta, 18”; 2nd place, Autumn Merrigan, 15 1/8”
Northern – 1st place, Hunter Nitsch, 21 1/4”; 2nd place, Jerrett Flynn, 19 1/4”; 3rd place, Avery Petta, 19”
Perch – 1st place, Hunter Nitsch, 10”; 2nd place, Micah Schwartz, 9 1/2”; 3rd place, Josh Janshen, 9”
Crappie – 1st place, Jerrett Flynn, 10 1/2”; 2nd place, Nick Kahle, 10 1/4”
Bluegill – 1st place, Jonah Schwartz, 8”; 2nd place, Nick Kahle, 7 3/8”; 3rd place, Danny Janshen, 7”
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:07 pm

While we experienced some rather exceptional fishing on a Tomahawk area foliage this past weekend, while others I spoke with saw much less action out on the ice. We got out Saturday afternoon and the action was pretty much non stop from the start until we pulled the tip downs a couple hours later. All action came on tip downs rigged with ice jigs tipped with rosy reds. Bait was set about 8" off the bottom, color of jig did not seem to matter, in 10' of water. Caught five walleyes including a nice 16" and slab crappies up to 13 inches. We got out just as the wind was starting to pick up, which made tip down fishing a bit more difficult, but the fish did not seem to mind. A couple of the tip downs had to be faced more into the wind to prevent the rod from going down similar to how it does when there is a bite. Sunday we returned to the same spot and managed to get back in on the action, although it wasn't quite as impressive as the day prior and only one small walleye was caught. Tried jigging a bit both days and Sunday appeared to be the better of the two as the fish that would come up to the bait actually bit, but I was unable to catch any because I was paying too much attention to the tip downs. We had about a foot of ice on the foliage where we were and did drive the truck out for the first time this year. If the extended forecast holds, it looks like we may have a second weekend in a row of nice weather up here in the Northwoods. Didn't see any bald eagles "wheel barreling" toward the ground yet as part of mating rituals but did have one fly so close overhead I could easily hear his wings flapping in the sky. Maybe try busting out the tip downs this coming weekend if the jigging and tip downs are not producing. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods hard water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:18 pm

Gearing up for what could be a game changer of a snowstorm here in the Tomahawk area Tuesday into Wednesday as forecasters are calling for 6 to 10" of snow. Truck travel has been really nice on the flowage we have been targeting lately with a couple inches of snow on top of the ice and hardly any slush to be found. Depending on how much snow does fall and how much it blows, we could be looking at worsening travel conditions by this coming weekend reducing mobilization to ATV and snowmobile. That's too bad because this coming weekend is the start of a new moon phase when ice fishing is typically at its best. While it could hamper ice angling efforts at least the snowmobilers should finally get the white stuff they need to improve trails. Put in a good amount of time on the ice over this past weekend with some pretty mixed results to show for efforts. Saturday morning started out with two 10" crappies on the ice before the third tip down was even set. A lull in action on the tip downs provided another good bite as some holes were made near a nearby brush pile in about 10" of water where active panfish were located. Several nice crappies and bluegills in the 9" size were caught jigging waxies around the wood. A mid day major helped spark action on the tip downs before action died back down heading into the evening. Along with the crappies, a couple undersize walleyes were caught and released and about 20 panfish were kept for the frying pan. We targeted the brush pile Sunday morning and found some active crappie and caught a few undersized walleyes. By the afternoon the fishing had completely died down and we were heading off the ice. Tip downs were rigged with ice jigs tipped with rosy reds set about eight inches off the bottom produced the most fish for us over the weekend. Jigging waxies also produced Saturday and early Sunday. I tried downsizing jigs to adapt to the slowing bite yesterday and actually had one hit that broke the hook off the jig. This has been a problem with the micro-sized jigs and the oversized bluegills we target that in the past has resulted in a number of fish lost because the hook bends straight. While the tiny jigs will produce action from reluctant fish, they do need to be worked gingerly when targeting bigger fish. On a side note, had a really neat experience with a bullhead caught on a tip up and a bald eagle looking for an easy meal Saturday. Within seconds of resetting the tip up and walking a short distance away the bird swooped down and grabbed the fish. Made me think how nothing goes to waste up here in the Northwoods as the bullhead got ate and the fish carcasses left over from the fillets went into the garden to serve as fertilizer for this upcoming growing season. Overall, it was a pretty fun weekend with some amazing weather. The feeding windows certainly had highs and lows and some work had to be put in to find active fish. Hopefully my next report won't involve hours spent digging out a stuck truck from all the snow we are forecasted to get this week. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:41 am

The bulk of the big snow storm missed us here in the Tomahawk area with only about 3 to 4" on the ground this a.m. Travel should remain pretty good but do expect some drifting on the ice as the wind continues to blow pretty good. Just a reminder the Alice in Winterland ice fishing contest takes place on Lake Alice this Saturday, Feb. 6. Always a lot of fun with some really nice prizes to be raffled off.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:08 am

Finally got the opportunity to get out on a Tomahawk area flowage this past weekend after a couple weeks away. The rain and warm temperatures have really taken a toll on ice conditions as Saturday saw a bunch of slush under the little snow that remained and by Sunday most the snow was gone while some of slush had not yet frozen. A pair of creepers for the bottom of the boots is now recommended to avoid slipping on the slick ice. Hopefully we will see some colder weather before any significant snowfall so things can firm back up and provide a good end to this otherwise short ice fishing season. As far as the fishing went, it seemed we missed out on the best bite both days as both Saturday and Sunday we caught the end of a major around noon and immediately saw action on the tip downs that end quickly. Within minutes of setting tip downs each day, actually seconds on Sunday, the nice-sized crappies were hitting on tip downs using rosy reds set about a foot or less off the bottom. We were targeting the channel area in about 13 feet of water. No walleyes were caught either day and Sunday produced a couple nice-sized bluegills jigging micro tungsten jigs tipped with a waxie. This weekend is looking like it will be a nice one to get out and enjoy as highs at least Saturday are forecasted to be in the 30s before temps drop back off for a couple days. The Somo Fish and Game Club is hosting its 38th annual Ice Fishing Jamboree on Somo Lake this Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The largest family-oriented ice fishing jamboree in the area, the tourney offers plenty of big raffles, food and refreshments throughout the day and cash prizes for the biggest fish caught in five categories. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the boat landing on Somo Lake, located about eight miles west of Tomahawk on CTH CC. For more information, call Gary at 715-453-0701. Time to make the most of the ice while it is still around as forecasters are predicting a warmer than average spring for the upper Midwest. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:33 pm

We're getting to that time of year when conditions can change rapidly on Tomahawk area flowages bringing an end to truck travel and limiting access to places where water current impacts ice depths. Fortunately some cold weather this week will help firm things back up out on the ice where slush was becoming a concern. Truck travel should remain good heading into the coming weekend. Having said that, I would certainly caution those heading out this upcoming weekend to know the flowage being targeted as places where current exist have started to open up. I've been keeping an eye on the Wisconsin River below Kings Dam and the ice has rescinded downriver considerably over the past couple weeks. There's now open water around the Hwy. 86 Bridge in Tomahawk and open water could be seen Saturday just downriver from where everyone walks out at the Red Cloud boat landing. Any rain or runoff from warm temperatures will cause places with water current to open, so keep that in mind to be safe when making plans for the upcoming weekend. Otherwise, we have been finding about 18 to 20 inches of ice in places we have been targeting this winter. Hopefully this weekend's subtle warm up will have fish turned on as we head into a new moon phase on Tuesday. With highs in the mid 30s Saturday, it should provide the perfect conditions to put out some tip downs and do some hole hoping with the jig pole to find active fish. Try switching to plastics if the tip down bite slows during the day. A lot of times this trick using bloodworms and other plastics will help put an extra few fish on the ice when the bite does start to slow. Big bluegills have been mixed in with the crappies around deep structure like wood and rocks and we have continued to pick up a few here and there using micro sized jigs tipped with a waxie. This Sunday, March 5, marks the end of the game fish season for inland lakes in Wisconsin. For us, this bite had cooled in recent weeks and it has been sometime since we accidentally caught one on a tip down. This weekend marks the start of a big warm up in the forecast that could mark the start of the end of driving trucks out on area flowages. Good luck to everyone heading out this upcoming weekend. Keep safety in mind and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:03 am

I have been keeping an eye on the Wisconsin River here in Tomahawk the past few weeks watching it become ice free more and more each passing day. First it opened to where it makes the first big bend below Kings Dam a couple weeks back, then last week the channel opened all the way down to the Highway 51 overpass. It has now started to open downstream from the North Fourth Street Bridge, and my guess is with this warm weather and rain, the channel will soon be open all the way down to SARA Park. It won't be long and boats will be putting in at the Kwahamot Park boat landing. I would suspect those getting the itch to hit the open water have been keeping a close eye on Herb Mitchell a bit downstream on the Wisconsin River as this boat landing is always the first in the area to become ice free. Signs of spring have been returning to Tomahawk in recent days. On Sunday we heard and saw our first "explorer" geese while out fishing the Spirit Flowage and this morning spotted the first robins of the year and heard thunder for the first time this spring. We drove vehicles out on both flowages over the weekend, but I think with the recent warm up and rain that has about come to an end. The big difference compared to other years is this year there just isn't as much ice as normal. Where we might have well over two feet of ice during a typical winter, this year the spring thaw is starting with about 18" or less on most bodies of water. ATV and foot travel should remain good on most bodies of water yet this weekend. Just keep in mind that areas with current will be opening soon if they have not already. This past weekend's milder temperatures and likely the realization the season will soon be coming to an end brought large crowds out on the ice. Unfortunately the fish didn't seem to be as excited and a pretty slow bite was experienced where we were fishing on both days. Tried tip downs, jigging plastics and micro jigs tipped with waxies and only managed a total of nine crappies on the Willow Saturday. We were marking the fish, but like everyone else fishing in the area, could not entice them to bite. Tried again Sunday and again ran found only inactive fish. The good news is the fishing can only improve from here on out and typically late ice provides some of the best fishing of the year. Make sure to pack the boot creepers if heading out this week or coming weekend as things could be a bit slippery to start out the day. Good luck, be safe and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:29 am

And just like that it looks like winter outside again as big, wet snowflakes continue to fall and accumulate outside here in the Tomahawk area. They are calling for another 1-3" inches of snow tomorrow, so this might end up being our biggest snowfall of the season depending how much we pick up today. We also saw over an inch of rainfall last night, so I suspect ice conditions to be deteriorating quickly on area lakes and flowages. The frost was already out of the ground this past weekend and the shorelines will go out quickly considering all the additional precipitation. There still might be a few places where ice anglers can get out this coming weekend, but for the most part, I think the ice fishing season has come to an end. A couple of years ago I ice fished seven months out of the year. To put this winter in perspective, we were able to ice fish three months and saw less snow the entire year than we did last year in the month of November alone. Although it is still snowing outside, I think we had about 30" this year compared to record 34" we picked up in November 2015. The good news is the first boats have been launching at Khwahamot Park next to the North Fourth Street Bridge and before long the boat landing at SARA Park will be ice free. Kings Dam might be a no go for now as crews are working to remove the concrete building that once stood next to it and debris was really piled up down there yesterday. The water will be running pretty good following this storm and I suspect the walleye run will be getting underway. Saw my first flock of ducks yesterday on Mohawksin and geese can be heard every night now honking away out on the Spirit Flowage. Hard to believe it is already time to get the boats out and start thinking about open water fishing. Hopefully this white stuff will melt away soon and we can get back to spring. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice and open water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:32 am

The boat landing at SARA Park is now ice free and anglers have been running boats up to Kings Dam on Lake Mohawksin for the past couple days. We briefly fished from shore the other evening when air temps were in the 60s and managed to catch two undersized walleye in less than a half hour. Unfortunately the temps are forecasted to drop like a rock heading into the weekend, which means there should be plenty of room on the water and along shore for those brave enough to battle the conditions to get in on the walleye run this weekend. It was reported the perch bite has also been going at the Bradley Dam below Lake Nokomis, but I have not personally been out there to check it out. I put together an article for this coming week's Tomahawk Leader about the new panfish rules on Lake Nokomis and other local bodies of water that go into effect this Friday, April 1. The article also includes a conversation I had with Lincoln County Conservation Warden Ron Nerva where he confirms Lake Mohawksin is open year-round for walleye fishing from Kings Dam downriver to Pride Dam (the boundaries for the Tomahawk River and Somo River remains at the first train trestle with upriver sections closed until the May 7 opener). Even with the less than ideal weather headed our way over the next couple days, now is still a great time of the year to get out in the Northwoods and enjoy the abundance of nature returning and waking up from hibernation. A neighbor just down the road reported a bear in the yard the other day, and my bird feeders are being taken down this weekend to avoid the destruction that resulted the past two years from bear visits and my leaving them up too long. The first frogs of the season started to emerge this past week and have added to the choir of evening noise that has blended out the sound of wolves and coyotes howling in the distance that could be heard almost every night all winter long. The good news is the forecast shows this cool down is only temporary and by next week we should be back to enjoying spring temps. Will be setting aside some time this weekend to make sure the fishing gear is ready to go and the boat is set to hit the water when nicer weather returns. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:31 am

It sounds like one more round of snow will fall in the Tomahawk area tonight and then it will finally get back to spring heading into this weekend. After several weeks of cold and snow, expect to see a good amount of fishing pressure on the Wisconsin River come Saturday as anglers look to take advantage of the nice weather and get out and enjoy. Those looking to catch a few marble eyes on the Wisconsin River system this weekend can either use a jig with a twister or live bait dragged slowly along the bottom. I personally like to keep it simple using a hook and sinker tipped with a fathead. Sometimes the walleyes will prefer live bait on a jig head, so make sure to try both if fishing with a friend and switch to the one producing the most and biggest fish. Dams and areas downstream are good places to target on the Wisconsin River this time of year. Remember the walleye season is closed upriver from Kings Dam (Lake Alice) until the May 7 opener. The rest of the Wisconsin River downstream including Lake Mohawksin remains open (up to the train trestles on the Tomahawk and Somo rivers that are closed until the opener). The Spirit Dam also remains closed until the opener. If you're a procrastinator like me, remember to get a new fishing license before heading out as the old ones expired earlier this month. Also remember the new 20-24" slot limit and three fish bag limit is in place on most waters in the Ceded Territory including the Wisconsin River in the Tomahawk area. The five fish daily bag limit still exists, but to fill the daily bag limit anglers would need to fish two different bodies of water. Also remember the city of Tomahawk charges a $2 daily fee or $20 annual pass to use boat landings at SARA Park, Bradley Park and at the Kwahamot Park. All proceeds from the launch fee are earmarked to pay for repairs and upgrades at the boat landings. Expect to see a lot of smiling faces come this weekend as the nice weather returns and outdoor hobbies can once again be pursued. Take a walk, wet a line, fire up the pontoon for this year's maiden voyage or just sit silently and enjoy all the life returning to the area, there really is no best way to enjoy the beauty of the Northwoods come springtime. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Mon May 02, 2016 11:44 am

Here is an article I put together for this coming weekend's opener for the Tomahawk Leader. Fished a shallow bay on a Tomahawk area flowage this past weekend and found plenty of jumbo perch that were taken using the methods described in the article below. The one thing I would add is that the shallow bite will be better later in the day once the water has warmed. Also look for shorelines with wood and where the waves are pushing up the warmest water in the lake. Good luck and have fun on the opener. Also, don't forget to get mom some flowers for Mother's Day before heading out Sunday.

[i][/i]Warming temps shift focus to shallows leading up to May 7 fishing opener
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader City Editor
jbuelow@tomahawkleader.com
As water temperatures continue to warm leading up to the general inland opener this Saturday, May 7 anglers will want to look to the shallows to start the season off.
During a typical spring we might still be talking about targeting the tale end of the walleye run on Tomahawk area flowages as the species wraps up the spawn. Thanks to this spring’s early arrival, the walleye run will likely be mostly wrapped up by the opener and anglers will want to target shallow bays for active walleyes as well as an abundance of aggressive panfish.
Similar to last year when warmer temperatures provided ideal conditions leading up to the opener, this year also looks as though it will follow the same pattern. That’s good news for anglers wanting to catch a meal of panfish and marble eyes on Tomahawk area flowages, as the newly emerging weeds in shallow bays of three feet of water or less will provide a great place to target.
And fishing shallow waters this time of year can be a lot of fun. On outings last year it was not uncommon to catch a few jumbo perch followed by some slab bluegills. A few big crappies would be mixed in and then a nice battle would pursue as a nice walleye or pike would be hooked into. The hot action continued for several weeks until these shallow weedy areas became too choked out with weeds to effectively target.
The technique used to target this smorgasbord of active fish was a simple hook and sinker combo tipped with a chunk of nightcrawler rigged under a slip bobber. While this simplistic style of fishing provided plenty for the frying pan, it also made for the ideal situation to involve a newcomer in the sport. This time of the year can also be great for introducing youth to fishing, as the rod bending can be almost non-stop and the mystery of what is being reeled in can keep the focus on bobbers when short attention spans could otherwise cause outings to be cut short.
While keeping a few for the frying pan makes fishing a lot of fun this time of year, we also like to remain mindful to not overharvest and to put back the female bluegills and crappies as they will have yet to spawn by the opener and will be the ones that make for many more years of fun targeting the shallows in the spring. And in all honesty, why would the spawners be kept when another hour on the water would produce more than enough fish of another species to make up for the amount that is being put back to protect the resource.
Those hitting the water this opener will want to mindful of some new test lakes in the area where daily bag limits have been altered in order to try and improve panfish numbers and size. The new regulations that went into effect April 1 and Lincoln County waters include the Rice Reservoir, Clara Lake, Crystal Lake, Hilderbrand Lake, Echo Lake, Hilts Lake, Clara Lake and Pesabic Lake.
Waters in Oneida County include Boom/Rhinelander Reservoir, Gilmore, Oneida Lake, Squaw Lake, Carrol Lake, Madeline Lake, Indian and the Moen Chain. Look for Department of Natural Resources signs posted at the boat landings at each of the bodies of water describing the daily bag limits and the number of each species of panfish can be kept.
Good luck to everyone heading out for the 2016 opener this coming Saturday. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your time targeting the many active fish that will be up feeding in the shallows in the days and weeks to come.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue May 10, 2016 9:35 am

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable opener and wonderful Mother's Day this past weekend. We got out for an evening of fishing Saturday and found the early spring shallow weed bite setting up nicely at the Tomahawk area flowage we targeted. In weeks past we had only been catching post spawn perch up in about two to three feet of water in a muddy bay filled with newly emerging weeds and stumps. As was expected and will continue until the shallows become too weed filled, we once again found some nice sized perch along with several additional species of fish that have now moved in. Dropping anchor in the bay during yet another breezy evening (most have been breezy this spring when we have been out fishing), I immediately hooked into a decent size fish that after a short battle involving some head shakes and a flash of a white tail at boat side proved to be a nice walleye that shook the hook. After the third outing without the net this spring, I think it is time to track down the net and get it in the boat for the year. The missed marble eye was followed by some nice perch up to 12" in length and some crappies that had moved in and were in pre-spawn. One of the crappies caught actually was already leaking eggs when she was put back in the water. Several smallmouth bass were caught and even the first nice sized sunfish of the season was caught to round out the evening. All fish were caught and released using a simple hook and bobber rig tipped with a chunk of nightcrawler. The action wasn't as fast as we had seen in previous outings but the bite did remain consistent throughout the afternoon. Watching the eagles soar overhead and the loons call off in the distance brought back memories of wonderful past openers spent with family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us, enjoying the fine fishing and abundance of nature up here in God's Country. What a blessing and joy it is to be able to know this land and to be able to harvest from its woods and waters even when the evening's entire catch was put back to fight another day. This shallow water bite should continue for several weeks to come as the water temperature continues to warm, weeds continue to develop and the big bluegills start to move in for the spawn. Please practice ethical angling and put back as many females as possible so future outings will continue to be just as successful as they were this past Saturday. Some cool temps in the forecast heading into this weekend but I suspect it won't do too much to slow the shallow bite for those willing to hit the water. And just like that another opener is in the books. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed May 18, 2016 2:52 pm

After mowing the lawn in the snow this past Saturday, the weather finally appears to have taken a turn for the better as forecasts are calling for highs in the 70s this coming weekend. Time to target the shallows once again on Tomahawk area flowages as panfish and game fish will be found up in the wood and newly emerging weeds. Along with the perch, crappie and walleye, I suspect this warm weather will push the bluegills up into the shallows as they prepare to spawn. Use a simple hook and slip bobber rig tipped with a half nightcrawler to catch these fish. Remember to put back the big female bluegills and crappies so they can finish up the spawn. This is a great time of the year to get out and enjoy an exceptional bite and to keep a few for the frying pan. Good luck to everyone heading out this coming weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time!
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed May 25, 2016 9:34 am

A quick fishing trip from shore after work yesterday produced some nice crappies and big bluegills on a Tomahawk area flowage. The girlfriend even had a brief battle with a mid-40" musky that provided plenty of excitement before breaking her line. The panfish were caught in a foot to a couple feet of water in downed timber along shore. The crappies and gills were found tight to the wood. As soon as the bait would hit the water it would be fish on, and then the challenge became keeping the fish from diving down into the limbs and other submerged wood. Most the gills were in the 8" to 9" range with a couple even pushing 10" in length. The crappies were in the 10" to 12" range. All fish were caught using a half nightcrawler on a simple hook and slip bobber rig. This can be a great time of the year to take the children fishing as the action was consistent and the gills put up a pretty decent fight. Kept a dozen for a meal and the big females were put back to finish up the spawn. This fantastic bite should continue into the upcoming Memorial Day weekend as warm weather remains in the forecast well into the future. Even with some rain in the forecast, the Tomahawk area provides plenty of opportunity to catch some impressive fish even if it is only a quick fishing trip after work or a quick outing between rain showers, which could be the case this upcoming weekend as precipitation is in the forecast. This weekend is also the opener for the 2016 musky season. I wouldn't recommend a chunk of nightcrawler and 6 pound test line like the girlfriend was using when she inadvertently hooked into a musky, but you can bet come Saturday I will be working the downed the timber using topwaters. Remember to thank a vet this Memorial Day Weekend for the freedoms we are fortunate to enjoy each and every day. A number of services are being held throughout the Tomahawk area over the weekend the public is encouraged to attend (check out this week's issue of the Tomahawk Leader for a complete listing of dates and times). Also coming up this weekend, the big Main Street Memories Car Show will be held in downtown Tomahawk Sunday, May 29. Stop by and check out the hundreds of cars that will be on display. There's free admission and plenty of food and refreshments from local non-profit organizations will be available. Good luck to everyone heading out on the water or fishing from shore this weekend. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Tue May 31, 2016 12:08 pm

We managed to dodge the heavy rain, for the most part, over the Memorial Day weekend to catch some decent panfish from a Tomahawk area flowage Saturday morning. Worked the shoreline and found jumbo perch, sunfish, bluegill, small mouth bath and even a few big dog fish that added to the rod bending. When a big round of rain passed over at about 10 a.m., we headed for shelter under a bridge and found some active walleyes. All we did to catch these fish was take the slip bobbers off and worked a chunk of nightcrawler along the bottom. Caught a half dozen walleyes in no time before the rain let up and we headed back to the shallows to chase panfish. By the time we had to head home around noon the water had warmed up and so had the fishing. Almost every cast led to a bite, and some big female gills were caught up along shore and released. A few of the big males, along with some of the jumbo perch, were kept for a fish fry. Talk about a great way to spend a morning - fishing with my father who is a Vietnam vet and enjoying the freedoms so many made the ultimate sacrifice to protect. Thank you all veterans for your sacrifice! On a side note, just a reminder Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited will host its annual Kid's Free Summer Fishing Contest at Veterans Memorial Park this Saturday, June 4, being held in conjunction with the statewide Free Fishing weekend. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. with free goodie bags, bait and a meal at Dairy Queen going to the first 100 youths registered for tourney that takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Prizes for the biggest catches awarded at the conclusion. All are welcomed to attend and help get the next generation hooked on fishing. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time!
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:32 am

The high and low temps and heavy rains here int the Tomahawk area have made fishing on flowages a bit more hit or miss as of late. Got out for a short time Saturday this past weekend and found fish relating to deep structure more typical to what one might expect during a summer pattern. Big bluegills and some decent sized walleyes were caught and released in the shade below a bridge we were fishing under to avoid the heat of the day. We were using small leeches floated under slip bobbers. Tried another spot that evening and found smaller walleyes up along shore in about three feet of water. Sunday morning we headed out on Mohawksin and caught a big piece of humble pie on the first musky outing of the season. Not that it is all that uncommon to not catch a musky every time out, but we even tried up along shore for panfish around downed timber and cabbage weeds and still could not manage a single bite. Tried multiple spots and not one fish. Regardless, it still was great being out on the water and witnessing the beauty of nature in the Northwoods this time of year. The loons are hatching chicks, the deer are dropping fawns and the family of songbirds that made a nest right outside our bedroom window wakes me every morning with the rising sun to start the day. This should be a great weekend to take the father fishing and enjoy Father's Day. The June new moon is Monday, which means this weekend should provide a good musky bite. Try to fish the low light periods and the major and minor moon phases. A chance of a storm coming through Sunday could also be a big time trigger for big fish. I have heard the gills are still on beds up by shore on some of the bigger flowages. Also, now is a great time of the year to bust out the fly rod and use poppers to catch panfish on calm evenings. Finally got the garden all in and will be focussed on pulling weeds, musky fishing and catching walleyes and panfish on area flowages the rest of the summer. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Remember to be mindful of other anglers' space, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time!
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Re: Living the dream

Postby mrbrowns » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:34 am

Overall, Chuck Grigg from Chuck’s Sport Shop in Tomahawk says fishing has been pretty good in the area given the ups and downs with the weather as of late. The Musky Master Board at Churck’s shows plenty of muskies have been caught through early summer with smaller baits being key.
“The bigger baits are producing lookers but not hookers,” Grigg said. A musky angler who had boated a fish earlier in the day June 29 said crappie colored baits were producing the best action.
Grigg said baits like the Jawbreaker Spoons, Silverspoons and CS Spinner worked around cabbage has been producing plenty of northern pike action. He added the hottest bite as of late has been bass, with the smallmouth preferring Cotton Cordells and Bandits in a crayfish pattern and largemouth bass being caught up around lily pads on topwaters like plastic frogs.
The perch, crappie and walleye can also be caught up around cabbage, Grigg noted, with a half a nightcrawler or leech on a weedless jig working well for bait for walleye. He said a lot of walleyes are being caught but the legals have been a bit tougher to come by.
Light line and long casts have been producing smaller bluegills in the shallows. The bigger gills are being found out a bit deeper in the 6’ to 10’ range. Grigg added the mayfly hatch that has been taking place for the past couple weeks should start to wind down some, the crayfish are beginning to molt and an abundance of small minnows out there meaning “matching the hatch” should be a good montage to live by when hitting the water in the coming weeks.
Stop by Chuck’s Sports Shop on North Fourth Street for more on the hot bite and to get geared up for a fun and successful day on the water.
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