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Re: Living the dream

Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:54 pm
by mrbrowns
If last winter was about two weeks ahead of schedule, then the fast start to the winter of 2014 might be considered a full month ahead of where we typically might be this time of year. Those not taking to the woods for the final weekend of the gun deer season had plenty of ice fishing opportunity to take advantage of in the Tomahawk area as 10” of ice was reported on local flowages. That’s well ahead of where conditions might be expected to be this time of year, and even ahead of where things were last year when permanent ice shacks began showing up and people began using trucks to get around on the ice in the Tomahawk area by mid December. Two Tomahawk flowages were targeted over the past weekend and active panfish were found with plenty of small walleyes mixed in. The walleyes actually seemed to prefer the smaller minnows being used on tip downs for crappies over the shiners on tip ups that we had set out, and a couple nice fish were busted off as a result. For us, the crappies really seemed to prefer the plastics over the tip downs, but even these fish ran on the smaller size up to about 10”. The big cold front that moved in Sunday really slowed the panfish bite that we were enjoying beforehand in a muddy bay in about seven feet of water. The walleyes and crappie caught the day prior were found on the channel edge ranging in depths from 11 to 13 feet. Look for the bite to rebound heading into this weekend with the return of more stable and warmer weather. One area of note to keep in mind that was observed over the weekend is areas with moving water still do not have safe ice as recent rainfall and melting snow have prevented these areas from freezing solid. The shoreline is also a bit of a concern for driving out as the early heavy snow kept the ground from freezing solid - there's still puddles of unfrozen water in the woods. Keep this in mind if deciding to venture out on what would still be considered the start of the ice fishing season during a normal year. Some food for thought, if I had decided to take the truck out over this past weekend, which 10" of ice is plenty to drive on, it more than likely would've meant I'd be driving my truck on the ice here in the Tomahawk area for six consecutive months this winter. That's unheard of and really speaks to the kind of cold we have already experienced during this young winter. Always like to give a few extra days just to be on the safe side. Good luck to everyone heading out this upcoming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time!

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:19 am
by mrbrowns
Just a heads up for anyone wondering if the warm weather put a halt to ice fishing here in the Tomahawk area, I was told this morning there were still trucks driving out on Nokomis Tuesday morning. We've picked up about two inches of snow with the dropping temperatures overnight and into this morning, so hopefully conditions will once again be in pretty good shape heading into the upcoming weekend. One other observation to keep in mind is stretches of the Wisconsin River are once again really opening up, so make sure to avoid stretches of local flowages where current is present and to stick to places where ice depth is known for now. Spent this past weekend fishing for panfish and walleyes on a Tomahawk area flowage and found some pretty big bluegills from 9” to 10” willing to cooperate in the mud flat bay we targeted. Fish were found scattered throughout the deeper part of the bay in 7’ of water and the best action came off rocker jigs tipped with a waxie. Some big perch up to 12” were also caught on smaller golden shiners set 6” off the bottom on tip ups. Walleyes were a bit harder to come by for us over the weekend compared to past weeks although a buddy did manage a 20” fish Saturday as well as some smaller fish that were put back. Several dandy largemouth bass were also caught and released on jig poles, tip downs as well as on the tip ups. More northern pike were also caught this time than in previous trips out at this location. As was the case the day prior, this spot produced a good early Sunday morning bite in a shroud of fog before things really shut down around 9 a.m. By the time we left the ice Sunday conditions were getting pretty slippery, as the layer of snow that had covered the ice had melted off. We still had over 10” of ice where we were fishing, and hopefully this cool down and snow will once again firm things up and improve conditions. Thank goodness we are avoiding the polar vortexes that made ice fishing almost unbearable last winter. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and upcoming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:07 am
by mrbrowns
A wet, heavy snow continues to fall in the Tomahawk area Tuesday morning as forecasters are predicting anywhere from 3 to 5 inches by the time it is done. The beauty of the Northwoods will be on full display come Christmas as just about everything from the treetops to the old piles of snow will be covered in a fresh layer of white. As for the fishing, a pattern we began targeting since the ice went on in November of setting tip ups for walleyes while jigging for big bluegills in a mud bay on a Tomahawk area flow age continued to produce this past weekend. We fished the deepest part of the bay, in about 7’ of water, and found big bluegills up to 10” as well as some jumbo perch and walleyes mixed in. The bite was hot right from the start Saturday morning as some nice gills were caught at sunrise followed by two legal walleyes that came off tip ups using shiner minnows, which once again also produced some bonus jumbo perch. One of the tip ups that hadn’t been producing served as a good reminder to occasionally check gear as the minnow had been stripped without the flag being tripped. Once the tip up was re-baited and set the flag went off almost immediately and a nice 16” walleye was caught. This was followed by another couple walleyes and a big perch that wouldn’t have been caught had the tip up not been checked. As has been the case over previous weeks, the color and kind of jig used for the big gills played an important part in the number of fish caught. The hot lure for us has been a pink and white rocker jig tipped with a waxie. Other jigs were working but not producing nearly as many fish as the rocker in that specific color. We measured around 11” of ice as things once again froze up nicely following last weeks melt with some rain mixed in. Continue to use caution when heading out as the ice depths around channels can be much less than in areas where we have been fishing in bays where there is no current. Hopefully everyone gets the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beauty that is the Northwoods over the holidays. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Good luck to everyone heading out. Fish safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:09 pm
by mrbrowns
Brrrrr. Temps are rebounding nicely in the Tomahawk area today after starting the day out at minus 28 degrees. Thanks goodness there was no wind otherwise it would have been really brutal.Not much to report on the fishing side from the past week as frigid temps have greatly limited the amount of time being spent outdoors. We did manage to get out for a while before the big Packer victory Sunday and did not find any active fish. The snow looked like it settled a bit on the ice, but despite the prolonged cold, we did come across some slush pockets off the plowed road. Fortunately the four wheel drive had no problems getting through but will be something people will want to keep in mind for the upcoming weekend. The weather is forecasted to continue to improve as the week progresses, with highs reaching almost 30 degrees (above zero) by Saturday. The nice weather is just in time for Wisconsin's free ice fishing weekend Jan. 17-18 when licenses are not required to fish anywhere in the state (all other DNR rules like size and bag limits still apply). There are also a couple ice fishing tournaments taking place in the Tomahawk area Saturday. Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited will be hosting its annual Family Ice Fishing Contest out at Road Lake from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anglers can register up until 10 a.m. on the day of contest at Chuck's, Aquatic Arts, Viegut's Do-It-Express, BP and Road Lake for a chance at winning cash prizes for biggest fish caught and door prizes. Must be present to win. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 for children. Anglers can fish on any body of water as long as fish are registered by 6 p.m. Fish registration begins at Road Lake, located at N8796 CTH S, starting at 4:30 p.m. The tiebreaker for biggest fish goes to fish registered first - no live fish or lake water can be transferred according to state law. Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited will be drawing its big raffle featuring a Henry Goldenboy 30-30 Lever Action and FL8 Genz Package Flasher (need not be present to win). Proceeds from the Family Fishing Contest go to support the non-profit organization's Free Summer Kids Fishing Contest. Food and refreshments will be available at Road Lake and additional raffles will be held throughout the evening starting around 4 p.m. For more information, call 715-612-0926. It is also my understanding the annual ice fishing contest on the Willow Flowage takes place this Saturday, but I have yet to see any details on that contest. Good luck to everyone heading out and taking part in tournaments this weekend. Don't forget to take along the shovel and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:43 pm
by mrbrowns
Tough conditions and minimal results pretty much summed up our weekend of fishing in the greater Tomahawk area over the past couple days. Did manage to locate some nice bluegills on a Tomahawk area reservoir Friday but the bite was short lived after a storm front moved through. That trip was also cut short after a guy decided it was all right to move in and fish right on top of us. Instead of having an argument that his grandson would have had to witness, we packed up and moved on after letting him know most people do not appreciate having somebody fish a few feet away when there is an entire lake that wasn't being fished. I was taught sportsmanship and to respect others growing up. Hopefully somewhere along the line this man's grandson will also learn those valuable lessons that he can apply later in life. Headed north to try some lakes Saturday for panfish and found travel conditions in pretty rough shape off the main traveled ice roads. Came across some pretty deep slush on the lakes we did decide to try only find some pretty inactive fish. Two different lakes and multiple areas fished produced the same results. Fish could be seen on the flasher coming up to check out the bait but then quickly heading back down to the bottom without a bite. The one positive was we were able to get off the water without having to push or shovel our way out of the heavy slush. Hopefully conditions will improve heading into February as the recent warmer temps did seem to melt back a bit of the snow by Sunday. And while it is snowing pretty heavy right now in the Tomahawk area, forecasters aren't calling for any major snowstorms for our area over the coming days. At least it was a lot of fun spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors. Remember to pack the shovel. Good luck to everyone heading out and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:44 pm
by mrbrowns
After a couple weeks of some pretty tough fishing, the action did start to pick up once again in the Northwoods over this past weekend. We targeted a Tomahawk area reservoir Saturday and found some nice perch and crappie in 10 feet of water. Fish were caught using fatheads on tip ups as well as on tip downs using rosy reds. Jigging small jigs tipped with waxies also produced a few fish, while the plastic bite remained nonexistent for us. I did talk with a few anglers who were able to catch a few walleyes, but we were unable to locate any active fish. Went back to the same spot Sunday and found the fish had once again shut off, which wasn't much of a surprise as the barometer was on the rise and the wind was blowing out of the northeast when we left the house. Expect heavy activity on the snowmobile trails this weekend as forecasters are calling for three to four inches of fresh snow to fall this evening and into tomorrow that should make for some of the best trail conditions of the season. Good luck to all my friends heading out for the annual sturgeon spearing season that gets underway on the Lake Winnebago Chain this weekend. Also good luck to all my fellow anglers who will be venturing out on Northwoods waters this weekend. Not to get too off course, but don't forget to spruce up the ice shack with some flowers and chocolates if fishing with the significant other on Saturday. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:39 pm
by mrbrowns
It might feel down right balmy come this weekend as forecasters are calling for temperatures to reach 20 degrees ABOVE ZERO here in the Tomahawk area. Expect to see a good number of anglers out on the water come Saturday to take advantage of the nice weather and to take part in a pair of ice fishing tournaments taking place. The 37th annual Somo Fish and Game Club ice fishing jamboree takes place on Somo Lake from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tournament is held at the boat landing across from the road from the Somo Fish and Game Club clubhouse on CTH CC. The jamboree will feature hourly door prizes, raffle prizes and award the top three catches in each of five fish categories. Cost is 50 cents for children 16 and under and $2 for adults. The public is invited to stop out and take part in the largest family-oriented fishing contest in the area. For more information, contact Phil at 715-493-1656. Also taking place this Saturday, Feb. 28, Team Slayer will hosts its 13th annual ice fishing tournament at Pine Tree Supper Club in downtown Tomahawk. Anglers can fish any body of water they choose in Wisconsin from 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with fish registration in a number of categories taking place in the banquet room at Pine Tree from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. - tie goes to the first fish registered. Many additional door prizes to be awarded to anglers registered in the tournament (anglers can take part in the Somo tourney and also register fish caught in the Team Slayer tourney if registered). Those taking part in the Team Slayer contest must register at Pine Tree by Friday night. The tourney includes adult and youth divisions (15 and under). Benefits from the Team Slayer tourney go to support the Kippenberg Creek Kids. For more information, contact Dennis at 771-9189.
We are gong to be targeting an action lake come Saturday looking for a little better panfish bite than the one we have been experiencing at the shack on a Tomahawk area flowage over recent weeks. It may even be nice enough outside to bust out the tip downs. I haven't been out since the strong winds Tuesday likely drifted plowed roads shut again, but expect travel to be limited and take a shovel along. Hard to believe, but this Sunday, March 1, already marks the end of inland game fish season. This weekend offers one last chance to get out on the ice to target walleye and pike this ice fishing season. Good luck to everyone heading out and taking part in the ice fishing tourneys. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:23 am
by mrbrowns
With high temperatures getting above 30 degrees for the first time in over a month this past weekend, we finally busted out the tip downs and targeted the Willow Flowage for panfish. Used rosy reds on small trebles and minnow style jigs in about 13 feet of water and found a decent crappie bite Saturday and Sunday. Most fish were in the to 10" to 12" range and were caught throughout the day. A couple of additional crappies were caught jigging with waxes. Tip downs were set about 8" to a foot off the bottom. We had to set the tip downs into the wind to prevent them from blowing over, and the drifting snow meant we had to regularly clean holes to keep them from drifting over. A good road was plowed back to the Four Islands, but getting back to Indian Bay proved to be a bit of a challenge as just a single set of rutted up tire tracks led all the way back to the bay. It should be getting better with highs forecasted in the 40s and even 50s this week. Wouldn't be surprised to see water running in the holes by the weekend as the snow pack is going fast. Pretty amazing how quickly spring has arrived here in the Northwoods. The Wisconsin River running through town already looks like it could start to open in the coming days. It is a great time of the year to be out on the ice taking advantage of the final weeks of ice fishing. Soon the geese and loons will return and the boats will be busted out of storage for the start of open water season targeting the walleye run on the Wisconsin River. Best not to get ahead of ourselves though, as some of the best panfish fishing of the season is now underway. Just a reminder this Sunday, March 15, is the deadline for when permanent ice shacks need to be removed from waterbodies north of Hwy. 64. Still plenty of ice to get out there and enjoy. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:51 pm
by mrbrowns
The Wisconsin River is really starting to open up here in the Tomahawk area.The Kwahamot Park boat landing next to the North Fourth Street Bridge is ice free with one truck and boat trailer parked by shore. Remember a daily or seasonal launch fee is needed to use that and other boat landing on Lake Mohawksin in the city. A little bit too early for this angler to bust the boat out of storage though, as plans are to continue targeting panfish through the ice until the weather warms up some. Truck travel on the ice is done for the year so limited to foot travel and ATV on some bodies of water. Avoid areas of local flowages where there is any amount of current as the ice in these areas is no longer safe. Should have fishable ice through at least this weekend. The Spirit Flowage is done as the water level was raised about seven feet in the past couple weeks and the shoreline ice is gone. Been hearing the crappie bite has been getting better and better over the past few weeks. Many lakes still have plenty of fishable ice and good access from south shorelines. Starting to see geese and other migratory birds arrive back in the area. This is a great time of the year to live and visit the Northwoods. We didn't get any of the snow that blasted the southern Wisconsin region. My sympathies are with all those affected and remember it will melt soon. Make sure as the weather warms to look for crappies and gills suspended higher up in the water column, especially at the end of the day. Previous years fishing right below the ice in mud bays has produced some of the biggest gills of the year. Act safe if heading out on the ice or in the boat. Good luck to everyone hitting the ice and open water this coming week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice and water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:46 am
by mrbrowns
Went out on Lake Alice for a little while last evening and had about 18 inches of ice. Boot creepers are a must as the ice surface was very slippery. Picked up about five inches of snow last night, so expect things to be sloppy out there once again as it melts. Used the spud to open old holes off of Horseshoe boat landing and caught small perch. Might be time to get the spinning rods and reels ready to hit some open water.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:11 am
by mrbrowns
With the ice fishing season in the rear view mirror it is time to start targeting open water as well as below area dams here in the Tomahawk area. I've been hearing about some decent catches of walleyes below Wisconsin River dams (Kings Dam and Pride Dam) but haven't heard of too many legals being caught just yet. Look for the walleye action to improve as the air and water temperatures warm. Target fish with either jigs or a hook and sinker worked slowly along the bottom using fatheads. Also heard perch were being caught below Bradley Dam where the walleye season remains closed until the opener. Flowages are quickly loosing ice, the SARA Park boat landing on Lake Mohawksin is already open, and warmer weather this weekend should help continue to make local waters ice free. Remember daily or seasonal passes are needed to launch at boat landings in the city and I was told enforcement action would be more stringent this year than it has been in the past. Took a ride out to the Harrison Hills area the other day and many of those lakes are either completely or mostly ice free. Even saw some bear tracks heading down to the water on one of the small lakes off Turtle Lake Road. Up to three inches of snow in the forecast for Friday with much warmer weather to follow. Hoping to either get the boat out over the weekend or try to find some active fish below one of the area dams. That's the great thing about being an angler living in Tomahawk - there never is a season when the opportunity to wet a line doesn't exist. Fun to watch and hear the wildlife return this time of year. Haven't heard any loons calling yet, but the spring peepers have been out already a few times on the warmer days. Late ice certainly won't be a problem when the May 2 fishing opener arrives this year. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:23 am
by mrbrowns
And just like that the snow has returned and it feels like we should be getting the tip ups ready for early ice here in the Tomahawk area. Got out a few times while the weather was still nice this past weekend and managed to find some active walleye and crappie. The crappie were caught in pre-spawn staging areas, while the walleye were caught below dams and near spawning areas. The male walleyes were milking, which was a sign the spawn is well underway, but I suspect this cool down should prolong the walleye spawn and keep the crappies in the deeper water outside the shallower bays where they will be spawning soon. Crappies were caught using crappie minnows on a slip bobber suspended eight feet down in 15 feet of water. Most the walleyes were caught a bit deeper in the water column by dragging in the current a simple hook and sinker tipped with a large fathead. Less than two weeks now till the May 2 opener. Another neat experience the warm weather and warming water provided last week was the opportunity to see muskies spawning in the shallows on the Wisconsin River. Nothing like seeing a 40+ inch fish up in a foot of water with its back half sticking up in the air. Reminded me of the sturgeon on the Wolf River. Pretty amazing stuff to witness. Tomahawk seemed a lot busier this past weekend than it has been in sometime with all the second homeowners in town getting the cabins ready to go for the summer. Sure does put a warm thought in the mind during this current cold spell. The ground here in Tomahawk is currently covered with a fresh coating of snow, but it shouldn't be long before it melts and we can get back to enjoying the nicer weather yet to come. Spring is certainly living up to its reputation of being the most fickle of all seasons. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun, stay warm until the weather begins to warm heading into this upcoming weekend and enjoy your Northwoods open water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:19 am
by mrbrowns
Good luck to everyone heading out for this weekend's opener. Expect plenty of activity on Tomahawk area waters as forecasters are calling for some really nice weather with highs in the 70s both Saturday and Sunday. Got out for a bit the other day looking for crappies and found the walleye on a Tomahawk area flow age were very active. Caught several that would have been legal had the season been open where I was fishing. The fish I caught looked to be done spawning as they were pretty skinny and did not produce any milk. Fish were caught using a slip bobber and small minnow in "skinny water" where crappies typically stage prior to the spawn. I haven't been out to check weed growth yet, but I suspect it should be starting and could hold some nice fish to target come this weekend. Think shallow, muddy bays as a good place to check if the fish have moved in. Also keep in mind the new slot limit and three fish walleye regs in the Ceded Territory. No more one or two fish limits to start out the year, but remember all fish 20-24" must be put back. Good luck to everyone heading out this Saturday. Be safe, respect others out on the water and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015 11:51 am
by mrbrowns
I can't remember an opener that was as busy as this past Saturday was here in the Tomahawk area. Boat landings were packed on the Spirit Flowage, while I heard from others they were parked on CTH A on Lake Alice and things were awfully busy on the Willow as well. Good to see interest in the sport is alive and well. Hopefully everyone caught some fish and enjoyed their time on the water. We got out Sunday after the water was less crowded, and after checking a number of depths and shoreline, were able to find some pretty active crappies up in the shallows. Fish were found near downed timber in a muddy bay. We used a simple slip bobber rig tipped with a crappie minnow to catch the fish in about two to four feet of water. Fish ranged from 10 to 12 inches and were put back to catch another day. The fish were caught in the evening a little bit before the storm moved in. While the weeds hadn't developed on the body of water we were targeting yet, I suspect they will be coming soon and the bluegills, perch and walleye will follow. Time to get out and enjoy now before the mosquitoes come out for the summer. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy you Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue May 19, 2015 9:48 am
by mrbrowns
Woke up to a fresh coat of the white stuff covering the ground at home west of Tomahawk this morning. Hard to believe for this time of year, but at least it should be gone soon. Spent some time out on the water this past weekend and found a pretty decent overall bite. Everything from walleye and smallmouth bass to decent panfish were found working the newly emerging weeds. This past Sunday the big bluegills were even found up in the shallows preparing to spawn. They have likely backed off since as a result of the colder days. We were using a simple slip bobber rig tipped with a chunk crawler this past weekend and caught walleye mixed in with perch, crappie and bluegills that were all found in a couple feet of water. Even northern pike were caught up in the shallows using just a chunk of crawler. While the new snow and cold temps likely cooled the shallow bite off some, it should pick back up heading into the upcoming Memorial Day weekend as daytime highs are forecasted to get back up into the 60s. This is a great time of the year to take the youngsters out, as the action can be pretty good and provide plenty of steady entertainment. Remember to only keep what you plan to eat and put the rest back for seed. Expect boat traffic to be heavy for this upcoming weekend and good luck on the water. And thank you to all our veterans. Remember to thank a veteran for all their service and sacrifice to country this Memorial Day weekend. Also good luck to all the musky anglers getting out for the first time this opening weekend. From what I saw a couple weeks back the muskies should be well past the spawn. I suspect the shallows will be a good place to target them also come Saturday. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Wed May 27, 2015 10:29 am
by mrbrowns
Aside from the rain that dampened the latter part of this past Memorial Day weekend, conditions were perfect to get out and experience the exceptional shallow bite that has been taking place on Tomahawk area waters of late. Early morning and afternoon outings produced pretty nice catches of panfish up in the shallow weeds and along shore. We used a simple hook and sinker slip bobber rig tipped with a chunk of crawler to catch bluegills, crappie and perch mixed in along weedy shorelines. We practiced selective harvest putting back the big females and keeping male gills up to 9" to protect the resource and to assure more fun can be had in the years to come. Even caught fish using plastic Mini Mites when we ran out of live bait. The shallow water fishing also provided the opportunity to search some new water that will hopefully pay off in a few muskies in the week to come as some nice shoreline cabbage beds were found up along shore. This coming weekend is when I typically begin targeting the toothy critters once the water has calmed down from the heavy boat traffic experienced this past weekend. The shallow water bite should continue strong heading into this weekend when a big cool down is once again expected. While a cold front isn't ideal this time of year, it has produced a pretty good topwater bite for this angler previously. Talk about a fun time of the year to get out and enjoy. And you can bet the panfish gear will be packed in the boat just in case some active muskies can't be tracked down. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:52 am
by mrbrowns
Tomahawk missed out on the big rainstorm that moved across the central part of the state Thursday into this morning, so the area reservoirs should be in pretty decent shape heading into this weekend. We continued to target the shallow water last weekend catching bluegills and crappies up along shore using leeches and chunks of crawler on a slip bobber rig set about at about a foot deep. Again practiced selective harvest as some nice 9-inch gills were kept for a meal while the big females were put back. We fished around downed timber and shoreline weeds catching a few fish here and there and then moving on. Should continue to be a good bite this weekend if the fish are still in the shallows. Looking to get some time on the water chasing muskies this weekend. Considering my time will be limited thanks to other commitments, I like to try and stack the odds my favor as much as possible when planning to get out and fish. For those fortunate enough to be out on the water Saturday and Sunday there are fishable majors starling at 8:56 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at 9:44 a.m. I'm hoping to get out Sunday afternoon when there is a minor starting at 3:58 p.m. They are also calling for a storm to move through Sunday evening, so based on the timing, this could provide a couple good triggers to get the fish active. This weekend also leads up to a new moon that occurs on Tuesday, June 16. Of course the best time to be out on the water is anytime you can find time to fish. But when the calendar starts to fill up, especially in the spring as it does for many of us, I like to do a bit of my own forecasting to determine when my most effective time on the water might be. Good luck to everyone heading out on the water this weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:12 pm
by mrbrowns
Got to spend some time out on the water while on vacation with the family this week at the cabin on a clear, deep lake east of Tomahawk. Despite some less than desirable conditions with winds out of the east and northeast, we did manage to track down some pretty active perch on weed edges in depths ranging from six to 13 feet deep. Mostly used slip bobber rigs tipped with chunks of crawler and small leeches set about a foot off bottom. Kept a few for a fish fry and put the rest back for seed. Also found some pretty active rock bass and smallmouth on fish cribs that provided plenty of entertainment for the youngsters. Speaking of entertaining, Monday evening included the most exceptional northern lights show I've ever witnessed. Spheres of light shot up and waves of solar light danced across the sky. The best way I could describe it was waves crashing on it a lake it was so expansive. Even saw a flock of 9 loons out on the lake, which was a first for this time of the year that made for some enjoyable sounds over the past few days. Some say the quickly approaching Fourth of July weekend is the halfway point of summer up here in the Northwoods, which means there is no better time to get out and enjoy than right now. Planning to get out this weekend in search of a big musky ahead of the of the July full moon that takes place Wednesday, July 1. Good luck to everyone heading out this upcoming weekend. Keep an eye to the sky and ear open to the loons and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:21 pm
by mrbrowns
Going to be trying something a bit different this July 4 weekend to avoid the heavy boat traffic that will no doubt be experienced out on the bigger flowages in the Tomahawk area over the next few days. The girlfriend and I will be joining sports editor Tom Colstad on a canoe outing over the weekend where will explore some of the lesser pressured waters in Lincoln County that do not provide access to motorized boats, which there are an abundance of in the Harrison Hills area. Will be trying our luck for panfish and maybe a few bass with the ultra lights and fly rods and ultimately just enjoying the serenity these small bodies of water have to offer. Watch for an article on getting away from the big crowd waters and finding your own little secret fishing hole coming soon in the Tomahawk Leader. Hopefully we are able to find some fish and are not overtaken by mosquitoes. Will be packing plenty of bug spray. Any musky fishing I might get to do over the weekend will be limited to early morning and evening periods to avoid what will likely be heavy boat traffic. It looks like there calling for some really nice weather over the coming days, which is great news considering all the outdoor July 4 activities that will once again be taking place in Tomahawk for the holiday weekend. Good luck to everyone heading out this weekend. Enjoy your Northwoods water time and have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day weekend.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:04 am
by mrbrowns
Air temperatures out at the house west of Tomahawk this morning were in the 30s, which served as a chilly reminder that fall is just around the corner and some of the best fishing of the year is about to take place. But that is still a bit off as this weekend looks like it is shaping up to be a good one with temps in the 70s and a full moon taking place Saturday. They are also forecasting a storm Saturday coming off some stable weather from the past couple days and the two-hour a.m. major is at 11:11 a.m., so a couple of things could line up to make for some fast musky action. A musky angler in Tomahawk had a five fish day earlier this summer, and I've experienced similar action when conditions were right on Mohawksin, but I lost three of the four fish I hooked in the half-hour period, so we will just have to see how things play out. I've attached an article I wrote a little while back about some canoe fishing we did over the July 4 holiday. I must say it was some of my more enjoyable moments from this summer and something I look forward to doing again when the big waters become too crowded. A couple of the small lakes on the radar for the next outing are said to hold some big bluegills that would make for a lot of fun with the fly rod. Won't be long now and the hummingbirds will be heading south and the bear hunters with hounds will be hitting the woods. Good luck to everyone heading out this weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
Canoeing quiet waters provides reprieve on busy holiday weekend
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader City Editor
jbuelow@tomahawkleader.com
Looking out over the small undeveloped lake we were about to put in on, there was no sign of the heavy boat traffic bigger waters in the Tomahawk area were experiencing over the busy Fourth of July weekend.
No jet skies or motorboats. No loud music or big wake. Instead, just the relaxing sound of the wind blowing through the pines and a paddle pushing water across a small pristine gem located in the expansive Lincoln County Forest.
The purpose of the recent canoe outing was twofold. One, to try and get in on the good fishing some of these small lakes scattered around the greater Tomahawk area that are only accessible by small boat, kayak or canoe can offer and have been known to provide. The other, and perhaps most important, to get out and enjoy some time on the water during a weekend where most bigger bodies of water regularly targeted are personally considered “off limits” due to the high volume of boat traffic that takes place.
Many years ago I made the mistake of trying to fish one of these bigger local flowages during a busy holiday weekend. It didn’t take long and the constant waves from boats passing by turned what would’ve been a relaxing day on the water into one that ended in frustration. Some anglers I know turn to the dark of night to avoid the big crowds, while this angler over time chose to forgo fishing and just enjoy the pontoon rides until the water was less crowded.
That changed this past July 4 weekend when an idea was pitched to hit one of the many small lakes scattered around the Tomahawk region. Before long one lake turned into three and a whole new world of scenic fun became reality. From the Harrison Hills to Underdown and a handful of small lakes in the Timm’s Hill area, the opportunity is plentiful when looking to find a quiet place to paddle away from the crowds.
As I mentioned previously, part of our goal was to find some lakes that offered decent fishing as well as a reprieve from the holiday boat traffic. While we learned not all small lakes are created equal in the size and species of fish that will be caught, many provide an abundance of eager eaters that, if nothing else, can make for a fun-filled afternoon with plenty of action.
Pulling up to the canoe launch the Friday prior to the big July 4 weekend proved the lake we were targeting would offer a quiet place to enjoy the day as we had the launch to ourselves. Joined by Tomahawk Leader sports editor Tom Colstad in his canoe, we quickly slipped into the water and before long were out exploring what the 35-acre lake with a maximum depth of 25 feet had to offer.
Even before pushing off it was evident this small, tranquil lake would provide some pretty decent fishing as panfish could be seen feeding on the surface a short distance away. While the fly rod had been packed for such an occasion, it quickly became evident what the fish really had a taste for was the leeches that had been brought along for bait. And one after another the bluegills did not stop feeding until all our leeches were gone.
Being my first time targeting this particular lake, we worked the shorelines fishing around downed timber and close to bogs that provided good protection for fish. These areas proved productive, and over the course of the afternoon, a couple of the larger bluegills up to 9 inches were kept for a meal while many more were put back to grow and to not overharvest the lake. So much so did they prefer the leeches over the fly rod or night crawler pieces that before long it was all we were fishing with. As soon as the bait would hit the water a gill would be on. This technique also resulted in a small northern pike as well as the hook up with a nice largemouth bass that eventually broke our light line.
After restocking up on leeches and figuring out a few additional lakes to target the next day, we set out and discovered a couple new lakes that lacked vehicles in the parking lots. The first lake fished required dragging the canoe for a short distance through the woods to the water’s edge. Once again, instead of the sound of outboards and jet skiers, our canoe was greeted by the sound of silence occasionally broken by a calling songbird or a dragonfly cruising by.
This lake was one we had fished in the winter but never before on open water. Before long we were again working the shorelines and finding smaller perch feeding pretty aggressively. After trying multiple spots and finding similar results we spent a few moments enjoying the silence before heading on to find another small lake to put the canoe in.
The nice thing about the greater Tomahawk area is the abundance of these small undeveloped lakes, where a private one can be found at almost anytime considering the amount of effort one wants to put in to find seclusion. We were in the Harrison Hills during this particular outing, so a turn down a side road off County Road B provided a couple more lakes where another small, undeveloped lake could be fished. When one of the lakes we had planned to fish was discovered to be “in use” we simply headed down the road a bit further and found another.
Lake number two of the day made quick work of our leech supply as in no time it became evident this lake was loaded with largemouth bass. After putting in on the lake, we made our way to a back bay where fish could be seen feeding on the surface. Within seconds of the bait hitting the water, the slip bobber would go under and a hard-fighting bass would be on the line. While we didn’t come across any lunker bucket mouths in the small lake, we did manage to land a good 50 or so ranging in length up to about 15 inches in size in the short amount of time spent on the water.
The really nice thing about these small bodies of water is there’s no telling what might lie in store. Many have stunted fish or might be limited in species like the bass lake we encountered, but every now and then, a new lake could hold the potential to provide some nicer fish that would be considered keepers by most anglers. One such lake was discovered while checking out lakes and talking with a fellow angler at the canoe put-in ramp.
While no two-small lakes offer the same species and abundance of fish, what they do all share in common is a tranquil setting that can offer a quiet reprieve when the bigger waters become too crowded. No jet skies or big wake, but instead, the soothing sound of waves lapping against the canoe and a gentle breeze blowing through the tall pines.
Our next canoe trip is already in the plans. And you can bet where our canoe will be found next summer when the big waters become crowded on holiday weekends.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:54 pm
by mrbrowns
And just like that fall is here. The past several weeks have provided a nice reprieve from what lies ahead and the extended growing season was much appreciated for the garden, but the arrival of fall and the fantastic fishing it provides finally appears to be at our doorstep here in the Tomahawk area. Water temperatures will fall fast as overnight lows dip below freezing and daytime highs are forecasted to stay in the 50s and 60s going forward. This is the time of the year fish like muskies and walleyes put on the feedbag to fatten up for the winter months and can provide some exceptional fishing opportunity. Musky anglers will begin floating sucker minnows this week as water temperatures fall below 65 degrees. I like to work the channel edge with twitch baits like Suicks, bulldogs and Reefhawgs while casting to shallow weeds and points. A lot of times the muskies that won't hit a lure will take the live bait soaking nearby. A couple days of this high pressure could provide a pretty decent musky bite heading into the weekend as conditions aren't expected to change much from now through Saturday. The walleye bite should also continue to improve with the dropping water temperatures. One key especially this time of year is to use bigger minnows as the bigger fish will be looking for something larger to eat. Dams can be a great place to target as the water continues to cool. The return of cooler weather also means minnows can be kept alive for longer periods of time. I like to keep a bucket of them around as a perch bite in a shallow mud bay or a crappie bite over deep timber can provide a lot of action this time of year. The return of the cold weather also means less time mowing lawn and tending to the garden and more time to spend on the water. Recent outings produced a goose egg last night and the time before that a 39" muskie on Lake Mohawksin. Hoping to add to that tally this coming weekend and add many more before we start talking about fishing first ice. Remember to keep an eye out for duck hunters while out on the water and to be respectful of their space. The leaves are really starting to turn color here in the Northwoods and should only continue to improve in the coming days. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:15 pm
by mrbrowns
Ended my 2015 musky fishing season on a positive note yesterday with a 40" fish taken on a rubber tailed reef hawg. Almost could not have asked for a better end to the season as temperatures reached nearly 60 degrees. Worked the bait slowly and the fish hit in about six feet of water off the channel. After a few quick photos it was released. A short time later, about when the football game was going to pot,had another hit on the reef hawg and was a bit surprised to see a marble eye had grabbed the lure. After a few more photos the 23" "slot" walleye was released. Seemed like a better day to be targeting the predator fish as we tried jigging for panfish for a while but couldn't get any to bite. A few other boats not targeting muskies on Mohawksin also seemed to be moving around a bit, which led me to believe they were trying to find active fish. Typically in the fall the perch and other panfish can be had pretty easily by those willing to brave the weather and go out and pursue them. My guess is the warmer weather shut them down. The musky season runs through the end of this month, however temperatures are forecasted to drop drastically heading into mid week, which spells the end to my season. As in previous years, I will once again be reporting on early ice in the Tomahawk area hopefully in the coming weeks, so check back often to find out when the ice fishing season gets underway for the winter. Good luck to everyone hitting the woods for the opener this Saturday. As warm as November has been it is hard to believe it already is that time of the year. While it won't likely be the 10" or so that was on the ground on last year's opener, I hear they are calling for a bit of snow later in the week that would make for some great tracking conditions. Time to start getting the ice fishing gear ready and to put the boat away for the winter. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods woods and water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:37 pm
by mrbrowns
Oh what a difference a year makes. Last year Tomahawk area lakes and reservoirs were covered by about 10 inches of ice by the end of November. This year it looks like we will be lucky if we are able to venture out on even frozen bays by early December. Did see a couple guys out tip up fishing out on Sawdy Pond across from Nelson's County Market yesterday. Then it warmed up and the ice looked pretty bad by day's end. When I was younger I would have gone out on two inches, but these days I strongly advise waiting for a good three to four inches to begin venturing out on the ice. Even then I take along the ice picks to be safe, and a lot of times I will use the chisel to chip along the way to assure ice is safe. The next couple days will play a big part in whether we are able to ice fish anytime soon, as daytime highs are forecasted to get pretty warm and overnight lows will not be that impressive for this time of year. Maybe if we can keep the ice we have now until it cools down again we will be in good shape to start ice fishing by early December. I will be reporting on area ice depths once the season gets a bit closer. Until then, I will stick to fishing the many dams in the Tomahawk area that can provide just as much action as being out on the ice. Good luck to all the hunters hitting the woods this week and to any anglers still putting in the time trying to catch a trophy musky (remember that season closes Nov. 30). Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods woods and water time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:58 am
by mrbrowns
The snow is really coming down in the Tomahawk area this morning as a couple of inches are in the forecast. Warm weather is in the forecast for the foreseeable future, meaning it might be a while yet before the ice fishing season can get underway. A few anglers have been sneaking out and setting tip ups for walleyes in bays on some of the local waters. A friend reported two inches of ice yesterday in a bay on the Spirit, and I heard of a few others fishing Nokomis and Mohawksin. While early ice can be some of the best fishing of the year, I would certainly advise waiting a bit longer as this rain/snow and warmer weather will certainly not help improve the ice conditions that currently exist. Highs this weekend are forecasted to be around 40 degrees, so time might be better served getting the ice fishing gear ready for the upcoming season instead of taking any risks on the ice. The gun deer season came to an end Sunday with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office reporting very few incidents. Congrats to everyone who bagged a buck. Those needing to get in some fishing might want to consider trying one of the Tomahawk area dams. I will report back when ice conditions start to improve. Right now, I'm eyeing that new moon phase that starts Dec. 11 as the perfect time to get out on the ice for the first time this year. Until then, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods idle time.

Re: Living the dream

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:05 am
by mrbrowns
So much for hitting the ice for the upcoming new moon phase this coming weekend as temperatures well above average have been in the forecast and it evened rained last night here in the Tomahawk area. In fact, while letting the dog outside one last time last night, I noticed the ground was covered with night crawlers. That seemed pretty darn strange for Dec. 7 and was a pretty good tell tale sign what little frost was in the ground in open areas is now gone. That means shoreline ice will continue to deteriorate as highs above freezing are in the forecast for the remainder of the week. The forecast calls for a bit of cool down next week with overnight lows in the teens. Hopefully we hold onto what little ice is out there until the temperatures drop and we can finally get this ice fishing season underway. Not that I'm going to complain too much about the much warmer start to winter after how brutal the last two were, but we will be about a month behind last year when we finally are able to get out this year. Good news is the Tomahawk area has plenty of dams that can be targeted until safe ice does form. Hopefully this time next week we will be looking at cold enough overnight temps to begin considering hitting the ice for the start of this year's ice fishing season. Typically this angler really enjoys a quick transition from musky fishing to hitting the hard surface for first ice. Time to get the tip ups ready and some new line on the tip downs and jigging reels as it looks like next weekend might finally provide the opportunity to start hitting the hard surface in protected bays. Until the ice forms, try the open water below a dam and enjoy your Northwoods open water time.