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Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:09 am
Aquatic Arts Fishing Pro Shop and Taxidermy Studio has been having a hard time keeping the new Crappie Scrubs baits on the shelves this summer as the bait worked in the evening along weed edges has been very effective in catching slab paper mouths.
Daniel Gropengiser from Grop’s Guide Service said the walleye action has been pretty good of late. He said trolling Flickr Shads over mud flats in the 10 to 12’ range has been producing fish and even some legals.
Gropengiser has been fishing early mornings and later in the afternoons because those are often the best times to be out on the water as well as to avoid the heavy boat traffic that can occur on area waters in the summer. He said paying attention to the daily majors and minors is important and the three days in and out of today’s (Tuesday) full moon are a good time to target muskies. Ripping rubber like Medusas or Bulldawgs and bladed lures with the double 9 blades can be effective this time of year. For those wanting to toss topwater, he suggested the Lake X Lure’s Dr. Evil as an effective lure this time of year.
Aquatic Arts staff said a lot of guys have been “tubbing” for muskies using the tube Red Octobers along weed edges, current breaks and while fishing the many dams located in the Tomahawk area. Staff have also been hearing reports of anglers catching decent numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass. Using old school Chatterbaits or plastics worked around weed cover, anglers have been tying into plenty of bucket mouths throughout the day.
For a full day or half day on the water with Grop’s Guide Service, email Gropengiser at Daniel.email@example.com or call 715-360-1601. For the new hot lure in crappie fishig, stop by Aquatic Arts and ask for some Kalin’s Crappie Scrubs.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:52 pm
Some trophy muskies were boated and released following the recent heat on Tomahawk area waters.The hottest bite taking place on Tomahawk area waters as of late has been the bass action, according to Chuck Grigg from Chuck’s Sport Shop in Tomahawk.
For largemouth, Grigg suggests using spinners and buzzbaits over the top of thick weeds – make sure to keep the rod tip up. Plastic frogs twitched over lily pads will produce some exceptional hits. Wacky and plastic worms worked in the thick weeds will also do the trick, or keep it simple and use a hook and sinker with a nightcrawler and fish the pockets. Just like when it comes to fishing muskies with topwater, Grigg stressed to make sure to set the hook when you feel the weight and not when you see the strike.
Grigg said the smallmouths this time of year can be found in the stumps and rocky areas like below Pride Dam. Cotton Cordells and Bandits worked fast are a good bet to hook into some hard fighting bronze backs.
The northern pike can be found in and around the cabbage beds. Grigg says an old time Johnson Silver Spoon rigged with a pork rind or plastic tail works great for catching those good eater size fish this time of year.
The walleyes are also relating to the cabbage and can be caught using a half crawler and leach on a hook and sinker and worked slowly in the cabbage openings. Grigg suggested to lift and slowly drop the presentation, a twister and jig would also work, and to set the hook on any resistance felt. Rapalas cast from shore have been working in the evening and the area dams have been really hot when hot and really slow when the bite is off.
For panfish, Grigg said the perch can be caught in the cabbage using leaf worms or a chunk of nightcrawler. The crappies can be found in the stumps and brush. A crappie here and there can be caught using spinnerbaits like Gapen Glow Spins, Beetle spinners, Mr. Twisters and Charlie Bs. By moving around, anglers will usually be able to find enough fish for a meal.
Anglers are reminded to be mindful of any special daily bag limits that might be in place for specific waters (like the panfish bag limits in place on Lake Nokomis). Anglers also need to keep in mind a 20” to 24” slot limit is in place for walleyes on all Tomahawk area waters.
Stop by Chuck’s Sports Shop on North Fourth Street for more on what is biting to get geared up for a fun and successful day on the water.
A musky on the fifth cast
They are better known as the fish of every 10,000 casts, but for this writer the action came a lot quicker while out frothing water on Lake Mohawksin this past Wednesday.
With the return of the cooler weather and an approaching storm front July 27, we headed out in the afternoon to see if any active muskies could be found. It did not to long to find the answer.
While casting one of Nimmer’s Prop Dogs along the deep edge of a weed line, I looked over to see the tail of a musky coming out of the water as the fish worked the weed edge. The fourth cast of the day up to where the fish was seen produced a large boil at boatside as the fish came in unnoticed and would not bite on the figure eight. I quickly grabbed another pole rigged with a Suick and threw back to where the fish was. Twitch, twitch, smack and the battle was on.
After a good fight a few quick photos were taken and the musky was released. An exact measurement would have been taken but the fish was only in the 40” range and we wanted to get her back in the water as soon as possible to avoid any further stress. With a flip of the tale the musky headed back for the deep leaving only smiles and happy memories behind.
Congrats to some other successful musky anglers as of late in catching and releasing some truly remarkable fish including Jim “Beanpole” Olson’s 49.5” lunker and Jeff Frick for catching a 50” trophy catch from a Tomahawk area flowage for the third year in a row.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:51 am
Hard to believe Labor Day is already here and school started back yesterday in Tomahawk. The thermometer read 39 degrees this Friday morning when I woke at 6 a.m. Tomahawk area waters are entering a transition period from the dog days of summer to cooler evenings and shorter days as fall approaches.
Chuck Grigg from Chuck’s Sport Shop on North Fourth Street reminds anglers to change patterns for conditions as weather can go from one extreme to another this time of year. He said the musky bite will only continue to improve heading into fall as the fish put on the feedbag in the coming months until freeze up. During the Mohawksin Musky Masters Aug. 13 outing a total of five fish were boated ranging from 36 ½” to the tournament’s biggest musky, a 42 ½”, caught by Trevor Myers of Tomahawk. Grigg said of lot of lookers were reported during the daylong tournament on Lake Mohawksin.
During periods of warm weather, try probing the deeper water in 10-12’ range with Bulldawgs. When the weather and water temperatures start to cool, try working shallower points and edges next to weedy bays and deeper water with topwaters and jerk baits. Fish the lunar time windows and low light periods in the morning and evening. The many recent weather fronts moving through have provided some good bites.
Bass remain the hot bite. Spinner and buzz baits are working well around weeds when the largemouth are at the surface. As the weather cools, try under the surface and a bit deeper. Cotton Cordells and Bandits in the crayfish pattern are working well for smallmouth in the stump fields and below the dams around rock structure.
Grigg said a lot of short walleyes have been being caught at Tomahawk area dams as of late. He suggested going deeper and slow when it is hot out, bouncing crawler harnesses on a three-way swivel. The cabbage beds remain a good spot when the fish are active using weedless jig and half crawler.
Anglers are reporting good catches of big perch in the weedbeds. Search around until a school is located and keep it simple using a hook, sinker and slip bobber with a chunk of nightcrawler. For bigger bluegills, probe the 8 to 12’ depth using worms or waxies on a red hook with light fishing line.
Keep in mind the patterns are changing as the area transitions from the dog days of summer to better fall fishing patterns. Stop by Chuck’s Sports Shop on North Fourth Street for more on what is biting and to get geared up for a fun and successful day on the water.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Some of the best fishing of the season is approaching quickly. Good luck to everyone heading out. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:22 pm
The hottest bite we have experienced in the Tomahawk area of late has been the walleye and smallmouth on deep structure. Spent an evening jigging leeches along structure in 12-15 foot depth range on Mohawksin and found some pretty active fish. As usual, a lot of the walleye were under 14" but a few were legals. All were released this day. Fish were caught using leeches and slowly drifting them over and near structure. Despite a full moon phase during this past weekend's 35th annual Tomahawk Fall Ride, we did not manage to boat a musky or have any action. The panfish bite has remained slow for us, although I did talk with a buddy last week who was catching some decent crappie with a few walleye mixed in that were caught using minnows on a Tomahawk area flowage. Hoping to get out tomorrow before the big rain front moves in that is expected to bring an additional few inches of rain this week. At least the unsettled weather should provide a couple good windows to get out and boat a musky. The fall colors have really started to emerge here in the Tomahawk area and a trip down a countryside road is now time very well spent. The coming days and weeks should only get better as fall begins arriving here in the Northwoods. This weekend marks the start of the duck season, so expect a bit of extra activity on the water. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:08 pm
Got out for a couple hours last night before the storm and had a sucker trailing behind the boat grabbed but no fish. The fish hit on a weed edge in a couple feet of water. I suspect it was a musky as it grabbed the sucker and began heading toward the nearby channel and deeper water. Unfortunately the fish dropped the bait after running about five feet and no hook set was attempted. Tried casting Suicks and topwater without any additional action. We missed out on the bulk of the rain with reports of one to two inches in the Tomahawk area, so flowages shouldn't look too bad heading into this upcoming weekend. Some more unstable weather passing through this weekend should provide some additional trigger periods to find aggressive fish. Keep working the shallow weediness and points until an active fish is found. The fall colors are getting really good here in the Tomahawk area right now, so even an outing with no fish is still time well spent on the water. Hopefully a cool down will happen soon to get the big bite started. Good luck to all hunters hitting the water this weekend for the opener of the duck season. Heard many a bear hunter is having a tough go at it this year as the animals are moving at night and the woods are still full of plenty for them to eat. Saw a pair of coyotes out in a field while heading into work this a.m. They are starting to get much more vocal in the evenings again after being pretty quiet all summer long. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Pack a raincoat and enjoy your Northwoods woods and water time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:58 am
Jed, What is the status of the Spirit River Dam?? Is it going to be repaired????
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:44 pm
I just received an email update this morning about the Spirit Dam and it looks like the project is being pushed back to at least 2017 instead of starting this fall. Apparently the bids to complete the work came in higher than anticipated. Looks like we better get used to 6 feet below full.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:38 pm
Remember, 6 feet below full is the maximum level that can be achieved. The dam is required to maintain a constant minimum outflow too. They can't simply close the dam to maintain 6 feet low.
What this means is there has to be at least as much rain coming/draining into the flowage as there is outflow going out. If there isn't enough rain to make-up for the minimum maintained outflow the water level will drop. We were lucky this year and had quite a bit of rain, enough to keep the water level high enough for boating, fishing, etc. If it's a dry year the level could go far lower than 6 feet down. Conceivably down to river bed only. That would be devastating to the fishery and the wildlife that have come to depend on the flowage.
WVIC has an obligation to it's corporate partners, BUT they ALSO have an obligation to the public who agreed to let WVIC flood their land. They also have an obligation to the wildlife and the habitat that has been created by the flowage. By delaying this project they are failing to meet their obligations in my opinion.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:18 pm
I did a little digging and came up with this article I wrote back in 2008 to hopefully help calm some of your concerns about possible winter fish kill as a result of draw down. The agreement between the DNR, WVIC and the lake associations still stands and will hopefully be used when water levels are dropped in the future.
Flowage water agreement could prevent winter fish kill
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Reporter
The fish and those looking after them on the Spirit Flowage and Lake Nokomis can breathe a little easier after the state Department of Natural Resources announced Nov. 13 additional water will be held back in each this winter.
Through the combined efforts of three Lincoln County lake organizations, the state DNR and Wisconsin Valley Improvement Co. (WVIC), the Spirit Flowage dam will be open just one inch and the Rice Reservoir (Bradley Dam) around 10 inches heading into winter. The effort is expected to ward off possibility of a winterkill that might have resulted from reduced water and resulting oxygen levels.
Working with the Spirit Reservoir Association, Lake Nokomis Concerned Citizens, Lincoln County Lakes and Rivers Association and WVIC, Mike Vogelsang, DNR fish biologist based in Woodruff, said the effort took a lot of scrambling by all parties involved over a short period of time, but in the end, the best compromise was made.
“We think this will help avert what could have reached the crisis stage,” Vogelsang said. “Thanks to this compromise, we believe the fish populations in both flowages will sustain this winter.”
Vogelsang said the DNR became concerned after looking at projections that showed the Spirit Reservoir might drop 17 feet below full this winter – or just retaining five percent of water compared to when the flowage is full. Under the one-inch agreement, the reservoir is expected to drop to about 13 feet below full this winter.
The need to retain water comes as the northern part of the state went through the fourth year of an ongoing drought that has been called the worst to stricken the region in the past 30 years.
Vogelsang said fish kills weren’t recorded during the winter of 1976 when the Spirit last dropped to 17 feet below full, but winter conditions then and unforeseen conditions this winter, prompted the DNR to take proactive action.
“We couldn’t risk sitting on our hands and rolling the dice,” Vogelsang said. “Including ourselves, a lot of others didn’t want to see these fisheries put in jeopardy.”
Along with the lake associations, nearly 900 individuals signed a petition that circulated Tomahawk area businesses in only one week. The petition was halted once the agreement was made.
Based on WVIC rain totals, the region was down 5.7 inches through the months of June to October. Typically the area sees about 14.3 inches, where this year a total of 8.6 was recorded.
According to Sam Morgan, WVIC vice president, the low water levels are not just a manifestation of little rain this past fall, but, instead, are the result of four bad years.
“We’re trying to make the best of a bad situation, but when you try to function at no rain for four years in a row it becomes an accumulative affect,” he said.
According to WVIC’s website, the Spirit Reservoir was down 11.5 feet, the Rice Reservoir (Lake Nokomis) 8.2 and the Willow Flowage was 11.7 feet below full on Nov. 18. Historically, but not this year, the flowages fill as a result of fall precipitation and then are drawn down through winter to allow storage for spring runoff. (Including the three flowages, WVIC operates 21 reservoirs and coordinates 25 hydroelectric plants on the Wisconsin River that are owned and operated by 10 utility and paper companies. The flowages were built to store water so flow rates on the Wisconsin River could continually supply downstream industry demand).
Vogelsang noted the drainage of the Rice and Spirit is being set at the minimum allowed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The minimum flow rates were established to assure retaining water wouldn’t compromise downstream resources and identified endangered species.
“This was done through tremendous cooperation between WVIC, the lake associations and the DNR,” Vogelsang said. “Catherine Frisch (Spirit Reservoir member) deserves a lot of credit for bringing the issue to the forefront. It’s rewarding when all parties involved are able to work together in such a manner to reach an agreement.”
Vogelsang said water retained on Lake Nokomis would also benefit the upstream Willow Flowage and natural lakes that are part of the chain further north.
He also added just because the flowages will be retaining less water this winter doesn’t necessarily mean anglers will see better catch rates as a result.
“It’s not going to be like shooting fish in a barrel,” Vogelsang said. “Previous studies done on the Rainbow Flowage during low water years have shown that a check-and-balance system takes place as the bait and predator fish are pushed into the natural river channel.”
While Vogelsang said the agreement reached would help protect the fisheries this winter, he noted the only way the issue will be completely resolved is if the drought ends.
“If we experience another drought season next summer, I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do,” he said. “About all we can do is hope and pray we get the snow this winter and rain next summer just keeps coming and coming.”
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:46 am
Water temps are now in the mid 50's and weed growth has come to a screeching halt. Many of the shallow weeds are starting to lye down and the outside edges from 8-10' are still green yet. Perch and gills can still be found on the edges with perch being caught on Northland Forage minnows tipped with crappie minnows below slip bobbers. Most of our larger perch came from 12' and within casting distance of weeds. Gills were a little on the finicky side but were caught using worms chunks on Forage minnows also.
Now with temps in the early morning dipping into the low 30's and high twenties expect the sucker bite to ramp up for muskies. Keep casting artificial baits and have your suckers just off the first break. Large crank baits like Slammer minnows, Jake's and Grandmas really begin to shine this time of the year.
This report was provided by Dan Gropengiser of Grop’s Guide Service. To book a full or half day guided trip with Grop, stop by Aquatic Arts Fishing Pro Shop and Taxidermy Studio or give him a call at 715-360-1601 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anglers can also stop by Aquatics to get all the gear and fresh bait they need to spend a fun fall day on the water.
This weekend could provide some exceptional musky fishing with the dropping water temps and the full moon set for Saturday. Bulldawgs or Suicks worked shallow near deeper water will be the ticket. Also dragging a sucker on a quick set rig can provide some good action from following muskies that instead go for the live bait. The feeding windows can be smaller this time of year, but the action can be fierce once the bite turns on. Turnover will be coming soon and is something anglers need to be mindful of as it can shut off the bite. Try another lake or flowage if turn over is taking place. The leaves have really started to drop here in the Tomahawk area so expect bird hunting and bow action to pick up in the woods. I recently read a humorous article about a guy who stayed held up in his cabin because he was unsure of what to do the next day, whether it be pursue grouse or ducks, a big buck or a trophy musky. Indeed this time of year does provide the outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of pursuits that can almost be too much. Make a plan and stick to it. And good luck to everyone hitting the woods and water this coming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods woods and water time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:00 pm
Unseasonably warm weather pushed air temperatures into the upper 60s and water surface temps back into the mid 50s in the Tomahawk area over the weekend.
The conditions Saturday afternoon included a light breeze and near bluebird skies as we headed out on Lake Alice in search of some musky action. A noticeable stronger current was still moving downstream from all the recent rains providing another factor to take into account. While it was not nearly as torrent as the week prior, current still plays a crucial part in determining where fish will be and best places to target.
Working a stretch of shallower water (five feet deep) just off the main channel, a musky smoked the black and orange plastic I was throwing and the battle was on. This time of year I really like a lure that can be worked slowly both shallow and deep with pauses in the retrieve providing an even longer window in the strike zone. Plastic baits like the Medussa, Bulldawg and Red October all work well for this approach.
After a couple initial runs, the musky emerged at boat side in a flash of green before making one final run and entering the net. A couple quick photos were snapped of the just over 40” inch fish and a clean release was made.
Tomahawk area fishing guide Daniel Gropengiser from Grop’s Guide Service said larger musky remain in the shallows and large suckers continue to produce. The warmer weather didn’t affect the walleye bite as much with many fish being caught near dam areas on jig and minnow combos. Lots of unders being caught and plenty of action.
The extended forecast shows more seasonal temps arriving next week. Grop added many of the launches don’t have docks in anymore, so bringing a pair of rubber boots along will prevent getting wet and soggy feet.
Stop by Aquatic Arts on North Fourth Street to get geared up with the plastics, musky suckers and all the fishing gear needed to spend a fun and enjoyable day out on the water. Those looking to book a guided trip with Grop’s Guide Service can also stop by Aquatic Arts to make arrangements or contact him directly at 715-360-1601 or email@example.com.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:11 pm
A couple of cold nights here in Tomahawk have got the hard surfaces forming on area waters and the brain thinking early ice fishing! Yesterday's skim ice became a bit more solid after overnight lows dipped to 10 degrees last night. A snowstorm is forecasted to hit tonight with a small warming trend through the weekend, so we might have to wait a bit longer before there is safe ice. Hoping early December. I will once again be checking area ice depths as the season progresses and reporting back on what I'm fining. I'll be checking a couple "regular" early ice spots later this week and report on conditions. It won't be too long now! Best of luck to everyone hitting the woods the rest of the gun deer season! And happy Thanksgiving to all! Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods woods and soon to be ice time.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:58 am
Had to blaze a trail through about five inches of snow to get to the shoreline yesterday, but the effort was well worth it as the walleye bite was on here in the Tomahawk area. Had a couple of hours to kill before Thanksgiving dinner was served and decided to try fishing from shore from a spot I had never tried previously. The spot had relative deep water, structure on the bottom and some decent moving current, all good ingredients for a good fall walleye spot. Within a few casts I landed the first walleye. Over the next roughly hour and a half the walleyes kept coming one after another until the sun began to set and the bite turned off around 4:30 p.m. As typical, a lot of the walleyes were shorts, but a couple were 15" and could've been kept had a turkey not been on the table for last night's dinner. Planning to return this weekend with some larger minnows to hopefully catch some bigger fish. Last year I experienced this below a Tomahawk area dam this time of year. Using fatheads with a simple hook and sinker produced plenty of walleyes. When I switched to bigger bait, I caught and released several 20" and bigger fish. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Time to enjoy a few more open water outings before the ice fishing season begins. No ice to report on yet. There calling for rain and highs in the 40s on Monday, which should take care of what little skim ice is out there now. Good luck to everyone heading out to hit the water or wrap up the hunt this upcoming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods woods and water time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:50 am
Last night's rain pretty much did away with all the snow and what little ice we had in the Tomahawk area, so for another year the early ice reports will have to wait a little later than many had hoped. Looking at the long-range forecast, if things aren't changed, we still might have fishable ice by the second weekend in December. Keep the fingers crossed. Despite the lack of ice, I took advantage of the warmer temps over the Thanksgiving holiday and found the walleye have really turned on. On three separate outings fishing from shore multiple fish were caught dragging a hook and sinker tipped with a minnow. Areas targeted were below dams and areas with deeper water (8 feet) and structure. This time of year I really like to upgrade the size of minnows used to catch bigger fish. At times the bite was so good a fish would be on as soon as the bait hit the bottom. A couple nice 18" fish were caught along with many shorties caught on smaller minnows. A tip for fishing below Tomahawk area dams to avoid losing gear in snags, use a wire hook that can bend and secure the sinker just tight enough so it stays in place but can slide when you get snagged. Just pull the line and the snag almost always comes out with your gear still intact. You will save a lot of gear and time re-tying using this technique. Hopefully it won't be too long before the first ice is here. At least the walleye bite has been pretty entertaining until the safe ice arrives. The 2016 musky season officially comes to an end tomorrow on Nov. 30. Good luck to everyone heading out one last time. Have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:22 pm
Just checked the ice depth at Bradley Park and had about 1.5 inches. The strong winds this week have bodies of water freezing differently than others. Lake Mohawksin mostly froze over two days ago, while Clear Lake in Nokomis was still open as of yesterday. Temp got down to 6 degrees here in the Tomahawk area last night and is forecasted to hit 0 tonight, so it won't be long now and the ice fishing season will be here. I actually had a friend go out yesterday on an area flowage and he limited out on nice walleyes. I prefer to wait until there is at least two to three inches of ice before venturing out, which should happen by as early as tomorrow or Sunday. And I always use extreme caution early on, using the spud to check the ice depths before each and every step. The good news is the walleyes are up shallow this time of year. My friend said he was catching them on tip ups set off a point in three to four feet of water. Looking at the extended forecast, it looks like early ice could be a thing of the past as soon as next weekend with a bunch of cold air headed our way. So those who like to wait until the ice is a bit thicker shouldn't have to wait too long to get out and get the season started. For those giving it a shot this weekend, please be safe and remember no fish is worth dying for. Good luck, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:20 am
And just like that we were ice fishing on a Tomahawk area flowage where only day’s prior open water had been. Between being too warm to start the month to too cold to go out on the ice and fish later this week, we found about four inches of good, solid ice on a secluded bay we targeted Saturday. And we also found a pretty impressive walleye bite right before sunset.
The large mud flat we fished provided little structure to target other than depth changes from three to six feet deep. One tip up was set up along a point in about 4 feet while the others were set in the bit deeper water. At around noon the first wave of walleyes passed through providing a nice 16” fish and another that dropped the bait a short time later.
We were using golden shiners set about three inches off bottom. As the sun began to set the action really picked up. First a nice 16” fish, then a 15”, then a beauty 18” walleye was caught followed by another 16” fish. Then several flags tripped and nothing was on the other end. Either the bite was starting to slow down or some smaller males had moved in. As darkness set in the bite turned off, we packed up our gear and headed for home. Not a bad start to the season. We fished safe, found some success and even kept a few for a meal that will be enjoyed sometime later this winter.
Just a reminder to anyone planning to head out, the bay we were fishing is pretty protected from the wind, which caused ice formation to very greatly amongst different bodies of water last week. Don’t assume the ice is safe and always use caution particularly on Tomahawk area flowages where ice depths can always fluctuate due to moving water.
And just like that the permanent ice shacks will begin showing up on area waters. After a warm start to December, the ice fishing season has begun and the first blast of real cold air will have us soon wishing we could get back out on the ice. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and upcoming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:49 am
The recent cold spell has ice forming and anglers chomping at the bit to get out and enjoy a day out on the hard surface here in the Tomahawk area.
Ice depths continue to very greatly, so ice fishermen are reminded to continue to use caution when venturing out. Heading into this past weekend, back bays and places without current had about five inches of ice, which was enough for some people to start taking out their permanent ice shanties. The snow over the weekend did result in some slush on the ice Saturday and we didn't get the strong winds to blow it off, so that will continue to be a bit of headache going forward.
According to the crew at Aquatic Arts Fishing Pro Shop, the bite for panfish, pike and walleyes has been really good when the weather has permitted. Walleyes are being caught up in the shallows on tip ups and jigging spoons like the new Hyper Glide made by Acme, with the smaller sizes also producing nice catches of crappies. Shallow bays are also giving up some giant pike during the daytime hours on tip ups rigged with pike minnows. The perch and bluegills are also being caught right now in shallower bays in four to five feet depths – any structure like weeds or wood are good places to target.
Aquatics notes the hot bait on the market to start the season has been the ice fishing spoons, which anglers can use to “probe” an area for aggressive perch and walleyes and remain mobile until an active school is found. Baits like the Hyper Glide, Leech Flutter Spoon, Perch and Walleye Talkers and Kastmasters have all been selling fast and have been hard to keep in stock. Also new this year, Aquatics is stocked with a full line of Mummy Worms, mummified wax worms, that they have been selling a lot of and are available in an assortment of colors.
Stop by Aquatic Arts on North Fourth Street to get geared up with fresh bait, the newest jigging spoons and all the other fishing gear needed to spend a fun and enjoyable day out on the ice. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and upcoming weekend. Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:29 pm
The warming trend over the Christmas break provided the perfect opportunity for more anglers to get out and enjoy a day on the ice for the first time winter, albeit a slushy and sloppy one for many.
In some of the more popular ice fishing locations where anglers already packed down the snow, the slush wasn’t as much a problem as it was in areas where nobody had previously been heading into the rain storm Saturday night. Ice depths from less than 2” in some spots to about 7” in protected bay areas have been reported. The bays we have fished on Tomahawk area flowages have been on the higher end of ice totals. Some ATV/UTV and snowmobile travel has begun, but caution is still warned due to the varying ice depths.
The hot bite remains in shallow bays for panfish, walleye and some of the biggest pike that will be caught of the year. Depths from four to seven feet have been giving up nice catches of bluegills, crappies and perch during the day. Anglers are hole hoping and trying to find any structure like weeds or stumps in muddy bays that will be holding fish. Otherwise, moving around and trying to find the most active fish has been the ticket for panfish. While a few anglers have reported some nice catches of slab crappies, not many have yet ventured out to the deeper holes to try and catch some paper mouths. A few were being caught mixed in with the gills in the shallower bays.
The walleyes have been an early morning or evening bite right before sunset on Tomahawk area flowages. Some nice catches of good eaters in the 15 to 18” range have been caught in the period right before dark using tip ups rigged with golden shiners set about a half-foot off bottom. Again, muddy bays or any structure like weeds or rocks in the 4” to 8” depth have been producing fish. A few bonus walleyes have been caught during the day on the flowages, while lakes with clearer water have been producing nice fish at sunset and after dark. On Saturday, the bite on the clear water lake we were targeting began well after sunset. At around 8 p.m. the first fish was caught on the deepest set tip up in about six feet of water. As the fish moved shallower the closer in tip ups began to trip and a nice 19" keeper was caught before a trophy 28" fish was caught and released.
Heading into the New Year holiday break, expect slush to persist in some spots where snow continues to cover the ice and more thicker ice to be where the snow melted off after the rain and the ice refroze solid. Happy New Year to all with plenty of big fish in 2017! Good luck, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice fishing time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:32 pm
The weather is down right balmy here in the Tomahawk area today as highs have reached the 30s. The nice temps are forecasted to stick around through the weekend, so it should make the perfect opportunity to get out and spend some time on the ice over the coming days. The recent snow and cold has slowed fishing action as of late. We have been sticking close to the ice shack a couple times out over the past week and have little to show for our efforts. Time to move out to deeper water and find some better structure. Truck travel has been good despite the heavy snow on the ice. Slush could become a problem with the melting snow and rain last night. While out scouting a new place to put the schack yesterday, I did come across one of those areas where there's four inches of ice, a couple inches of slush and about five inches of ice under that. This could have made for a real headache if I didn't scout prior to heading out, so make sure to continue using caution when out on the ice. Might be time to bust out those tip downs for the first time this year. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and coming weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:13 pm
Over the past few weeks we have been targeting deeper water on Tomahawk area flowages where crappies and large bluegills have been found mixed together in about 17 to 20 feet. A few legal walleyes have also been caught on tip downs using jigs and crappie minnows set for crappies. Spreading tip downs over large mud flats allowed us to pick up crappies that were scattered, sometimes suspended 12 feet down while other times the fish would be found holding tight to the bottom.
We caught crappies up to 13 inches jigging Tungston jigs and rockers under sinkers to get the bait down to the bottom faster. One trick that produced several big slabs was to bounce rockers tipped with waxies off the bottom to kick up mud. The fish would hit the jig as it sat on the bottom and we would set the hook upon feeling the weight while lifting up the jig. When the fish didn’t want live bait, we would switch over to plastics to get the more active fish up to bite. Using electronics helped locate and entice these fish into hitting the plastics.
The several recent cold fronts that have passed through over recent weeks have slowed action on some days. When weather has allowed, moving from hole to hole to find the more active fish has helped put a few more on the ice. Slow travel was required as the recent re-freeze did away with the slush but left big ruts behind. The snowfall early last week did fill in some of the rough areas but slow travel is still recommended and caution should be used as ice was thinned in some areas where current is around.
With the action a bit sluggish for us at times on the flowages in recent days, we headed north of Tomahawk on Saturday and found an active crappie bite over the deep basin of the lake we targeted. A lake topographic map allowed us to narrow down the search and the flasher left little doubt the crappies were stacked up in the spot we fished. Some nice crappies were caught throughout the day with the biggest topping out around 12 inches. A fun day of fishing produced about 25 fish that were kept for a meal, which isn’t a bad outing with the conditions can make things a bit tough this time of year. Fish were caught about 16 to 20 feet down in 24 feet of water.
Good luck to everyone heading out this week and upcoming weekend. Have fun, be safe and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:38 pm
The ice has taken a significant hit from the warm weather and rain here in the Tomahawk area in recent days. Truck travel is no longer advised and ATV travel would be iffy if unsure of where heading as a lot of moving water has been flowing down the channels in the flowages making for some very variable ice conditions. That said, yesterday (Wednesday) we saw ATVs on the Willow Flowage, where another truck went in near the Four Islands that had to be pulled out, and there were still a few trucks on Big Arb as of last night. The snowstorm set to hit the area Friday is forecasted to bring 6-10" of new snow that will only make it more difficult to see the areas where there is unsafe ice. Certainly wouldn't expect these kind of conditions at the end of February. This ice fishing portion of this Saturday's Somo Ice Fishing Jamboree was cancelled over concerns of ice conditions. The big cash drawing and other raffles are still being held at Tomahawk Lodge on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop out and help support a good cause.
On the fishing side of things, we targeted crappie over a lake's deep basin yesterday using tip downs set 16" down in about 24" of water. After using a flasher to find the fish after checking many different holes, we dropped down the tip downs tipped with crappie minnows and it was almost instantly fish on. The action remained very good for about an hour as a small rainstorm passed through with fish up to 12". As the rain came to an end so did the bite and the last hour of light produced no additional fish. Tuesday we tried to fish the Spirit and found "blow out" conditions as the water moving down the channel was so strong we could not pick up out baits on the electronics. One thing I've learned from fishing Tomahawk area flowages over the past many years is moving water will destroy ice in no time, so suffice to say we did not stick around long. This weekend is the start of a new moon phase, so those willing to brave the conditions might find a bit better bite than would be expected considering it will be right after a cold front has passed through. Will be waiting to see just how much snow piles up before we decide whether or not to venture. Will be interesting to see how things play out in the days and weeks to come as far as how long the ice fishing season goes.Hopefully the best is yet to come as late ice can be some of the best fishing of the season - and hopefully we won't have to do it from a boat this year. Good luck to everyone heading out this weekend. Please be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:49 am
Wanted to let those making plans for this upcoming weekend that there still is plenty of ice on Tomahawk area waters. We had about 16 inches of good ice on two different areas we fished Wednesday. These couple cool days leading up to the weekend should help firm things up even better, make sure to put the creepers on the boots, heading into the weekend. That said, we targeted areas where there is no current in deeper water and a weedy bay. I would not trust any ice covering the channels on Tomahawk area flowages as a lot of water was moving downstream not too long ago and ice depths could vary greatly as a result. Have heard guys are starting to pick up perch in the weedy shallow bays and found some crappies still suspended over the deep water. Unfortunately the day we were out the wind was out of the East when the fish bit the least. We could mark the crappies 12 feet down in 22 feet of water but the bite was slow as a result of the conditions. Jigging in the shallow weeds produced one small walleye and no perch for us. Regardless of the bite, it is still hard to beat a beautiful day out on the ice up here in God's Country! Listening to eagles as the wind sways the pines isn't a bad distraction when the tip down action is slow and the fish won't touch a plastic. The game fish season closes after this weekend on Wisconsin inland lakes. I heard a couple anglers have been putting in boats on Herb Mitchell off Hwy. 107 and I suspect that crowd will increase as ice fishing opportunities continue to dwindle in the coming weeks. Good luck to everyone heading out this upcoming weekend. Have fun, be safe and enjoy your Northwoods ice time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:24 pm
The warmer weather of late has allowed some anglers in the Tomahawk area to get out on the open water as the North Fourth Street boat landing (Kwahamot Park) is now ice free. Boats have also been fishing below Pride Dam and Bradley Dams as well as stretches south on the Wisconsin River. Some fish are being caught from shore below the dams with the perch bite being the best right now. Some small walleyes are being caught and a good bit of sorting is required to catch a couple eaters. Expect the walleye bite to continue to get better as water temperatures improve. Hopefully this prevailing east wind that has been almost a daily occurrence over the past couple months will switch around to provide some better fishing conditions. A few anglers were still hitting the ice as of mid week in search of the late ice panfish bite. Conditions should allow for at least one more outing this weekend, but with the warmer weather in the forecast, I believe the end is very near. Was shocked by the massive migration north that occurred with this most recent rain and warmup. Geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, blackbirds and songbirds seemed to arrive in the masses on Wednesday and have added to the splendor that is springtime in the Northwoods. Even though the fishing was slow from shore where I fished the other day, I still stuck around to enjoy the many sites and sounds that a frozen landscape had been void of these past several months. And it was time very well spent, indeed! Good luck to everyone heading out this week and upcoming weekend. Remember a new fishing license is needed come April 1 (no fooling). Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods late ice and open water fishing time!
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 2:14 pm
With the snow flying this morning here in the Tomahawk area it is hard to believe that the 2017 inland fishing opener is just days away. Here are a few tips to get you started on Saturday. Good luck!
After unseasonably cold temperatures and up to three inches of snow, according to the long-range forecaster, improving weather is on the way and it looks like good weather for the Wisconsin opening day walleye season!
A few warm days will jump start the fishing again. There are many ways to catch walleye, pike, and crappie on flowages and rivers. Here are a few suggestions from Tomahawk fishing guide Buck Derleth that will provide you with a successful opening weekend. On flowages in low light periods, cast floating rapalas, crankbaits and husky jerks in relatively shallow water, fishing the shorelines, islands, sunken bars, mud bottom areas and near any structure. This is a good way to catch multi-species of fish and cover lots of ground quickly.
Use a plain jig and minnow and bounce around structure areas deep and shallow until you find them. Use your electronics to find baitfish on large flats. Jig and minnow them or use bottom-bouncers with floating jigs and live bait and drift fish. My favorite is to slip-bobber fish for walleye and crappie at this time of the year either from shore or anchor and fish from the boat.
On rivers, fish the dams from boat or shore. Slack water eddies and bridges are great places to catch a variety of fish; you will just have to experiment and see. I, myself, will try fishing from shore first using slip-bobber poles rigged with a floating rapala. Remember to have a new fishing license for the 2017 season and check out the daily bag limits on your body of water. Remember when harvesting fish it’s okay to keep a few eaters for the frying pan, but it’s important to catch, photo, and release the prime spawners for any species of fish! Good luck fisherman!
If you are looking for a day out on the water, give me a call at 715-966-1821. Remember to check out my Facebook page at Buck’s Taxidermy and Guide Service. Well, that wraps it up for this time. This is Roman Derleth reminding you, “Don’t slack off and always keep your line tight!”
Shallow water bite heating up heading into opening weekend
Between the cold and rain of late, Jed “Big Musky” Buelow and guests headed out on a Tomahawk area flowage Saturday to see if post-spawn perch and walleye were feeding in the shallows. With a strong wind from the north, we targeted a bay where waves were pushing in the warmest water. We found standing weeds and stumps in two to three feet of water and it didn’t take long before some nice perch were caught. Bobber down, big slab perch in the boat. The action wasn’t as hot as it will be once the warmer weather returns, but a school would move through and you would pick up a couple big perch each time. When the fishing would slow, we would move around a little bit and were able to stay on some active fish. The pike were also active in the shallows and we incidentally caught several on a piece of crawler fished below a bobber. We didn’t end up catching any post-spawn walleyes, but we weren’t overly surprised, considering the seasonably cold conditions we were fishing and have been experienced of late.
Just a reminder, waters in the ceded territory, including the Tomahawk area, have a 20” to 24” walleye slot limit where two under and one over can be kept as part of a three fish daily bag limit. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and Saturday’s opener. Always practice common courtesy, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods open water fishing time. Also remember to check out Fishing with Jed on the Tomahawk Leader message board for more updates on the bite in Tomahawk area this summer.
Re: Living the dream
Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 11:02 am
Got out for a while this past weekend on a Tomahawk area flowage and found perch, crappie, gills, bass and walleyes feeding in the shallow water. The key was targeting weeds in the 2 to 3 foot depths in bays with the warmest water and wave action. Used a simple hook and sinker rigged with a chunk of crawler. We started using the "head" portion of the crawler during the day and switched to the "tail" side later in the evening as it was what the fish seemed to prefer. The perch were found in the deeper weeds while the gills and crappies were up a bit shallower in more pre spawn locations. Several nice smallmouth bass were caught and released, and some nicer walleyes also were hooked but broke off at boat side as we were using light line to target post spawn perch. This bite will remain very good until the weeds start to get too high in June. Also busted out the fly rod this past week for crappies and had a blast battling some nice slabs. The fish up to 13 inches were caught twitching a popper along shore. You would hear a "pop" and the battle would be on. As always, remember to only take what you need and put the rest back for seed.Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods water time!