SPRINGTIME IS BROWN TROUT TIME!
By Capt. Lee Haasch
Got that itch for open water fishing? Late March and April is the time to scratch it with some brown trout action! Late March is that magical time of the year when you can launch your boat in the morning and troll the shallows of Lake Michigan for brown trout and then slide up to Green Bay and walk out on the ice and pop a couple of nice walleye in the evening. Every year it’s a waiting game for that magical day that the launching ramp is ice-free and we can back the Starcraft down the launch ramp and get after those “silver footballs!”
Depending on the year and Mother Nature, it could be mid to late March or sometime in early April when the sun melts the ice from the marina and it doesn’t take long for the word to get out that browns are biting! That’s because, well, after a long winter of being left alone, they ARE biting! They are cruising the shallow rocky shoreline of Lake Michigan feeding on gobies, stone rollers and other small baitfish that inhabit the structured shoreline.
Since the bay and other inland lakes are still ice covered at this time of year, it’s a no-brainer to grab my Ugly Stik GX2’s and Alphamar 16’s spooled with 50# Trilene Braid and 10# Trilene fluorocarbon leaders and hit the boat landing with a vengeance to tackle a few of those monster browns that are cruising the shoreline. Those first couple weeks can be some of the best as the browns have had all winter to forget about being chased. They are hungry and aggressive! A couple of Rapala #7 or #9 floaters or even a husky jerk are favorite weapons when cruising the shallow 8’ to 12’ in early season. Black/silver, black/gold, blue/silver and fire tiger are popular colors
I like to pay close attention to my graph and the surface temperature as I’m trolling. I have found that often times, the areas where I get my bites are quite often patches of cloudy water where the water temperature can rise as little as 1 to 2 degrees. In those areas, the bait fish will tend to congregate and attract the hungry browns. When I find one of those patches, I will circle back and make several passes through that area and often pick up a fish or two with each pass through those cloudy patches. You will also find that the darker and more colorful baits, like firetiger and black/gold, will work the best in the cloudy areas as they tend to look the most like the gobies that the brown trout are feeding on.
As a bonus, you may also pick up a few lake trout in the shallows in early spring. They too are cruising the rocky shoreline feeding on those same gobies that the browns are chasing. For this reason, I also like to toss out a couple orange/gold Rapalas in my spread. Lake trout love orange and there is nothing like a good lake trout filet on the grill from that early spring cold water!
BROWNS AND LAKE TROUT
Since these browns and lake trout are in the rocky shallows feeding on gobies, I have found the downward swimming action of Berkley Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows closely imitate the gobies and are quite deadly at times. I like the colors that closely resemble the gobies, like black/gold, black/gold sunset, slick sunset and firetiger. These also seem to work very well as the sun is coming up.
After you’ve made those first couple passes in the real shallow water in the early dawn hours, you will notice the bite slow as the sun gets higher in the sky. This is when I like to slide out and work that 15’ to 30’ of water. The browns and lakers don’t go away, but they do get a bit sketchy in that clear shallow water and will tend to slide a bit deeper once the sun gets a bit higher in the sky. This movement opens up more options in my spread. I will trade a couple of planer boards for my slide divers and bust out a couple super light R & R spoons. Slide divers work great for this because I can dial them to run out from the boat and also put a 50’ to 60’ leader behind the diver. This is a deadly combination for these hesitant browns and lake trout.
Being a little deeper also allows you use your downriggers if you have them. Just like the slide divers, I set my riggers with longer 60’ or even 80’ leads and run them shallow, like 8’ to 10’ down. By getting the baits back a ways from the boat, the browns, especially in the cloudier water, will be comfortable striking baits that far back from the boat.
For current fishing reports or information on charter fishing check out my report page at www.FishAlgoma.com. From Captain Lee and the crew aboard the GRAND ILLUSION 2 – good luck and good fishing!
Albino Buck Shot in Missouri
Albino deer are a rarity and many people love to see them and seek them out in states across the country. In my home state of Wisconsin, it is illegal to kill an albino deer, but many states allow it. This particular buck was from Missouri, where it is legal to kill an albino deer. The albino buck pictured above was famous among locals and many hunters passed on killing the deer, until this fall. Jerry Kinnaman took the Great White Buck this past November and it’s a true trophy.
Rare 10 Point Albino Buck Killed
“I gave him a fair shot. He had a good life,” Kinnaman told his local news. “He’s famous. He still will be.”
Albino Buck Shot
Check out the video below to hear more from Kinnaman on his story.
Kinnaman hunted the deer this year and knew that killing it may upset people, but it was a completely legal kill. He had a friend that allowed him to hunt on his property and had asked if he could shoot the buck if presented with a shot a few years ago. His friend told him not to kill it. In recent years though, there were trespassing problems on his property and his friend asked Kinnaman to kill the deer.
“It got so bad that he came back to me and said, `I want you to shoot this deer.”
Albino Buck Killed in Missouri
This is a beautiful deer and a true trophy and I would not argue with anyone’s legal kill.
Earlier this year an 11 year old hunter from Michigan shot a nice 12 point albino buck with a crossbow.
Legal hunting is just what we said… Legal. There was nothing wrong with this kill and it’s much better than a poacher getting it.
See more of the latest outdoor news here on MorningMoss.
THE ICE IS ROTTEN…
BUT THE FISHING’S NOT
By: Kyle Sorensen
Let’s face it, this winter has been a fierce one. Many days well below zero, various weather advisories, maybe a [few] back-breaking hours on the lake digging out your vehicle? It hasn’t been an easy one but I know one thing, we sure were given ice and a lot of it. Before you start the ever daunting task of first, finding all of your hard water equipment (Isn’t it amazing where some of it turns up?) and second, cleaning and storing it away for the season; WAIT!
As we pass into March, the bittersweet transformation to the late ice period begins. Bitter, because I know the ice fishing season will soon come to an end but sweet, because the best fishing I have yet to have all ice season is about to start. The ice might be getting rotten but the fishin’s sure not!
In this article, we are going to go into some reasons why I truly love this time of year and what factors go into my reasoning. Some of these factors can be said for various bodies of water but most will address my home waters of the Lake Winnebago System.
Late ice offers up a higher chance of those 35+ degree, calm, sunny days while there is still plenty of ice. It makes the trip more enjoyable and less of a hassle. It allows us not to have to hunker down in the portable shelter but rather sit on the side of a four wheeler, snowmobile or bucket, focusing on lure presentation and not about how our eyelashes have icicles.
It is no secret, when it’s warm out, we tend to be more active outside. We think more clearly and in turn we can operate more effectively and efficiently. This is good news for our mobility efforts from spot-to-spot, lure presentation and the overall eagerness to work for our prize catches. If we are comfortable, we can concentrate and in turn, catch more fish.
The weather plays an important role not only for us but also for the system as the warming weather begins the system “reboot”. The rivers open, melting water and rain purges oxygen into the main bodies of water and rays of sunlight begin to penetrate deeper into the water column. This in turn, gives the ecosystem the boost it needs to ready up for a busy summer.
During other winter periods, we do not know where different species will be located, nor where they are heading, without some work. Sure, we can come up with an educated guess from the previous years’ experience but it’s not always a definitive answer. We all know it usually takes a lot of time to locate and pattern the fish movements throughout the winter months, however, we are given a heightened advantage during the late ice period.
Our location selection patterns should change during the transition from mid-winter ice to late ice. By now, we have an idea where our targeted species have been locating themselves throughout the past months. Taking this into account, we look to where they will be heading. If we are strictly chasing big gills, we might start looking to the shallower water depths as the ecosystem shock has sparked some life into the lifeless weeds. If we are on the hunt for ol’ marble eyes, we know they will be starting their classic spawning run so we might begin to look closer to the river areas.
On the Lake Winnebago System, various species begin to “stage” at, in and around the rivers for their annual spawning runs. When I say “stage,” I don’t mean they just sit around for a few days. It’s best to think of it as an area in which the schools bottle-neck and all the travel routes merge together. As these first schools begin to congregate in these areas, it is not uncommon to find fish under the first hole you drill. Does it always happen this easy? No, but if you can find safe ice around a staging area, and time it correctly, there will be large numbers of fish to be had.
A fair number of these fish will be active as they will be building up on the energy for their grueling journey. With the high numbers of fish in these confined areas, the forage base becomes very limited within a short period of time. This means our presentations could show an amplified success rate with a more aggressive approach.
A key point to note is this. Fish will travel from all corners in each lake to get to their spawning grounds. If you can locate and stay on these movements, which will obviously end in the river areas (for some species), you will catch the fish and for a longer period of time.
I can’t stress it enough. Whether it is early ice, mid-winter ice or late ice, mobility is, and always has been the key. The great part about fishing late ice is that we know where the fish will end up and by adjusting our movements (through trial and error) we will be able to track the targeted species all the way to their final winter location.
I stay very mobile and as I discussed in a previous area, the weather allows us to be more active outside. A warm day allows me to sit on the side of my snowmobile and offer a presentation that I would normally comfortably offer while within the warmth of a shack. Granted I must dress a little warmer but by limiting the amount of set-up and take-down time, I spend more time fishing and ultimately finding and catching fish more fish.
Whether it is the first or last spot for the day, my routine is as follows: Drilling one hole, taking just enough slush out of the hole to get my bait down, dropping the transducer down and jigging for 10-15 minutes (some might say this is too long). If I do not produce the results I am after, the transducer comes back up and I’m off after noting the details of my strike-out in the GPS. It’s that simple. Having my auger mounted on the back of my sled and traveling light allows me to spend less time messing around with other equipment I might need in other conditions.
Late ice, in a nutshell, is a blast. The most important thought I would like you to take out of this article is safety. With warming temperatures, melting ice and maybe some rain mixed in, ice conditions can deteriorate quickly. Once the safety issue has been taken into account, I will say this. Use the edge Mother Nature has given us. We know the fish will be moving and where they will be moving to. Through the use of mobility and trial and error, track and pattern these movements so you are able to take full advantage of everything late ice has to offer. Before you know it, it will have come and gone.
Until the hard water hits again next season, Tight Lines. Stay Dry.
The post appeared first on Morning Moss.
24 Hours of Firsts
By: Aaron Retzlaff
Whats up. Im Todd. I like my dog, boats, the open water, the American flag and guns. Some might describe me as a "basic bro", but I'm really just a down home country boy. And a country boy can survive! Im usually out on the water in my fishing boat or canoe with my dog drinking a beer. Stuff on here is stuff I like. Cheers.