Fishing Reports

Fishing Report by Bob’s Manitowish Guide Service

Hook—Line—and Sinker


Several years ago Eric Johnson asked me to write a column for FYI about fishing stories. I have indeed enjoyed jotting down these stories over the years and I when saw this calendar joke on a calendar my daughter gave me for Christmas, I thought it would be a great title for today’s column. I have heard this saying many times over the years and it kind of fits for the stories I write each week.

I looked up on the internet the info on Hook line and Sinker and found it interesting. This expression was first recorded in 1865 in an expression saying he swallowed our excuse without reservation, completely, hook line and sinker. This saying of course refers to fishing where a fish swallows not only the hook but also the line and lead sinker making it easy to catch the fish.

The Wikipedia dictionary describes it as an idiomatic expression to describe a situation where a person or group accepts wholesale and uncritically and idea or set of beliefs.

So do we still use this expression? I have not heard it in years but I assume some people still say it. Of course in fishing we always tell the truth (ha Ha) about the big fish that got away or the monster fish that we caught without a net ETC. My Dad bought me a hat several years ago and it said” Fisherman are born Honest but we work are way out of it”. All of us over the years have maybe stretched the true a little about the big fish we caught, right? It is common nature to enhance such a great experience into a battle of fish versus man.

I just returned from the Madison fishing show a couple weeks ago and I remember a young man (about 7 or 8 years old) telling me a story of the big Bass he caught off the dock. He said he fought it for 10 minutes and all the time yelling for his dad to come help. He said the fish was this big (stretching his arms out each way of a least 2 feet). I of course believed his story because he told it with enthusiasm and a giant smile on his face. I guess you could say I fell for his story Hook Line and Sinker!!

It will not be long now we will have open water and we can start fishing again. It has been a long winter and I am ready to get the boat ready and start going thru the poles and lines and tackle.  This is a quiet time in Boulder Junction and it now gives us time to prepare and reflect on the upcoming season of fishing. If we are lucky will even get a chance to catch the big fish this season and start working on the story with some extra dressing so that when the story is told we will accept it Hook Line and Sinker. Good Luck and good fishing.


Get Hooked on Fishing                           Bob

This week’s tip: As I said above now is a great time to dig out the tackle boxes, poles, and lines and get them ready for the season. I know my tackle box needs some TLC and hooks sharpened, and general clean up. Sometimes the lures are put away wet and now is the time to clean up any rust or dirt on them and make sure everything is dry and clean. I always change all of line on all my poles this time of the year. The line will get brittle or have memory and I want to have the best shot of catching the big fish. Line is cheap—Change it!  Good Luck Fishing .




I woke up early this morning thinking about fishing, which is really no surprise. I think about fishing a lot but today was I was thinking about all of the technology used today in fishing and is it really needed? I guess I am old fashioned about fishing. I like the simpler kind of fishing.

Today in fishing we use the depth finders on our boats which are powered by big outboard motors, electric trolling motors for maneuvering the boat to just the right spot. What about oars? I do not have oars in my Bass boat, in fact I only have a small paddle hid away in the storage locker in case all the other power fails. I would hate to have to get back to shore on a big lake just using the small paddle. I have been for the most part lucky and have not had to use the paddle (if I could find it). In the old days all the guides or fisherman used was oars to guide their boats.

In the movies James Bond and other leading actors would have been in real trouble if they did not have the automatic power reel which reels the line at the touch of a button. I do not do a lot of saltwater fishing but they do use this type of reel for fishing the big fish in the oceans. The old man in the sea would have loved to have a reel like that for his big fish, As I recall he just had a hand line and got pulled all over the water trying to land his big fish.

If you talk to some of the old guides they just used a line of site to find their fishing spot on the lake. They would line up a spot with the flag pole on the west shore and a huge pine tree on the east shore or a pile of rocks etc. I know I used that a lot when I started fishing. Now we have lake maps in the depth finder with GPS which can take to the exact spot where you caught fish the day before. The fish don’t have a chance if you have all that technology. Right?  I know all of this stuff makes fishing easier but does it?

I will be doing a guide seminar this summer titled “Get Back To Basics” and plan on talking just about the basic things needed to go fishing and still be able to catch fish. I have three or four tackle boxes full of lures, special hooks, sinkers, rubber worms, spinner baits etc. Do I need all of that? I guess not because I do not for the most part use them when fishing with my clients. We end up jigging live bait 75 % of the time or maybe use a jig head with a plastic worm for Bass.

I find that I like to use the basics for fishing like monofilament line. I have used Berkley Tri lean XL 8# visi- green most of life. Yes, I get bit off by Northern Pike and Muskies while jigging for walleyes but I have been stubborn to change.  It has been a great line for me. I will be changing some of my poles line this year to Power Pro braided line with a long leader of fluorocarbon line. Again more technology. I am told by other fisherman this works very well to stop the possibility of getting bit off by the toothy critters and also have great smooth casting with less flexibility to have better hook set.  I will give it a try this year.

In closing this article I do plan to change a few things this year to take advantage of some of the new technology but I still like to go back to the basics when I am fishing by myself. Maybe just a bobber and a hook with a worm will suffice sometimes.  Good Luck fishing this spring and summer.


Get Hooked on Fishing                                       Bob
This week’s Tip:
Take time this winter as I am and think about the basics of fishing. Take a tackle box and fill it with the basic stuff and have it with you in the boat. Maybe that is all you will need. Good Luck fishing.


Learning a New Lake



I get asked a lot in seminars and sports shows, how do I begin to learn a new lake? This is a question all of us anglers have to answer if we like to try new areas or Lakes for a fishing adventure or for a family vacation. It makes it tough on the vacationer who wants to stay on a lake for a vacation. How do they chose? A Lake that has a nice swimming beach and the amenities needed for the family is not always the best fishing lake. The reverse is also true the best fishing lake is not always the best lake for the family which has ample recreation facilities for them to enjoy.  These days with the internet the choosing of vacation spots is easier but you still have to learn the lake.

Many times over my years of guiding families or individuals call me on Thursday and ask me to take them out fishing because they have not caught anything all week. I know that is frustrating to the visitor and that is not the kind of thoughts we should leave our vacationers with if we as a community want them to keep coming back here for vacation. I of course will be happy to take them fishing and show them on the lake they are staying, where to find fish and how to catch them. Unfortunately they are going home the next day. I tell folks call me on the first day so I can show them the lake and how to catch fish on that lake. They will use that knowledge to find and catch fish the next few days and leave happy that they had fun.

If our visitors do not want to hire a guide then their first stop should be is the local bait shop where they need to get their State Fishing License. In most sport shops there are employees that really know the area and can be a lot of help tell you about any giving lake in the area. While you are there in the sports shop pick up book of maps for the area. A good one is the Sportsman’s Connection which is a book which has all the lakes in the counties you want to fish. This book has exact maps of the lake you want to learn and even has best fishing spots noted along with the different types of species of fish available in that lake. It will also have a write up about the lakes and even types of lures to use during each season. This book of maps goes for about $25.00 but is well worth the money to help you find fish. The lake maps also have the contours of the lake bottom and will give you some detailed information about structure in the lake and some areas to avoid.

If you go on the lake for the first time go slow until you know the lake. Go to each of the spots listed in the book and try fishing on those spots first. The spots are there to give you a starting point over some structure. Sometimes you may have to move around that area slowly until you get bites. If you have a depth finder on your boat mark your spots in your unit where you have had some luck so you can find the spot again the next day. Always look for fish around structure, logs, rocks, drop offs, bars, weed beds are all places fish like to hide and eat.


Get Hooked on Fishing                           Bob


This week’s tip: I always tell folks to pick up a book at the local library that can give them lots of information about the fish they want to catch. The more you about the fish habits, locations, water temperatures, weather etc. the better luck you will have fishing in our Northwoods


Sport and Travel Shows


I just returned on Monday from the Chicagoland Fishing /Travel / &Outdoor Expo 2017 in Schaumberg, Illinois. We as the Chamber of Commerce of Boulder Junction send a few of us volunteers to take the Chamber booth with information about Boulder Junction and invite folks to come to Boulder Junction. The shows give the volunteer’s time to speak one on one with our potential visitors about our area, besides giving them plenty of reading material to take home. This particular show was held in the Renaissance Center in Schaumberg, Illinois. This is a fairly new show of about 4 years or so but has become the place to be in Chicago. It was a great show with a very strong attendance.

I am sure some of you have never been to a sports /travel show but you should try to go to a couple if possible. The shows include ideas for vacation locations in Wisconsin, Canada and other near bye states. You can watch demonstrations from the Pros during free fishing seminars, look for special deals on fishing lures, rods, reels a general fishing items. You can check out this year’s models of boats and possibly buy one from the show specials.

In short, it is a good way to forget the winter blues and think of spring and summer. It also allows you to plan trips to other places or just plan your fishing trips here at home with your new fishing gear. Going to the shows is a lot of work for the volunteers but it gives me, for one, a great pleasure to brag about Boulder Junction and invite them to come and see for themselves.

If any of this interests you look up the follow shows on the internet and go to one if you are in the area .They are a lot of fun and it gives an excuse to take a road trip during a weekend this winter and escape the winter blues..


Get Hooked on Fishing                                 Bob



Ice Fishing Techniques


I am not considered an Ice Fisherman because I do not get time during the winter to do much fishing except with a few friends once in a while. (Besides I always tell people I cannot get my boat in the water). Plus, I do not have all the high tech equipment that you should have to fish often up here in winter in the Northwoods, i.e.: Snowmobile, Vexlar, power augers etc. But I do love to fish and learn about fishing of any kind during the winter. Hopefully it makes me a better fisherman during the summer months. During the winter months I usually grab books, or papers, and magazines and read up on all kinds of fishing.

This past week I was reading some stories about ice fishing and  some of the equipment you need and tips on how best to catch walleyes especially, but any kind of fish though the ice. I thought with this column I would give you some ideas that I read and hopefully help you catch more fish. If any of the tips help great, if not, well I tried.

Just dangling a minnow beneath a bobber probably accounts for more walleye than a lot of other technique but sometimes learning other ideas can help if the fishing is slow. A lot of Tip-up fishing is used up here in the Northwoods because it allows you cover a large area of the lake you are fishing, especially if you have a group of anglers.

I read that a mistake that a lot of anglers do is arriving at their spot in the late in the afternoon, (usually walleyes bite late). They start drilling holes and the noise of the drills and the snowmobiles drive the walleye out of the area. It makes sense to me to drill your holes early in the day so the walleyes will be ready to catch in your spot later in the afternoon.

Another common mistake according to the books is fishing in a crowded area with lots of anglers. Most anglers assume because there is lot of people together that the fish are biting. Probably just the opposite. A large group of anglers drilling holes, dropping equipment on the ice, just like in a boat, will spook fish.  Your odds are better if  you take time to find a spot away from the crowd. Try to locate an area that has produced during the previous summer and keep moving till you find a productive hole.

I saw while reading a book* a cool idea for keeping your hole free of ice inside you tent or ice house. Put a small candle on the side of the hole and pack a little snow around it to hold it up and stop the wind from blowing out the candle. The heat from the candle alone will keep your hole from freezing. I will try to attach a photo of this from Dick Sternberg’s book.

I saw another one in this same book which seemed like a weird idea but it seems to work. Take a small plastic pipe and push it thru the center of a thin piece of Styrofoam the size of your hole. You then thread your line thru the pipe and drop into the hole. The Styrofoam and pipe will float on top of the water and you put a drop or two vegetable oil into the pipe. Believe it or not your line will not freeze in the hole. Cool Huh?

I always tell people the more you know about the kind of fishing you are doing and how to fish correctly, it will get you a lot better results. So grab a book on fishing learn more as I do. Now go out and catch some fish. The ice much better now and with expected cold weather it will even thicker. Good Luck and good Fishing.

Get Hooked on Fishing                    Bob

This week’s Tip:
I always encourage anglers to be cautious when going ice fishing in all my columns so this one should not be any different. Be careful where you go have courtesy to the anglers near your area. The ice may be thicker now but there are still spring hole spots where the ice can be dangerous.  Good Luck.

PS: The book I read a lot was a *Prentice Hall Press book from The Hunting and Fishing Library by Dick Sternberg called Walleye. It is series of books on various species of fish and this one was about walleye habits ,techniques and fishing.



Ice fishing Our Favorite Winter Sport


I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. Now it is time to think about some serious ice fishing for many of you outdoor sportsman. The ice is starting to firm up on most lakes with a reported 5 to 7 inches of High Lake, and 6 to 8 inches on Boulder Lake. I am told that Trout Lake is still a little thin. When you get away from the East Shore where the wind blew early ice into the shore and piled it up, it is rough but is 6 to 8 inches thick. But when you get out on the main lake there is only two or three inches.  I would definitely not take snowmobiles or vehicles out there yet. Even walking out can be dangerous because of some springs. If you do walk out take along the safety gear, like a spud, life preserver and or rope. In short be safe!!

I was reading in the Wisconsin Outdoors news about the use of your sonar for ice fishing. I found it interesting and informative. It makes a statement which I have heard before, the average angler only uses 10 % of the technology that their sonar or depth finder has available. I know for myself I read and reread my instructions for my depth finder so that I have the correct settings that best give me the best information about the lake and the fish. After I have read all I can remember I go out on the water and try new settings and find the ones I like and then save them in my preset buttons. The article refers to anglers who buy a sonar unit and never change the default settings from the factory. This works but it is best to adjust the settings to you sonar unit to see your lure or bait the best in your lakes. Once you learn the subtle movements of your bait or lure the better angler you will be.

I guess the best idea is to spend some time learning your sonar unit. The more you understand it the better fisherman you will become.  Good luck this season out on the ice and be safe.


Get Hooked on Fishing                                      Bob


This week’s Tip:
The tip for this week is simple. Remember all the safety gear to include a life vest, ice pick, spud, rope etc. for going out on the ice. The most important safety hint or tip is to not go alone. It best to go with a buddy or spouse or a friend to help you get out of trouble if need help. Good Luck fishing