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Burnett County Wisconsin

4303 Views 16 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  MrB
Spent all last week in NW Wisconsin and fished Des Moines Lake, Loon Lake and Twenty-Six Lake. Used mostly black 5" senkos (and Gander Mountains imitation with equal results) and pulled in tons of LMB, mostly smaller under 14" but fiesty, and meatier than around here.

And tons of these

And one of these 3.8lbers

And few dozen of these

And a handful of these

I asked the local at the bait shop what the last one was and he (without the pic) guessed I was catching dogfish. They hit like a cat, very soft and slow, but fight like crazy! I caught one last august and it was easily twice the size of this guy, all of em fought like no tomorrow! I got fixated on them despite the need for live bait and a bobber. It was just too much fun trying to reel em in!

Lessons learned:
1. Senko imitations really are just as good as the real deal, at least the ones I have tried that are salt impregnated. We saw absolutely no difference in results between Gary's and Gander's. Used em on three different lakes with similar results. In fact, my wife used the imitations on several days and got better results than me despite not having even bass fished much before this trip!
2. Heavy recreational boat traffic immediately shut down the fish, especially the dogfish and bass, had less effect on the pike but still a noticable effect.
3. Line choice was a small factor, not nearly as much as around here. We used 8lb and 30lb braided, the 8 for senkos and the 30 for trolling and casting heavier pike lures. But did throw some senkos on the 30 and got same results as the 8.
4. Bigger is better, in boats anyway! We had a far more enjoyable time in our new (old 1955 AlumaCraft) 15' deep 'v' boat than in our 12' row boat! Mainly just more stable in the 'wake zone', but also able to get up and stand and walk around a little bit. If you're looking for a boat, go a little bigger, it's worth it!
5. It's harder and harder to fish on a budget. Trying to 'get away' and fish even in the northwoods is seemingly no longer possible on the cheap. Our cabin we've stayed at the past three years (and I did growing up thirty years ago!) is going condo! Yep, the northwoods lakes have been for sale and are going private! Well, not private private, but the shoreline is anyway. And more are literally going private all the time, no public access.
6. Lb for lb I've caught bigger length bass in Opeka, but despite the shorter length of the northwoods bass they were much more stocky and aggressive.
7. I love cheap fishing!
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1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Hey Topwater, nice fish! good to have ya back on WCF.
That is a dogfish, which is also know as a bowfin and lawyer (sp?) I believe. They put up a good fight. I've seen lots of them up in Door County but they never seem interested in what I am using for bass. Thanks for the report.
great report tim and nice fish. wish i could spend a whole week fishing.
Great job !!!
Hey Augy, I like your new Avatar! Very outdoorsie!

Thanks doc, when I first got a dogfish on last year I thought it was some sort of catfish as we caught it along with catfish in the same spot. But it had gills, lips and teeth like a walleye. It was very disturbing the first time, but the fight it great! And my wife netted it like a pro!

Any lakes within driving distance here with em?
Great Report. I will agree about the dogfish, I really love those things. I think if you tied a 5 pound smallie and a 5 lb dogfish tail to tail. the dogfish would win hands down. Those things don't know when to give up :p
That certainly is a dogfish/bowfin. What was the size?
thanks tim. it was taken on the Huron river in michigan. caught a couple nice smallies that day.
ive caught a couple of dogfish by my parents cabin in minoqua. Your supposed to kill them because supposedly their bad for the lake. Theyre pretty cool looking though. Like a big eel almost.
They do look like a big eel. The first time I saw one swimming in the water that is what I thought it was at first.
Sorry, don't know the weight, the one pictured was 28" if I remember correctly, they were so fiesty that with their teeth and all I just admired and tossed back. None of em ever stopped fighting, no matter how long out of the water (obviously sooner or later they would, but you know what i'm sayin!) The lake I got them on has pretty much only LMB, Northern, Cats and them. Frankly, they would be the last of the bunch I would take out simply cause they were the most enjoyable to catch and the lake is not on the WIDNR radar for management, last stocking was in 1971 I think! Actually, as i think on it, all of my bigger fish including the 3.8LMB were from this lake and most from the same eddy going into a back bay area with lilly pads and tons of cabbage. Though i've never caught a super sized pike there i am sure they are lurking around.
Bowfin are a prehistoric fish. I would be a shame to wipe out something that has been around for millions of years :cry:
it would be pretty bad but im just saying what the WIDNR said to us.
I imagine that as agressive as they are they could easily knock off a bass and panfish population given time. I have a hard time thinking pike would be too effected though. I think the lakes they are in where we were at are pretty much off the WIDNR radar anyway. So a good bass lake I might kill em, but Loon Lake is primarily pike and annoying, jetskiing, pontoon cruising Minneapolans :lol: Guess which one a fisherman would knock off first :lol:
Bowfin get the same bad rap that carp do unfortunately. In certain environments, both fish can decrease water quality because they shake up the silt at the bottom and can disrupt vegetation, but its often exaggerated. It's no reason to put in blanket rules for the fish. I can see making rules lake specific, but not blanket rules.
Nice Report looks like alot of fun. Those dogfish/bowfin are cool lookin
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