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655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
October 3 thru 7, 2008

My first fall fishing trip up north in nearly four years was finally able to happen as I miraculously found someone willing to tag along for the 350 mile northward journey. My first 5 invitees either bailed on me or couldn't go which really sucked but wasn't as bad as getting the car broken into and having your musky rods and reels get stolen in the same process. Luckily one angler/buddy was able to go with me at last-minute: My friend Chris.

We had fished together earlier in the year and I knew what I was expecting and it was going to be great. This was going to be a hard-core 24/7 fishing trip. . . . No excuses!

For four and a half days, we did the multi-species thing and we spent a great deal of time fishing for Pike and Musky. In addition, the Bass fishing proved to be worthwhile in the short amount of time we had tried given the very cold water temperatures we faced; 50 degrees.

In total, we were able to fish seven lakes ranging in size from 100 to 1300 acres, and one river being the Wisconsin River.

Since I pretty much copied and pasted this off my site, I'll just give a day-by-day run-down of what happened and what we did.

Friday, October 3, 2008.

This was entirely a bonus day for fishing as both Chris and I were able to get days off from work and school, respectively. Since we drove up in the early morning hours and didn't want to mess around with the boat because it would have taken far too long to get ready with limited daylight we had left, we decided to be smart and head out to the river for the rest of the day in search of Muskies and whatever else was in the mood to bite.

This day would eventually be the coldest day of the trip, BY FAR! It was the tail end of a monster cold front that came through.

Buddy Chris, working the river.

We fished the river from 1pm until shortly after 6pm. Air temps were around 50degs and water temps were somewhere in the low 50-degree range, + or -. Clarity wasn't the usual same and water levels were low and at seasonal level.

Two sections of river were fished: At both areas I was working for Muskies with nary a hit nor sighting. Chris did the same but as a back-up he brought the spinning gear with but didn't fare much better.

After five full hours on the river of tossing around cranks, gliders, and smaller bucks, we caught nothing and I experienced my first shut-out of the season at the river this year. If I can remember correctly, this was my 10th river outing of the year which is probably a seasonal record for me now.

After the river, we had some daylight left so we headed back to town and worked an off-shore area with rocks, riparian structure, and weedlines I know of at a local lake for some Walleyes. Casting either jig and minnow or crank bait/large minnowbait, all we could manage was one Walleye that bit the jig/minnow on my first cast. Not more than 30-minutes later, we called it a slow and unsuccessful day of fishing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008.

After an early morning wake-up, Chris and I were out on the fog-covered water by 8am and the fishing was spent entirely on a nearby 1,000+ acre lake, mainly fishing for Muskies.

Air temps for the day were in the upper 50's and water temps were anywhere from 55-57degs -> Turnover time!


On the musky front, we practically worked over the entire lake from deep to suspended and then to shallow from north end of lake to south. We tried fishing the shallow weeds, the deeper weeds, the weedlines, open water, steep shorelines and drops, sunken islands, and any irregular contours we stopped on. NOTHING!

While it appeared as if we were fishing and sitting right on top of good fishing areas which traditionally are good places to be on at any given time, the only variables lacking this time around seemed to be the schools of baitfish and forage species. They really were not around anywhere we had fished!

While chasing Muskies, Chris was mainly working Mepps Musky killer bucktails and had follows from two fish, one being a 40-inch class specimen and the other a more-aggressive 30-incher. Both fish were seen coming from the weeds.

As for me, I didn't see a single fish all day long!

For catching any sort of fish, we either used bucktails, top waters, crankbaits, twitch baits, gliders, plastics, and even live suckers which I either dragged or swam behind or next to the boat. Due to the lack of activity, one sucker lasted the entire day. For good luck, we named her "Rosanna", probably in honor of that Toto song. Sadly, she died after a few hours of being dragged behind the boat on rods that would eventually be stolen the following day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008.

We all know that this was the day in which the unfortunate boat landing robbery of musky rods that took place and I don't want to talk about it.

I really had not much of a fishing game-plan set for this day because either I simply ran out of lakes to fish for the season, no longer had the confidence to fish the usual standbys, or the fishing just plain sucked…. All of it held true.

It was decided upon that we would first fish a nearby chain of lakes that were 159 acres and 300 acres. We would fish them for whatever would bite.

We woke up relatively early again and were out on the first lake by 830am. After 90 minutes of casting and drifting through my usual areas of 52 degree water which were completely clear in water clarity and barren of weeds and lacking in fish of any species, we went through the channel into the other lake to see what would be in there.

At the second lake, the water temps were at 56-57 degrees, the water clarity was poor and had a green tint, and we saw zero fish besides baitfish and small Y.O.Y. panfish. After two hours, it was ultimately determined that this lake was in the process of turning over which is by far the worst time to fish, period.

After both of these lakes, we decided to head northward to fish a much smaller lake or two for Bass because we were DYING for action!

We first checked out a lake I know of that is a fun lake to fish for Largemouths, but sometimes lacks the sizeable fish. I haven't fished here in over a year and when we got there, the lake water levels were extremely low, the lowest I have ever seen, and there was no way the boat would have been able to launch out there.

We took a pass at this first lake so we headed northward to my favorite Largemouth Bass lake up near Boulder Junction. This was a 120 acre lake. Third time I have fished this lake in the past two months and from the size and quality of fish we've caught from here, it never gets old.

We fished the lake from shortly after 1pm and we had to abruptly retire at around 3pm due to an emergency situation at the boat landing. It if it weren't for the incident we encountered, we easily would have caught over a dozen Largemouth Bass because by the time we had to leave, a successful pattern was developed for-sure.

Water temps were a chilly 50-51degs while we were out there.

The pattern was to work the shorelines with some wood, cast your baits near the wood, and dead-stick the hell out of them! The fish would eventually come:

Chris was going back and forth between a bulky jig and grub that was slowly swum, a shallow diving crank bait, slow-rolled spinner bait, and a Yammy Senko. As for me, I stuck with mainly three things but was frequently changing baits to see if anything else besides a Bearpaw Hippie Stick would work. I casted DT-6 cranks with the caster when we fished near the primary dropoffs extending down to 12ft of water, flipped and pitched and then slowly dragged a jig & craw trailer to the shoreline wood, swam jig and grubs, and hopped small creature baits along the bottom.

At first, the fishing was slow but when I put on the magical Bearpaw Hippie Stick, the fish were beginning to be found. We weren't able to fish all of my areas but in what few spots we fished during the time we were out there, 3 chunk Largemouth Bass at the 14-16" mark were caught along with a snake Pike. I caught all of the fish while Chris lost a nice one and caught nothing.

It was frustrating, but a fun little outing was had until we encountered hell at the boat landing.

As a result, we had to quit fishing for the day.

Monday, October 6, 2008.

Since Chris and I were both seeking the action and now trying to catch as many fish as we possibly could with what limited time of fishing we had remaining on this trip, we decided that we would spend the entire day fishing for Pike. Since the weather was very crappy all day consisting of high winds, dark skies, and scattered showers it was perfect conditions for Pike fishing!

We fished two lakes for Pike. We first spent a few hours on an 800 acre lake but due to the strong winds and poor boat control, I did not feel so good about fishing many areas on the lake, yet alone running and gunning across the lake to fish the various spots. As a result, we were mainly regulated to fishing the western end of the lake and it held a very large weedbed and a deep weedline at the 10-11ft level.

Water temps were cold at 51-52degs, and clarity was excellent.

Here, we made many drifts with the wind, beginning at the weedline and making it towards shore. Even though the conditions seemed perfect, we had extreme difficulties catching fish.

We were casting the crap out of bucktails and when that didn't work, we would anchor ourselves on top of the open pockets near weeds to dunk minnows, or to jig with large plastics.

After two hours out on the lake, we decided to call it and head over to the next lake.

"Lake Tahoe" as it is called by myself and friends was our next destination, site of the infamous and memorable 68 pike in 4hours adventure I had experienced with my friend Tony back during our June trip!

When we reached the boat landing, I was having my doubts because the last time I had fished this lake, navigation was almost impossible due to the THICK weed growth from top to bottom which was everywhere on the lake. However, when we made it out on the lake, we were pleasantly surprised that the lake was entirely barren of weeds and that we were able to fish anywhere we wanted to.

We made a few drifts at the southern end of the lake with bucktails. After 30 minutes of casting, neither Chris nor I had any fish to show for our efforts. At this point, it was pretty sad.

Since bucktails and blades were surprisingly and shockingly not working, I opened up my Pike box and randomly threw on a new lure. I told Chris, "I'll try something different. Let's see if anything will hit this random swimbait!".

The bait I clipped on to the leader was a 3/4oz Storm Wildeye Swimbait in Perch pattern. The perch pattern seemed to be the most logical choice because in my previous outings here, it has been evident that Perch are the dominant forage species for the Pike that reside in this lake.

Plus with the fast moving bucktail not receiving any responses, it was logical to use something with a different profile in the water.

We began drifting the wind-blown shoreline and along its primary breakline in 4-5ft of water which in the summertime is completely overgrown with weeds but by now was barren.

Not more than two casts with the swimbait and its awesome flapping tail and reeling in at a consistent and not too fast speed, a 25-inch Pike was brought into the Frabill!

Then a few more casts after, another Pike came to the net and it was bigger. It was a 26-incher. Then a few casts later, 28 and 30-inchers came into the net!

Oh my God! This was GREAT!


After these quick fish, I told Chris that I will hook him up with the same lure I was using because I was sitting on a gold-mine here and the fish were going crazy over this simple lure presentation I was using - - - - Cast and just reel back to the boat!

However, Chris refused and was just as happy taking photos and being the net-boy.

I eventually gave him a different Perch Storm swimbait to try and he was then immediately onto fish.

After my first 4 or 5 fish which were pretty much 25-inches or bigger, I kept at it with the same swimbait until my entire limited stock became destroyed by fish. I had three of the baits on me and after 15 fish or so ranging in size from dinker snakes to 30-inch gators, I was entirely wiped out as they ripped off the tails.

After this first wave of fish, we switched over to new things and began using Rattlebaits and large Minnowbaits such as Bomber Long-A's, Husky Jerks, Savage-Gear Freestyler gliders, and even Storm Kickin' Minnows. In addition and for a kicker, Chris was using a huge Eppinger Daredevle spoon that was receiving tons of action and follows from fish of all sizes, including large ones!

The biggest he was able to catch ran about 25-26 inches and the best spots for our drifts were out in the middle of the lake, and along the shoreline that was being pounded by the waves.

In addition, we were both able to move some pretty large fish that were larger than 30-inches but they were a bit smarter than the other fish we were catching. This proved to be true with the large Daredevle spoon Chris as using and the large Storm Kickin' Minnow I was tossing around with the only Musky rod of mine that was not stolen!

As the day went on, both Chris and I caught several fish and we finished the day with approximately 40 total fish. I caught most of the size while Chris caught most of the numbers which were lacking in size. The fish were hungry and responding very well to the baits we were throwing at them.

Fishing in a region where there are ZERO established Northern Pike regulations, this was a really good day for us and the size factor in some of these fish was excellent!

Swimbaits = Boring, but effective!

While throwing the minnow profiled baits, I made attempts with the bucktail and over and over again, using them proved to be worthless for whatever reasons.

During our time spent on Lake Tahoe we made several drifts across the lake and covered nearly the entire shallow 300-something acre lake in sections. However, we really did not get to fish the north bay which held most of the 68 Pike we caught in June because we simply ran out of time.

We spent nearly 5 hours on the lake and fished it from around 130pm until 7pm. This outing in itself made up for all of our stolen gear, and the lack of fish and activity from the previous few days! It was awesome and one of the best outings I've had anywhere all year!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

This was my 22nd birthday and since we had to get the car window replaced during the morning, we couldn't be out fishing anywhere until before noon-time. Since the boat was winterized and put away for good right after last night's outing on Lake Tahoe, Chris and I decided to head back to the river for a lazy outing spent off shore.

We grabbed the minnows and spent our time walking and casting along the shore.

We were catching some small Walleyes on Countdowns and jig & minnow combos. The size of fish was really lacking but they were present.

After a few hours, we decided to work our way downstream. While I spent much of my time taking some pretty scenic photos of my favorite river in the world, Chris was trying to tangle with Muskies despite the fact that our rods were all stolen, and was able to hook into a mid-30 incher on a Countdown Rapala that exploded into the air and wouldn't hold on! He was psyched out by it and spent maybe a half hour on this one fish alone. He was able to bring the fish in again with his bucktail which was pretty cool but it wouldn't bite.

At about 2pm, we decided to conclude a somewhat disappointing, but fun and exciting fishing trip.

Despite the bad events that occurred and now having to replace some unnecessary $800+ dollars on rods and reels again, it was a great trip despite the conditions we faced, nonetheless!

I got my final trip of the season (#9) coming up this weekend and then it's all done until 1 ice trip in January and then the season opener in May '09. 8)

2,627 Posts
Andrew, Nice Report and Beautiful Water you guys were fishing. That boat did not take you too long to restore and you are making great use of it! Sorry about your Musky Rods, But life goes on Bud! Nice Bass and Some Good Pike!


655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thought I'd add on to the fish porn here:

I just got back from my last trip of the year which was trip #9. I was able to fish for two days which was Friday and Saturday.

Water temps were in the mid-40's and in the next 3 weeks ice will begin to form on the smaller lakes.... It's coming fast!

I fished slow and was rewarded with a handful of these:

And when I busted out the bigger gear in search of Pike/Musky with my rods that didn't get stolen, I was rewarded with some of these bigger specimens:

Swimbaits and/or large twitch baits.

No toothy fishes were caught, but I've got all of next year to look forward to.

All in all, I fished approximately 40-50 days up north this year and I wouldn't change a single thing. It was great, I had one of my best years ever, and now I'm asking myself why don't I just live there!


3,777 Posts
Yeah I love those swimbaits. I've done pretty good in the spring and fall with those things. There have been some exceptional models manufactured recently with great action and looks!
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