Issuu on Google+


Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters Magazine Volume 3. Issue 5 Num. 16

December 2013 & January, February, 2014 Winter Edition

• Hot on Ice This Winter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

About Fishing-Headquarters The Fishing-Headquarters began as a small homepage in 2005, featuring a collection of photos and YouTube fishing videos. It even featured a small contingency of misfits and rebellious anglers who were tired of the internet elitism and racism expressed by other websites built by uneducated nonangling entities towards specific groups of anglers and species of freshwater gamefish.

• The Run and Gunner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 • Top Trolling Picks for Trench Warfare . . . . 43 • The Dam River Walleye Correlation . . . . . . . 57

Formally established in January 2007, the FHQ was created for like-minded anglers to share the wealth of information, and enjoy the beauty in diverse fishing. This greatness as we presently know it is multi-species fishing.

• Winter Tailrace Walleyes & Sauger . . . . . . . 73

Designed and created by posessed and gravely obsessed angler, Andrew Ragas, the website has grown to a large world audience. Our basis as an online media platform is to drop the ego, and catch anything that swims and has fins.

• Maintaining Trophy Panfish Fisheries . . . . . 95

• Investing in a Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

All fish are created as equals. Only to be pursued as opposites.

COVER STORY Important Biz Stuff http://www.fishing-headquarters.com info@fishing-headquarters.com telephone - 708. 256. 2201 Questions or Comments, and if interested in contributing or sponsoring, please contact Andrew Ragas at: andrew@fishing-headquarters.com Magazine layout and design by Ragas Media http://www.ragasmedia.com

Pictured on the Issue-16 cover is a head-shot of Robert Conley posing with a lake trout. In this issue, we showcase a combination of ice fishing and open water angling pursuits. Turn to page 25 to read about “The Run and Gunner” style of ice fishing pupolarized by The Bassassins. Don’t just sit there this winter. Gear up light, go on a hunt and make your own luck.


Fishing-Headquarters Issue-16 It’s been two years since we’ve released a winter issue. We hope we’ve covered the bases in Issue 16. Although I’m not an ice fisherman, it’s difficult for me to be enthused about the cold. But for the sake of our contributors, I am enthused about what they’ve brought to this issue.

Andrew Ragas

Editor In-Chief, Designer, and Owner.

2014 Issue Releases Remaining Schedule

• Issue 17: March 3, 2014 • Issue 18: May 5, 2014 • Issue 19: June 30, 2014 • Issue 20: September 1, 2014 • Issue 21: December 1, 2014

Click to Subscribe

To begin our fourth season as a publication, we introduce Issue 16 which covers the winter months of December - January - February. Since we aren’t much of an ice fishing authority, this release encompasses all subjects including both ice fishing and open water fishing opportunities throughout the winter months. Highlighted within is ice fishing champion, Tony Boshold, and the secrets to his success. We also showcase the trivials and pursuits of Ottawa, Ontario’s dynamic duo, “The Bassassins.” In addition, we also highlight open water subjects such as specialty trips, winter destinations, as well as other pursuits that can be enjoyed during the winter months. And last but not least, unique perspectives from our staff. With great pleasure, I introduce you to issue 16 of Fishing-Headquarters Magazine. I would like to thank our team of writers, friends, and all contributors for allowing us to make this one again possible. Be sure to visit their websites and links where listed, and give them the support they deserve.

Copyright © 2014 Fishing-Headquarters. All rights reserved. The usage of articles, excerpts, photographs, and any reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited.

I S S U E 16 F E A T U R E D W R I

Cory Allen

Tony Boshold

Robert Conley & Robert Fuchs


Contributed Photographs • Lucas Farm • Bill Lindner Photography • The Bassassins Issue 16 Editorial Staff • Paul Ragas Layout and Design By • Ragas Media Designs Sponsors and Advertising Partners • Bearpaw’s Handpoured Baits • CB’s Hawg Sauce • CAST Crew 312 • Cortland Line • Dragin Bait Company • Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle • Freedom Tackle Corporation • Go-Pro Camera • Lazer Trokar Hooks • Midwest Digital Corp. • PivotHead Video Eyewear • Quantum Fishing • Ragas Media Designs • Stankx Bait Company • Videosunglasses.net • Wright & McGill

TERS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Jim Gronaw

Andrew Ragas

Roy Vivian


NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY TOPICS. Video Camera Sunglasses From Midwest Digital Corporation. Video camera sunglasses are the newest technological craze. Available in polarized lenses and 1080HD resolution, these sunglasses available thru Videosunglasses.net (Chicago, IL) have become a hit with fishermen and outdoorsmen. Available for $299, they give GoPro and all over point-of-view cameras a run for their money in terms of BOTH audio and picture quality. http://www.videosunglasses.net

Cortland Line Company Rebrands For The Present and Expands Product Line For Future One of the most storied names in fishing writes a new chapter. Not only did the domestic line manufacturer get a new logo, but a new website is finally on the verge of completion. Not only are new things happening for the present, but the future too. New fly lines, monofilaments, and fluorocarbons are set to hit shelves in 2014. http://www.cortlandline.com

LazerTrokar Unveils New Hook Packs For 2014 As the world’s first surgically sharpened hooks, they have gained a lot of attention from anglers who want the very best in hook penetration and strength. At the ICAST show, several of their latest offerings were on display. The new Elite 110 hook kit joins the Elite, Mini Elite 2, and Mini Elite 3 family of hook kits to round out a nice variety of prepackaged selections. Additionally, several new hook styles are being offered for fresh and saltwater anglers: TK6- Non-offset Kahle Circle hook; TK12- Non-offset saltwater bait hook; TK13- Offset saltwater bait hook; TK14- Offset saltwater octopus hook; TK440- Open-eye siwash hook; and XL Hook Packs for freshwater anglers which are valued at $15.99 per sets of 15. http://www.lazertrokar.com

Quantum Introduces Its First Magnesium Reel and Other Models For 2014. Released at Icast 2013 is the new Quantum MG casting reel. Additionally, the Energy PT, Catalyst PT, and Accurist PT are finally available in left-handed retrieve. http://www.quantumfishing.com Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014

Smallmouth Bass on the Fly Wisconsin River, Oneida County


SOLUNAR CALENDAR December 2013

January 2014

This fishing forecast is based on solar and lunar influences that cycle daily. The chart shows each hour of the day. For instance the hours with the higher rating, and days shaded the darkest have a greater combination of solar and lunar influence and thus indicate the best times to fish. This chart is a general recommendation and all data has been compiled by Weather & Wildlife.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 6


LEADING OFF. Those Dam Walleyes The presence of dams impacts anglers as much as they do migratory fish species. The 21st Century is becoming a golden era for re-establishing fish populations at all-time highs. River walleyes are greatly benefiting from dam removals today. Page 57

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 8


LEADING OFF. Investing in a Child. As a child growing up in the Baltimore, Maryland area, Jim Gronaw was blessed to be in a region that offered endless amounts of small ponds and waterways that taught him how to fish. Today, Jim passes down these traditions by investing time with his grandchildren, and taking more trips with local children who may not have that person in their life to pass on such a tradition. Keep the bass boats, the tournaments and the trophies‌ Jim is investing in kids this year. Page 83

Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 10


Photograph by Andrew Ragas


“When you’re up against fish, fishermen and everything Mother Nature can throw your way, you want every edge you can get. You want the Ultimate hook. You want TroKar.” - Brent Chapman, 2012 Angler of the Year

the world’s first surgically sharpened hook Featuring a wicked point that is so sharp, it penetrates twice as fast as anything else out there. LazerTrokar.com

EAGLE CLAW FISHING TACKLE

Denver, co


GEAR

HOT ON IC

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014

Photograph by Bill Lindner Photography


CE THIS WINTER A fresh look at some old standby’s, often imitated, never duplicated - new and improved – NEW – evolving your style – keeping you up to date with the latest equipment in the modern mobile style of ice fishing. By Tony Boshold

Fishing Headquarters | Page 14


ICE GUIDE 2014 Photograph by Bill Lindner Photography

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


By: Tony Boshold

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

I

t’s freezing out and many anglers have put the boats away and pulled out their bows and rifles. Some of the best fishing of the year is in November. While folks are blasting birds overhead I’m usually smacking walleyes that are fattening up for the winter. Early ice is an ideal time to me. No pleasure boaters or jet skiers to curse at, and many are likely home watching the game or battling tent cities in a mall parking lot all night long to save $50 bucks on flat screen. I couldn’t give away my 35” tube TV so until it dies and I can dismantle it, it’s not getting replaced anytime soon. It takes three of us to move it….. I’ll ice fish instead. Maybe you can’t wait for the ice to form, or like some of my buddies, you are already switching gears to ice-fishing and maybe some of you are just ice-curious and thinking of giving it a try this season. You might be in the market for some new gear or maybe you’re the type who likes to have the best stuff, the first time, and not waste money on the “learning curve” like many of us have! Your ice rods have been given the once over and strung up with some new ice line. The ice shack has been checked for critters and any signs of damage to the tent

they may have caused; your manufacturer likely sells patch kits to fix the tent or a replacement tent is an option. Any loose bolts have been tightened up. Your electronics are charged up, connections inspected for wear, transducer checked for clicking. Ice auger blades inspected for loose bolts and nicks are tightened, sharpened or replaced. If it’s a power auger then filling it with some fresh fuel and firing it up as well as checking the plug and replacing it. Taking care of these purchases and maintenance items before needed minimizes downtime out in the tundra for a more comfortable, enjoyable experience every time you head out this hard water season. As a touring, tournament ice fisherman and guide I demand the best from my gear and the manufacturers I align myself with. It has taken over ten years to get the right combination of companies that offer that and listen to us fisherman to develop what we need with our input as well as stand behind their prod-

as well as stand behind their products and back those with some of the finest warranty’s and customer service a sportsman can ask for. Some of the gear I use is time tested and can’t be beat despite the competition’s inferior imitations attempting to displace the originals. Some have proven to achieve meteoric rise to the top of the heap with innovations that have the manufacturers of the “originals” running scared. Ice Shacks & Sleds The sled is your tool box and if you opt for a tented one, maybe your home for the day. You fill it with your gear for the outing and pull it by hand or machine across jagged, unforgiving terrain in some of the harshest conditions known. Not all huts are created equal. Like everything, you really get what you pay for! While they didn’t invent the idea, they certainly have innovated and taken the lead as the “tougher,

Fishing Headquarters | Page 16


ICE GUIDE 2014 The industry standard and never resting on their laurels leader in this category, Strikemaster Ice Augers have been Boshold’s one and only choice going on 9 seasons. Offering the lightest, fastest, most reliable, dependable and efficient hole burning machines for generations.

Photographs by Bill Lindner Photography

stronger, smarter” product line. Otter outdoors is the cream that has risen to the top of the mobile ICE FORCE market when it comes to Sled and shack choices due to the “4 S’s” – Sled – Seating – Structure and Shell. SLED: Otter’s “Roto-Molded” sleds provide a tough, uniform, one piece construction for extreme cold weather performance that can take the abuse I dish out for days on end. The competitions “blow molded” sleds have developed cracks and even torn gaping holes into the tub in my experience. With a perfect attack angle the Otter tub design eliminates the “snow plowing” effect you’ll curse about while trying to drag many of the competitions shacks. Don’t forget the hyfax “skis” to provide a wear layer to extend the life of your tub regardless Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

of manufacturer you choose. SEATING: Options that match your style and level of comfort should be the norm, not the exception. With their choice of the lightweight, aluminum, “Cross Lock Seating System” with multi directional deluxe padded, swivel, bucket seats or the flip up, padded, bench seating, Otter has you sitting pretty. Fire up the Coleman heater/ cooker in the corner, turn off the phone and add a footrest and they might have to send a search team to find you. STRUCTURE: It sound’s simple enough yet Otter’s oversized square tube aluminum frame tent pole systems offer unmatched strength in the lightest, most sensible material available making huddling up inside a breeze-less endeavor. The take down is equally as

December / January / February, 2014

efficient with the Otters. If it’s easy to move, you will be mobile and find active fish quicker; if your gear is more like an anchor you might live and die on a spot. SHELL: The shell or tent is your enclosure that eliminates the wind chill factor and also heats right up if there is any sun out. You will literally be more comfortable in an Otter on ice than on open water exposed to the spring and fall elements with no place to hide. Otter has no match when it comes to this “S” as well with their “Industry Best” fully sewn and quilted, full thermal shacks boasting a 1200 denier shell utilizing a 3 layer system comprised with a tough 900 denier outer, a warm high loft insulation layer and a 300 denier inner shell liner. Their innovative Thermal Top Shelter line with the industry first “Dual Layer”


650 denier shell provides maximum heat retention and reduces condensation from the roof as a more affordable option. OK so now you have the tool box right for you to get the gear out on the ice safely. The next question is what goes in it? Augers and Drills The main difference between open water and ice fishing is the drill which makes the holes to get to the fish. This is a much smaller investment than that fancy boat you just winterized and put away in storage. The industry standard and never resting on their laurels leader in this category, Strikemaster Ice Augers, has been my one and only choice going on 9 seasons. Offering the lightest, fastest, most reliable, dependable and efficient hole burn-

ing machines for generations. Strikemaster remains tops with their latest editions of the Honda 35CC LITE four strokes on the power auger side and the Lazer Synthetic Ultra-Lite hand augers available in 4” and 6” Models, have both lightened the load and increased economy of energy, both fueled or armstrong with these innovations. Coupled with the finest Swedish steel blades and American made components their innovations continue to maintain their position as the leader in the category. A cordless power drill with an auger adapter attached to the Lazer Synthetic UL bits are one of the hottest setups for early and late ice or all season long for “Southerners of the ice belt” like myself here in Chicagoland. This is where a good season might see around 15” of ice in the middle of the season if we are lucky. One of the main reasons I run the 4 stroke is there is “NO SMOKE with

the four stroke!” I drill hundreds of holes as I “fan cast” and “prowl” or “troll” on the ice some days and the last thing I want is to breathe in all those fumes as I pre-fish a tournament. The fuel efficiency for a gas auger is unmatched on the Honda costing around $0.65 to fill up at around $4 gal. If you are burning a tank of gas a day with the Honda you are a “prowler” and covering some serious ice. One of my favorite reasons to use the “Lazer” blades for my hand and power auger is the ability to cut open old holes. Remember which one you marked so you could find it next week? You can pop it right open and check to see if anybody is home quite easily with the Lazers. One gas can does it all for my Polaris snowmobile, Strikemaster Honda auger and for Photograph Andrew Ragas the truck… howbyconvenient. Fishing Headquarters | Page 18


ICE GUIDE 2014

Photograph by Bill Lindner Photography Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Ice Rods Let’s face the facts, fish are cold blooded meaning their body temperature aligns with their surroundings. They are suffering brain freeze at levels you never want to. The water temps are generally in the high 30’s at best. How would you feel? Accepting the fact that there will be an abundance of light biting fishes nibbles to be detected we seek sensitivity and efficiency in this area as well. I strongly recommend some sort of “bite detection” system being employed to increase the number of bites you “SEE” because you might not feel them due to your likely less than warm hands. I am an advocate of the American-made St.Croix line of ice rods and particularly the Legend Ice Rods with the “spring bobber” or strike indicator developed by my friend and mentor Greg “the Prowler” Wylczinski. Over the course of 20 years he developed and finally patented what some claim is the most revolutionary, precise, sensitive and adjustable strike indicator system on the ice. Adjusting it to match any jig and lure weight and tipping the hand of nippers with the most sensitive and trouble free, permanently mounted strike indicator with incredibly strong solid carbon blanks have paved the way in the “Spring bobber” market. Greg licensed St.Croix to produce them for the ’05 season. They are now available in numerous lengths from 17” all the way to 48” “long rods” for an aggressive standup style of fishing. Long rods excel in shallow water without the need to reel, just dip the bait from hole to hole prowling for the most active biters with a set amount of line out. Shorter models in 24” and 30” are great for inside the shack and the 17” model offers elbow room for you sight fisher-

man. Offering Gold or Silver editions depending on how much skin you want in the game with varying spring strengths, blank strengths, lengths, guide choices and handles that are like nothing on the market it’s best to feel them or see them in action to decide what works best for you. Winning the National championship in ’05, the Legend’s first season on the market was the best way for Mike McNett and I to repay our mentor for teaching us the “prowler” way. Taking home Gold Medals with the USA Ice team in 2010 at the World Ice Fishing Championships only proved that “the Best Rods on Earth” really are St.Croix Legend Ice Rods. Bite detection is responsible for making good anglers look great. Maybe you don’t want a spring… (I’m not sure why not, “springs” are the norm as I have fished in Europe, Asia and more and more here in North America among the “best anglers in the country and the world”) then it’s going to be tough to beat some “Tight Lining”, straight lining, or whatever some trendy company trying to grab the spotlight of this technique can be called. It utilizes a High vis line like the Suffix Ice Magic in 1-4# test paired up with the incredible sensitivity of the St.Croix Premier line of ice rods as the best alternative to a spring from what I have seen all across the ice belt. Pair it up with your choice of reels styles from some sort of “line twist minimizing”, level wind trend like the fly reels, “ice specific” newbies or the good old, hard to beat standby, the plastic Schooley reels at under $5 are enlisted by a cult like following and growing out of Michiganders according to legend. I’m a big fan of the Schooley because frankly, plastic doesn’t ice up and freeze when

you drop the rod in the slush near a hole as you re-bait or land and unhook a fish. Metal reels are pretty much done for the day once slushed unless you’re in your Otter with a heater and can thaw them out. Don’t spend all that money on the finest ice rods on the planet and then throw them in a bucket, left for dead... get a good rod bag like the St.Croix Ice Rod bag or checkout the new bags from Rapala’s ICE FORCE. Presentations Now it’s time to put on a show for the fish that peeks its carnivorous emotions to strike and tie on some lures. Confidence in what works is a major factor for every fisher every day on the water. TUNGSTEN (wolfram) JIGS AND SOFT PLASTICS – Why? Tungsten weights 1.7 times heavier than traditional lead lures, providing a smaller package IF necessary OR more likely, a faster drop in a similar size package that gets you back down to the school of slabs much quicker than lead. Tungsten significantly maximizes efficiency of the “prowler” and icing more and bigger fish is a no brainer. A Fiskas jig paired with a Little-Atom plastic is the most killer, money winningest combo on the ice circuit here in the states and has the biggest companies entering the market the last few years with some inferior imitations. The truth is the price is long forgotten after the paint wears off your Fiskas jig. A unique alignment between Fiskas Wolfram lures of Sweden and Little-Atom’s Super Soft Scented Plastics coming together to win numerous North American Ice Fishing Championships since 2004 Fishing-Headquarters | Page 20


ICE GUIDE 2014

Photographs by Bill Lindner Photography

as well as a slew of other ice tourneys has been a hard secret to keep. It has even caught the attention of fishers and major manufactures of ice lures across the ice belt. Changing perceptions of the “live Bait” crowd hasn’t been easy and more will convert, but as more companies enter this arena with knockoffs and more options the finest products always prevail. However, some anglers get turned off by failure of these inferior imitation products and resort back to the old standbys, despite similar, miserable results. The promise of clean eyes and super thin wire, chemically sharpened to a sticky point, Hiabatsu hooks penetrate quickly and effortlessly only to solidify my choice in Fiskas Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

jigs. Check out “hole in the head” tungsten jigs if you want some of the most precise jigging instruments available. Hand pouring plastic makes some of the softest, supplest baits available it’s no secret. Scenting them up encourages fish to hold on longer and a wide variety of proven, fish catching colors ensures to unlock lips like magic. Little-Atom provides all of that and then some with the finest and most unique baits for pan fish to ever try to be duplicated. The Nuggie tail from L-A is a sperm like tail that has proven to be the go to bait for many since hitting the market in ’04 and winning record setting amounts of money on ice. My latest go to fa-

December / January / February, 2014

vorite is the Jumbo Wedgee from L-A. It’s square and long tapering shape are easily rigged straight and can be shortened to oblivion as the fish chew it up or the fish tell you a smaller package is in order. When it comes to downsizing some Duppies and Skimpies from L-A are hard to beat as well. If you like custom colors not available anywhere else along with some other amazing outdoorsman products go see my friends at Sportsmen’s Direct. They offer L-A in unique, must have colors and a couple of Worm Bag options to hold all those plastics made just for panfish size worms. HARD PLASTICS- In one bluegill tournament, on a shallow water weed bed bite, almost the


low water weed bed bite, almost the entire top ten was using a lure unchanged since the ‘50’s; The Original Purist jig from Little-Atom. I heard a rumor and tied one on just in case I needed to “resort” to such measures despite never using one. Then I overheard some nearby competitors arguing over the “Purist” and while one spanked them the other broke off his last and wanted his buddies “spare”. It wasn’t happening, but I decided I’d give my Purist a try. I was sight-fishing in my shack all day and as I watched the Purist shimmy down for the first time I witnessed five or six bull gills butting heads fighting over it. That hadn’t happened all day! It was 11 am and we only had a couple hours to go and needed some more of those bulls. We added a few more that we needed on that Purist and we took 10th to finally qualify for the championship in the last “front door” spot for the year. The Purist won more money in that one tournament than most other jigs combined, ever! The biggest advice I can offer aside from buying quality, proven plastics, hard or soft to gain confidence with them is to buy a selection of colors to switch between. You know your waters and the colors you traditionally like… get those and make sure you have a range of spectrum from natural tones to bright gaudy stuff to glow in the dark lures. A good half a dozen colors of hard and soft plastics to switch between should be enough of a start to find the right combo that unlocks lips. Electronics MarCum fish finders and underwater cameras have raised the bar ever since entering the ice fishing world. They continue to step up to the plate with some of the most

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 22


ICE GUIDE 2014 innovative digital designs coupled with their patented interference rejection system that alleviates interference associated with old tech. While they have something for every budget and requirement I have fallen for the digital LX9 Combo Camera Flasher/Sonar unit that utilizes one screen… I’m not sure about you but I’m no one eyed cat watching two mouse holes. Focus breeds success and being able to have the sonar info layered over the camera image on one screen when you want to use both at once is mind-blowing. It’s much more efficient, lighter weight and easier to transition from sonar to camera or both at once with the LX9 than anything else on the market. Using both together at once provides a quick study of the underwater terrain and bottom composition as well as fish mood and identification. Confirming what the sonar tells us with the aid of the camera allows us to learn to read the sonar more efficiently and depend on the camera for specific situations. When it comes to electronics the MarCum sonar is a must have tool, it works in all water clarities and depths and would be the first choice. The most incredible entry level unit on the market would be the MarCum VX-1P at under $300. It offers a crisp real-time 3 color display of what’s below and bottom zoom with a wide angle transducer that can’t be beat when compared to anything else, period! The MarCum camera is more of a serious toy. With units for all price points as well compare side by side and see what you really get… No one else on the market has underwater camFishing-Headquarters.com

|

eras utilizing the latest Sony HAD II optics providing the most incredible images on the most daylight viewable screens with user friendly adjustments that can dial in the picture in most any waters you fish. MarCum offers Sony HAD units in more affordable information packed units as well, again, compare and it’s really a no brainer, the best bang for the best tech is MarCum tech. Slip and Fall Safety Ice is slippery, add some snow to the bottom of your boots, hit a slick spot and nothing is more likely to tragically end what is supposed to be a fun time in the outdoors with a trip to the ER for a tweaked back, broken arm, collar bone or worse. MICROspikes from Kahtoola are literally the finest ice cleats I have ever used and they don’t do you any good in your truck or at the store. When compared to other similarly priced competitors’ products nothing beats Kahtoola’s patented design. I promise you, try any others and you will not find an equal, I already have done that for you. They stay put and guarantee against losing them for two years! You won’t have snow packing on them creating an even more slippery condition with their unique design. I never hit the ice without my MICROspikes on! Whether you’re starting out or a veteran nothing is more frustrating than finding out the gear they promised would make fish pop out of holes and into your frying pans only disappointed with less than the promised results. I know I wish someone I trusted told me about ALL of the products on the mar-

December / January / February, 2014

ket and how they compare before I made the wrong purchases, paid my dues and learned my lessons. In fact I have a corner in the basement dedicated to “dead dogs” and other crap I wasted my hard earned money on, just like you I’m sure. Making a minimal investment in a Legend Ice Rod or two and heading out with experienced ice fishers you trust that have the rest of the gear or finding a Guide like myself to take you and your friends out and show you the Prowler way and how all of the gear comes together as a complete system as well as a good time is always the best option for you ice-curious or frustrated with your gear choices types. Fishing is supposed to be fun and not frustrating. Just because the boat is away doesn’t’ mean you have to hibernate and work up a cabin fever waiting for things to thaw. Winter fishing can and should be more comfortable and enjoyable when you get it right. You can fish ALL YEAR!


Although Tony Boshold “eats, sleeps and drinks fishing,” he used to take a winter break. That was before a friend took him ice fishing in the early 2000’s and they caught “hundreds” of bluegills.“I was hooked, just like that,” he says. In the next several years, Boshold would compete in ice fishing tournaments across the U.S. and all over the world, winning the 2005 North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) National Championship, competing in the 2009 World Ice Fishing Championship, and then helping the 2010 USA Ice Team win the first Gold Medal a U.S. fishing team has ever won in world competition. Since then, he’s also been featured in the TV show “Ice Men,” begun guiding in and around his native Chicago and joined the ICE FORCE team. In addition to fishing tournaments, he makes numerous appearances at seminars and expos to share what he’s learned since fishing his first NAIFC championship in a rain suit, lugging around his gear in his son’s toy wagon. To book a guide trip or contact Tony, visit him on the web at:

www.tonyboshold.com

Photograph by Bill Lindner Photography

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 24


Lightweight and agility form the base for hit and run tactics, fast moving, quick striking, until he finds actively feeding fish. Only carrying minimum gear, bare to the bone, constantly on the go... It’s a challenging task but when well executed it can be tremendously rewarding, laying the foundation to future success for seasons to come.

Drill, Flash, Slush, Catch, Move. By Robert Conley and Robert Fuchs

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 26


THE RUN & GUNNER Searching for and fishing on their feeding grounds is the main objective, eliminating less fruitful waters and staying on the fish is the ultimate goal. Knowing what fish like doing where and when will help establish useful patterns.

Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


By: The Bassasins Fishing-Headquarters Contributors

I

n a nutshell, these are our most important tools:  Auger  Flasher  Slusher  Pliers \ Pocket knife The auger, 8’’ if we are targeting trophy pike and walleye but the bigger diameter will also slow you down significantly. In general a 6’’ drill will get the job done more efficiently. Don’t forget to plunge your hole when you are done drilling, this will eliminate pesty slushing and will save essential time. The R&G’s best friend is a flasher, instantly knowing your depth with comparison to charts and your GPS will tell you if you’re in the right spot or not. We don’t spend more than a few minutes over one hole. In general when there is fish close by they will key in to your offerings and show up on your screen, if it stays empty move on. A good slusher comes in handy on those super cold days. We prefer the metal kind, since they can be used to quickly pop open older holes, also once frozen over they can withstand a beating on the ice to free them up again.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 28


THE RUN & GUNNER

Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Pliers are gold, unhooking fish as quickly as possible in frigid conditions is most important, delicate fins covered in water, exposed to wind-chill will freeze to death within seconds. Fingers get cold fast and vital sensitivity goes first, pliers get the job done regardless. My trusty old pocket knife will take care of dissecting minnows into bite sized little pieces. A pair of sharp clippers will make short process of heavy braid and steal leaders, making retying a breeze.

Always dedicate different pockets to different tools, this way you know where everything is at all times. When you have to think fast these little tweaks will make all the difference in the world. Again, the less time is wasted with scrambling and fumbling, the more the R&G will fish and catch. Finding Structure This is the key to the game, always be looking for the usual sus-

pects,  Points  Breaks  Humps The targeted species will dictate which one we will fish in particular but burn those 3 in to your mind and you can’t go wrong. Shallow bays, away from the current or with close access to deeper water or both, are always a safe bet for any species.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 30


THE RUN & GUNNER Searching for and fishing on their feeding grounds is the main objective, eliminating less fruitful waters and staying on the fish is the ultimate goal. Knowing what fish like doing where and when will help establish useful patterns. Do Your Homework! Google maps, Navionics and Anglers Atlas are great tools to scout out an area before hand. Mark potential hot spots in your GPS. My iPhone is the ultimate multi tool, it has everything we need under one hood, paired with a waterproof case it becomes the teams tactical unit. Electronics should always be attached, those numb hands become notoriously clumsy,a simple lanyard is the winning ticket here. We have seen it over and over again, things just naturally have the tendency to slide down into the abyss. A 2 dollar investment will save yourself cries of despair. If no technology is available or in case it fails, use your surroundings to your advantage. Carefully study shore lines and guestimate how they could continue under water. A pit stop at the local bait shop and a little chit chat with the owner can eliminate hours of searching. Always be prepared, you can never know too much!

 Wind and water proof outer shells  Warm and breathable inner layers Being able to quickly undress and peel back when we drill a bunch of holes is vital. Sweat is your biggest enemy, staying dry and warm your main concern. An added bonus to this lifestyle is the amount off drilling that keeps the body exercised and the blood flow going. Waterproof gloves are a must, when things get hectic at the hole and you have to reach in for some reason you can do so confidently. Paired with a set of warmers they can mean the difference between do or die. A pair of knee guards, water resistant boots, a warm hat, polarized shades and a lightweight back pack will put the finishing touches on our R&G. Tackle The R&G carries an elite selection of trusted weapons of confidence, there is no room on board for half the bait shop so downsizing is key. Our standard selection always contains ( from light to heavy ):

 Tiny tubes and jigs  Williams wabler’s in silver/ blue or gold Clothing  Swedish Pimples  Buckshots The R&G doesn’t use portable  Blades in perch and shad shelters or huts, good clothing is the  Raps in perch and shad most important aspect to help brave  Heavy macho minnows the elements.  Large spoons and tubes Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014

Photograph by The Bassassins


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 32


THE RUN & GUNNER

Ice safety is at the utmost importance, venturing into an unknown area should never be taken lightly and always be handled with care. The R&G never goes out alone and always comes prepared. The R&G’s ability to conquer great distances allows him by default to run into more fish. You never now, you just might walk right into a monsters backyard...there is only one way to find out and its the Run and Gunners way.

Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Additional gear

rod, both rigged accordingly. A light fluo carbon line in the 6-8 lb range  Swivels is well suited.  Spare hooks and trebles In addition the R&G can carry  Stingers in various sizes a tipup, when he works longer on a  Pretied heavy mono and steal particular area deploying a second leaders line will double the odds. If time is  Split shots available than most likely the tipup will produce the bigger and better As for bait, frozen minnows fish. It often attracts fish from furare the perfect choice here as there ther away, a seemingly free meal is no room for bulky buckets and can sometimes fire them up and a such. Instead easy to handle ziplock suspended shiny silver minnow is bags with small army’s of leftover visible from quite some distance minnows are much more appropri- underwater. ate. The R&G is usually equipped Fishing-Headquarters | Page 34 with a medium heavy and a light


THE RUN & GUNNER Conclusion The key elements for this build are staying on the move and being as light weight as possible. Spending a day out on the ice jumping from hole to hole, exploring new territories, finding new honey spots has its perks. Fortune favors the bold! Ice safety is at the utmost importance, venturing into an unknown area should never be taken lightly and always be handled with care. The R&G never goes out alone and always comes prepared. We will never lose the fear and respect for the ice, We treat 4’’ the

same way as 15’’ and don’t take it for granted. Ice conditions can change drastically fast. Keeping track of ice thickness can help point out weaker spots,. The R&G’s ability to conquer great distances allows him by default to run into more fish. You never now, you just might walk right into a monsters backyard...there is only one way to find out and its the Run and Gunners way. Its not for the faint hearted and willingly enduring long, cold hours outside is not everyone’s cup of tea. For those who will though, it can hold adventures and treasures

and the experience has taught that it always seem to be well worth the hardship. So don’t just sit there this winter, gear up light, go on a hunt and make your own luck. Thanks for reading - Run & Gun lads…

Photographs by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 36


THE RUN & GUNNER The key elements for this build are staying on the move and being as light weight as possible. Spending a day out on the ice jumping from hole to hole, exploring new territories, finding new honey spots has its perks. Fortune favors the bold! The R&G’s ability to conquer great distances allows him by default to run into more fish. You never now, you just might walk right into a monsters backyard...there is only one way to find out and its the Run and Gunners way.

Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 38


THE RUN & GUNNER

Photograph by The Bassassins Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


If you are seeing our work for the first time we are Rob Fuchs (Basstard) and Rob Conley (Smooth). Two best buds from Ottawa, Ontario that spend every free moment on the water all year long. Whether it’s wading the rivers or braving the ice, we always stay passionate and dedicated in pursuit of the biggest and meanest Ontario has to offer. To follow our adventures or see more of our work please check out www.thebassassins.com or www.facebook.com/TheBassassins.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 40


Pow

Cory Allen isn’t talking about set-it-and-forget-it trolling, or flying planer kites. He’s talking stick-in-hand, bottom-smashing, teethgnashing, rod-jarring tools of the trade for tickling topography and taking some of the biggest muskies on any body of water.

Photographs by Cory Allen Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


wer Bottoms Top Trolling Picks for Trench Warfare By Cory Allen

Power Bottom #3

The Chad Shad

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 44


POWER BOTTOMS

Photograph by Cory Allen

By: Cory Allen

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

I

’m not talking set-it-and-forget-it trolling, or flying planer kites. I’m talking stick-in-hand, bottomsmashing, teeth-gnashing, rod-jarFishing-Headquarters.com Fishing-Headquarters.com

||

ring tools of the trade for tickling topography and taking some of the biggest muskies (or bass) on any body of water. Yes, this is definitely an Esox-centric article. But use these little chisels to carve out the stone, and there’s absolutely no telling what will answer the phone. You heard me right....hold the rod when trolling. Have the CLIENTS hold the rod when trolling like this. Why? You mean, besides the fact there’s not a bigger hard-on in musky fishing than having a 50” leviathan try to pull your arm out of its socket faster than a Wookiee who just lost credits in a game of Dejaarik?... Google it. Try control....control. You MUST learn control. (Two Star Wars

December September//January October//February, November, 2014 2013

references+one paragraph=new record) When trolling structure, true structure, the leylines of all fish movement and orientation. Precision is key. Speed, direction, and the ability to orient the lure directly along these underwater highways, be it a drop off, channel edge, or bottom transition are all paramount to success when trolling. Muskies especially WILL suspend, but almost always in direct correlation to the topographical routes. More often than not, they’ll actually be DIRECTLY related to it and the closer you get and the more you tick close to these features, the better off you’ll be. Let’s get to the topic at hand... Photographs by Andrew Ragas the baits. It’s all about the baits.


Built like mortar shells with beautifully durable epoxy coats, and signature green cat’s eyes, the Chad Shad doubles as a great twitch bait and has resulted in some nice fish during its short time on the front line, including a recent 52” Tennessee tanker for a first tine musky client, Clayton Cornell. The bait has just come off of gleefully skipping along a channel breakline before the big bad water wolf came up and clobbered it just after bouncing a lot the small silt deposit entering a side feeder stream cut down 16 ft. It’s also worthy of note that this fish slammed the bait harder than any I’ve seen to dare, nearly ripping the Fenwick from Clayton’s clutches.

When you troll with the rod in hand....a lot....you really get a “feel” for the idiosyncrasies of the baits. A few are old standbys, a few may surprise you, but even more so may be the ones that don’t make this list... despite their prowess in open water applications, they don’t make the cut for the “power bottoms”. Yeah, that’s what we’ll call them...

Rapala Super Shad Rap

Power Bottom #1 The Super Shad Rap respects the classics. Few baits that have been, nor ever will be, offer the versatility as this old school balsa ballistic. Its only weakness being the integrity of the material, a little epoxy on the lip keeps it in place despite repeated door-knocking and

it ticks like a dream. With its natural wander when tuned and medium slope dive curve, the angle of its descent accommodates moderate to fast trolling speeds, deflecting well through all types of cover and terrain without making a new creek channel. I’ve personally caught fish trolling this bait off structure up to 11 mph, and speeding it up after the bump is a HUGE trigger on this bait, as for any other, but especially with the Super Shadbydue to Graham its dePhotograph David viant flight path at higher speeds while still tracking to center, throwing off the dirt from its spade as it shakes off the last run. If it has a Fishing-Headquarters | Page |42Page 46 Fishing-Headquarters


POWER BOTTOMS When trolling structure, true structure, precision is key. Speed, direction, and the ability to orient the lure directly along these underwater highways, be it a drop off, channel edge, or bottom transition are all paramount to success when trolling. Muskies especially WILL suspend, but almost always in direct correlation to the topographical routes. More often than not, they’ll actually be DIRECTLY related to it and the closer you get and the more you tick close to these features, the better off you’ll be.

Photograph by Cory Allen Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


weakness, it’s maintaining a depth at the slowest speeds, but makes for a great pump-and-rise trolling bait. If you’re putting your trolling rods in holders constantly, you’re missing tons of opportunities to trigger a response. I’ve had 9 fish trolling days on these baits, up to 50”, and multiple occasions of muskies on back-to-back passes over the same feature. With a standard diving depth in that oh so crucial 9-14 foot depth range, it is a near perfect tool for trigger muskies wherever they swim in the active tiers of the water column in most environments.

10” Musky Mania Jake

ruination of more than one tanker musky in my boat. Best effective at speeds between 2.5-6 mph, it easily handles bursts of speed beyond that, and nothing throws a lateral The 10” Jake Not the 6”... line signature in the abyss quites DEFINITELY not the 8”...the 10” like this bait. Add the little personal and ONLY the 10”. The same quali- nuances of twitch and rise and defities that make it such a multi-season nitely keep a feel on the backstroke twitch bait make it a killer pump where it rises...that’s when it’s most and rise trolling tool. Great to pull likely to get clobbered. down to the desired depth, back off on the throttle and pump like a casting retrieve, it’s near perfect flight path often demands more personal attention to trigger strikes, even when bouncing bottom. Don’t get me wrong, it does plenty well on The Chad Shad; Never heard its own shucking and jiving on the of it? I hadn’t either....and apparcontours, but the sudden expected ently no one outside of Ohio has eithrob of a big Jake slamming into ther. I aim to fix that. Custom made the bottom from a rod pump or past by Chad Harmon, an avid Buckeye a submerged timber has led to the musky hound, these little flat sided

Power Bottom #2

Power Bottom #3

shad profiles immediately caught my eye and then my attention when they hit the water. A very tight wobble, but not too hard, lets it scurry through the water column at speeds in excess of 8 mph, but the angle of the lip makes for a relatively steep dive curve, easily attaining flat line depths of 18 ft + in short order. The bouncing virtues are amongst the best I’ve seen. Its high buoyancy causes it to recoil from contact a little more than most on the dig, resulting in short assisted back bursts that result in instantaneous speed triggers with little fear from snags or rocks. Built like mortar shells with beautifully durable epoxy coats, and signature green cat’s eyes, this little soldier doubles as a great twitch bait and has resulted in Fishing-Headquarters | Page 48


POWER BOTTOMS some nice fish during its short time on the front line, including a recent 52” Tennessee tanker for a first tine musky client, Clayton Cornell. The bait has just come off of gleefully skipping along a channel breakline before the big bad water wolf came up and clobbered it just after bouncing a lot the small silt deposit entering a side feeder stream cut down 16 ft. It’s also worthy of note that this fish slammed the bait harder than any I’ve seen to dare, nearly ripping the Fenwick from Clayton’s clutches, and despite massive headshakes and deep power runs after the force of a strike against 70 horses of Yamaha, the hooks had nary a bend. Quality

folks. Be sure to look up Chad Shad on Facebook. He just released a new crank bait built just as tough but in a slightly smaller package, but trust me, the .22’s will slam some slobs this upcoming season and I foresee a very productive Spring trolling the breaklines into spawning areas with these in my box.

long staple for probing the depths, but seems to have been often overlooked in the luster of newer baits. I still have yet to see a bait that works the depths with precision at the crucial slower speeds so often needed in the abyss to trigger more neutral muskies than this bait. A slow throbbing pulse in the rod tip belies it’s near vertical dive curve against a formidable force of buoyancy constantly at war with its lip resistance, allowing it to be worked super slowly at depths in excess of 30 ft+ on a flat line. Another great The Ernie, no surprise here. pump and rise trolling bait, putting The legendary Lexan-lipped won- this bait in a rod holder cuts off its der from Drifter Tackle has been a legs; at the depths you’ll fish this

Power Bottom #4

Photograph by Cory Allen Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Drifter Tackle Ernie

Power Bottom #5 baby, sometimes even the slightest rod pump and subsequent kickback to the surface can cause a neutral musky to go absolutely Rambo on it.

The Bagley’s Monster Shad Weighing in at a little over an ounce and a mere 5” long, there doesn’t seem to be anything “monster” about this bait, until you see it crossways

a 50” musky’s maw. A thin profile coupled with an outsized Lexan lip means this bait dives relatively deep for its size against the natural flotation of its balsa design, but the ten-

The legendary Lexan-lipped wonder from Drifter Tackle has been a long staple for probing the depths, but seems to have been often overlooked in the luster of newer baits. I still have yet to see a bait that works the depths with precision at the crucial slower speeds so often needed in the abyss to trigger more neutral muskies than this bait.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 50


POWER BOTTOMS

Photographs by Cory Allen Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


dencies of this wood, much like the Super Shad rap, lead to a very natural wander in its flight path, while still tracking to center. They are difficult to get a hold of since they were discontinued, but hopefully enough outcries will resurrect them. In many ways, they are all the virtues of the Super Shad rap in a deeper package. Easily touching down to 16’ on a flatline, once on the floor they dance along the bottom at moderate speeds unlike any other, deflecting off rocks and kicking up a storm of silt undeniably obnoxious to any musky (or bass ) in its wake. If there is a downside to this bait, it has to be the durability. Balsa is not known for its integrity, and while the Super Shad rap’s paint job wards off much of the wear of war, the light foil of the Bagley’s can’t quite say the same. Fun Fact: Chad Harmon (330206-4428) who makes the Chad Shad can add a touch of his epoxy moxy to these babies for an extra layer of musky Kevlar for a very nominal price. With this little extra TLC, they’ll be catch muskies like my client Mark Cook’s low 50” Jormungand long after it’s ilk have been whittled down to a toothpick. The virtues of these baits have proven themselves on board my vessel, and not just because they’ve caught some big fish...they’ve landed their spots on my roster before their first touchdown. It’s their stats that earned them a spot on my team...I had never even heard of a Chad Shad before ordering them, but the more you troll, rod in hand, and learn how different baits perform as “power bottoms”, the more you’ll not only recognize the talents on ths team, but be able to recognize other trolling loves at first sight even before you feel that first bite crush down on it in the deep.

Bagley Monster Shad

“It’s all about the baits. When you troll with the rod in hand....a lot....you really get a “feel” for the idiosyncrasies of the baits. A few are old standbys, a few may surprise you, but even more so may be the ones that don’t make this list.”

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 52


POWER BOTTOMS

Cory Allen, 28, of Cookeville, Tennessee is the founder and lead guide of Stone’s Throw Adventures. Cory’s specialty is casting and trolling for muskellunge on the reservoirs and river systems of the south. Allen’s team of guides fish the waters throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, guiding on a year-round basis, and offer their clients a wide variety of boat and wading trips for all species of gamefish. Book your fall and winter fishing trip by visiting:

http://www.stonesthrowadventures.com/

Photograph by Cory Allen Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 54


Photograph by Bass Utopia


THE DAM RIVER WAL

Photographs by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


The presence of dams impacts anglers as much as they do migratory fish species. The 21st Century is becoming a golden era for re-establishing fish populations at all-time highs. River walleyes are greatly benefiting from dam removals today.

LLEYE CORRELATION By Andrew Ragas

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 58


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

Dam removal, a popular watershed subject to biologists, anglers, and conservation groups throughout the Upper Midwest, is the elongated process of removing out-dated, dangerous, and ecologically damaging barriers from river systems. There are thousands of out-dated dams in the United States that were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries for the purpose of flood control and water management. According to the American Rivers Organization, more than two million dams are present in our nation’s waterways, and they block more than 600,000 miles of river. Today, thousands of these dams no longer serve a purpose. Thanks to the ecological damage caused by reducing fish populations and degrading water quality and species distribution, several river systems and their native walleye populations are now greatly benefiting from dam removal. Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


The [former] Hoffmann Dam in Riverside, IL, one of the oldest low-head dams in the state, was demolished in 2012 after years of political debate. Its former site has opened an avenue for fish migrations, water quality improvements and species assemblages.

By: Andrew Ragas Editor In-Chief

andrew@fishing-headquarters.com

M

ost anglers are aware of the monumental spawning migrations made by salmon, sturgeon, paddlefish, and shad. Every year, these species face obstacles and adversity in attempting to return to the same rivers and spawning sites

where they were born. Very few of these migratory fish spawn successfully in their dam-filled rivers, while most don’t. For walleye anglers in Northern Illinois, where dam removals have turned into petty political battles rather than bipartisan ecological wars, dams and other barriers are preventing river walleyes from ever reaching their native spawning grounds. Over time, the presence of dams reduces native fish populations to a remnant status, and leads to a continued reliance for stocking efforts and wasted angler tax dollars. Due to the presence of dams, what was an uphill battle for fish spawning migrations has now become a serious matter of survival‌. for both the migratory fish populations, and sport fishing economies surrounding local communities.

Politics versus Conservation Dam removal is a controversial topic in the Northern Illinois region. Whenever it’s time for biologists and government officials to gather and compromise on a plan for the common good of any watershed, the subject of dam removal oftentimes becomes heated and argumentative. Like everything currently hampering the prosperity of our country, political battles and personal agendas amongst our leaders are now the greatest barrier in the removal of dams. On the rivers I primarily walleye fish each spring and fall, 16 low-head dams are now in the process of being entirely removed or modified over the next few years. This project is now roughly halfFishing-Headquarters | Page 60


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES

Spring and Fall 2013 were some of the best walleye fishing I’ve ever experienced at a local level for numbers and increased catch rate on rivers that underwent dam removals. Consistent catches along with multiple fish outings resulted in an average of catching nearly two adult walleyes (17-21 inch size) per angling hour which is staggering in comparison to years past when we struggled to catch .25 to .50 fish per hour. Previously stocked walleyes from 4-5 years ago now have free reign to utilize all available spawning habitat and make even longer migrations. Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


way completed. This will undoubtedly open up a new world to our migratory walleye populations and other gamefish species as they seek new habitats. While these dam removals are politically influenced in order to provide jobs and economic growth for the state, they should be entirely influenced by biologic studies and the obvious supporting data, and the critical needs and requirements for the particular river system as provided by biologists and DNR agencies. What’s saddening is that it’s taken over 100 years for man to finally realize that these dams are killers to stream life, and it will take additional years, if not decades, to remove hundreds of more dams in order to fully restore & rehabilitate miles of impacted rivers. Time is the next hurdle for the future of our river’s migratory fish populations. For the last five years in Northeastern Illinois, I’ve been involved with local conservation groups who are spearheading our dam removal projects. My role as an angler has been to provide these organizations with evidence, catch data, stream locations, and field reports to aid in their scientific studies and then give proof to the state for the final determination. My independent conclusion is that the improved walleye catch rates my team and I experienced by hook and line in 2013 are greatly attributed to the dams that have already been removed from our rivers; Not increased fish stocking. Through extensive research done by conservation groups such as the Conservation Foundation and Midwest Biodiversity Institute, the concluding data in their annual 2007-2012 Bioassessment reports (available at drscw.org) indicates that river fish populations are always at their strongest down-

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

stream of dams, and their weakest the years, and walleyes are amongst and most lifeless in the silted cess- the most impacted gamefish species pools upstream of dams. Fish as- due to these factors. semblages like this, for example, are directly correlated to dissolved oxygen levels and habitat. This data Fishing-Headquarters | Page 62 has remained consistent throughout


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES

Photographs by Andrew Ragas

Good Dams and Bad Dams The environmental consequences of dams are numerous and varied. It’s obvious that dams prevent fish migrations, which is detrimental to the future of the fishery, and in some cases completely separates spawning habitats from rearing habitats. Dams additionally trap sediments above and below the structure, which are critical for maintaining aquatic habitats such as deltas, fertile floodplains, and barrier islands downstream of the dam. However, sediments trapped by dams prevent successful walleye natural reproduction from taking place. Another significant impact of dams is the transformation upstream of the dam from a free-flowing river ecosystem to an artificial, lifeless and unhealthy slackwater reservoir habitat. Unless the dam is hydroelectric or used for reservoir management, the consensus locally and throughFishing-Headquarters.com

|

out the Midwest is that dams no longer serve a purpose; especially lowhead dams. Most of the rivers throughout Northern Illinois have been shaped by the construction of low-head dams and weirs: Fox River, Kankakee River, Des Plaines River, Salt Creek, etc. Today, the dams that are still present remain popular for

December / January / February, 2014

walleye fishermen and sight-seers. The only reasons they even remain a factor for fishing is because walleyes and all other gamefish species have nowhere else to go and eventually become trapped in their downstream pools. The dam becomes their barrier, and prevents fish from accomplishing their life’s mission which is to spawn annually.

Contributed Photograph


Pictured is the historic Graue Mill dam in Hinsdale, IL. Like dozens of other low-head blocking rivers throughout Illinois, it too is slated for pending dam removal. When it will happen is unknown. Although it is picturesque when water actually flows over, as seen here, the image at lower left illustrates what an eye sore its crumbling structure truly is. When the river bed runs dry, the dam turns into a cesspool.

<< The Otter Rapids Dam in Eagle River, WI, is managed by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company. Unlike lowhead dams, this hydro-electric structure still serves a purpose for local economies. Although it clearly blocks fish passage, strong fish assemblages are present upstream and downstream.

Meanwhile, other dams are quite beneficial for fishing and still serve a purpose for local economies, communities, and fishermen. On the larger river systems I fish throughout Wisconsin, hydroelectric and gravity dams managed by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company have greatly shaped the landscape and fisheries of the Flambeau and Wisconsin River systems, where productive flowages and large im-

poundments still coexist with miles of healthy free-flowing river environments and a limited number of dams. The presence of larger dams and their upstream impoundments has shown that dissolved oxygen levels, and walleye populations and their spawning habitat have remained unaffected and continue to flourish, especially in the still waters of the reservoirs upstream. Additionally, river sturgeon popula-

tions are revitalizing and now displaying levels of natural reproduction in both rivers, but are nowhere near their former populations prior to the installment of dams decades ago. Lastly, flow rates are maintained by their dams at consistently normal levels, and flooding and water fluctuations seldom occur. Just imagine what could have been if Illinois had decided to follow Wisconsinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s model of river management instead of building all of those crumbling eye-sore low-head dams and other barriers that did nothing but degrade these rivers and did little to minimize the mass flooding in recent years. Fishing-Headquarters | Page 64


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES On the larger river systems I fish throughout Wisconsin, hydroelectric and gravity dams managed by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company have greatly shaped the landscape and fisheries of the Flambeau and Wisconsin River systems, where productive flowages and large impoundments still coexist with miles of healthy freeflowing river environments and a limited number of dams. The presence of larger dams and their upstream impoundments has shown that dissolved oxygen levels, and walleye populations and their spawning habitat have remained unaffected and continue to flourish, especially in the still waters of the reservoirs upstream.

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Photographs by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 66


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

The Impact on Walleyes and Ecosystem Migrations in fish populations have always been examined and intensely studied by biologists and our DNR agencies. Nearly all fish species exhibit daily and seasonal patterns of movement, while some species restrict their activities to a well defined region of space. The long-range movements of walleyes in our Northern Illinois rivers occur in three forms: Reproductive spawning migrations; Feeding migrations and Refuge migrations. The extent of any migration is influenced by the available miles of free-flowing river in pools between dams, and the habitat within them. For walleyes residing in our rivers, not a whole lot of space and ideal Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

spawning habitat is available within these pooled off sections of river due to the overabundance of low-head dams. For instance, some of the best free-flowing river fisheries in the country allow walleyes to travel up to 15 miles or more in order to make their upstream spawning migrations. Thus, when they cannot spawn and dams prevent them from homing to these historic spawning sites, stocking will always be needed in order to maintain the fishery. With the removal of dams, water quality and health of the river system will be improved. Additionally, the potential for better reproduction and self-sustaining populations exists for not just walleyes, but all species of fish including the even more migratory river suckers and shad. The presence of both of

December / January / February, 2014

these major forage species is critical in the existence of gamefish populations in rivers, and they too can flourish as well. Improvements in Fishing Spring and Fall 2013 were some of the best walleye fishing Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever experienced at a local level for numbers and increased catch rate on rivers that underwent dam removals. Consistent catches along with multiple fish outings resulted in an average of catching nearly two adult walleyes (17-21 inch size) per angling hour which is staggering in comparison to years past when we struggled to catch .25 to .50 fish per hour. I attribute this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s increase in productivity to the removal of dams on the Des Plaines River and


its tributaries. Previously stocked walleyes from 4-5 years ago now have free reign to utilize all available spawning habitat and make even longer migrations. To my knowledge, the Illinois DNR has four walleye stocking sites on the Des Plaines River watershed, which will be kept a secret. I truly believe that the increased number of walleyes that were caught in 2013 are survivors of these fish stockings that take place annually several miles downstream from where the former dam sites were located. Another observation is the walleyeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newly-established presence in certain sections of the river and tributaries, locations from which they have never been caught or observed in before! To catch fish that originated miles downstream from the stocking sites and allowing them to navigate past former barriers speaks volumes of dam removal. We already know that water quality, cleaner bottom substrate, fish habitat, assemblage, dispersals and species diversity have improved thanks to dam removal. But will it eventually lead to future spawning success for the river walleye? Only time will tell. For all of the rivers whose dams have already been removed, time is on the walleyeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s side. Has dam removal improved the quality of walleye fishing on these rivers and their tributaries? You bet! Walleye fisheries will continue to improve as more dams get removed.

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 68


DAM REMOVAL WALLEYES

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Unless the dam is hydroelectric or used for reservoir management, the consensus locally and throughout the Midwest is that dams no longer serve a purpose; especially low-head dams. Walleye fisheries will continue to improve as more dams get removed.

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 70


WINTER TAIL

Photographs by Roy Vivian Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


LRACE WALLEYE & SAUGER As the days get shorter and colder most walleye anglers winterize their boats. Avid open water anglers will chase other passions like sitting in a tree waiting for a trophy to go by or on a bucket staring down a hole. I will spend some time on the hard water myself and I will be following a dog around looking for a wily old rooster. However, I will also join a minority of hardcore anglers who brave the elements for what is one of the best bites of the year: Tailrace walleyes and sauger. By Roy Vivian

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 74


TAILRACE WALLEYE & SAUGER Typical Mississippi River Lock and Dam.

Photographs by Roy Vivian

By: Roy Vivian

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

S

tarting in Minneapolis and ending in Granite City, IL there are 27 lock and dams on the Mississippi River. Each will offer some opportunity to fish in December through February. Obviously, the further south you go the opportunity to have Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

a “fishable” day increases. There are also numerous warm water discharges from power plants, like the one in Red Wing, MN, which allows year round access to an excellent fishery. Other outstanding sauger opportunities are available in the Midwest on major river systems like the Illinois and Ohio rivers and in the south on the Tennessee River. Don’t overlook smaller rivers, if there is a dam there is probably an opportunity. Lock and Dam Techniques Although, each lock and dam is different the best ways and areas to fish them is similar. In most cases there are the locks, which allow for river traffic on one side and the rollers, which control current flow

December / January / February, 2014

and extend to the other side of the river. Lock and Dam 3 in Red Wing is different as there is an island between the locks and, where most of the winter river fishing occurs, the rollers. All pools will provide some winter action, however, there are several that stand out like pools 4, 9, 13 and 14. I recently went down to Pool 14 with my childhood classmate, Brad Munda. Brad and I had spent a lot of time ice fishing in the area when we were growing up but we never had targeted walleyes and sauger. We found the nearest boat ramp and headed up to the dam equipped with our jigging rods, jigs, Hutch’s One Eye’s and plastics. Over the years I have found that plastics will out fish minnows on the river once the water temperature gets below Photographs Corywants Allen to 50 degrees. Besides, by who


I normally don’t keep walleyes but we kept these “eaters” as Brad wanted a fish fry for his birthday.

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 76


TAILRACE WALLEYE & SAUGER Brad Munda with a 20-1/2â&#x20AC;? Walleye caught on a Hutch Jig and Ring Worm.

Photographs by Roy Vivian Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


stick their hand in a minnow bucket? Minnows will certainly catch fish but be prepared to mess with a bunch of bait stealing cigar sized walleye and sauger. We started fishing in an eddy between the locks and the first roller jigging Hutch’s One Eye’s. We marked a few fish but had no luck so we headed to the other side of the river. We found a nice current break and eddy that reversed the river flow back towards the dam. It did not take long for a 16” sauger to inhale my vertically jigged ½ ounce Hutch’s jig and ringworm. For the next 4 hours we worked that current break in 10’ – 15’ of water and caught between 25 and 30 walleyes and sauger. Most were 14” to 18” with the biggest walleye being 201/2”. Those fish, along with many more that will be joining them, will be in the same area, although they will move out into deeper holes as the water cools down. Simply match the speed of the current with your trolling motor allowing for a vertical presentation. It is that easy. The same scenario will play out from Minneapolis to Granite City. By late November runoff from rains will have ended, for the most part, and barge traffic will slow down eventually stopping in some areas in December and January. River flow will decrease and river clarity will improve dramatically. The saugers will move out into the middle of the river channel and into deeper holes. I do not recommend fishing holes deeper than 30’. Fish caught any deeper will likely die due to the pressure change which explodes their swim bladder. A simple jig and plastic like a ring worm or 3” shad style bait is an excellent choice. Hutch’s One Eye’s and blade baits are also favorite baits in cold water. As the water

Blade baits are popular in the winter as are ripple shads, paddle tails and ring worms on a Hutch Jig.

Baits with subtle action work best in cold water like Hutch’s Hair jigs, Super Doo’s and Flukes. cools, a subtle jigging motion will improve your catch. Use smaller, subtler baits like Super Doo’s and 2” to 2”1/2” flukes and paddle tails. If water clarity is poor, less than 5 inches a lift and drop jigging motion usually works. If the water clarity is 10” or greater try lifting and holding

the jig 6” to 12” off of the bottom and be ready to hold on. It might only be 25 degrees outside but these fish are aggressive and they will inhale that plastic. In general walleyes will be Fishing-Headquarters | Page 78


TAILRACE WALLEYE & SAUGER shallower than their cousin. If you are catching Sauger in 20’-25’ move in to 15’-20’ to try for walleyes. In low light conditions move to sand flats and slowly drag a 3/16 – ¼ oz. jig and 3-4” twister tail up river at 0.3 -0.5 mph. This is especially effective if there are dunes in the

with the patented “walleye thunk”.

his trailer. We were driving home, a couple of miles outside of Winona, Odds and Ends MN when a car pulled next to us, rolled down the window, and said If the temperature is below “your trailer is on fire!” We were freezing, use monofilament line. lucky enough to pull over and throw Braided line repels water, which some snow on the axle, which cooled freezes on the spool and will accu- things down. We limped to the Fleet Farm in Winona where Scott got a new axle. Winter is tough on your equipment but with proper maintenance to your boat and a lot of warm clothes your efforts can be rewarded with one of the best bites of the year. Here are a few winter tips

sand. You won’t miss many fish as the bite will be aggressive. If you are looking for a monster try a wing dam in low light conditions. The same holds true for feeding areas near the dam that have a feeding shelf in 3’-5’. These are great places for an easy meal, as walleyes will let the current bring them an easy meal. Cast an 1/8 – 5/16 Oz jig, depending on water depth, with 3”-5” tail or a ring worm. If walleyes are shallow they are there for one reason, to eat. You will know if there are fish there as their strike with transfer through the rod all the way to your shoulder Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

mulate on the guides of the rod. To reduce ice build up apply lip balm to the rod guide. Spraying Reel Magic on the line can also help. Use 4-6 lb. test, any larger diameter will make it difficult to stay vertical. Make sure your boat and motor are in working condition and the wheels bearings of your trailer are properly greased. I have had two winter trips in Red Wing that did not end well. I won’t mention any names, Scott Pirnstill. In one case Scott’s motor ceased and we had to limp pack to the boat launch with the kicker motor. In another case Scott didn’t grease the bearings of

December / January / February, 2014

• Step out of your truck cautiously when launching and loading ensuring the ramp is ice free. • When launching and loading let the trailer drain excess water before parking so others will be able to launch safely. • Tilt the outboard motor down to allow all excess water to drain. • If you keep fish throw them in the live well without turning on the pump. Water in the hoses will freeze and expand which will crack hoses and fittings. • Check trailer for exposed wiring and ice build up. • Dress warm! Bring a heater or two! Roy Vivian is a tournament walleye angler from Madison, Wisconsin who fishes the MWC, FLW, and AIM Walleye Circuits. In 2008, he finished in 11th place at the Illinois River MWC event, and took third place in 2009. He is presently on the pro-staff of Lund Boats, Mercury Motors, Do-It Molds and Shimano.


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 80


TRADITIONS

By Jim Gronaw

INVESTIN Photograph by Jim Gronaw


NG IN A CHILD Fishing-Headquarters | Page 84


ANGLING TRADITIONS

Photographs by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


A By: Jim Gronaw

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor

s a child growing up in the Randallstown , Baltimore area, I was blessed to be in a region that was still country in the mid 1960’s, and there were numerous options for fishing back in that day. There were many farmponds around, some of which still exist to this day. And the small streams and creeks that snaked through the woodlands and farms gave me my first experience at ‘moving water’ fishing. Suckers, chubs and the occasional smallmouth bass would be high on the list of ‘favorites’ and catching them was a schoolboy’s challenge. As I got older, my dad bought a boat, and things really opened up

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 86


ANGLING TRADITIONS

If you want to teach a child, or anyone for that matter, how to fish, you have to donate your ‘on-water’ time to them completely and totally. Your fishing day will come, but it is critical that you devote time and effort to them for this entire day, or evening, or night. Yes, kids can be long on fussy and short on attention… it takes an effort. then! We fished Liberty and Loch Raven, catching mostly crappies, bluegills and the elusive, to us anyway, largemouth bass. As time passed on, we graduated to things like graphite rods, braided lines and new-fangled lures that would surely catch us the big one. But through all the trips, and all the tackle and technology changes, I still have a blast every time I take a child out fishing. It brings me back to my roots, grounds me once again and put a capital ‘P’ on priorities in life. During the 2012 season, I finally got back to some of those roots and enjoyed some great times with some great kids by introducing some of them to the world of fishing. Nothing fancy, mind you, just straight forward, simple bobber and Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

worm dunkin’ for cooperative bluegills and pumpkinseeds. A couple of the youngsters caught impressive largemouth bass, and some caught citation-sized sunfish, too big to grasp. A few had sunburn, bug bites and needed shade and water. And often, a visit to the local fast food joint soothed the souls of young anglers as hot fries and cold milkshakes made up for any discomfort. Yes…it had been a good day…a great day! I am looking forward to more of the same this year, as much of the fishing I did as a kid I find myself doing the same to this very day. Bluegills, bass, crappies, carp, catfish, put-and-take trout, watching your step through a cow field, slipping in the mud and getting dirty. I

December / January / February, 2014

know it won’t raise too many eyebrows from seasoned outdoorsmen and women, but to me, These are the things that make life grand, and keep me grounded. Giggling children who are trying to unhook a sunfish are soothing as well. One thing for sure…if you want to teach a child, or anyone for that matter, how to fish, you have to donate your ‘on-water’ time to them completely and totally. Your fishing day will come, but it is critical that you devote time and effort to them for this entire day, or evening, or night. Yes, kids can be long on fussy and short on attention…it takes an effort. And there are things like sun and bugs and poison ivy and hunger and thirst and yucky worms that just might not sit well with kids ini-


Photographs by Jim Gronaw

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 88


ANGLING TRADITIONS tially. And our job is not to force it on them, but to at least give them the chance to enjoy it and marvel at fish, fishing and anything else that comes into view as God’s creatures. Some will catch on, and some will not. Some young eyes and ears may find wading in the water, chasing crayfish, far more fun then staring at a bobber. Some will enjoy the post trip treats at the local McDonalds more than the fishing. And that’s OK, too. It’s not always about heroic battles and big fish. That, too, may come in time. I guess I look at things a little differently now that I am a bona fide geezer with two grand daughters. My son Matt and I took 2 ½ year old Elena for her first fishing trips last year and she got into it, which was cool. Elena always wanted to touch each and every fish, and squealed with joy when the scaly, slimy texture touched her fingers. She wants to go again. Couldn’t quite cast, couldn’t quite reel in a fish, and she would rather play with worms than use them for bait. That’s kids for you! Yes indeed…I am looking forward to more trips with the girls this year, and more trips with local children who may not have that person in their life to pass on such a tradition. Keep the bass boats, the tournaments and the trophies…I’m investing in kids this year.

During the 2012 season, I finally got back to some of those roots and enjoyed some great times with some great kids by introducing some of them to the world of fishing.

Jim Gronaw, 61, is from Westminster, MD, and has been published over 600 times at the local, regional and national level – First published at the age of 17 in Fishing World. Licensed freshwater fishing guide for Maryland – Maker of RiverCritter Hair Jigs, featured several times in the In-Fisherman. You can read more of Jim’s work at BigBluegill.com, and throughout the Fishing-Headquarters website. Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Photographs by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters | Page 90


ANGLING TRADITIONS My son Matt and I took 2 ½ year old Elena for her first fishing trips last year and she got into it, which was cool. Elena always wanted to touch each and every fish, and squealed with joy when the scaly, slimy texture touched her fingers. She wants to go again. Couldn’t quite cast, couldn’t quite reel in a fish, and she would rather play with worms than use them for bait. That’s kids for you!

Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 94


maintaining

Trophy Panfi

Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


ish Fisheries By Andrew Ragas With Jim Gronaw

sustaining

Fishing-Headquarters | Page 96


TROPHY PANFISH

P By: Andrew Ragas Editor In-Chief

andrew@fishing-headquarters.com

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

anfish are the largest, most popular, and widespread freshwater fish species in the nation. Because these species can be terribly prolific in certain waters, stocking is generally not required for other than species introductions or in highly used public fishing waters. But when the largest fish of any system get fished out, stocking wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t solve the problem. It degrades the fishery. Of increasing concern to fisheries managers and anglers, the absence

December / January / February, 2014


Photograph by Andrew Ragas

of large panfish is hurting many fisheries throughout the country. The cause of this stunting is greatly attributed to overfishing and overharvest, leaving behind many small fish to further proliferate in the absence of the larger, breeding sunfish; thus creating an imbalanced fishery. Panfish lovers are mourning over their loss of many former productive fisheries where saucershaped trophy bluegill and crappie once swam in abundance. Strong adult bluegill and crappie populations come and go. But when they go, they seldom return to their former selves, regardless of the conservation-minded measures and regulations that have been put in place to aid their resurrection. Fishing-Headquarters | Page 98


TROPHY PANFISH

Photographs by Andrew Ragas

The reasoning for this is attributed to the gene pool. When the alpha fish are removed, the future genetics are impacted. With a decent gene pool to draw from, most freshwater fish species will grow well with good water quality and an abundance of food available to them. These watershed characteristics are important to bluegill and crappie for achieving maximum growth potential. During the midst of our peak panfish season (May through July), I had the pleasure of exchanging thoughts and ideas with my friend and panfish expert, Jim Gronaw, who believes that quality panfish need to be treated with care. According to Gronaw, “Not all lakes are capable of producing or Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

sustaining quality panfish species, regardless of angler pressure or harvest. But at least in my neck of the world, many anglers continue to harvest only, and I mean ONLY, the top-end crappies in any given system and complain when they have to settle for smaller fish.” Managing panfish remains one of the most difficult problems facing biologists today. On a positive note, angler harvest rarely threatens the existence of panfish populations as sufficient numbers of fish remain to produce new generations of young fish. However, today’s panfish anglers are largely harvest-oriented and size-selective, usually removing the largest from the population rather than smallest. Gronaw believes that given the

December / January / February, 2014

cyclical nature of crappie spawns and growth dynamics, and the ancient concepts that we can ‘never’ fish down and deplete a fishery, it’s a wonder there are any good crappie waters around. “You can fish down size, but almost never fish down numbers in a panfish population,” he says. Today’s anglers believe that size limits and stricter regulations have worked, despite that some improvements can be attributed to natural fluctuations in strength of year classes. In some instances, minimum-length limits have done their job, but anglers are unhappy over the fact they cannot keep as many fish as they were once able to. “In my 61 years of fishing, I have seen many prime fisheries gut-


Fishing-Headquarters | Page 100


TROPHY PANFISH

Photograph by Andrew Ragas

ted due to the glut and overharvest of ONLY the larger bluegills, crappies or perch in a given system. Most of these have yet to return to their ‘glory years’ of producing 14 inch crappies or 10 inch bluegills. Releasing big panfish just makes sense,” says Gronaw, regardless of inevitable stocking or not. With panfish, the term selective harvest must apply, as it does for Gronaw: “I keep mid-size fish for a meal. And it is no crime to keep an occasional hard-earned trophy. But I am thoroughly convinced that if more anglers would release large panfish, our waters would benefit greatly. It works for Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

bass, trout, muskies, walleyes, and all other gamefish species….. and it works for panfish as well!” Unsurprisingly, the likely largest hurdle to improved panfish quality is the attitudes of modern and technologically-advanced anglers. We are often at fault for exploiting new angling opportunities, and our actions can rapidly reduce a fishery to nothing before moving onto the next hot spot. If, and when it happens, there is nobody to blame for our depleted fisheries but ourselves. More stringent regulations of angler harvest won’t improve panfish populations in all situations. For instance, look no further than the ur-

December / January / February, 2014

ban waters surrounding the Chicago metropolitan area. Some of these ponds and public lakes once held strong populations before they were exploited on the internet and then fished out by the masses. Could the fisheries have been protected? Harvest regulations can work if they are applied to fisheries where fish longevity and growth are sufficient to provide increases in numbers of large fish. Identifying these situations has become an increasingly important component of modern panfish management. Gronaw concludes, “Releasing of big panfish is the final frontier in catch and release fishing. It is sad


that most of today’s panfish anglers, far more skilled than their those of even 10 years ago, refuse to believe that they have any part or responsibility in creating and maintaining good fisheries through good catch and release ethics.” Moral of the story is….. Keep what you want, but don’t complain when all the fish you catch are dinks. Quality panfish lakes with populations of desirable sizes need to be treated with care.

In my 61 years of fishing, I have seen many prime fisheries gutted due to the glut and overharvest of ONLY the larger bluegills, crappies or perch in a given system. Most of these have yet to return to their ‘glory years’ of producing 14 inch crappies or 10 inch bluegills. Releasing big panfish just makes sense.”

Photograph by Jim Gronaw Fishing-Headquarters | Page 102


TROPHY PANFISH

You can fish down size, but almost never fish down numbers in a panfish population. Releasing of big panfish is the final frontier in catch and release fishing. It is sad that most of today’s panfish anglers, far more skilled than their those of even 10 years ago, refuse to believe that they have any part or responsibility in creating and maintaining good fisheries through good catch and release ethics.” - Jim Gronaw

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


Photograph by Andrew Ragas Fishing-Headquarters | Page 104


FOLLOW FISHING-HEADQUARTERS @

By: Robert Conley

Fishing-Headquarters Contributor


http://www.fishing-headquarters.com/forums/index.php


Click this Button

Follow Fishing-Headquarters on Facebook! Receive the latest and most up-to-date news and information for the Fishing-Headquarters on Facebook. Over 1,500 followers and still counting. Participate in contests and promotional giveaways. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fishing-Headquarters/56986315418


CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY

BEGINS: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013 ENDS: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2013

Fishing-Headquarters.com

|

December / January / February, 2014


LOOK FOR THIS IMAGE AND CONTEST INFORMATION ON OUR FACEBOOK

PAGE.

ALL WHO SHARE THIS IMAGE AND INVITE THEIR FRIENDS TO LIKE OUR PAGE WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR PARTICIPATION.

WINNER SELECTED DECEMBER 24, 2013. Photograph by Rob Wendel Fishing-Headquarters | Page 112


March & April, 2014

SPRING ISSUE Expected Release Date: March 3, 2014.

Photograph by Kenny Lookingbill

SUBSCRIBE CLICK ICON BELOW

Photograph by Andrew Ragas Photo courtesy, Jim Gronaw. For article and photo submissions and advertising, contact us at:

info@fishing-headquarters.com


Fishing-Headquarters Magazine