Saturday, May 30, 2009

Putting Mucho Miles on the Truck.

Friday I headed north to Momence, Illinois with Caleb. We did a bit of work for the Rosemore Sportsman Club on the Kankakee River and then headed back to Peoria to set the trap nets and do a bit of electrofishing. Justin, Allen, Justin and Josh went to Eureka for a windmill install and to Morton to put the finishing touches on a big dock project. 

Caleb and I pulled in some nice fish electrofishing, here is our best bass of the evening:

Saturday I took my son Noah to work with me. At 7 am we loaded up the tanks with 4-6 inch redear, 4-6 inch bluegill, some perch, crappie, a few walleye, and this albino white catfish that my nephew Ty is holding up.
We delivered the redear and bluegill to Bob Fidlers new 20 acre lake near Fiatt and then headed northwest to drop off some supplies for a guy near Ellisville before heading to our lake up at Norris. 

Noah is 1.5 years old, and absolutely loves working and riding in Daddy's truck! He did perfect driving with me for hours. We got to our lake about 1 pm and he went down for his nap while I worked on a few finishing touches to our new floating dock! This is absolutely the very coolest dock we have ever built. Of course I had to try it out and cool off this afternoon.
The second story is over 10 feet to tall to the water and it is 15 foot deep at the end of the dock.
Anyhow we finished up our chores for the day, and then Noah and I were off to run a few more errands and drop off some pond supplies before getting home at about 8:30 pm. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pond Boss and Midwest Outdoors Magazine

In May, my first article for Pond Boss Magazine was published. The article is on page 60 and is about our new fishing park that is opening up in East Peoria! Pond Boss is a nationwide magazine that has quite a few big time subscribers and advertisers!

I also just tonight got my June issue of Midwest Outdoors Magazine in the mail. My first article for that outdoor magazine was published this issue and is on page 68 of the Illinois section!

The article is about the process of electrofishing and creating the perfect lake management plan. Also on the page is a picture of me holding up 10 big carp, one on each finger. Along with Chef Todd holding up a MONSTER largemouth bass, me holding a nice bass, and Justin and I in our electro fishing boat!

In school, my absolute worst subject was english and composition simply because I hated writing reports and essays. Now I have 2 articles that I actually wrote, in nationwide major outdoor magazines, and several articles have been published in smaller local outdoor publications and websites. I also write for
Ask the Pond Guy Weblog. I dont really know what exactly happened??? Its not like I have any free time on my hands, I guess my inspiration to start writing came from reading Bill Heavey's articles on the back page of Field and Stream.

I never really ever paid any attention or followed any particular authors before, until one night a couple years ago I was sitting on my throne at home and I happened to glance at and read the back page of the Field and Stream magazine that was conveniently waiting for me. There is only one time during the day that I sit down long enough to actually read something and this particular day, the newspaper was not where it was supposed to be so I had to substitute a magazine from the little decorative book rack that Brook keeps in the bathroom.

Anyhow, when I read that article by Bill Heavey I was literally laughing out loud! This guy was just too funny! I then found out the he wrote on the back page of every Field and Stream and I spent the next year or so collecting and reading as many of those articles I could get my hands on. I was hooked. This guy loves hunting and fishing, but is not an expert trying to give secret tips or boring techniques. He just simply writes about hunting, fishing, and outdoor related stories and focusses on the bloopers, glitches, calamities, and pretty much basically the real life situations that we all face in our outdoor adventures! Pretty much everything he would write about would just hit real close to home, but in a way that was just too funny to not laugh out loud.

So anyhow to make a long story, well even longer I guess, I decided that I would like to start writing, but I didnt want to be just an average/ordinary BORING writer. I want to give out some information, education, tips, techniques, experiences, and stories, but I want to do it in a way that even if someone is not interested at all in that particular subject, that they will still be somewhat interested in reading the article??? My content gets doctored and cleaned up pretty good by the editors, but thats what they get paid to do, right?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend- Camping, Fishing, and Dock Building

Spent the entire weekend at the lake!!! Our main project for the weekend was to build a HUGE floating dock with a second story for a future waterslide and just to simply jump off of into the water! Here are a couple pics:

We put together the whole dock on Friday afternoon and finished er up on Saturday. Helps out big time that my whole family grew up building houses- my dad, brothers, brother-in laws, and even my mom and sisters! The dock is 20x20 with 2- 5x14 gangways to keep it in place. The upper deck is 9x10 and it sits 10.5 feet from the top to the surface of the water! I will shoot some better pics of the finished dock when I get a chance.

Once we got most of the chores done, we did what we do best- catch some fish!!!!

All of my brothers and sisters and all their kids stayed out at the lake for the weekend. We had a church service on Sunday, big fish fry on Sunday night with friends, and just had a great time. The weather was perfect Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but Monday was rainy and cool all day and we just buttoned up a few chores and headed for home!

Guided Fishing Trip on Friday

Didnt get home from delivering fish until super late Thursday night, and had the privilege of waking up at 3:45 am Friday morning to get a few things taken care of at the office and get all my fishing gear together for a guided fishing trip on Friday May 22nd with a group of Waibels.

Got everything together and made it out to the lake just in the nick of time to get things rolling. The Waibel boys were getting together to celebrate their Dad's B-day, and boy did they pick the right day for a fishing trip. We havent had very many sunny days this year, and this one was just perfect! Sunny, 75 degrees, and 5 mph winds.

We had a great day just kicking back on our homemade pontoon boat. I ran the boat and snapped tons of pictures, Justin took some video footage and landed the fish, and the Waibels caught plenty of fish for our shore lunch and to take home! We were sooo close to catching the GRAND SLAM! We caught every species of fish in the lake except a muskie and a catfish. We caught Largemouth, Smallmouth, Trout, Perch, Hybrid Stripers, Walleye, Bluegill, Hybrid Bluegill, Redear, and Crappie.

Check out these pictures, we had a GREAT time out on the water!

We fished for a few hours and then headed up to the pavilion for a fish fry. I cleaned the fish and sent them right into my commercial deep fryer! Grilled asparagus, mushrooms, and some potato chips topped er off.

Fish Stocking!

Got up early on Thursday, May 21st and met the fish truck over near Congerville. We stocked quite a few perch and shiners for Roger Gerber and also dropped off some pond supplies for him this season. My favorite is the Honey Hole Tree! Check this thing out: The Tree, not Roger......

Met up with Chuck Sollers and sent him on his way with some Perch, then headed over towards Princeville to stock 2 lakes with Yellow Perch and one pond with bass and bluegill. Then headed west towards Victoria to stock some Jumbo Perch at the Big 25, then South towards Fiatt to stock Bob Fidlers brand new lake with forage and bluegill! That lake is shaping up pretty sweet! From there we headed to Honkers Corner for some more Jumbo Perch and then finished up the day at Norris loading up my bait tanks with fatheads and shiners, and filling up my cages with Hybrid Bluegill and feed trained perch.

We covered quite a bit of ground and stocked 1000's and 1000's of fish in just one days time! Still have a couple big truckloads of fish coming in this spring over the next couple of weeks!

Electrofishing, Dock Building, Pond Consulting, Algae Treating....

Finally made it through a marathon of having every microsecond of my life completely and utterly overbooked and on the go! Spent the last 10 days on the go from well before the sun got up, to well after the sun went down.

The marathon started last Tuesday up at Enjoy Field in Cliffton, IL. My partner Chef Todd and I killed the cattails in the pond in front of the air strip, sprayed a bit of curly-leafed pond weed, and then headed north to do some Electrofishing for Charlie Hines at the Windy City Farm near Wilmington, IL.

We dialed up almost 100 LMB and a couple dozen pickeral.

Tagged a few bass for his grandkids to catch for prizes and devised a management plan for him to follow to put a bit of extra weight on his bass.

Wednesday we headed north again, this time I dropped the guys off in Henry and helped them get started on Dick Rupipers 12x12 floating dock with a couple bench seats.

From there Allen and I headed North to Princeton to treat Larry Gerdes pond for Algae and Curly-Leafed Pondweed.

On our way back down to Henry we stopped in at the Trainor's pond near Hennepin for a consultation and cattail application. They have a super nice chunk of paradise which will be their future home site. Finished devising a game plan to help them manage their cattails and pond for the future and headed back to Henry to help put the finishing touches on the dock.

The dock turned out great, we built and installed the whole thing in one loong day. I spent just about every minute of travel time (at least in the areas with service) on the phone with clients and potential clients, and still couldnt keep up with all the voice and e-mails. This time of year causes my hairline to recede just a bit everyday!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Largemouth Bass Relative Weight Chart

Relative Weight Charts are often easily misunderstood, but are a key component to understanding your fish population. My good friend Bob Lusk editor of Pond Boss Magazine simply states "a fish so long should weigh so much....more specifically, 'relative weight' is figured as a ratio of what a fish actually weighs compared to its length, further compared to what it should weigh, if it were a normal fast growing fish of the same length."

What this means is that in order for a fish to grow any longer, it has to be at or above 100%. Trophy sized fish will spend most of their lives with relative weights at or well above 100%. Regular sized fish will typically only be over 100% for a few short months during the year, and stunted skinny fish will rarely reach the 100% mark.

For example, a 15 inch largemouth bass must weigh 1 lb 13 oz in order to reach 15 inches. If that 15 inche LMB weighs less than 1 lb 13 oz, that means that fish actually has lost weight, and will not ever make it to 16 inches long unless it reaches and surpasses 1 lb 13 oz! Many lakes and ponds have abundant forage for bass for only a few short months and the bass will grow during those times. The rest of the year, the bass simply will not grow any longer unless they are at or above 100%.

I keep track of the relative weights of all my fish several times per year to make sure they are well fed and actively growing at all times!

Largemouth Bass Relative Weight Chart:

Length: Standard Weight
10 -----10 oz
11 -----11 oz
12 -----12 oz
12.5 ---15 oz
13 -----18 oz (1 lb 2 oz)
13.5 ---20 oz
14 -----23 oz (1 lb 7 oz)
14.5 ---26 oz
15 -----29 oz (1 lb 13 oz)
15.5 ---32 oz
16 -----36 oz (2 lb 4 oz)
16.5 ---40 oz
17 -----45 oz (2 lb 13 oz)
17.5 ---48 oz
18 -----52 oz (3 lb 4 oz)
18.5 ---57 oz
19 -----62 oz (3 lb 14 oz)
19.5 ---67 oz
20 -----72 oz (4 lb 8 oz)
20.5 ---78 oz
21 -----85 oz (5 lb 5 oz)
21.5 ---92 oz
22 -----99 oz (6 lb 3 oz)
23 -----114 oz (7 lb 2 oz)
24 -----131 oz (8 lb 3 oz)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shocking a Sweeet Lake!

Thursday evening I headed north to a newly constructed lake for an electroshocking survey. The owner which will remain anonymous since this lake has the potential to be the absolute best crappie and bluegill fishing lake in Illinois, wanted to make sure he was on the right track with his fish.

Let me just say that I was impressed! I have been on so many lakes and ponds that it takes an awful lot to impress me, but this lake has me so intrigued I cant stop thinking about its potential! I will post the chart to show you what I am talking about. Not only is this lake fairly new, but it is just extremely scenic with rock cliffs, boulders, and lots of character!

Here are the relative weight charts for the Bluegill. Keep in mind that a relative weight of 115% would be considered a rapidly growing trophy fish! The chart is in inches and ounces. These fish are only 3 years old and will be 10 inches+ by the end of the summer! Can you imagine fishing a 30 acre lake with an average bluegill that is 9 inches long? I forgot to mention that the average crappie is currently 11 inches!

Water Quality: Perfect!
Hardness - 150 ppm
Alkali - 180 ppm
pH - 7.5

-----Length-- Weight--Standard-- Relative Weight
BG ------ 8------ 8------ 6------ 133%
BG-------7.75--- 8------ 5.75--- 139%
BG------- 8------ 7------ 6 ------117%
BG------- 7.5---- 6------ 5.5---- 109%
BG------- 7.75--- 8------ 5.75--- 139%
BG------- 7.25--- 8 ------5.25--- 152%
BG -------7------ 7------ 5 -------140%
BG------- 8------ 9------ 6------- 150%
BG------- 8 ------9------ 6------ 150%
BG------- 8----- 9------- 6------ 150%
BG------- 8----- 10------ 6 ------167%
BG------- 8----- 9 -------6 -------150%
BG------- 8----- 10----- 6------- 167%
BG------ 8.25--- 10----- 7------- 143%
BG ------8.75 ---12 -----9------- 133%
BG------ 8.75--- 12----- 9------- 133%
BG------ 8.25--- 10----- 7 -------143%
BG------ 8.25--- 11----- 7------- 157%
BG------ 8------ 11----- 6------- 183%
BG------ 8------ 10----- 6------- 167%
BG------ 8------ 9------ 6------- 150%
BG------ 8------ 9------ 6------- 150%
BG------ 8.5---- 12----- 8------- 150%
BG------ 9------ 10----- 10----- 100%
FBG----- 8 -----11------ 6------ 183%
FBG----- 8.5--- 12------ 8------ 150%
FBG----- 7 -----7 -------5------- 140%
FBG----- 8----- 9------- 6------ 150%
BG Avg --------------------------146%

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HB Pond Toon Pictures

We finished up and delivered a 7'x14' HB Pond Toon Boat for the Mamers in Morton this week. The rails are standard, the floor covering is Nautolex Marine Vinyl, Aluminum Trim, and Heavy Duty Plastic Pontoons. Click Here for Pontoon Boat Kits, Pricing, and More Information.

Ended up fishing with Matt for a few minutes and caught some nice bluegill, crappie, and tons of little bass:

Below are some pictures of our new spraying boat. It is a 6x12 HB Pond Toon with an 8 HP Mercury Outboard Motor and a 50 gallon 6 HP custom sprayer rig!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Electro Fishing Pictures from the Pollywag and Shangra Lai Fishing Clubs

We got up this morning well before the sun and headed towards Champaign Illinois to do some electrofishing surveys for the Pollywag and Shangra Lai fishing clubs. About one hour into our trip we actually ran out of gas in the truck on the interstate! Luckily we had about 3/4 of a gallon left in our Boat Gas Tank!

Anyhow we made it to the Pollywag on time and got rolling on dialing up some nice fish!

Their main lake is BEAUTIFUL! It is about 200 acres with tons of islands and character! There are some real nice fish in the lake, but overall the gamefish and panfish relative weights were actually only 90% of what they should be! The problem they have is that the lake is completely overrun with large gizzard shad, common carp, and HUGE grass carp! The infestation of trash fish is so bad, that more than 80% of the fish biomass in the lake is gizzard shad and carp!
This lake will naturally support between 500-600 lbs of fish per acre, and 400-450 lbs of those fish per acre are WORTHLESS.
There really isnt many feasible options at this point? At 200 acres, it would cost a fortune to kill out and start over. Options they have would be to simply let nature take its course and keep things the way they are, or to implement Top Down management tactics. I suggested stocking Tiger Muskies at 3-5 fish per acre ASAP to start turning the 1000's of lbs of 12"+ gizzard shad into 1000's of pounds of Tiger Muskies. I would also continue to stock 1 tiger muskie per acre per year.
Most people fear that the tiger muskies will ruin their fishing for panfish and bass, but in reality, the gizzard shad and carp cause 100 times more damage to the panfish and bass populations than tiger muskies will! Tiger Muskies will hunt down gizzard shad to the point of extinction before they will go searching for a bluegill or bass to eat.
Another suggestion to go along with the tiger muskies would be to stock 10 hybrid striped bass per acre every year! They will do much better than largemouth bass in this situation. They also hunt down and feast on gizzard shad and baby carp.
Check out the size of these monster ecosystem destroying fish: I couldnt get anyone else to hold up these slimy, stinky fish so you will have to just endure my ugly mug for the following pics:

We finished up at the Pollywag and headed a few miles down the road to the Shangra Lai fishing lake. It is about 40 acres and also has a severe case of large gizzard shad and carp!
This lake however still has some AWESOME fish in it! All of the largemouth had relative weights of 105%, the crappie were 100%, bluegill and redear were plentiful and many were 8"+ in size.
These guys have been stocking Hybrid Striped Bass to help keep the gizzard shad populations in check, but they havent stocked any for a few years, and the shad population is exploding!
I recommended stocking 2 Tiger Muskie and 10 Hybrid Striped Bass per acre this year, and then we collectively decided to stop with the Tiger Muskie program and just keep on stocking 10 HSB per acre every year! This would allow the initial Tiger Muskie to take down the large gizzard shad for the next 8 years and then the HSB will take over by keeping the yoy shad numbers down. Also will allow for harvest of the HSB every year!
We tagged a handful of these fish for the fishing clubs to have some fun and potentially rewarding fishing contests for the members who catch a tagged fish!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fishing Pictures from My Lake

Didnt get to do much fishing this weekend with it being cold, windy, and Mothers Day, but we did get out to the lake for a couple hours on Sunday late afternoon.

Bluegill fishing is heating up big time! Check out the size of these bluegills. I have about 10 different species of bluegill in this lake, and they seem to be breeding with each other to create some very colorful fish:

Also caught some trout, smallmouth, largemouth, hybrid stripers, walleye, perch, and crappie. Here are some pics: