Monday, September 27, 2010

Northern Pike and Salmon Fishing Trip

Sunday morning, Sept 26th my dad and I pulled into Mckinley harbor in Milwaukee at 5 am. We were 30 minutes early so we decided to check the gps for any nearby fast food joints. We found a Mcdonalds just .6 miles away so off we went. 14 minutes, 317 orange cones, and several winding oneway streets later we were at our destination. We found a short cut for out return trip to the harbor and were back in the parking lot 2 minutes later.

Here is a pic of the harbor from our boat in the twilight.

Anyhow professional angler Steve Ryan invited us up for the day of fishing. Steve travels the globe in search of pretty much every species of fish on the planet. He just got back from Venezuela last month and is making plans for Papa New Guinea in the future. Anyhow the empty parking lot and lack of shoreline anglers pretty much gave us a pretty good indicator there werent many fish in the harbor yet, but we still decided to give er a try since we were already there with a nice boat, some good bait, and a Wisconsin fishing license.

It didnt take long to confirm what everyone else already knew. According to the calendar, there should be quite a few fish staged in the harbor, but the 90 degree temps earlier in the week and strong northeast winds just got them salmon all messed up. Oh yeah, the massive cold front that came through and dropped the temps by 45 degrees didnt help open the mouths of the fish either. We knew that too, but still you never fully know until you give er a try.

Oh yeah also, when you go fishing on Lake Michigan in the fall, bring some very warm gear. Even when its warm and sunny at home, bring some warm fishing gear. I had a hunch that it might be chilly on the morning of our trip so I threw in a light jacket, when really I should have thrown in my full arctic waterproof gear!!!

We missed one good fish at the harbor, when I say we really I mean me, just toned down a bit. The only king salmon we saw caught the whole day was by an extreme angler in a kayak. Yep a stinking kayak angler caught a behemoth salmon. Here he is just getting done landing the fish.

After seeing the kayaker land the salmon we thought about sticking around and trying to scratch out a fish or two, but we had better things to do than cast our baits into the fishless abyss. By 10:30 am we were en route to a lake full of feisty northern pike.

Our destination was Lake Delavan which is just right above Lake Geneva in southern Wisconsin. We launched at the lakes only boat ramp and drove across the lake to a secret spot that was shared by about 15 other boats throughout the day. The other boats were doing alot of fishing, but not any catching. I didnt figure we would be doing any catching here either with the massive cold front that brought in the strong northeast winds, but boy was I wrong.

After 10 minutes of fishing I landed this monster Wisconsin largemouth bass. She was down on the bottom in 22 feet of water. A very short, but obese fish!

A few minutes after that and this real nice pike which was nearly 3 feet long was tugging on my line. By this time I was pretty stinkin impressed.

My dad managed to miss a handful of really nice fish over the next hour or so. I missed some too, but wanted to highlight his misses since he hadn't landed anything yet. I gave him a hard time with every missed fish until he shut me up with this walleye on his drop line and northern pike on his float line back to back simultaneously. I plopped the walleye into the livewell for this double pic as he was reeling in the pike.

We were following the outside weedline edge in 20-26 feet of water all the way down the shoreline. All we were doing was dropping big 8-10 inch suckers down to the bottom and bouncing them up and down as we drifted. We also set out a couple big baits on slip bobbers and let them drift behind us. The wind was blowing pretty strong so we had to use a large drift sock to slow us down.

It didnt take long to locate where most of the activity was coming from in our 500 yard stretch of shoreline we were targeting. The big fancy boat house with double blue shorestations was the place to start paying attention as we drifted by. We caught fish all along our drift pattern, but that one spot we often caught two fish at a time.

If you look real close you can see that my fish is quite a bit bigger than dad's on this double we caught in the money spot! I enjoy giving my dad a hard time while fishing.

Anyhow altogether we caught about 15 northern pike and missed another 15. When using the big baits, we would have to let the pike eat the bait for almost one whole minute before setting the hook. It was not easy for us to get the hang of right away, but our hook up ratio got much better throughout the day as our patience level increased. At $16 per dozen you learn the technique pretty quick. Once a bait has teeth marks on it, it doesnt work very well anymore. Here are a couple of the smaller guys, which really weren't that small.

Throughout the day many boats would come up real close to take a look at what in the world we were doing to catch so many fish. It it was me on my home water, I probably would have had a dummy rod rigged up with some insane pink lure to show people when explaining what the secret was, but Steve didn't mind sharing his info. In a prideful sort of way it felt good to be catching fish when no one else on the lake was. Now I know how that kayaker felt in Milwaukee harbor- he had the best fishing day ever!

Here is a sunset shot from the boat ramp of Lake Delavan:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flyfishing Pics from Todays Outing!

Everyone was invited to come out flyfishing today at the Fishing Park! Our group of instructors was led by the stream stalker Jonn Graham, the flyfishing pastor Curt Eber, and a handful of other characters for whom I have no fancy name for yet.

We had a group of about 25 anglers out today learning and teaching the art of casting flies and battling fish. Very diverse group of characters. Anyhow besides the Alwan Brothers burgers and chili glazed trout for lunch, the highlight of the day would probably either be the beautiful weather or the fact that we caught hundreds of pounds of trophy rainbow trout! You had to work to get em to bite, but when you did they were big and powerful!!

Before I post the fish pictures I would like to personally thank a group of caterpiller folks who came down to help me out. They untangled and restrung 75 of our fishing poles we use for kids fishing events! They also helped everything run smooth today at the park! Many thanks to Jake, Josh, Jennifer and all the other guys and gals whose names I don't remember:

Ok, here are the pics. I will let them tell the rest of the story:

Check out this sequence:

Today was just a picture perfect day for teaching and learning how to flyfish. While I wont be having anymore events at the park for this season, I do plan on having more flyfishing days next year. Also if anyone is interested in private flyfishing lessons at the park during the winter, I do have some expert guides willing to donate their time in exchange for a donation to the fishing parks 2011 operating expenses. Our springs stay free of ice all season long and their is no better place on the planet to learn how to flyfish.

Pea Gravel, Food Plot and Dam Pictures

Well, I am up in Delavan, Wisconsin typing on my laptop in a Super 8 motel while the Boise State football game is playing in the background. Sometimes you score big time with a priceline unnamed bid of $50 per night and sometimes not so much... There is a funny smell in the room and its not my feet or britches. The internet is free though. Anyhow, I finished the flyfishing seminar about 1 pm and headed up north.

Sunday morning my dad and I will be Salmon fishing out of Milwaukee harbor well before the butt crack of dawn and then about 10 am we are going to head over to Lake Delavan for some pike fishing. From there we go back to Super 8 and will head over to Palatine Monday morning for an electrofishing survey for a lake association in the suburbs. Then head for home to watch the Bears get annhilated by the green bay packers monday night. They may be 2 and 0 right now, but they will have to beat the Packers before they will be considered legit.

Here are those Dam pictures I talked about in the title. This dam we helped put in will turn a 30 acre lake into a 55 acre lake!

This pipe will spill over the extra water into the other lake to make a couple extra acres of water over there as well.

Here is a fall food plot I went to check on back in the woods:

Here are some pics from earlier in the week, I shot 35 tons of pea gravel into this 10 acre lake over near fairview to help the bluegills spawn better which will help produce more forage which will help the bass have more to eat which will eventually make those skinny bass FAT!

We electrofished this pond for the new owner and found out it was full of large fancy goldfish!!! I am working on a plan to salvage the pond and still grow some big desirable other fish. Anybody interested in some big fancy goldfish I know of a 2 acre pond that is chucked full of them!

Here is a pic held up by a serious future fisherman from an electrofishing survey over near lewiston:

Here is just one pic from flyfishing day today.

Here is a pic of a bluegill replica my good friend Richard made me for my office:

I will start a new post for the rest of the trout fishing pictures from today and also a new post for hopefully some fishing pictures from Sunday! It has been a busy week, but tomorrow I fish for fun!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flyfishing Day is This Saturday!

Come down to Hooked On Fishing Park in East Peoria this Saturday, September 25th to learn how to fly fish! If your already an experienced flyfisherman come on down to the park to teach someone else how to flyfish!

Flyfishing Lessons and Demonstrations
Hooked on Fishing Park East Peoria, IL
Saturday September 25th from 8 am to 2 pm
$10 suggested donation

We have some experienced fly fishing instructors coming down to teach anyone who wants to learn hands on as well as a casting demonstration at 11 am by Jonn Graham on the trout pond!

If you have your own fly gear and are willing to teach others how to flyfish or you just need to get in a few practice casts of your own please come on down for a fun day of learning, teaching and fishing! Please contact me at 309-303-5691 or if your interested in helping in any capacity or have any questions.

Also we have a pavilion with big grill that we will be using for lunch. Bring a sack lunch or some meat to throw on the grill. Families are invited and encouraged to come down for the day!

We will be fishing in all the ponds and want to have the day be devoted to fly rods! Here are some pictures of the fish we will be targeting in the flyfishing only trout streams and pond!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Georgia Alligator Hunting

My good friend down in Georgia is one of the top fish guys in the nation. His company is called Aquatic Environmental and his website is We debate and compare many fish experiments and stories pretty much on a weekly basis. Anyhow his alligator hunting story last week was pretty interesting. I will start the process of applying for tags next year, it typically takes 5 years to draw.

We started looking for gators before sundown and returned to the boat ramp about sunrise. We chased a few monster size gators around Lake Seminole most of the night.
This shallow lake on the Georgia, Florida, Alabama line is home to numerous
gators with many in the trophy category. All total we probably saw 50 adult
size gators and another 100 yearling size gators in the grass flats. The
bigger gators were the ones out form shore aways. I guess they have no
enemies and can roam where they please.

We were close to a half dozen gators that were over 10 feet and a couple
hundred lbs in size. They have been hunted hard since the season started
two weeks ago and you could tell. When approaching they would go under to
resurface 50-100 yards away. The cat and mouse game was played for hours on
this one monster gator estimated at over 13 feet in length. Finally after a
few hours we got to within casting distance. The cast was a little toward
the tail side and with forward propulsion the snag hit his tail. The giant
explosion ripped the hook free but showed us just how huge he really was as
his entire body shot out of the water. We had our chances on a bigger gator
but it was not meant to be.

We did manage to snag a smaller gator as time was running out and get him in the boat. The snag hook is cast with heavy 60 lb pro braided line. The treble hook goes into their scales. The key is keeping pressure on them. It is amazing to me how easy the hook falls out. You need to try and get the hook up near the head under the larger size scutes. After some intense fighting we got a second hook in him
and pulled him into the boat after tapping his mouth.

This 7'-6" 90 lb. gator will provide some tasty healthy treats. We plan to serve our guest gator tail during our Dawgs party for the Georgia Florida game day October 30th.

If you have never experienced this adrenaline rush give it a try. You can
also go after them with archery gear or a harpoon but for the big gators the
snatch seems like an obvious choice. The fight will be harder than any fish
you will ever have on the line. Puling an all nighter was exhausting but
rewarding experience. Just think with another 4 years of rejections I can
do it again in five years.

Greg Grimes
Aquatic Environmental Services, Inc.
2050 Howell Bridge Rd.
Ball Ground, GA 30107

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Family and Business

I got back from Southern Illinois late friday night. We electrofished a pond near Chesterfield and a pond near Taylorville. Anyhow on Saturday I had a bunch of stuff to do, but also needed to spend the day with Mae and Noah. I compromised and took them both to work with me. We ran some errands, put up some shelves in the new building, and even stopped in to help Dave and Michelle on their new house for just a bit.

While its not so productive working with a 5 and 3 year old, it was still a good day to be able to spend the whole day with them and yet still get some stuff done. I try to spend at least a couple hours everyday playing or at least being with them, but this week I had a couple late nights and did some traveling. When we woke up on Saturday morning, I could tell they needed some extra dad time.

Anyhow my youngest Drake is growing like a weed. He is overcoming some big time physical challenges, but is doing GREAT! He just got fitted with his hearing aid for his right ear and is down to just one physical therapy session per month. He is just a fat happy boy. Mae and Noah are going to be midgets compared to this boy!

Here are some pics, I am blessed way more than I deserve with a wonderful wife and 3 beautiful children:

I do love my work, but just wish I could turn my mind off at 5 pm and turn it back on at 7 am. Being self employed is quite a bit different than working for someone else in that respect. I get caught up with working too much and living life too little. Occasionally Brook will say that while I am physically here she can tell that my mind is not. I could literally work 20 hrs per day always thinking, planning, organizing, communicating and coordinating.

I am the kind of guy who always likes to be efficient and productive. I could (and do) easily fall into the trap of too much work and not enough life. Anyhow I just realized that although I am looking forward to the future, I am not in any hurry to get there. These are the very best days of my life that I dont want to miss out on (or look back on regretfully)- working hard, loving my wife, playing with and teaching my kids, and spending time with my creator.

I got alot of posts coming up about fishing and working stuff going on, but family and real life stuff needs to get a little air time as well.