Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fish Structures and Stuff

We have been working on several big fish structure projects this winter. I'm not talking about throwing a christmas tree into the water and tying on a concrete block. We are making some fishing reefs of epic proportions. Kind of like creating fish disneyland- fish will be waiting in line to come swim near these underwater attractions!

Oh yeah, also the fish structures are the by products of cleaning up the land. We are removing old cattle fences and trash trees. Justin is running the mini excavator making piles of junk.
Ryan cuts down trees like slicing butter with his timber shears for the big bobcat!

I strategically place most of these kinds of structures into deep 15-20 feet of water along travel contours and visible landmarks. Here are a few of our artificial reefs.

We will anchor each pile down with 5 gallon buckets full of rocks and concrete and will attach duck decoys to each pile to make sure we know exactly where they go down when the ice melts. Occasionally the ice will shift and this way we know where they all end up.

Also not all debris is suitable for structures. We burn the stuff that can't be anchored easily while we are cleaning up the land.

Growing big fish is only part of the equation. Strategically placing various kinds of structures really helps to locate the fish while out angling for them. You don't want to spread out deep water structure or you will spread out all your fish during certain times of the year. I like to bunch it up and make huge reefs to congregate schools of fish. Shallow water structures are different, they can be much more spread out.

Also of note, I took Jeff Lampe the owner of Heartland Outdoors out ice fishing to a secret location last week to help him catch a fish this winter. I write for Heartland Outdoors magazine monthly as well as write weekly on their website under the title Lake Doctor. Anyhow we blindfolded him going to and from the lake in order to keep the honey hole secret.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy for him to hook and land one of these big fish all by himself, but I didnt realize it was going to be that hard! We virtually stuck several big fish onto the end of his line while he wasn't looking only to watch them swim away with jig after jig. Definitely was old fishing line......

In the mean time Justin landed this pig:

Then I caught a pretty big fish as well:

Even the automatic fisherman caught a couple fish:

Finally Jeff started to get into the swing of things:

I yelled at him a couple times for staying in a bad hole for too long, and then yelled at him for horsing several big fish. Also yelled at him for using high visibility green line, and even yelled at him for not using the vexilar, but eventually the sun, moon, and stars lined up and it was mission accomplished! We fished for about an hour.

As a disclaimer, portions of this fishing story may be embellished or made up completely. Even so we had a good time and got some great pics for the magazine!


  1. Nate
    Some awesome fish. Were all of those caught off structure? I love to fish any kind of structure. If I know the structure is there then i know I am going to land some quality fish. That is why I am into marking it on the big lake I fish in Alabama. I usually take pictures of it when the lake is down and write a short description about what it looks like. In fact I have got 15 new places to fish in the spring. I really enjoy your post, you have a great blog.

  2. Actually those trout were caught by porcupine attractors. Thanks for the compliment!

  3. Nate
    I would have never thought, off porcupine attractors, this is why I blog to learn about things I didn't know. Thanks for sharing

  4. We filmed a fishing show from that trout lake last summer with the owner of Porcupine Fish Attractors. Anyhow he gave us a bunch of porcupines for every lake we fished in that week.