Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Blood

I have been a bit preoccupied lately trying to finish up some projects for the year. But here is the latest dominant predator video from bow hunting in Missouri this past weekend.

With limited stand options because of a North wind, Zach and Cole Sutter attempt to hang and hunt a new location. After it's all said and done, they end up sitting on the ground where Zach harvest a doe. At the end of the show, Zach sets up a trail camera on a new property that the guys will be hunting in Illinois.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Super Cool Projects

Been working on some super cool projects keepin the guys busy and electrofishing some awesome lakes the last couple weeks.

This project is connecting two lakes together that are about 1200 feet apart. Making a canal that will be 6 feet deep and creating some hatchery ponds with the excess dirt that will drain into the canal.

Been renovating this outpost cabin for client. The porch was poured last week by Lone Wolf Concrete and we are putting in the cedar posts and beams for the screened in porch!

Been electrofishing in Kingston, Paris, Secor, and consulting near Ipava, Illinois for new clients recently. Coming up with some really awesome custom management plans! Here are some pics, one lake was full of carp, suckers, buffalo, and all kinds of river fish. Gonna turn that lake into the best bass lake in Northern, Illinois. Not an easy one, but the owner is motivated so it will be accomplished!

Here are pics of my brothers pond filling up. Its going to be a smallmouth bass and yellow perch pond as soon as we get some rain.

Front door of the hunting lodge we are working on. Pretty cool wood carved scene!

Got a few things happening, very exciting. Every day is jampacked and we are very thankful to be busy working with some great people on some very neat projects! The rest of this year until ice fishing season is booked out to capacity.

Filming with Midwest Outdoors

Saturday and Sunday we filmed 6 fishing show segments with Midwest Outdoors. They have been filming weekly hunting and fishing shows for the last 25 years and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest, the Sportsmens Channel and many local markets all across the nation.

The hosts of the shows we filmed were Larry Ladowski and Steve Ryan. Steve has been fishing with me several times with various film crews like InFisherman TV and to catch fish for promotional photos, etc. Larry I just met for the first time, nice guy! So anyhow while talking with the camera guy Dennis Saturday night I found out that they have never before filmed more than two complete segments in a days time of filming.

Well, they showed up at 11 am Saturday and by 7 pm they finished filming their 3rd complete show of the day on 3 different Herman Brothers managed lakes!!! First show was bluegill and redear sunfish fishing in an old jon boat on a 6 acre pond highlighting some new jigs by Custom Jigs and Spins while using Frabill gear, nets, etc.

Second show of the day we filmed with a clients' friends and family on a custom made fishing pontoon boat by AAD custom boats on a 40 acre Herman Brothers managed lake! This pontoon boat is perhaps the most thought out, innovative and comfortable large family fishing boat on the planet. (I can say that because I helped design it). It is a fish catching machine! Here is a pic of a nice bass from our maiden voyage:

The theme of this show was family fishing suspended crappies for a fish fry. Slip bobber techniques, crappie behavior, and family fun were the focal points. 2 hours and we had 40 crappies in the livewell!! The fish actually weren't biting great across the lake, but we did finally find one spot where they were stacked up off a main lake point. Here are some shots of the boat.

Third show of the day was topwater bass fishing at dusk on a 16 acre Herman Brothers managed lake! Didn't land any lunkers, but filmed a fun segment with lots of topwater action on buzzbaits and frogs. Then we feasted on burgers and fresh crappies!

These shows will air on Midwest Outdoors next spring and summer so make sure to tune in for them! But that wasnt it. We went back and stayed at my place for the night and got up early Sunday morning and headed out to one of my favorite fishing properties in Illinois- Otter Creek.

So we pull up to Otter Creek and are greeted not only by Ryan Pudik but by a stiff east wind and light rain. Perfect day for filming eh? So anyhow after waiting around for an hour the rain died down enough to get out in the boats and film a bass segment on the big 120 acre lake. Justin and I were in a seperate boat crappie fishing and we went through 6 dozen minnows in our 1.5 hrs on the water!!

Wrapped up that segment which was showcasing some soft plastics I think and headed to the 18 acre VIP lake. That segment should have only taken about 20 minutes to film in entirety because that lake is so good of bass fishing for 3-5 lb bass, but it actually was tough fishing. Took two hours to film that one, but they got some real big fish.

Then the Midwest Outdoors crew had about 1.5 hrs left before heading down towards Kinkaid Lake and eventually Kentucky Lake but we decided to put in at the Canadian Lake anyways to try for a multi-species segment. This lake is a very special 53 acre lake with obviously a Canadian/Boundary waters themed fishery. Let me just say the fish in this lake were on FIRE. 11 tiger muskies, 40 walleyes, and a handful of real chunky smallmouth bass later and they wrapped up their 6th complete segment in 2 days of fishing!!!

This was my only pic from Otter Creek fishing. It was raining most of the day and not convenient to take pics.

Was an extremely fun and informative weekend. Very encouraging to see that what we are doing with fish and lakes around here is cutting edge stuff that stacks up and ranks on the national radar! These guys fish around the world regularly and are excited about coming back to do some more fishing!

Dominant Predator Open Season

Opening weekend for the guys at Dominant Predator.

After getting the beat on Homse a few days before season, we where excited about going after him. We where able to sit the blind we set up for him two times but he never showed his face. It was a slow opening weekend for us but even so it is hard to beat being out in God's creation with a bow in hand.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Setting up for Homse

Would be very cool if they end up getting this buck on opening weekend!

The Dominant Predator crew heads out to find Homse, the whitetail chosen to go after for Missouri's opener. Homse is a stud of a 4 1/2 caught heading to the corn field just under a week before the opening day of Missouri's bow season. The blind is in place for Homse to make that same mistake.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

VIP Dock Fishing

At our lake we have a special dock called the VIP dock. The dock and the surrounding area is a fish santuary on a very heavily fished lake. We feed the fish bluegills, fatheads, shiners, and fish food from this dock, and actually visiting the VIP dock is one of the most popular activities at the lake. Lots of BIG fish live there.

Anyhow, it was Tyden's 10 year birthday party this afternoon. We surprised him with a bucket full of 5 inch bluegills, a circle hook tied onto a shimano medium action rod and reel, and headed over to the VIP dock.

We had the line broke twice, but managed to land a few good ones!

Happy Birthday Tyden, you just made Chef Todd extremely jealous!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Deer, Bear, Elk, Airplane

My Aunt Rachel Sauder is a photographer out near Hanna City, Il. Anyhow on Tuesday I sent her up in an airplane to snap some aerial photos for a client to see some progress on his lake and land renovation project.

I was amazed at how reasonable it was to rent an aerial photography airplane from Canton Airport! We will be doing a bunch more aerial photography in the very near future, just let me know if your fairly close to Canton, IL and I am sure we can snap some pics of your place too.

Here are some cool trail camera pics sent to me recently from the tri-county area.

Coming through, get outta dad's way!

On Wednesday night I made it out to Edwins place just before dark to start sighting in our rifles! Their pond is perhaps the best trout fishing pond in Illinois come October, but not this year. It is getting completely drained, scooped out and enlarged....... Edwin, Rand, Dave, Jared, and I are headed to Colorado this November to hunk Elk!! My first trip out west hunting and I am very much looking forward to it! November 5-11th. We only had enough time to get our guns sighted in about 2 inches high at 100 yards. Next week or two we will start zeroing in at 200 yards!

Thursday night I finished up near Lewiston and was in the mood to snap some photos. Here is the backyard of a new cabin a client is building on his awesome pond.

If you walk in the cabin and turn to the right you are greeted by this amazing grizzly bear and mountain scene!

Here is a pic of the cabin from the front:

Earlier in the week Allen and I finished building this sweet dock out near Congreville. Still some landscaping to do leading up to the dock, but man is this ever a cool lake with a little island off to the right. This lake has got boone and crocket gills, great crappies, catfish, walleyes, perch, stripers, walleyes, tiger muskies, and rainbow trout. You know, the typical midwestern pond gamefish!

We are building this pond this week as well. This is actually for my brother Chad behind his house. It is going to be 1/3 acre swimming and smallmouth pond. Just wait about 2 years and I am gonna have a bunch of 3 lb smallmouth bass and 1 lb yellow perch swimming between your legs when you jump in! (his wife Julie doesnt read the blog, I dont think she has an idea how many fish are going to be in this baby!). Should have some updated pics of this project early next week it will be filling with water hopefully. I already have been raising the smallmouths for this pond all summer so I cant wait for water!!!

Looks like we are finally getting some rain! We might have a chance at actually growing some deer crops this fall! Speaking of that, I was in Paris, Illinois electrofishing a 6 acre pond today and the guy had some of the most amazinhg food plots imaginable!! His 9 acre bean plot and 4 acre clover plot looked tasty even to me....I was thinking about some ranch dressing and a fork for a nice salad, they looked delicious. Unfortunately his fish and pond wasnt in such good shape. They need some help, but with just a few tweeks like a bunch of harvesting, some fresh genetics, a winter drawdown, an aeration system and a bit of bass structure and his pond will be hopping in no time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are You Ready for Deer Season?

Dominant Predator boys are for sure! They have spent the summer prepping deer stands, food plots, scouting deer, and shooting their bows. Lets see if it pays off for them once their Missouri season opens September 15th and their Illinois season opens October 1st.

Here is another video about them talking about early season hunting strategies going into small bedding areas for big bucks!

With the season closing in we are thinking strategy. Zach talks about hunting bedding stands early and Shane breaks down one of our new stands. Jimmy closes up with our scouting plans for the up coming week.

What do you think about their strategy of hunting bedding stands early in the season? I will let you know what I think about 2 weeks into the season after I see how it works for them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bob Lusk The Pond Boss Visits

On Wednesday afternoon I had the privelege of picking up Bob Lusk at the Peoria Airport. Bob has been designing lakes and growing monster fish across the United States for the last 32 years and is the pioneer of lake and pond management! He is the editor of Pond Boss Magazine and the owner of the world famous Pond Boss Forum. If you have any pond, fish, weed, or wildlife question you just pop on the forum and ask your question and within a few hours some of the smartest people in the nation will have some answers or advice for you. Let me just say that if you are a pond owner, land owner, hunter, fisherman, or wildlife enthusiast, you absolutely are missing out if you do not get Pond Boss Magazine sent to your home or office. It is the best resource on the planet for learning about your outdoor passions. When I stumbled across Pond Boss in 2005 I became addicted to learning from their experiences.

So anyhow flash forward a few years and the pond boss himself came to visit and help me with a big project. Basically the magnitude of this visit can best be described as a basketball player working with Michael Jordan, or a race car fan hanging out with a famous driver (I dont know which ones are or were good), or a football player training with Jerry Rice or Walter Payton.... Basically you get my point, but just in case you dont I will keep going like an ice skater skating with Kristy Yamagucchi, or a hockey player slapping a puck with Wayne Gretzky, or a gymnasticker gymnasticking with Mary Lou Retton.....the list can go on and on

Straight from the airport we head to Jim's Steakhouse to hang out and feast on some of Chef Todd's food! The man can flat out cook and I have a bunch of pictures a few paragraphs down to prove it. Anyhow this pic of some steak and crab from Jim's will have to do for now.

So Thursday and Friday I spent with Bob designing the best fishing lake in Illinois for a client complete with its very own state of the art fish hatchery for raising forage minnows, crayfish, and occasionally gamefish like muskies, stripers, smallmouths, etc as needed. This lake is going to flat out be the best fishing lake anyone has ever seen or can even imagine. We are putting alot of thought into this design!

Saturday morning I loaded up my boat and fishing gear at 4 am, took Bob to the airport at 5:30 am, called up Kelly Presley to let me into his bait shop at 6:30 am and pulled up at a clients place in Fulton County at 8 am.

Chef Todd and Chad and Lee helped us take a bunch of people fishing and we caught some awesome fish with some monster crappies for it being the 95 degrees outside. I only was able to snap a couple pics and it will be weeks before all the other pics start trickling in so this is all you get:

Then we cleaned and cooked up the fish along with some bacon wrapped scallops, crab rangoons, shrimp skewers, oysters rockefellar, Ahi tuna, apple cinnamon chicken breasts, and filet mignon. All I can say is WOW, Chef was able to pull all that off in the midst of a big thunderstorm with lots of mud, basically out in the great outdoors with some make shift shelters and a leaky roof.

Then on Sunday and Monday I stayed out at the lake and played with the kids. Was different than usual though, the big storm brought in a massive cold front so we didnt swim or fish, we just made fires and actually wore sweatshirts! I can't say the cold weather felt great, because I was uncomfortably cold and the wind was blowing. But was a nice much needed relaxng weekend nonetheless.

Justin, Lee, and Dave started our shoreline rehabilitation project over the weekend. To prevent erosion and to make a nice patch around our lake, we are putting in a trail that will be rip rapped around the entire lake. I can't wait to be able to walk around the lake and catch fish hanging out by the rocks!! Just an FYI for those of you thinking about rip rap, we found a source for reject concrete that will be our base layer and will be putting it out quite a ways in the water, then we will cover it up with this nice rip rap stone for looks! The concrete costs about $15 per ton and the stone about $20 per ton delivered. Semi trucks can hold about 20 tons. In this picture, the reject concrete is on the right and the stone rip rap is on the left.

My lake has never been good for fishing from the shore because of no good access and lots of overgrown erosion. With this path around the lake I will be able to easily fish around the whole lake without needing to get in a boat!! This will take lots of pressure off our docks and create awesome fishing opportunities for lots of people who just want to fish for a few minutes and not get in a boat! Here is the beginning of the creation of the trail, I will update with more pics as we complete this project!

Just as I was leaving the lake this afternoon, Justin and Allen came up with this monster catfish:

Also I found this snake out sunning itself on the top of our dam, anyone know what kind it is? I am terrible at snake ID.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! Looks like the hottest summer ever has officially lost its grip and now hopefully we can enjoy 2 months of perfect 70 degree weather!! Fatten up fish, you only got a few weeks of good eatin left!!