Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fishing Shows and Fish Stockings

Monday we had quite the little snow and sleet storm pop up while we were filming an ice fishing show with Midwest Outdoors and Bob Gillespie with Custom Jigs and Spins. We perservered though...

We filmed the first episode at Double Cluck Farms and a couple other area lakes. We couldnt get much to bite during the storm, but once the storm passed the last 1.5 hrs of daylight was the ticket. The fish woke up and decided it was time to feast!

Then Tuesday morning we started out another episode in search of big bluegills at my lake. Well we pretty much got skunked. Yep, we couldnt get the fish to bite to save our lives and our feable attempts at snagging and dropping in dynamite didnt work either. Altogether we caught 4 fish, only 2 were good enough for the show.

So about 10 am we headed over to the heart of fulton county to fish "the honey hole"..... Well, we drilled 400 holes all over that lake and we fished with 10 professional guys from 10 am to 5 pm and we caught a grand total of 9 fish....  the good part of the story is that 6 of them were very big and perfect for the show! Here is one of them:

So when this second episode comes out on Midwest Outdoors this fall it will look like an awesome day of fishing and that we caught a bunch of big fish all day long, but really with a total of about 100 man hours fishing we caught a total of just 14 fish...

Now the fishing was tough, but we had a great time. Chef cooked up a feast for lunch on the show with his cute chef apron and we did some fun bits with hot chocolate from a gun toting special guest. Oh yeah and the weather felt like we were down in Florida with the warm temps and bright sun!

So Monday and Tuesday we filmed 2 shows that will air this fall. Then on Wednesday we had another fun fish adventure stocking 2000 brook trout and 3000 rainbow trout thru the ice out at the Giant Goose Ranch.

These trout are the beginning of the quest for the double digit largemouth bass here in the Midwest! Our goal is to not just grow one 10 lb bass, but to become the only Midwest destination with a legitimate shot at catching the elusive double digit fish! The big lake is the perfect storm to pull this off.

The big lake at the Ranch is 121 acres with lots of depths in the 60-80' range. These attributes are hard to come by here in Illinois, and the fisheries mgmt plan is going to be taking pages from the California fisheries. Those fisheries out West are producing monster fish by creating cool and warm water fisheries together.

So the quest has officially begun, don't think that simply stocking a bunch of trout is going to magically turn 4 lb bass into 12 lbers. Semi-annually stocking trout are just one piece to the puzzle. In order to grow a trophy bass we need it to be eating good food from the moment its born all the way until it heads to the taxidermist. Most lakes have good food for one or two sizes of bass and most fisheries mgmt practices are geared towards adult fish, when in reality the most important pieces of the puzzle occur at birth. Very few lakes have perfect habitat for bass of all ages, that my friends is the true key to growing big fish!!

Upcoming Outdoor Events

Well, tis the season for trade shows, fundraising auctions, and dinners!

This Fri-Sun the Giant Goose Ranch will be at the Peoria Civic Center with a booth for the Spring Home Show. Come on down and lets talk about cabins, camping, and fishing. Discount tickets are available at Cefcu.

Then the Heart of Illinois QDMA is having a fun meeting on February 27th at Cornerstone Stable in Tremont, IL. The address is 28054 Hinman Road. They will have raffles and food and will be talking about aging deer on the hoof with trail cameras and several other deer discussion topics. For more information call Ross Fogle at 309-310-7958 or email or look em up on Facebook.

Next event is the annual Hooked On Fishing Dinner on March 1st and this year it is at Wildlife Prairie Park!!

The weekend of Feb 28-March 2 we will be at both the Central Illinois RV and Camping show at the Peoria Civic Center and also at the Elmwood All Outdoors Show. I will be speaking about Secrets to Growing Trophy Fish at 2 pm on Saturday in Elmwood. Bring your pond questions and we will have time for them too!!

March 7-9th my kids will be doing horse vaulting demonstrations at the Horse Show in Springfield and March 12-14th I will be in Cedar Falls speaking at the Eastern Iowa Sportshow. Gonna be busy, but I guess now is the time to get er done!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ice Fishing Tourney and Yellow Perch

Saturday we had 158 guys show up for the ice fishing tourney at the Giant Goose Ranch!! It started out in typical this winter fashion below zero, but warmed up to 21 degrees.

We made a big bonfire out on big lake and Chef's Creole Clam and Crawfish Chowder didnt disappoint! It was great talking, hangin out and feasting with everyone out on the ice! Here is chef getting set up:

I did have a hunch that the fish werent gonna bite real well with the unstable weather and the heavy snows that have been sitting on the lakes for weeks, but I didn't expect them to bite as bad as they did. It was a very tough day of fishing. I can't wait for the temps to start getting up above freezing hopefully soon!! Then the fish will have to start biting again.

We had 8 prize categories with prizes for first, second, and third place for each category! Here is a pic of the weigh in.

We had a prize for smallest fish and believe it or not, this bass in the picture was the third smallest fish caught! We took the pic before the weigh in thinking for sure it would be the winner.

The biggest bass caught was 3.87 lbs and second place was 3.76 lbs.

The kids that came out had fun and they all got brand new ice fishing rod/reels from Presleys Outdoors!

The biggest crappie was just under 14"

So anyhow this ice fishing extravaganza is the first big event of the first chapter of the new Giant Goose Ranch! We may not have caught too many fish this go around, but we had a blast! Next week we will be stocking 1000 brown trout, 2000 brook trout, and 3000 rainbow trout into some of the deep clear lakes on the property!!

The fish mgmt on the 52 lakes and ponds on this property is going to be cutting edge and unlike anything ever been done before! This is only the beginning.

So anyhow earlier in the week I went fishing with some guys from Eastern Illinois. We fished up a 5 gallon bucket of small crappie, bluegill, and bass in the morning and then went over to one of our specialty ponds over near wildlife prairie park for some Yellow Perch fishing. We created this perch pond only 2 years ago and it is already producing Jumbo's!

We started out catching some really small ones that were just born in the pond in early May...

Even with Lake Michigan to our north, we plan on breaking the state record for Yellow Perch in just a couple more years. I have clients in other states who have caught state record perch from there ponds, we plan on doing it here in Illinois too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Giant Goose Ranch Fishing and Camping!

My brothers and I are super excited about operating and renovating the Giant Goose Ranch in Canton, Illinois! We purchased the 828 acre property this fall and have been brainstorming/planning like crazy for managing the campground, fishing lakes, and hunting club for 2014! (and beyond)...

There are 52 lakes and ponds on the property with the biggest being 121 acres and over 80' deep! We already have specific and very intensive management plans for each and every lake and pond on the property! My goal is to turn these lakes into the best multi-species fishing lakes in the Nation! The lakes and ponds are super diverse with some really deep extra clear water lakes, shallow fertile ponds, and everything in between to have a place for pretty much every species of freshwater fish in the US!! Im talkin big fish of over 10 different species.

We have awesome fish here already, but are also creating specialty lakes for the "other" species like smallmouth bass, tiger muskie, brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, hybrid striped bass, blue catfish, northern pike, walleye, bowfin, alligator gar, longear sunfish, redbreasted sunfish, pumkinseeds, rock bass, and several other out of the ordinary species of fish....

Here are a couple pics from ice fishing at the ranch this winter. We have been ice fishing at the ranch alot!

This sounds crazy, but owning a campground is actually dream come true!! We have been working for many campgrounds and fishing clubs across the midwest and taking bits and pieces from every single one of them!! Now we have been working around the clock, every spare moment getting this massive project rockin and rollin!

Here is a little aerial video tour of the property:

The existing campground has 240 campsites with water, septic, and electric. These campsites lease out by the year. Most of the sites are already full, but we have a handful of the original sites still available! Make sure to pick out your families spot before they are all gone.

Here are some pics of the campground portion of the property.. Most of the campsites are lakefront:

Photo: Most of you know Kathy and I have a camper and cabin at the Giant Goose Ranch. You may not know I am the administrator of the camp group page on FB. If any of you would like to join the group and check it out, just let me know or go to Giant Goose Ranch Canton.Il. and ask to join. We have over 300 members now and I'm very proud of it. All are welcome...

We are also planning on adding a cabin area along spool lake...only cabins will be allowed in this zone, so if camping isnt for you, let us build you a sweet camping cabin! Here is a pick of the cabin area and also a couple sample pics of what the cabins would look like:

Also we are adding a new entrance off of route 9 (just 3 directly miles west of Canton) and creating a motor home only zone along the north side of ski lake! Ski lake is over 1.25 miles long and is crystal clear with 62' deep water!! We are planning on putting in a huge beach on the west end of ski lake!

These motor home sites will be awesome! We have them all mapped out and ready for the motor home gurus to start picking them out and offering feedback for how they would want them to be.
Here is the motor home zone. The sites will be developed along the lake and an orchard is going in the field.

This property has about 250 acres of water, 450 acres of timber, and 130 acres of tillable land. The lakes vary in size from 1/2 acre pot holes, numerous 5-10 acre ponds, several 10-30 acre lakes and one giant 121 acre lake that is 2.5 miles long! Many of the lakes are over 60' deep and the big lake is 80' deep.... thats alot of water... Here are some pics of some of the lakes:

So anyhow this is kinda a career changing endeavour for me and my brothers. We still plan on working on lakes and ponds and food plots and building houses, etc. but this goose ranch project is a culmination of everything we have learned and experienced to date. We are beyond excited!

Our mission is to glorify God and our vision is for this property to become an avenue for central Illinois families to spend time together outdoors fishing, swimming, hiking, hunting, shooting, exploring, camping, and cookin smores relaxing by the fire... You can find out more about the property at and definitely get in touch with us to go for a tour! Our family is very excited to share this amazing property with you and your family!