Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring is Trying To Spring!!

Despite the unseasonably cool weather, March has been quite the adventure! This is the first quiet hour I have had in the last 3 weeks. Here is a little recap of whats been happenin:

March 7-8th Horse Fair:
Mae and Noah did vaulting performances in Springfield. They did great and had a blast!

March 11th Last Ice Fishing Trip:
The last ice fishing trip of the season was on my birthday on March 11th. We caught some BIG fish and had a blast enjoying some relatively warm weather!

Last Ice Fish of The Year!!

For my birthday I got these morel mushrooms made out of deer antler. They are beyond cool, super gifts for the outdoorsman... call Chris at 309-368-2307 to order stuff made out of antler:

March 14-16th Cedar Falls, Iowa:
Then headed up to northern Illinois and installed an aeration system and then headed over to Cedar Falls, Iowa to speak at the Eastern Iowa Sportshow for 3 days. I did a couple seminars each day about aeration and pond management and secrets to growing trophy fish! They had an allstar lineup of speakers:

Drake and my father in law came along with me for the sport show adventure... we introduced Drake to Dr. Pepper. He became a man on this trip, was good for him to get out in the real world. (Dont Tell Mom)....

March 18-19th Southern Illinois Purina Stores:
So then got back Sunday evening and headed out Tuesday morning to install a big aeration system down in Southern Illinois and then speak at some Purina Mills Dealer stores for a couple evenings over near St. Louis. This time my helper was actually Brook!! She even helped with the aeration install.

On the way to speak at the Country Home Depot in Greenville, we stopped into the Crosley Juke Box distribution center in Brownstown to say hello to good clients Fred and Connie!

Then after the meeting it was 9 pm and Brook realized I still hadnt booked a hotel for the night. You see I usually just wing it and always end up finding a place to stay somewhere. In a few minutes and thanks to I was able to book a $280 room at the Westin in St. Louis for just $68! Here was our view:

Then the next day Brook spent at the Home Goods store near Kirkwood, Missouri and I spent the day talking on the phone and lining up the next road trip at the end of the month. We finished up the road trip speaking at Prairietown Feed Service before heading home that night.

This winter was really hard on fish in the midwest. As the ice is coming off, I have been bombarded with calls and emails about newly discovered fish kills in lakes and ponds. Its time for folks with lakes and ponds to start learning more about aeration sytems and pond management!

Oh yeah, speaking of fish, we just stocked a whole truckload of brown trout at the ski lake out at the goose ranch!!

Make sure to check out the 2014 InFisherman Panfish Guide! We have a cool article about growing and catching hybrid sunfish!

March 21-22nd Giant Goose Camp Store Renovation
So then the last couple days I have spent at the goose ranch renovating the old building and turning it into a super cool Camp Store, Office, Laundry Room, and Bath House...

By Saturday evening we had the whole new roof on and the inside completely gutted:

The guys have been rockin and rollin working around the clock out at the goose ranch getting ready for this upcoming season! We are transforming this place into the gem of not only Fulton County, but the entire midwest! There will be no equal when it comes to the fishery and overall family outdoor recreation opportunities!

Special thanks to Davey, Jeff, Marty, Norm, Karin, and many others for helping out with the office renovation project!! Anyone interested in volunteering the next two weekends, come on out on Saturdays!

Vern has been trapping lots of critters out there too:

For anyone interested in learning more about the goose ranch, definitely check out the new website at and plan on attending our open house on Saturday, April 12th!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Warm Weather = Hot Ice Fishing

During the deep freeze and snowy weather of February, ice fishing got tough! Im talking real tough in just about every lake and pond I drilled holes into...

Anyhow we have now entered into "last ice" phase and as the temps rise, the ice fishing has become ON FIRE! This week I took 3 reeeeeally old guys ice fishing. I know they will read this at some point and laugh... anyhow we had a blast! We caught some big fish early right about noon and then the fish just shut off completely until about 5:30 pm.... Here are some noontime fish:

During the mid-afternoon lull we had a good time joking around and talking about old people stuff and then when the sun hit the horizon the fish came alive and were biting like crazy just 3-5' below the ice in 15' of water! That one hour of constant action on one lb bluegills was as good as it gets in the ice fishing world!

So anyhow today I spent the whole day ice fishing out at the giant goose ranch in Canton, IL... We fished submerged islands on the 121 acre Big Lake... The fish were mainly biting on the tops of the humps in just 4'-7' of water!

The best bite was first thing in the morning, but there was pretty much a steady bite all day long!

We found some crappies up in 4'-5' of water just 3' below the ice.

The weather was a perfect 48 degrees, sunny and calm! Man is it ever good to be outside on days like today! By the end of the day we had several very impressive piles of fish for dinner and altogether caught around 600 fish!!

So anyhow the fish are up shallow feeding and I dont expect them to drop back down deep anytime soon. Its really hard for guys to fish in water just 4' deep but thats where the fish are so get to 'em!! I am really hoping to get out again next week. This weekend I have to be in Springfield at the Central Illinois Horse Fair, my kids are doing several horse vaulting shows.....They do gymnastics stuff while riding horses and they absolutely love it... this is their first ever live performance.