Monday, April 28, 2014

Bass Fishing Tournament May 17th!

Saturday, May 17th we are planning a Lake Management Bass Fishing Tournament at the Giant Goose Ranch in Canton, IL. We have a surplus of bass in 3 lakes that we need to get out ASAP. Also we have some big bass we are relocating so we have come up with a pretty unique format for the tournament. The tourney will be from 7 am to 1 pm, and you can sign up at Presleys Outdoors or by emailing me .

Here are a couple big bass pics from the lakes we will be fishing during the tournament:

We will be fishing ski lake, spool lake, and highrise lake. We are looking for 30 two man teams to participate in the tournament and help us manage these lakes. Our goal is to create the best bass fishing lakes in the state of Illinois... The cost for the tournament is $50 per person (non-members) and $25 per person (members) and lunch will be provided by Chef Todd at the weigh-in.

Two man teams, and basically its two fishing tournaments at the same time. The team with the most weight for top 5 bass will win two annual fishing memberships.  Bass over 15" we will put in livewells and keep alive to relocate to some of the other lakes on the property.

The team with the most bass will also win two annual fishing memberships to the Goose Ranch. Bass under 15" you will put into coolers (not the livewell) and can take home to eat or we at the Giant Goose Ranch will fillet and eat them for a big fish fry. Just a note, we will be keeping every bass caught, so bring a cooler and our goal is that hopefully we will catch over 1000 bass during this tournament!!

Also we will have cash or gift certificate prizes for Big Bass, Second and Third Places of each of the categories. Plus dont forget Lunch will be at the weigh-in. All three lakes have good boats ramps for any size boat and there are no motor restrictions. You can move from lake to lake if you like throughout the day.

 Here is a pic of Ski Lake. Its 1.25 miles long.

Here is a pic of Spool Lake. Its 1.4 miles long

Here is a pic of HighRise Lake. Its not nearly as long or big, but it is a respectable 12 acres:

This week Doug Stange and the film crew of InFisherman TV are staying at the Goose Ranch and filming a couple bass fishing and maybe even a crappie fishing episode! These shows will air next year on the Sportsmans Channel. Right now we have 3 or 4 segments airing on Sportsmans Channel that we filmed last year...

We have been catching some really big bass out at the goose ranch already this spring, here are some pics and stay tuned to Goose Ranch Facebook page for live updates this week of the fishing and filming... Oh yeah, dont forget to sign up for the tourney, it will be a great chance to check out the lakes at the ranch, and also to help us really manipulate and manage the fish populations! And also you wont leave hungry...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Smallmouth and Walleye

We have been growing some nice smallmouth bass and walleye here in Central Illinois in private lakes and ponds. Its been a breath of fresh air so to speak from the traditional largemouth bass pond. Anyhow the fish we encountered this past week was beyond a breath of fresh air and leaning more towards unbelievable!!

We traveled north up to Port Clinton, Ohio to do some work for Mark 1 Sportfishing at Bays Edge Resort. They have a really awesome lake on their property that they want to turn into the best private fishing lake in Ohio for their guests to enjoy after they catch their limit of perch and walleyes out on Lake Erie...

Anyhow we arrived at Bays Edge and didnt waste any time electrofishing the lake to see what fish were in there and what kind of body condition they were in coming out of the winter. We dialed up some very nice fish:

The smallmouth overall were doing pretty good, but the largemouth, bluegill, and walleye really needed some help... Anyhow we are creating a cutting edge management plan for this lake that is gonna turn it into the pond of dreams. Our goal is 1.5 lb bluegills, 4-6 lb smallmouth and largemouth, but we are eliminating the walleyes... its gonna happen, the owner Mark is very passionate about FISH!!

So Jared and I got done with our work at their lake, had some daylight left so we went out walleye fishing on Lake Erie with some of guys that were at the resort. I don't have much experience fishing on big water, but Randy and Ray have been fishing Erie for combined 60 years. Also Kenny from Florida didnt have much experience either, but came along for some entertainment... Also I am not a fan of  big diesel boats, but this big boat was actually a gas engine, so no fumes to worry about! That was literally a breath of fresh air, Diesel fumes get me sea sick much faster than waves do.

We didnt have much time, so we only headed about 2 miles  out and started fishing. We each trolled 2 rods with 6-7" reef runner lures on them back about 40-60 yards. It took all of 10 minutes of trolling for Jared to land our first fish and when we saw it coming to the boat we literally were almost in a shell shocked disbelief to see the biggest walleye of our lives coming into the net. Almost as if it were too easy... Our trip was complete with just this one fish!

Then just a few minutes later it happened again, only on my line! Kinda like a fairy tale, only this fish was even bigger!! Im talking the calibre of walleye you only dream about catching, but know full well you have no hope of ever actually catching a double digit fish....

Then bam again:

And again:

And again and again:

For the next hour and a half we caught 8 walleyes from 7-11 lbs!

So we were flying high! Literally in just 2 hrs from dock to dock we caught the most amazing stringer of walleyes ever imaginable. We took the whole crew out to the Crow's Nest for supper and headed back to Bays Edge with a cooler full of 70 lbs of walleye!!

We had other obligations in Ohio the next day, but Mark, Randy, and Ray with tons of leg pulling and arm twisting actually talked us into going out on the big lake again for just a couple hours early in the morning before heading South....

A cold front had moved through and the sunny skies from the day before were dreary overcast skies, and the morning bite was a little different than the day before.... It took about 20 minutes before we hooked up with our first fish, and it was a dinky 5 lber...

We kept catching pesky 4-6 lbers, but then it happened... we went on a streak of 4 fish in a row over 10 lbs!!! Here is a pic showing the difference between a 4 lber and an 11 lber..

Here is my biggest walleye of my life! 32.5 inches long!!

We again limited out real quick and were headed back in less than 2 hours!

We kept our fish from the day before on ice back at the fish house and picked out the 8 biggest ones for the taxidermist. We knew our wives would absolutely kill us for getting fish mounted, but we also knew we wouldnt be able to live with ourselves if we didnt get these fish mounted. The story of these double digit fish all hanging on the wall together will hopefully be told for 40 years or more! It was funny listening to Jared mentioning this to Amy, but no so funny when it was my turn to mention it to Brook...

Here is the tote heading to the taxidermist. If you subtract the weight of the tote we are talking a 10.5 lb average for these 8 fish!!

Mike, the taxidermist, said the walleye mounts will be done about September. Before going over shipping options, I asked Mark Cahlik whats biting in September and he said limits of big perch and some really big smallmouth.... I have a hunch we will be picking up these fish from the taxidermist personally in September and maybe just maybe dropping off a smallmouth bass or two...

Anyhow we still made it to the next place in Ohio, we just didnt make it home till much later than planned... Also as a side note both Jared and I are still happily married to our wives, but I think these fish mounts are going to cost us more than money for the next few weeks.... also the girls dont know quite yet know about plans for a return trip to Ohio in September... We def wont spring that on them for awhile and hopefully will be able to disguise and label this trip as a "work" trip, because it wont happen as a "fishing" trip...

Basically what needs to happen is I need to find some more work in Ohio for an excuse to get back up there! Is there anyone out there between Peoria, IL and Port Clinton, OH that would like their lake or pond electrofished? Mid-September is the perfect time for a fall survey!

Seriously, if you havent been walleye fishing on Lake Erie, this is a must do trip. The last couple years have been fantastic all year long for walleyes, perch, and smallmouth. There are tons of Lake Erie charter fishing options, but the resort we are working for Mark 1 Sportfishing is first class, top notch with really nice lodging and fishing boats for up to 36 guys! 2 day fishing and 2 night lodging packages are the most economical if you have increments of 6 guys and only cost about $300 per person. These guys specialize in multi-species trips where you can perch and walleye fish for a day and perch and smallmouth fish for the next day!!

Im still on cloud nine, and now I am back in the land of 1-3 lb walleyes. Oh well, at least we will grow some monster largemouth bass here....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday Fishing Pictures

The perfect weather today was icing on the cake! I love great weather and I love icing and I get sidetracked pretty easily...... anyhow we started the day at early service at Church, took the kids on trail rides and a picnic lunch at the goose ranch, then went fishing from the docks at my parents lake, then sat in the hot tub and got hot so we all jumped in the lake, and the perfect ending is when the kids are sleeping on the way home. Somehow in the mix of all that I didnt get any icing or cake, but we did capture alot of memories with some photos!!

I am very thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my kids outside. There is something just much more special about spending time together outdoors as opposed to indoors. It just feels great, and the bonds formed feel stronger. This boy was super excited to catch this turtle crossing the road (until he got peed on..)

Anyhow, a day like today was just the perfect way to celebrate Christ's death on the cross and resurection!  "Where O death is your victory?" ....Christ is risen from the grave...our sins are forgiven and whosover believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life!

Knowing that we were created for so much more than just this blip in time on this earth gives a whole new meaning to life. I am pretty easily distracted, but I know that all things are possible for him who believes in Jesus!!

This week Jared and I will be traveling up to Port Clinton, Ohio Monday morning bright and early. We will be working for Mark1 SportFishing and Bays Edge Townhomes on the lake at their resort. If we get all our work done and still have some daylight left we will hopefully head out onto Lake Erie to try and catch a big walleye!

Last week we did alot of prescribed burning! I love those days!!

Also over the weekend some of the lakes at the goose ranch gave up some awesome fish, and other lakes didnt hardly give up any fish. Water temps vary drastically from lake to lake and the weather and wind affect them all differently on a daily basis.... Its gonna take me some time to learn all the little nuances of all those fisheries to know whats happening when where and why at pretty much all times.... 

Dave and his wife hit the jackpot on ski lake:

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer didnt too bad either on ski lake in the ninth inning.... that was after they pretty much struck out on HighRise Lake.

Also I got reports of a 24" bass caught out of ski lake this weekend as well, still waiting for the photo to surface!

This guy showed me that the newly stocked rainbows in Big Lake are growing rapidly!!

I have a surplus of largemouth bass in ski lake, spool lake, and highrise lake. Anyhow I have been thinking of putting together a lake management bass fishing tournament in May that would be open to the public to try and remove as many largemouth from those lakes as humanly possible... The winner with the most bass would get a pretty substantial prize.

You see, I am removing largemouth bass via angling altogether from ski lake and high rise lake to make room for other predators like brown trout, hybrid striped bass, smallmouth bass and yellow perch. The big bass we are putting into Big Lake and the smaller bass we are eating...

Anyhow I hope to have more details and a date set for this tournament next week sometime. Of course we will have good food too!

Looks like mushrooms should finally start popping! Good luck everyone and have a great week!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weather and Bass Fishing Heating Up

Weather has been downright cold for most of March and April, but it is just now starting to heat up! Despite the unusually cold spring, the diehards have been out catching very large bass!!

Chad Fargher (the local fishing guru) has been out twice to HighRise Lake at the Giant Goose Ranch and both times out he caught monster bass! Here is a pic of the first from April 9th:

Here is a pic of his second Hawg from April 15th. This fish was big and thick!

Chef Todd was fishing with Chad and helped him land the beast:

Chef also got on the board with a respectable bass of his own:

It seems like everything is just about a month behind this spring. Mushrooms were about done this time last year, and they havent even begun yet this year! I think its gonna happen soon though if the 10 day forecast holds true!

Last weekend we had our Open House out at the Goose Ranch and about 300 people came out and toured the property and went over the plans for our vision for the place! I was thrilled with the turnout and the feedback!! Thanks to all who came out!

So anyhow if you've been reading the last few blog posts lately, you've obviously read alot about the Goose Ranch.... well, I dont really know what to say or write otherwise, because a good portion of our time and thoughts and experiments and sweat and daydreams are now spent out at the Ranch. Everything that we have experienced and learned up to this point is being put to use in creating and managing the ultimate family fishing, hunting, camping, and outdoor recreation area.

So far we have had over 250 families sign up to join us in creating perhaps the greatest family outdoor adventure ever! We knew the demand for family opportunities for spending time together outside was great, but we never anticipated this much support and for things to move quite this fast. I encourage you if you haven't already to read our mission statement and explore our website, go on the aerial tour and come on out for a real tour.

Our maximum capacity is 500 families and I am kinda thinking that at this pace we just may get there in this just our first year!! The natural resources at the ranch are second to none, our management plans for the lakes are cutting edge, the amenities and infrastructure is under construction and the best part of the whole deal is that me and my brothers and our staff do all the hard work. You and your family just come on out and enjoy a world class property. The ranch is 828 acres with 52 lakes and ponds!

I guess while I am rolling along about the goose ranch, another thing really cool is that our neighbors to the west are WeeMaTuk Golf Course. We will be adding all kinds of amenities to the goose ranch like a big swimming pool, beach, stable, big garden, shooting range, pavilions, hiking trails, etc for the people that dont like to fish all the time, but having a golf course next door is a pretty sweet amenity to have as well.

Not to mention the location in relation to Canton's amenities cant be beat either! Just 4 miles to all the conveniences, restaurants and businesses in town!! And only 1.5 miles from the Canton airport!

Also one last cool thing to note is that we are creating a cabins only section where folks can have their own little private lake front log cabin instead of having to have a camper to enjoy the property. This has definitely been the highlight of the spring putting together this opportunity. We have sold 34 log cabin sites already before we even had the first log cabin model completed! Most of the log cabin sites are lakefront, but the premier ones on ski lake and spool lake are going the fastest.

So anyhow now we have the first model cabin completed and it is definitely the ultimate way to "camp"! Our base model is 14x24 cabin with a 10x14 loft and the pricing for these camping cabins starts at $22,900. The biggest cabin we will do is a 14x36 with 2 bedrooms and 2 lofts. The cabins are custom designed and then built on skids, but privately owned by you. The cabin lots are leased by the year and the lease fee includes water, septic, garbage, and membership to the whole property, but you have your own electric meter. Basically its just like a traditional seasonal campsite only with a camping cabin instead of an RV or Camper.

Here are some pictures of the model cabin while under construction and also during the open house last weekend. These cabins are portable and beyond awesome for not just the goose ranch, but any property:

These pics were during construction so forgive the mess, but gives you a good view:

Girls workin hard at the open house, with a view of the loft. Two beds are up in the loft:

Little peak of the bedroom and bathroom:

Kinda blurry pic of the kitchen:

Another blurry pic, but will also have to do:

Great room with wood burning stove:

Deck with bench seating out the back:

You can see our open house last weekend was busy!!

Definitely the "camping" cabin is the ultimate way to get your family out camping! We packed alot of stuff into that little cabin.... Also here is a pic of the newly renovated office, campstore, baitshop, bathrooms, and laundry room:

The Goose Ranch is not only where you will find us working in the future, but we will also be spending our summers "camping" and spending time with and teaching our kids about the outdoors here as well. This is only the beginning of basically a new chapter! If you havent already, come on out to check this place out. We also have a Goose Ranch Facebook Page where we put all the updates of stuff happenin and fish pictures, etc.