Wednesday, February 11, 2009


For More On This Extreme Trip LogOn To

Crawford's Camp IIlPosted On: February 11, 2009 Courtesy By:Scott steil
This is the final installment of my trip to Crawford's Camp in Sioux Narrows, Ontario. In the last piece we were enjoying a great shore lunch and reflecting back on the trophy trout that just made a presence on the ice. Well, it only took a few minutes of fishing and we were back into the trophy trout action.
This time it was Matt Grow's turn to make the long battle with a trophy lake trout. Similar to my situation, Matt was using his walleye rod trying to ice a few tullibee when this fish of a lifetime slammed his small Demon Jigging Spoon. Matt was using 6lb test line and battled his fish for just over 30 minutes before we were able to get the fish into the hole. It is really hard to describe fighting a trout on very light gear unless you have done it. I know this is an experience Matt will remember for a long time and an experience that is just fun to be part of. It does not matter who catches the fish, when a giant fish comes through the hole it is exciting for everyone.
After icing two trophy Lake Trout in less than an hour we decided we would use the remaining daylight to try to catch a few walleye closer to camp so we packed up and headed toward home. Just like the previous night, immediately after setting up the bite was on and we caught countless eater size walleye. Although there were no trophy fish to grace the ice that evening, it never gets old catching eater size walleye through the ice.
For our final day we had a lot of options as far as where to fish. We all agreed we should go back to the Whitefish spot that seemed to produce just about every species including those two trophy lake trout. We ended our trip on this spot and lost a couple more trout but also caught trophy Perch and Whitefish. No one in the group had ever fished for our caught a whitefish and we all agreed that next to hooking into a trout, whitefish are a close second. Whitefish fight very similar to a trout but the fight doesn't last quite as long. We all agreed we need to do more whitefish fishing, as it was an absolute blast.
Hopefully these Blog entries gave you a sample of the unbelievable fishing in the Sioux Narrows area of Lake of the Woods. I was fortunate enough to have the Owner and Guide at Crawford's Camp, Matt to take us around. It would have been impossible to get in all these bites without a guy like Matt to show us around. If anyone is untested in this unbelievable bite, Matt is the man. Summer or winter you can reach him through their website at I know I will be heading back this March for sure, as the fishing only get better, which is very hard to imagine.

If you would like to see more pictures from this trip you can check out the Gallery as I continue to add trip pictures to to the 2009 Crawford's Camp photo album

Friday, February 6, 2009


So how does a fisherman gain confidence? I've been thinking about fishing over the last 40 years and there are so many ways to catch fish.It's funny when to realize how many differnt styles and patterns that I've used to catch those quality fish. One of the main ingredients to producing great action is having confidence in the pattern you are using.I believe once you have determined the forage the fish you are targeting are eating and the structure the fish are holding too you need to have the patients to work that pattern. It does not matter if your young and just learning how to cast or your an old pro working a proven pattern .Time spent working a pattern will produce fish and sometimes a fish of a lifetime. Fishing is really a game of numbers.The more time your baits are wet ,the better your odds are of catching fish. It's also a game where anything goes...well just about. Letting those fish tell you want they want is key ,but what's even more important is remembering how it all went down. Keeping a log can aide you.Things like wind direction,moon phase,barometer level,water temperature, storm fronts,time of the day or year all play apart of developing your pattern. As we find a pattern we should bank that pattern in our memories or the log . Patterns can change from day to day as they change for diferent species of fish. My general rule of thumb is to start small and work to bigger baits or visa versa until I find what those fish want.Colors can have an effect as well,so have different sizes and colors in a bait aides me in dialing in to exactly want that species want on that day.Retrieval speed or trolling speed has to be concidered as well as boat control. Since I have some expierence already banked I can dial in quicker then I was able to 20 years ago. For example catching crappies just after the ice melts. I know that I can go into some of the smaller lakes that warm faster. 3 days after the ice leaves for the open water season is when I can start . I know that the mud flats and cabbage patches adjacent to deep water will be areas that I'll target looking for those early slabs. I know that the submerged trees and floating bogs have a tendancy to warm that water a bit faster . I also know to work those areas with super small baits under a bobber in stealth mode. A key option here is to work a ton of water until you find that 1st one.Since crappies are a schooling fish I know that to find the 1st one is everything.Once that happens it's time to set anchor quitely and proceed to rearing.This is a CPR time of the year for me as these will be spawning fish as soon as the water warms into the 60's. All fish have patterns,finding one that works for you within your abilities and working that pattern is where that confidence is developed through catching fish. Make sure you bank that pattern as you fish throughout the year.As the fishing trips come and go your account will grow enabling you to reach into that account to withdraw that go to pattern for those species of fish you are targeting. Work that pattern.Your confidence will drive you to catch more fish more often.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

HOW TO WORK T.H.E. JIG by crappie keith

Working T.H.E. Jig is pretty simple really.Your goal is to pick a fish and let it look at T.H.E. Jig then lift T.H.E. Jig away .As you lift stop every foot or so and pause 5-10 seconds to see what that fish will do.You may have to only go a few feet or several feet to trigger that strike.As the fish rises it may stop and not come any higher.I would call that the ceiling .If the fish stops short,lower your jig back down slowly pushing that fish back down a foot or so then pause and re lift only stopping the lift just short of the ceiling giving you room to lift a hair more as it approaches.That last little pull will or at least should get him to home in and drill your jig.The ceiling can change throughout the day too depending on fronts rolling through.Work the top of the pack if several fish are present on your flasher.You may and will see from time to time a fish lower in the pack scream through all of his buddies to be the 1st one at your jig.If they come up and do not hit.Try dropping in size.For example if you have a 64th on ,try an 80th.I think you'll notice the difference right off the bat.By them raising they want to feed, but if your bait is too big and yes color may make a difference you'll need to swap out for something smaller.If your dropping down and they are raising to meet you then stop short of them and change directions a half of a crank on your reel.This would be an aggressive day and you'll have to dig deep to retrieve your jig.Simply stick your finger in the fish's mouth while holding the line taught push the tip of your finger in the bend of the hook.It'll pop right out and you won't beat up your jig with a pair of sutchers.Days like this you can up size.I just had a day where an 80th or 100th worked well but forget a 64th and then the next day I had to get big again.Pay attention to how the fish are reacting.Look for a trend in how far up they raise and how fast they move.You'll get better at hooking fish when you can determine their moods for the day.Pay attention to where the hook is lodged too.Deep hook sets are aggressive indicators while just getting a front lip could mean they are finnicky.Add in how fast the strike & how high they will come to understand I go big or get small?It will take a few outings of watching your flasher to get the feel,but you'll get it down.


When working a jig though the water column a loop knot will enable a jig to dance more naturally without the line impeding it's action. All line will create a certain amount of resistance if secured to the eyelet.therefor to get more action from your lure a loop knot works great. It's actually part of a system. The bigger picture is that I'll use a flasher to read the whole water column. The sonar will read a fish as it swims into the sonar cone. I'll lower or raise my offering to where it is coming in at.Once it is dead center of the cone or directly below me I'll lift my bait trying to trigger it's strike sense. Depending on the mood of the fish it will raise up 1-5 foot after my bait and swallow it. I have a spring bobber mounted to my rod which will read even the lightest hit and then I'm rearing. The flasher will not only show me the depth ,but are there fish under me and how aggressive they are. For instance on Fri. with the barometer over 30 they were very negative. They came through at the bottom and would only lift 2-3 feet before they would stop and go no higher. That's what I call the ceiling.Once I determined their ceiling I would slowly lift them to the ceiling and wait for them to hit my jig. Sat. on the other hand was much different. The fish were stacked up to 6 feet from the bottom. They gave chase much faster and hit quicker. Checking the barometer I saw it was still high ,but it was dropping which triggered a better bite. As a general rule I'll up size when they are aggressive and downsize when the mood is neutral to negative.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ICE FISHING 101 /w Dave Genz

If you are just getting started in modern ice fishing, this is for you. But even if you are already into it, you’ll find details worth discovering.
If you’re just getting started in ice fishing, or still wondering whether it could be for you, there’s never been a better time to discover this amazing sport. The modern way is much different from traditional ice fishing.
The old way, frankly, deserved its reputation of being cold and crude. The slim prospects for success led to the development of all kinds of distractions and traditions, many of which have little to do with fishing. Because ice-specific clothing was not available, and because it was difficult to drill holes, and even tougher to move all your stuff from one spot to the next– and because, in most cases, you had no idea where the fish were, and no equipment to help you find them– most ice anglers managed one set of holes and sat over them until it was time to go home. In the old days, it was mostly luck that decided ice-fishing fortunes.The Revolution
More than 30 years ago, a few frustrated ice fishermen started something that came to be known as the modern ice fishing revolution. The movement’s spiritual leader and chief architect was Dave Genz, and he continues to lead the revolution today.
“We always knew it could be about catching fish,” says Genz, “that we had a system that made you efficient out there on the ice.”
Getting StartedWe can’t go into detail, but let’s start at the very beginning, so you are grounded in the essential basics of modern ice fishing.Here are some basics that will help you be successful:
* When a body of water is iced over, suspended sediments tend to settle to bottom. In most situations, the water will be its clearest– which can allow fish to see your bait well.
“That’s why presentation details are so important in ice fishing,” says Genz. “Especially during the daytime, you can’t just put any old thing down there and expect them to eat it.”
Just the basics on presentation–
* It’s all about balance between rod, line, and lure. The lure has to be heavy enough to take all the kinks out of the line. The rod has to be stiff enough to let you be crisp with your jigging movements when you want to be. The rod has to be sensitive, helping you feel the weight of your bait. Absence of the weight of your bait indicates that you either settled on bottom, caught on something, or have a bite.
Keep fresh line on your reels. Every day, stretch the ‘first 50 feet’ or however much you need to fish at your chosen depth. Take the line in your hands and smoothly pull it, to take the kinks out. It makes a huge difference.
* Pay close attention to how you put bait or plastics on the hook. Plastics, in most cases, must be threaded on perfectly straight. Live bait, in most cases, should be barely nicked with the hook, so juices run clear and the bait wiggles.
* It’s more complicated than this, but generally speaking, many fish are less active during daylight hours. Fish activity peaks during the rapidly changing light levels of sunrise and sunset.
“That’s why you have to drill a lot of holes and fish quickly during the day,” says Genz, “but you can pick a good spot and let the fish come to you at prime time.”
* Despite having to drill a hole at every spot you want to fish, there are some advantages to ice fishing as compared to fishing out of a boat.“For one thing,” says Genz, “you don’t have to worry about boat control. Even when it’s windy, if you close your Fish Trap, you are very stable over the fish. Your line doesn’t blow around. You don’t get blown off the spot. You can be really precise with your presentation.”
* Because you have to drill holes at every spot, you need an easy way to drill plenty.
“I think about every hole like being a cast in the summertime,” says Genz. “Now that we have Lazer augers, as long as you keep the blades sharp and free of ice buildup, it’s actually no problem drilling all the holes you need.”
* You don’t need a big hole to land a big fish.
“I say this all the time, but it’s true,” stresses Genz. “I hope to catch a fish that’s too big to bring up a 7-inch hole. If you know about a place like that, invite me and I’ll drill all the holes just to be able to fish there.”
Mobility and EfficiencyGenz coined the term mobility as it pertains to ice fishing. Since the early days of the revolution, he has been clarifying what he means by it.“There’s really two parts to it,” he says. “You have to be mobile, but you also have to be efficient.”
It has become common to see ice anglers so bent on remaining mobile that they confuse big moves with small moves, that they keep moving even when they should slow down and zero in.
Here are the important parts, when it comes to understanding mobility:
* Big moves, whether you’re walking or using some kind of motorized transport, mean going from one general area on a lake to another general area, or even from one lake to a different lake.
“When you start out,” says Genz, “you’re usually making a big move. You have to go from wherever you park to the first spot.”We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but you should also have a plan before drilling the first hole at the first spot. Decide ahead of time that you are going to check the shallow weeds to see if they produce. Know what you plan to do next, if they don’t.
(You don’t have to have one, but a modern GPS unit that displays the depth contours of the lake is a great ice-fishing tool. You can go right to the first spot and drill the first hole right where you want it, then make fine adjustments using your flasher, until you find fish.)
* Small moves, another aspect of mobility, are made when you see something promising, or catch a few fish, and want to really zero in on the best parts of the spot you’re already on.
“That’s how we started talking about the idea of football fields and tennis courts,” says Genz. “When you’re looking for fish, you drill a few holes in every area the size of a football field. When you start catching fish, you drill a few holes in every area the size of a tennis court.”This is part of efficiency, but there’s another side to being efficient.
“Efficiency also means being able to get your bait up and down quickly, even if you’re fishing deep water,” says Genz. “That’s why we like to use jigs that fish heavy for their size. They also show up well on a Vexilar (flasher). But you don’t have wasted time, waiting for some tiny bait to sink down.”
Genz and other members of the Team True Blue pro staff rely on a secret for maintaining efficiency in this way: if you know fish are holding near the bottom in 22 feet of water, for example, let your bait drop quickly until it gets maybe 15 feet down, then slow the drop and ‘fish’ the bait down to the productive depth.
“In shallower water,” says Genz; “we start fishing the bait as soon as it gets to the bottom of the hole.”
* To maintain mobility, you simply have to limit the amount of gear you bring, and keep thinking mobility.
“Bring everything you need, but nothing more,” says Genz. “You can always go back to shore if you need something. Bring extra stuff you might need, but leave it in your vehicle.
“And you have to have a plan, and stick to the plan. It’s so easy to get comfortable, turn the heater up, take your jacket off. Then how many more new holes are you going to drill?”
* Another crucial aspect, especially during the daylight hours, is to understand that there are only so many biters in any pack of fish.
“It’s so common,” says Genz, “to catch the biggest fish right away, on the first drop down a new hole. But instead of moving when the action slows down, a lot of people hang in there, because they think if one good fish came out of this hole there must be more.
“Keep track of the holes where you caught good fish during the day, and those are the holes you should return to at prime time. But, during the daytime, after you catch a few, chances are the action is going to slow down. You have to keep moving.”
There’s more to it, but those are the essential basics of modern ice fishing.
Embrace them, and you will discover the sport as it can be.