Category Archives: Fishing Tips

Late Summer Walleye Trolling Southeast Wisconsin

Late Summer Walleye Trolling Southeast WisconsinLate Summer is an opportune time to explore new, potentially productive waters in Southeast, Wisconsin and trolling is an effective technique for targeting big walleyes.

The particular lake we chose to fish receives moderate pressure from anglers and recreational water sports enthusiasts throughout the summer months.

BUT as the summer begins to wind down, the lake becomes less pressured and trolling several lines targeting deep water walleyes is a great way to reap rewards and scratch that exploratory itch!

As a fishing guide who has been on the water this season for 195 hours since the opening weekend in May, exploring new water with a willing client is a refreshing way to pass on the enthusiasm and excitement  that comes from the sport of fishing!

While these “go for broke” missions aren’t always successful, the following video highlights the fact that these trips can ramp up an anglers fascination for the sport when hunches about a fishery are confirmed!

As a BONUS HOT TIP: I Highly recommend that if you’re in the Southeast, Wisconsin area and you’d like to get confidence in trolling for walleye during the summer, target Lake LaBelle in Oconomowoc to gain confidence in the technique!

Trolling Lake LaBelle

Trolling on Lake LaBelle in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin can be a marvelous way to fish for walleyes with kids!

Covering water at pace and a variety of depths simultaneously can be a great way to start a trip. If majority of your shallower presentations are getting a majority of the action, it may be a great option to begin casting to the flats. If the fish on the deeper side of the boat are the most active you can switch to live bait rigging for them and really directing these respective areas.

In the process of trolling, kids may catch a variety of other game fish as well. Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Musky, and even White and Yellow bass will be more than willing to attack a crank bait or a crawler harness on LaBelle.

Check out the video for a small sample of how this technique is effectively applied! Thanks for watching!

Once you’ve figured out the ins and outs of the technique on LaBelle, take that confidence and apply trolling to your arsenal while targeting other Southeast, Wisconsin walleye fisheries to explore for bigger fish!

Nagawicka Smallmouth Bass Wonderful Southeast Wisconsin Resource

Nagawicka Smallmouth Bass Wonderful Southeast Wisconsin ResourceKids of HookedUp101 and their parents have spent the latter part of May and early June enjoying a wonderful resource we have in Nagawicka Lake in Southeast, Wisconsin. The Smallmouth Bass Fishing is absolutely wonderful this time of the season!

img_1257At 900+ acres in size, approximately 90 feet deep at it’s deepest point, and filled with a rich perch forage base for gamefish, Nagawicka Lake has some great contour structure and cover to provide these bronzeback feeding machines a great habitat for growth.

As spring turns to early summer, the smallmouth bass are just coming off the spawn and the steep breaks near spawning flats on the west side of the lake are notorious for holding numbers of post-spawn fish that are looking to feed up and recoup from their  annual procreation rituals.

PBBPT25-BRGROne of the best techniques for targeting these hungry fish is dragging a 3 1/2″ PowerBait Power Tube in Breen Green color rigged on a 1/4 oz. Tube jig. This presentation closely mimics the perch in Nagawicka and the smallmouth bass can’t handle this presentation dragged in front of their noses.

img_1246We’ll typically cast these baits up wind paralleling the drop off and then let the wind drift us perpendicular to the flats keeping the boat in 17-22 feet of water. Methodical lifts of a 7′ spinning rod rigged with 8 lb. Fluorocarbon line  gets the attention of the fish. When that tube jig is lowered back down on a tight line, the bite will either feel mushy as they inhale the bait, or you’ll get a ‘thump’ feeling transmitted in the line. Generally if you feel a thump and your line heads for deeper water or up the break that indicates there is more than one fish present in that area interested in the presentation.

img_1258After catching fish with that scenario we’ll either throw out a marker buoy OR drop a waypoint on the Humminbird so that we can motor back up and redo that same drift immediately. More often than not we can quickly catch 2 or 3 more fish on subsequent passes.

Year after year I enjoy getting young anglers hooked up with some of the biggest bass of their lives and I always encourage img_1326that kids take their parents back to Nagawicka as soon as possible to enjoy the same success in this dragging tube technique!

For information on how to catch these big smallmouth on Nagawicka Lake prior to the spawn in early May, check out this post as their’s Nothing Small about Pre-spawn Smallmouth Bass either!


It’s All About the Pause When Jerkbaiting for Smallmouth

It's All About the Pause When Jerkbaiting for SmallmouthA great tactic for spring and early summer bass, walleye, and northern pike is a jerk bait! This presentation excels when the water temperatures are in the 40 F – 70 F range.

A jerkbait is a long, slender lure that possesses a lip  responsible for achieving a shallow (5-8ft) or deep (8-12ft) running depth when retrieved through the water column. The bait typically is equipped with 2-3 sets of treble hooks underneath the bait and they roll and dart when an angler imparts action on the bait though the rod or by simply retrieving the lure with their reel.

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth BassWhen fishing jerk baits with the kids we typically choose a 6’6″ to 7′ Medium action spinning rod. the reel of choice is a size 20 or 30 spinning reel with 8-10lb test line.

As in their namesake, jerkbaits are retrieved by  a series of quick jerks with the rod tip in order to imitate the movement of a smaller bait fish. During the retrieve, HookedUp101 anglers are instructed to be mindful of a pause during their retrieval cadence. This pause allows the angler to take up the slack in the line caused by the jerks of the rod but most importantly stalls the bait in the water making it appear vulnerable to a fish in pursuit. The length of the pause will vary from day to day throughout the season, but as a general rule, the cooler the water, the longer the pause.

In this video from a recent trip, the longer pause was critical for getting aggressive smallmouth to commit to the jerk bait while fishing the flats at dusk! CHECK IT OUT!

BONUS TIP: Check out the following link for other tips and techniques for catching smallmouth bass during the pre-spawn period in the local area!

Jigging Suspended Mid-Winter White Bass Through the Ice

Jigging Suspended White Bass through the ice is a great target species during the beginning of the mid-winter period. Fish are often suspended in the water column in schools, and feed actively during lowlight periods (sunrise/sunset). A good flasher like the Vexilar FL-18 is necessary to take note on how and where these whitebass are feeding in the water column.

A #2 Jigging Rapala (color dependent on water clarity) are a great search bait for locating and drawing in active schools. The two colors used in this video are blue/chrome and perch.

Suspended fish offer some great size potential through the ice!

Here’s a link that exhibits how our youth anglers catch big suspended bluegills through the ice!

How To Dress For Ice Fishing

Mother Nature’s winter wonderland always falls upon us sooner than we realize in Wisconsin.  Daylight Savings Time passes and the hours of daylight quickly become shorter.

Once upon a beautiful fall afternoon, while walking around a local lake with my lovely wife and my 2-year old son, I noticed the squirrels hustling and bustling to get their food harvested and back to their winter digs.  Clearly, just one of Mother Nature’s visible signs telling us to prepare for what’s ahead!


Proper preparations is a key ingredient to so many successful opportunities, experiences, and adventures in life!  Ice fishing being one of those!

Drastic climate changes between the four seasons is a special part of living in the “Great, White North!”  Proper preparation can make all the meteorological changes more enjoyable for individuals particularly those who choose to live an outdoor and active lifestyle throughout the year.

FACT:  An estimated 590,700 Wisconsinites 16 and over report they ice fish, up from 479,000 in 2000, according to the most recent National Survey.*

images-1There are individuals who scoff at the idea of ice fishing with gruff utterances of, “Why would you want to sit on an overturned bucket, on a block of frozen ice, freezing your backside off, while staring a hole in the ice?”

The ice fishing season lasts anywhere from 60-75 days from mid-December to the first week of March so…Most ice anglers maintain a similar attitude when it comes to enjoying the sport, especially when fishing with the next generation of anglers…No one WANTS to “freeze their backside off” for 13 weeks out of the year!

Comfort should be valued by families who ice fish and there’s not one reason you shouldn’t be one to value it as well.

Like a conscientious squirrel, we need to prepare by making sure we have stock of the critical ice fishing apparel items enabling us to properly dress for the occasion.

Here’s a comprehensive list of clothing items needed to comfortably and safely enjoy ice fishing.

The goal when preparing to outfit yourself for an adventure on the ice should be to stay warm and dry!  The main guideline is successful outfitting is best accomplished by dressing in layers.

  1.  UnknownA moisture wicking base layer next to the body is key–walking through snow with a certain amount of gear requires exertion.  REMEMBER:  Ice Fishing IS a winter SPORT!  The goal, again, is to stay dry, so keeping sweat away from the body is ideal for maintaining a warm core temperature.  I highly recommend Under Armour Cold Gear.
  2.  Moisture wicking socks as part of the base layer–there is nothing worse than wet feet, EXCEPT COLD, WET feet!  I recommend Under Armour Cold Gear Socks as well.
  3.  A Long Sleeve T-shirt–I know many ice anglers who claim “good luck” by supporting their favorite sports team within this layer!
  4.  Blue jeans or Sweat pants–A loose fit style of pant makes for a flexible yet comfortable layer over your base and underneath your shell.
  5. Unknown-1 A Quality Outer Shell–One might argue that Clam’s lineup of jackets and bibs designed exclusively for today’s ice fishermen and women is the most revolutionary outerwear.  Personally speaking, there is no denying the piece of mind that comes along with their exclusive windproof, waterproof and breathable apparel. They also feature a padded knee and rear area keeping in mind the common postures of an ice angler.
  6.  Two Sets of Gloves–I always carry a set of half-finger gloves with a waterproof palm, which is helpful when fine motor dexterity is needed to bait hooks, retie knots, and unhook/release fish.  I also use mittens as opposed to gloves when not in the act of jigging.  Keeping my forefingers and palm housed together, allows for quicker warming of the hands and fingers while using hand augers, scooping out holes, and transitioning on and off the lake, or between fishing spots.
  7. Unknown-2 A form-fitting full head balaclava that easily converts to a neck gaiter for use in a multitude of changing weather conditions. is also included in my arsenal of ice fishing apparel.
  1.  Unknown-3Quality Pair of Thinsulate Boots–Again, nothing is worse than cold, wet feet!  I recommend Cabela’s Inferno 2000 Pac Boots.  I have used the same 2000G Pac Boots for the past few years and have fished comfortably in air temps of -5 below!  Well worth the investment.
  2.  Baseball Hat or Visor–During the late ice period in February and March OR on the rare occasion we get a 50 degree day in the middle of winter like in 2010, wearing a baseball cap or visor to reduce glare from the sun overhead is key.
  3.  Winter Hat–Anywhere from 7%-50% of body heat is lost through the head depending on level of activity.  A simple winter hat is vital in maintaining your overall body temperature.  While I may wear a baseball hat or visor for reducing the outer glare of the sun, I tend to wear a winter hat over them to keep my body temperature consistent.
  4. images Sunglasses–I know…I know, it’s winter, BUT the glare of the sun reflecting off the ice or snow is a serious issue.  Especially to those who enjoy jigging outside of a shelter and hole hopping.  Repetitive exposure to that intense white glare can result in long-term damage to an ice anglers eyes just as it would during the open water season due to harmful UV rays.

Clothing is ONLY the starting point in regards to the equipment necessary for an ice angler.