The Northern Pike on Nagawicka Lake historically provide some stellar action for youth and families during the month of July. The mid-summer rainy fronts that move through with the humid weather have really had an impact on the bite as the fish tend to fire up right before the rain jackets get put on.
Andrew had his son Collin and daughter Ashley out for a little early morning action before the sweltering air temps and humidity set in over the lake.
This crew went through a dozen minnows and we actually had to head to the shallow sand flats to catch small perch to continue the trip with bait!
In the end Ash and Col each put several fish in the boat and Collin came away with bragging rights as his first Pike of the morning ended up being the biggest of the trip at nearly 30″ in length!
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!
Earlier this past week I had lake residents Nicky (Age 8), and Gus (Age 6) out with their cousins for a panfish extravaganza. Friday evening Nicky and Gus invited their school mates, Drew and his brother Colin, for the chance to catch Northern Pike and Walleye from Oconomowoc Lake.
The boys and their family have an ongoing fishing contest board at the house ranking the top fish caught in each species throughout the season and Nicky, especially, want to get his “name in lights” in the Northern Pike and Walleye categories after their uncle recently caught a 29″ Pike.
The 3-hour program we ran to keep the kids focused throughout the duration of their trip was to fish focused and patient for the big fish in deep water on live bait for the first 45 minutes. Then we’d quick swap to the gear aboard and make our way to some key shallow water areas targeting panfish for a 15 minute fun “break”. Then back at it again for the trophies for another 45 and so the pattern would continue.
Each of the 4 anglers had a rod assigned to them for probing deep water (25-35′) and they each diligently kept and eye on their rod while consuming some “lucky snacks”.
Fourteen minutes into the first 45-minute session, Drew’s Fenwick Rod bent over hard and drag from his Abu Garcia Orra screamed as the first Northern Pike of the trip took a liking to his presentation. It was agreed it was due to the Rice Krispy Treats aboard!
After hooking into it, Drew called for backup and Nicky finished the job with his fancy, fast feet, reeling technique (SEE VIDEO BELOW 🙂 ) on this 26″ Northern Pike. High 5’s were exchanged all around as a memory for life was created amongst these boys.
We went to the panfish and each boy landed at least 2 bluegill, sunfish, or perch before it was time to get focused on the big ones again.
Once set up on a different part of the lake, it wasn’t more than 12 minutes into this pass and Colin’s rod got the call. He sprang to his feet and expertly landed an 18 1/2″ walleye while first mate Gus expertly put the net under it!
The kids were, at this point, hooked on the prospect of catching at least 1 more big fish for the evening so even though we went to take our “panfish break” all they could talk about while catching a few more bluegills was where the next big fish hot spot might be.
Fortunately the boys reside on a portion of the lake that has great big fish structure and cover for Northern Pike. After all, their uncle did take top spot on the Pike leader board with the 29″er.
In an effort to dethrone their elder, we focused hard on the break near their house and with 5 minutes left in the trip, the drag on Gus’s rod screamed as if to say “FISH ON”. He expertly set the hook but right before the fish broke the surface of the water it came unpinned. Very tough luck! However, the boys didn’t have time to get down on the misfortune as Nicky’s Rod also went off and he took to battling the 2nd Northern Pike of the night an came out victorious with another 26″ fish!
As we idled over to meet parents on the dock, Colin and Nicky proudly retrieved their proof from the live well for a great family photo experience capturing their night of big fish hunting on Oconomowoc Lake!
Delavan Lake, located about 45 minutes from the Lake Country area, is a destination lake that offers some great summer Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass Fishing.
HookedUp101 recently took a 5-hour trip to chase the trophy fish that this body of water produces.
The morning started with some casting as the dense fog covering the lake made navigation a bit slower to the first destinations we’d like to have fished. We decided to stay closer to the launch and cast Berkley Skinny Cutter 110+’s for a few Largemouth Bass and smaller Northern Pike while waiting for the fog to lift.
After an hour we were safe to venture out to specific points on Delavan an began presenting medium suckers and chubs on live bait rigs on hard bottom areas adjacent to steep drop offs in search of some toothy Pike and beastly bass.
Capping off another Father’s Day weekend we had Andrew, Tom, and Peyton out in the boat to celebrate while fishing. These trips are becoming and annual adventure for HookedUp101!
With the air temps in the high 80’s-low 90’s, bluebird skies and water temps rising steadily on Waukesha County lakes to the upper 70’s, you’d think that this evening trip would’ve been a challenge.
OH NO…not when you have moon rise and sunset nearly in sync on this evening of fishing AND a full moon cycle in full effect!
The guys jumped aboard with anticipation of catching walleyes and smallmouth deep soaking live-bait rigs and dragging rock to mud transition areas.
This approach was slow on our first spot on the far west end of the lake, but we made an adjustment in location after one pass and low and behold the smallmouth and walleye started to show up like they should. Peyton and Tom took turns landing fishing from the depths in between a furious game of rock, paper, scissors!
At about the middle point of their 4-hour trip, Peyton grabbed the rod and reeled into his fish with perfect technique only the thoughts of a snag crossed our minds briefly as his 7′ Fenwick HDX spinning rod barely budged the mass at the end of his line at the onset of this epic battle. Upon contact, Peyton’s dad yells, “Here it comes!” and a beautiful 32″ Northern Pike launched itself about 2 feet into the air from 25 feet of water.
The collective “WHOAAAA!” sounded more like we were celebrating the 4th of July than Father’s Day given our “Grand Finale” response to this beast’s acrobatics!
In an instant we all thought this fish had broken the leader and come undone, but a quick glance at Peyton’s rod showed the continued solid bend in his line as the fish peeled drag back to the bottom of Lake LaBelle.
With patience and determination, Peyton landed his fish and proudly displayed a proper grip on this fish for a quick photo and subsequent successful release. The added excitement in hindsight of the fight was that we noticed the fish HAD, indeed, spit the hook but while spinning through the air on it’s jump, it must’ve rehooked itself under it’s pectoral fin. It was enough to keep the fish and the memory alive throughout the battle.
After finishing out our deep water approach there was approximately an hour and half of daylight left. The moon was beginning to rise in the East and the sun slowly disappearing in the West. We swapped our rods out and began to chase the smallmouth on key stretches of rocky shoreline just as we had done on our morning trip.
Once the boys dialed in their casting while throwing Berkley Grass Pig plastics and Beat Shads, the fish began to respond in kind. Smallmouth began finding the bottom of the net in seeming 5-minute intervals! As the moon got higher and the sun got lower the fishing just kept getting better and better.
In the end I do believe we lost track of the amount of fish we caught. It must’ve been a significant amount considering the ever competitive Tom and Peyton couldn’t even remember the score!
With a few minutes remaining, Peyton landed an absolute beast of a smallmouth with a belly full of fresh crayfish. THAT fish was the perfect end to a near perfect trip. Great to walk off the boat and back to the cars after giving the lake and the fish everything we had! Rewarding end to the Father’s Day Weekend! Well done guys!
Kids 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!
At 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.
One 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.
We’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.
After 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 that kids take their parents back to Nagawicka as soon as possible to enjoy the same success in this dragging tube technique!
Lake LaBelle offered the young clients this morning some pretty tough spring fishing conditions to target walleye.
The boys showed up bright and early at the pier on LaBelle with the windchill from the 20 mph gusts in the mid 20’s!
But given these hard core anglers decided to exhibit their tenacity, bunker down, and get after those elusive walleye.
First stop of the trip to some shoreline rocky cover was in order to get the boys acclimated to the conditions and warm up by casting the windblown shorelines for smallmouth bass.
Mark did hook up with a nice smallmouth bass who must not have gotten the memo on acting lethargic with the cold front. This fish came airborne on his initial hookset and gave us quite the tail walking show before breaking our hearts as he came unbuttoned right next to the boat.
With the wind behind the boat, the boys’ really had to focus on their casting to avoid snagging the various trees, docks, and other shoreline cover that these smallmouth like to use early in the morning. It seemed that if the conversation in the boat turned just a little too silly, sure enough they’d be hung up 😆
In order to keep the spirits high and the boys engaged, we decided to move off shore and start to focus on the goal of getting them on the walleyes deep!
On the first pass we missed 3 bites that had us thinking we would succumb to some short striking fish!
BUT the boys preserved and on the next pass the walleyes that bit our live bait presentations were solidly hooked by this time and placed in the bottom of the net with some great teamwork!