Tag Archives: Waukesha County

Pine Lake Northern Pike Fishing

Pine Lake in Waukesha County offers some phenomenal Northern Pike Fishing for kids and families.

The trick to finding these fish is to utilize your boat electronics and scout out potentially productive areas areas while idling before even casting a line.  Watching your graph is key until you come across images that indicate loads of bait fish in the water column!

When you find bait fish stacked between 25-30 feet during the summer months (Beginning of July through the end of August), you will certainly come across some aggressive Northern Pike.

Take a peak at the following video highlighting how we pulled 3 nice Northern Pike from the depths in a short morning trip on Pine.

Pine Lake  can be like that for many game fish species in regards to locating forage before attempting to wet a line. Another example can be seen in a previous post highlight the smallmouth bass action that can be had at Pine Lake in the Fall.

Early Summer Walleyes on Livebait

Early Summer Walleyes on LivebaitLive bait rigging for early summer walleyes has been a great opportunity to get the clients of HookedUp101 excited about fishing!

There really isn’t anything more simple than a minnow hanging behind a 1/4 – 1/2oz weight dragging along a rocky bottom when trying to get a bend in a youngsters line.

img_1336Once in the boat, kids are often excited at the prospect of using the smaller dip net to select their own minnow from the livewell to tip their presentation.

After lines are img_1357deployed in the water, kids can either hold onto their own rods weighting to feel the unmistakable *thump* from a walleye after tick tick ticking along a gravel bottom OR they can enjoy a snack from img_1369mom and dad while their rods are set in rod holders with the reel’s drag system set completely loose. The *zing* in the reel after a walleye strikes and swims off with their selected minnow generally finds Cheetos and Sandwiches flung on the deck of the boat as kids spring into action.

On this particular trip, brothers Luke and Nick brought along their friend Kevin to do a little early summer live bait rigging for walleyes. Each of the boys caught a few walleyes and we even had time for a corresponding dance party between fish! Kids were playing this exact song on the boat radio waiting for a bite 🙂

To get in on walleye action like this, simply e-mail HookedUp101 at:

chadleton@hookedup101.com

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth Bass

Nothing SMALL About Pre-spawn Smallmouth BassPre-spawn smallmouth bass are some of the most entertaining fish to target with young kids as it’s a great time of the year to get into some big ones!

From the beginning of May until the first part of June, img_1149Smallmouth can be in any one of the 3 phases of the spawn (Pre-spawn, Spawn, Post-Spawn). As water temperatures enter into the upper 50’s-lower 60’s and a full moon period is looming, BIG smallmouth bass will come up onto the shallow flats (5-8 ft. of water) on our Waukesha County lakes to prepare for their annual spawning rituals.

Before they’ve locked onto a bed, they’re typically feeding img_1174very aggressively throughout the day looking to put on that final weight needed to spawn. Big males will need all the nourishment they can get as their role, once the eggs have been dropped in the nest, is to protect the nest from predators smaller panfish, carp, etc. This means they’ll be locked into one area without the opportunity to feed for up to several weeks.

Guide trips during this time of year finds HookedUp101 anglers throwing 3 specific baits in order to target aggressive smallmouth bass:

  1. s7_124921_renderset_05Spinner Bait: A spinner bait is a great search lure to fan cast across shallow spawning flats in search for active fish especially on breezy spring outings when passing storm fronts have put fish on the feed! Shallow sand, gravel, and rock flats with elodea, are a great place to throw a spinnerbait as the combination of cover and bottom content serves as the prime real estate for crawfish and minnow schools in the spring! It’s even better to start your spinner bait chucking if these underwater elements are present on the north end of the lake as that portion receives the most sunlight this time of year. Where there are crawfish and minnows…There WILL be smallmouth!
  2. s7_119074_renderset_16Jerkbaits: As mentioned above, smallmouth bass on a given lake can be in any one of the 3 phases of the spawn during the spring. A jerkbait is a cast and retrieve bait that mimics a bait fish (i.e. perch, ‘glass minnow’, etc.), Suspending versions of a jerk bait are great at tripping a smallmouth’s trigger no matter the the mood of the fish. The reason being, that during the retrieve, the HookedUp101 anglers can wind, jerk, and pause the jerkbait aggressively or subtly targeting the smallies that are pre-, post-, or in the midst of the spawn. The key to a jerk bait this time of year is that pause. When it is deliberately used in the cadence of a retrieve, smallmouth often erupts on the bait!
  3. Jig and grub tailJig-n-grub tail: Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this combination for spring smallmouth. The jig-n-grub tail  has been fooling big smallmouth season after season and the main reason is for it’s versatility. It can be cast and retrieved steadily like a spinnerbait, albeit it a bit more subtle of a profile. It can be brought back to the boat erratically like a jerkbait and elicit the same rod jarring reaction strike from that jerk and pause retrieve. It can also be fished vertically through the water column with a rise-and-fall action imparted by casting the jig-n-grub out onto the flat or parallel to the break. After letting the bait fall to the bottom, the kids simply pull up on the rod without reeling to get the bait to dart off the bottom, and then reel down to take up the slack line thus letting it fall enticingly back to the bottom. This is repeated all the way back to the boat. The darting bait and soft flutter of the tail on the way back to the bottom, gets the attention of the fish, and when they see it acting helpless on its decent to the bottom, smallmouth can’t stand passing on an easy meal and they gobble it up!

img_1164If you’re out on our Southeast, Wisconsin lakes looking for big smallmouth in the springtime. Give these 3 baits priority in your fishing approach and you’ll likely be rewarded with some nice ones!

Looking to learn a few techniques as it relates to catching bass on one or all of the mentioned baits in this post?

BONUS TIP: Another great lake to check out during the smallmouth bass, pre-spawn period is Lake LaBelle in Oconomowoc

Working for Walleyes in Southeast Wisconsin

This past Saturday, HookedUp101 put in some miles working for walleyes in Southeast Wisconsin.

A  productive walleye location on a 700 acre lake was the destination, but given the early ice period and that fact that it’s a waiting game in regards to safe access as client safety is always job one!

Not only must an angler remain patient, but they must be determined and willing to work hard by lugging the necessary equipment to the high percentage walleye structure provided in order to achieve ultimate walleye success!

Things might be different if motorized transportation were available, but to add to the ‘walleye challenge, these walleye factories have rules in which no motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.) are allowed onto the ice.

So the job as the guide was this:

1) Ensure we could make it safely to key 100 yard stretch of deep rock (16-24 feet deep) that runs parallel to a lush, green weed edge notoriously known as a walleye highway.

2) Lug all the gear necessary to pinpoint and target these walleyes 1.8 miles out onto and hour in advance with

I ventured out an hour earlier than the onset of the trip exactly 1.8 miles with a life jacket, spud bar, ice safety picks, Waukesha County Ice Fishingthrow cushion and rope.

This process requires an angler to diligently check the ice thickness along the way.

A smile broke across my face as I arrived successfully at my waypoints on the handheld GPS…we can make it!

I quickly backtracked the 1.8 mile journey to the lake’s access point to meet my client and get all the gear packed into 2 sleds.

With approximately 100 lbs of gear (Portable Ice Shelter, Vexilar fish finders, Minnow Bucket, Power Auger, Tip-Ups, Jig Rods, Propane heater, a couple 5-gallon buckets, etc.) we made the 1.8 mile walk back out to fish just before sunset/prime-walleye-time.

Vexilar1We used the GPS, Power Auger, and Vexilar to pinpoint the exact holes we wanted in 16-24 feet of water with a hard bottom, and a hint of weeds those weeds.

Not long after the tip-ups were put in, we had the first tip-up flag of the night spring to life. Eric quickly scurried from his jigging position to begin his battle with the first walleye of the night. His hook set was flawless and some decent weight at the end of the line was accentuated by some nice hefty head shakes. Unfortunately half way back to the hole, the line went limp and the fish came unbuttoned! BUMMER!

Soon we had flag but this one was a false alarm. Jigging for fish found us only marking a couple more fish that we were unable to coax into biting.

Ten minutes left in the trip and Eric raised a solid mark on the Vexilar indicating a nice fish moving off the bottom…his jig rod doubled over as a nice 22″ walleye completely inhaled his bait. He fought it patiently as it peeled drag near the hole, and when it seemed ready I reached in and hoisted his fish onto the ice!
Walleye1

After a walleye like that, lugging all the gear back ANOTHER 1.8 miles through the slushy, snow-capped ice was more than tolerable now that we had a nice photo memory to share!

SAFETY NOTE: Click to learn more about the essential ice fishing safety tools utilized for this ice fishing adventure

Tip-Up Produces 37″ Northern Pike on School Section Lake

A 37″ Northern Pike is a great start to the 2015 Ice Fishing Season!

Here’s a short clip of the biggest fish on the day–A 37″ Northern Pike caught on a Berkley Fishing Tip-up and a Medium Shiner rigged 2 feet off the bottom in 10′ of water just off a pronounced weed line.

While waiting for flags to fly the panfishing was slow going, but the last hour of the trip (right at sunset) had numerous crappie flying out of the holes.

Perhaps after catching and releasing this big fish from the area the panfish felt safe enough to start eating  😛

School Section Lake has always provided consistent ice fishing action for HookedUp101 ice anglers.

To obtain more information about HookedUp101’s Guided Ice Trips for families and youth, click this link!

Southern Family Goes Ice Fishing with HookedUp101

Southern Family Goes Ice Fishing with HookedUp101Nick, from Oconomowoc, is no stranger to enjoying the sport of ice fishing.

A special part of Nick’s most recent trip, was the fact he invited his Uncle Tag and his 6-year old cousin, John David, from South Georgia to join his father and younger brother Matthew in  experiencing one of Wisconsin’s great winter pastimes–Ice Fishing!

How awesome given that the theme of this 2014 ice fishing season is:

Get Outdoors and Have Fun with the Family!!!

They certainly received the full experience considering the air temperature (7 degrees) to start the trip was 50 degrees colder than the weather Tag and John David had back home. As an added bonus, the 15mph North wind made it feel extra “crisp” as the adventuresome group headed out battle some Bluegill and Northern Pike on a small, wind-protected 16-acre drainage lake in Waukesha County.

John David bluegillThe guys hunkered down in a Clam Base Camp and Clam Vista Hub Shelter to receive some basic instruction on using Vexilar sonar technology to jig for bluegills, while a couple of Mr. Heater Big Buddy heaters kept line guides ice free, ice holes open, and jig lines primed to do battle with a panfish that South Georgia natives refer to as ‘bream’.

The bite proved a little tough at first, as gills showing themselves on the electronics were very hesitant to strike.

Nick decided to take the action to the fish and he began using the shelters only as a temporary ‘warming house’ as he decided to venture out into the elements and hole hop out in the elements. His strategy was to drop his Vexilar ransducer in 3-4 holes and jig for a few minutes each and then return to the shelter to warm up.

Nick's waukesha bluegillNick’s aggressive approach to draw fish to his presentation worked! If he didn’t mark a fish within a few minutes, he was onto the next hole. Staying mobile proved to be the ticket to success with the bluegills on this day as he quickly honed in on the approach needed to bring a few fish topside.

Most of his success jigging came from the 8-10 foot depths, so we moved the hub shelters off the weed flat to target this depth range.

While the boys continued to target bluegills, Uncle Tag and Nick’s father, Pete, helped set out a spread of tip-ups on the original 5-foot weed flat to target Northern Pike.

With an hour remaining, the wind laid down and the sun popped out from behind the clouds. This welcome relief was somewhat warming, but what really got the blood pumping was the first tip-up flag of the day springing to life! Coincidentally it was in a hole that was previously located inside the hub shelter that Uncle Tag and John David had been jigging.

Nick & John David Northern PikeNick stepped up and took the honors of landing a feisty 23″ Northern Pike caught on a medium shiner and #8 treble hook. As Nick expertly played the Pike’s attempts to run, Uncle Tag quickly chimed in that he deserved the assist if Nick landed the fish given the fact that he was jigging in that hole for the past 30-minutes!

While unhooking the Pike for a quick photo and release, Pete stepped out of one of the hub shelters with a nice bluegill confirming our move to deeper water for panfish.

At the end of the day, the trip seemed to fly by and the boys had a good time. It was fun exchanging stories with Tag and John David as they shared some South Georgia fish stories based on catching crappies, bream, and largemouth bass from the spring fed farm ponds back home.
Nick's mobile bluegillClick the following link to catch another HookedUp101 post regarding ‘first time ice experiences’

Docks and Deep Water–Two Great Tactics for Bass on Pine Lake

PineLakeWaukeshaSummer time fising on Pine Lake in Waukesha County offers a Large and Smallmouth bass fisherman a variety of options when it comes to techniques for catching fish.
 
Early in the morning, many of the docks that line this pristine body of water offer some key shady patches that serve as ambush points for bass.
 
Clients who become proficient as using a Pine Largemouthroll cast are able to skip various soft plastic bait presentations under and around these key bass holding areas and almost call their shot on getting bit.
In areas where the docks are a bit more spaced out, casting parallel to the inside weed lines by making long casts with the same soft plastic baits enables bass enthusiasts the opportunity to catch a few more fish on Pine.
 
As the shade lines around the docks diminish with the sunrise it’s time to change gears and move to offshore structure that contains concentrated areas of deep rock and weeds.
It’s here that a drop shot bait can be deployed in depths of 14-35 feet of water with success! Click the following link for a more detailed explanation on how the drop shot technique is used to catch deeper fish on lakes like Pine .
 
During this most recent trip, sharp breaks seemed to hold most of the fish as indicated on our Humminbird Side/Down Imaging Electronics.
 
Eric2bassDuring the transition from docks to deep water, noticing the clusters of bait fish on the graph close to the bottom with larger marks nearby, will keep an anglers confidence high into the mid-morning hours on Pine Lake.
 
Typically out here, once you find a sweet spot with the bait fish game fish combo present, you’ll be able to catch a few fish in short order!
 
As a bonus technique for targeting fish on Pine, if the mid-morning hours offer lots of sunshine and calm conditions (winds 5 mph or less) don’t neglect trying to idle over some of the deepest water (80 feet) on the lake in search of suspended fish.
Often aggressive smallmouth bass will suspend 20 feet down or less and have been known to aggressively pounce on a top water bait like a spook or a popper.
 
PineLargemouthAs a final tip for fishing the deep water on Pine that can often intimidate bass anglers, any place where you may mark baitfish and gamefish on your graph you should deploy a waypoint on your GPS. These areas are worth checking during subsequent trips even if they don’t cooperate on a given day.
As the summer season winds down, these deep water haunts on Pine will offer consistent Smallmouth bass action during the Fall Fishing season as well with live bait!