Fall Walleye Success

Fall Bago Eyes

By: Kyle Sorensen

What a summer it has been! We have sure had some fun times here on the Winnebago System. The fish have been hungry this year, and the younger year classes have certainly been showing up in addition to the normal targeted sizes we find on the system. I have seen some big fish in the net, but I have also seen hundreds of the 10”- 13” Walters dangling on the end of my line. There are certainly some fantastic years of fishing ahead of us!

The dog days of summer have come, and they are now slowly slipping away into the cooler nights. The algae which had painted the surface of the water is now receding as we approach the last leg of the open water season. During this time, I’m sure some of you are making preparations in the woods as the buck bug grows and starts to nibble. While some have already switched out the open water gear for camo and their bow, keep those rods in the boat and at the ready as the fall walleye bite is here!

If we look at how the Winnebago System produces year round, we know fish can be caught in 30 FOW, all the way down to a couple feet, at any given time. Have you ever sight fished for walleyes under the ice in a few feet of water? It’s a blast, but it’s also a key area to take note. I am not going to tell you that to be successful you need to fish a reef during this time, and I’m not going to say you need to fish the deep mud flats. I’m going to tell you that you need to keep all of your options available and be prepared to sometimes switch things up when the current tactic or location isn’t producing.

If you saw the live broadcast I did on the OB Outdoors Facebook page while on the Fox River in Oshkosh, you saw a very nice two-man limit in the livewell. You also saw something that sums up fishing on the Winnebago System – a ton of rods with a lot of different rigs. Some days, fish are holding to weedbeds while sometimes the mud bite is phenomenal. This can go back and forth so we need to be ready. Let’s look at some important aspects of the range of bites on the Winnebago System during the fall time as each area can be useful at any given time. An important area to start on is the weed bite.

Whether you target submerged weeds or emergent weeds, it’s no secret; walleyes relate to both types here on our system. Some of the factors involved with a successful weed bite depend on forage, wind, temperature and oxygen levels. As we transition into the fall bite and the temperatures begin to drop, weedbeds that can normally hold fish begin to die off. As they die, they begin emitting less and less oxygen into the water. With less oxygen, the small bugs that the forage base consumes begin to die off and/or they move in search of a more desirable environment. With the bugs and forage moving, so do the ‘eyes. Knowing this, the only thing left to assume is that we need to target live, active weedbeds. This, however, can sometimes be a trick in itself as the season gets later and later.

When we fish weeds, jigging crawlers and leeches on the lightest possible jig head can certainly produce some great results while running the edges with the bow-mount. Plastics have their time and place in the weedbeds and due to their composition, they can allow us to rig the worm, leech, grub, whatever, in a way in which it produces less hookups with weeds. Depending on fish activity, sometimes anchoring and running slips on the outside edges can work. On a totally different side note, I have sometimes switched gears completely from ‘eyes to pannies while running slips on the edges. This becomes an absolute treat after a few hearty gills start dropping corks…

The next area of focus is the river systems. There are walleye on the system that never leave the river of their choosing during their entire life. As with springtime tactics, jigging minnows, crawlers, even leeches, all hold value in this topic. As I mentioned in a river jigging video I did this spring, looking for contours in the river channels is an integral part while targeting these fish. When I am jigging, you will always see me using the lightest jig possible to present my bait. By utilizing my bow-mount, I am able to slow down my drift speed and work each area longer before the full drift of the specific area has been completed.

The rivers are a unique environment by themselves. Some species spawn in the rivers, which in turn offers a hatch ripe for the chomping. With this happening, it not only brings in the jigging aspect but also the fly pulling tactics of springtime fishing. When we pull or pump flies, we are mimicking baitfish. With some hatches happening at any time into the fall bite, pulling flies yet again can create some amazing results. Our electronics can show these baitfish balls or clouds, and in a river system, you would be hard pressed to not see strong marks under and around these sometimes massive collections of forage. When you see one, it’s time to mark it and fish it good!

During the start of the fall bite, a lot of the spring forage has grown but some species have continued to spawn throughout the summer months as previously discussed. While crankbaits work throughout the year on our system, and crawler harnesses are a killer tactic on the system during the summer months, more and more anglers trade in the harnesses for cranks during this time. This coincides with a primary source of food for our walleye: the gizzard shad.

Gizzard shad have a very high fat content, and they are a slower moving object of prey. It’s a perfect combination for these ‘eyes as they begin to stock up. As with other species of fish in the system, the shad have a variety of year classes (many sizes) which allows for the various year classes of walleye to pick and choose what they want to fill their guts with. Because of the forage, the crankbait trolling bite sees an absolute spike during this time, and as always, we match the hatch. By doing this, we can select shad patterned cranks and run them slow to mimic the movements of the shad. Because Berkley’s Flicker Shad somewhat matches this movement, these are always a good starting point!

In my last article, we talked about trolling cranks out in the mud on Winnebago. This is still a tactic that will produce into the late fall so be sure to keep it in your arsenal.  If you want to check out that article, it’s available for free on Badger Sportsman’s online archive at http://www.BadgerSportsman.com for all of you subscribers!

The mud is not the only place on the Winnebago System that shows results while trolling cranks. The shorelines (especially around active weedbeds), mid-lake structures (reefs, humps, breaks) and rocky points all show great promise. With the cooling temperatures, fish remain in all areas of the water column as turnover takes place. Turnover is when the different temperatures collide in the water column and the water column becomes one… in so many words. As I previously stated, walleyes on our system can be had year round in the shallows to the deep trenches of our rivers. Because of this, I certainly do not see a huge impact that turnover presents to our walleye fishery here on the Winnebago System as there are always active fish here somewhere.

The last area I will cover is live bait rigging off of bottom bouncers. I love using bottom bouncers because they stir up the bottom and I also know exactly where my rig is running. The one aspect I do not like is the efficiency: usually only using one rod to cover the water area. This is a tactic that usually emerges in the early summer and pushes into mid-fall in my boat.

Growing up I was doing this in northern Minnesota, and now, I am continuing to utilize this technique here on our system. A leech or crawler “harness” can be deadly when all else seems to fail. As the rig options are endless and constantly changing, I will say that more often than not you will see some type of float on my setup. While sharp breaks coming from the shoreline, various reefs, or even rocky points are some great areas to target for this tactic, do not limit it to just those. This is a very versatile technique because it allows the angler to slow down and work a specific area in great detail while trying to coax a timid eye into snatching up the rig. With that said, my favorite area to start in is water around reefs that hold deep water.

As we all know, wind plays a huge role on fish location and activity. When running one of these rigs, you will see me starting on the windblown side, making an elongated “S” as I creep deeper and deeper into the main portion of the lake before restarting or jumping to a new structure. As the bouncer ticks bottom, I usually keep the speed between .5 – .8mph, sometimes even a slower drag. This is all dependent on the blade of the rig (if I even use one), the hardware, etc. A little pulse of the rod can sometimes warrant a strike, while other times the “S” turns being made suffice within themselves.

I have heard of some letting line out when a fish hits or even just waiting to set the hook. In my opinion, this is not good in any way shape or form, unless you are fishing with a single hook rig (leech, slow death, etc.). We have so many smaller ‘eyes (and goats) in our system that if you are running a two or three hook harness, those guys are going to swallow at least one of them. Are you going to keep a 10” ‘eye (or the bigger ones that are hooked badly), or do you mind having to clip a hook off of your harness? I don’t like the thought of those scenarios so I set the hook with a nice sweeping style when I feel the fish hit… No ifs ands or buts!

We briefly covered A LOT of different areas and topics here. Why? Because, like I have said over and over, the Lake Winnebago System is so versatile in the fact that any of these tactics (and more) could be the golden goose at any given time. When you fish the fall walleye bite on our system, be sure to come prepared for anything and keep trying different locations and tactics until you find the one that’s working for that specific day… or even hour! Before we know it, ice will be here and so will some fun videos that I can’t hardly wait to release! I hope you are able to finish the season off with a bang, and as always, until next time, “Tight Lines. Stay Dry.”

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Weekly Trail Mix 8-14

Weekly Trail Mix 8-14

Safest Redneck Tree Stand

Let’s put a camper on top of these stilt ladders, that’s a great idea! Or not, since this looks like the worst idea ever… and possibly the most unsafe. Blue Dragon Redneck

Fishing Website

Giant Kansas Buck

This gigantic kansas white-tailed deer is one of the largest taken in the state with a bow

Wi State Record Non-Typical

Whale Tales Archery posted this photo of a potential Wisconsin State-record Buck taken by a bow hunter

Hunting BlogsBiggest Pope & Young Buck Ever Shot

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from Morning Moss http://morningmoss.com/weekly-trail-mix-8-14/

SPY Hunt Sunglasses- The Best in Outdoor Eyewear

Spy Hunt Sunglasses Review

SPY Hunt Sunglasses

The SPY Optics Hunt Polarized sunglasses are the perfect glasses for any angler and outdoorsman.

Whether you’re out on the water searching for a big muskie or climbing a giant rock face looking for a mountain goat, you need to protect your eyes. There’s probably nothing more valuable to you while you’re hunting or fishing than your eyesight and having a pair of shades that keep your vision sharp and your sight protected is vital. Spy Optics recently launched a new pair of sunglasses that are built for outdoor enthusiasts and will give you everything you need to get more done outside. Check out the full Spy Optics Hunt Sunglasses Review. 

SPY Optics Hunt Polarized Sunglasses

SPY Hunt Review

Spy optics has some of the best sunglasses for fishing, hunting and hiking available.

As with any of the Spy Optics sunglasses products, you will never have to sacrifice style for substance. These glasses are modern looking and really fit well on your face so that they not only look good but won’t fall off. The glasses are a flat front and come with with grips that are fused to the glasses, which means that they wont fall off if they get wet, which is a huge bonus for me.

SPY Polarized Sunglasses

When you’re outside, sweat can be an issue. Spy managed to build a glass that not only covers your entire eye face, but also gives you space to breathe. Hunting, fishing, hiking and climbing causes you to move a lot and the glasses were constructed to stay on your face without weighing you down. The frames are very light and are stress-resistant Grilamid. To the non-scientific wearer this means that they bend and don’t break easily.

SPY Optics Fishing Sunglasses

My favorite thing about Spy Optics sunglasses are the Happy Lenses. The polarization on SPY’s glasses are second to none and make seeing fish in the water very easy. You can get a full range of lens and frame colors with the SPY Hunt sunglasses including the reflective Spectra options, Polarized lenses and Realtree Decoy colors.

SPY Optics Hunting Sunglasses

The Spy Optics Hunt sunglasses start at $110 and are available on the Spy Optics website. You can purchase those here. 

Check out other great Spy Optics sunglasses reviews. 


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from Morning Moss http://morningmoss.com/spy-optics-hunt-sunglasses-review/

Tips For A More Successful Archery Season

A Few Tips to Consider For a More Successful Archery Season

By: Todd D. Larson 

With the “Dog Days” of summer upon us here in Wisconsin, I can’t help but let my mind wander a bit and think of the cooler days to come. More specifically, I look forward to when archery season opens up in the middle of September and carries us through the first part of January. For those of us with a passion for shooting bows and letting arrows fly, September 17th, 2016 can’t get here soon enough. And, when January 8th, 2017 comes to a close, it will find many people dragging their feet and just plain wore out from pursuing the most commonly hunted big game species in North America, the whitetail deer. Some hunters will find success early because they will have done their homework and others, well, they’ll be the ones eating their tags walking around like zombies.

In my 41 seasons of chasing these smart and crafty creatures with a bow, I’ve come to understand a few things that I thought I might share to help others be more successful. Here’s the short list…

The Bow

Purchase what you can afford. Buy a quality bow within your budget that feels good each and every time you shoot it. Spend a little more money if you need to in order to get the right fit and don’t buy a particular bow just because of the brand name on it. Remember that this is an investment and something that you will have to enjoy for many years to come. The first step is to decide on the type of bow you are wanting to shoot, (longbow, recurve or compound). Take your time and shoot as many different styles of bows as possible from the various manufacturers. You can narrow it down pretty quickly once the shooting starts. Go to a quality archery shop that is more interested in fitting you with the proper bow rather than how much money they can talk you out of. Most reputable places will spend as much time with you as needed during the selection process. These are the guys that will take care of you when it comes to tuning your bow, cutting arrows, finding the correct release, arrow rest and quiver and any other accessories that you will need. Their job is to get you set up for success and take care of you quickly if something should happen to any piece of your archery equipment.


This is as important, if not more important than the bow you purchase. Shoot regularly and consistently; especially when first getting your bow. Many archery shops now have indoor and/or outdoor ranges which allow you to shoot at different distances and at many different types of targets. It’s a blast and challenging all at the same time. Not only that, but you will meet some great people, all with a common interest who are more than willing to help you out. Remember that proper form is key and having a seasoned archer help you get everything dialed in is really important. It certainly will help take away the frustration associated with learning something new.

Another tip; don’t overshoot. What I mean is simply this: Don’t shoot a hundred arrows the first night in your excitement of getting your new bow. You’ll be too sore to even shoot your bow anytime soon after that, thus making the experience less than enjoyable. Keep in mind that you will be using muscles in your arms, neck and back that will need time to strengthen. As those muscles get stronger, shooting more arrows becomes easier. Your draw weight will increase as well, but keep in mind that you don’t need to shoot heavy poundage.

Shoot a draw weight that is comfortable for you. The way that bows are designed today, the arrow will still get there quickly enough. And, a smoother and quicker draw is the one that will increase your chances of success. When I was younger, I shot a draw weight of 70 lbs. or more. Today it’s around 63 to 65 lbs. It makes sense to me to shoot an arrow more comfortably and more consistently. I’ve also come to realize that a faster arrow is not necessarily a better killing arrow. I don’t shoot as many arrows each night as I use to. I would rather shoot fewer arrows and leave on a good note than shoot too many arrows and have them hit all over the target.

Having confidence in your ability and in your shooting distances is key. Be patient, be consistent and have fun. Each and every shot needs to be your best shot. There have been very few times that I have ever had a second chance at killing a deer that I may have missed with my first shot or have made a poor shot on to begin with. Take your time, breathe, relax and visualize the shot before you release the arrow. Make each and every shot count as you only get one first shot.

Practice shooting in various positions. Standing, sitting and kneeling are the most popular. Keep in mind the type of hunting you will be doing, but practice shooting in different positions and situations. If you are hunting from a ground blind, practice sitting on a chair, inside the blind. If you’re going to be hunting from a tree stand, be sure to practice at the height that your stand will be and always, always, always, wear your safety harness. Be certain to clip into a guide rope as you climb up and down from your tree stand. Learn how different angles affect arrow placement when shooting from above and don’t forget to enjoy the view. Hunting from a tree stand is my favorite type of hunting and has been the most productive for me in Northern Wisconsin. Now that we have your bow picked out and you’re shooting like Fred Bear, let’s take a look at your hunting property.


You have two choices, public land or private land. If you’re fortunate to have a piece of property that you own or have been able to lease, fantastic! I prefer hunting private land or a lease for a good number of reasons. Here are just a couple.

The first and most important reason is safety. You know (for the most part) that you and/or others you may have given permission to should be the only ones on that property. I’ve had some great leases over the years that I shared with my family and friends. It’s fun, comfortable and safe. I have to say that getting these leases wasn’t very easy. I did acquire most simply by calling on a piece of property that was for sale or by knocking on doors in areas that were of interest to me. Always be kind and courteous, thanking them for their time. Be sure to leave your name and number with them. They may not want to lease this property to you this season but that may change down the road. Be able to face rejection when they tell you “no,” but keep in mind that’s all part of the process and all it takes is that one person to say “yes” to your request and you’ll be on top of the world. Hunting property is getting harder and harder to come by so be patient and put in your time.

The second reason is deer management. You will have a direct impact on the deer that reside there. I’m a firm believer in the Quality Deer Management program that more and more property owners and their neighbors are embracing. If you give these deer a chance to grow and keep a healthy buck to doe ratio in the mix you’ll experience hunting like you’ve never seen. The key to making this work is to get your neighbors involved. Experiment with food plots that will hold deer and create bedding areas for the deer, if space allows. For ten months out of the year, all a whitetail thinks about is a place to eat and sleep that is relatively safe. The other two months are spent chasing or being chased around because of the rut. This is certainly the best and most productive time of the year to hunt. And, when it’s kicked into full gear these are my two favorite weeks of the year. Be sure to put your time in on the stand to increase your chances of success. I guarantee that you will see more than at any other time of the season.

Public land is always a gamble. I will say that a good number of deer are harvested on public land. The key to success here is to get off the beaten path and go find those places that other hunters have no desire to be in. You’ll be farther away from your competition and be closer to where these big deer like to hang out. They like solitude, safety and comfort next to a feeding area. Find that place and you’ll find success. Check the laws for using and hanging stands or putting up ground blinds on public property. Know that you are not going to be the only hunter out there and be willing to accept the fact that others may wander in what you like to think is “your area.” Remember that it is public land and that’s just part of the deal. I’ve been there and done that and yes, it is frustrating, but make the best of it.

There is certainly a lot more that I could talk about in regards to increasing the odds of being successful bowhunting this fall and winter. Trail cameras, stand placement and cover scent are just a few more things to consider. Do your homework and prepare yourself to the best of your ability. Read as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I have learned, however, that the best lessons come from just taking that first step and getting out and into the woods. Enjoy each and every moment that you’re there and I promise that you will be amazed at what you will learn and see.

One other thing to remember…don’t base your success as a hunter on the size of the deer, the harvest or lack thereof. Enjoy the hunt and the people you share it with. The harvest is just the icing on the cake.

Good Luck this season, be safe and have fun!

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7 Ways to Explore New England by Boat

I lived for a year in Colorado. The mountains are strikingly beautiful, but there was one main reason that I only lasted a year- water! I adore being around water. Any kind of water will work, but I want it all- lakes, rivers, harbors and the open seas. My family has a long history with the water and that is a history that I continue to pass on to my kids. 20 years ago I settled in New England because it is an ideal place to continue my love affair with all things water. When you visit my area, exploring New England by water is one of the best ways to experience the best it has to offer. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy New England by boat:

Explore New England’s Coastline by Sailboat or Yacht Cruiser
Thank you so much Discover Boating for sponsoring this day on a boat for my family-

My favorite kind of boat has always been a sailboat, but you can also explore the coastline in a motor boat. Renting one anywhere on New England’s coast will be quite an experience. It is where I live, but I especially recommend sailing in Newport, Rhode Island and in Narragansett Bay. You will get to sail under many bridges which are just gorgeous! Rhode Island hugs Narragansett Bay so the waters are protected. It is on my bucket list to take a boat up the coast from Boston to Canada. What an amazing trip that would be sailing past Maine’s national park, Acadia! You can visit Discover Boating to find places to rent a boat to use on your adventure.

Explore our lakes in a Pontoon Boat
Explore New England by boat. thedailyadventuresofme.com
A perfect summer day relaxing in a pontoon boat on Canobie Lake in Salem, New Hampshire.

If you don’t have a lot of boating experience, a pontoon boat is a perfect boat to start in. They are flat, simple boats and the ride is very relaxing. I especially love Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, but New England is full of large lakes just perfect for relaxing your day away, idling along the lake shore. You can explore what boat is best for you here.

Take a boat ride to one of New England’s islands
Cairns in Rhode Island, thedailyadventuresofme.com
Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island, Rhode Island.

We are so lucky to have Nantucket, Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard to explore right off of the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. On them you will find historic towns and light houses. The colorful Gingerbread Houses in Martha’s Vineyard are not to be missed. Hiking to Mohegan Bluffs will reward you with one of the prettiest beaches in New England.

SCUBA dive off of New England’s coast.
Once I was SCUBA certified, my best dives happened off of my dad’s boat. New England has many wrecks to discover as well as dives of rock formations around Cape Ann, Massachusetts and Cape Neddick, Maine. You can also check out the Arches around Newport, Rhode Island.

Rent a Jet Boat on one of our lakes and go water skiing or rent jet skis.
If you are in the mood for a thrill, water ski or jet ski on any or all of our water! Find out where to rent jet skis in your area.

My son takes sailing lessons in summer camp. It keeps him busy in a healthy way, reinforces school concepts in the summer and is fun. You can find a summer camp near you for your kids here.

Putter around our shores or ponds with a dinghy, stopping to do some clamming.
Nothing is more New England than clam cakes and chowder and you can make your own after catching some clams. Rhode Island even has our own species, the Quahog. Make sure that you don’t need a license before you go and pay attention that you are catching big enough specimens.

Take any sort of fishing boat out to catch some fish!
Discover Boating. thedailyadventuresofme.com
Is there anything more heavenly than a boy and his dog enjoying a boat ride?

Go to the New England fishing calendar to explore all the fish you can catch in New England. Then visit Discover Boating to see if a fishing license is required where you are traveling to and find the perfect boat to make your fishing dreams come true.

Now its your turn to become a New England boater. Can you feel the wind whipping through your hair as you relax in the sun while boating under the Newport Bridge just like professional America’s Cup sailors? Or picture yourself watching the sunset over Arcadia Maine while you have a dinner from aboard your vessel? According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association millions of Americans go boating each year on more than 15 million boats in the U.S. Go make yourself one of them and join me on the adventure!

Discover Boating thedailyadventuresofme.com
Don’t let another sun set without planning your time on the water.

As you can see Discover Boating is the perfect resource to visit to learn everything you need to make boating part of your vacation or life. They even have a monthly newsletter that you can sign up for.

Visit the Daily Adventure of Me blog for more!

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