First Hunt of the Year!

By: Jerry Costabile

With the changing leaves and the waterfowl migration starting, I finally got out on my first hunt of the season.

I really needed to get out and watch the sunrise, get the smell of fall in my nose and put the everyday stress on the shelf, even if it was for a single morning. Sadie, my Yellow Lab, has been giving me that look for weeks. It’s that “If you don’t get me out hunting soon, we are going to have problems” look. So with my son Jake, home from college, and a morning off, it was ON!

We went and purchased our license’s, got the gear ready, decoys out of the garage and the dog crate into the truck. As I loaded the crate, I heard a noise inside the open back door of the house, there was Sadie standing at the top of the stairs. I think I heard her say, “It’s about time!” She has a sixth sense when it comes to knowing I am getting the hunting stuff ready, I have never been able to get ready without her knowing it!

So after I got the truck loaded and the dog calmed down, it was time for a good meal and off to bed, 5:00am comes early! When the alarm went off and I finally woke up, I realized that I had been dreaming of the hunt that was coming up in a few hours. Guess I am still a young hunter at heart!

With Jake up and me half awake, we made our way down stairs to the basement to the man cave. This is the room that contains all of the necessities to survive as an outdoorsman. Camo and blaze orange color scheme makes it a beautiful room. The air freshener is a combination of WD-40, Rem Oil, and a hint of natural earth scent from my bow hunting clothes. Truly a room only I can appreciate.

After getting dressed in my waterfowl camouflage and ready to walk out the door, I picked up Sadie’s camo collar and she knew it was finally time as she sprinted past me to the back door and jumped up and down until I opened it. Without missing a beat, she ran right to the back of the truck and waited for me to open the tailgate so she could get into her crate. We have worked on a way to get her into the crate without running anyone over, “Sadie sit!” I open the door to her crate looked at her and she is shaking uncontrollably. “Kennel! I said” with one leap she was in the crate and ready to go hunting!

After a quick stop at the gas station for coffee, we had about a 15 minute drive to the recently cut soybean field that has been holding geese a few days ago. In the darkness of the early morning, I pulled off of the paved road onto the two track road that the farmer uses to get his equipment in and out of the fields. With recent rains, the road that is usually dry and easy to navigate has become muddy and the pot holes deep. I guess my truck will have a new color tone added free of charge! As we approached the spot in the field that I wanted to hunt, I swung the trucks headlights into the field to have light to set the decoys.

Before I could get out of the truck, I heard a whimper from the back. Sadie was ready to come unglued! I let her out and she ran as fast as she could out into the field and ran in circles until we got the decoys out and set.

Using the new Wisconsin DNR shooting time App. on my phone, I was able to determine that shooting time was 6:34am. With about a half an hour to wait, Jake and I set up our natural blind, and enjoyed my coffee and watched as the sky showed just a hint of daylight on the eastern horizon. 6:34am and we are loaded and watching the marsh behind us, there has to be ducks that roosted for the night out there.

As that thought entered my head, Jake grabbed my arm and said, “Dad, ducks!” We both got down behind the tall marsh grass and waited for our chance. The first ducks which were teal, went to our right out of gun range. But the next flock lifted and were headed right at us! When they got within range, I hollered “Take’em Jake!” With a flurry of three shots each, two wood ducks were down. Not the best average, .333 if you are a baseball fan, but for the first hunt not bad.

After getting Sadie back to where I could send her out to retrieve the first duck, she made a leap into the water and stayed on line to recover the woodie without any problem. The second duck turned out to be a little more difficult, it sailed to the far side of the field before hitting the ground. Jake took Sadie and headed in the direction of the duck and Sadie was up for the challenge. After a walk of about two hundred yards, Sadie headed into the cover on the field edge and returned proudly with the drake wood duck.

It was now getting time for the geese to start flying and we were watching and listening for the honks of the Canadian goose. It was about 8:00am when the first geese flew over head, and I started my best effort to call them into our decoy spread. But that flock like the next three or four flocks didn’t like what they saw. After a few adjustments, we had the decoys looking like they should bring in the next birds.

We finally had three geese coming in from the southeast and they look interested in joining our decoys for breakfast! As I called, and the birds got closer, I could feel Sadie start shivering with excitement. The big wings of the geese locked up and just as they started to put the landing gear down, I shouted to take’em. Well our batting average didn’t get any better, but we did have one of the three down. Sadie raced out to the big honker and found the right location on the bird and made a perfect retrieve. When she retrieves a bird she take sole ownership of it, why not she deserves it.

The morning ended with that, and we packed up the gear and headed home. I pulled into the driveway and Sadie knew she was home and would get her breakfast and that I would reward her with a couple of treats. When I left for work about an hour later, she was asleep and probably dreaming of the next hunt. Just like I will.


First Hunt!

 

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American Gizzard Shad in Fox Chain O' Lakes

American Gizzard Shad in Fox Chain O’ Lakes

Gizzard shad are native to central and eastern United States mainly in warm low gradient rivers and streams as well as reservoirs, lakes and ponds. Shad are filter feeders; they prefer warm nutrient rich waters. Their range is temperature limited. Die offs usually occur when the water temperature drops below 37oF. Shad can extend their range during a string of warm years; the Illinois DNR collected its first sample of gizzard shad in the Fox Chain O’ Lakes in 2007. These shad migrated up the Fox River over fish ladders and dams in order to make it to the Chain.  Lakes that receive flood waters from the Des Plaines River can also have them.

The gizzard shad is a deep bodied fish that is laterally compressed (nearly flat when lying on their side). The dorsal fin has 10 to 12 rays and the last one extends back towards a deeply forked tail. The gizzard shad has silvery blue-green to gray coloration on its back and the sides are silvery with no lateral line. The mouth is small, with the lower jaw slightly shorter than the upper jaw. The mouth does not extend back past the gizzard shad’s large eyes. Like most shad, juveniles and young adults have a dark spot behind the gill plate. This spot is faint or disappears completely in larger, older fish. The belly tapers to a point where the scales fold over forming a saw like appearance.

While most shad live for 3-5 years, some have been documented to live past 10 years. They reach maturity in 2-3 years and females can produce 40,000 to 450,000 eggs. Spawning takes place during the middle of spring to early summer and usually occurs in the evening. The preferred spawning temperature is between 60oF and 70oF.  Male and female shad congregate along the shallow sandy or gravel areas where eggs are released and fertilized. Once the eggs hatch they are on their own since there is no parental care from the parents. The success of the shad fry correlates with the abundance of zooplankton along with stable water level and warmer temperatures.    Drastic changes in water level and temperature can decrease the survival rate of the fry. Once they reach the juvenile stage, they grow rapidly by feeding mostly on phytoplankton and zooplankton. At this stage they develop a gizzard and begin filter feeding for food. Sediment and sand are also ingested by the gizzard shad that helps it to digest food in its muscular gizzard; this is where the fish got its name.

Fishermen on the Fox Chain O’ Lakes have been seeing large schools of shad swimming in the shallow weedy bays. While they are rarely caught with the traditional hook and line, most anglers inadvertently snag shad with their hook or lure while targeting game fish. Gizzard shad provide an abundant food source for bass and walleye, but they may compete with bluegill, crappies and other young of the year game-fish for food. Shad have rapid growth rates, often growing to 5.5 inches in length during their first year. This provides a smaller window of opportunity for bass and walleyes which are gape limited and can only feed effectively on shad up to 6”. The lakes and rivers in southern states have an over abundance of adult shad measuring 8” or larger due to lack of predators. Fortunately, the Chain has a healthy population of muskies, which are capable of feeding on adult shad. Muskies have benefited from this new food source which is not only abundant but it’s easier for them to catch than bluegills and perch. The less energy a fish spend chasing its prey the more energy it saves on growing.

Muskie appears to have gained between 1 and 2 pounds per fish since gizzard shad showed up.  Males are about 1 pound heavier and females are about 2 pounds heavier for older mature fish.  A 45" female musky in 2006 weighed about 27.7 pounds and a 45" female in 2012 weighed about 29.9 pounds.  –Frank Jakubicek, IDNR

Gizzard shad can alter the size and density structure of a fishery. They may stunt the bluegill population through common food competition or by reducing the predation pressure which allows for higher recruitment which leads to stunted population. Bass may grow larger due to having more food available for them to eat but their fry may have to compete for food.  At this point it is hard to predict what the overall outcome of the gizzard shad will be on the fishery. At least for now, it gives fishermen hope that the shad will help produce record size game fish in the Fox Chain O’ Lakes in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Staying Safe this Hunting Season

By: Mike Reynolds

With the opening of bow season right around the corner, now would be a good time for a treestand safety refresher.  Let’s think of treestand safety as a kind of insurance.  We all have different types of insurance; we have insurance on our car, our house, and our life.  Life insurance is the most important of all of those because it can help your family in the event of your death.  Think of treestand safety as one more form of life insurance.  This form of insurance won’t help your family but it will help make sure you get home to see your family.   

Unless you can fly you should wear some type of fall restraint.  If you don’t and fall from your treestand you will find out just how high you can bounce.  There are a few types of fall restraints.  The first and worst is the “hold on and pray” restraint.  This worked well when we were kids and didn’t know any better.  This style won’t work very well when you have to grab your bow or gun to shoot.  It’s hard for me to believe but I still run into guys who don’t wear a safety belt of any kind.  These are mostly older guys who have been hunting for a very long time and just don’t see the need.  I am always amazed that these guys are around to come to my seminars.  The only time I would go safety beltless is if I were in a shooting house.  I would never consider it if I were in an unenclosed treestand.  So many things can go wrong; it’s just not worth it.  I hope that no one who is reading this hunts like this.  It is way too dangerous.

The next type of safety belt is what I like to call, “better than nothing (but not much)”. This is the belt style safety belt.  As the name implies it is a strong belt usually 2 or more inches thick that is warn outside all of the clothing.  It is attached to the tree by way of a tether line.  While it will keep you from falling all the way to the ground, it still may kill you.  It may tip you upside down when you fall.  Gravity is going to want to pull the heaviest part of your body to the ground and because your upper body is heavier than your legs, you will flip.  I have had guys argue that they wear the belt up under their armpits to compensate for that effect.  That way of wearing it could very well keep you upright but it will make it very difficult to breathe.  Each time you take a breath, the belt will tighten just a bit.  You will struggle to catch your breath and eventually pass out.  Hanging from a tree unconscious is not good.

The absolute best way to enjoy your hunt and make it home to tell lies about it is a full body harness.  This will not only keep you upright in case you fall but it will distribute your body weight evenly so you can try to get back into your stand.  This will give the extra time you need to climb back on your steps or ladder.  While a full body harness is the best fall restraint, it does have its draw backs.  If you hang too long you can still be harmed.  Hanging too long can cut off the blood flow to your legs.  This is why most harnesses come with some type of foot loop.  This would help take to weight off of your lower body and restore blood flow.  Full body harnesses come in a few different styles.  One style and probably the most popular right now is the vest style.  Hunter’s Safety System(HSS) is the most widely known version of this style.  It is simply a vest that you slip on over your hunting clothes and clip all the buckles.  The only thing left to do is to attach yourself to your tether once you have climbed into your stand.  If a vest and all its advantages isn’t your cup of tea then you may want to consider a harness.  This is a simple harness that you once again slip on over your hunting clothes and clip the buckles.  The advantage to a simple harness is it is lighter than a vest.  On warm days this can be a good thing.  It does, however, lack pockets so there is a tradeoff.  HSS makes a number of this style too.  All of HSS’s full body harnesses are engineered for ease of use, comfort and durability.  By making a product has all of these qualities, HSS helps insure hunters will slip on the harness as they head out to their favorite treestand.

If you would like to take safety one step further, you may opt for a lifeline system.  This is a rope that attaches to the tree above your stand.  It has a knot know as a Prusik knot already attached to it.  This knot will slide freely up the rope and not impede your climb up your ladder or steps.  It will self-tighten if you should fall.  Since most of treestand accidents happen while getting into or out of the stand, this is added insurance to keep you safe.  If you already hunt with a full body harness, why not consider using a lifeline system to go that little step further. 

We all love to hunt and all want to live to pass on the great tradition of hunting and the outdoors to the next generation.  Please consider using a full body harness in the woods this fall and keep yourself safe if not for you than for the ones who want to kiss you hello and hear your stories of the day.

 

 

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Yes, I Hunt Like a Girl!

By: Katie Cook

Hello everyone! My name is Katie and I work the hunting department at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee. One of the first questions I am asked when a customer approaches the gun counter is “Do you shoot?” or “Do you hunt?” My answer to them is “Yes! I don’t just work at a gun counter because it’s fun” and then I tell people that I have been shooting for 20 years.

I started hunting around the age of 12. I took hunters safety and was ready to go! I hunted a few years before things got busy with high school and my part time job. When I was hired at Bass Pro Shops in 2005, I started as a cashier. I had originally applied for the hunting department but I was too young to work with handguns. The week of my 21st birthday I filled out my paperwork to transfer to hunting. A week later I was training in the department. Working around hunting and firearms really got me into buck fever! I was working two jobs and going to school so a hunting trip was out of the question. In 2011 I couldn’t stand it anymore and I took the time off for the Wisconsin gun season. I took hunter’s safety again and was glad I did because there were a lot of things I had forgotten about. Under the care of my uncles and my grandpa, they set me up in my dad’s treestand. First light on opening day it sounded like the 4th of July all around me in the woods. I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t see a single deer all day. My uncles joked that I feel asleep in my stand because I was too excited for hunting that I didn’t sleep the night before. I saw a few deer over the next few days but none that were in safe shooting distance. Sad but determined to shoot my first deer I started to plan for 2012 deer season. Sitting in my same treestand as the year before, I hear shots at first light. Saw a few but nothing with a clear shot. It was really warm for November in Wisconsin last year and it seemed like the deer were more active. About 10:15 I saw 2 deer grazing on the property line. One was farther off and wasn’t on our property. The closer one was bigger and I watched her for about 10 or 15 min before I had a clean shot. My whole body started to shake and my heart was racing. I slowly squeezed the trigger and I just instantly calmed. She was down in one shot! My grandpa comes over the radio asking who shot. I said “I got her!” and my uncles and grandpa told me good job. My dad said he was on his way to my stand and to just stay there until he got there. On closer examination, I didn’t shoot a large doe, I shot a button buck. I got a lot of grief from my uncles about not letting him get a big rack before I shot him. My grandpa said it was alright because they had all done that once or twice or five times in their lives. Needless to say I have had buck fever even worse now than before.

Me with my trophy (I’m trying to tell my dad how to use an iPhone.)

 

 

 

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Pre Season Preparation

By: Jerry Costabile

Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructor

With the fall hunting season approaching fast, it’s time to get ourselves and our equipment ready.

Being a hunter education instructor, I have heard of stories from my students of great preparation and not so great preparation. Waiting until the week before the season to get your list of “to do’s” done is not good preparation. Prepare well in advance. Following a well prepared plan and make your season successful.

We all define success in different ways, I measure my success based on many things from time I spend in the field, the people I spend time with in the field, to the game I get to put in my freezer. It all falls into how well I have planned my hunt.

Let’s start with preparing ourselves for a long and safe hunting season. Being at the age of 50, I have had to admit I can’t do the things I want the way I used to. My mind says that I can still get to where I want to hunt and hunt the way I have always hunted, but my body says I have to do it different. This means that I have to prepare myself physically for the upcoming season. A good diet and regular exercise helps tremendously. Walking on a regular basis is a great activity to help get fit and you can add to your exercise routine by walking on the type of terrain that you plan to hunt. If you are planning a trip out west and will be hunting in a lot of steep terrain, don’t take walks in the flat areas.  Get out and hike the hills or get on a treadmill that has incline features. To be physically prepared, you must try to match what you will be doing on your hunt.  For a bird hunter, long walks across different terrain are helpful.  Big game hunters should with a weighted pack matching your hunting conditions.  Try to get in a routine of wearing the footwear that you will be wearing in the field, especially if it’s new footwear. Nothing is worse than ending your hunt due to blisters!

If you don’t have your own land, you should have already secured your location to hunt. Make sure that if you are going to obtain permission to hunt on a landowners property, you do it way in advance. Don’t try to get the permission on the day of the hunt. Sometimes the landowners are busy or need time to think about giving you the permission that you want. BE RESPECTFUL at all costs. If the land owner says no, thank him or her, and ask if it is ok to return another at a later time. Sometimes it takes several visits to finally get the opportunity to hunt private land. It is such a privilege to be able to hunt another’s land. If you do get permission, thank them and ask for any and all instructions that the land owner might have. Parking, gates, driving into a field to retrieve game, tree stands are just some of the questions to ask. Remember to always leave their property better that you found it. Giving a gift of the game you harvest or something the owner might like could get you a permanent location to hunt.

All of your equipment should be gone over to make sure it is safe and ready for the season. Your firearms should be cleaned and fired to make sure at the time of the shot, all is good. Big game hunters should go to a range and fire their favorite guns to make sure sights and scopes are zeroed in. We owe it to the game we pursue to be good marksmen so we can make a clean and humane kill. Also have you knives sharp. It is true what is said about how a dull knife is a dangerous knife. When your knife is dull, you have to force it to cut. A sharp knife will cut cleanly and safely.

Tree stands should be inspected from top to bottom, looking for anything that might be broken, loose, or bent. It is so important to make sure that if you intend to hunt from an elevated stand, it is 100% safe. Look for cracked or broken welds, missing or loose nuts or bolts, and check the straps that you will be securing the stand to the tree with for wear or tears. This is important if you leave your stands in the woods year around, squirrels love to chew on straps!  And you should be wearing a safety harness every time you leave the ground so make sure it also is in 100% working condition.

Take the time to go over all of your equipment  that you plan on using during your hunting season making sure first that its safe, and then making sure that you have everything you will need to have a safe and enjoyable hunt.

Obtain a map of the location you plan on hunting. This helps you plan your strategies and stand locations. If you are hunting upland game, you can plan out your drivers and standers or blockers. If you are hunting in stand locations, you can find the narrow funneling areas that deer use to travel to and from feeding areas. It also helps you understand the lay of the land for your navigation needs. It can be used to mark the area you are going to hunt so that others know in case of an emergency.

As the season gets closer, get out and scout from a distance to see actual game movement. You can obtain a great amount of knowledge on where and when the game is moving. Deer, pheasant, waterfowl, and predator hunters will benefit from preseason scouting!

If you take the time to make a plan and stick to it, you will have an enjoyable time in the field and you will have hopefully considered it a success.

 

 

 

 

 

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"A Harvest of Memories"

By: Stephanie Crede

There is something about fall that changes the attitudes of those around us. Is it the changing weather? The chill in the air? The beautiful leaves turning into gorgeous shades of warm oranges, reds, and yellows? Maybe it's the pumpkin farms, trick or treating, or simply just enjoying the switch of seasons. Whatever it is, fall seems to be one of the more popular seasons around the midwest.

For me, October has always been my all time favorite month. I love the cooler weather. A hoodie and jeans are all that I need to feel comfortable. I love seeing the leaves fall and the warm colors that surround my town. The crunching leaves beneath my feet are a sound that I will never get tired of. Hay rides, pumpkin patches, and hot apple cider are all part of the experience. Besides all of this, it's football season, and who doesn't like football season?!

When we think of fall, Halloween is usually the first thing that pops into our head. Trick or Treating, costume contests, and haunted houses are all on the list for things to do. Bass Pro Shops wants to help make your Halloween an experience you will never forget! From October 19th-31st Bass Pro in Gurnee is holding a SPOOKY Halloween event for you and the family! "It's The Great Pumpkin" is this years theme with the Charlie Brown characters! If you visit Bass Pro Shops during these dates, you can participate in trick-or-treating around the store, get your photo taken with the Charlie Brown Characters, make a spider lollipop craft, do a scavenger hunt around the store, earn cool pins and kids can even enter into the costume parade! Think you have the best costume? Show us! ALL FOR FREE!

So stop in to Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee for the "It's The Great Pumpkin" Halloween event, and see what all the talk is about! It's going to be a SPOOKTACULAR time!

 

 

 

 

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Fishing With Fresh & Treated Spawn (Roe) For Trout & Salmon

By: Jerry Costabile

This time of the year when fishing the shoreline of Lake Michigan you will hear that the fish are hitting on spawn. If you have never fished with it, I hope to give you the information that will add a technique that will increase your chances for success this fall.

The term spawn comes from the ritual that occurs every fall around the begging of September thru October on the Great Lakes. In the northwest and in Alaska, this happens anywhere from mid May thru late August. This is the spawning run of the Chinook or king salmon. The Coho or silver salmon also make this run and are usually right with the kings. Female’s are carrying eggs or roe, and will migrate up rivers to where they were released or born, with the male’s right in tow! This is the time to be fishing the spawn techniques.

 The eggs can be present in the spring, but are at a very immature stage. As the season progresses, the eggs, or roe, will mature right up to the day that the female releases them into the nests that they and the males have been making in the rocky bottom of the rivers.

What we have to do is to catch a female that is full of eggs and use it for our bait. There are times that is easier to buy a few spawn sacs at the bait shop to get started with. If you catch a female early in the fall the eggs will be inside of a membrane sac called a skein. This is a favorite of mine to use because it is fresh and natural. I just cut a small piece of the skein with the eggs and put the hook thru the middle (we will talk hooks later). As long as the eggs are still solid in the skein, use it this way. 

As the eggs mature and the skein start’s to break apart, you will have to start tying the eggs into a netting to create a spawn sac. With the eggs loose in the skein, you will lose your eggs on the cast and be left with just the membrane on your hook.

At a certain point you will know that the females are really close to spawning or are spawning, the eggs will be running out of the fish. Try to have a bucket or bag to save the loose eggs when this happens. I will explain why in a little bit.

The techniques used to fish with spawn, are fairly simple. If you are fishing in current, use just enough weight to naturally roll the spawn or spawn sac along the river bottom.  I have had some success in weighting the spawn to stay on the bottom, but I use foam floaters in the sacs that I tie to keep it slightly off of the bottom. When I am not in the river and I am fishing at the mouth of the river in the lake, I will simply cast the spawn, skein or sac, out into the outgoing current and let it naturally roll to the bottom. If you are fishing in this location and can’t get into the current, fish the downwind side of the river current. The wind will push the river water in the direction it is blowing to and the fish will use this water to guide itself into the river. If you are not sure what this direction is, look for the stained water and you will see this current pattern.

Let’s say that we are fishing in the harbor areas and want to fish with spawn. We can still put it on the bottom or float it under a slip bobber. I prefer to fish it under a slip bobber. I have caught a lot of fish this way and I always have one out. Set up a rod this way and while you’re casting spoons, you have another technique working for you! I like to add just a little weight to help the spawn sac sink under a bobber. You don’t have to add a lot, just enough to get the line easily thru the bobber.  In the deeper holes of the rivers, this works great there also.

Now, I like to use a #6 octopus circle hook early and then switch to a #2 later in the season. As the spawning run progresses, I increase the size of the spawn sac that I fish with. More to see and more to smell! Treble hooks work too but there is more exposed hook to get snagged up. Keep it simple and you will increase your hook ups.

There are a lot of options and tricks to keeping your spawn fresh and keeping it good for the entire fall season. You can buy a box of good old borax at most grocery stores. Some of the other products out there are Atlas Shake “n” Cure, Pautzke Bait Co. makes a great cure, the BorxOFire. This comes in several colors. Also Pautzke makes a couple of liquid cures, Nectar and Fire Brine.

Watch for an upcoming event at Bass Pro Shops, Gurnee, IL.  I will be holding a demonstration on curing and tying spawn sacs. I will show you some of the ways to keep your eggs working for you for the entire fall salmon run and discuss this topic more!

 

 

 

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Bushwacking with the SEWTU

By: Carol Debell

The South East Wisconsin Chapter of  Trout Unlimited and the Ozaukee County Fish Passage Program hosted a morning of stream restoration on August 17th in Port Washington at Mineral Springs Creek. 

About 20 volunteers showed up dressed in waders, boots, and myself in cut offs, tank top and duck shoes. 

The stream was a hidden gem located off of Oakland Avenue Greens Park, a line of trees afforded shade and quiet.  It is small, spring fed, and filled with rocks and gravel. I enjoyed wading the length , since there was poison ivy here and there on the banks.  We had 3 chain saws, loppers, and hand shears to prune and cut back the limbs and logs that were in the stream or causing water impediments.

After almost 3 hours of work we adjourned to grilled brats and sodas.

The DNR feels that this stream, a tributary of Lake Michigan, has the potential of becoming a future spawning ground for coaster brook trout.

Walking paths are present on parts of the stream bank, but do be prepared for underbrush and don’t forget to keep an eye out the poison ivy. 

Ozaukee County has a live stream camera set up, to view go to www.ozaukeefishpassage.org    One of their main goals is to reconnect 158 miles of streams to the lower Milwaukee Rive, the Milwaukee estuary, and Lake Michigan; the streams have been broken up by small dams, embankments, and culverts.  By opening up these miles fish and other aquatic organisms will have access to over 119,000 acres of existing habitat, including 14,000 acres of existing wetland habitat.

Please go to the trout unlimited web site to see what other programs and events they are hosting.

Don’t forget that Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee has fly tying classes on Thursday nights, just call first to RSVP and let me know what you would like to learn.

Carol D

 

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Fishin' Buddies

By:Walt Borg

If you love to fish as I do, you will probably fish with many different people. Maybe your Dad or Grandpa got you hooked on fishing. Maybe you fish with your brother, sister, son or daughter. Perhaps you have several different friends that you fish with. All of these people can make a great trip. However…if you are really lucky or blessed, you will find a fishin’ buddy. Maybe he is a Viet-Nam vet like you and while you never talk about it you know that he understands. He’s the guy that has his own equipment, maybe even his own boat. He’s the guy that is never late to the pick-up spot, brings coffee when it’s his turn, and even remembers how you like it. When launching your boat, he gets the motor started white you park the truck.

While fishing, whoever is steering always makes sure his fishin’ buddy is in casting position. When one of you “smokes” the other, not much is said because you know that by the end of the season it will be bout’ even. Minutes can go by while fishing without a word, but as you pick at a birds nest the size of the basketball “nice cast” is heard from the other end of the boat. If one of you left your lunch on the kitchen counter at 4am, your fishin’ buddy of course shares his salami on rye with mustard.

At the end of the day the passenger passes a $20 “for gas” without being asked. If you’re lucky, your fishin’ buddy likes to make his own lures, just like you. The driving time passes quickly as you discuss blade sizes and skirt colors. Both of you are eager to talk about each other’s future boat improvements and offer both advice and help. The “off” season is the time to attend a sports show, dream about more boat improvements, have lunch and listen to KVD blah, blah, blah.

So if you have a fishin’ buddy like this, call them and thank them. Call them today because sometimes, just like that, they are gone.

Thanks for all the good memories Rich.

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Preparing For Hunting Season

With hunting season right around the corner and the days getting a little shorter, now would be a good time to switch gears in your life and think fall.  While the calendar says it’s still summer, it won’t be long before its archery season.  Once archery opens its full tilt for the rest of the season.   Time, even more than normal, will be at a premium.  Now would be a good time to go through your gear.  Its way better to find out you need to replace something while you are in your driveway rather than as a deer of a lifetime walks in you shooting lane. 

I like to go over each type of gear separately.  I have boxes for each species I hunt so all I have to do is grab a box and go.  By keeping everything separate, I know everything I need for that hunt is right where I need it to be. Plano Molding makes a great box for this.  The Sportsman’s Trunk is ideal for getting everything in a handy portable box.  The folks at Plano even put wheels on it for easy maneuvering. I like to take everything out and spread it out either on the floor or on a table.  I almost always find something broken that I tossed in the box last season and forgot about. By getting everything out you will be able to make sure it’s all in working order and ready to go.

Make sure clothes are in good repair, not ripped or faded. I have found that sometimes over the summer clothes shrink while they are sitting in the box.  I’m not sure how that happens but it does.  I like to get those shirts and pants replaced.  Now is the time to wash your deer clothes in scent-free laundry soap.  Once I get them washed I like to put them in a giant Zip-Lock bag.  The camping department has a great selection.  This will keep them as scent free as possible.  Once you have your clothes taken care of, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your favorite boots are in good shape.  Nothing can ruin a hunt faster than cold wet feet. 

Last year’s boots can be fine so long as they still fit and haven’t sprung a leak.  Everyone hates breaking in new boots but there’s good news-most boots now have a very short break in period if any at all.  I love the RedHead brand of boots with Gore-Tex.  This makes them not only waterproof but also helps keep your feet as dry as possible by allowing moisture to escape.  As anyone who spends any time in the outdoors knows dry is warm.

The last things that need your attention will be the stuff you carry in your pack.  We all carry different things so you should make sure all are in working order.   I like to take the calls apart and clean any dirt or weed seeds that may have gotten into the reeds.  A light rinse in warm water doesn’t hurt either.  I also clean out any garbage that I have put in there.  It never ceases to amaze me how much trash I accumulate, then again one of the most common items in my pack is food.   I always put the wrappers in my pack.  I usually find trash that I take out as well.

If you can find the time before season starts to do basic maintenance on your gear, you will have more time to do what we all live for come fall.  Every minute spent prepping now will give you that much more time in the stand waiting for Mr. Tender and Juicy.

By: Mike Reynolds 8/22/13

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Small Boat Fishing-What You Need To Know

Ok, in my last two blogs we covered when to start shore fishing in August for brown trout and some shore fishing techniques. Now let’s cover some small boat fishing.

First let me point out that we are fishing Lake Michigan, this body of water can change on you very quickly. I have seen the lake go from calm to 7 to 8 foot waves in minutes. PLEASE make sure you do your homework on the weather conditions, BEFORE you go out. If you are not sure if it’s safe for your boat to fish in, call the Coast Guard or contact someone that is familiar with the conditions you plan to fish. It’s not worth your life. If it’s too rough, leave the boat on the trailer and fish from shore. I always keep my spinning rod on the boat just in case!

There are a couple of options that you can fish. The first is the harbor bite. In the Kenosha, Wisconsin harbor it is not uncommon to see small boats trolling in the harbor basin. It can be a nightmare with more than a couple of boats doing this. I have seen 34’ charter boats trolling in there and creating problems with everyone, boaters and shore fishermen.  Trolling small spoons and cranks are the best baits to use.  You can flat line the cranks or put them on a downrigger or Dipsey Diver. With the spoons, Dipsey’s or downriggers work best.

The other common technique is to drift in the harbor using the wind to cover water. You can use the same baits as you would use while fishing on shore, spoons, jigs, spinners and don’t forget to drag a spawn sac under a slip bobber.

On the right day with the right wind, try trolling the mouth of the harbor areas. This area can hold a lot of fish that haven’t been bombarded with lure from the shoreline and the boats working the inside. I would not hesitate to troll up and down the shoreline looking for fish in the current areas from the harbor or any tributaries that flow into the lake.

One thing to remember is that the bite goes from feeding to reaction as the fall progresses. Fish the depths that you are marking fish. You might see fish at all depths, but they aren’t all active. I have seen fish that move from the bottom to the surface, I think these are the fish we see constantly jumping. Are these active fish, I think some? But I would target the fish that I am marking on my electronics that are at a consistent depth. I think these are active fish that will give you the best chance at some action.

By: Jerry Costabile 8/20/13

 

 

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Floating Along in my Old Town

Floating Along in my Old Town

By: Suzie Mason

I just bought my first canoe!! It is a 14 foot Old Town Saranac 146, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!!  It’s fully loaded the front and rear seat comes with adjustable back rests, a 6” dry storage hatch, cup holders, and rod holders!  And if I feel like bringing a 3rd person along for the ride I have a bench seat in the middle with a small cooler under the seat, which I found fits a carton of night crawlers and some ice very nicely.  Only one problem I drive a very tiny 4 cylinder car, not really ideal for lugging a canoe around.  So every time I take out my awesome new canoe I have to drive from Fox Lake all the way to Wadsworth to pick up my dad’s van then back to Fox Lake again to load up the canoe, round trip that’s about an hour drive.  Determined to be in the outdoors I do this drive once or twice a week, but let me tell you it’s definitely worth it.

This last Sunday we loaded up my canoe along with my friends 16 foot Old Town canoe and headed over to Long Lake in Ingleside to hit the water.  It was a beautiful day and the water was very calm, perfect for some fishing.  We paddled across the lake to my lucky spot and it worked out, I caught about 8 blue gills, and a little bass.  After about an hour of fishing we decided to paddle across the lake to the little channel that we saw on the way in.  We had to paddle under this very short bridge with a bunch of spider webs that we had to duck under (which we almost had to turn around because of the fact we had some girly girls with us).  But thankfully the boys and myself were determined because once we got through it was so cool!!!  There were fallen trees we had to paddle around, and so many other obstacles we had to get out of the canoe a few times and carry it over logs and rocks.  The best part of the trip was at the end when a beaver ran out in front of us.  It scared us at first, but we were fortunate that it did because it made us aware of the dam he was making.  It was so big!!!  I’d say one of the biggest ones I’ve seen in this area.  At that point we had to turn around and call it a day. 

Next stop Des Plaines River!!!  We will be paddling about 6.2 miles from Sedge Meadow canoe launch to Gowe Park canoe launch, should take us about 3-4 hours.  Maybe I’ll see you out there!

If you have a passion for being outdoors like I do, you really should think about a canoe or kayak from Bass Pro Shops we have so many styles to choose from and speaking from personal experience it’s a great way to do some fishing, explore new areas, or just relax with friends and family.  Think about it, and trust me you will not regret it.

By: Suzie Mason 8/20/13

 

 

 

 

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Catching Browns in August & September

It’s me again, Jerry Costabile your Certified Tracker Sales Consultant slash great lakes fisherman!

Now, let’s talk about the techniques for catching the browns in August and September. When the browns start showing up in August, they can be feast or famine. One day you can catch them on anything you throw at them and the next day, nothing, notta, zilch! The browns are difficult to figure out this time of year. I have been down at day break and watched hundreds of brown trout jumping from one end of the Kenosha, Wisconsin harbor to the other, and not get a single hit.

I have idled thru the harbor in my boat and marked fish from top to bottom the whole way out and not seen a single fish being caught. There can be hundreds of fishermen lined up along both sides of the harbor this time of year.  But, I have taken the same pass thru and seen fishermen everywhere hooked up with a fish!

In August, having a variety of baits will be to your benefit. I like to cast spoons in different colors and sizes. I cast several different makes and sizes. Luhr Jensen Krocodile in the ¼ and ½ oz. size, Kastmaster in the 3/8oz, Acme Little Cleo in the 1/3 and 2/5 oz, Acme KO Wobbler in the ¼ and ½ oz,  Moonshine Lures 3/4oz casting spoon , and the Mepps Syclops Spoon in the ¼ and ½ oz.

Colors can change so fast with the browns, you can have a color working like crazy one day, than the next, nothing. Be prepared to change colors often, using a good quality snap swivel will help in both changing lures and keeping your line from getting a twisted or a coil memory.

Vary your depth that you retrieve your spoons at. The browns are at all levels and active fish can be also. Don’t be afraid to work the bottom. I have used a retrieve of letting the spoon go to the bottom and a slow, short sweep of my rod tip to bring the spoon off of the bottom and than by letting the spoon flutter back down triggers a strike. Speed can make a difference also.  Change speed. Fast retrieve than a pause, slow steady, steady with a twitch, jigging, are all good techniques to try. In line spinners have had their day in the spotlight also. Again vary colors, sizes and speeds.

Crankbaits are another favorite of mine. There are days when throwing a #5 or #7 Shad Rap can be deadly on the browns. I have caught them on a variety of cranks so don’t be afraid to experiment. Again vary your retrieve and speed.

Another technique that works for everyone but me is pearl or white, 2” and 3” tube jigs. I have seen fishermen absolutely destroy the browns on them. I just can’t seem to get that bite right!!

Lastly, it is not a bad idea to throw out a rod rigged up with a slip bobber and a spawn sac. There are days when this is the only bite in town! Spawn sacs can be purchased at local bait shops. FRESH IS BETTER! Old frozen spawn doesn’t seem to work for me. Also, brown trout spawn works better than salmon spawn for the browns. Just a tip from my past!

 By: Jerry Costabile 8/15/13

 

 

 

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"Catch" us on Facebook!

Today more than ever online social networking has become a way of life. With so many options out there, finding and trading information is as simple as the click of the button. What’s so great about this is that we have the option to utilize these interconnections to help stay connected, promote a business, and even sell, buy or trade product within a matter of minutes, to someone who may live across the world.  

Do you realize the ways that people acquire information have been changing significantly overtime? In the old days, they mainly obtained information from newspaper, radio and television. These sources, however, are quite limited because they only work well locally. Although these traditional media of communication are still being used, the internet world has quietly emerged as a new and more effective way of how information flows.  

In 2013 one of the largest networking programs ever created reached its peak of 1.11 billion active users. This included people from all across the globe, connecting into one network site, and expanding as a “web” to form groups, chats, links, blogs, and clubs. This networking site was named “Facebook” and has become the life of many organizations. Our way of communication now changes from one-way to two-way. For example, the newspaper as a traditional communication tool provides news to the public only in one direction without a mechanism to collect feedbacks. In a two-way communication mode like Facebook, people can acquire information as well as conveying their own comments at the same time. This can make a big difference in social impacts because it effectively facilitates exchanges and interactions among people and therefore contributes to making information flow more globalized and influential in the real world. It’s quick, easy, and efficient.

If you are reading this, chances are you already have a Facebook account. The neat thing about being an account user is being able to “LIKE” pages to receive quick and free information that applies to your needs and interests. Bass Pro Shops has joined the rest of the ever changing, fast paced social networking world. We are on Facebook! Our mission is to share the passion of the outdoors with the rest of you, by providing updates, blogs, events, and cool things happening within our store! By “liking” our page, you will be able to stay connected with us, and receive the latest scoop on what’s going on in the outdoor world. Here, you will be able to comment, share, and like the latest newsfeeds, keeping you and your family in the loop. You will discover new elements that revolve around the outdoors, be exposed to new pros in numerous interests like fishing and hunting, and even stay updated on the latest sales, deals, and promotions Bass Pro has to offer. Bass Pro Shops is dedicated to educating children on the importance of conservation and outdoor discovery. We offer many free activities throughout the months including seminars, crafts, archery lessons, and much more for the kids to enjoy. There is ALWAYS something for the children to do, and best of all, it’s at no cost to you!

So is Bass Pro Shops a page you want to “like?” If you are like most of us, your passion for the outdoors is ever lasting. The excitement, enthusiasm, and dedication to promoting the outdoors are crucial and essential in today’s society. We strive to educate and be an influence on today’s generation, so that tomorrow’s generation will follow in our footsteps.  If you agree, go ahead and click the link below!

www.facebook.com/bpsgurnee

 By: Stephanie Crede 8/15/13

 

 

 

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Technique To Conquer The Clear Bodies Of Water!

Hi guys my name is Tim Fleischauer, I work in the fishing department here at Bass Pro Shop in Gurnee Illinois. I am an avid bass fisherman but also enjoy fishing for other species, but largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is my favorite. Like many of you other anglers reading this, fishing has become an obsession of mine so I have many baits and techniques that I use frequently.

One technique in particular that in my opinion has been under utilized by many anglers, and that has helped me land many nice large and smallmouth bass over the past few is the drop-shot rig. The drop shot rig is a technique that is very effective in catching bass in very clear and deep bodies of water. Now with the drop shot there are many ways to set up your rig, most important is rod and reel, type of line, size of you hook, and the size of your weight.

Choosing the right length and action rod is key when using a drop shot rig. I prefer using a 6’8” medium extra fast action rod, because I like a little more back bone but like the extra fast action on the tip to get a better feel.  Now the rod “made” for the drop shot is a 6’9” medium light fast or extra fast action. Medium light is the ideal action for most anglers but I like a little more power when I drop shot. 

 Line plays a very important role in your drop shot rig. In those deep, clear bodies of water like Lake Geneva WI, you can see the bottom in 20 foot of water, and those fish can see just as far and will spook very easy. Always use a fluorocarbon line, I prefer Bass Pro Shops XPS fluorocarbon in 6 or 8 pound test because it’s super strong, very sensitive, but also very clear when submerged under the water. Now fluorocarbon line in general is a harder line, so there will tend to have more memory, I don’t recommend spooling this directly on to your spinning reel. I like to use a 10 or 15 pound braided line then attach a 6 to 8 pound fluorocarbon leader to the end of my line, about 3 to 5 feet is fine. I do this for three reasons, one because braided has no stretch there for I can feel the bottom and the real light bites that you may sometimes get.  Secondly, braided line has no memory so I am able to cast my spinning reel with no problems.  Lastly the diameter of a braided line is less than half the size of its monofilament equivalent, so you are able to use a higher pound line and get a lot further cast.

There are many types of hooks you can use for the drop shot rig. A lot of the times I find myself using the Spin Shot hook by VMC, in either a  # 2 or #4 size. But in cases where fishing is slow or high pressure, like a blue bird day with no wind, I will switch to a #4 octopus hook and tie the rig myself to eliminate as much visible hardware to the fish as I can. The weight you use is another important factor when it comes to drop shoting, you want a weight heavy enough to maintain contact with the bottom while you drag it around weed beds or vertical jig it over rock piles. I prefer to use 1/4oz in all my applications of drop shotting because it is a very versatile weight.  I can fish the deeper 20 even 25 foot rock piles with it and I can still fish the shallower weed beds efficiently, without getting hung up. 

 Using the right baits and how you present those baits, is what’s going to catch you fish. I can go on and on about the different baits for the drop shot, but for the sake of this blog I am going to keep it short and sweet. For the #2 VMC hooks I will use a 6 inch worm my favorite but then I will also present the worm nose hooked and wacky style.  For the smaller #4 hook I like to use 4inch worm’s nose hooked.  My favorite brands of worms to use are the Chompers drop shot worms, the Bass Pro Cut tail worm’s, and a zoom finesse worm. As far as colors go, when you’re in clear water go natural green pumpkin is always a killer, my smallmouth killer is a plum chompers 4” worm.            

The type of presentation you will use with this rig will be vertical jig and twitch, keeping the weight in contact with the bottom and shaking the line making the worm twitch.  The other technique is casting the rig let the weight hit the bottom then you will just drag and shake the rig towards you, keeping the weight sliding along the bottom.

 Areas of interest when using the drop shot in deep clear bodies of water is focus on deeper points,  break lines, or rock piles. I find myself working from 10 FOW all the way out to 25 FOW when using the rig. This rig is a blast to use! You will catch a lot of fish and have a blast doing it! 

I recently took my boss out fishing on my boat, and had one of the best days this year using the Drop shot Rig!

 Here is a nice Bass he landed!

By: Tim Fleischauer                   

  

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Late Season Shore Fishing

Hi, my name is jerry Costabile. I am a certified sales consultant for Tracker Marine Boats in Gurnee, Illinois.

I am an avid Lake Michigan fisherman and I am getting excited for the late season shore fishing in the Kenosha, Wisconsin area.

Even with the capability to fish from a boat, there is something about catching August brown trout and September king salmon on light tackle from the shoreline. If this is something you have never experienced, you are missing out on a chance to catch some of the biggest fish of the year!

It usually starts about this time every year depending on, of course weather and water temperature. As the weather starts to stay around the 70 degree mark during the day time and night time in the 50’s and 60’s, the brown trout start to migrate into the harbors and shoreline areas. With the water temperatures in the mid 50’s to mid 60’s the first fish are being caught. This is not a spawning run or a feed; it is when the water temperature is favorable for the trout around the shorelines. This makes the fish accessible to everyone to include shore fisherman as well as small boat owners. The spawn for the browns come later in the fall and is evident by the condition of the fish.

As September approaches, the word of king salmon being caught spreads like wildfire! The kings showing up around the shorelines this time of year is not related to weather or water temperature, it is a spawning run. Every fall, mature salmon return to the rivers or harbors where they are released as fingerlings. This spawning run not only brings mature salmon but it also attracts immature king and coho salmon as well as rainbow and later in the fall, lake trout. All of the species of trout and salmon feed on the eggs or roe as the females deposit them. On most of the great lakes, the eggs do not hatch due to unfavorable spawning conditions. There is some evidence of natural salmon hatches in the upper Lake Michigan, but most of the trout and salmon we catch have been raised by the many sport fishing clubs and state hatcheries. An effort you contribute to with the purchase of your great lakes trout and salmon stamps.

 

 

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Hunt Like A Girl...In Style!

Hunt Like a Girl… In Style!

By: Katie Cook

Being a women in the wonderful world of hunting we have had limited options for hunting clothing. When I first started hunting there was only men’s hunting clothing on the market. Even the smallest sizes didn’t fit correctly. As I got older the clothing options stayed the same. Unshapely, men’s hunting clothing was all I had to look forward too as a female hunter each season. I know hunting isn’t a fashion statement but I shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort or style for the things I love. That's why I want to introduce you to "She" apparel, for women!

In the mid 2000’s Pam Zaitz was tired of wearing men’s and kid’s clothing when on safari and hunting. She wanted to create functional clothing that was fitted and tailored for woman. After months of design and testing Pam launched She Safari women’s outdoor apparel.  She Safari introduced the safari line and the response was so great that they introduced a line of upland clothing in less than a year and, the company started to focus on a broad range of camouflage for North American markets.

When Bass Pro Shops first received She Safari clothing and footwear in our store I was ecstatic! FINALLY we have clothing for woman. We only received a few pieces at first but soon began to carry more items. The camouflage items we originally received were the duck blind bib and jacket. The quiet material and thinsulate interior made them an item above any other product we had for woman. Soon we started to carry t-shirts and light weight long sleeve shirts with either a scoop neck or a v-neck.  Not only did we receive the camouflage clothing line but also some of the safari line. The safari line is a light weight, rip-stop material made for durability and functionality but still flattering to a female form. I wear the Adventure Skort at work in the summer months and it is extremely comfortable. I have received many compliments from my coworkers and customers when I wear it. She Safari also knows that no two women are the same so their clothing has a diverse size range from extra small – 2XL.  (SKU# 1998793)

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Be A Hero!

Be a Hero-With the GoPro!


Hey everyone. My name is Chris Kohnke, and I am very lucky to be apart of the Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff in Gurnee. My passion has always been fishing. Some say I am addicted to it. When I am not at my Firefighting job, I am out on the water. Everyone knows that it's important to bring a camera on the boat. After all, catching nice fish all day can create memories. Whether you are a pro fisherman like myself, or a beginner, I want to introduce you to one of the best inventions I have encountered. I am sure you have heard about it, and may have wondered "how does it work? Who is it for?" Well my friends, keep reading.

The GoPro is literally "The World's Most Versatile Camera." We were first introduced to it in 2004. With tons of different varieties to chose from , GoPro has made a camera to fit just about any outgoing, adventurous individual out there. Fishing, hiking, skydiving, snowboarding, you name it! With the GoPro, we can see what is happening from the individual's head, side of the boat, or anywhere it is placed. It's like being there yourself, experiencing it yourself!

GoPro's lineup of mount-anywhere cameras has been dazzling extreme sports enthusiasts for years. Now, GoPro has rolled out the Hero3, which packs even greater performance than its predecessors.
The gopro hero 3 is smaller, lighter, and more efficient than the hero 2. If you have a Hero 2 all of your mounting brackets and hardware will work with the Hero 3.The super cool thing about the Hero 3 is the addition of wifi. In a few easy steps you can activate the wifi on the GoPro to preview your video/photo shots on your smartphone. You will have to download the GoPro app to your phone but it's easy and FREE.


With the go pro app on your smartphone you can control virtually every feature on the GoPro. Including turning the camera on and off, starting and stopping of recordings, snaping photos, as well as watching videos that you have recorded and photos taken. You can also save videos and photos to your phone to share on social media. Overall this is a very fun and easy to use camera. The video and picture quality is unbelievable. The waterproof case ensures complete protection of the camera. The possibilities are endless!


Go out and enjoy the outdoors before summer is over. Record your precious moments with the new GoPro hero 3.

Chris Kohnke

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A Great Time For Lake Michigan Salmon/Trout Fishing!

Hi, My name is Harley Goodman.  I am a hunting team leader at Bass Bro Shops in Gurnee, IL. My experience started in the outdoors at a very young age.  I have been hunting, fishing, camping, hiking,and boating for over 20 years.

 I would like to share with you some of my experience on Lake Michigan trolling for salmon/trout.  For the past 10 years I have been a tournament angler fishing all over the Western side of Lake Michigan, but  the ports I frequently fish include Winthrop Harbor and Waukegan Illinois and Kenosha and Racine Wisconsin.  I've also been fortunate enough to be part of a few tournament winning teams over the past decade. 

This season has proved to be one of the best I can ever remember in regards to the size of the Chinook Salmon roaming the waters on the western side of the "big pond".  On July 31, 2013 during a morning tournament pre-fishing trip I was able to reel in my largest King Salmon to date from a boat, a 23.5 lb. giant.  Less than 5 minutes after that, another monster struck our lure and I battled a 19.75 lb. King Salmon to the net.

What lures and patterns are working the best you might be wondering?  Various segments of leadcore trolling line and Moonshine Spoons seem to be the best for me. My two favorite Moonshine Spoons are the Flounder Pounder and Happee Meal.  Also, during low light conditions I have been very successful with dodger/fly combinations ran off Dipsy Divers and  downriggers in white/green color patterns.  All of this can be found at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee, IL.

What are you waiting for?  Get out there for some drag screaming action on the Great Lakes!

If you have any questions and/or looking to get out fishing on Lake Michigan  please ask and I will be glad to point you the right direction.

Good Fishing!

Harley Goodman

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Guess What I Found In the Dark?

 I love the night bite that can happen in the heat of the summer.  On July 20, I fished a tournament with my daughter, Berklie.  We had a blast!  We started at 7 p.m. and ended at midnight.  It was windless and water temps were in the 80’s and the fishing started fast and furious.  I was fishing a black and blue Bass Pro Shops ¾ oz. Enticer Football Jig with a blue Zoom Super Chunk for a trailer.  The lake we were fishing on had that green algae bloom look to it, so we headed for the only current in the lake.  About ten flips into it, we had our limit of 4 fish. As the evening progressed, the fishing got even better.  We culled a lot of fish.  Then at dark, I was flipping the same jig, but I had changed to a green pumpkin color. It was so dark that I could not see a thing.  So I made a flip, and … nothing. As I was reeling it in, already in my mind changing to a different bait, just as I lifted it out of the water, a 2 ¾ lb. smallmouth smoked it. It almost scared me to death! So I decided to swim the jig like I do in the daytime. 

I was using my Extreme 7’6” Heavy Flipping Stick with 20 lb. mono line, maybe not the best choice for the technique, but I had never swam a jig at night before, so how could it be wrong?  Well, it was on.  I caught more giant smallmouth bass than I can ever remember in my life, and some really sweet largies.  Normally, my go-to at night is a buzzbait, spinnerbait, etc.  You know, the textbook baits that everyone says to use.  But, I tried them.  I threw a buzzer along the bank, and spinnerbait, and nothing would happen.  I stopped, grabbed the jig and swam it, and “bam,” giant! From that point, I never laid it down again, and the action never slowed.

We did not win, but we ended up in 4th, and got our entry money back. The best things that came of it were making fishing memories with my daughter and learning something new.  I’m not saying it will always work, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  Remember to spend as much time as you can with those you love.
Dan Hayes
 

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