Your Guided Fishing Trip!
I appreciate the fact that you are considering a guided fishing trip with me. I take a lot of pride in what I do and hope we get a chance to spend some time out on the water! I put this page together to answer some frequently asked questions about a typical trip.
This is your trip and I want you to enjoy yourself. Everybody has different expectations about a good day on the water. Some want to learn everything they can about fishing and fish every minute of the trip, and some want to take it easy, kick back and enjoy the scenery, photograph wildlife, or stop on an island for lunch or to explore. Need me to run back to the boat landing to use the restroom facilities or take a break? Just ask. Maybe you would like me to teach you how to tie a fishing knot? Or possibly explain how I utilize the latest sonar technology? Maybe you would just like peace and quiet and the thrill of the next tug on your line? Whatever your wishes may be, I'll try to accommodate!
What time will we fish?
We often start a trip in the morning between 6am and 8am. It depends on the time of year, if there has been a good "early bite", and what works best for your schedule and my schedule. It is often a good idea to make sure we are on water either fairly early in morning or at sunset to hit a peak feeding period. So we could even start a 4 hour trip at 4pm and fish til dark. There are really no set starting times for a trip, so just about anything is possible. A half day trip is an honest 4 hours on the water, 3/4 day is 6 hours on the water, and a full day is 8 hours on the water. Let me know what works best for you and we'll try to make it happen.
Where do we meet?
We often set up a time to meet at one of the area Bait Shops. I can also pick you up at your dock if you are staying on the lake we are going to fish. If you'd like, we can also meet at one of our nice local cafes for a quick breakfast, or we could just meet at the landing of the lake we will fish. You can ride with me, or just follow me with your vehicle. I'm pretty flexible and will try to accommodate your needs.
What lakes do you fish?
There are over 3,000 different bodies of water between Oneida and Vilas Counties! This area has one of the highest freshwater lake densities in the world! Incredible opportunity for angling with many different types of lakes, rivers, flowages and streams! Sometimes all these choices make picking a body of water difficult, as certain lake types often fish very differently at different times of year. I am constantly exploring different waters as fish populations and pressure are constantly changing.
This is your fishing trip, so you can leave the lake choices to me based on what has been most productive, or you can request to fish a certain body of water. If you live, or are staying on, a particular body of water, I would be glad to share my knowledge to help you better understand that body of water. This is a great way to jump start a vacation on a lake you are not familiar with . On a full day trip we often fish several bodies of water, which makes for a fun adventure!
Not a complete list, but here are some of the larger bodies of water I frequently fish. If you don't see the lake you are interested in, please ask.
Minocqua Chain Of Lakes
Lac du Flambeau Chain Of Lakes
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Big St. Germain
Big Arbor Vitae
What does the guide supply?
My goal is to make your trip as simple, fun and educational as possible!
Full, 3/4, or half day on the water with Bernie in his fully rigged 2013 Lund Impact 1775 boat
Use of rods, reels, tackle, and live bait are included ( You are welcome to bring your own if you wish )
Cleaning and packaging of fish kept. We do practice and encourage catch and release and selective harvest for some situations to help keep our fisheries thriving.
On the water instruction and explanations of the the equipment, tackle and techniques utilized as well as
helping you understand where the fish are and why they are there.
What do I need to bring?
Valid Wisconsin Fishing License
Sunglasses ( Polarized if possible )
Hat and Sunscreen
Clothing to fit season
Lunch ( If you wish )
( Optional ) Rods/ Reels/ Tackle
I typically supply all rods/reels/tackle but you are welcome to bring your own if you wish. There is more information regarding the equipment I utilize under the EQUIPMENT PAGE
A smile and eagerness to enjoy a day of fishing and the great outdoors!
Polarized sunglasses are recommended for underwater vision and eye safety. I do have some extra glasses, rainwear, and an extra cooler available for use if needed. Hopefully we don't need rainwear. We will get off the water in the event of thunder, lightning or any other unsafe conditions, and resume or reschedule the trip when conditions are safe.
What kind of techniques or bait do you often use?
There are many different factors that are considered when choosing what type of presentation we are going to use. Our choices are made according to the depth, type of cover, and preferred forage of the fish we are pursuing. I am confident in and proficient with a wide different variety of artificial and live baits. All of the techniques I utilize are very "hands on" with you casting and detecting your own bites. Have no fear if you have no experience, I'm here to teach. This is a perfect opportunity to learn something new!
Here are some of the more common presentations we use:
Jigging ( with plastics or live bait )
Lindy Rigging ( plastics and live bait )
Wacky Rigging Plastics
Texas Rigged Plastics
If you are interesting in learning or focusing on a particular technique, please ask. Finding fish is the most critical element. Once fish are located they can often be caught using several different kinds of presentations.
How many fish are caught on an average trip?
A very common and good question that is also one the most difficult to answer. There are so many different variables, such as species pursued, lake fished, time of trip, weather patterns, our goals, and the skill level of fisherman in boat, When I started guiding in 1990, I was way more concerned about numbers in the boat and making a mark in the crazy business of guiding. I've since realized I am a guide, not God. I can only control certain things. Yes, catching fish is very important... but the whole fishing experience and enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family is the ultimate accomplishment!
I'll touch a bit on individual species and what to expect, but keep in mind that we can possibly split the day up and target several different species on several different lakes throughout the day if you wish!
My most popular trips and highest catch rates involve targeting Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass. This area was once known for it's incredible Walleye fishing, but the bass have exploded in many of the old prime Walleye waters. Catches of 30 to 60 bass a day are not uncommon, with 100 plus fish days possible with the right conditions. The average size is 12" -16", with the occasional bass over 20" being caught. The average size and quantity varies with the lake choice. We do catch other species, such as Northern Pike, Musky, and Walleye, while pursuing bass. Most of these fish are released, although certain lakes with high densities of fish will allow us to harvest bass for a delicious meal.
Walleye is still one of the most sought after gamefish in Wisconsin's Northwoods. Although the overall populations have declined in the last twenty years, the fishing can still be very good. I enjoy chasing Walleye, and as with bass fishing, we will commonly catch other species of fish while pursuing them. Much like bass, I find the average size we catch to be 12" to 16" long. Much larger fish in the 24" to 30" class are possible, but not really common unless specifically targeting them. Size limits and bag limits vary from lake to lake. A 3 fish per person limit with a minimum 15" length is quite common on a number of lakes. A nice walleye catch for the day would be everyone catching a 3 fish limit and throwing back a couple dozen short ones. I won't lie, we're not going to put a limit of Walleye in the boat every single trip out, but we'll have fun trying and catching multiple other species doing so!
Crappie, Perch and Bluegill are very popular species to pursue. Crappie are commonly 9" to 12" long with 12 to15 inchers possible. Perch are in the 9 to 11 inch class, and Bluegills often run 8 to 10 inches. A typical day would see us putting us putting 30 to 60 fish in the boat, depending on time of year, length of trip, and the body of water we fish. We practice selective harvest on all species, including panfish, to help maintain a healthy fishery.
I spent a number of years specifically chasing and guiding Musky. I have at this point decided not to offer guided trips for them. They are a magnificent fish, but I am choosing to stay focused on the other species in our area. We do frequently catch Musky while fishing for other species on lighter tackle. There are a number of great Musky guides in the area and I would be glad to refer you to them if Musky is your main target.
What will we do with the fish we catch?
Most of the fish we catch in our beautiful Northern Wisconsin waters are delicious to eat! If you are interested in keeping a meal of fresh fish, we'll put them in the live well or on ice, and I will clean and package them for you at the end of the day! Want to try one of my favorite recipes? Check out the RECIPIES page.
Some of the fish we will catch will have to be released due to the season being closed or minimum/maximum size limits.
We also encourage and practice catch and release and selective harvest in some situations to protect our fisheries. Overharvest can be detrimental to some of our fragile fisheries.
I hope you or one your children catches the trophy of a lifetime... your personal best! If you do, and you want to keep it, that's your choice, as long as it is in season and a legal fish. I can recommend a great taxidermist, or better yet, you can photograph, measure, and release the fish and have a high quality graphite reproduction made!