WHAT TO EXPECT
What is night-fishing like?
Trolling silently and following structure allows your senses to take in all that the great Northwoods provides. We'll get on the water while there still is some light and I'll show you the basics of longline trolling with walleye crankbaits. Longline trolling is a technique that works on all species, however it is very productive with walleyes after dark. This may change how you fish for walleyes forever...it did for me! All baits, rods and reels are included. I prefer that you use the line-counter reels, trolling rods and baits that I provide.
Where will we be fishing?
I consider the public boat launch in Lake Tomahawk as my home base, but I fish many other lakes with lots of structure in both Vilas and Oneida counties. Each night presents new weather challenges or a wind direction that factors into what lake is best on any particular night. Lakes also turn on and off, from one week to the next. All are impacted by musky or bass tournament pressure. I'll make sure we meet at an easy to find place near the lake we will be fishing. Weather is our most unpredictable variable. If it looks like the weather's not going cooperate, we'll reschedule. Rain is not safe or enjoyable at night.
Why is night fishing more effective?
Big walleyes are more active at night! Walleye's are nocturnal by nature and the best time to catch them is at night. With over 30+ years of night fishing experience, I've refined long-line trolling so it is consistent and effective. I'll help you become proficient too. I use every advantage to put big walleyes in the boat for my clients. From understanding biology and environmental science to the theory behind the moon phases - waxing/waining and majors/minors. From custom trolling rods to hand-tuned crankbaits. All these factors help increase your odds of catching big Walleyes at night.
Trolling is the most effective way to search and find active fish. Long-line trolling means that you are holding the trolling rod and working a crankbait as we follow along structure. We'll be using tank-tested, hand-tuned and customized crankbaits such as Smithwicks, Reef Runners, Thundersticks, Husky Jerks, Lucky Craft or custom painted Rapala number 18s. It’s legal now to troll in Northern Wisconsin lakes. This new regulation allows for three (3) lines total per boat. We will be fishing in my clean, Coast Guard reviewed (2021) and well organized a 18' Lund Pro V with a 150 HP Merc.
What will you need to bring?
First, dress in layers for cold weather. If you get too warm its easy to shed a layer. For warm weather, wear lite long sleeves, socks, shoes and pants because mosquitos come out around dusk for an hour. I'll have some non-DEET repellent for you to use. Bring a small water-proof bag with extra clothing if needed. Bring a headlamp that fits you with new batteries. Also, bring a sandwich, drinks and snacks. Lastly, bring an open mind. long-lining takes time to master. Small and subtle changes make all the difference.
Will we keep any fish?
I fillet and bag your catch at the end of night right there at the launch. I'm also a proponent of catch and release. The more of us thinking about the long-term health of the fishery the better. One trophy fish (28-30") is OK if you plan to take it to the Taxidermist. Better yet, replicas today are as good as the real thing. Replicas allow us to release those special larger fish back into the lake for others to enjoy and release as well!