Angling Laboratory

≡ Menu

Freshwater Fishing

Green Bay: Targeting Industrial Muskies in Low-Visibility Water Conditions

You will need to work hard to find muskies in Green Bay

Muskies in Green Bay

As we meandered through the Fox River mouth which pours into southern Green Bay, with coal mines, pilings, and warm water discharge plants everywhere,  it raised my eyebrow with concern.

How are muskies supposed to live and thrive in this area with bio-hazard water quality?

This area is contaminated with so much Mercury that fish should only be eaten once a month, if that! As an environmentalist, the first thing I would like to say is portion of Southern Green Bay is an area which needs to clean up the water, it’s truly hazardous and makes me feel disgusted to be part of the human race.

[click to continue…]

Opening Day Tactics for Minnesota “Bronze-Backed Marble Eyes” Featuring Blake Johnson & Zach Fasking

Getting Outfitted for Opening Day “Bronze-Backs”

  • It is coming up upon us very quickly; a rich tradition deep in our roots here in the state of Minnesota, the “infamous walleye opener”.   Over the years, Blake and I have had some truely “epic” days on the water.  From these “epic” days of success, crucial tactics & concepts have been analyzed, documented, and established into a pattern. Over many years of  fishing on opening day, our go top 2 “go-to lakes” are: Lake Mille Lacs & Leech Lake.  Also, in these great underwater ecosystems, the chance at that elusive 50″ Muskie is always there, however we will wait until June 2nd to talk about those ferocious brutes.

Exploring “Angling-Options”; Backpacking for Walleyes in Wilderness Environments

Sometimes fishing in the city can be frustrating, especially in the modern time era of technology and environmental pollution.  If you are looking to get away from fishing in confined city boundaries, this article is for you.  The first thing to consider is how long you plan to be on your expedition.  If you are looking for a fun week long trip, try heading to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Located in Northern Minnesota near the town of Grand Marais.  You can backpack in and fish, and with such an abundance of wilderness lakes in a close proximity, the possibilities are endless.  There are wilderness areas throughout the United States, and the fishing opportunities can be one of a kind.  Let’s discuss some key points in preparation for a successful excursion.

 

“the fishing opportunities can be one of a kind”

Backpacking gives you a true sense of the environment surrounding you

 

The first topic of discussion will be  preparation for a successful backpacking/fishing outing.  This discussion will then be followed up by analyzing some unique tactics and techniques for targeting freshwater gamefish on Wilderness Area Lakes.  Here are a few key things to consider when preparing for your backpacking outing:

 

“Nature’s Beauty”

Backpacking can give us a sense of connection to Nature’s Beauty

 

 

  • Learn how to read a map, orient yourself with a compass, and use a handheld GPS for navigating your area effectively:  When you are in a true wilderness setting, you need to be prepared for anything.  With this being said, it is essential  that you are comfortable with navigating the terrain you travel.  I have found myself lost in nature, and it was a really great experience, however, I was able to navigate myself to a trail head with a compass bearing and topographic map of my surroundings.  If you are not familiar with how to orienteer, I would reccomend learning how before any backpacking expedition.
 
  • Be prepared for medical emergencies:  It is essential to have a flawless medical evacuation plan if needed.  If you are not filtering fresh water or boiling all of the bacteria, it can easily lead to severe illness.  Always listen to signs and symptoms that your body gives you on the trip.  Also, make sure you are extremely well hydrated, this means at least 4 Liters of water a day.  If a medical emergency does occur, make sure that either yourself or someone you are with has a valid First Responder Certification.  Take into consideration that NOT ALL First Responder kits contain an epi-pen.  So make sure you have one and know how to use it.  
 
  • Know how much gear to carry in:  You will be carrying all gear in on your back, with this being said you want to select a light amount of tackle and only one rod.  Along with this you will need stoves, fuel, cook kits, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, extra clothing, flashlights, water filters, food and snacks, and cooking pots and pans.  This is a lot of gear, so make sure you are fit and that you know what your body can manage.  
 
  • Respect your wilderness and use the 7 Principles of  ”LNT” Leave No Trace:  

1.) Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces:  This means you would want to camp on ground such as dry ground, rocks/sediment, dry grasses & snow.  This will leave less of an impact on the area of wilderness you travel on.

2.) Plan Ahead/Prepare for your outing: Make sure you know all rules as well as the regulations of the area you plan on traveling to.  especially if the season is dry, there could be special fire concerns.

3.) Dispose of Waste Properly:  Do not pollute the area with garbage, bring a large bag to throw all garbage into and carry it out with your backpack.  If you can carry it in, you can carry it out.

4.) Leave What you Find:  Never take from the land, the reason the wilderness has some many great assets is because it has been left alone for generations.  Preserve our environment and leave what you find.

5.) Respect all of the Wildlife:  Do not harass the wildlife, it is what sustains our environment.  Please practice good ethics, it is easy to enjoy and not harass.  

6.) Minimize Campfire Impact:  Make sure you have a fire in a designated fire ring, and that fires are allowed during the time you will be camping

7.) Be Considerate of Others in the Area:  Make sure you are quiet and respectful to others who are trying to enjoy the natural setting.

 

“It is essential to always have a first aid kid on hand”

Don't forget a first aid kit

When backpacking, it is essential to always have a first aid kit on hand

 

Now that the basics of navigation, travel, and general backpacking information has been covered, let’s discuss some crucial concepts for targeting “Undisturbed Walleye”.  When I say this, I am referring to fish that have virtually no angling pressure on them.  When we go back to the prehistoric age, everything used to be strictly predator-prey relationships, now we have computers and cell phones.  Be organized and make sure to have the Walleye Essentials.

 

When targeting “Undisturbed Walleye”, it is time to drift back to your prehistoric angling roots. Start off with the basics, cast a jighead with a berkley power grub and scower the shorelines.  I prefer to throw a chunky 4″  salt and pepper grub with a white 1/8 jighead.  This color scheme can replicate about any baitsource in the water, and “Undisturbed Walleye” do not tend to be very finicky.  This is the best option to locate fish.    Once you have found a location, make a waypoint on your GPS unit and continue to search and scower what else the ecosystem has to offer.  Every time you catch a fish, mark a waypoint, and come fish this area again at dusk and sunrise.  Try casting crankbaits and shad-raps in this areas, especially after dark.  Walleyes seem to really hone in on shallow gravel bottoms after dark, casting rattle traps can be the most effective method on moonlight nights.

 

As for a rod and reel, I recommend a 7ft medium heavy St. Croix rod.  It provides great sensitivity and also has the backbone to fight large untamed wilderness area walleyes.  Also, it has the backbone to handle a big northern that decides to snip at your rattle trap just right, so you get that perfect hook in the side of her mouth where she can’t bite you off  :-).  As for line, I prefer 8lb fluorocarbon, it is extremely low-visibility in the water and will ultimately result in more hook ups.  Below are a few must have’s for your tackle preparation.  

 

When packing your tackle make sure to bring the following: 

-Rattle Traps

-Jigs & Soft Plastics (Berkley power leech and power grubs)

-Berkley gulp 5″ Smelt power minnow to lace on jigs for finicky walleyes

-Shallow to mid-depth crankbaits (4-12ft diving range)

-Live bait if you prefer

 

 

Love where we live and be thankful for the greatness of our remaining underwater ecosystems,

Zachary Fasking

Getting Outfitted for Success on your next fly fishing expedition

When you pay for quality, you only pay once!

Getting Outfitted With the right Outerwear

Getting Outfitted for Success on your next fly fishing expedition

Fly fishing isn’t the cheapest sport in the world when it comes to getting outfitted. However, once you get everything you need and get out and enjoys nature’s beauty, everything seems to just flow, and come together. It does for me anyway. The truth of the matter is that when you invest in some quality equipment, you’ll not only enjoy the sport more, but you will also optimize chances for success on your next expedition. You want to be where the fish are, sometimes that means a day of searching mother earth, and she can be one stubborn broad! Make sure your environment doesn’t beat you on your next outing!

Choosing the appropriate outerwear is key

Big River Fly Fishing

I wear the North Face Resolve Jacket

I have fished HARD for a solid 18 years; these are some personal directions you can trust based on my recommendations and preferences. Let’s begin with outerwear and clothing. I wear the North Face Mens Resolve Jacket as my main foundation and outer shell, protecting me from all of nature’s fury. This is also at a ridiculously affordable price! Make sure you wear a nice cozy couple of layers underneath your outer shell. North face also manufactures some really nice underwear to wear, especially for a sweat absorption layer for a base foundation. Gloves can be an option depending on how hard core of a fly fisherman you really are. Personally, I prefer to always go without a pair, shame on me.

[sws_ui_icon ui_theme="start" icon="ui-icon-alert"] [/sws_ui_icon] WARNING: NO GLOVES WILL PRODUCE BONE CHILLING HANDS, DIEHARDS ONLY!

Chilly Hands Releasing Steelhead

WARNING: NO GLOVES WILL PRODUCE BONE CHILLING HANDS, DIEHARDS ONLY!

Waders and boots are always the most crucial investment you will make. You want waders that are suitable to your personal fly fishing niche. As of now, felts boots may not be around for much longer because of easy invasive species transportation. This is a good law for preserving our underwater ecosystems. However, if you plan on fishing a body of water singularly, then get some felts! I wear Korkers Redside Wading Boots, accessible www.korkers.com[sws_ui_icon ui_theme="start" icon="ui-icon-extlink"] [/sws_ui_icon] . These boots are changeable to both felt and rubber! I wear my felts only on the north shore, and I wear the rubber soles everywhere else! I prefer waders that are light weight and can carry most of my gear for me for transportation, usually without a vest. I wear Cabelas Guide Series gore Tex waders because they are very affordable and have lots of holding space. When I have a lot of gear to bring, I will bring a vest along, especially for long trips. Here is a great vest that I wear, from Fishpond: Gore Range Barnwood Fly Fishing Vest & Tech Pack. This vest has proven itself to be durable, it also cinches snug tight on me, which is crucial when traveling through brush or uneven terrain. The final point of advice is making the right selection of material for your waders.

  • Neoprene – This is the most popular material for waders. It is very durable and can take a lot of abuse. It comes in many thicknesses, so you can choose the one that will best fit your needs: 3mm or 5mm. 3mm is best for places where it is usually of moderate weather with a few cold days. This is also a good thickness if you have to walk a ways to get to your fishing spot or if you walk a lot while you’re fishing. 5mm is the choice for colder weather spots or if you want to use your waders for hunting as well.
Using Neoprene Waders

Sometimes on really cold days I will strap on some neoprene waders

  • Gore Tex – This type of material is an extremely breathable fabric, it is comfortable and feels weightless in the water. Allowing moisture to vent while you are in the water. Make sure to fear some long johns and sweatpants if you select this material. I personally prefer gore tex over all other materials.
Using Gore Tex Waders

Gore Tex is a great option for comfort ability

  • Rubber – Rubber waders really decrease your mobility for travel. Also, to be honest, rubber boots and waders are just down right uncomfortable. There is no point in being miserable on the water. I would not recommend rubber waders, period.
Morning Steelhead Catch

Make sure your equipment fits if you really want to be comfortable on the water!!!


 

Love where we live and be thankful for the greatness of our remaining underwater ecosystems,

Zachary Fasking

5 Tips for Preservation on Your Next Angling Adventure

Piece of Mind from Fishing

Fishing is not always about catching the big one, sometimes the piece of mind you get is worth the expedition.

Here at anglinglab, we believe in protecting our remaining underwater ecosystems. The reason for this is because we want others to be able to experience pristine natural environments for generations to come. Here are 5 tips to keep our gorgeous ecosystems in good health while you are wettin’ a line.

  • No matter what, ALWAYS clean up your line. Never leave pieces of it lying around, this can act as an agent of pollution as well as something to attract and harm wildlife in the area.
    North Shore on a Nice Day

    Keeping Our Ecosystems Clean Allows Beauty To Prevail

  • If you really love the area that you fish, bring a portable bag to collect garbage that others may have dispersed on your honey hole. An ideal habitat should be “untrammeled”, for this to happen we need to constantly be thinking preservation.
    North Shore Chilly Day

    The North Shore on a chillier day, isn’t it pretty? :)

  • Follow LNT ethics, LNT stands for LEAVE NO TRACE. If you are camping, always make sure the land looks exactly how it was when you get there before you depart.
    In the Water on a Cold Winter Day

    Being in the water on a cold winter day lifts my soul and clears my head.

  • Believe in angling Karma, because I know that every time I do good to the environment, it usually repays me in a “fishy” reward for my generosity
    Stonefly Great Bug Rocky Shorelines

    A stonefly is a great bug on all lakes with rocky shorelines, which is the ideal habitat for stoneflies.

  • Inform others about preservation techniques and help spread the word to fellow anglers!
    Target the River Mouth if River is Frozen

    Always target the river mouth if the river is too frozen over.