Thursday, March 31, 2011

Squirmin' Worm Farm Plymouth Wisconsin

So I went to pick up some spawn sacs for tomorrows steelhead adventure and ran into a shop called the
Squirmin' Worm Farm in Plymouth Wi. Dave owns and operates the quaint little shop off Hy 67 on Hillwind road. Very knowledgeable and friendly , Dave is looking to move his operation to Hy 67 in the coming months. So if your in the area stop in at the Squirmin' Worm Farm and tell Dave I sent you. For more informaton go to

All this in Wisconsin for only 20.00!

 For 20.00  US Dollars?

 Another season is about to start and  Wisconsin anglers need to buy a new licence starting  today if you haven't already. Are we lucky here or what! Twenty dollars and a ten dollar stamp and 
anglers can tromp 2,989 trout streams stretching more than 10,500 miles.. We have the most liberal wading law (keep your feet wet) and you can go anywhere.  If your fishing lakes you can choose more than 10,000 lakes to enjoy. Fishing the great lakes require  a 10.00 great lakes stamp. We do see boat  launch fees increase but for the most part they are reasonable across the state and some counties are still enjoying free  launch programs. Are we still producing great fishing in Wisconsin?   The answer is HELL Yes!
The new state record brown trout caught July 16, 2010 from Lake Michigan
The 41-pound, 8-ounce brown trout Roger Hellen of Franksville caught in Lake Michigan waters north of Racine is now a Wisconsin state record fish. Hellen caught the fish while competing in the Salmon-A-Rama tournament. The fish measured 40.6 inches long and weighed 41 pounds 8 ounces on a certified scale at a local meat market. The fish bettered the previous record by almost 5 pounds. The previous record was a 36 pounds 8.9 ounces, 40.5- inch fish caught August 23, 2004, in Lake Michigan near Kewaunee. 

 This year Wisconsin also went to a one license day license!  Take a buddy with you and see if he likes it. $10.00 for non resident $8.00 for residents. What a great deal for people visiting Wisconsin on business and only have  a day to spend. Tell me what is costs to fish in your state or country!
Come enjoy Wisconsin

Monday, March 28, 2011

Protect Fish and Beer?

A rule is a rule!

This year ,lake Winnebago had a warm spell and this guy abandoned his shanty. In stead of asking for help he filed his name off the door and left it for a local fishing club to bare the cost of removal.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Early Trout Opener, Crawford County, Wisconsin

A great little site! Glad I found it.

Shin Deep

Shin Deep
Shin Deep
About the author:
In 2002, Chris Hunt won the prestigious Dolly Connelly Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism. Over his 13-year career as a journalist spanning three Western states, Hunt was recognized as one of the best natural resources reporters and writers in the region, and he collected a cache of awards from the likes of the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association and the Idaho Press Club. In 2005, he left the newspaper business to advocate for the wild and native fish on which much of his writing focused. Today, he works for Trout Unlimited, where he directs media efforts for the coldwater fisheries conservation organization's Public Lands Initiative. He lives in Idaho Falls with his wife, Elisabeth, daughter Delaney, son Cameron and his untrained bird dog, Hannah.

Another Great Artist!

Jammin at Hippie Jack's

Jammin at Hippie Jack's

Great Artist!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Latest Trout Fishing Fun

This time of year can be boom or bust. Great looking water but just nothing doing. Followed the parking arrows and drove right into a ditch!I fished this area over twenty five years ago and my has it changed. Had my son Casey along and I don't think he was impressed with my driving abilities . Better luck next time

Flood watch for Green Lake county

We were through here yesterday and the fox is high.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are all spinners equal?

Are all spinners equal?
by John McArdle

Tackle craft has been a hobby of mine for years so if I ever do buy a
store bought lure I love to dissect it, examining it down to the last little bead.
I always talk about fancy packaging catching way too many fisherman and not enough fish so here are some tips if your in the market for a trout spinner.

A spinner is made up of 6 basic parts. The wire, beads,blade, the lure body,the hook and most importantly the clevis. Lets start with the wire. All wire needs to be stainless of course and gauge size can vary but should be a least .024 . I have seen and bought spinners of .016 and lighter on eBay and the wire will fail after a few casts.The wire bends causing your spinner to stop rotating or worse case it breaks. All is not lost as I'll show you later.
Beads are all different and they all effect the weight of the bait. Some are plastic, hollow metal or solid brass beads. Some beads are crystal like Swarovski beads. These reflect more light like a diamond. Glass and brass beaded spinners tend to be heavier and usually show up in quality made baits.

Blades come in every shape color and style and everyone has favorites. The thing to keep in mind here is blade shape. The french style blades run higher in the water column
ccompared to the in- line blades. In french style blades make sure the hole is punched fairly central to the blade. In the picture on the right you can see that the hole is punched way off center on the left hand blade and will have a definite impact on how the spinner functions. I guess this is a good time to talk clevises. I find it extremely important for any spinner to have a stirrup style clevis. Folded clevises, pictured on the left, are very flimsy as there name indicates . They bend or fold very easy and pinch the stainless wire which in turn fouls the blade.I cant think of anything more frustrating than a fouled blade on that perfect cast.
Hooks can present all kinds of different problems for anglers. I could write two articles about treble hooks alone so just a few brief points. Today we have super choices such as VMC, Mustad,Owner and many more. They come in different colors and sizes . I usually find the hooks being undersized for the application more times than not. The small trout spinners have small hooks which does cause breakage and some missed fish . Look for a good bronze hook in size 8 or bigger and that will cover most stream situations. I will say when using trebles always carry a side cutters and a few extra hooks. If your unsure about getting the hook out of a small fish cut the treble with a side cutters and replace it with a split ring. Also, you never know it may be a ear or a finger your cutting the hook from.
Lure bodies also come in an array of shapes color and sizes. Most of the lure bodies that are painted are lead underneath . Others are brass or nickle plated and usually match the blades.
Here is where you need to pay attention to the weight that is on the package and match it too the type of stream you will be fishing. On small streams 1/8 oz lures are big enough to get into pools and pockets that are 3 foot or less deep. If you are fishing big streams 3/8 oz is the spinner size for you. Not only will it fish deeper you can cast them a country mile.
Lastly, If your a serious spinner fisherman you need to invest in the simple tool on the left and some good stainless lure wire. Its a round needle nose pliers and can be purchased at any hardware store. Making the wire forms is really very simple and after a few tries you will have it down and will be repairing all your duds. . Most spinners I buy I replace the clevis on so I cut the spinner apart even before it hits the water. I carry it with me on the stream with some preformed wire blanks. If I have a hot lure that is bent up I can fix it right on the stream. Lure components are too expensive to just waste so why not fix what you have.So remember when your shopping take a close look at your spinners before putting them in your shopping cart. Not all spinners are created equally.

stirrup clevis

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hook Line and Sinker for the Family

In this day and age outfitting a average family with the proper fishing equipment can be a daunting and expensive task. There are many single parent families or maybe Dad just got laid off so saving a extra dollar here and there is important . Simply over-paying for fancy packaging is very common today and buying something that you cant use or that will give your grief all day long needs to be avoided .
I'm only going to talk about the basics here of things like hooks,lines, sinkers and the common bobber and hopefully give you some common sense information you can use in the store so you don't over spend.Any fishing store you walk into has an overwhelming selection of line to choose from. First lets talk about line and what line not to buy. Avoid Store Brand lines like Walmart or Kmart line. These are typically sold in bulk spools and the line loves to coil and is usually brittle. Stick to a name brand like Trilene or Stren in monofilament. Braids and fluorocarbons,which have a place in the industry, are far too expensive for the average fisherman and can be frustrating to use for beginners. A 4- 6lb pound test monofilament line is sufficient for any thing from walleye to bluegill or crappies and even on trout streams you'll be safe. My favorite is 6lb Trilene XL and I buy the big box which has 1000 yards.You should be able to spool about 6 -8 smaller reels with the big box and it runs about 14.00 dollars.
Again this isn't fancy and you should have great results with a good fishing knot and proper installation. A improved clinch knot is all that's needed.Here's a great link .

Next lets talk a little on hooks. Again you will find a huge selection at any sporting goods store with fancy colors and every manufacturer laying claims to the sharpest hook on the market .DON'T go overboard. Find yourself a nice bronze number 6 -8 bait holder hook and your set. I prefer bronze Mustad hooks and a box of 50 is fairly reasonable at about 10.00 dollars a box.Remember on basics its always cheaper to buy bulk knowing you will always use them if you have kids. Trees and rocks usually always win a few times on every outing.Now we can talk sinker and bobbers.Keep in mind that you want a bobber just big enough to float your bait hook and sinker. Smaller bobbers offer less resistance to the fish which helps the fish hold the bait longer. I look for the standard old fashion red and white or orange and yellow round plastic float. There are many other styles of bobbers on the market but these are great for the basics and perhaps trying out others styles down the road is what you'll want to do.These will come in a package of 3 for around 1.50. I do not look for a name brand bobber for bank fishing but the more in depth you go with fishing, the more you will learn about bobber styles and there applications.As far as sinkers go, I like lead water gremlin brand pinch on sinkers and I always stay on the small side. Nothing fancy. There is legislation that is in the works to ban lead sinkers and you will find tungsten on the shelves. Right now lead is still good to use so you can make the choice however you see fit. You can find a round tub of these with several sizes of sinkers for around 5.00 dollars as well. Hopefully this is enough information on the basics so the fancy packaging doesn't catch you and your hard earned dollar off guard. Keep it very simple when money is tight and you will be glad you did. Basic hook line and sinker will fill the stringer while keeping your wallet full too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Upper Hand Scents

Upper hand scent marinades is great for storing your plastics. Give these guys a call and tell them I scent you! HA. I do have some plastics that I am designing for trout fishing stored in this marinade.
Cant wait to give it a try.
Go to for more info on how to order or contact .

Not nearly as cold as you might think! Dressing in layers
for early season is the key to keeping warm. Most of
the fishing is done from the bank but there are instances
when you have to get in the water. Walking in drifts of snow
or breaking through areas of crusted snow is hard work and
makes you sweat. Make sure you have a base layer that will
wick the perspiration away from your body keeping you
warm. Neoprene waders are also great this time of year.

Coon Creek Trout Fest July 23 Coon Valley WI.

Coon Creek Trout Fest
July 23 2011
Coon Valley Wisconsin.
About 15 miles south of Lacrosse

Monday, March 14, 2011

Early Season Fun but please pick up!

The Ultimate Betrayal
by John McArdle

My son and I spent the weekend in Readstown Wi. We stayed at the Kickapoo Crossroads Motel which have big rooms , nice and clean and they have a restaurant adjacent to the hotel rooms. 65 dollars a night for off season seemed a little pricey but convenient location for early season trout fishing. Crazy Franks Discount store located in the same parking lot provides for a few extra laughs. Reads Creeks, which flows into the Kickapoo river, provided some nice action for brown trout. The thing that was most troubling about the weekend was the amount of garbage that was left behind by fisherman. Early season anglers as well as regular season fisherman had litter dropped at stream edge all over our travels. I know spring is the dirtiest time of the year because the snow has covered all the sins of the summer but the things we found were mostly fresh. Trout fisherman are supposed to be the keepers of the stream which is why this is so troubling. When I first fished western Wisconsin I was astonished at how the land owners seem to work with the fisherman.Ladders over barb wire fences had me very surprised. Over in sand country trout fishing access is very limited and most land owners have their land posted tight with no chance of wading the deep pools on their land. I know of more than one confrontation that involved a shotgun and trout fishing trespassers. As adults, we need to pick up because that's what adults do. The easiest way to show disrespect to a land owner and put fishing privileges in jeopardy is litter. The way we can preserve our water and our fishing area for years to come is by simply picking up your trash.The great thing about it, picking up has an immediate effect on your surroundings. Its not something that has to be approved by the D.N.R. and brought to the senate for a vote .The other great thing about picking up trash costs absolutely nothing. Take a bag with you and just pick up a few things when you pack in .
The fisherman in western Wisconsin have it very good but all good things will come to a end if you don't follow the simplest of rules. Take the privileges that you have for access to streams seriously . The ultimate betrayal is litter to a land owner so please be an adult and pick up!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fly Shop

My favorite fly shop in western Wisconsin . Great people and they really know how to fish!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First of the year

I guess the reason I ice fish is to bridge the gap between the last time I touch my spinning reel in the fall to the first time I pick it up in the spring. Not that I don't enjoy ice fishing, merely my story and blog needs a place to start. Every year its the same thing when February arrives . I add fresh line, oil and lube my reels and dig up my trout maps. The early trout season is the first open water chance I get in spring and its a great way to bust the cabin fever up a bit.I fine tune or craft a few new spinners and I'm off. Catch and release season has a few people scratching their heads but for me its a time for some self organizing and reflection more than cleaning fish.
It didn't take long after a nice ride over to sand country to realize that I am way out of shape to be wading the streams in early season. Just bend over to put waders on and bucking the two foot of snow to the stream edge had me breathing heavy. So the first trick I'll share for early spring fishing is , slow down. I had to realize that I'm not running marathons in early season or even close . Plan your work and work your plan is a great adage to use . This link provides all the trout maps in Wisconsin that a person could possibly want to view. Print several copies of counties your going through on the way fishing and take notice as you drive. Next ,search your area on Google maps. Great way to see the area you want to fish and maybe some short cuts to fishing your area. This can all be done days or weeks ahead of time. This is great stuff to do on those snowy nights. I have my maps laminated and usually ride with me all the time.
Now your on the stream, the best thing to do is relax and enjoy your surroundings. Take the time to soak in all you can about the hole your fishing. Look at bottom structure, boulders,limbs and current. Is the water stained? Even try to imagine what the hole might look like when the water is a foot higher and what will be structure at that point. This will save you lots of time when your running and gunning on your next trip.
The first day is also a great time to fine tune lures and the rod and reel. For me, I make all my own trout lures in different shapes and sizes so early on, instead of busting my way to a new hole, I changes lures. Pay attention to how the blades are spinning for the current your fishing, what colors are working, and even the speed of your retrieve. So even if your not catching fish don't be discouraged .Your really scouting for next time so you can hit your prime spots and you can move along much faster. If you are catching fish your getting a big bonus so make some mental notes and enjoy.
Lastly , its a time to thank your lucky stars. Be thankful you live in a state that cares about your natural resources. Be thankful for clean water and your health and be thankful your alive to enjoy another first of the year!

Author: John McArdle