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My daughter and I got back last night. We had a very enjoyable trip. The weather was great but a few more clouds would have been welcome. Most of the time the fish were neutral. Most areas where there had to be many fish we could only get a fish or two to bite. Still there are were enough biting where we ended the trip with 145 fish between us. Of those fish we got one 24.5" northern and 9 walleye with 6 in the 15.5" to 18" range. I recently got a bump board so was able to get accurate length measurements. The longest smallies were 19.25", 19", 19" with several 18.5" to  17" range and numerous 16" fish. Those smallies sure can put a fight!

Ned rigs were the baits we threw the most but also caught them on fat ikas and 5" Kalins grubs. I could only caught a half dozen on top water.They would only hit within a couple feet from where the bait hit the water. The walleyes mostly came on jerk baits.

Thursday we had a full boat with Lauren, Rich, John and myself. The morning was slow but after we stopped for lunch and went back out they were "on" and we put 51 on the boat for the day.

There were a couple of sturgeon that hung around the lodge.

 

 

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Beauty of a report! Those numbers are “died-and-gone-to-heaven” smallie fishing! Thumbs-up!

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My wife and I spent 4 days, 3 nights up at the ISA road trip cottage.

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A big thank you to Norm Perkins for gifting a few days of the trip. Thank you to the rest of the crew for letting my wife and I stay in the honeymoon suite with the private screened in deck  and Jacuzzi tub. It was a very enjoyable trip with outstanding weather, conversation, food, fishing, exploring, and general comradery. Norm was just arriving as we were leaving and I did get to pick Ken's brain a little before he left. Here was the crew that I stayed with:

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 Although I did some fishing this was more of a relaxing and exploring type of get away for the two of us. We spent every night around the campfire having a few drinks, telling stories, and joking around.  

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A nice section of river is right in the back yard of the cottage. The first morning I woke up to catch the sunrise for this view.

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I caught maybe 60 bass over the trip. The best 2 came within view of the cottage. These were 19"+ fish and it speaks to the quality of the location.

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I did a long float with Mike on a day my wife went to visit her Aunt in Wausau. It is a nice section of river and we did ok. You had to work for your fish but I put the time in and was rewarded with around 2 dozen with 3  that were 18" or better.

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The next day we all went out and floated a section and worked out a shuttle. Fishing was slower but there were plenty of nice smallmouth caught.

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This leads me to technique as these fish were a little particular. There was a lot of talk of the whopper plopper. So much so that my wife wanted to create a drinking game where everyone had to chug every time someone said whopper plopper. I tried the plopper plenty but only caught 3. They all happened to be 18" or better but its wasn't the best thing going. I was my most productive dragging bottom with larger profile natural colored plastics on sliderheads. After a riffle section when the river got deeper and slower, was the most productive for me. I focused on the middle 1/3 of the river and would work 2 rods. This isn't for everyone as you can easily become a hot mess fishing this way. I was able to avoid snagging for the most part along with not tangling and not having 2 fish on at the same time.

The last day my wife and I explored some waterfalls as there is about a dozen in the area. It is absolutely gorgeous up there hiking about some of the natural areas. Water levels are low right now and I'm sure the waterfalls would be more spectacular in high water conditions.

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I did bring my rod on one of the waterfall hikes. I caught around 10 smallmouths out of one hole. I also caught 2 fish in one cast. I was reeling in a smallmouth and a northern pike attacked my smallmouth head first and would not let go. Would not let go to the point where I was able to grab the pike and separate the two even though the pike was never actually hooked.

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I felt like I had a quality Northwoods experience and wish I could have stayed longer. I can't imagine there are too many places in the Midwest more picturesque to fish.

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I was there during the entire second week of the Road Trip. Even after many trips to the Menominee, I encountered conditions I had not seen before. Last year, water levels were extremely high, and this year the levels were extremely low. I spent too much time fishing the places I've gotten them in the past, shallow flats, shade lines, break lines and eddies when most of the fish caught were spread out in the deeper channels. The new boat I brought, even with the jet outboard had difficulty negotiating the very shallow water. Keeping the boat off the rocks was nearly a full time job. We all had to work hard to get bites. I didn't take many fish pictures but I may post some later.

As usual, I enjoyed the camaraderie of the other ISA members along with a campfire every night. One night, while sitting around the fire we were startled and surprised with the sound of a drum beat and First Nation singing. We didn't know what to think until the "musician"  came into the light of the fire and showed himself.

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We saw it was none other than Norm Perkins who, as we know......

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Nice reports and great fishing guys.  Wished I could have been there with you all. 

Did any of you run into the TightLine  guys?

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It was nice to meet some new faces this year (Chris and Mike) and always fun to hang with Norm! Don good to see and fish with you again. Thanks for setting it up Scott and good to see and fish with you also.

I'm glad the water was low/lower this year. It allowed me to get a better feel for the river. Yeah I know they're all kind of the same (riffle, hole run) but it was nice to be able to see more of the bottom.

Anyway I tried several different approaches but ironically it was the WP that did it for me. I say ironically as I had no fish or blow ups on the one I got last year so I got rid of it. Decided to try again and picked one up for the trip. Glad I did as all my hits save one came on it. I had about 30 fish hit all week and landed between 15 and 20 with most around 14-17 inches including one pike about 24-28 inches. The two biggest smallies taped at 20 so really about 19.5. I only got a oic of one as my stupid finger accidently turned the camera around on my phone. I did find that my phone fits perfectly in the drink holder on my cooler. Looking forward to getting back!

 

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That’s a nice fish but the look on your face suggests you were smelling a very unpleasant odor at the time you caught that fish!

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Lol. Little bit of sun squint and also I think surprise as I had just sat in the water when I was squatting to make sure I was in the camera lense...

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Lol! That's a super comfy shirt that was bought on closeout. Can we had thrifty to the mix? Nice fish yourself!

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