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ISA Road Trip 2020

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Had a good time fishing with the 2nd group. My largest were 19” and 18.5”.   I didn’t have high numbers but every day had fish 17” or above.

I caught smallies on whopper plopper, wacky senko , Ned rig senko,  hula, small swim bait,  and even one on Bart’s fly rod with a streamer. Got pike most days too.  Largest pike 26”.

Bart caught so many 19” fish on the fly rod by the end Jim gave him the nickname “Mr. Nineteen”.   😀


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Really don't have much to add in the way of a report or technique as it's pretty much been covered, Always learn something whether it's a technique or a behaviour that will improve my enjoyment on the water. Great to see old faces and meet new faces!!! 

Here's a few pics. A 19 that Bart was in the area to photograph, a different 19 selfie and an 18.5 that the camera caught just right. 



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The weather was perfect, warm partly cloudy days followed by calm cool evenings. The bite was slow but steady, The fish large and angry! It is every angler’s challenge to solve the mysteries of weather and water to find fish that will eat our offerings to allow us moments of sheer joy. The highlights of this four day ISA adventure includes; whopper popper bites yielding many 18’s and 19’s, campfires and camaraderie, and fish stories galore!


I traveled up with Bart. He was kind enough to haul my Nucanoe even though he had his Towee boat trailered. We fished together in the Towee, a great vessel and perfect for a river.

Our group: Ken and his daughter Lauren, Kevin, Bart, Eric and myself was great! Everyone pitched in to shuttle, cook  and clean. However, Kudos to Kevin for selflessly washing our supper dishes after every meal, he was never asked nor complained.


We quickly planned an adventure day to shuttle everyone up stream to a dam. Then float 11 miles back to camp. It was so peaceful, scenic and my first big river float in my vessel.

We had stumbled upon a large Bald Eagle struggling to get out of the water. It made its way to shore and sat, wings spread flat against the ground. We felt bad as it seemed to need help, but that thing had some serious hardware, we thought best to leave it be. Bart called WDNR to report it. He then called a Raptor Society. They wanted him to box it up! We let nature take it’s course.  The journey downstream produced fish, albeit a slow bite.  Growing weary of casting the shore. I switched my focus on mid river structure. Recalling Tim Landweir’s Smallmouth book, I employed the “Mr. Wiggles” tactic of drifting a rubber legged popper. Moving it very infrequently…less is more. I was relaxing, drifting along when low and behold a bass sipped in that thing like a Koi! I finally got my wits together to set the hook, an 18” specimen came to hand. Later, the same technique yielded a 14 incher.


While fishing in Ken’s “River Machine” with Kevin and of course, Ken; we had made several drifts through some fast water. Ken had deployed a double fluke rig, which he had been very effective for him. We were anecdoting about catching doubles, (Which no one had done).

Wouldn’t you know, that double rig caught two on one cast! An 18” and a 13” = 31 inches of bronze!


Bart and I had been deploying our fly rods to deliver poppers. There were some great takes! Fish sharking up behind the lure, sipping or slurping, or pouncing from above. I’ll be darned if Bart couldn’t catch anything but 19’s on those poppers.


The Menomonee is certainly special water. Her waters run clear, and she does not give up secrets easily. During our stay, flows were strong and levels above normal. Which favored the fish. Yet, players could be found. I sometimes put too much focus on the numbers of fish brought to hand. When you boil it down, it’s about making great memories. Can’t wait until next time!


Thank you Scott for organizing this trip!


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Every year we come we learn more. The experiences add up and the information learned from the other fisherman is extremely valuable. I cant believe the very fast water that some of these fish hang out in. No wonder they are so powerful.

This year the river was higher than normal, the bite was mostly neutral and the sun was never ending.

My daughter out fished me a couple days with some really nice fish. Her largest were 19" and 19.25".  We caught quite a few 18s to just under 19".  We also caught a couple nice eater walleye for dinner.

I also can't wait for next year! I enjoyed hanging out with the group very much!





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Menomonee was also very memorable for me. Thank you Scott for organizing and giving me the Meps #3 which produced higher numbers. Never had a taker on the Whopper Plopper, mostly fished a Fluke sometimes on a weighted hook except the last day with the Meps. Couldn't land two very big fish in the rapids of Twin Islands, oh well there is always next time. A few 18s thru 15s with lots of 14s, one decent Walleye that jumped out of my hands half a second before the camera went off (second pic) and a few Northerns. Now on to my favorite fish of the trip, a fierce 14.5 incher that was on both sides of my kayak multiple times while I struggled to get it in the net. Last 3 photos are some really nice 18s that were just shy of a PB. Great trip, new friends, can't wait to get back.






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Last minute decision to go to the cabin and through unexpected circumstances it ended up being just Scott

and me,  Shortly after arrival at twin Island  I landed two 18 in. smallies then headed to the cabin to check in.

This being my 30th trip to the Menominee over the last 11years I had planned on taking it easy and what

ever worked for Scott was fine with me. We did a few floats, a little side trip with his boat up to Four Seasons

area and a whole lot of .relaxing. A search in town we found a pub with outdoor dining, never having to enter the

restaurant followed by ice cream at Culvers. 

Like all the other posts had said, fishing was a little slow but as always they are all big fish.  Stickworms, Mepps,

swimjigs, whopper ploppers all caught fish. I didn't catch any monsters but only 4 fish were under 16 inches.

Friday night we mellowed out on the upstairs screened porch watching party people floating down the river

 having a good time in total darkness.

It's difficult to take pictures of the other fishermen when you use float tubes let alone get pictures of yourself.

Good times as always.







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Overall numbers for me weren’t too bad, my biggest fish of the trip was the first one I caught, a 19.5 incher. It seemed like the lure that worked best for me changed every day. Mepps spinner one day, a soft plastic jerkbait was best a couple of days, and a paddle tail swim bait another. The weather was beautiful most days. It made it hard to leave the peacefulness of the shaded back yard at times. 
I’m glad everyone had a good time and hope to have all of you back next time. Next years trip has already been booked. The dates are August 7-21. Due to a price increase, the daily rate next year will be $35.  I’ll start a new thread for signups. Hopefully, Covid will be less of an issue and make the decision to come an easier one. 
(no matter which way I load the photo, it comes out the same way!)





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I enjoyed reading all the reports and looking at all the pictures by everyone that went up to the Menominee this year. On any given day anyone up there has a chance to catch  a personal best fish or a personal best total of  large fish.  Hats off to Scott  for organizing this great yearly event. Sign up now for next year!

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If you get a chance to get your name on the list then do so. This is a gorgeous river with the toughest fighting smallmouth you’ll ever have on the end of your line.

Please enjoy this newly released video and help save the Menominee River....



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