Dan Eigen, better known as Walleyedan has had a passion for the outdoors since he was able to tag along with his dad and brother over 40 years ago. Dan has taken that passion to the next level and today he and his wife Shelley own and operate Walleyedan’s Guide Service which is based in central Minnesota. Their year around guide service is a busy and well respected one and between Dan and the other guides, they average over 500 guided trips per year. Dan is also the host of Mills Fleet Farms’ television show, “We Love It! Outdoors”. The show is made up of a mix of hunting, fishing, family and the great outdoors. The show can be seen on the Pursuit network, Tuff TV as well as many of the Fox affiliates throughout the country. This will be Dan’s third year with Larson Boats and he is very excited to see what the Larson Boat Group has in store for their next 100 years! “This boat is the most solid, dry, fishable and affordable boat I have ever been in!”, Walleyedan.
There have been many highlights in Dan’s outdoor career, but one of those will never be forgotten and it was the day that Dan was fishing with Al Lindner. Dan and Al were filming an episode of “We Love It! Outdoors” on Lake Mille Lacs and rather than telling you what happened, Google it and watch. Dan refers to this whole situation that unfolded as a miracle, and he asked for it in prayer!
A GPS contour lake map is a critical weapon in your pursuit of fish, because it can help tell you where NOT to fish. For example, when walleye fishing you’ll catch most of your fish in water between 10-30 feet. Could they be shallower or deeper than that? Sure. But mostly they’ll be in that range. So, any depths on the contour map not in that range can virtually be eliminated from your fishing strategy. Next, look at the map and find key structures within your depth range. These include shoreline points, mid-lake humps and reefs, saddles, flats, etc. Target those spots, particularly if they exist near inflow feeder creeks. Once you’re on a spot and if you start getting strikes, mark GPS waypoints where the action has occurred. Your map then becomes a history book where you can look back and say “Hmmm, most of the fish came out of 16 feet of hard bottom on inside turns” or whatever the case may be. Lake maps, sonar, GPS and FX. They’re your best friends on the water!
As we all anxiously await the open water season here in the north country, it’s time to spool fresh line on the reels and make sure the line guides on your rods don’t have any nicks. An easy way to check the guides is by taking a Q-Tip and wiping it around the inside of each guide. If any cotton catches, it’s time to get the rod to the repair shop so you don’t nick your line and lose that big fish this spring. There are so many fishing lines on the market, it can be a little overwhelming!! I use a lot of Berkley line and they have a variety of lines (monofilament, braid and fluorocarbon) to choose from. If you are a seasoned angler, you know what works for you. But for those of you that are new to the sport I would suggest that you do a little experimenting. Braid has become very popular for many applications, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not too critical when spooling braid on your reels, but when spooling monofilament or fluorocarbon make sure that the line goes onto your spool so it lays down without exploding off! If you make a few revolutions with the spool and you notice the line wants to come off by itself, flip the spool over and finish spooling your line on. You will feel more confident with fresh line and rods that are clean and free of any abrasions. You’re going to catch some big ones this year, especially if you are running a Larson Fx!!
Fish at night! Trolling crank baits or casting a slip bobber and a leech are a couple effective nighttime techniques.
Fish the wind! Choppy water is always a good thing when chasing the elusive walleye and they will not spook as easily.
Long line your crank baits. Get them way back behind the boat or pull them off to either side using planer boards.
Use fluorocarbon fishing lines. These lines are as close to invisible as you are going to get!
Make long casts, look for deep fish or work a slip bobber in the weeds where the fish are hanging out.
Make sure you use all the tools that are available to the fisherman these days, such as the Minn Kota electric motor and the Talon shallow water anchor!
2020 TL with a 200HP Mercury
Mike Frisch is a professional angler who excels at teaching others about the sport he loves. Mike's unique 3-hour fishing classes, School of Fish (kids) and Fishin' Schools (adults) are among the country's finest angler education programs. In addition, Mike is a full-time open-water guide, radio & television program guest, and free-lance outdoor writer with feature stories published regularly in some of the country's leading fishing publications.
Mike is also a top-notch promotional angler who works sports and boat shows, dealer in-stores, and presents seminars for a wide range of groups.
For dynamite bass fishing, look for this green weed beds adjacent to deep-water breaks. Bass love hanging on those weed-line edges to attack prey fish, especially out on the tips of weedy points. My favorite way to catch them is with black, blue and green-pumpkin jigworms (or "shaky worms", as some folks call them). When fishing this way, watch your line for the strike detection. When you see the line "jump," sag or start moving off in another direction, there's a fish on the other end!
It's no secret that largemouth bass love spending time in vegetation -aka- weeds! Shallow, emergent weeds hold bass all season, but as the water warms during summer , lots of bucketmouth bass head to deeper water and deeper,submergent weeds. When it comes to deep weeds and bass, however, not all weeds are created equal. Depending on where you live, big largies might live in deep coontail, milfoil, cabbage, or other weed varieties as well. The key is often finding the thickest, greenest patches of whatever weed variety is present in the lake you are fishing. I use my depthfinder to look for the "best" weeds, but polarized sunglasses come in handy as well as you can often see good weeds growing up near the surface. Often times, the inside or outside edge of the weeds is a good starting point when fishing. If, however, you don't find bass roaming the edges, break out the big jigs - bass style flippin' jigs - and get right in the heavy stuff! Find the best weeds, find the best bass!
Panfish like bluegills and crappies make periodic shallow water migrations in the spring. The first of these migrations is to feed, though later they will go through their annual mating ritual, the spawn, in those same shallow areas. Looking for dark-bottomed bays protected from the wind that warm quickly in the spring can be key to finding these fish. A spring cold front will, however , often drive these fish back out to adjacent deep-water breaks. Don't depair as the next warming trend will pull them back in again! A small panfish jig fished beneath a slip-bobber tipped with a crappie minnow or wax worm is a reliable presentation when targeting shallow, early season crappies and 'gills. Don't just cast it out and let it sit though, as hops and twitches and multiple casts in a fishing spot will often yield the best results!
Walleyes can be a fickle bunch at times. One way to stay on these fish to be on the move constantly seeking active biters. A great way to do this is by fishing a bottom bouncer and plain fluorocarbon snell tipped with a leech or a nightcrawler. This "plain" snell rig is a guide's secret that produces fish from late spring well into fall. Use a heavy enough bouncer to maintain a fairly vertical presentation, tie a snell about 3 1/2-feet long, and troll around one mile per hour and you are "in the game!" When a fish hits, slowly allow the rod tip drift back toward the fish while maintaining pressure, pause a couple seconds, and then smoothly sweep-set the rod forward. Another alternative is to simply place the rod in a rod holder and let the fish works it way up the bait before taking the rod from the holder and battling the fish to the boat.
2020 DC with a 200HP Evinrude H0 Gen II
Want to catch more smallmouth bass on topwaters? Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years. First, use heavy monofilament line (14−17#). Thicker mono is more buoyant than lighter line or any of the braids, which keeps your line up on top for better lure action and more solid hook-ups. For lure action, sometimes less is more. Instead of working topwater plugs aggressively all the time, try using tiny twitches in between long pauses. When a smallie blows up on your bait, wait, then set the hook! A lot of guys lose fish because they set the hook right when they see the strike and pull the lure free before the fish has time to close his mouth on it. Be patient. Wait a second before hooking up!
Want to catch more smallmouth bass on topwaters? Here are a few tops I've learned over the years. First, use heavy monofilament line (14-17#). Thicker mono is more buoyant than lighter line or any braids, which keeps your line up on top for better lure action and more solid hook-ups.
For lure action, sometimes less is more. Instead of working topwater plugs aggressively all the time, try using tiny twitches in between long pauses. When a smallie blows up on your boat, wait, then set the hook! A lot of guys lose fish because they set the hook right away when they see the strike and pull the lure free before the fish has time to close his mouth on it. Be patient. Wait a second before hooking up!
When we go fishing, tying on the bait that best fits the situation is a primary consideration. Select a bait that is designed to do what you want it to do. If you want to cover a large area quickly, start with a crankbait. Work it along the deep edge of a weedline, or cast and retrieve it over a weed flat. Keep covering water until you find the fish. If you catch several on the crankbait, then action slows, work the productive area more thoroughly with a slower moving bait, maybe a jig. After you've worked the area with the jig, pick up the crankbait rod and start moving quickly again until another group of fish is located.
From the middle of summer until ice-up, bigger baits will usually catch bigger fish. Start with the size of bait you would usually use. If the fish are readily accepting that size, go bigger. If they eat that size, continue to increase the size of the bait. Eventually, you'll find a size too big for them, or bigger than they want to eat. When that happens, go back to the biggest size they would eat and stick with that. By doing so, you'll increase your odds of catching more big fish.
Sometimes we fish history, and that isn't the answer much of the time. For instance, the last time we were on this body of water was a month ago in the spring, and we caught largemouth bass in shallow bays on spinnerbaits. We go back to those same bays and cast the same spinnerbaits, but the result isn't the same. That's because the bass have moved: Now they're out on the weedline, and crankbaits or jigs will be more effective. Remember that fish move around and show preferences to different baits at different times of the year. If you do this, you'll catch more fish more often.
1850 TL with a 90HP Evinrude E-Tec
Catching a big, toothy, ornery pike is one of the biggest thrills you’ll have on fresh water. A surefire bait for catching those gators is a good old-fashioned spinner bait. Use bright colors like chartreuse on clear lakes and darker colors in stained water. Often, pike will “short strike” a spinner bait and nip at the skirt or blade. When they’re acting timid and not clobbering the bait, add a stinger hook to the main shank hook. It’ll result in a lot more fish and a ton more fun.
Catching a big, toothy, ornery pike is one of the biggest thrills you'll have on fresh water. A surefire bait for catching those gators is a good old-fashioned spinner bait. Use bright colors like chartreuse on clear lakes and darker colors in stained water. Often, pike will "short strike" a spinner bait and nip at the skirt or blade. When they're acting timid and not clobbering the bait, add a stinger hook to the main shank hook. It'll result in a lot more fish and a ton more fun.
1850 DC with a 200HP Suzuki