Author: AaronKatzmarek

In the event you’re a forest wanderer like me, I’ll invite you to a secret Wisconsin club.  We scour the woods, seeking out the things that slither and hiss.  Here there be snakes, and if you’re willing to bring along a camera and a sense of adventure, spring in Wisconsin offers a unique opportunity to observe native serpent species.   As the April mercury steadily climbs in Wisconsin, the outdoor activity picks up.  Like bears blinking sleepily from winter dens, the good people from the Badger State begin to venture outside amongst the outdoors when the south wind blows warm.  The…

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It’s fishing equipment purchase time in Wisconsin!  The March and April lull in the angling action allow for the active mind to plan and prep for the upcoming season’s musky fishing trips.  I’ve found a limit to the amount of time one can spend staring at lake maps and google directions to boat launches.  Invariably, thoughts turn from exploring new waters and instead focus on rods, reels, and other equipment.   Any musky angler will tell you they’ve made some awful decisions when purchasing gear during these seasonal cerebrally deficient moments of early spring.  The excitement levels surrounding pre-season reach a…

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Previously on River Rat Bank Fishing Vol One…we discussed efficiency with gear packing, and making sure you have the essentials for your expedition.  You can find that article here.   In this next installment, cleverly titled Volume 2, we will explore the rod and reel setups as well as equipment you can use to increase comfort and hookups while live bait fishing.  Different stretches of shoreline offer unique challenges and opportunities, so having multiple rigs that offer maximum flexibility is a key element to success on the river.   Bait Buckets Fish that haunt rivers love to eat live bait.  Transporting minnows…

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River Rats.  We wear that title like a badge on our sleeves.  A River Rat is an angler who spends their time learning a river’s secrets by smashing through underbrush, climbing rocks, and scaling steep embankments to fish all accessible spots.  We find the best areas on the shores of Wisconsin rivers and times of the season to fish them by the simple process of lugging our gear anywhere and everywhere to fish.  You can easily spot us in the bait store.  We’ll be wearing our official River Rat uniform: seasoned Muck boots, a sweat-stained baseball cap that smells of…

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This is a story about everything going right.  About four reel cranks into your cast, a mid-forties musky plows into your bucktail and the trebles bury right into the corner of the fish’s mouth.  She’s locked up, and the fight commences.  You’ve done the hard part by finding the musky and getting it to eat, but now the real work begins.   CPR- Catch, Photo, Release.  It’s a staple creed of the Wisconsin musky angler.  The musky is a top predator and a vital resource to both the health of the lake and the economy of the state.   Fishing for muskies…

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Fishing late ice is usually productive and comfortable.  The Wisconsin winter doldrums are firmly in the rearview mirror.  The warm temps and longer daylight mean less bulk to stay warm and less gear to lug around.  The fish also tend to start moving off the deep open water and into more accessible and easy to fish areas.  Late ice means good fishing, but late ice also means sketchy ice.  Fortune indeed favors the bold, but unsafe ice is no joke, and dangerous conditions can occur rapidly in the warming late winter months.  Being aware of your environment and weather can…

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Got a full bait bucket after a long cold unproductive day on the ice?  That lake you yanked a dozen pike from in early January has suddenly turned into a dead zone.  What to do with the 9$ in live bait you’re holding?  Instead of unceremoniously dumping those suckers and shiners or spending lots of time and energy trying to keep them alive for the next weekend, save them in the freezer.  Store them (clearly labeled!) for some early spring pike action on the open water!  It’s never too early to start planning for next season.  Deadbaiting pike in the…

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Hiring guides to fish Wisconsin lakes is a century-old tradition.  From current NFL stars to Chicago gangsters from the 1920’s, many folks have paid to meet a fishing expert at the boat launch for a day on the water.  Some clients want to fill the freezer, some want to have a stress free day with the kids, some want to learn a new body of water, and some want to hone in on new techniques for catching fish.  Whatever your reasons, hiring a guide to fish in Wisconsin can be a rewarding experience.   Fishing shows, magazines and outdoor expos…

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Every day carry, or EDC knives, are variable and diverse as any tool on the market.  Blade size, handle type, and overall weight are the usual determining factors for the common carrier.  Selecting a blade that suits your hand with a blade style that suits your usage is key to proper knife choice.  A cornucopia of options are provided by various knife makers.  10$ cheapos that break, bend and lose sharpness at the first sign of a cardboard slice or rope cut negate the point of carrying a blade by failing to perform when you need them the most.  If…

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A young Wisconsin angler with a beautiful Rainbow Trout caught by suspending a fathead under a tip-up just off the break.

The often overlooked plethora of Wisconsin pothole lakes offer a unique opportunity to the ice angler. ‘Pothole’ is defined as a 20 to 60 acre lake that is normally secluded. These lakes are largely ignored by anglers due to rough access or lack of a boat launch. Anglers can take advantage of an underutilized WI resource: ice fishing for trout. This tasty species is swimming around just under the frozen layers, and with a little research, proper gear and time on the ice, you can rest assured that the lemons and butter in the fridge will be put to good…

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