Jim the guide’s blog

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend. I did something that I haven’t done in many years, I took the weekend off! I had a great three days here at home with the family. The little kids got a chance to fish with me, and I love seeing their happy faces when they reel in a fish! We caught a few bluegills and crappies together and I loved each moment of it!
I also got to take some of the older kids on a float down the Namekagon River. What a special place the river is, such a joy to be in a wilderness setting far removed from people and cabins and houses yet so close to home. We loved the float.
Speaking of the river I’ve been taking trips down the Namekagon with the drift boat I got this spring. So far it’s been for fun and researching the finer points to fishing the river and running the drift boat. Starting soon I will be offering guide trips on the Namekagon for smallmouth bass and musky! I am super excited about adding the river to my guide service, it will be an awesome adventure.
Good luck and good fishing, Jim.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!
Fishing around northwest Wisconsin has been a real adventure so far this season. We had a late ice out, then a huge warm up, then a lot of rain and storms. Now we seem to have settled into bit of a stable strech of summertime weather. All of the changing weather would have likely sent the fishing into a funk, but suprisingly that has not been the case at all. In fact this has been a very good early part of the fishing season for most of the fish we chase. Walleyes started out bitting well in shallow current areas, then the crappie spawn was fast and furious, we had some incredible crappie trips in May, June brought very consistant action from walleyes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and pike. The bluegills were big and plentiful too! Long Lake, McKenzie, and the Chippewa Flowage have been good this year. Musky fishing has been picking up as of late. We are seeing lots of follows and catching a few as well. Buctails and soft plastics are getting a lot of action from musky’s all across the area.
Looking ahead I’m hoping for the musky action to continue to improve, and the multi species bite to remain strong.
Enjoy your summer folks!

What a joy to see and feel the warm sun! We are finally shaking free of winter around here! Our snow is nearly all gone, but most lakes are still covered in ice. Lake Hayward is ice free as is the Yellow River Flowage, I haven’t been out on the Trego Flowage yet but I suspect it is or will soon be open too. The outlook for opening day of the 2018 fishing season appears to be that most lakes will have ice, but some open water oppertunities will be available. Smaller dark water lakes here tend to open up first, and those with some current from an incoming river or creek open up faster.

Walleyes should be spawnin at ice out and that will coinside with the opener and the first week or two after. Everything will start out being behind schedule this year, if we get a fast warm up soon look for a compacted spawn for all species. Please practice catch and release of all bigger female fish of all types to help insure the future of our fishing.

Northern Wisconsin has been receiving good amounts of snow this late winter. We’ve had some heavy snows falls come through, increasing our snow pac nicely. I always enjoy being outside, and during these late season snows I’m reminded that spring run off is just around the corner. Soon creeks, rivers and lakes will be getting an infusion of fresh clean water. All creatures depend on water for life, water continues the cycle. We should be in good shape for water levels this spring. I’m looking forward to spring, yet taking the time to enjoy the late season snows too.


Well, another year is in the books as we finish 2017’s open water season. This was my seventeenth year of guiding, and I can honestly say that I enjoy it as much as ever! It’s a real joy to take other people fishing, to show folks places and experiance moments in the outdoors they have never been able to know previously. Teaching others to fish and/or to fish more effectively is a special oppertunity that brings me good feelings.

The season was busy for me, my occupational life is about 1/2 time guiding and about 1/2 time as a hospice chaplain. Working both as a fishing guide and as a chaplain offers me a unique blend of two amazing blessings in my life. I sometimes still can’t beleive I really get to do this stuff for a living.

Fishing this year was good, we had some really great days on the water. I fish about equally around Spooner and Hayward, two northwoods WI towns in vacationland. In May and June the crappie and smallmouth bass fishing was a blast! Lots of nice crappies and big smallmouths on multiple lakes in my area. That was a fun time frame! During the months of July and August we spent a lot of time in my boat chasing the multiple species bite. Walleyes, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappies, perch, big bluegills and more were everyday regulars in the landing net. We used a combination of jigging live bait and soft plastics, trolling crankbaits, and added some lindy rigging to put us on the fish. It’s always fun setting the hook and not knowing what kind of fish you got until it comes to the surface, most days we ended up catching six or seven different species. Selective harvesting is what we do, so I sent a good number of folks home with fillets this year too! September, October and early November we focused nearly exclusively on the mighty muskie! We had a very good fall muskie season in ’17 boating lots of quality sized fish and getting a few anglers their first muskie too. Trolling scored a few for us, but the best method for us was casting artificials while dragging live suckers. As in most previous seasons, the later in the season and the colder it got the more muskies were caught on the live bait. Big jerkbaits and crankbaits worked very well, as did medium sized soft plastics. Muskies are special, and the bigger they are the more awesome they are!

A huge thank you to everyone who fished with me this year! And have a great winter. I hope to see you all again starting in the spring!
Jim Stroede