Monday, April 1, 2013

Gear Up For Early Season Northern Pike

As the ice moves out and water temperatures creep up in Canadian lakes, early season anglers can expect to see ravenous northern pike lurking in the shallows, spoiling to smash anything resembling prey.
As a Marketing Director for Eppinger Lures, All-Canada Show sponsor and maker of the iconic “Dardevle,” John Cleveland has been successfully stalking monster Northerns on Canadian water for the last twelve years and recently offered some advice to anglers seeking to boat a few of the bruisers.
Following the opener, Cleveland suggests zeroing in on fairly shallow southern bays where the earliest warming takes place. Dark, muddy bottom structure is more likely to hold active fish than light colored sandy bottoms since the water warms more quickly there. 
Cleveland is a huge fan of Eppinger Lures’ “Five of Diamonds” spoon all season long, and he‘s found, in general, dark colored lures will out fish lighter ones, though the classic red and white Dardevle should be a staple in any pike fisherman’s tackle box.  Downsizing to ½ to ¾ oz. spoons is a good tactic in the spring, according to Cleveland, and a sporadic retrieve—letting the lure flutter down after every few turns of the crank can be a deadly technique. John’s terminal tackle usually includes a seven foot medium action rod paired with a spinning or casting reel and 20 pound test fluorocarbon line with a wire leader. “Pike are not leader-shy,” he contends.
Though fishing with spoons can produce plenty of exciting action, Cleveland also enjoys fly fishing for the bruisers. He has caught Northern Pike topping 45 inches using dark, leech-like flies which can be stripped in more slowly, teasing less active early season fish to strike. His fly fishing gear includes a 9 or 10 weight rod shooting an 80 pound fluorocarbon tippet. A catch and release angler, Cleveland mentioned fly fishermen can get by with equipment that is less stout, but he prefers to stress the fish as little as possible. During the spring, huge Northerns can often be sight-fished, sort of a Canadian version of salt flats fly fishing. 

John also mentioned he was looking forward to trying Eppinger’s new “Spinnin’ Rex” on pike this year. The ½ oz. lure features a spinner blade and rubber skirt. Again, favoring darker colors, Cleveland recommends a root beer colored brass blade with a black skirt. 
For more inside information, product information, and tips on using Eppinger Lures, visit or call toll free: 888-771-8277.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Climb Aboard an Otter: The Swiss Army Knife of the Sky

“Ultimate Bush Aircraft,” “Yellow Bird,” “Big Beaver,” “King Beaver,” “One Ton Truck of the North.” The many names and phrases used to refer to the De Havilland DHC-3 Otter are a testament to its utility, versatility, and popularity with passengers and pilots around the world.
The DHC-3, designed by De Havilland Canada in 1951 and then certified in 1952, was first intended to be the big brother to the already then popular and now iconic De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. Though originally called the “King Beaver” by De Havilland, the plane eventually christened “The Otter” was longer, heavier, and more powerful than the Beaver, accommodating 10 or 11 passengers, as opposed to the Beaver’s four or five. A single engine, prop driven plane, the Otter can be outfitted with floats, skis, and retractable wheels to make it truly amphibious. 
In its infancy, the Otter was used extensively for mapping the North and South Americas by the U.S. Army, originally the biggest purchaser of the 460 planes that were produced. Army Otters were also used extensively in the late 50’s and early 60’s to explore Antarctica, with one cresting the South Pole in 1957. Otters were given a different role in Vietnam, where they were in used combat for about ten years. 
Of the 166 Otters still in operation today, many are used to ferry hunters, anglers, adventurers, and naturalists to remote outposts in Canada and Alaska because of their well-earned reputation for reliability and ability to make short take-offs and landings. However, Otters also see service carrying forest fire fighters, “water bombing” fires, planting fish, and conducting wildlife surveys.
Otters still in service have sometimes been modified with more powerful engines and even turbo chargers, but whatever configuration or function or paint scheme, the De Havilland Otters are sure to be familiar “Yellow Birds” in the Canadian sky and mainstays of the outpost fishing and hunting industry for many years to come. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Behind The Scenes: Wolf River Expo, LLC

Driving through blizzards, working around the clock and muscling 60,000 pounds of equipment around. Sound like fun? Welcome to the life of Steve Cegielski, owner of Wolf River Expo Services, who manages booths, show decorations, signage and more for the All-Canada Show.
After working as an operations manager for the All-Canada Show for 12 years, Steve Cegielski decided to form his own exhibit design company, Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, which has handled the All-Canada Show for the last three years. In addition, Wolf River Expo manages all kinds of venues such as career expos, bridal shows, job fairs, and home shows, handling around 50 different events each year. 
Steve says the most challenging part of working the All-Canada Show is the grueling schedule. Between each of the first five shows Wolf River Expo has to take down, load their trucks, travel, and set up for each show overnight. All-nighters come with the territory, and though Steve tries to provide some extra time for error, flat tires, weather, and tricky loading obstacles can make for some nail-biting moments. He recalls one trip where his group hit a foot of snow outside Des Moines on the way to Omaha at two in the morning. He counted 60 cars in the ditch, and the top speed for his three truck convoy was limited to 25 miles an hour. “You don’t have to run, but you’ve got to keep moving to get it done,” Steve says, and despite the unforeseeable complications of his job, he’s established a streak of ‘getting it done” for 150 All-Canada Show events without one postponement or delay.
Over the years, Steve says that besides making sure all the facilities at an All-Canada Show run smoothly, he’s at times found himself doing everything from cleaning walleyes in the back of a truck at 4 a.m. for a morning TV Show to grooming a mounted Musk Ox. However, it sounds like the All-Canada Show is as much a labor of love for Steve as they are his business. He estimates he’s seen about 150 different Canadian camps and spent over 43 weeks over the last 15 years in Canada, harvesting every big game animal and just about every fish species Canada has to offer. Steve also writes articles for the All-Canada magazine, All-Canada Adventures and the direct mailer, the All-Canada Guide and has been a presenter himself on the main stage at All-Canada Show.
As owners of Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, Steve and his wife Jessica say their business is all about service. Though the All-Canada Show is obviously special to them, they try to make each show they manage enjoyable for both the exhibitor and the visitors, and they are looking forward to being "on the road" with the All-Canada Show in 2014.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fly-in Diversity: Six Lake, Six Species

This month's blog post is courtesy of guest blogger Tim Holschlag. Tim is the author of the highly acclaimed books, "Stream Smallmouth Fishing," "Smallmouth Fly Fishing" and his latest publication, "River Smallmouth Fishing." Tim has fished more smallmouth bass rivers than any known angler: over 300 different rivers across North America as well as dozens of lakes in both the United States and Canada. He is the creator and host of the popular DVD "Stream Smallmouth Fishing - the Movie" and has written hundreds of magazine articles for the major fishing publications. We are pleased to have Tim as a guest blogger - "Fly-in Diversity" is sure inspire anyone who loves to fish (and we bet those fighting "smallies" will be at the top of every one's list for 2013!)

Tim will be making a presentation at Indiana January 5, 2013, at the Indiana On The Fly Show. Join Tim Holschlag and other fly fishing and wing shooting experts for a day of "cast and blast" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The six lakes that are assessable to Slippery Winds Wilderness Lodge offer one of the most diverse fisheries you'll find in Canada. Here’s just a sampling of some of my experiences at Slippery Winds over the past 11 years:

Yoke—You could probably spend the whole fishing trip on Yoke (some guests do).  This large, deep lake has a wide variety of habitats.  Northern pike are found near weed beds in about 15’ of water.  While some large pike are caught every spring in the shallows, more big fish, pushing 40”  turn up in deeper water near reefs and drop-offs, in summer.

Smallmouth favor rocky shores and reefs such as Luke’s Reef or the islands outside of Gary’s Bay. Walleye can be found on shelves or reefs near deep water, especially if some weeds are present (Marty’s Reef).

A good place to find muskie is none other than Muskie Bay, but they can also be found near points and reefs.  Some nice lake trout are present (including a few over 30”).  In Yoke's main basin there are several deep reefs (over 30’ deep) surrounded by 80’ depths, where summer lakers hang out.

Largemouth have increased in the past decade and now make up about 10 percent of Yoke's bass population.

Straw—Straw Lake is next door to the lodge and is a very good walleye lake.  It can also offer good smallmouth fishing when the fish are on the bite.  Smaller northerns are the most numerous fish, but there are also some very nice ones in the 28 to 32” range.  Straw used to be known for smaller walleyes, but in recent years plenty of fish over 25” have also been caught, too.

Sucan—Sucan Lake is the shallowest and weediest of Slippery Wind's six lakes, but the boat ride to get there is enjoyable.  A variety of wildlife including beavers, moose, and ducks can often be seen along the winding marshy creek.  Sucan is deeper and rockier near the south end and some good smallmouth fishing is available.  

Walleye are most numerous in the north section of the lake and anglers able to fish around weeds will find excellent 'eye action.  But be prepared for lots of northern under 24,” since Sucan has very high numbers of small pike.  Sucan is also the only lake you will find fair numbers of perch over eight”.

Bluffpoint—Bluffpoint Lake is the most difficult to reach, but can definitely be worth the trip.  It is a huge, deep, clear lake with high granite bluffs, islands, long open stretches and sheltered bays.  

Lake Trout can be found in deep water near drop-offs or bluffs.  Sullivan and Yoke probably have bigger trout, but they can’t match Bluffpoint in numbers.  By fishing 15’ to 30’ deep, lakers in the 20 to 26” range can provide exciting action even during June.

In early summer, largemouth bass (no smallies in Bluffpoint) may be found near the many timbered shorelines. And by late June, small weed beds develop in various bays and these attract high numbers of bass.

Northern pike are fairly plentiful in Bluffpoint and will also relate to the weed beds.  Most are under 26” and can provide steady action all day.  But our fly fishing guests have also caught numerous fat pike over 30” on big streamer flies.

Sullivan—If big pike are your hot button, Sullivan Lake is for you.  The fishing isn’t always easy, but no other Slippery Winds lake has provided trophy pike (35” or more) the way Sullivan has, including a huge 43 incher I caught on my first trip to the lake. Plus the pike on Sullivan tend to be fatter than the other lakes.  Look for weed beds near deep water.  Under the right conditions, trolling over deep water in some of the smaller bays often works.

Sullivan also produces good sized lake trout (including a few 10 pounders) as well as some big largemouth.  You need to work for these big bass, but using big lures and flies around the same weeds that hold pike will get them.

Crossroute—Crossroute Lake is the last of the six lakes in the Slippery Winds line up.  And its beautiful island studded lake where the pike and largemouth always seem to be hungry.   And the shorelines are filled with fish holding downed trees because when beavers blocked the outlet creek, a decade ago, shorelines were flooded.  Now these dead trees have toppled in, creating superb largemouth cover.  And summer weeds also develop so both the lake's bass and pike have lots of good habitat to relate to. 

Pike under 26” are most common but I've caught several well over 34”. And each year Crossroute pike sizes seem to be increasing.  The largemouth bass aren't quite as big as they are in Sullivan and Bluffpoint but they are numerous.  And try top water fishing first.  If it works, you are in for a treat!

As the co-founder of the Smallmouth Alliance organization in 1988, Tim's smallmouth bass passion extends beyond how to catch them. His commitment to conservation has meant a strong advocacy for protecting the species and the waters where they live. You can find out more about Tim Holschlag (including how to pronounce his surname!) by visiting his web site. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beat The Black Friday Rush!

The last of the Halloween candy is finally gone (don't ask ... but I'll bet you can guess where it went!) and we are now dusting off the Thanksgiving decorations and family traditions. In Wisconsin late November means the opening of gun/deer season and the annual Black Friday day of shopping.

If you are looking for something new for that sportsman on your Christmas list why not treat them to the All-Canada Show experience or better yet, take them to the show, and book a fishing or hunting trip to Canada?

For thirty years, the All-Canada Show has been the best place to plan and book your Canadian fishing and hunting adventure.  Purchase your All-Canada Show tickets for 50% off online available throughout the entire show season.  These tickets can be used at any of the seven cities where the show is held: St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Minneapolis.  

The All-Canada Show is more than just the best place to plan and book fishing and hunting trips to Canada - there is something for everyone in the family: attractions such as the 'Hanson Buck', a world record whitetail sponsored by Cabela's, a Musk Ox full mount, and a gallery of artwork by world renowned artist, Anthony Padgett. The All-Canada Show will have casting contests for kids on Saturday- just sign up when you are at the show! Select your favorite trophy fish and have your photo taken with a monster walleye or northern pike, a free hunting simulator sponsored by Cabela's, shore lunch will be served in concessions (for an extra price), and we will have an interactive Internet area in the show this year where you can post your photos on Facebook   In addition to the many great Canadian exhibitors, we will be giving away prizes - including a trip for two to Canada in every city, and offering seminars from the experts will be sharing their tips and tricks.

This coming year marks the 30th anniversary of the All-Canada Show and to help celebrate, longtime show sponsor Eppinger will be presenting guests who attend opening night with a free 30th anniversary collector lure. Kids will receive a 30th anniversary lure all show days.  You will also receive our free full color All-Canada Adventures magazine, and free maps and travel guides at our Travel Centre.  

Giving the gift of a Canadian fishing trip is a great way to spread Christmas cheer, and create a lifetime of memories.   That will be a gift that is not forgotten after January 1st.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cabela's Second Amendment Sale at Richfield Store Oct 18-23

We wanted to make our friends and fans aware of a huge event & sale our friends at Cabela's will be having this coming weekend - October 18 through 23 - at the Richfield store.

Cabela's will feature:

  • 10% off of used and Gun Library firearms in the Richfield store
  • 10% of NEW handguns (In Stock only) and Tactical long guns

There will be special pricing on select hard and soft goods items, shooting accessories, as well as some general outdoor products to make Cabela's your one stop shopping destination. Now would be a great time to get your scopes, choke tubes, slings, cases, magazines, hearing/eye protection, shooting vests, and other shooting items as well as much more. 

Cabela's will have staff on hand to mount scopes and show you the world's best optics. Also, don't forget the tactical equipment that Cabela's sells and will have on hand.

There will also have in-store seminars and demos throughout the day that are always popular.