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Bobber Down Guide Service

  • Mercer, Wisconsin 54547
  • Vendor Type: Guides
  • Fishing Type: Freshwater
  • Fishing Style: Fly Fishing, Spin / Bait Casting
  • Amenities: Shore lunch: campfire island fish fry available for extra fee
  • Targets: Muskie, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Crappie, Perch
  • Phone: (715) 776-0140
  • Websitewww.bobberdownguideservice.com
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My family and I live in Mercer, Wisconsin. One of the many reasons we moved here in 2006 was our love for fishing and camping on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Our family has had a cabin near the Flowage since 1964, and I have fished there since I was a young boy.

There are obviously many good lakes to fish in our area of the state. With my free time I’ve always opted to fish on the Flowage. With over 14,000 acres of water and the majority of the shoreline undeveloped, it is the type of fishing environment that held my interest. Another huge attraction for me is the diverse structure and habitat to fish. When I fish by myself or with my family I often resist the temptation to go where I know I can usually catch fish and explore for new spots which seem infinite.

Starting in 2013 I will be guiding on other Vilas and Iron County Lakes, including the Manitowish and Flambeau chains.

I’ve always been a low technology person, but late last season (2011) I updated my electronics to a Hummingbird 798 ci HD with side imaging and bought the Lakemaster chip, wow! I still like to feel the bottom with a cast iron window sash weight on a steel cable while scouting new spots. As I can confidence in the new unit and it ability to detect bottom composition, I may abandon the sash weight: they don’t use them in windows anymore either :)

I have a pretty aggressive style of fishing but try to adapt to the clients’s pace. after all, it is often said, “life should be fun.” Well, fishing should be really fun! I encourage customers to opt for having a shore lunch. A fish fry over a campfire on an island is a fitting compliment to spending a day on the Flowage. It’s a little more effort on my end but I enjoy doing it and don’t count the lunch break into our fishing time.

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The Fishing

There are many methods to catching fish on the Flowage; I will outline a couple of tactics I commonly use.

Much of the fishing I do is with jogs and live bait, minnows into Memorial Day weekend, leeches and crawlers until September and minnows again in the fall. 

An approach often used is to anchor slightly upwind of a specific piece of structure and fish with the slip bobbers set 6″-12″ off bottom, with another pole, casting a weedless jig. Using this approach, patience isn’t much of a virtue fishing for walleyes and smallmouths, with 2-4 people in the boat and 6 or 8 lines in the water it usually doesn’t take long to see if there are any aggressive fish on the structure. Humps in the 4′-8′ range with sand, rock, and stumps usually hold more fish than soft bottom humps.

Where patience is required is in contacting wood on the bottom while casting or vertically jigging, even with weedless jigs you will get snagged and lose jigs, it’s part of fishing on the Flowage. I recommend that you purchase the ISG Slow Fall jigs in 1/16 and 1/8 oz size. These are available at sporting good stores in downtown Mercer. Generally colors that I have the best luck with are chartreuse and orange. Reeves Jigs are also a good choice and are available too.

Another method I use is to drift wood-strewn bays and flats. Depending on the wind, sometimes a drift sock is used to slow the boat down. I will have slip bobber poles set up with weedless jigs in rod holders at about a 60 degree angle on the upwind side of the boat and cast crank baits in the direction the boat is drifting. Casting cranks on the Flowage can be a costly proposition, hence casting in the direction of the drift and straight ahead is important. When you hit a snag do not try to pull it out. Slowly take up the

slack line as the boat drifts along, once you get directly over and slightly past, pull backwards and usually the bait will come free. By having the bobber rods in holders you can look back as you’re retrieving cranks and see the rod bent over when you get a fish on. If the live bait rigs are doing better I might switch to all bobber poles.

When fishing this way I will throw a buoy in when I catch a nice fish sometimes the fish are spread out over the flats and sometimes they are more concentrated and shorter drifts should be made.
Crank baits that have worked well for me are Rapala shad raps in perch, firetiger and crawfish Sr-5’s in 4′-7′ and SR-7’s in 8′-10′. I’ve used a homemade de-snagger (my dad’s manufacture Circa 1967 back when there was a lot of wood in the Flowage). 

The Boat

My boat is an skeeter, 4-stroke 115, 4 passengers and fishing guide



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