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Fishing fun for the whole family at Kentucky Lake

Fishing fun for the whole family at Kentucky Lake

Kick'n Bass Kentucky Lake Crappie

Our first Adventure Finder location to feature is Kentucky Lake.  Kentucky Lake is known for it's fishing.  Smallmouth, Spotted, Largemouth, White (5lb state record was caught here), and Yellow Bass, Crappie, Sauger, Catfish, you name it.  It's 250 square miles of solid outdoor recreation and is about 200 miles/3 hour drive from St. Louis.

Rich Bay from Kick'n Bass has ran his guide service in Benton, Kentucky for years like his grandfather before him.  He welcomes visitors to come enjoy all that this lake has to offer.  What I noticed about Rich's guide service was the appeal for the entire family.  A variety of fish to catch, comfortable accommodations, and an experienced, knowledgeable guide.  I reached out to Rich to learn more about why he chose to become a fishing guide and learn more about his story.

 1) Tell us your story.  How you got into the profession and why you do it?  

I love to fish and meet new friends! I have fished my whole life. My goal is to share my lake knowledge and fishing techniques with other fishermen to make your day on the water both fun and rewarding. My greatest satisfaction is seeing happy fishermen and women with a big smile on his or her face.

After 20+ years as a fireman I was blessed enough to retire to my favorite place in the world, Kentucky Lake. Following in my Grandfathers footsteps as a fishing guide is a dream I’ve had since I was a boy and now I’m living my dream!!! And now my grandkids are learning. My goal is to share my lake knowledge and fishing techniques with other fishermen to make your day on the water both fun and rewarding.

 

2) What's been your favorite experience/fish story you've seen first hand as guide?  I'm on the water a lot whether guiding or not, searching for those special areas that attract game fish and finding out the best baits and patterns that work here on Kentucky Lake. I am in the fishing business to pass on things I have learned to you, the angler. Not only will I put you where the fish are, but I will also teach you how and where to use lures and techniques that you may have only read about. Everyday I learn something new, which helps keep my excitement of fishing going.

My favorite story was a family from Louisville, Ky. The dad was a Child head and neck oncologist...tough job. He brought his four children along for a catch whatever bites trip. We fished in a steady rain most of the day. Those kids smiled and laughed and hollered in joy for every fish we caught.  One of the most rewarding trips I've ever had! 

 

3) What are the fishing opportunities where you guide on Kentucky Lake? When are the best times for a given species? In March I start spider rigging for Crappies until the water reaches to 50+ degrees. At that temp, I start pulling crankbaits for crappies in the deeper bays.   I made this video with Kentucky Afield TV awhile back as an example.

Once May rolls around it's Redear/Bluegill time. When found on their beds there is no better fighting fish...and tasty too! Once June comes in I start casting Steelshad Bladebaits and Ken's Hybrid Spinners for Whitebass and Yellowbass. Then near end of August and beginning of September I switch back to pulling cranks for Crappies. Of course, during all of this fishing, a mixed bag of fish species will be caught. Largemouth, Catfish, Sauger etc.

Paducah, Kentucky is a short 35 minutes or so from Benton where Rich is located.  There is plenty to do in town as part of spring break or an extended weekend trip.  The kids might enjoy the River Discovery Center where they can learn about the importance of rivers to everyday life, especially in the Midwest.

http://www.riverdiscoverycenter.org/

There's plenty of shopping, dining, and a variety of activities in town for the kids between bowling, paintball, roller skating, movies, equestrian sports and more.

https://www.paducah.travel/things-to-do/recreation-and-sports/family-fun/

There are plenty of great accommodation options for the whole family in Paducah.  A great place to start would be the Holiday Inn.  With a very high Traveler Rank on TripAdvisor and their solid reputation, this is a strong one to consider.

Another highly rated option for consideration in Paducah is the Candlewood Suites.

If you want stay in town near Rich, a simple, low-cost option in Benton for a guys-only fishing trip could be the Benton Inn.

To book Captain Rich for your trip to Kentucky Lake, his contact details are below.

Captain Rich

270-205-7603

http://www.kicknbass.net/

Facebook: @kicknbassguideservice

 

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Shawnee Expeditions serves up the big Muskie at Kinkaid Lake

Shawnee Expeditions serves up the big Muskie at Kinkaid Lake

Big Lake Kincaid Muskie

Muskie were once known as the fish of 10,000 casts but with consistent conservation and resource management efforts, it may take more like a thousand casts these days. Growing up on In-Fisherman and Babe Winkelmann on TV, Northern Pike and Walleye fishing a whole other world.  The Muskie was the alligator-like granddaddy of these toothy beasts.  Years later I learned that there was Muskie fishing close to the St. Louis area, available in both Missouri and Illinois reservoirs.

In this edition of Adventure Finder, we are focusing on Kinkaid Lake.  Musky are not indigenous to this lake and were first stocked in 1985.  Since their arrival, Muskie numbers and quality have thrived on a solid forage base of spotted suckers and gizzard shad.  Fishing guide Scott Donovan of Shawnee Expeditions brings his more than 18 years of experience to bear in locating and catching these big Muskie.   We had an chance to catch up with Scott and learn about his story and the many opportunities available at Kinkaid Lake.

1) Tell us your story. How you got into the profession and why you do it?

I was fortunate enough to catch my first musky at the age of six while on a fishing trip to northern Wisconsin with my father. I was scared to death after releasing that fish and can remember asking my dad if there was any Muskie in the lakes we fished for almost two more years. Lets just say that experience was memorable. The northern Wisconsin trips went on for a couple more years, which turned out to be the foundation for my passion of muskie fishing. At D Bar D Resort, it was a regular stop to see the ice chest filled with trophy muskie and walleye, labeled, “biggest of the week”. Those trips happened years ago, but I can still remember the rock where I caught 100 bluegills along with the muskie that destroyed my Castaic bluegill. Years later I heard D Bar D Resort was the location that the Linder brothers came up with the notion of In-Fisherman. Even if it is a fish story, I have no doubt that dreams where made in those magical Northwood’s lakes.

A couple years later I fondly remember my father asking my mother if a trip to Canada was in the books for me. My father had been heading up to Sioux Lookout, Ontario for a couple summer trips before I was asked to go. At age twelve, I had felt like I had become a “man”, as this remote float plane trip into the wilderness of Canada was a trip of a lifetime. My best memories were from Lake Metionga and Seagraves. Two remote lakes that will forever be a place that my dad and I share as trips of a lifetime, once again… These remote trips are full of memories, so deep that my family cherishes every moment. Although these trips did not always include muskie fishing, they laid the foundation for conservation, selective harvest and leave no trace ethics. Well, years later this “trip of a lifetime” is now on trip #26. Trip #27 will be just as magical as the first time the De Havilland lifted its floats slowly off the water and the pilot skimmed the tree lines in dense fog, off to our walleye and pike factory. These waters are renowned for trophy 30” walleye and 50” pike. A true treat for any outpost trip. Fast forward a couple years~ My college career fell some time in between all these trips north. With a passion for the outdoors, I ended up getting a degree in Outdoor Recreation with a focus on Leisure Service Management. It was a perfect fit and I knew that guiding was in my future. It was just some luck that it all worked out so well. As I was enrolled in my first year at Southern Illinois University, I was able to acquire a small john boat for $300. The beat up old boat did not have a motor, so it was a project boat for the summer. I ended up attending boat show at JALC and entered a $5 raffle from Harrison’s Sport Shop in Hurst, IL. Three tickets and fifteen dollars later, I get a call the day later saying I won a 9.9 Yamaha motor and that I could pick it up that day. Well, lets just say I did not make it to school that day, as I showed up at the shop and picked up a brand new shiny grey motor for my old boat. I knew it was a sign that this was meant to be. I now had my first fish slaying machine!

Now I guide out of a vintage ranger 680T. An ole tiller that can sneak into any cove on Kinkaid and catch fish. Eighteen years later I find myself with a booked calendar year after year. Chasing the elusive Muskie and other game fish in Southern Illinois year after year with the best clients a guide could ask for. It is humbling knowing that my education on the water and knowledge allows my clients to have a fishing experience that is truly unique. It has all come full circle and I could not be more grateful.

 

2) What’s been your favorite experience/fish story you’ve seen first-hand as a guide?

Being a muskie guide has presented some of the most interesting days on the water that anyone could ask for. I’ve heard tall tales about the elusive six foot muskie, the local big muddy monster chasing deer around the shoreline and of course the stories about the “one that got away”. Most trips are not just full of stories though. They are a time to connect to the lake and enjoy the wildlife. Muskie fishing is truly a group of elite anglers. Often crazy enough to spend hours and hours chasing a fish so elusive, some say a fish of 10,000 casts, just to feel that mighty muskie smash a lure and about rip the rod out of your hand. As I get older and truly understand my role as a fishing guide, I try to provide an experience on the water that is far from the norm of the daily routine we call the rat race. Yes, I must provide the opportunity at putting a world class fish in the boat each trip, but I also must provide the solitude and environment where clients can have a true wilderness experience. This being if only for a couple short hours.

Well…you ask what is my favorite time I often reflect on as a guide? The one fishing expedition that pops up in my mind time and time again involves a father & son trip from a couple years ago. It was mid March and we had been on a great pre spawn Muskie bite throwing bass style baits up to the warming spawning flats. A father had called and said he wanted a “bucket list” Muskie trip, as he and his son were interested in a chasing fish with teeth. I asked if he had ever Muskie fished and he replied that he caught some pike at a young age, but he never was able to get up north. For us southern, Mid-West readers, Up North is referring to Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Canada. The land of trophy Muskie and thousands of lakes to chose from. The client went on to say that he and his son are really interested in trying to catch a Muskie before…he paused for a short while and then took a deep breath. He explained that this was the last time he was going to fish with his son, as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had only months left. I did not hesitate to say that it would be a trip of lifetime and that I felt privileged that he had called Shawnee Expeditions to make this dream come true. The day came and we met at the boat ramp, just as the sunrise hit the horizon. They both walked up to the boat with huge smiles and a great positive attitude towards the day. We never spoke about the pre trip conversation, rather just fished the day away and got caught up in chasing some muskies with joyful conversation. The muskies were kind to us that day, as the father did get to catch his first Muskie. It was an emotional experience for all of us, the only problem was the small size. We had hoped he would have caught a 40’+ fish, as that was his lifetime goal. Still, we cheered for hours, as we kept casting till nightfall. As the father was taking another frequent break to empty his colostomy bag and to sit down for a break, the son kept casting away. I had looked away for just a second when the son said, “Big one!!!” I looked over my shoulder to see his rod double over and his father jumping to his feet. With the rod doubled over, the mighty Muskie put on a show of strength for what felt like hours. I had the net ready to go and the fish came up boat side. We got a lucky with a perfect net job. Finally!!!! A huge 45.5” Muskie for the father/son team that booked us to make sure the mission was accomplished. I remember that experience like it happened yesterday. The son was crying, saying sorry to his father. I remember the son saying that was his fathers fish and he should not have caught it. In the at moment, his father looked to both of us and said, “I know I said my dream was to catch a Muskie, which came true, but my true wish was to see my son catch a fish of a lifetime”. We all stayed silent as the fish swam back into the depths she came from. They hugged and embraced for a short time. It was a trip I will never forget.

Big Kincaid muskie from Shawnee Expeditions

3) What are the fishing opportunities where you guide? When are the best times to catch Muskie/hire you?

Shawnee Expeditions lead guide, Scott Donovan, has been learning the local waters of Southern Illinois for over 18 years. Lake Kinkaid serves as the main body of water for guide trips, but there are also expeditions to Pyramid State Park. Since Lake Kinkaid is located in the southern Muskie range, the water temperature can often be over 80 degrees. Shawnee Expeditions does not guide once the surface temps reach 80 degrees. With that said, we still have an extended season as we start in the end of September and stop around the first week of June.

The famous early season, pre-spawn bite provides a chance at a true state record fish. Just this past spring, a local angler caught a 4.9 oz Crappie, while another angler caught a 49.5” muskie. These southern systems provide a chance at world class fish, while most systems are frozen over or have a closed season. When clients do ask what our favorite time of year is on Lake Kinkaid, we often say it is hard to beat May and early October. March can be fun too, but stable fishing as the lake warms up in the spring along with the big cool down come fall, allows for some of the biggest fish of the year to be caught.

Shawnee Expedition is a multi-species outfit, but Walleye, Crappie and Muskie are the main focus.


Rapala Husky Jerk_125x125

Gorgeous Lake Kincaid Muskie from Shawnee Expeditions

If you are looking for a place to stay overnight as part of your fishing trip, here are a couple of solid options in Carbondale which is about 10 minutes away to get you started.

1) The Best Western Saluki Inn is a great value, ranked #1 of 10 available in Carbondale by TripAdvisor.com.

2) Hampton Inn is also a great accommodation available.  Rated #2 on Trip Advisor and reasonably priced, it's another great choice to consider.

If you have any questions or inquiries, please feel free to check out www.Shawneeguides.com on Facebook @ShawneeExpeditions
or can be reached via phone at 618-201-5820.



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Catch big Mississippi slabs with Brad Chappell Crappie Guide Service

Catch big Mississippi slabs with Brad Chappell Crappie Guide Service

If you love Crappie and are looking for a unique crappie experience with a seasoned professional, go see Brad Chappell in Glen Allan, Mississippi.  While Brad specializes in long-line trolling, he'll also do spider-rigging, dock shooting, single poling, and pull crankbaits to produce not just numbers but some truly big crappie.

Lake Washington crappie fishing with Brad Chapelle

After the Let's Go Fishing Show in Collinsville, IL, we had the chance to follow up and learn more about Brad's story and why you should give his guide service a look.

1.) How did you get into the profession and why you do it? I fished a tournament, came in 4th place, and I got hooked on fishing tournaments. I was then asked to do a couple of magazine articles. Then I started having people call and ask me to take them fishing. After I thought about it, I then decided it was a great way to fund my desire (and to upgrade my fishing gear!).

2.) What’s been your favorite experience/fish story you’ve seen first-hand as a guide? Hank Williams, Jr. is one of my favorite singers of all time. So out of the blue one day Hank calls me up. The next morning I was fishing with him! Even better, he's since fished with me two other days.

3.) What are the fishing opportunities where you guide? I guide in the best crappie fishing places in the country. Lake Washington and Grenada Lake in Mississippi. I fish Lake Washington February thru April, then Grenada Lake May thru October.

Beautiful Lake Washington

If you're planning on staying in Greenville, Mississippi, Days Inn is a very affordable option, the most reviewed listing on TripAdvisor.com.

If you're looking for something more cozy and if you're making a weekend of this trip with a spouse, the Belmont Inn Plantation is another solid option as well!

Either way you go, if your looking to get into some solid Crappie fishing in 2018, look no further than Brad Chappell in Greenville, Mississippi.

Facebook: @BradChappellGuideService


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Variety is the name of the game fishing with Payable Guide Service in Branson.

Variety is the name of the game fishing with Payable Guide Service in Branson.

For our latest edition of Adventure Finder, Bruce Curtis of Payable Guide Service in Branson is a fascinating feature.  To say he wears a lot of hats (now and before his guiding days) is an understatement. Bruce can help you do any of the following and more in Southwest Missouri:

  • Troll for Rainbow and Brown Trout on Taneycomo
  • Bring home a mess of deep water Walleye on Stockton Lake.
  • Catch big Smallies on Table Rock Lake
  • Fly fishing for Rainbow and Brown Trout on the Taneycomo tailwaters.
  • Trolling with divers for White Bass and Crappie on Bull Shoals

1] Tell us your story. How you got into the profession and why you do it? I was born in Cairo Ill. Where the mouth of the Ohio river dumps into the Mississippi. I’m the oldest of five boys and my father had me fishing before I was six years old in the river bottoms of Barlow and Wickliffe Ky. There, we fished primarily for crappie, bass and cat fish. We always had trot lines set and fish along with other wild game was a primary food source. By the time I was 10 years old I was well versed in catching bait of all kinds. We used to strip naked and seine crawfish and minnows out of snake infested ponds and sloughs. I can’t tell you how many times we brought the big 3o’ seine up with an angry snake in it. I remember one time when I was about 12, a big Cotton Mouth came across the top of the water at us. It scared me so bad I threw the seine down and ran. Dad of course killed the snake but it took him about 20 minutes to convince me to keep seining bait that day. When I was in the 3rd grade my dad took a job in the winter as a welder in Jackson, Michigan. He would farm in the summer in Kentucky and weld in the winter in Michigan. Therefore I spent my winters in Michigan and my summers in West Kentucky in the river bottoms. I always started school late and got out early.

I went into the Marine Corp in 1965 upon graduation, spent time in Vietnam and later joined the Army and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. after completing OCS at Ft. Benning Ga. When I got out of the military and after holding various jobs I started a career with the Michigan Department of Corrections where I quickly attained the rank of warden and went on to become the Assistant Deputy Director of the Department. I served 42 years. This job offered me the money and time I needed to fish the Great Lakes and its tributaries as well as other rivers in the Mid South. I joined and held office for the Michigan Charter Boat Association where I met many Great Lakes Captains, conservation people as well as other fishing professionals. I spent so much time on the water my wife told me I should get my Captains License and at least make it pay for itself.

I love spending time on the water as well as meeting new people, especially families. Nothing like seeing families enjoying fishing together and making lasting memories. Families usually keep fish for dinner but I do encourage them to release very large bass and large trout. The way I fish, mostly trolling multiple lines and drifting make it easy for families to catch fish as they don’t have to be expert at handling a rod and reel. Some simple instructions as to how to fight the fish to the boat usually are all that is needed. I do however have professional fly fishermen book with me especially on Lake Taneycomo’s tail waters behind the Table Rock Dam to sight fish big trout. On these trips I strictly focus on placing the boat in various positions for them to place their offering in front of their target. Most of these folks are focusing on large trout and they generally get their pictures and release the fish.


 

2] What’s been your favorite experience/fish story you’ve seen first-hand as a guide? I have many favorite experiences so I will use a trip on Table Rock Lake this last summer. An uncle and aunt had booked a trip in mid July for their nephew’s birthday. Counting themselves there were five people. When they arrived at the dock at Table Rock State Park boat ramp they were worried because they had been advised the fish were not biting because it had been so hot. Many guide reports had been listing the fishing as slow. Indeed it was hot, the surface temperature had been running 90 degrees during mid day and the water was very clear. They were actually contemplating rescheduling their trip for another time. I spent several minutes explaining to them that I fish differently than anyone on the lake and that the hot surface temperatures were actually to my advantage and they decided to take the trip.

I had my first mate with me who is also a Charter Captain and an excellent boatswain in his own right. Our plan was to fish a bluff that contained 150’ deep water for about a mile stretch. Since we had already been fishing deep water we knew the fish at mid day were running between 45 to 50 ft. down. Fish in Table Rock in hot weather do come in and feed in shallow water very early in the morning after the water has had time to cool all night. Since we started at about 8:45 AM we used divers that run about 25 ft. in 50 ft. of water on a flat about two miles before you get to my targeted area. We were running 8 to 10 lines off my very large home made planer boards. These folks had never seen fishing with large planer boards and were quite intrigued. In about a two hour troll we caught about 6 or 7 fairly nice spotted and small mouth bass and the birthday boy was very excited. When I told these folks the best was yet to come they looked at me rather skeptically. It took us about 30 minutes to change 8 lines to deeper divers as we hit the 150 ft. deep water. These divers were running 40 to 50 ft. deep. The lines hadn’t been set for 15 minutes before we had a hard double strike. What fun two large fish on at once! Both the first mate and I were netting fish while the Garmin Auto Pilot on the kicker motor held the boat on course. For the mile troll and back we caught well over 30 bass of all species with most exceeding 3 lbs. with a couple of smallies over 4 lbs. A couple of times we had 3 fish on at once! Needless to say we had a very excited crew and everyone caught fish. The family kept enough of the smaller keeper bass for dinner and released the rest.

 

Please note however when it comes to keeping fish its not my call because people have a license and they have paid to go fishing. I will encourage them to release the larger trout and bass but the final decision is theirs. Crappie, white bass, smaller trout and walleye are in the cooler. Trolling deep water is the most effective way to catch large fish especially in the summer.

3] What are the fishing opportunities where you guide? When are the best times for a given species? I guide the three Branson lakes, Taneycomo, Bull Shoals and Table Rock. If someone wants to specifically fish walleye I will guide Stockton Lake as well. Taneycomo may very well be some of the best rainbow and brown trout fishing in the US. A 25lb. brown trout was taken just last fall. That is a monster brown anywhere in the country. Most days people who fish Taneycomo get their 4 trout limit rather quickly.

Keep in mind that from Fall Creek to Table Rock Dam no live bait or power bait or scented bait is permitted and there is a slot limit that does not allow you to keep a fish between 12 and 20 inches. Below Fall Creek you may use any type of bait and keep any size rainbow. Brown trout have to be over 20 inches to keep. Trout are very easy to catch in Taneycomo all year long. Also size and number limits are strictly enforced on Bull Shoals, Table Rock and Stockton Lake.

Crappie and white bass fishing in these lakes is always best in the spring in both pre and post spawn. However, if you find either of these delicious fish in deep water in the summer it can be a bonanza. To find them in deep water you can troll with divers or you can use a bell sinker on the bottom with droppers and your electric motor to probe deep tree tops. If you use this technique be sure to use an extra light wire hook that will straighten out if you hook it into a tree. This way when you pull it free you can bend it back rather quickly and keep on fishing. White bass suspend over very deep flats in the summer where the water is well oxygenated. Once you locate them you can stay on them all day. Both Table Rock and Bull Shoals have some very large crappie and white bass. You can fish bass or walleye all year long. Your success will depend on location and presentation. One of the biggest mistake made for any species is fishing under the fish. Just about all fish strike up except maybe cat fish. Often when people fish walleye they always fish the bottom. Keep in mind the number one prey for walleye is shad. They will set under a school of shad suspended in the water column especially in the summer in deep water. Also keep in mind that walleye usually run to tail waters of dams in very early spring or up into creek arms with gravel. Bass: when you see bass beds which are very easy to spot please don’t fish them. There are plenty other fish to fish for during this time.

When you come to Branson, there is no shortage of available accommodations.  The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is Traveler Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor but was also more than twice the cost of the following two accommodations at the time of this publishing.

1. La Quinta Inn Branson-Hollister is ranked #2 of 133 properties on TripAdvisor and only about 3 miles from Lake Taneycomo.

2. Comfort Inn is another solid option, ranked #3.

Regardless of where you stay, Bruce Curtis can provide you a variety of great fishing experiences you won't forget!



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This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions.   This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.

ON SALE $2.99

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Big fish, gorgeous views, and more with Kilted Carper Fishing Tours in Phoenix

Big fish, gorgeous views, and more with Kilted Carper Fishing Tours in Phoenix

As an ardent fan of Carp fishing and active promoter of the sport, seeing a Carp fishing guide operating here in the United States is a rare treat.  The profession would have practically been non-existent 10 years ago. Good thing former Navy nuclear chemist Levi Flood is definitely the pioneering type.  I can't say I've seen many kilt wearing, Euro-style Carp anglers on the shoreline here in Missouri. Ever.  While that's unique, another draw to Kilted's guided trips is the natural beauty of the Phoenix area. I can attest it is truly one-of-a-kind. I visited PHX as part of my day job for over 5 years. The mountains, the desert air, and gorgeous scenery is worth the trip alone (especially during the dreadfully long winters of the midwest).  Throw in an epic Carp fishing experience, a wide variety of restaurants, hiking, and more, there really is no reason not to head out here.
I had a chance to catch up with Levi and learn more about him and what Kilted Carper Fishing Tours is all about.
1.Tell us your story. How did you get into this profession and why do you do it?  I came into guiding rather naturally.  While I am an introvert by nature, I have found out that having one other person to share a day with just makes the experience that much better.  So every time I would go out on a trip, I would try to invite someone, preferably someone who was either new to fishing or at least new to carp fishing.  One day someone asked why I wasn't a guide.  I laughed off the suggestion, because the idea of getting paid to do what I loved seemed absurd.  I had recently come-off an 8-year career in the US Navy where I served as a Nuclear Engineering Laboratory Technician (essentially a Nuclear Chemist) and while the money was good, I had dreaded going to work each and every day for those 8 years.  So the thought of getting paid to fish...it just seemed absurd.  But then another person asked, and another, and another.  Soon I couldn't ignore it, so I began exploring what it would take to get licensed.  Kilted Carper Fishing Tours then opened it's doors in just a few short months actually.  
By the way the name comes from my love of wearing kilts.  A while back I bought a kilt as a sort of dare/why not kind of thing.  I loved it, and have worn them ever since.  Plus, it helps the business stand out when you see a strange bald guy standing on the shore with a bunch of 12-foot rods, a huge fish in hand, all the while wearing a kilt.  No one forgets that.

2) What's been your favorite experience/fish story you've seen first-hand as a guide? 
 I have two.  The first is a bit of a personal bias.  You see, I love kids.  I have two of my own, Dillon and Torrin, both boys ages 6 and 4.  I've spent most of my life working with kids, whether that was teaching in Sunday School, coaching chess, or substitute teaching while pursuing my master's degree.  Anyway, I have this one favorite fishing spot.  The Carp tend to school up in this large pool just to the east of where we camp.  However, there is this tiny little offshoot pool to the north, almost completely cut off from the river, where Carp drop their eggs.  By late spring that 30 by 20 foot pool is filled with what is probably thousands of tiny carp, all around 1 pound a piece.  This one day I had brought a bunch of small ultra-light rods in addition to my big carp rods.  A bunch of families came down to the area we were fishing, not to fish but just to enjoy the Arizona sun, and I had an idea.  I setup the little rods with just a bit of corn on each one, and began catching Carp.  After asking the parents permission, I spent the next 2 and 3 hours holding an impromptu clinic for these kids, as we landed hundreds of the little guys together.  I would hook into one, hand off the pole, and then get the next pole ready.  We had a veritable assembly line going! Most of the kids had never caught a fish before in their lives.  It was awesome!
The other time I was guiding a new friend (who I had met once before).  This wasn't an official guided tour, but I had brought him to a new spot to teach him some new tactics, so essentially the same thing.  A few hours into the session we had a screaming run.  It was my turn, so I grabbed the rod and hooked into a monster.  I fought that 37-pound grass carp for quite a while.  My friend grabs the net and scoops up the fish while leaning over the steep bank of the canal.  Next thing I know, the head of the net has snapped off as the powerful fish fought while inside it.  My buddy then dives in head-first into the canal (one of the dirtiest bodies of water I have ever seen in my life) so quickly that I barely had time to catch his ankle.  We landed the fish, and have been best friends ever since.  This is the same friend that has been my biggest cheerleader in starting my guide service.  
3) What are the fishing opportunities where you guide? When are the best times for a given species?  We mainly target wild Carp, although we will sometimes visit the urban lakes that are scattered throughout Phoenix to try to land Buffalo fish, exotic Koi, and Catfish.  However, our best tours are out in the Phoenix deserts, where clients have the opportunity to experience once-in-a-lifetime scenery while catching monster fish. Imagine stunning pictures where you are holding a beautiful 20-pound common carp, a gorgeous Arizona sunset behind you, with tall saguaro cacti and desert mountains completing the scene.
Our best time of year is spring, from about March to June, right after Carp have spawned and the water is starting to warm up.  The weather is beautiful and the bite is crazy!  Last year we had one four-hour session in which 242 pounds of fish were landed!  And almost all of the fish caught were at least 10 pounds!
Phoenix is just a fantastic city.  There is so much to do and see while you're in town.  Grab some extra large servings of pizza and pasta at Oregano's in Tempe or Chandler.  Another worthwhile stop is Chino Bandido's for Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine. Four Peaks and Helton Brewing company are also great stops for some of the local beers to sample.
For TripAdvisor top 10 rated accommodations in the Phoenix area, Hampton Inn and Homewood in the Happy Valley area are solid options that are also reasonably priced.

Hampton Inn & Suites - Phoenix North/Happy Valley

Homewood Suites - Phoenix North/Happy Valley

For an unforgettable angling experience, reach out to Levi below.
Tel: (623) 518-7767
KiltedCarperFishingTours@gmail.com
Facebook: @kiltedcarperfishingtours
Instagram:kiltedcarperfishingtours

River King Fishing, LLC. is a participant in the Booking.com Affiliate Partner Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Booking.com.

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eBook

The River King Shoreline Fishing Guide

New Cover 3.29.18

This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions.   This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.

ON SALE $2.99

Patrick Ritter
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The River King Fish File: Walleye

The River King Fish File: Walleye

For the next installment, let's talk Walleye. They are a prized gamefish across the country, known as excellent table fare like trout or catfish.  They also are a respectable fighter, grow to significant size on major rivers, and once located, can be caught in good numbers.  Their cousin the Sauger is mistaken for Walleye often and don't grow as large but are also great fun to catch.  Be sure to watch the teeth! Catching walleye on treble hooked lures can be especially hazardous.

Fishing, Fishing Tackle, Outdoors, Nature

Walleye are predators eating a variety of minnows, crayfish, insects, and even small mammals as their primary sources of food.  In Missouri, they are not as often caught or as readily available as you might find in lakes or rivers of Canada, Minnesota, or Wisconsin.  There are some fisheries that do have healthy populations.  This 2010 segment from the Missouri Department of Conservation highlights 3 rivers in the southern portion of the state that have been the focus of conservation and restoration efforts to grow Walleye populations.

Where 

Fishing from the shoreline significantly limits your catch potential with Walleye but there are some spots to target:

Dams are good for just about any river species and Walleye are no exception.  Tail water sections where baitfish gather and rocky shorelines that extend out into the river holding crayfish can be productive.  If there is warm water discharge nearby, that will also be a draw for Walleyes during cold weather periods.

Points are great current breaks for fish resting or looking for food out of the fast water of the main current.  Targeting the back side (slow moving) side of the point can be a worthwhile investment of time.

Creek Mouths can also be great when there is structure near their opening allowing Walleye to feed on their prey and also access the shallow creeks at dark.


How to catch

Live bait can improve your odds of catching Walleye by using minnows, worms, or leeches.  Here are a couple of approaches to get you started:

1. A jig head tipped with a minnow.  Casting out and letting it sink to the bottom then popping your rod tip as you retrieve can entice feeding walleye.  An 1/8 to 1/4oz would be sufficient for the average shoreline approach.

2. A simple sliding or split shot rig using a size 6 hook with worms, leeches, or minnows are another option for the colder, slower months where activity is reduced.  A 1/4oz bullet weight and a snelled leader would work here too.  A simplified approach is to run your line straight through the sinker and tie a Palomar know to the leader.  Done!  See our Gear Checklist page for more info on those product links.

Walleye are a very desirable and popular gamefish so don't leave them off your list of river fishing pursuits. I've found myself often catching them on accident over the years and it always a very welcome surprise!

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Challenge what’s possible in 2018 with 2 words

Challenge what's possible in 2018 with 2 words

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

Photo: Mitch Kirwan

 “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” - Mark Twain

This quote is just priceless to me. Every year I'm allowed on this earth it becomes more clear to me the benefit of travel.  It renews your soul in a way few other pursuits can.  What's gained in exchange for your time and treasure are the connections made, lessons learned, perspective and experiences that can change your life.  As a lifelong lover of the outdoors, fly fishing for trout in Colorado for the first time was beyond amazing.  It was a Bucket List item fulfilled. For decades I've foolishly put this off because the sport is expensive to me, especially hiring a guide.  What I learned that morning from my guide Mitch with two simple words has in many ways changed my life.

"I Wonder"

The Fraser River levels in Winter Park fluctuate and can rise significantly during the early summer, what they called runoff fishing. This June day was only the second of the year where temperatures were above freezing the night before. The river swelled and made the fishing challenging but at the same time presented opportunity to a newbie like me.  To catch browns and rainbows sub-surface in dingy water would mean my lackluster presentation could still be productive.

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

My guide Mitch drove me to this private land owner's property where he has guided countless anglers of varying skill and temperaments. His patience was off the charts as I tried to undo a lifetime of conventional fishing habits that didn't translate well to fly casting. Carefully crossing the below section of river, he tells me his ethos as a fishing guide. What follows is what I recall while trying to not slip on those mossy rocks.

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

"I wonder. I constantly think like a fish. How would I get the most value for the least amount of effort.  I've got to be efficient and smart because life in the river for a fish is not a buffet line.  As a guide, yesterday's best hole producing a dozen or more of these fish may no longer be reached wading. The eddies, the slow spots beside the current, never the same.  Each day is blank slate so while I've fished this same river for decades, the nuances are endless and you must adapt to be successful."

Next we fished an oxbow where another section of stream cut through with a narrow, slow-moving stretch. We drifted at least a dozen times before a brown came up to hit my yellow strike indicator instead of the nymph. "I've not seen that yet but now I've got a couple of yellow pattern ideas to try next time."  We switched to a dry fly for about 15 casts to get that riser. With no luck, we decided to move upstream but before heading out, figured we'd try one more time. "I wonder if we try a couple more drifts with that nymph but this time get right along that bank overhang ." The result was the below 23" brown trout.

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

The fishing was awesome and a great memory but not just an experience to file away in a photo album.  It's stuck with me.

My lessons were many:

  • The wonder cannot cease. When you're done wondering in life, you might be fishing but what are you catching?
  • Like the Fraser River, life is not a buffet line.  We have to also adapt and learn new skills to stay relevant and fruitful human beings.
  • The people who matter in your life, are you meeting them where they are now or are you making them swim the fast water to get what they need?

This one experience inspired me to wonder more myself.  River King Fishing has since launched, the Shoreline River Fishing Guide published, and what's next I could not be more excited about. Our mission is to help more anglers spend time with family, connect with nature, and catch more fish.  Profiling great fishing experiences and travel opportunities will be yet another tool to make this happen.  Starting next month you will see more opportunities here regularly to do all three!

If you want to experience a life-changing fishing experience like this for yourself, give them a look at Mo Henry's Trout Shop where Mitch Kirwan can show you around some great spots on the Fraser River. http://mohenrys.com/.

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

Bring your family along to Winter Park.  Hike in the nearby mountains, rent bikes at Epic Mountain Sports http://www.epicmountainsports.com/ and ride the Fraser River Trail through to Granby.  The views are just amazing!  You can camp there or get a simple cabin in town for a reasonable rate in summer.  We were able to get a room at Beaver Village Condominiums for less than $80 a night, suitable for two adults.  Below was the view a short walk outside our door!

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

 

http://www.booking.com/hotel/us/beaver-village-condominiums.html?aid=1452099&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1

Winter Park resort was having their Chocolate Festival with live music that also coincided with a downhill mountain biking event.  There is also no shortage of fantastic restaurants to boot.  Dino's had a fantastic steak I'd recommend for a special night out.  The Mountain Rose Café is a great choice for a Mexican breakfast.  Just read this below tagline and tell me you're not interested in checking it out!

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Resort, Hotel, Outdoors, Nature

So looking ahead to your 2018, challenge what is possible with two words: I Wonder.  Wonder what is possible in your life and then how to make it happen for you!

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ABOUT PATRICK RITTER

Patrick Ritter
Blogger

Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC.  Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.

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It’s not a man’s world and this is not a man’s sport.

It's not a man's world and this is not a man's sport.

Every day brings a different headline it seems.  A powerful man at the top of his game who thought for decades he was untouchable.  One day his bubble bursts to discover that his improper behavior and dated assumptions about what is acceptable in the workplace are thankfully being questioned and rejected where necessary.  It is not a man's world like that portrayed in an episode of Mad Men.  Also in the world of fishing, it's easy to forget that this is a sport, a hobby, a lifestyle that is open to all.  It's not a man's sport.


I write this piece to encourage parents, dads, and moms alike, that introducing fishing can be instrumental in the development of your girls as well as boys.  What's the real value in fishing with your children?  They will learn the following that they rarely pick up anywhere else in modern society:

1) Learn the basics of how their ancestors sustained themselves catching their dinner from local bodies of water.  Fishing is forming some basic appreciation for today's modern conveniences.  When your children have some inkling of where to start should they need to provide for themselves, the less Kardashian they can become!

2) Learn to appreciate nature.  Nature is therapeutic.  Time alone outdoors can be a solution to many an ill, physical and psychological.  Teach your children so that the next time they're stressed, overwhelmed and rejected by life, or need some release, get them hooked on that long hike among the pines.  Maybe it's a brisk ride on the trail, meditating by a stream, or hauling in that catfish from the river.  The psychological benefits of simply being outdoors can reduce incidents of depression.  We've seen in research that all this time on electronic devices has had an impact.  The before mentioned outdoor outlets and more are far better alternatives to the many distractions that consume our modern youth.

3) Learn conservation.  The resources of this planet do not get refilled like a college dormitory vending machine.  What you enjoy today is a privilege so that it can also be enjoyed by those who next inhabit the planet.  Introduce your children to the concept of stewardship regarding natural resources today and they will have a solid reference point when they learn to steward their own families, financial resources, and more.

4) Show your kids in a visible way that you care.  When you spend the time to be present, intentional, and naturally curious about their lives, they have been validated by the most important people in their lives as young children.  This can be done in a multitude of ways but fishing is yet another one you have at your disposal.  Particularly car rides can be that quality time together.  Turn down the radio, don't bring their tablet, and use the rear view mirror (responsibly!) in conversation with your kids. I've recently enjoyed this book to help me focus on this at home.

Not one bit of this is gender specific.  These are important lessons for our daughters no less than it is for our sons.  Meredith McCord is one of my favorite fishing celebrities.  I really enjoy videos like this below to remind all of us that women can love the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and more.  Show your sons and daughters the basics and see what develops.  You both may be surprised!



Booking.com

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eBook

The River King Shoreline Fishing Guide

New Cover 3.29.18

This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions.   This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.

ON SALE $2.99

Patrick Ritter
Blogger

Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC.  Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.

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Cabin Fever cures for the angler and family

Cabin Fever cures for the angler and family

Parenting, Outdoors, Nature

For many, this time of year can be a challenge.  We want to be spending time outdoors with our kids like we see in the image above when we're instead prisoners to the elements.  This winter, in particular, has taken a turn for the worst with only a few days of temperatures above freezing in prior weeks.  The love for Mother Nature among even the most avid of fishermen turns cold quick.  Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) sets in.

To add to the restlessness you might already feel, now your youngsters are bouncing off the walls too!  Children especially are prone to get locked in a distant stare in front of the wall-mounted flat screen TVs.  Their mobile devices can stay glued to their hands and by late morning or early afternoon, you can see the cabin fever is taking its a toll on the whole family.  You're raising your voice, they're anxious for some physical outlet, and both of you are frustrated by the state of the union at home.

Where do you start as a family?  Just a few minutes of planning can help a great deal.  I've spent far too much money in the past by leaving the house and doing something on the fly, just to do SOMETHING.  Make a poor choice doing this and everyone's further frustrated having blown $50-100 and we're still bored 30 minutes later.  Below is a short list to get you started and thoughts on some, not all of them.

Parenting

Fair to Poor Options

Used video games are not a great option.  Your kids and you need some Vitamin D.  Even getting out of the house, walking the dog for 5 minutes can make a difference.  This encourages more time inside, at home.

Arcades Back in the day, Aladdin's Castle at the mall or your corner arcade could get you a lot of enjoyment for $5.  These days you're often clocking in a dollar per minute of entertainment which adds up real quick for a family of 4 or more.

Parenting, Outdoors, Nature

Strong Options

Gym

IF your gym provides daycare, this time could be the release both you and your children need.  Do be sure at gym daycare to bring plenty of hand sanitizer. One winter, we seemed to have our boys get pink eye every single time we went.

Games and Puzzles

Another solid option here.  It's far too rare to have 30 minutes to an hour with your kids uninterrupted.  That's often our fault too by the way so turn off your devices at the outset of the games!

Library 

The economical option is also the smart and social option.  They may learn something from the smart kids!  Train tables and other activities can sometimes be found there to encourage these interactions.  Plenty of computers here too but again, not why you're there.

Batting Cage

Even if your kids are not into baseball, it's a great deal of fun for the family.  Everyone gets the opportunity to exercise, maybe improve their hand-eye coordination, and most of all spend time as a family.

Volunteer

Some examples might be working in a soup kitchen or visiting a nursing home.  Resources like Volunteer Match can help make this process easier too.  https://www.volunteermatch.org/.

Your church is often in desperate need for help in a variety of different services.  Just ask and you will be surprised to find the variety of opportunities there are to serve as a family.

Don't forget fishing!  

Winter Trout Fishing

While many lakes are frozen now, winter trout programs are available in many states where fishing is slow or non-existent during cold months.  Check with your state's conservation or natural resources department to see what's available.  Often urban lakes where trout would never be found naturally and can't be sustained through summer will be stocked providing access.  Rainbow trout are a great fish species to introduce your kids to fishing.  Stocked fish are often less wary/easily caught, beautiful to behold, and put up a respectable fight.  A child's first rainbow trout can be the experience that gets them hooked on fishing for life!

Ice Fishing

A variety of species can be caught ice fishing.  The upper Midwest is more known for this activity, catching healthy populations of walleye, crappie, trout, catfish, etc.  This may be the first winter in years where this is realistic in Missouri but do play it safe and get the right gear.  An auger helps to start.  The Missouri Department of Conservation can go far further in depth from there to help you get equipped and stay safe with the below info.  https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/get-started-fishing/ice-fishing.

Speaking of getting equipped, retail therapy is real for anglers too!

Fishing Retail Therapy

For an angler, this time of year is especially brutal.  Fear not fishing brethren and sistren, we indulge in retail therapy just like our spouses.  If you got some gift cards from a major retailer, carve out some time and try to make it family time.  Get a meal before or after, a movie, or you may be surprised how much fun you have just hungout in the store.  At Bass Pro Shops we killed at least 30 minutes at the tank alone learning about the fish species of Missouri.

Parenting, Nature, Outdoors, Fishing Tackle

1. Now that you've got some ideas, do a few quick searches near you to confirm the costs of your activities.

2. Propose three choices to the kids to see what's their preference (rock paper scissors on disagreements)

3. Try to reset everyone's attitude upon leaving the home.  You want the frustrated, wall-climbing, and restless state of the home to stay there until you all recharge your batteries.

Get out, be engaged and intentional with your family to beat cabin fever this winter!

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eBook

The River King Shoreline Fishing Guide

New Cover 3.29.18

This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions.   This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.

ON SALE $2.99

Patrick Ritter
Blogger

Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC.  Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.

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Try introducing your kids to trout fishing this weekend.

Try introducing your kids to trout fishing this weekend.

Winter trout programs are an excellent way to get outdoors and still catch fish when most other species are not biting. These programs are also a great way to introduce your kids to fishing.  Lake stocked trout like those locations that are part of the Missouri Department of Conservation Winter Trout Program are easy to catch, acrobatic fighters, and are just gorgeous to behold.

https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/species/trout/trout-where-fish/winter-trout-fishing-areas

Check your regulations.  For Lakes 21 and 28 at Busch Wildlife as an example, the rules are specific.  Per the Missouri Department of Conservation:

RESTRICTIONS:
Trout permits are required if trout are kept.

Trout may be taken by pole and line using all types of lures and baits under statewide limits, except during the dates listed below.

November 1 - January 31:

Catch and release only for trout.
Flies, artificial lures, and unscented soft plastic baits only.
Only 1 pole may be used.
Use of chum is prohibited.

February 1 - October 31: You must stop fishing for all species after having 4 trout in possession.
Counties: St. Charles

https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/regulations/special-areas/lakes-21-and-28-august-busch-ca

Catching Trout

Here's how simple this can be.  A simple #6 baitholder hook, a split shot sinker 12 inches up the line, and maybe a small float or bobber will do.  Not much different than a very basic bluegill fishing rig.  The bait does not have to be messy either.  I caught 10 using two white Berkley power eggs on the hook, that's all!

 

Fishing Tackle, Outdoors, Nature, Parenting

The bulk of the catching was taking place on the points near submerged trees and rock piles in the more shallow parts of the lake.  You could see the trout swimming in plain sight.  Casting to the left of this tree on the rock pile just out of this shot was where they were holding this day.

Fishing Tackle, Parenting, Outdoors, Nature

A tight line to your bait is essential.  Keep the rod tip up and watch carefully if you're not using a float.  If you leave the line too slack or put down your rod, odds are they will swallow the hook.  If you're harvesting the fish no worries but not good when you intend to return them.

The crowds were gathering in the less than 2 hours I was there.  About 15 or so fisherman on a weekday and given these trout were stocked on 11/2, this weekend would be a great time to get outdoors while the numbers are still good.  Enjoy!

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eBook

The River King Shoreline Fishing Guide

New Cover 3.29.18

This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions.   This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.

ON SALE $2.99

Patrick Ritter
Blogger

Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC.  Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.