Fishing Tactics

    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 jigs and live bait, minnows into Memorial Day weekend, then 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 havi
ng 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). Cabela's has a telescoping one for $23.00 that I am going to try this year.