Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Opener!

Gull Lake Fishing Guide Tim Hanske 1.jpgLooking ahead to my 16th summer as a professional fishing guiding in North Central Minnesota, I always get excited.  I get excited to see customers who have become close friends, the opportunity to meet new people, share memories with families, and at the very base of that excitement is simply to be out fishing.  Spring time offers the walleye angler a wide variety of options when it comes to techniques.  Springs winds are often unpredictable, waters temps can fluctuate quickly and it can be your ability to adapt and employ different techniques that can make a difference. Do I know everything, heck no!  But here are a couple to stay productive from opening morning to early June here in Minnesota when chasing walleyes.  

First, Opener morning brings that excitement of getting to hit the water and hopefully set the hook a few times.  It would be impossible not to mention the simple yet deadly jig/shiner combo.  This technique is so versatile and super effective at presenting the bait to the fish in any depth of water, and at virtually any rate of speed.  I like to start out on rocks or sand along the inside edge of the breakline. Most lakes the best area is in 6-12 feet of water, right where the new weeds start and stop.  These weeds, mixed with the transitions to sand or rock provide perfect ambush points for hungry spring walleyes. If there is a good wind blowing in, cast the jig out and drift along the targeted depth, hopping the jig along the bottom.  For calm conditions, fan cast the jig with a similar hopping retrieve.  
Fishing Guide Tim Hanske Minnesota.jpg

A second approach to spring walleyes is one that comes with some type of stigma in the walleye world, and that is the slip bobber.  Why do people recoil when I suggest fishing a slip bobber, no clue.  Maybe they don’t like to catch walleyes. However, what I know is that it is an ultra-effective way to present the bait to spooky fish and hold it precisely in their strike zone at any depth.  When fishing slip bobbers, wind and rocks is always a great starting point.  If you are fishing with friends, it is wise to cover different areas and depths until someone starts finding a pattern.  Be sure to keep an eye on your buddy though, as sometimes “friends” don’t like to share their secret. Just remember, there is no “i” in team.  A lighted slip bobber at night fished from shore or a boat is a classic way to catch walleyes during low light hours as they prowl the shallows eating minnows.  

Brainerd Fishing Guide Tim Hanske Gull Lake.jpgIf you take away one thing from this article, just do not get stuck in a box of fishing how you should be fishing for a specific time of year.  Yes, there are certainly times when doing what always has worked works, but if they don’t want to bite throw them a curveball and adapt to the changing moods of the fish!

Capt. Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Premier Fishing Guide Service

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Open Water fishing opportunity in February

Mn open water fishing opportunities may be available earlier this year do to our mild late winter weather. 

LOA Pr0 Team member Toby Kvalevog and WhiteCap Splashguard's owner Brian Berle kicked the open water season off a little early with a Mississippi River outing in south central MN.
Beginning at the top end of pool #2 flowing south, the Mississippi river is open to walleye fishing year round. Pool 2 is C/R only but #3 south of the St. Croix and the rest of the pools are considered border waters and open to harvest in accordance to MN DNR regulations. Pool 4 has open water and access year round with access out of Everts Resort on the Wisconsin side of the river and is usually open for business.
There's something special about the first trip of the year on open water after being forced off the water by old man winter for a few months.              
Look for all accesses south of  the Ford Dam on pool #2 to open soon if they are not already. As of now, the water temps are about 38 deg and flow and water clarity is prime for good fishing. On our recent trip, jigs and fathead minnows were the ticket worked with moderately fast Jig technique. The action was pretty steady throughout the AM with several fish being caught from 16-22 inches.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Leisure Outdoor Adventures Mille Lacs Fishing Guide Captain Tim Hanske: Mille Lacs Muskies on the Brain:

Leisure Outdoor Adventures Mille Lacs Fishing Guide Captain Tim Hanske: Muskies on the Brain

53X27 in. Mille Lacs Musky Guide Capt. Tim Hanske
Hello, my name is Tim Hanske and I’m addicted to musky fishing.  There I said it, not that I needed to if you ask my wife, my friends or family, or anyone who has talked to me for even five minutes.  I have a deep passion for these slimy buggers.  Musky fishing is something that I have been doing since I was around 13 years old when I had my first musky follow a bait to the boat. I think it was in that moment that something tripped in my brain and I never really could get rid of the “musky bug.”  I can still remember my first musky on Wabedo Lake, a 38 incher ate a bumble bee Suick, and my first topwater musky that I caught on Lake Alexander on a TallyWhacker prop bait.  Both of these special moments I was lucky enough to share with my father (who is the man to thank for my lifelong obsession with fishing).

Fast forward a couple years...ok, more like 20 or so, to 2016.  Armed with all those years of musky fishing and 15 years of guiding like a crazy person, I decided that I was going to put all my free time into chasing giant muskies on my favorite body of water, Mille Lacs Lake. I have spent more hours on Mille Lacs fishing for walleyes, smallmouth and muskies than I could possibly count.  I am truly in love with the lake and it never ceases to amaze me what kind of fish swim under the vast 132,000 acres of water.  However, in every relationship, typically there are some bumpy spots, and Mille Lacs was giving me some cheap shots this year.

A quick recap of my musky adventures in 2016:  I had been blessed with an incredible season of fishing and guiding.  My summer consisted of many guide trips, awesome customers, a good tournament run, and for the most part, good fishing.  The musky trips went really pretty well this year, some nice ones were caught, lots of memories were made, and of course we had the ones that got away.  Now, my personal assault on Mille Lacs was amplified by a truly monstrous fish (I’m talking a true 55-60 inch musky) that tried to eat a 18 inch walleye off of a customer's line.  This fish really made me go off the deep end, deeper than I had ever been.
Musky guide Capt. Tim Hanske and a customer with a 45 in musky
Actually the passion of the sport lead to many nights casting Bigtooth Tackle Juice bucktails or Klack baits into the weeds, sand, and rocks.  One of these nights I had my shot at a giant Mille Lacs beast after 13 hours straight casting...but my #80 pound brand new braided line was not match for the wicked Zebra mussels that lay on the bottom like little razor blades waiting to slice through hopes and dreams.  Seconds after, the giant jumped shaking his head with the sounds of blades chattering from its mouth and the big silhouette visible in the full September moon.  After the loss of a full moon night giant, I fished even harder nighttime, daytime, moon rise, moon set....I think you get it.  

47x22 in. Mille Lacs musky guide Capt. Tim Hanske 11/26/16
In the world of musky anglers, there are different types of motivated anglers.  However, there is a group of us, that will fish muskies until the lake will no longer allow us to launch our boats while cold temperatures and brisk winds are typical.  Dark nights, long days, random comments about the moon phase or wind directions, and other things that I cannot mention is our norm.  When people ask "How was fishing?" we hesitate to tell that them we just spent from 4:00am-4:00pm casting 15 ounce baits continuously with no photos to show.  But darn it, we will be back out there at 4:35am the next day because that is when the peak bite occurs.  It is an unexplainable drive, that honestly many people view as psychotic and irrational. These are the behaviors that we display in the cold water months to catch the true giants.  I call it passion...but I’m pretty sure anyone who does not feel the need to fish muskies until the end of the season calls it madness.  

52.5x26 in. Mille Lacs Musky Capt. Tim Hanske 11/26/16
So, here I sit on November 26th, a sense of calm, of accomplishment and sadness.  I achieved my goal by catching a 47x22 and a 52.5x26 to end my season.  I am saddened only because the season has ended.  I knew that I had one more shot at a Mille Lacs musky today, and I got lucky...but now it is done.  2016 had been a grind out on Mille Lacs for muskies with few follows, bites, and my own world it all boiled down to my last chance.

I ended my relentless quest of the 2016 musky season with my father, on my favorite lake, two very special muskies, and some pretty amazing memories. It was truly a special day, one I will be talking about for a long time. Just like the swish of the 40 pounders tail,  the 2016 season is gone, and I’m already looking forward to 2017...unless I become “sick” and cannot attend work Monday,Tuesday, or Wednesday….ahem, cough, cough…………….just kidding:)  

Good bye...52.5X26 in. ending the season

Thanks, Capt. Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Team

PS:  If you are wondering what made my 2016 guide season one of my most action packed season yet...check out Bigtooth Tackle at  these lures, specifically the Juice Mini 8 and the Weedless Klack bait played a huge role in my success (and many other guides) on the water.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mille Lacs report from Leisure Outdoor Adventures fishing guide Tim Hanske 5/23/2016

FullSizeRender (1).jpg
Mille Lacs fishing guide Tim Hanske 28 inch Walleye

This past weekend was another great one for fishing on Mille Lacs!  The walleyes and smallmouth bass have been chowing down on food, and the fishermen who get out on the big pond are experiencing world class fishing!  
Steve Hanske, 26 inch Mille Lacs walleye
We braved the wind yesterday and caught some walleyes out on the mud, including two big Mille Lacs walleyes.  We fished the north end mud flats with livebait rigs tipped with leeches and crawlers.  Drifting with the wind (.6-.9 mph) down the mud edges between 25-31 feet helped us locate active walleyes.  We did find a few schools, but on most spots they seemed to be scattered so movement was key.  I did pull spinners but this did not produce a bite as the water temps are still around 60 degrees.       Anglers who fished the windy rocks had an extremely productive day using KenKatch 3D Eye jigs with shiners and slip bobber/leech combo.  This is a great way to experience all the great fish in Mille Lacs, because they are all using the rocky structures to locate bait fish.  
Some spots to check out this week include Garrison reef, Pike point, Myr Mar reef, Matton flat, Resorters Flat, Banana flat, 3, 7, and 8 Mile flats.  Be sure to stop at Tutt’s Bait and Tackle and stock up on leeches, shiners, crawlers,fatheads, and all your tackle needs!  

Thanks, Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service

#millelacs #DoTheLake #Millelacsfishingguide

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2016 Minnesota Walleye Opener Preview of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs Lake and more!

Brainerd Lakes Area 2016 Minnesota Walleye Opener
By: Tim Hanske 
Professional Fishing Guide for Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service
This is the time of year that gets everyone ready to go!  The crappies and sunfish have been snapping, the grass and trees are getting greener and the pollen is flying.  The 2016 Minnesota Walleye, Pike and Bass (catch and release) openers are upon us, and as anglers, it marks the tradition of going fishing.  I have looked forward to fishing opener every year that I can remember and this year is no different.  I wanted to highlight some of the lakes around the area and hopefully help you put a few more fish in the boat!
Tim Hanske fishing guide Brainerd Area 1Dad.JPGGull Lake and Round Lake:
I have spent many years starting the season on Gull Lake and it seems that year in and year out some areas always produce fish.  Many people flock into the channels by Zorbaz and fish around the bridges looking for the walleyes that are using these bottleneck areas to feed on their way out into the big lake.  These areas can be productive, especially if you are fishing from shore during the day or night.  I like to pitch a Kenkatch Red Hook Long Shank jig with a nice shiner minnow around and fish it back nice and slow.  Another method with the jig is to either drift or use your trolling motor to move around while slowly covering water.
        For Gull some spots to check out are the shorelines around Booming Out Bay, Grassy Point, Cobins Bar, The Hay Field, Polks Flat, River Bar and anywhere else that will hold minnows this time of year.  On Round Lake I usually start on the shoreline break right in front of the landing, the shore break in front of 371, or the Northeast Bay near the sand beaches.  Typically a stealthy presentation such as a KenKatch jig and shiner combination will definitely help you locate some active walleyes.  Live bait rigs and slip bobbers can also produce fish tipped with either minnows, leeches, or crawlers.  I like to keep the boat around 8-15 feet of water, actively fishing, trying not to scare these shallow fish.  Keep your eye out for green weeds emerging through the surface, as they can be baitfish hide-a-ways; a jig/shiner will fish through these very nicely.

North Long Lake:
Gull Lake Fishing Guide Tim Hanske.JPG
This lake can be fantastic fishing all year long, but especially on opener.  There are many areas of underwater structure and typically boat traffic is less congested than Gull Lake.  The same techniques apply and some spots to target would be right in front of the Merrifield public landing all the way to the south, the humps and their shore breaks in Merrifield Bay, Uncle Tom’s cabin (deep hole surrounded by sand on the south eastside of the main lake), Sullivan’s Bar, and the shore break between the main lake and 371 Bay.
Most of these areas have concentrations of minnows, sand to mud/rock transitions and emerging vegetation.  Casting jigs, crankbaits or slip bobbers help locate walleyes that are using these spots during the day and night time.  When fishing North Long, I like start fishing close to the weed line, and depending on what the fish are doing you can adjust your boat to present the bait without spooking them.
Mille Lacs Lake:
Brainerd Area fishing guide Tim Hanske 2Dad.JPG         Yeah, yeah, yeah…we know you can’t keep any walleyes, but for opener you sure can catch them!  Just a short drive from Brainerd, Mille Lacs will be a great lake to open the 2016 season because you can hook a 28 inch walleye or a 20 inch smallmouth on the same spot!  Be sure to stop in at Tutt’s Bait and Tackle in Garrison, MN because they will provide you with great information and everything possible for a successful trip on The Big Pond.
        Opener on Mille Lacs typically starts on the North end sand, and trust me there will be walleyes from Garrison Bay all the way to Malmo.  The trick is to find the areas of the sand that have scattered rocks plies or weed beds.  In front of the Wealthwood public landing down towards the Red Door Resort is a pretty good starting place.  You can cover water either by drifting or trolling KenKatch Jigs/shiners, live bait rigs with leeches/crawlers, or crankbaits.  Walleyes will be scattered from 6-23 feet of water, so figuring out the best depth can take some time but is worth it once your hook is set!  Normally on the flat calm days the fish will either be deeper or in the weeds, and on windy days the will be up on the rocks or sand eating minnows.  Other spots to check include Garrison Reef, Pikes Point, Myr Mar Reef, Banana Flat, Seguchi’s Flat, and some other nearshore flats.
Leech Lake:
Mille Lacs Lake fishing guide Tim Hanske walleye.JPG         A short 50-minute drive North on Highway 371 will bring you right to the shores of this walleye factory.  Here, many opportunities will present themselves to keep some walleye for dinner and hopefully put numbers in the boat as well.  Most people will be hoping for some wind, and when the wind blows the main lake points come alive.  Fish the points with the most wind blowing into them drifting a Kenkatch Jig/minnow, live bait rig or slip bobber to locate hungry walleyes on the prowl.  Some of these main lake points include: Pine Point, Ottertail, Duck 1 & 2, Star, Hardwoods, Oak, and Stony Point.  Most of these fish will be feeding on windy days in 5-12 feet of water and once you contact some active walleyes, it is generally a good idea to focus a small drift in that area.  On the calm days, pitch a light jig/minnow around or use the boat to pull the bait along to locate the hungry schools of walleye.
The weather looks somewhat interesting for Saturday, but it is after all the Minnesota Opener!  Dress in layers, be safe and be sure to remember that it most likely will be busy at the landings.  Exercise patience, and even try to lend a helping hand! We all remember our first time using a public access, and we all still make mistakes at the ramps, especially when everyone is watching and waiting.  Most of all have fun and catch some walleyes!!  

For questions, information, please check out the following bait shops and websites:  Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service, VisitBrainerd,  Tutt’s Bait and Tackle, Full Stringer Bait and Tackle 218-363-2031, Swanson’s Bait .

Thanks for reading, GOOD LUCK!!

Tim Hanske
1-855-LOA-HOOK (855-562-4665)
Leisure Outdoor Adventures

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Good Ol' Days of Fishing

Technology, social media, and conservation have changed the landscape of fishing. Some would argue, the good ol days of “fishing” are gone. With technology and fish counts on the side of anglers, one could argue that the good ol’ days of “catching” are now.
Ray Gildow
Legends & Legacies is series of tales
about some of the legendary fishing
guides in the Nisswa Mn area written
by Ray Gildow
Giant fish pictures with legendary fish guides and charter captains who were talented outdoorsmen capture our imagination and tell some of the best stories.Their daily triangulations and compass readings to find locations were truly a skill that could only be learned by time on the water and not purchased. Fishing journals would be held close to an angler’s heart and shared with very few. Homemade lures and trapping your own bait surely added to an element of reward at the end of the day. Fishing on pristine lakes, with little to no development or traffic, would be that ultimate experience. Secret spots and Lake X were the only locations shared. For many, this is perceived as the good ol’ days of fishing.
Virgil Wards Champonship Fishing Show  began in 1964


That all began to change when the first fishing reports and fish catches first started to make their way to newspapers. Virgil Ward was one of the first TV fishing shows dating back to the 60’s. The Nashville Network (TNN) hosted shows like In-Fisherman, Bill Dance and Hank Parker Outdoors on Sunday nights beginning in the early 90’s. Along these lines of angler education, a trip to the mailbox once a month to pick up a current In-Fisherman or BASS Magazine where articles highlighting idols like Al and Ron Lindner and their cutting edge or tournament winning advice and strategy would quickly be learned from many of the top pro’s and guides around the world.
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Facebook
fishing report with up to date info on a
local lake.                                                     

Fast forward 20 years and the landscape has changed both on and off the water. As a guide and tournament angler, I have been involved just long enough to remember the transition into the world of social media, gps, lake chips, and state of the art fish finding technologies.There is no doubt that getting to the fish, finding fish, and staying on the fish is easier today.
A quick glance onto your favorite social media outlet will surely provide evidence of an awesome catch or experience that will make you pause and take note. There are thousands of anglers who utilize social media as a promotional avenue and they depend on their subscribers.  An online search for a destination that matches that catch will undoubtedly provide a video, report, or message board that provides the general info as to how and when to catch the fish that you are after. Youtube has become an educational tool that can be used as a virtual online classroom. 

Lowrance HDS 12 with Insight Map Chip

Lake maps, chips and smartphone applications have changed the sport. The Navionics App. for smart phones is one of the biggest advances in lake/ fish information. Accurate depth contours, DNR stocking and fish catch information, water clarity are all at the tip of a finger. This can also double as a handheld gps /lake map when you have good service. A trip to the boat in the garage with map chips and GPS / fishfinders technology allow for plotting a hit list for the trip long before the ship ever sails
Reaction baits are not only replacing but out
fishing traditional bait in many situations.
The hands on element of fishing has become just as advanced in many ways. Fishing rods are now built with specific actions for techniques and with material that allows for lighter weight and better feel. Line advances and artificial lures have become so effective that for many, they have become the preferred method of fishing. The “bite” itself has become more of an addiction than the catch for many because of this advancement in feel.
Lund Boats
300 HP Mercury Verado on a 20ft Lund Pro V is built to get
you to the fish and back safely.                                

  Getting to the spot and staying longer has never been so easy or safer than today. There are many boat and motor manufacturers that produce models specific to all types of fishing. They are getting bigger, faster, safer and more efficient with every model. These advancements allow anglers to fish lakes of all shapes and size under most conditions. Some of the best days fishing today wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago for safety reasons.

Kruger Farms Pro Korey Sprengel is one of the most
successful pros on the National Walleye Tour
Fishing has become very technical and commercialized in comparison to 20 years ago. Few can argue that there are a lot of really good fisherman out there today. With social media and online television, there is a lot more information available to become a better angler. The professional fishing tournaments, like other pro sports, are spotlighting up and coming anglers who are very successful in their first few years on tour. This is proof that perhaps the modern angler is in fact a better angler. The names that have withstood the test of time like Kevin Van Dam, Gary Parsons, and Al Lindner have all adapted to embrace the changes made adaptations and are well schooled with the advancements of the fishing industry.
Leech Lake Walleye
Stringers full of fish are being replaced with smiles and photos that tell a story.
Catch and Release arguably has been one 
of the biggest changes to fishing. Gone are the vast photos of an angler with little expression holding a giant dead musky or walleye.  Replacing them are happy photos with anglers holding a live fish that is tagged as released for another angler to enjoy. The dried up faded fish that hangs in a rustic bar are being replaced with beautiful fiberglass replicas that look better than the original ever did. Conservation and Sport fishing has undoubtedly become more of a common practice for many species. Slot limits have helped fish survival on certain lakes when managed properly and a person can argue fish catches on lakes such as Leech Lake and Red Lake in Minnesota have never been better. It's possible that this will likely become more common practice with better understanding of year classes and slot limits by our local fishery departments.
The good ol’ day of fishing are really in the experience and ideals of an individual. There is little doubt with the advancements in the fishing and boating industry, social media and online educational resources that we now have the potential to find a lake and experience a once in a lifetime fishing opportunity on a more regular basis.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Leech Lake Ice Fishing Report

Leech Lake was up and down this past week and with the recent cold snap things have slowed down somewhat.  The front has caused the walleyes to be less aggressive and anglers are having to really hone in on those peak periods as well as as staying mobile to stay on top of the walleye bite.  Most fish are still being caught throughout the Main Lake in 12-16 feet of water.  This has held true with reefs, shoreline breaks, as well as breaklines and points.  Many anglers are utilizing the south end access and heading out to the reefs and breaklines around Pipe and Pelican Islands where as on the west end of the Lake, Traders Bay, Stony Point, and Pine Point are all seeing action.

Walker Bay has a decent walleye bite, with eater fish being more prominent.  18-28ft of water on humps that are near shore as well as shoreline breaks and points.  The Ice in Walker Bay is really varying so use caution and stick close for now constantly checking and drill holes.  Ice is varying from 4-6" in some places to 11-12" in others so it is best to continue to exercise patience with the Bay.  

Perch fishing has been good, with better fish coming on both main lake rock-to-sand transitions, and depressions in shallow sand/weed flats. Site fishing for perch can also be a fun thing to do all winter long, especially on weed flats.  With the abundance of small perch in the system, try upsizing your presentation to combat those little perch and catch more jumbos.

Panfishing remains good for Crappies and Bluegills with both species showing up in typical mid-winter areas like basin edges and mid-depth soft bottom flats. Look for those dishpan style lakes to focus your efforts on.  Tungsten jigs with plastics or euro larvae as well as small jigging spoons are working for both species.  

Give us a call for any of your Ice House Rental Needs or Guided Ice Fishing Trips.



Monday, October 5, 2015

Picking through the pencil reeds!

A bite that recently emerged on Leech lake has been the pencil reed bite.  By recently, I don’t mean it was just discovered, rather the baitfish moved in there and the walleye and perch have followed.  Too many the idea of fishing here, especially for crappies, is nothing new.   However, it is worth looking at for a fall tactic.  Walleyes and Jumbo perch are in here gorging as the temps start to drop. Take advantage and enjoy a great mixed bag fun!

Reeds, like any area with structure, need a little help.  On Leech, wind is king and provides a lot of help to enhance any structure, including pencil reed areas.  If I know that baitfish have been using these areas, I am going to look first for those in the wind driven areas.  The wind will also help concentrate that ball of baitfish so when I find the areas where walleyes are feasting, it should be game on!

When in search mode, I am going to start with jigs, moving rather quickly as I search for fish.; ⅛ stand up jig or an ⅛ long shank Kenkatch jig are my go to jigs. I will be looking to make casts to open pockets within the reed areas.  If I don’t find them there I will begin probing  the weed edges. Rainbows and fatheads are all the a person needs in the fall.  If, somehow, you could find leeches, try those to tempt finicky walleyes or perch into biting.  

Another technique that is overlooked come fall is slip bobbering.  Slip bobbers and pencil were made for each other.  Slip bobbers allow tremendous precision when making casts and keep the bait above debris, often dead pencil reeds.  When shifting to bobbers, you may find it helpful to back off a bit and make longer casts to avoid spooking the fish.  Rainbows and fatheads are still the bait of choice, but also try tail hooking the minnow to create a little more fish attracting struggle.  

In the fall, most boats will be probing the depths, fishing steep breaks in search walleyes.  And, while 
they will find some for sure, they will not find the mixed bags of jumbos and walleyes that you will by picking through the pencil reeds!