Fishing guide very knowledgeable

Mark Walters • OUTDOOR COLUMNIST

This week’s column is about fishing for walleye with a guide and thinking of an outside-ofthe box way for a fishing guide to keep the cash flowing.

I met Justin Kohn, who lives near Princeton and owns and operates All Seasons Adventures (www.justinkohn.com), last April while I was on a fishing trip on Lake Puckaway. Justin, who is 33 years old, pays his bill by taking people hunting and fishing.

Last week I saw a post that Justin had put on Lake Links, which is a popular fishing forum, about a day trip that he had made to Nekoosa, fishing for walleye on the Wisconsin River. I gave Justin a call and was invited to fish with him and a client Tom McHugh on the Fox River at De Pere.

Tuesday, March 31

High 60, Low 26

How do you take people fishing when the ice is almost out on your local lakes or the fishing season is closed? In Wisconsin many of our lakes and rivers are open for fishing year-round and, if you are a guide and you have the same kind of bills as everyone else, you drive to places like Nekoosa, La Crosse, the Wolf, the Fox or many other choices.

This year it does not matter where or what you are fishing in the Badger state we have a waterflow issue.

In other words, due to minimal flow from snow melt and next to no spring rains, walleye and let’s say Lake Michigan or Lake Superior rainbow trout are not running up stream in the numbers like they usually do to spawn.

Current and water temperature triggers both of these species to spawn, and low current and frequent cold spells are making most bites infrequent and short-lived.

So, I drive over to Voyageur Park in De Pere. I leave my house at 4:30 a.m. and I meet Justin and Tom McHugh at the landing. These guys had fished the day before with a college buddy of Tom’s.

Then Justin and Tom got a room at a local motel so they could fish today and not have to do the 90-minute drive to the Princeton/ Green Lake area.

So maybe you can start to see what I am getting at. The Fox River at De Pere is known for incredible walleye fishing during the spring run. Only one walleye can be kept and it has to be 28 inches.

Most of these fish are coming from Green Bay and the dam at De Pere prevents them from swimming any further upriver.

Tom, 30, went to college in Minnesota, owns an IT company in Chicago and has a lake home on Green Lake. Tom is a client of Justin’s and wanted to have a getaway where he could also fish with his past roommate and fellow member on his football team, Aaron Fanta.

Yesterday, Tom caught a 26-inch walleye – these guys fishing until almost dark. There was another cold spell which made for a very tough bite and the water flow is minimal.

Today the three of us are vertical jigging one-fourth-ounce jigs tipped with either plastic or minnows, and Justin has caught five walleye before Tom or I had a bite.

The walleye are running between 10 and 18 inches and very few people are catching fish and when they do we only saw one all day that would make it past 25 inches.

Justin has a theory that makes sense. He feels that if there is not enough water flow, at least in the Green Bay area, that many of the big females that generally spawn near this dam will just drop their eggs on reefs and rocky shorelines on Green Bay.

When it comes to guiding for a living, it really is a business and you have to invest and know what to buy and how to use it. Justin’s 20-foot Lund that is powered by a 200-horse Mercury “Verado” is a $50-dollar package.

The electronics in this boat sonar/imaging/mapping comes in at another $8,000 and then there is the rods and tackle required to catch fish.

A guide really has to understand how to catch fish, market his busi- ness and perhaps most importantly hold a conversation with what is often a total stranger in a 20-foot boat.

When it comes to catching fish, Justin won the 2012 Mercury Nationals (300-boat tournament on Winnebago) back in 2012 and he simply knows what the heck he is doing.

This kid grew up on Puckaway at his family farm and he has guiding figured out.

Sunset


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