2010 MuskieFIRST Online Seminar, Joel Michel
Feb 18th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Feb 18th, 2010 at 12:00 AM
Ballistic: MuskieFIRST Welcomes Joel Michel, Thanks for joining us tonight!
Ballistic: Let the questions begin!
Joel_Michel: Thanks for having me Steve
Cheech: Joel your website current?
Joel_Michel: For the most part.
Joel_Michel: Rates are current
Cheech: what year crestliner?
netman: What makes you fish Okauchee more than Pewaukee?
Joel_Michel: I like the size structure of the Okauchee fish and less pressure
musky_felcher: what is your biggest fish out of there?
Joel_Michel: Last year especially, looooots of people pounding Pewaukee.
netman: Do you like to live bait fish it’
Joel_Michel: Out of Okauchee 51
Ballistic: Is the structure in the two lakes different as well?
Joel_Michel: I do fish suckers in the spring and fall Bruce, not during the summer.
Rogiecrockett: Joel – I am in SE Iowa, not the musky infested waters you all have in Wisc. If you were fishing a new body of water, what are you looking for in terms of bottom structure, cover, etc?
netman: What size are you catching out of Okauchee
Joel_Michel: Very different Steve. Okauchee is a very deep (90+) lake with steep breaks and lots of points and turns. Pewaukee is shallower with two separate basins (one shallow, one deeper).
Ballistic: Is the pressure on Pewaukee because of all the talk about the hot bite there, or is it just ‘population’, locals?
Joel_Michel: Depends on the time of year Rogie. I tend to look at a lake map if on it for the first time, and find the spawning areas. Then look for structure adjacent to those areas as a starting point.
netman: Did you catch any 50″
Joel_Michel: I like finding good weeds and rocks and really pick apart the areas I fish, so I learn small areas first, and build upon that.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, the past 3 seasons my average out there has been just under 40″s.
netman: Thats cool
netman: Thats more than avg of Pewaukee
Joel_Michel: Steve, I think the hype on the web has a lot to do with it, but it has a lot of muskies and has historically produced even with the pressure.
Ballistic: Is the overall bite there consistent with the past, or has it changed
Joel_Michel: Bruce, no 50’s the past 2 seasons in the net, but had clients loose a few, including 2 that were 53+
netman: Do you troll Joel?
Joel_Michel: I think it’s pretty consistent with the past in that the same patterns still catch fish, but I think people are seeing that you can catch fish on big baits out of Pewaukee too.
tbc entered the room.
Joel_Michel: DCGs and pounders were good out there last year for those that threw them.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, I don’t troll nearly as much as I used to. More casting than trolling now.
Joel_Michel: I do love trolling though, especially open water on Okauchee and Oconomowoc
tkopke: Joel, if I was looking to run down by you to fissh what time of year is the best for size, and perhaps numbers as well?
Suzuki: Hey Joel – what is your preference in soft plastics??
Team_Rhino: When trolling Pewaukee what would be the avg. depth your baits run?
Joel_Michel: Travis, two times of the year tend to be good for numbers and big fish. June and September.
Joel_Michel: You can get them throughout the year, but those two months seem to be the most consistent especially for big fish.
tkopke: Same months as the north then
Suzuki: when trolling do you use a row-troller or kicker?
netman: Hey what is the best cranks on Okauckee and what colors do you throw?
Joel_Michel: Suzuki, I tend to throw Mag Dawgs and Pounders, and threw Hardheads a lot last year as well. The hardheads definitely lived up to their expectations for us last year.
Joel_Michel: Rhino, I don’t run baits deeper than 15′ during an average summer.
Joel_Michel: Yep Travis.
Joel_Michel: Suzuki, I use the main motor. No rowing down here.
Team_Rhino: Do you have to use weight or just longer lines?
Rogiecrockett: Joel – when taking a client out, do you have a lure progression you work with or do you start based on what you’ve heard others say is working? If progression, what is your preferred?
Joel_Michel: Bruce, I throw a lot of DDDs out there, and 9″ grandmas. Started throwing the 13″ granny last year too a bit.
Joel_Michel: Rhino, Usually long lines with cranks, but if I’m running bucktails, I’ll run some lead in front of them on shorter lines.
netman: With all that structure I guess the bigger and deeper the better
Suzuki: Do you throw spinners or topwaters much?
Team_Rhino: With HardHeads to you prefer the Tail up or the Tail down?
Joel_Michel: Rogie, I usually start with baits that I know have been producing for me (depending on the weather), and then depending on what we are seeing the fish do, adjust from there.
Ballistic: What’s your preferred reel?
Joel_Michel: Usually adjust the retrieve before changing the baits though (ie slow down, more or less erratic). I also watch what others are doing if they are fishing a spot before me. Then make adjustments so I’m not showing the fish the same thing behind another boat.
pmb: Do you work the hardheads pretty much the same way you would a bulldawg?
netman: Whats your favroite topwater
Joel_Michel: Suzi, I thow a TON of topwater early in the year and in the early to mid fall. I do throw spinner baits some, but troll them more than cast them
Joel_Michel: Rhino, I like the tail down as I like to rip them pretty erratic. They get more of a quick up and down (like a dawg) with the tail down.
Joel_Michel: Steve, kinda torn on that. I have been using the Indurons the past few years and liked them, but when throwing pounders and ripping big minnowbaits and cranks, I’ve been throwing a 7000 abu
Joel_Michel: Too cheap for a 700te. 🙂
md: Do you like to add any weight to the Hardheads at all? If so where and for what applications?
Joel_Michel: pmb, Pretty much. Count them down to where I want them and rip or pull depending on the fish’s mood.
md: In the screw on weight areas I guess I should add
peeps: joel what time of the year do you throw pounders
Joel_Michel: Bruce, Weagles get a TON of time in my boat. More so than any other topwater.
Ballistic: How do you work a Weagle, tempo or irregular?
Joel_Michel: md, I add 1/2-1 oz to the front of the bait pretty much any time I use them unless fishing in shallow weeds, then I drop the weight.
Joel_Michel: Peeps, pretty much from late may through the end of the year.
md: I guess that is what I always have done with them. Do you use the middle screw in weight at all?
Joel_Michel: I usually work it with a tempo to start but relatively slow. If I see a fish on it, I’ll slow down and do the “death march” to try to work it hard with little forward movement.
Joel_Michel: But I learned this year to speed it up when that doesn’t work. Speed gets them goofy at times.
Team_Rhino: Last year Pewaukee seemed to have a serious floating weed issue. Any tips for dealing with it especially when using planer boards?
Joel_Michel: md, I haven’t yet. Probably should experiment a bit with that. Very versatile baits for sure.
Ballistic: 10″ Weagle?
peeps: also what is your favorite color hardhead in stained water
Joel_Michel: Rhino, it’s tough to deal with the floaters out there when trolling. I usually drop the boards if they get too bad and run 6 flat lines. Otherwise, I just try to avoid the huge mats (after you find them the first time) and keep the boards clean.
Suzuki: have you thrown the littler weagle – about 5 inch size? Not sure the proper name…
Joel_Michel: Steve, the 10″ Weagle was my go to bait this year. They started out liking the 8″er in May and early June, but then they seemed to prefer the 10″er after that. The 10″wa Weagle was good as well.
Ballistic: Specific color preference on that lure?
netman: Joel what was the top producing bait for you last year?
Joel_Michel: peeps in stained water, I like the chartreuse (sp?) perch color, or something with orange in it. Just picked up a redhorse looking color at the Milwaukee show with an orange tail just for Pewee.
Joel_Michel: Suzi, I have the baby Weagle, but haven’t really thrown it much as the others get eaten for me.
Joel_Michel: On the Weagles, perch in the 8″er for sure and black or perch in the 10″er. Just confidence though. I throw those colors 95% of the time regardless of weather.
Joel_Michel: Perch seems to get bit on sunny days a bit better though.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, Weagles put a ton of fish in the boat, then it’s a toss up between dawgs and hardheads.
Joel_Michel: Dble 10s probably came in 3rd fishing them only at night for the most part.
Ballistic: Any preference in leaders/leader material?
Joel_Michel: For leaders I use either 100# or 130# Seagar that I tie
lambeau: both Madison lakes and Milwaukee area lakes are reputed to have “small bait” bites, especially for trolling. what are your thoughts about trolling bait size?
netman: Are you set-up to fish any tournaments this year?
Joel_Michel: Lambeau, I think the small baits are good for action, which is why I think those pressured lakes get their reputation for small baits, as you’ll catch big and small fish, but I think you’ll get a higher size average running bigger baits, but less overall action.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, I’ll fish a few tournies down here again. WMT, MAC, and some IMTTs. It’s a fun change of pace to fish tourneys
netman: What other water would you recommend around here?
Joel_Michel: Lambeau, back to your trolling question, there’s a lot of room for experimentation down here with trolling patterns. Guys that aren’t afraid to step away from traditional approaches score consistently
Joel_Michel: None Bruce. 🙂
Joel_Michel: Oconomowoc is a good lake as well as Silver Lake down in Kenosha
Ballistic: Rod brands, lengths, and actions and why?
Joel_Michel: Silver has an AWESOME sucker bite in the fall
Team_Rhino: What might be the biggest thing you learned to take your musky fishing to the next level?
Joel_Michel: I’ve been throwing the Okuma EVX’s the past 2 seasons and have loved them. I use the 8’6 XH for throwing smaller minnowbaits, depthraiders and up to mag dawgs. I throw the 9’3″ XH for ripping
Joel_Michel: big minnow baits, DDDs, and Dbl 10s (and when fishing pounders slower) and use the 8’6″ XXH for ripping pounders during the summer.
netman: Do you throw anything small in spring, or suckers
Joel_Michel: Rhino, the biggest thing I’ve learned to step it up a notch is to 1. not be afraid to go outside of the box, and 2. Fish spots thoroughly, especially on the pressured lakes.
Lars: Any advice for dealing with fishing (and boating) pressure on these lakes?
Joel_Michel: When you slow down and fish good spots well, you’ll get fish others miss right in front of you. And, when you head up north, you’ll see you get bit more often on less pressured lakes too.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, I do drag suckers a bit in the spring and I will throw small slammers and lip rippers for about the first week or two. Then I throw more traditional stuff.
Ballistic: please define how you cover a spot to make sure it’s time to move on?
Joel_Michel: Lars, fish slower through the good spots, cover them very good, especially if you have been seeing or catching fish in an area (especially during stable weather). I don’t worry about the boaters
peeps: What boat are you running?
Joel_Michel: too much any more though. I like throwing baits behind them, and catch plenty of fish in their wash
Joel_Michel: Steve, on Okauchee what I’ll do (if not fishing suspended fish), is work into the wind to get better boat control. Work with the boat right off the edge of the weeds with the guy in the front casting
Joel_Michel: parallel to just into the weeds or structure. The middle guy is usually throwing up on the structure, and I’ll usually work the deep break with a dawg or pounder. I work pretty slow the first time
Joel_Michel: Then if I know there are fish there (based on prior trips or conditions), if we don’t contact them shallow, I’ll slide out about a cast and a half and work the deep break with the same baits we used
netman: What was the nicest looking bait you saw at the Milwaukee show this year?
Joel_Michel: If that doesn’t work, I’ll hit the adjacent open water. I had a client loose a giant working a spot that we had seen the fish on early in the day up on the structure. That fish ate over 80′ of water
Joel_Michel: just off of the structure we originally saw it.
peeps: When fishing alone do you run and gun and look for active fish or do you still work the spots slow and well?
Joel_Michel: Peeps 1750 Fish hawk at the moment.
Joel_Michel: All the baits in my bag Bruce. 🙂
Team_Rhino: Everyone has a different idea of deep and shallow. What depths would you consider them to be?
Ballistic: Is there an advantage in Muskie fishing to being a bazillion feet tall?
Joel_Michel: peeps, I usually work spots even more slow when by myself unless I’m seeing a ton of fish and know they are eating. I tend to experiment a lot when fishing solo as well.
Suzuki: while at the Milwaukee show – what did you think of the ”pink tower of baits” at Guides Choice? Do you throw any pink baits?
netman: Yeh how are the bugs way up there?
Joel_Michel: Rhino, depends on the lake. Okauchee I would think shallow is 10-12 feet. Pewaukee, I would say 4-5′ is shallow for me. Deep for Okauchee would be 90” 🙂 For Pewee, I would say 10-12 is deep
Joel_Michel: LOL Steve. Yep, it’s much easier to see the chicks laying out on the decks in their bikinis. 🙂
lambeau: does Pewaukee start out clear early in the season? When does it start to color up?
Joel_Michel: Actually, when sight fishing, it helps a ton to be tall. I stand on the bow of the boat looking for fish, and it does help to find them.
Joel_Michel: Suzuki, don’t have any pink. Although when I was younger, had a pink bladed black haired Mepps that used to catch some fish.
Joel_Michel: Bruce, they taste good.
Ballistic: One of the constant questions I see out there is what know to tie using superlines, which do you prefer?
Joel_Michel: Lambeau, it starts out clear, and this past year stayed pretty clear all year round for Pewaukee. Sounds like the zebra mussels are actually clearing things up a bit.
Joel_Michel: Steve, I use a Palomar (sp) knot for pretty much everything. It’s easy to tie, and have never had an issue with a knot breaking.
Joel_Michel: man I’m glad I took a typing class in high school.
Ballistic: what snap do you prefer on your leaders?
peeps: Do you get a chance to fish elsewhere?
Joel_Michel: Probably what most people throw Steve, but I forget the name of them off the top of my head lol
extreme_one: Joel, when you hit the lake on a given day explain your reads. What do you look for to help you decide where to start fishing?
Joel_Michel: peeps, I fish the Minocqua area a lot during the summer and the Manitowish waters area as well. Usually start out in late March or early April on the Fox Chain.
Joel_Michel: Mike, I usually watch the wind to see where it’s been blowing, if there’s been any changes and start there. Then I’ll look for bait in the spots I have previously seen them and also how the weeds
ba: madison area at all?
Joel_Michel: are progressing.
Joel_Michel: ba, only fished the madison chain twice during the WMTs 2 or 3 years ago.
extreme_one: Do you target the bait or the structure?
Ballistic: Do you fish much at night, and if so, what’s your best producing presentation?
peeps: Do you have luck fishing the leeward side of structure in heavy winds?
Joel_Michel: Both. If I’m fishing dawgs, I usually target the bait and try to get the dawg or hardhead ripping through them. Buuuuuuuuuuut, early and late in the day, I’ll fish more up on the structure
Joel_Michel: So I guess as the day wears on, I tend to fish more parallel and off structure, and up on structure early and late.
Joel_Michel: I love night fishing Steve, and amazingly don’t book many night trips. This past year I had a dbl 10 that I tied up specifically for night fishing (xtra weight and black and grey) and it got some
Joel_Michel: really nice fish for me. I throw a lot of Pounders as well during the summer and depth raiders in late summer/ early fall up in the sand.
Lars: What advice can you give someone fishing Pewaukee or Okauchee for the first time?
Suzuki has left the room.
Joel_Michel: peeps, definitely. Especially on Okauchee. There are a lot of points on Okauchee and that wind puts some good current right off of the tips of them and the fish will tuck right behind the points
Joel_Michel: that’s where working into the wind helps out as you can fish the back side, casting up wind and hit that area first and thorough.
Ballistic: What’s your best fish from down there after dark?
Team_Rhino: Any tricks for night fishing. It’s not for everyone it seems.
Joel_Michel: Lars, for Okauchee, I would say don’t be afraid to fish deeper water (even with shallow baits). The lake breaks fast and you could be in 40 feet of water but casting to 10. Too many people fish
Joel_Michel: too shallow there.
Joel_Michel: For Pewaukee, I would say stop at Smokies and ask them what areas (not necessarilly spots) have been hot. ie south shore, north shore. They can point you in a good direction. Then throw hair and work fast to try to find some fish. Once you do, slow down and work the areas better.
Joel_Michel: Steve, after dark biggest is a 48.5 out of Okauchee.
Joel_Michel: Rhino, Work the same spots as you do during the day, but I tend to slow my baits down a lot.
Joel_Michel: I like my baits coming in 3-4′ down (dble 10s and 13s) and with rubber baits, you can still work them, but I use pulls verses rips.
Joel_Michel: The other thing is keep the confidence up. I think too many guys give up too early and will miss out when the fish do eat.
Team_Rhino: Who’s better Mikes Extreme or Joel Michel 🙂
Ballistic: MuskieFIRST thanks Joel Michel for a very informative hour, thanks sir! How would one reach you to book a day of guiding?
extreme_one: We shall see in the MAC
peeps: Thanks for the info Joel
Joel_Michel: You can reach me through my website at www.joelmichel.com, email is [email protected] Phone number is on the website too.
extreme_one: Front of the boat VS back of the boat !!!
netman: Thanks Joel
Team_Rhino: Just messing guys. Thanks for your time and great chat
Joel_Michel: For sure Mike!
Joel_Michel: Registration is going in tomorrow. Just cleared it all up with Steve.
Ballistic: Thanks again, T daddy
Joel_Michel: Thanks for having me Steve!
extreme_one: You Rock Dude
Joel_Michel: Thanks for the questions too guys!