Chat with LOTW Guide Doug Johnson
Feb 28th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Feb 28th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Slamr: MuskieFIRST is happy to welcome back into the chat room Doug Johnson! Thanks for joining us! dougj: Great to be here again! sworrall: Welcome Doug AJ: hey Doug! VMS: Thanks for coming Doug dougj: Thanks for having me. nwild: Are you noticing any decrease in pressure on the angle with MN coming alive? dougj: Maybe a little, but the prime times are still pretty full. lambeau: what is “pressure” on LotW look like? sworrall: How many years have you been chasing Muskies, Doug? dougj: Still lots of folks in July. Zman: what were you hot baits this year? dougj: Caught my first muskie in 1965, took about two years to get the first one. dougj: As with most places the Double Cow Girls did lots of damage. klem: did the fish tend to eat the dcg out or did you have to work at the boatside more often Bret_Wold: What will be the next “HOT” area on LOTW? Seems for years it was Sabaskong, now it is the NW Angle, will it transition to a different area of the lake? dougj: Double Cow Girls and the like. dougj: Caught lots of fish at the boat. muskydeceiver: do you figure 8 or circle? floydss: what are some of tips you would offer to someone who has never been to lotw? ie bait selection, safety…… dougj: Right now it seems that most of the lake is pretty good. Probably the most overlooked area is around Kenora. dougj: I do 8’s. klem: how broad a range are you fishing in a given season on lotw? dougj: Sept in the dark water areas of the lake is usually slow. Best bite casting is July. lambeau: is there a normal pattern progression through the season for LotW? if so, what are early/mid/late season points to start looking for fish? dougj: I fish most of the lake at one time or the other, but spend most of the time with 25 miles of the Angle dougj: You start in the spawning areas and work out. nwild: How important is the weed part of the structural element in late july and august, in other words, how much weeds in the area does it take to make a spot a consistent producer. dougj: Fall is trolling time. Pointer: Do you target any areas with wind made current? ESOX_Maniac: Is that because the fish are so dispersed? dougj: If you can find weeds they don’t hurt, but rocks produce well in July and August. Zman: Do you ever fish the basil channel area and if so any success? klem: what are you looking for to set up for fall trolling … structurally? can you explain the bait fish progression during that time Bret_Wold: Do you troll with the large Jake/Grandma’s (13″ers) all year long or do you only use them in the fall time? dougj: I fish the Basil some with Jack Burns, but I personally don’t do well. dougj: I mostly troll in the fall after water temps get near 55 degree or so. I’ve caught fish every month of the year trolling. I use the big jakes some and catch fish with them . VMS: In early/mid july, when you start working further out, what key elements make a spot a “big fish” spot rather than a “numbers” spot? dougj: I like complex large areas, if they are along the main channels they are big fish spots. ESOX_Maniac: Are you targeting deep water fish? ESOX_Maniac: Trolling? dougj: Not really, what I do is just fish good spots. c1650h40: If you had to pick 1 lure type bucktail, jerkbait, crankbait, plastic what would it be? WvRiverMusky: how many muskies do you average a year doug? dougj: The last couple of years it’s been a double 10 bucktail, but that changes with the year. I’ve caught lots of fish on suicks, spinnerbaits, Jakes, and believers. dougj: Biggest fish casting has been around 8-10 53″ers, can’t seem to get anything bigger. Trolling has been a 55.5″er with 2 others at 54″ Zman: At what point in the year do you start focusing on rock structure vs weeds dougj: A boat somewhere between 150-200 per year. klem: see any significance in that? lambeau: what have you noticed re: fish size with the increased size limits on LotW? ESOX_Maniac: What’s the largest fish you’ve ever seen? Your best guess on length. klem: difference in size i mean? dougj: Last year I had 170, the year before 188. klem: troll vs. cast dougj: I usually get the biggest average trolling. Tuffy100230495: Why do you think that is Doug? dougj: Biggest fish I’ve seen on the [email protected] is probably around 56-57″, I’ve never seen Old WR. Bret_Wold: Do you think LOTW holds a WR? dougj: The fish in the fall have had a year to grow. muskyboy: what’s the biggest girth you have taken? dougj: It’s possible, it’s a big lake. Tuffy100230495: Are they more accessible though as far as catching in the fall, or is there a different reason you have gotten longer fish in the fall? Tuffy100230495: Trolling wise that is. ESOX_Maniac: Do you ever go after the cisco bite? dougj: Girth probably around 26″ or so, I don’t see the 28-29″ fish the show up in some of the MN lakes. dougj: The fall trolling is about targeting the fish that are follow tullibees. Jono: Why the smaller girth? Different type of fish? ESOX_Maniac: thanks dougj: I don’t really know. Maybe I just haven’t measured enough fish. The fall fish can be pretty fat. Tom_Dace: Doug do you fish around Langmuir Circulation currents with their effect on plankton/baitfish at all? Slamr: Doug, what would ONE bit of advice you would give to ALL muskie anglers, from beginner to master? ToddM: Doug, have you found the DCG style bucktails to out produce standard models or is it just a bigger bait bigger fish thing? dougj: I usually just fish good spots and really don’t worry about current. Current is too hard for me to figure out. ESOX_Maniac: Obviously the opener is on everyone’s mind. Where do you start-structure wise? Tom_Dace: gotcha dougj: Best advice is to learn the water, learn where the fish go and what they do at different times of the year, then fish hard. nwild: What is the snow pack like, do you suspect a normal pool come spring Jono: and remember they are there because it makes them happy? Thats one piece of sage advice I haven’t forgotten dougj: I’ll start in spawning areas, and work out from there. This year is a late opener, and most fish should be done spawning. A lot depends on the weather this spring. lambeau: to find early season spawning bays, are there certain elements that make a bay better suited to spawning? Steve_Jonesi: Doug, any big Stripers yet? How about the slimy green fish? dougj: The lake is at the 50% level, which means that 1/2 the time it’s higher and 1/2 the time it’s lower. There’s quite a bit of snow, I would expect normal or higher than normal levels. dougj: No stripers, but the muskies have been biting a little. Muskyfvr: Doug I’d like to thank you and Frank Walsh for all your effots for Operatioin Muskie, and the Veterans that get to fishSlamr: what is the main difference you see between fishing LOTWs, and the smaller TN lakes you’re fishing now dougj: For spawning bays I like dark bottom area with weed growth. Jono: yes doug OM is very cool dougj: I’ll bet that a good time will be had by all. I sure hope the muskies and the weather cooperate! dougj: I’ll be great to met some of our Vets. Jono: doug, is netting still a big issue? Seems that has quieted down a bit lately. ESOX_Maniac: What’s your favorite go to lure? Bucktail, crank bait, top water, glider, etc, i.e., the one you have the most fun fishing with? dougj: Try again. There’s really not as much difference as you’d think. I still just fish good spots. Here the good spots are a little different than on the LOTWs. But the fish are the same. Muskyfvr: Is there a particular depth that you see more muskies at when trolling dougj: I’m not sure what going on with the netting. There wasn’t much all summer, but there was lots in the fall. . dougj: I troll along shorelines, and I try to stay in 8-12′ of water and stay as close to shore as possible. Hit a few rocks at times, but it’s deadly. ToddM: Do you switch to different style baits to fish bloomed water or stay with what has been working? Zman: is that in the fall or summer or both dougj: Favorite lures seem to vary from year to year. I actually use all sort of different lures, and try to use a lure that works in the area I’m fishing. sworrall: Doug, you have used the Rumbler for a couple seasons, how has the lure performed for you? dougj: The Bloom can be hard. I usually get big load baits that I can work slow below the stuff. A big spinnerbait seems to work about as well as anything. dougj: Last year the Rumbler did well the first part of the year, than around mid-July the topwater bite seemed to die. The year before I did very well on it. I’m using it some right now. lambeau: do you do any night fishing? if so, what areas and types of baits do you favor at night? Kreegz: any tips for someone going on their first LOTW trip to sabaskong bay in mid july? dougj: Lamleau, I really don’t do much night fishing. The LOTWs is scarry enough during the day. Usually there’s no need to night fish. ESOX_Maniac: How do you view moonrise/moonset, etc? nwild: Is pressure a problem on the “obvious” spots in the angle dougj: I’m not real sure about all the moon stuff. I’ve never kept track of moon rise/set in general seem to catch fish at all times of the day. Pressure changes lots of spots.dougj: Yes pressure does effect many well known spots. ToddM: Doug, will you be coming to the chicago muskie show in ’09?dougj: Not sure. netman: What about gas prices? Have you been feeling the crunch of the pumps in your bookings? lambeau: what are your strategies for dealing with pressure on “good spots”? dougj: So far not really, but I expect to see $5.00 gal at resorts. It won’t be much fun to run the Whitefish Bay from the Angle. ESOX_Maniac: Ouch! saint1: Doug , statistically is the 2nd week of July better than the third and are the fish relating more to weeds than rocks at that time dougj: I just don’t fish them, there’s lots of spots. I’ll fish some of them before and after the crowds. dougj: It’s hard to predict which week in July will be better. Sort of like tring to perdict the weather. Both are probably good. Bret_Wold: Are you constantly looking for new spots, or do you pretty much stick to your “milk run” spots? iowamusky: What size and color jakes seems to be best in the fall? dougj: I try and fish a new spot or two every day. I find lots of new spots every year. dcates: Any chance of a Doug Johnson authored muskie fishing book? I need more good winter reading! dougj: I like 10″ Jake, and bright colors see, to work best dougj: I thought about it, but then thought about it again. Slamr: Doug, can you tell us a little about Operation Muskie? WvRiverMusky: cant believe were talking with Doug J. Slamr: and about the fundraising for Operation Muskie? saint1: Doug has the angle become less busy in the last few years or is it the same as 05 muskydeceiver: im going to be on a shield lake for the first time this summer, any tips, I know you said you don’t do much different but there has to be a few things dougj: OM is an idea that D. Pearson came up with sort of. He got to talking to Bret Wold about muskie fishing and it sort of grew from there. Right now we have 20 Vets lined up with 10 guides saint1: I think operation muskie is truly a class act thing to do dougj: Frank Walsh has volunteered use of his resort, and we been raising so money to pay for the gas etc. The response has been great. Should be fun for all. dougj: Norm Wild is one of the guides . Bret_Wold: There is a great bunch of guides participating….. dougj: Yes there is, lots of talent. Muskyfvr: what is your basic setup for trolling? Rods, Reels, Line & # WvRiverMusky: Good question. Looking for fair priced set ups to drag Jakes and Ernies my self dougj: I use 8′ St Croix rods with Okuma Convector line counters. 100 lb test braid, 4′ leaders. I like long soft rods which allow the lure to bounce over the rocks. iowamusky: Did you make it over to Wabigoon or lac seul last year if so any big fish? Ajohnson: what brand line do you use? dougj: We had planned on a trip to Lac Suel, but one of the guys had some medical problems and we ended up staying on the LOTWs. Wasn’t a bad choice, we did well. ESOX_Maniac: How far do you travel on the average day hunting muskies? dougj: I’m using Spiderwire Stealth, seems to work well. lambeau: Let’s all take a moment to thank Doug for sharing his time and muskie knowledge with us! Muskyfvr: Thanks Doug muskydeceiver: Thank You ESOX_Maniac: Thanks Doug! Slamr: thanks again for a great chat Doug! nwild: Doug, thanks for your time ToddM: Doug, thanks and great as always sworrall: Thank you sir. nwild: Hope to see you in July dougj: Thanks again for having me, It’s always fun to see in I can actually type!