Captain Darrell's
Fishing Guide Service
A Northwoods Experience
by Captain Darrell Mittlesteadt
Musky, Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass. Trout, Crappie, Perch
and many more species of fish are available to the thousands of anglers who wet their lines in
the beautiful waters of Northern Wisconsin. These different species of fish are plentiful in
the hundreds of lakes in the Northwoods area. Lakes that range in size from a few acres, to
a few thousand acres and chains of lakes, which are many thousands of acres. Some have
clear water, some have stained water, many lakes are weedy, others are sandy and rocky,
still others have mud and muck bottoms. The differences are as many as the similarities.

An average day on the water, spent fishing, can be a trophy musky hunt or a pleasant day
panfishing with the family for that day’s dinner. It can be a day of trophy bass fishing or a
quiet day jigging for delicious meal of walleye or perch. All of the ingredients are here for
the fishing experience of your choice. Is this the Northwoods experience? It is partly, but
there is so, so much more.

A great place to be, what a beautiful area, it’s so peaceful and quiet, look at the eagles and
the osprey, there’s a deer, have you ever seen a bear? Some of the questions and
statements heard everyday in Northern Wisconsin by those among us who can spend only a
few precious days each year in the Northwoods.

Spending the time to show a son how to handle a net to a daughter how to cast. Watching
the sunrise or sunset with a parent, as the ducks swim by. Rowing around a favorite lake
watching the animals on shore or the fish swimming in the clear water. A walk, hand in hand
with a loved one through the acres and acres of forest, listening to the birds sing. Casting
for your favorite fish at dawn, watching a beautiful sunrise. Setting the hook on a large
musky at dusk as the sun is setting behind the pristine shoreline, hearing the call of the loon
or the howling of a coyote.

It’s all part of the Northwoods experience, but the biggest part is peace of mind, the chance
to sit back and let the world go by while a few seemingly minor events, leave a great big
impression on you and those around you. The kind of impression that will make you smile every
time your mind wonders for many years to come.
- Contact Me -
Captain Darrell
1617 N Farming Rd
Woodruff, WI  54568
Phone: 715-614-8889
by Captain Darrell
During the long cold winter, we dream of open water walleye fishing. Fishing from a boat
instead of standing on the cold ice and using rod and reel instead of jig pole and tip-ups. The
first open water every year starts when the rivers, because of the flowing waters open up.
The ice is gone. It’s time, head for the landing, launch your boat and go fishing.

At this time of the year these rivers have large movements of walleye up stream to rocky,
gravel areas to spawn. When the walleyes come to a barrier, as a dam, they can go no
further. The areas near these barriers become a great place to fish for springtime walleyes.
One thing needed at this time is stability: stable water flow and stable temperatures. Another
thing needed is knowledge of the river structure. When river fishing during the spring of the
year you should start by working the deep holes and pockets directly downstream from the
dam, while not forgetting to work the structures that are further down stream.
Humps, holes, dips, bars and rocks often hold walleyes. The more of these elements present in
any one area, the more fish this area will to hold. Rock, gravel and sand bars or points sticking
into a dip or hole and rocks along the edge may also help to concentrate fish.

The most effective method or presentations will be casting a jig tipped with a minnow. this is
an effective way to produce walleye, plus areas can be worked very quickly. My favorite and
most productive jigs for river fishing are called Slow Fall Snagless Jigs. These jigs are
manufactured by ISG Fishing and are available in many area bait shops. What makes these jigs
so effective is they are designed with a molded with a multi-stand plastic fiber weed guard.
Slow Fall Jigs come in an assortment of styles, sizes and colors.
The size and color you use will depend on the area you are fishing. One important thing to note
is that the size is much more important than the color. The size used will depend on several
things including wind, current and depth. A good rule to follow is to use a jig that is just heavy
enough to allow you to feel the bottom structure.
Another thing that may effect just what bottom structure you can feel and in return affect
your catch is the rest of your equipment. Whenever you can, use the best available to you, it
will make a difference, especially with a lite-biting walleye. I use a 7’ Extra Fast Walleye Rod
with a Shimano Symetre spinning reel and 6 lb. Cortland Cam-o-flage line. The combination of
a great fishing rod and reel, a good quality line and the correct jig will allow you to feel needed
to fish the bottom structure and still be able to detect lite bites. It’s a sure bet that the
right feel and balance will allow you to catch more fish. However, if your jig presentations are
not working it may be time to check out some other methods to trigger these early spring
Using the same spinning gear, attach a small snap to your line and a small crankbait, such as a
Rat-L-Trap, a Storm Thunderstick or a Rebel Minnow, to the snap. Cast down stream into a
hole over some structure. Let the current do the work. You may on occasion want to move your
bait up and down or back and forth sideways, but these crankbaits will work very well if you
let the current do the work. You may also want to add one more small piece of equipment, a
rubber core sinker approximately 4 feet before the bait, but just enough to keep your
crankbait near the bottom.
With the use of these spring methods and the right equipment, fishing the structure of a river
can be fun and very productive until well into the summer. One other thing that is always
important is safety. The currents of all rivers can be and are very dangerous. Don’t take
chances. Be safe.