Contact Travis Frank

P | 612-382-6927
E | travis@trophyencounters.com

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265 S Oak St
Waconia, MN
United States

612-382-6927

Travis Frank and Trophy Encounters Guide Service specializes in fully-guided fishing trips for Muskie, Walleye, Bass, Northern Pike and Panfish on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Waconia, Lake Mille Lacs and other Metro Minnesota Waters.​

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What a Day!

Travis Frank

River Willies 007.jpg

I don't know where to start explaining our hardcore day of early spring fishing, so I think I'll just take it from the top.  My crammed boat consisted of the "Tripod" plus 1.  Whorl, Bails, Dusty Bottoms, and Myself ganged up this past Saturday to put sore lips on everything that swims, and as you will see from these pictures, we caught many species throughout the day and even tangled with creatures that we didn't know existed. 

We hit the murky river waters very early in the morning and had instant success.  I stuck a couple of nice eye's followed by Whorl and soon after Bails.  We got in a nice flow of landing these eye's when Bails "as always" managed to make it interesting and catch something not on our list.  He and Mike doubled up, but as you can see from the above picture, Bails' fish was categorized as the "Rough" one.  Just a start to his multi species list for the day.  River Willies 009.jpg We all had success early except that Dusty Bottoms had a little rust on his equipment and needed some time to get back into catching mode for 2007.  It wasn't until about 20 fish were in the boat and he tried 3 different rods and 4 different jigs before he was chirping "Fish On."  It was kinda funny, because once he caught that first one, he was talking so fast and telling us about how great this rod is and how many fish he catches on it, along with past stories about the fish he boated with it.  I just had to laugh, because previous to that fish, there was no talk from him about any of these great things he has done, and you could hardly tell he was fishing at all.  Ah, the greatness of that first fish of the year. 

River Willies 011.jpgThroughout the next several hours we took turns hoisting fish in the boat, snapping photos of many of them and chuckling at each other the entire time.  We were amazed to find that we had that stretch of the river relatively to ourselves for most of the day.  Occasionally we had some anglers drift by, but they didn't fare to well and were quick to look for new water.  It is amazing how precise everything has to be when dealing with these river fish.  Many of these boats would watch us land fish after fish, and tried right next to us, but they didn't realize that we weren't just randomly drifting and that we were concentrating on certain features on the bottom.  If you weren't concentrating on the dips and breaks exactly, you weren't catching anything.  Current and structure is everything at times, and once we figured out the days pattern, it was pretty fast and furious.

River Willies 019.jpgLike the previous outing that I had on this stretch, the fish were hitting jigs and minnows or plastics.  depending on the current speed in each pocket, we were able to use as small as 1/4 ounce jigs and at times had to go with 3/8 ouncers.  The preffered depth for these guys were in 15 - 17 ft of water.  The only difference from my trip on Monday evening, was that the water level had dropped about 2 1/2 ft making our old spots no good and requiring new ones to be found.  Always fun when the conditions are changing and you have to continously adapt.  I love a good challenge.

River%20Willies%20018.jpgWhile on the river we managed to land about 50 Walleyes ranging from 3 1/2 lbs and down.  No giants on this trip, but the average size was great, and the 16 inchers were leaping in the boat.  Like I always say when fishing the river, you never know what you are going to catch, and this trip was no different.  While the majority were walleyes, we also landed sauger, crappies, smallmouth bass, carp and the most insanely gross looking creature that I have ever seen.  I'll let you be the judge on this thing.  It swims, has gills, four legs, can move around on land or water and is horribly disgusting to look at.  I know the name of this creature, but if you can guess what Dusty named it, I will give you a free guide trip of your choice.  You may have to be creative on this one to get it right.  Post your guess on the bottom of this story under comments.  Any guess is a good one.  Remember...Be creative...Good luck!

River Willies 024.jpgAfter we had enough catch and release we decided to head back home to get a few fish for our fish fry.  With weather so darn nice, and the entire day set aside for fishing and telling jokes, it was an easy decision to put the boat right back into the water.  We launched the boat into lake Waconia, and were hoisting panfish into the boat in no time.  It was a great way to end the day and gave us some good fish to munch on for dinner.  An awesome way to end  a great day.  Dang I love when a good plan comes together.  Thanks guys!

Can you imagine flipping this into the boat thinking it was a walleye and almost grabbing it without noticing what it was (heehee, Bails did)!  CAN YOU GUESS THE NAME???? River Willies 016.jpg