Contact Travis Frank

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

To book a guided fishing trip or discuss details, please fill out the form to the right and click submit - or use the information above to reach Travis directly.


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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Current Fishing Report

Follow Travis Frank's regular fishing report.  Muskie, Walleye, Bass, Pike and more 365 days a year across Minnesota.

Filtering by Category: Icing Panfish

A Bid Farewell To Ol' Marble Eye's...

Travis Frank

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As they say... All good things must come to an end.  Yesterday was the official close to our walleye season across the state, and while I felt like sheding a tear or two as we pulled some houses home, I was able to look back and reminisce to myself with a smile.  We really had another epic year on the ice, and I mean that in many ways.  The laugh meter kept itself at a very high level all season which makes every night a blast.  This season we had times of both quality and quantity with the eyes that we were catching, with the highlight being the 9, 11, & 12 pounders three nights in a row.  We had many first timers in the houses this year, and many nights of filling the jar with eaters.  As always, I was able to report about the "ones that got away," and the laughs associated with the tangles and messes.  We put many hours in those houses and even more hours learning the lake and its structure.  We shared many games of dice and cards, and for living on the ice, the food was pretty spectacular too.  I want to take this time to thank everbody personally for all the memories, however the list is too darn long.  You all know who you are, and I thank you all for memories and the Trophy Encounters!

While this season just came to a close, there are still so many opportunities for us as outdoors people.  This time of year still offers us walleye fishing at its finest, however we just have to travel a little further.  I know it sounds hard to believe, but I plan to be fishing open water very soon as the rivers start flowing.  Boy am I excited to be back in a boat again!  If you have never experienced the fantastic river fishing we have, I highly recommend that you make it a priority this season.  If you would like to learn more about it I would love to have you with on a trip. 

Not only do we have the rivers, but the panfish bite kicks into full stride as the ice fades off the lakes.  This can be the most exciting bite of the year for those big "bull" gills, "Slab" crappies, and Big Bellied Jumbo Perch.  So while the stories from the walleyes in the shanties have come to an end, the Trophy Encounters updates will continue at their normal pace.  If you would still like to hit the ice, we have plenty of it and it can be very exciting for you and a group of people.  Thanks again Everybody, and stay tuned for what is next on the list for us guys that like to Live The Dream!!!

Holiday Ventures...Happy New Years To All!

Travis Frank

uploaded-file-48432The holiday season is a time that we usually get together with our families and do all the "stuff" that the holiday season entails.  While I was busy doing all of that "stuff" for most of the past week and a half, I also found a little time to get outside and share some fishing with a bunch of great people.  This update will show a few of the outings that I shared with several individuals the past few days.  It is definitely a mixed bag of catches, misses, and laughs that I hope you enjoy.uploaded-file-24022

On Friday the 28th I was fortunate enough to spend the evening on the ice with what I will call the "Engelman Clan."  This group of gentlemen ranging as far as Oklahoma get together for the Holiday "stuff" every year, and then find themselves on the ice after anything willing to bite for an evening.  This year I was fortunate enough to be the host of their ice fishing excursion, and it was a hoot.  We mostly enjoyed laughs during our hours on the ice, however the night was weighted heavier on the side of the ones that got away, instead of the ones that we caught.  uploaded-file-56077We set up on pile of boulders out on Minnetonka for the walleye bite, and while we had many chances, the only walleye king for the evening was Erik who landed his first ever walleye and followed it up with his second.  The fish were a bit on the short side, but gave us some excitement to go with the tales that are always shared when a group of fishermen sit in the shanty.  I want to personally thank Paul, lil Scott, big Scott, Tony, Erik, and Patrick for all the fun.  I would love to do it again any time!

uploaded-file-38720Saturday we picked up camp and set the house on a new spot to find a different school of fish to harrass.  While we didn't catch many numbers on that rock pile that night, we made up for it in size.  I have to say thanks to Dingy for taking a cat nap on the top bunk at 6:30 (what a bum), because it meant that I had the rattle reel when that whopper decided to grab on.  Sorry for the quality of the picture on this catch, but it wasn't quite thawed out when this fish came up the hole.  The best part about it is that if you look closely, you can even see Dingy staring at what he could have had, from his sleeping bag on the top bunk (heehee).  Also during our evening we shared a laugh when Pauly went outside for a smoke only to return to find his bobber down with a skimmer attached.  Yep, that's what makes these trips enjoyable.  uploaded-file-62367The fish are the bonus.  To see the expression on a grown man's face when he thinks he has a giant fish and you know that it's a chunk of metal.  Priceless!

uploaded-file-88771I also would like to give a shout out to a buddy of mine who landed his largest walleye to date that night in another house.  Almost hitting the 10 pound mark, Luke almost put it on the wall but decided to release it for another fight.  The best part was the excitement in the phone call that I received that told the whole story.  By the way Bails, did you by any chance consume a beer or two in that ice house before you called me??? Geez was that a funny call at 1 AM.  Classic!

uploaded-file-03156New Years Eve day Pauly and I joined up with a bunch of buddies on a panfish excursion on a somewhat metro area lake.  Wow is all that I have to say at what I was watching come through my hole.  uploaded-file-10313It is not very often that you can catch "Bulls" in the metro, but that is just what we did.  Typically a lake anywhere within 150 miles of the cities doesn't have true "Bulls" swimming in it, but this one does.  We didn't hit the pound mark, but 3/4 is huge for a bluegill, and we did bring them through the hole.  Judging from the ones we caught, I do believe that there are pounders swimming out there, and I will be finding out soon!  uploaded-file-22664On this trip I have to say thanks to Pauly, Whorl, Bails, Hennen, Hernnamen, Sally, and D to the E for all the fun.  Before it was all said and done, we battled everything from bass, pike, crappies and sunnies and brought home in the neighborhood of 65 fishies for the fish fry.  Definitely some happy bellies after that New Years Day feast. 

 

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Well that sums up the majority of my excursions since I have sat at the computer last.  Happy New Years to all of you, and I wish nothing but the best to each and every one of you.  Here's to a great 2008!  Until Next TIme, I think we will still try to keep on Livin The Dream this year!

Thank You Mother Nature!

Travis Frank

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I do believe this picture says it all!

The last few days have been absolutely spectacular if you are anybody who doesn't live in bunker without windows.  The weather has been as good as it gets if you enjoy spring ice fishing, or anything outside for that matter.  A group of us were able to take advantage of the weather and the recently extended hours of daylight thanks to the time change, and enjoy all that the metro panfishing has to offer.  We all scrambled out to the ice after work and had more than enough time to throw some real dandies on the ice.  The best part about it was that we weren't stuck in a fish house, and we were free to move from hole to hole catching fish and making jokes of whoever happened to be standing the closest at the time.  After all, isn't that what fishing is all about?

Great Weather Get Out And Hole Hop

The size of these pannies cannot compare to that of some of the larger ones I often come across on my northern ventures, but they were plenty large for the fun we were having.  To be completely honest, I was very impressed with the size of most of the fish out there that particular day, and the bluegills were larger than any that I had seen out of Waconia in almost 10 years.  I don't know if they decided to grow up finally, but I do like what I have been seeing coming through the hole.

We capped off our evening of fishing with what can be called "another perfect sunset."  Get out there! Catch em' and Have Fun. Fish On!Late Season Sunset Over Waconia

It's That Time Of The Year Again!!

Travis Frank

Metro Slabs

Well it's about darn time I updated this site!  I apologize for the lack of information that I have been sharing with all of you.  It most definitely is not intentional, and to be completely honest, it has been driving me crazy that I have not been out gathering events and stories for your viewing pleasure.  I have had quite a rough couple of months lately, with a lot of bad luck, which has kept me from doing what I love.  I also have been working hard to get things set in place for a new business venture that I am starting up very soon.  This has require nearly all of my attention recently and allowed the fish a few weeks of safety before I get back out there and put sore mouths on everything that swims.  I fully intend to share with all of you just exactly what I am up to once I have everything where it needs to be.  But not to worry, I will be working my new venture right alongside Trophy Encounters, and the stories will still be written along with any trips that you all wish to take with me.  I am super excited, and cannot wait to get everything flowing like I feel it will!

With that being said, we managed to blast through the insane snow drifts last night out on Waconia, and harvest ourselves some dandy crappies.  Drew, Dingleberries (aka: Dingwall) and myself couldn't handle the nice weather and decided to see if the bite was on.  We didn't have the best evening of fishing that I have ever experienced, but we did land enough to fill my belly and keep us occupied for a few hours. 

Although the game fish season is over, and fish houses are no longer allowed to stay on the ice, we are now entering into my favorite time of the year to be on the ice.  With the snow melting and water running into the holes, the panfish seem to have no choice but to eat everything wiggling in front of their face.  Not only do the little ones still bite, but those big boys that have soaked up all the oxygen that the weeds have given them all winter long decide that they want to come out and play as well.  If you are experienced with the spring panfish bite, you know what I'm talking about.  If not, I suggest that you make some time to hit the ice a few more times before it is gone.  It can definitely be your best action of the year.  I will hopefully be making a few trips northbound in the very near future, and if any of you would like to tangle with some monster panfish, I would love to enjoy the trip with you.  Until next time. FishOn!

The Grand Slam of Ice Fishing!

Travis Frank

Doubles Over 1 12 pounds. ReleasedI literally have so many stories and pictures from the past 4 days of fishing that I don't really know where to start.  Bails, Mikey and myself (aka: The Tripod) left this past Thursday in search of the grand slam of ice fishing.  I call it the grand slam because we target my 4 favorite species through the ice and they are all trophy caliber fish.  The list consists of Monster Bluegills, Slab Crappies, Big Bellied Jumbo Perch, and Fat Bellied Walleyes.  During our trip we fished all of these species and managed to try 9 different lakes on our quest.

Action ShotThe first on our list was the Slab Crappies, and boy did we ever strike gold.  The small puddle in the forest that we fished is one of my favorite holes to fish because we commonly catch crappies up to nearly 2 pounds.  If you have ever caught the giants in red lake then you know what size of fish I am talking about.  When the bite is going on this particular lake it doesn't take long to wear your arm out, which is exactly what we experienced.  We caught several large crappies over a pound with some going over 1 1/2 pounds.  We kept a nice meal for our first fish fry, and threw all the larger fish back for next time.  This very tiny lake can handle very little pressure, and since I have never seen another soul on it while I have been out there, I like to let the big ones grow even larger. 

We kept the smaller ones for a fish fryAfter catching our crappies for the day we switched to a new lake that produces many species for us while we target the Monster Bluegills.  We set out our tip-ups with shiners and ran back and forth chasing the pike while we Mikey loves this tiny lakeplayed around with the giant sunnies.  Since we had our meal of crappies already in the pail, we decided to throw everything back and just enjoyed the sight of every sunfish that managed to cover our entire hands.  We didn't catch any pounders, but had several up to 3/4 pound, which for a sunfish, is truly a giant and a very rare bread.  While catching our sunfish we chased a tip-up nearly every 10 - 15 minutes and caught several northern pike.  We also caught Largemouth bass, and a few BBJP's in this short afternoon on the water.  All I have to say is that We nearly caught everything on our list in the first half day of fishing for our trip.  A great start to say the least.

Picture 001 20.jpgDay 2 of our excursion took us to Red Lake to get in on the Walleye bite and to cross another specie off our list to tackle.  Since we had all the crappie action from the day before, we concentrated on strictly catching the Walleyes instead of searching for the huge crappies that most people chase out there.  We fished in the well below zero temps all day and caught several nice walleyes.  We landed these fish by getting as far away from anybody as we could and fishing the shoreline break in 11-12 feet of water.  On this large swamp once you hit 14ft of water, there is no structure until you hit shore on the other side.  It can make things frustrating when sitting miles out on an endless flat, so we stuck to the shoreline break which is actually pretty steep if you go out of JR's resort on the SouthWest side of the fishable water.  Picture 001 16.jpgWe caught in the neighborhood of 30 walleyes and had fairly steady action in both the morning and evening.  The only downside to our day was our inability to catch up with our buddies on the big lake.  Theo, Todd and their crew were also on the water, but with our horibble phone service and the fact that Theo managed to drop his phone down the ice hole, we were unable to find them.  Sorry fellas, Next time I guess!

This BBJP ate a 4 shinerDay 3 had us chasing the awesome Perch bite that can be had on a few of the lakes in the area.  We fished hard and tried 3 different lakes before we decided that this wasn't going to be the weekend for the Big Bellied Jumbo Perch.  We caught many perch, but they just didn't have the size that we were after.  A couple of the lakes that I have done well on, have very drastic up and down times.  The thing that makes it worth trying is that when they do hit, they are fast and furious, and they are truly massive.  Although we didn't strike gold with them, I will definitely be trying again next time up.  We switched gears and headed down another logging road for the afternoon bite for the Bull Gills.  We had a great time catching many large fish and hole hopping around all afternoon.  This lake is my absolute favorite, and didn't let us down on this trip either.  We didn't break the pound mark, but came very close several times.  Awesome! Awesome! Awesome bluegill Bite!Picture 001 34.jpg

The last day of our trip we decided to try another great Bluegill lake for the morning before heading home,  We tangled around with many more large Bulls, and closed the trip in style.  In the entire time of fishing, we caught trophy fish in all the categories that we wanted.  The perch were a little slower than normal but we still had some in the BBJP size category.  In my opinion this is the best kind of ice fishing that can be had and with the large variety, every day is a new experience.  If you haven't been on a trip like this, I definitely recommend it as one that you need to put on your list.  If you or someone you know would like to experience this excitement let me know soon to set up the ice fishing trip of a lifetime.

Picture 001 40.jpgMore pictures from the trip may be seen in the numerous photo albums. 

The Grand Slam of ice fishing is AWESOME!  Thanks Mike and Sean!