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.​

untitled-9037.jpg

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: Muskie

Muskie Smiles...

Travis Frank

Muskie season officially kicked off this year on August 9th, 2012.  Well, not technically, but it was for me.  It was the first day that I threw a muskie lure on lake Minnetonka.  Many factors attributed to the late start but I've got no complaints with it.  Life is good and there is more to it than muskies (I give you permission to laugh at me here if you'd like).  I made a goal to cut back before the season started and I've stuck to my guns.  Since the first cast, I've totalled exactly 9 muskie days.  A far cry from what I used to fish during a typical 30 day stretch in August.   Fortunately, each trip has been fruitful and I've been able to split the time between clients and friends.  In our 9 outings we've boated 10 muskies.  Only two of the trips left us fishless and both of those were action packed.  Overall, I'd consider the past month to be above average in the action category.  Every day seems to give us many opportunities.  As usual, we've had many heartbreaking muskie moments, and many high fives.  Pictured above are 8 of the specimens that visited the boat.  The other two were hooked by yours truly, and they never left the water for a picture.  Some big, some small.  The smallest being very small, and the biggest was a 50 plus personal best for a stud named Eric.  I believe he is still smiling.  Thanks to all that made the memories so sweet.  Muskie fishing still rocks and the season is young.  Until the next one strikes, keep on chasing your dream! 

Dorm Room Chatter...

Travis Frank

Here I am, sitting down to write from the confines of my dorm room.  Yep, that's right, I'm back at college...only this time, it isn't school related.  Today and tomorrow I am part of a strategic planning session that we are holding at Ron Schara Productions.  I will start out by saying that it is quite an honor just to even be a part of something so great.  I could never have imagined sitting down and hearing the stories that we have heard today, and be able to throw my ideas back and forth as well.  I can just say that it will be very exciting to see what the future holds.  Not only that, but we are also the guests on the property for tonights dinner, followed by a meet and greet and a speech tonight for possibly hundreds of campus alumn.  Pretty cool stuff, and as always, I am honored to be a part of it all.

Now for the good stuff, that is more related to the fish that we have been seeking.  If you have been keeping track of what Mike is up to on his journal, you have probably already read some of this, but I do have some new stuff for ya.  Just to cap off Dean and Doc's wild ride from last week, we hit the water again on Wednesday morning, and found the fish very inactive.  In fact, they would surface behind our baits and stare at us, not one bit interested in eating.  Oh well, but we did land one before our morning was through, and the excitement carries into next season.

As Mike already mentioned, we hung deer stands Saturday afternoon, and decided it best not to hunt the after such a ruckess.  Instead we went out to get some fish for the bellies.  We grabbed the jiggin poles for the first time in ages, and ordered up a scoop of fatties...fathead minnows that is.  It wasn't long and we were on the board.  Actually I should say Mike was on the board.  He landed the first two walleyes, missed a handful more, then I followed it up with an eye of my own.  A short window of activity, but worth it for sure and we ate well Sunday after church.

Sunday morning I snuck out of bed early to watch the sun rise over the Eastern sky.  It was just spectacular, and just after I put the camera down, I was rewarded with a nice low 40 inch muskie.  Shortly thereafter my uncle Loge got to the lake from his long drive, and although he had his own boat and two buddies with him, we opted to fish together, and let Phillip and Jeff fish their hotspots.  After already having one in the boat, I felt pretty descent about landing some others with my old muskie buddy alongside of me.  It has been years since we have tackled a lake with just the two of us, but when that happens, the fish are really eager to take their pictures.  This past Sunday morning was no different, as the action started out with Loge landing his first.  It was a nice and healthy fish, about 42 inches, however it had a really weird discoloration in the midsection of his body.  Anyway, a muskie nonetheless and we were back at it.  The next spot, we watched a beautiful 44 incher swipe and miss his lure in the crystal clear water, after a split second to admire the miss, the fish ate, and Loge's 2nd battle of the morning was underway.  At the completion of his battle, the fish made that perfect turn and the lure just came right back to us...Otherwise known as a quick release!  Lets just say that he wasn't too happy about it.  I just chuckled, and hooked up with my 2nd of the morning about 5 casts later.  I had a pretty good hookset, and I was able to do what my partner couldn't...land the fish (hahaha).   A great morning on the water, however I had to call it at that time, and I was off to church.  3 hours of fishing, and 3 muskies is way more than good enough for me.  Especially when i consider the conditions to be less than favorable.  I guess the fish just like it when Loge and I fish together.

After eating all the walleyes I had planned on giving to the farmers that let me hunt on their property, I decided to give it a go again.  Same exact results as the night before, and Whorl had another great picture holding some dandie walleyes.  3 nice eaters, caught in the same exact order as the day before.  Whorl, then Whorl, then a miss or two, then my turn!  A great weekend of Living the dream, and now I must get back to my studies...I will report back with what we find out. 

A Streak of Success...

Travis Frank

As is the case most years during this time period, we are experiencing some spectacular muskie fishing yet again.  Is it the full moon, or the weather???  Whatever the case may be, it has been nothing short of great.  My escapades started up this past Saturday, and they have continued hot and heavy.  I like to take it from the top with most of my stories, so strap in and hang on for the ride!

Saturday morning I summoned up a great buddy of mine that I don't often get to fish with.  Jeremy has been out muskie fishing with me zero times since I have known him.  While we get to share many laughs at the expense of his fishing blunders in the ice house, I was very excited to teach him my ways with the toothy fellas.  We were also joined by my lovely lady which excites me every time she jumps in the boat.  My morning started out on the wrong foot as I forgot about unstrapping the boat, and as I backed into the water, the darn thing drifted away.  With the wind blowing the wrong direction, all I could do was laugh and watch it drift into the middle of the lake.  Luckily there was another fisherman that came about 15 minutes later and gave me a lift.  Thank you to whoever you were.  That was aweful nice of ya!  Once we got the boat back, we were on our way, and after a quick tutorial for Jeremy, we were flinging baits.  It only took about 4 or 5 casts, and I had a big girl screaming for my bait and one for the camera.  This was certainly a surprise to Jeremy, and I got to look like a stud for my sweetie!  A hefty 48 incher makes anybody smile.  We saw a few more before we headed in, however no more in da boat.

That afternoon I was killing time before heading to the bow stand for an evening hunt.  Wags called me up, and we headed to the lake for a quick hour or so on the water.  Wags had caught two muskies with me on Mille Lacs the last time we were out, but hasn't boated one since.  This makes it all the more sweet as I was able to net his new personal best.  This beauty measured in at 50.5 inches and now I am proud to introduce Jason Wagener to the 50 inch club.  Ada Boy!

Sunday morning I was back on the water again with Ray  for our Livin' the Dream trip as he likes to call it.  We had absolutely amazing fog rolling in for the morning, which made things very cool, and one of those mornings that you are really excited to get out of the bed for.  We had some action, and another great trip.  There is something to be said about waking up on a Sunday morning when everybody else is recovering from a hangover.  They are truly missing out, well at least that's my opinion.  The morning wasn't complete until we got a 48, and a 42 incher in the boat.  The camera battery didn't agree with the 48 incher, as it was dead, but somehow it worked on the 42.  Hmmm...whatever I guess.  As a side note to this story, Ray, I'm sorry you had to get out of the boat, I just knew that was going to happen.  

Monday morning I was joined by Tim and his workmate Jess.  Jess has fished in Wisconsin for most of his life, and hadn't boated a Minnesota Ski before.  Tim has had one while bass fishing a few years back, however he claimed it to be about 4 pounds.  So what do we do??? Try to get some ski's in the boat I guess.  Tim started out the adrenaline action as a brief low front was moving in.  I say brief, because it was only a handful of clouds in the clear blue sky.  I guess that was all we needed, because Tim will now have the memory of a giant going ballistic on his bait.  I would figure it to be about 52 - 53 inches.  He hooked it long enough to have it charge the boat and go airborn directly at him.  Sometimes you just cannot tame a wild beast like that, and this was no different.  Either way, our vibes were running high, and you could just feel it in the air.  A few minutes later, Jess was the proud recipient of his first Minnesota Muskie, and a beautiful 46 incher.  Not quite like the smaller Wisconsin muskies (sorry about the shot cheeseheads!!!!)

Today was just one of those days that shouldn't happen.  Our theory on why it did was simple.  Dean and Doc (also Cheeseheads) came over the border to see if last year was a fluke.  If you recall, Doc had never boated a muskie until he hopped in the boat last year.  In his two days, he landed his first at 50 inches, followed by a 49 and then a 48 incher.  He took his lucky lure back home with him, and wouldn't ya know, HE BROUGHT IT BACK TODAY!!!  Well, I don't know how else to put it other than...Mr. Lucky is still LUCKY!  On our first spot of the morning he was throwing it thinking that it wasn't running correctly, so I put it on my line.  Hmmm....That was a mistake, cuz it worked just fine for me, and we were soon taking pictures of a very nice 49 incher.  Needless to say, I put Mr. Lucky back on Doc's line.  We shuffled over to a new location, and good ol' Mr. Lucky had his charm working strong.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but that lucky guy and his lucky bait landed yet another 50 incher.  Absolutely incredible!  As we were joking about his fish and his luck, we headed to spot number 3.  I hadn't casted on the second spot, and I picked my rod up while the boys were casting at the usual location.  I tossed to the side of the boat and out of nowhere came another huge fish.  I almost got pulled out of the boat when not paying attention, and the battle was one that should not have ended up with pictures.  I managed to get wrapped around the trolling motor 3 times and made a rookie mistake.  Somehow...Some way, we got her in the net, but it was with my free hand pulling the line over to the net, and not the rod.  When things are going good, there isn't much else to say other than to laugh and shrug your shoulders.  She took off before I could measure her, but it was surely just under the 50 inch mark.  Spot number 4 gave Doc yet another chance, however we failed to take pictures of that fish.  What a morning!  All I have to say is that I feel bad for Dean having to watch 3 big ones last year, and 3 more giants again today.  Doc, if you read this, you are one lucky lucky man.  Don't ever take that lucky hat off, and never leave home without Mr. Lucky!  Until next time...Keep on Livin' the Dream!

Muskie Mania....

Travis Frank

I think the title is very fitting for what I'm about to describe, Muskie Mania 2008!  This update encompasses the past 6 days of my life, and boy what a stretch of days.  Just to give you a quick shake down of the events, muskies...muskies...muskies and more muskies!  Lets just say that there was very little sleep, a thousand miles on the truck, and many hours in the boat.  Chaos and excitement, a tournament, a new fish of a lifetime, and many laughs, plus lets just throw a wedding in the mix to shake it up a little more than we already have.  Sheesh...Lets take it from the top!

Wednesday morning I jumped in the boat with Jim for the second time in a few weeks.  He brought along his brother-in-law from the East Coast named Brad.  We had a chilly start to the morning, but managed to spot a couple of nice fish.  As is always the case when Jim jumps aboard, we kept our streak in tact and boated a nice fish.  This muskie came the old school way, which I am proud to say.  Always fun to dig back into the old bag and bring back the original muskie lures.  Lets just say it took about 6 casts to get a boatside attack.  Awesome!

Thursday morning was a morning that certainly will be remembered forever for one lucky angler named Mitch!  It just never gets old to see such a huge smile on a fishermans face, and yep, we can add yet another lucky guy to my 50 inch club.  Absolute sweetness as Mitch and Jim enjoyed what my passion is all about.  For Mitch, this was his second muskie this season as he is taking this whole fishing passion to a new level.  I think we have been out 5 times now in the past 3 months, so when this big girl erupted on his bait, he knew just what to do.  In the words of Mitch "I'm glad I have been out a couple of times, because that fish is very rewarding, and I feel I earned it, however, I am totally spoiled!  Awesome!"  I feel bad for Kristin his wife, cuz I do believe Mitch is addicted for life!  After his catch, I believe he contacted everyone on his phone list.  That's really what it's all about.

After getting off the water, I purchased some new truck tires and headed up to the Muskie Mania tournament in the Walker and Bemidji area of Minnesota.  Les just say that this was the start of some incredible muskie action for about 700 guys.  The conditions were ripe, and the muskies responded.  Friday morning I met up with longtime friend Nick Von Holdt and we set out on his home waters of Lake Bemidji.  I had logged about 2 hours on this lake about 3 years ago, so I pretty much put myself at the mercy of Nick.  Friday was a short day for us, because of a wedding that I attended that afternoon, but we really learned a lot from each other and got dialed in on several nice fish.  Boy are they fat in that lake.  Before we left the water, we boated one muskie and saw another 15 or so.  Good stuff!

Saturday I skipped out on much needed rest, and left St. Cloud at about 3AM for Bemidji again.  Hit the water at about 6:30 and witnessed a very tough morning on the water.  The fish had lock-jaw from the bombardment from day one anglers.  We stuck with our game plan and kept working our fish over and over and over again.  Nick was beginning to think that I was nuts, however I told him that these fish will turn on and we will get bit.  We made a good call, cuz at 2:35 it all broke loose.  Nick started it off by boating the first fish, and I followed 3 casts later with another one.  20 more casts, and we raised 2 hot giants, and then I had about a 38 incher battle to the boat.  Not big enough, so it was back at it for the big girls.  We had encounters for the next hour which totally made our day.  It's all about waiting em out, and we had a hoot once they turned on. 

Sunday after some much needed rest, we hit the water for the last 5 hours of tournament fishing.  We weren't the only guys on fish, as many of the locals found their patterns to be on fire.  We were just happy to be in the running for the new truck raffle prize, and kept on our way.  Newly acwuired muskie addict Dave Bretschneider from Bernick's Beverages, jumped in our bait as a major sponsor of the tournament.  We shared many great laughs throughout the morning, and then on our last pass of the morning, we struck gold again.  Nick got hammered boatside, and the chaos was on.  Being a new muskie man, Dave yelled "what can I do!"  As the fish ran under the trolling motor, Nick's line got tangled around the reel, and the hootin and hollerin began.  I yelled for Dave to grab the net, and I grabbed the line for a little hand over hand battle with his muskie.  With Nick's reel not working, I became his reel andI pulled the line in while he maneuvered his rod accordingly.  It was total teamwork as the 3 of us landed Nick's fish.  What a way to land a fish at 11:39 when the tourney was done at 12.

The tournament itself was a huge success.  I was able to learn a new lake and we had some great success even during heavy pressure tournament situations.  The fish were literally on fire on Leech Lake, Cass Lake, Big Lake and Lake Bemidji.  I will give you a link to the full rundown of events as Ron Sanders the Tournament Director gets them to me.  As a quick update on the event, I think there was roughly 700 anglers on 21 different lakes.  over 150 fish were caught in the 3 days which is incredible, and a lucky angler from Bemidji won a new truck on the raffle.  To be entered into the raffle, you had to catch a muskie, so we had high hopes, but weren't dissapointed.

Just an insane stretch of days that pushed my body to the limits.  Great fishing, and the streak of consecutive muskie trips on the water is now up to 6 days.  Lets keep it going as I will obviously be back on the water at some point this week after a little R & R and a visit back to my comfy office desk.  Thanks to all that participated in my life the past week.  It is just amazing how great it can be.  That's what I call Livin The Dream!

Hectic Dreams...Bro...Laura...Pete...Brian...

Travis Frank

It's been a few days since I have posted the latest and greatest.  It surely has been a week of insanity both on the water and off.  Many great things that I will continue to share as they continue to unfold.  First things first, if you happen to be at the State Fair today, swing into the Evinrude / Ranger tent for their 100 year anniversary setup.  I will be giving muskie seminars at noon and again at 6:00 tonight.  Sorry for the short notice, but it would be great to see ya and say hi!

The next thing on my list is to give a great big shout out to my boys Mike Ernst and Ben Brettingen.  These two gentlemen will be bringing those dream stories to life on this website for us all to enjoy.  They will also be helping out with some guiding duties as well.  They are both extremely genuine and true to the passions they love.  I think Livin the dream is a good fit for them as well.  Please check their stories daily as well to see what they have come up with.  Thanks Mike and Ben for sharing your passion with us.

The muskies have been doing their thing as of late, and we have been treated with some real dandies.  A few nights ago I was able to share the evening one of the best ways I know how, and that was with my brother.  He was so jacked to get after a big snaggle tooth, and the fish didn't dissapoint him.  About an hour and a half into our evening just after the sun set, all heck broke loose, and he had his second muskie of his lifetime flying out of the water.  I just chuckled and took it all in as he screamed "Get it in the net...Get it in the net!"  It was awesome, and one of the greatest joys of being an older brother.  Click Here for the full story.

Monday morning was superb for seeing huge muskies.  The size has really kept increasing the past few years, and we saw first hand how big they are becoming.  Monday morning Steve and Don joined me, and while we didn't take any pictures that day, we saw 9 muskies total, and 7 were over 50 inches.  I would put 2 of them at about 55 inches which is just incredible.

Tuesday morning we hit the water just in time for Pete to land his second muskie in my boat, and this 44 incher wasted no time getting photographed.  I believe we had less than 10 casts for the morning before he roped this fish in the boat.  We had a few more Trophy Encounters before we were done, and his buddy Bret managed to hook every pike in the lake it seemed.  A great time on the water no doubt!

Wednesday we were on the water to film a muskie show with Laura Schara from Due North Outdoors.  We will probably be airing this episode on Minnesota Bound this season, so I don't want to spoil the outcome for you.  We'll just say that there will be some mighty big teeth on the show!  Stay tuned for that exciting show coming soon.

Last night I was greeted by two very eager muskie men named Brian Smith and Jeff Keller.  I guess you could say these guys brought the excitement, and I provided them with some muskies to drool over.  The fish were very receptive in ambushing our lures.  We had excitement on nearly every spot.  The adrenaline was flying so high after seeing big fish after big fish, that I think I made addicts out of the both of them for life.  Our only picture taker came from this very nice 47 incher, but wow is all I have to say for the excitement we shared last night.  What a great stretch of days, and now as I finish writing, I prepare for what is now to come, and look forward to getting some sleep in December some time.  Just Livin the Dream the only way I know how!  Thanks for reading!