Contact Travis Frank

Phone: 612-382-6927

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265 S Oak St
Waconia, MN
United States


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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Filtering by Category: River Fishin

A Trip With "The Man About The Woods"

Travis Frank

Floatin%20River%20and%20Eyes%20040.jpgTuesday night I found myself on an adventure that was very new to me.  Certainly I was on the water fishing, but this time I did it in a way that I am not accustomed to.  I tagged along with our "Man About The Woods" Bill Sherck as we used his drift boat to fish Smallmouth Bass on the Mississippi River.  I have heard so much about this stretch of water over the years, and jumped at the chance to hop on board.  We had a few different weapons in the boat, and the plan was to catch a few conventional style, then switch to the fly gear.  It was a whole new experience for me, and I can honestly say that it was the first time that I actually felt like I was being guided.  Floatin%20River%20and%20Eyes%20041.jpgIt was great!  He had the same half hour's worth of chatter that I give to all my guests as they come on the boat.  Not that I haven't caught numerous smallies in the past, but it was a whole new feel, and the drift boat seemed to set it all in place.  How we would work the spots, and most of all, the use of a fly-rod is very new to me.  The fish weren't jumping in the boat on this afternoon, however it didn't take too long for me to land a couple of dandies.  My first fish went about 19 inches and the next two followed very similarly.  When you add the current into the equation, you are really in for a treat.  After my third fish, I decided it was time to find out what this fly fishing stuff is all about.  After a quick tutorial from Bill, I was slinging back and forth trying to get dialed in.  With the strong winds, it made things interesting, but I got it figured out and it was go time!  I pictured myself stripping a huge popper on the surface as if I was Tarpon fishing in the keys, and waited for the explosions.  Well, they came, and I missed all 4 explosions on my popper.  Floatin%20River%20and%20Eyes%20035.jpgOh well, Can't catch em all the time, but it sure would have been nice to say I conquered that Smallie on the Fly.  We had a great time on the water, and although the fish weren't flying in the boat, we had some great laughs, and a few of what I call "kids Messes."  For those of you who don't know Bill aka: Man about the Woods, he is a regular guest on our shows, and the host of Due North Outdoors, which if you aren't too busy after reading this, you can check out the new site that I just created for that show.  Looks strikingly similar to this site, except it's Bill Sherck and Laura Schara.


Killin Time Before the Opener, And, A First TImer!

Travis Frank


I have to start this one out by giving a shout out to Katie for her very first fish in a boat.  She will not be happy with me posting this, cuz it wasn't exactly a giant, and she didn't even want to take the picture, but I don't care, it was her first fish.  Any first fish is a great first fish, and even though most of us have caught that by age 2 or 3, you have to start somewhere, so congrats.  Roughshorekatie%20002.jpgLook for this new Ranger Model to be stealing the show here very soon!  She claims she is going to be landing muskies by the end of summer, so I'll keep you posted.  But I have a slight suspicion that her need to succeed will get her one before the year is through. 

The next Ranger Model is my mother, and we snuck out last week for a short time on the water.  Man, it seems like it has been forever since she has been out with me, but her and I had to take advantage of the warmer temps and catch a few fish.  This is the perfect time of the year to get everyone on the water.  With the warmer temps, the panfish action can be fast and furious, and it will start getting much better in the next few days as the water warms out of the 40's. 

Roughshorekatie%20009.jpgThe last few years, many of my travels have been quite random, and I just keep on looking for new species to catch to scratch my itch in the off-season.  I think for myself, it is all about a good challenge and a good battle, which is why those darn rough fish have been the object of my affection with more and more regularity each season.  When you throw some current and a hard fighting fish on light line, you have yourself a battle.  Roughshorekatie%20006.jpgLast week me and "da boys" hit a local river for some river bank action.  Yep, we did the ol, lean the pole up and sit on the banks.  The only thing that would have made it more redneck would have been if we had Beachnut chew and a 30 pack of some kind of skunky beer.  But seriously, it was a great time.  We pretty much had non-stop action with the carp and suckers, and landed a few dandies along the way.  These are a few of the activities that I have found to help cure the walleye blues.  Luckily for us, the opener is only a few days away.  Boy oh Boy, am I getting excited!  I will have more for y'all very soon.  Until next time, Keep on Livin' the Dream!

Sturgeon Fest 2008... Unbelievable!

Travis Frank

Sturgeonfest2008%20007.jpgHoly Moly!  I don't even know how to describe what just happened.  We just got back from what might just be the fishing trip of a lifetime!  This first picture just sums up everything.  What a giant, prehistoric, powerful and awesome fish.  I just started fumbling through the pictures from our day and a half on the water, and I totalled over 120 pictures.  Just crazy!!!

Friday night/Saturday morning Luke, Dingy, Pauly, Whorl and myself all piled into the truck bound for the Canadien border.  All of us pretty much being virgins to this whole Sturgeon ordeal, we were unsure of what we were getting ourselves into.  Sturgeonfest2008%20003.jpgI have fished them once before, and Dingy tangled with one about 10 years ago, other than that, we were starting from scratch and learning as we went.  Our excitement was at an all time high on the way up, and I had left home telling several people that I was off to catch the biggest fish of my life.  Boy oh boy did we accomplish everything that we set out to do...and then some!  I'm still reliving it all in my head as we speak.

Sturgeonfest2008%20012.jpgWe got on the water yesterday at about 9:00am, and we were battling by 9:15.  The area that I had fished years ago had several boats in it, and we started nearby in a hole that allowed us some shoulder room from the boat traffic.  Literally from the surface to the bottom, the graph was covered in fish, and we could see the sturgeon surfacing all around us.  Needless to say, we never had to venture out of this hole, we just spent some time dialing in on exactly the best spots within the spot to catch these prehistoric beasts. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20116.jpgOur morning started out by having a few misses, catches and experimenting with the equipment, but after a couple of hours, we were on fire and livin the dream.  Everything couldn't have worked out better for us.  The fish started a little on the small side to get our feet wet, and as the day progressed they kept getting larger and larger and larger.  The weather was in one word...Spectacular!  Other than a little bit of wind blowing off of the frozen ice, the temp hit about 65 sunny degrees, and we all managed some horrible looking sunburns. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20105.jpgWe don't have an exact count on our total from the first day, but Pauly said that he stopped counting at 16 fish just before 2pm.  From about 4pm until dark, we were pretty much always battling at least one fish.  Sturgeonfest2008%20093.jpgI say at least one fish, because we had so many doubles that it was almost chaotic.  It is easy to overlap these battles, because you could spend up to 20+ minutes battling each beast.  We became experts at maneuvering our lines around the battling dinosaurs during each battle, and our system never failed.  Once we figured out the current, where the fish were hanging, and how to battle the fish, it was a perfect system...Well, other than the fact that the fish did "whatever they wanted."  That became the entire quote for the weekend.  Sturgeonfest2008%20095.jpgEvery time any one of us was battling a fish that we couldn't stop from running, we would always picture the sturgeon on the bottom just screaming out "I do what I want...I'm huge...I do what I want!"  Sturgeonfest2008%20061.jpgWhen fighting the majority of our fish, it was a matter of hanging on and pulling as hard as you could to force the fish up, and by the end of the battle, you were literally whooped and needed a break.  I've only seen similar stuff on ocean fishing tv shows.  Never in my life have I experienced such a hard fought battle. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20067.jpgWe figured that we landed over 40 sturgeon on Saturday, and after making a few minor adjustments from morning to afternoon, we were right where the giants were hanging, and the average fish was in the mid 40 inch range.  The largest fish for the day was a 53.5 incher by Whorl, followed by my 52.5 incher.  Sturgeonfest2008%20071.jpgFrom there, we pretty much hit every number in the 40's, and several of them more than once.  We closed the day out with several doubles as the sun was setting, and slowly motored back to shore, shaking our heads and laughing at what had just happened.

This morning we hit the water for a quick stint to cure the itch before the long drive home.  Boy was it worth it.  We thought we couldn't beat our results from Saturday, but we were wrong.  We positioned ourselves exactly where we knew they were, and the big girls were there to play.  We spent the next 3 hours battling fish the entire time.  Sturgeonfest2008%20055.jpgWe had many doubles, and the size was pretty much 46 inches and up.  While it was hard to pick just one highlight, it definitely goes to Pauly with his 59 inch 50+pounder.  He set the hook on the giant, and shortly after the line started rising to the surface.  About 30 yards away, and the beast came airborn.  We had hoped all weekend to see that sight, and it was amazing.  To see a huge fish tailwalk the surface like that takes the cake.  During his 20+ minute battle, Dingy also landed his personal best at 49 inches, which was quite the sight.  I also landed my PB (personal best) and yes, longest fish of my life shortly after at 56 inches.  Man, with the power of those fish, it was hard just to hold on to them, picture time was interesting, but a great problem to have.  Sturg2008%20014.jpgWe battled so many fish that we were drawing a crowd, and after our 3 hours on the water, we landed over 20 more huge fish.  For Saturday and Sunday morning, we probably 30 over 40 inches, and a 51, 52.5, 53.5 54, 56, and 59 inchers.  We used about 25 dozen crawlers, took 120 pictures, laughed our butts off, caught over 60 sturgeon, got sun burnt, sore arms, sore backs...Yep, That's what its all about...That's Livin The Dream!

To see more pictures from out trip, go to the photo albums and check out the sturgeon section. 

It's Been A While...Still Livin The Dream!

Travis Frank


Before I get to the stories, I have to apologize for the longest story drought in Trophy Encounters history.  While I haven't been sharing stories lately, there definitely hasn't been a lack of them.  Stay tuned for the latest and greatest in my quest to live the dream.  I have much to share of my recent events, and I will capture some images to go with the stories as I usually do. 

I'll start by filling you in with a first time Trophy Encounter that I had yesterday. 

Jacob is a young boy that I have taken on the role of being a mentor for.  While we have shared quite a few great outdoor memories since we have been hanging out, yesterdays ranks very high on the cool meter.  jacobsdeer%20007.jpgI took him out to some land that I hunt close to, and we got permission to do a little meandering through the property to see what we could find.  Our main goal was to see the wildlife that runs crazy on the land, which we did (about 50 deer).  Secondly, we wanted to find some deer sheds as well.  Being Jacobs first time walking in the woods, he found all kinds of cool things, and yep, we also found that deer shed from last fall.  Though it wasn't a giant buck, it was his first deer antler which was super cool.  I know this wasn't a fish tale, or a whopper in the boat, but we enjoyed every minute of the walk through the woods.  Just a thought on another way to get kids into the outdoors if you are waiting for the ice to melt.  Stay tuned with this kid, because I have a every intention of getting some whopper fish on his line.  I'm pumped to see that first muskie in his hands!

jacobsdeer%20001.jpgI have also done some scrolling through a few of the pictures on my camera since I last updated, and found a goofy one of Nels that I wanted to share.  The day we took this picture it was like 35 degrees outside and Dusty had the boat full-throttle.  The bite must have been tough, otherwise I'm thinking that I would have had some Walleye pics from that day.  jacobsdeer%20006.jpgOn a different trip, Wags landed a huge surprise in the giant smallie.  This has been a pleasant surprise for us all spring on the river, and just adds one more reason to trailer the boat to the river once the weather starts cooperating again.

As for the current report...Well, I recently picked up a new sweetheart, and this girl is definitely a keeper.  Nope, it isn't a warm-bodied human, this girl is what I will be driving across the lakes this season.  Yep, thats right, the new boat has arrived!  I also have a few other events to share in my quest to live the dream, so I will update that very soon.  Until next time y'all, you know what to do...Live it!

Short, But Oh So Sweeeeet...

Travis Frank

re11.jpgAs always, I simply do not know where to start here.  I guess we get to chalk up another unbelievable day on the water.  As I flip through the pictures of our short outing this evening, I am pretty much in awe yet again at what I am looking at.  I felt like I was hardly even fishing, because I was jumping all over the boat trying to capture the perfect shots.  I feel like some of them are definitely worthy of sharing, so here we go...

After being picked up from the launch (yep, still don't have my new boat yet) I was the first to get my line in the water.  I think it was because I was so darn giddy from looking at yesterdays pics.  Well, needless to say, I was reeling in the biggest of the day before anybody else got a line in the water.  I don't get to fish with my dad as much as I would always like to, so having him with us tonight made that first fish all the more bittersweet.  He looked at me shaking his head, and all he had to do was smile and I knew how excited he was.  I mean literally guys, I had my bait on the bottom for not even 5 seconds LITERALLY and this fatty of all fatties latched on.  After the battle and a total of 1 minute of fishing I was pretty much RE%20007.jpgspent and said, "well, that's all I need, lets head home."  I wasn't trying to rub anything in to the boys, but just happy as a 5th grader on the last day of school before summer break.  It was awesome to hold such a beast, and how it all went down just made my day. 

After many laughs and smart comments from the "peanut gallery" we were back at it.  This is where I found myself doing less fishing and more commentary with the camera.  The weather was great, the fish were biting, and we all had some true lunkers to battle.  I took several different pictures while on our short couple hour excursion, but I wanted to capture everything from the battles to the picture perfect sun setting images.  I really think the guys got sick of my running around taking pictures, but I didn't care, and years from now, they will be happy I took them.  For whatever reason, tonight just hit me as one of those great times to be on the water.  Not that I don't enjoy them all, but there was just something about it that I'll always hold on to.  I think that's what it should always be about, and I have to give thanks to Dad, Dusty and Matt for making it happen.  Before the night was through I think we all boated a fish over the 5 pound mark which is definitely another remarkable time.  I know we didn't top 10 pounds with any of them, but boy were we flirting with it. 









Above, I was able to capture the battle, the moon in the background, and the result of the battle.  Below I was going for that epic sunset shot, and seconds later Dusty hauled in a beauty.  I'm kinda thinking of it as the sweet before and after.  I could go on for days with these pics, but I think we get the point.  I'm pretty sure that's what I consider Livin' The Dream! Thanks for reading!