Contact Travis Frank

Phone: 612-382-6927
Email: 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 Tag: Lake Minnetonka

Walleyes, A new camera, and Waconia is Back!

Travis Frank

After a 7 month hiatus from snapping photos, I'm happy to announce that I'm back up and running.  A few sweet friends pitched in to get me a gift certificate to National Camera Exchange as a wedding gift, and it helped me pick out the camera I've been saving up for.  I'm now the proud owner of a Canon 60D.  I thank God for good friends.  

With new camera in hand, I took to the water with a couple of walleye addicts last Friday.  It took us a few hours and a couple dozen bass, but we finally got dialed in on the fish we were after - walleyes.  They managed a nice meal of Tonka eaters and another dandy in the mid 20 inch range.  The bite seems to have changed slightly, but the action is far from disappointing.  I'm now looking to make a few adjustments to follow the walleye movements into their summer patterns.  Bass on the other hand are about as plentiful as they can get.  At times the boys were landing them every single cast.

Fathers day was about as good as it gets in the weather department.  My fishin' buddy, Dusty Gesinger, and I, took our dad's out for a morning of catching on a small metro lake.  We found fat bluegills on the spawning beds with a few crappie & walleyes mixed in.  It would have been hard to draw up a better morning.

When our catching was done, I ventured to Waconia with my wife.  She was after a tan.  I was interested in the walleyes.  This was my first time fishing Waconia walleyes this year and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  I caught many walleyes with very little effort.  This is a very good sign.  For those of you that aren't aware, lake Waconia was missing 5 year classes of walleyes and the lake has been hurting.  The DNR attempted to stock fry instead of their usual planting of yearlings.  They tried twice and the fry never made.  Since they stock every other year, we essentially went 5 years without any walleyes added to the lake.  Waconia has almost zero natural reproduction, so we rely heavily on the DNR stocking efforts.  To their credit, they were looking to increase the amount of walleyes in the lake and wanted to give the fry stocking a shot.  Whether it was from the cormorants or other factors, they didn't survive and a lesson was learned.  2 years ago they changed their stocking back to yearlings and the fish have grown quickly.  The results I had on Sunday were encouraging and I'm confident that Waconia will return to the walleye gem that it once was.   We are now only 1 year away from having a healthy year class of 16 to 17 inch walleyes in the lake.  In my opinion, next year will be a banner year to walleye fish on lake Waconia.

Now is a great time to be on the lake.  I have several bass trips coming up and I'm going to start switching gears to the muskie side of life.  It's a good place to be.  Until next time, keep on livin' your dream! 

Walleyes and a Wedding!

Travis Frank

Life is good.  The walleye fishing has been incredible this year, and I'm proud to say that I'm now a married man.  May 31, 2013 was easily the best day of my life.  I married my sweetheart and made a sincere promise to always show her my secret fishing spots.  She's definitely my best catch yet, and I'm a proud husband.

Prior to our wedding day I was able to enjoy several great outings.  I could argue that it's been the best spring of walleye fishing that I've ever had on lake Minnetonka.   It's been a good combination of size and numbers.  There's a very strong population of fish in that lake in the 16 to 18 inch range right now, and the trophy class fish are equally as abundant.  There was a 4 day stretch where we boated at least one fish over 28 inches.  Quite incredible on a metro body of water.  To this day, the bite is still going strong. 

This album should be the last of my cell phone pictures.  Thanks to my sweet friends, a wedding gift card to National Camera Exchange means that I'm going to be back in the photo taking business by the end of today.  If you follow this blog, you should expect to see better images in the very near future.  Like maybe tomorrow.  Until then, remember that life is short.  Keep on livin' the dream!

Opening Day Walleyes & Wind.

Travis Frank

Saturday at midnight the fishing season kicked open.  A few minutes later, so too did the wind.  This year will forever be remembered as the year for wind and ice.  I've fished in crappy weather before, but this was brutal.  Being tough guys, we battled it all day long.  After all, walleyes are always worth it.

My fishing crew consisted of Bails, an opening day regular.  "New Chad," which as the name suggests, made his first opening day start.  And, last but not least, Eric, "the lone wolf," Wolf.  A motley crew of walleye lovers, for sure.

We opted to keep our tradition going and started at midnight.  Lake Minnetonka was our lake of choice.  Chad kicked off the event with Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands, Fishin' in the Dark, at 11:57pm.  Then, at 12:00 on the dot, we were down to business.  Our first spot was fish less.  At about 12:15 we moved on, and as we motored to spot number 2, the lake erupted.  Gale force winds literally knocked us sideways.  It blew so hard that it would have been miserable even if the walleyes were jumping in the boat.  We opted to take a skunk to bed and get some rest before sunrise.

The morning started slow and cold, but as the sun warmed up, so did the walleyes.  Well, technically just Bails turned on.  While I did my best circus act to hold the boat on the spot he landed 3 dandies.  Interestingly enough, all three were big males, all in the 24 inch range, and all spewing "white stuff" on the bottom of the boat.  Getting rid of the skunk was all we really wanted, then we pulled the plug on our morning.

After lunch and a nap, we returned for the evening bite.  Eric instantly boated his first walleye.  The skunk remained for Chad and myself.  Soon, they placed bets on who would catch a walleye first.  Bails put his money on Chad and Eric took yours truly.  Fortunately, Eric didn't have to wait long to get paid.  My drought was over (insert a Hallelujah)!  I boated my first, followed by a second, which also happened to take big fish honors for the day.  She was a spawned out female over 27 inches in length. I thanked her for the sunset thrill, then sent her on her way.

As darkness approached, "New Chad," was the only man without an 'eye.  His depression was reaching new depths when suddenly he hooked up.  It was a big fish, possibly larger than mine.  Just as we were about to catch a glimpse, the line snapped.  If he hadn't fished so hard all day, it would have been hilarious.  Seeing the defeat in his eyes, we could only laugh at half throttle.  He escaped the full blown harping that we normally dish.  As he re-tied his line we talked about what we could have done differently.  "Nothing," he said.  A new jig and two casts later the man was hooked up again.  Thank goodness, this time, the walleye made the net.

With Chad's fish, we called it a day.  Mission accomplished.  4 tired boys left the lake with a handful of new walleye tales, and wind burnt faces.  In total, we managed 8 walleyes.  4 for the jar, 4 for the photo album.  A far cry from a normal year, but considering the conditions, we called it a success.  Another opening day is in the books.  Until next time, keep on livin' the dream!

Pondering the 2013 Metro Fishing Opener

Travis Frank

Ice, cold, blah, blah, blah.  I don't think anybody wants to spend time babbling about the cold.  Instead, how about we take a look at what this cold weather will mean for the start of our fishing season? 

Lake Minnetonka Walleye

In short, I believe this cool spring will bring good fishing.  Walleyes thrive in cooler water.  Opening day might be slow, but it won't take long for things to heat up.  The next month or two should be solid.  In the metro, the walleyes are spawning as we speak.  They spawn when the water is between 42 and 48 degrees.  After the fish spawn, there is a heavy "feedbag" window when they seem to eat everything in sight.  The cool water keeps walleyes active longer, and many times they remain in shallow, easy to find locations.

On a warm water year, this "feedbag" window often occurs before our season even starts.  Last year the walleyes in the metro spawned 6 weeks before the opener.  Their peak feeding period occurred 4 weeks before opening day.  This year, we should see the peak feeding window occur within the first two weeks of our season.  On a typical year the best walleye fishing generally runs through May, then slowly fades into June.  This year we could be looking at a solid bite that drags into July (if we are lucky). 

Considering our conditions, you could target this peak window for over a month.  If you had nothing but free time for the next 5 weeks, you could start out in southern Minnesota on opening day, then each week trek north until you hit Lake of the Woods.  The prairie lakes of the south will be prime for opening day.  The metro waters will be at peak the week after opener.  Mille Lacs should be prime in about 2 weeks.  Leech should be on fire in 3 and Lake of the Woods will be slamming in 4. Timing this bite according to the spawn will give you the chance at an incredible year of walleye fishing, maybe the best you've ever had.

I will be starting my season in the metro.  Waconia and Minnetonka to be exact.  I believe we will find active fish come opening day.  As of today, the water temps are in the mid 40's and the walleyes should be spawning.  Come Saturday, we will be on the early fringe of their heavy feeding window.  If it starts slow, it will only increase as we progress into the end of week one.  I believe the walleyes will be shallow.  I don't expect to fish any deeper than 7 feet of water. 

Here are some things that I will look for to help me find metro walleyes.  First and foremost, I'm going to search for green weeds.  Most metro walleyes are stocked fish.  They spend the first year of their life in a small weedy pond.  When transplanted, they go to what they know - weeds.  Finding the first green shoots of the year will be key.  The minute the walleyes finish their spawn, they go straight to the green stuff.  Baitfish will use this area, and so will the walleyes.  To get more specific, I believe the inside weed edges will hold the greatest numbers of active fish.  On Minnetonka and a handful of other metro waters, this weedline runs at about 3 to 6 feet of water. 

To catch them, my first choice will be to pitch a jig and minnow, followed by casting Rapala's.  Most people think you have to fish deep water to catch walleyes during the day.  I have found the walleyes to be aggressive all day when they are in the shallow weeds.  When darkness falls, they come out of the weeds and roam on the nearest hard bottom flats.  1 to 2 feet of water is not out of the question.  Casting Rapala's on these shallow flats after dark can be lethal.  This tactic should last at least 3 weeks this year.  On a warmer year, I've seen it die in less than 1. 

Lake Minnetonka is an obvious gold mine, but there are a pile of small walleye factories nearby.  Small lakes with heavy walleye stocking programs provide some incredible fishing opportunities within a 30 mile radius of the cities.  The past 5 years I've made it a point to try these smaller waters right away.  I've been blown away by the success.  The first 2 weeks being the best.  This year, I think they will all be hopping for a good month. 

Thanks to this cool spring, we will be able to fish walleyes throughout their entire peak feeding period.  Ice up north might force you to stay home, but you can be thankful for the bumper crop of fish that await you.  I wish you a safe and prosperous fishing season.  If there is anything I can do to hook you up with more fish, please don't hesitate to ask.  Until next time, keep chasin' your dream!