Salrey: Great day at Lake Geneva with Tostrud guide

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Ten years ago, Spence Petros of McHenry and I headed to Lake Geneva for an overnight panfish trip with Jim Tostrud, a Wisconsin guide who runs the Wildlife Visions Guide Service. It was not a memorable day for us, in terms of fishing.

Due to the high winds, Tostrud could not adequately control the boat, and we spent several hours without lines in the water, just floating and telling tales of fish. Although we did not fish, it was one of the favorite days in the water I had had in a long time. The company was wonderful.

A couple of weeks ago, Petros and I planned another panfish adventure in Geneva with Tostrud. The rains kept us away from the water, and we reprogrammed it. The next date brought more rain, and we changed the date again. Finally, a decent forecast arrived and we decided to meet at the port of Geneva at 7 a.m.

It is funny. Petros, a member of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, loves to bust my chops every time I make a mistake and, believe me, that happens a lot. On this morning, there was very little visibility due to dense fog. I put "Geneva Boat Launch" on my GPS and headed to the lake. When I reached the launch, I could barely see the water. I could not see Petros or Tostrud or their vehicles. All I saw was a boat from the Department of Natural Resources tied to a dock. I called Petros on his cell phone to find out where he was and I was disgusted to discover that he was at the launch of Geneva on Lake Como.

Yes, I was in the wrong lake.

I don't think I can live that false step.

We went out to the water in search of the legendary population of fish types in Geneva. The water was a bit cold, but we attacked with vengeance. Tostrud has a great success of trolling fall with two small templates attached to each line. The probe unit mounted on the Tostrud boat showed dense markings that designated swarms of fish. The garbage was not biting. Nothing, nothing, zippo. Tostrud felt that the crappies took approximately two weeks to light, just like most fish species behaved this year. Oh good.

Tostrud changed tactics and objectives and decided that we would pursue large blue gills, pumpkin seeds and sea bass using nightcrawler pieces on a simple hook and a shot configuration spilled in approximately 15 feet of water. He made the right call. We catch a lot of healthy panfish. They were thick and fought hard. We had a lot of fish for the table.

I had what I expected to be a legendary experience. I felt a bite and put the hook. When I started to wobble, I felt another bite much harder. My rod bent and my line began to peel off my reel. "This must be a huge bluegill," I thought.

I did not press the fish. I just let the rod take over and let the fish do what they wanted. Of course, it wasn't a bluegill at all. It kept working and I could roll in a small line every time the fish swam in the direction of the boat. The fish was making the shots, not me.

Tostrud picked up his largest net and placed himself beside me. "You have a muskie there, Steve. Don't try to fight him."

Petros shouted, "That's a muskie you have there. He must have bitten your blue gill. Take it easy. Don't try to ride him. Let the muskie make the decisions. It seems to be great."

I must say that I played fish well. I had the fish on for quite some time, but I never had the chance to see it. He kept running under the boat. We could see a black outline under the boat, but we never saw the fish.

Of course, catching a great muskie while fishing with blue gills would be too good to be true. Suddenly, the line loosened, and I staggered in the blue gill that had originally bitten my bait. When Tostrud picked up the great gill, he showed us the huge set of teeth marks that the muskie had left on the fish.

Oh good. Catching a great "ski" was not in the cards for me that day, but I have a memorable fish story.

It was a productive day, and I would be proud to fish with Tostrud at any time. Man knows Geneva as well as anyone in the water. He has a large collection of photos of Geneva, including him with a 15 pound perch captured at noon during July. He caught the beast in a tracker. Petros speaks incredibly well about Tostrud's skills in Geneva.

In addition to guiding, Tostrud is an accomplished wildlife artist, perhaps the best in the Midwest. His work is impressive. I definitely recommend you check it out.

Tostrud, a 57-year-old resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a great guy, a wonderful human being and a highly qualified guide and fisherman. I can't wait to go out with him again, and I will definitely inform you of the results when I do.

To view Tostrud's guiding information, as well as examples of his award-winning artwork, visit


Northern Illinois: Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “The dams at McHenry, Algonquin and Carpentersville are still in the flood stage. Safety first, friends. Wait for the water to go down.

"The McHenry County Conservation District has Lake Atwood in the Hollows. Here you can catch sea bass, blue bird and catfish on a night tracker skewered on a simple No. 6 hook with a small split weight plumb added to increase the Weight Fishing doesn't increase much, simpler than this, and it works very well.

"Crystal Lake is the home of Vulcan Lake in the Three Oaks Recreation Area. It's hard to believe that a municipal lake can offer such tremendous fishing, but Vulcan surely does. Try to manipulate a shot with a night tracker or a plastic 4 inches for excellent bass Fishing A Defender jig with a tow trailer also works very well.

"For more information on fishing in northern Illinois, call 815-455-2040 for an updated report."

Fox Chain O ’Lakes: Chris Taurisano of T-Bone Guide Service ( – 630-330-9090) sends a message: “Fishing has been difficult this week with inconsistent weather conditions. There have been some crappies and some white bass caught in live baits and some walleyes at the edges of the dots and falls. With the water going down, fishing should improve soon. ”

Lake Michigan: Captain Caleb Weiner of Migrator Charters reports: “The end of the season is near, and we are starting to prepare the boat that comes out of the water, however, we are still fishing. To be honest, fishing is one of the best we have seen in October. The limited catches during the last week contained kings, coho and lake trout and were found between 120 and 190 feet of water at the North Point marina. The best bars have been a Blue Knight Moonshine that drops 90 feet in a rigger, a large white dot with an LBB tail and a Spin-N-Glo at the bottom and a Blue Flounder in a 300-foot copper.

"We will be fishing until November 4 this season and we will start again in April. We still have vacancies this fall, or we will take your boat one more time. Call us at 224-234-3704 or visit us at www"

Water conditions: As of Thursday, the Lower Fox River is closed to boat traffic and the Fox Chain O & # 39; lakes and the Upper Fox River are classified as unguarded areas. This can change any day. With our unpredictable weather, you should always have last minute water conditions at Fox Chain and Fox River. Visit or call 847-587-8540.

Wisconsin: Call the Wisconsin Lake Michigan fishing hotline at 414-382-7920 for the latest information on fishing for Lake Michigan and its tributaries. The excellent fishing in Wisconsin Lake Michigan is published at


Hunting permits, licenses: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources sends reminders that there are still many permits and licenses available for some of Illinois' extensive hunting opportunities.

Illinois youth firearms deer permits for residents and non-residents are available without a prescription at DNR Direct licensing and permit providers. The 2019 young deer hunt is this weekend, from Saturday to Monday.

Non-prescription sales of the remaining Illinois firearms deer permits will begin on Tuesday. Permits will be sold until quotas are exhausted or until the end of the season, whichever comes first. Individual hunters can buy one or more permits as of Tuesday, subject to availability. For a list of the number of permits available after the final lottery draw, see the IDNR website

The combination of residents and the permission of archery deer without antlers are available without prescription in the providers of licenses and permits of DNR Direct.

Combined archery deer permits not resident of Illinois are available without a prescription from DNR direct license and permit providers. The Illinois archery deer season is open until January 19 (it is closed during the gun gun deer season in counties open to hunting gun deer).

Unlimited Walleyes meeting: Walleyes Unlimited, with about 450 members, is one of the most popular fishing clubs in the Midwest. It has been reduced to only one meeting per month, alternating between Illinois and Wisconsin. The October meeting is at Gurnee American Legion Hall, 749 Milwaukee Ave. in Gurnee The date is October 30 and begins at 7 p.m. He is one of the most popular sticks in walleye fishing, Max Wilson, the national champion of the Walleye Tour 2018. Wilson's theme is "Walleye tournament tactics for weekend fishermen." The fun starts at 7 p.m. Soft drinks are provided and hard drinks can be purchased.

Visit for information or call Bob Clark at 847-274-8247.

Steve Sarley writes about the outdoors for Shaw Media. Write to [email protected] Steve makes a weekly podcast about fishing called "WeFishASA". You can find it at


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