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Long Lake News

    Ice Fishing in Manitowoc County by Todd S. Bergmann 

    Reprinted with permission. Originally published in the Valders Journal on February 1, 2018.

    Recent innovations and technology make it easier to catch more fish, an expert fisherman told area sportsmen last week.  Tournament fisherman Clint Ward addressed a meeting of the Manitowoc County Lakes Association on Jan. 25, discussing everything from his favorite ice fishing equipment to how he beat his cousin using the latest technical advances.

    Ward said the best lakes in the county for catching: bluegills are Carstens, Weyers, West and Bullhead; for crappie it’s Long, Shoe and English; for perch it’s English; and for northerns it’s Wilke, Hartlaub, Schisel, and Cedar.  Additionally, Cedar, SilverEnglish and Pigeon lakes contain small populations of walleyes, he said.

    Ward, who receives no pay for recommending products, advised his audience to use a Vexilar fish finder, among other tips for getting a good catch.   “If I had to pick one tool that would be part of my pan fishing arsenal, it has to be the Vexilar,” he said. “It has changed everything in how I fish.  “Without the Vexilar, it is like fishing without glasses if you wear glasses. It helps you see everything that is underwater.”  This includes weeds, rocks, fish, hard bottoms and even small lures and bait fish, Ward said.

    Unlike most fish finders, the Vexilar does not have to be moving to find fish and is better than fish cameras, which have to be lowered into the water, do not work well in dirty water and often scare game fish, Ward explained.  In tournaments, Ward drills 30 to 35 holes in the ice and then checks with a Vexilar for weeds. Then he puts sticks in the holes without weeds to determine where the weed edge is.  Once he finds a good fishing spot he marks it with a Navionics app using the GPS on his cell phone, Ward said.  “I can put myself on the same spot I was yesterday, if I mark it on my phone,” he said. “It also shows me depth and contours.”  The app is helpful when fishing a body of water for the first time, Ward said.  “It is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment that you will ever see or use,” he said. “It is only $10. If you ever switch phones, it always carries through with you.”  Ward said he can use the fish finder and app to find basins 20 to 40 feet deep which are good for catching crappie.

    He also said ice augers have improved in the past decade for drilling holes for ice fishing. Propane and electric augers are much faster than earlier units and are cleaner than gas and oil augers, he added.  Electric augers are lighter, quieter and more energy efficient than propane augers but do not last as long, Ward added.

    For basic equipment, he buys fishing rods costing $15 to $30, rather than those with $50 to $100 price tags, Ward said.   “You look at a rod like a system,” he said, “It has a couple of moving parts.”  Rods should be 24 to 32 inches long, with fast-action tips and large eyes for the line, Ward said.   Fast-action tips pick up the sensitivity of fish bites while bigger rod eyes prevent ice from building on the rod.  “This allows the rod to move more freely,” he explained.  Ward said he uses a small reel to create excellent balance.  “That balance is a big factor when you are doing a jigging motion,” he said.  Ward recommends purchasing rods and reels separately to avoid buying too heavy of a reel and he also prefers a microspin reel.   “If you are fishing all day, your arm may get sore,” he said. “Having a great drag on a microspin is a plus. When I pull on that drag, I want it to be easy and steady.”  A new advancement is to put fly reels on ice fishing rods, Ward said.  “I went over to this style of reel and I noticed my fishing catch went up using the same lure,” he said. “It keeps my lure for the most part from spinning.”  Live bait does not spin, therefore, spinning lures will not attract fish, Ward explained.   “Once I set my rods to prevent spin, I noticed my fishing catch went up,” he said.

    When choosing line for ice fishing, Ward recommends a 2-pound test weight for bluegills and mid-size perch, three pounds for larger perch and crappie, six to eight pounds for 15- to 19-inch walleyes, 10 to 12 pounds for Great Lakes walleyes and 20 pounds for northern pike.  Ward said his favorite line is Sufix Ice Magic, which is available in a 1- to 12-pound test.  “It is tangle free,” he said. “It does resist ice.”  Most summer fishing lines will not work for ice fishing, Ward said.   “You will find out that the ice really hangs on,” he said. “You get those big gobs, those big chunks of ice on your line.”  Ice lines have chemicals to reduce ice buildup that are not on summer fishing lines.  Ward said he favors light lines to prevent coiling and braided lines for walleye ice fishing.  “It is fairly strong,” he said. “It is tangle free. I use braid on my walleye ice fishing rods. I want that hook set to go right into their mouth. Braid does not stretch.”  However, braided lines do not work well for panfish, especially below 30 degrees, Ward said.   While ice fishing for northerns, Ward used a 20-pound test model leader while his cousin used a steel leader.  “After about an hour and a half of fishing, I had 10 northerns on the ice to his one,” Ward said.   He said he mostly uses tip-less fluorocarbon leaders for fishing in clear water because fish cannot see them.

    On the line, Ward places titanium spring bobbers. They can be moved back and forth, return to being straight after being bent and are extremely sensitive to fish.   “You can’t get any more sensitive than these tiny spring bobbers,” he said.  For baits, rainbow-colored lures work best for bluegills and for perch gold jigs and spoons work best, he said.  “Hali are dynamite on mid-sized perch,” he said. “Wigglers are the best bait I have used for perch. The only thing is wigglers are very hard to keep alive.”  Another great bait is minnow tails, rather than minnow heads, Ward said.  “It tends to float to the left and right, much more than a minnow head,” he said. “A minnow head is more meaty. It stays there.”  Also using small minnows works well especially for perch or crappie, Ward said.

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Long Lake and Boot Lake, April 2015
Long Lake and Boot Lake, April 2015
by Ken & Karen Schuler, TrawlersMidwest.com
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Click on the maps to enlarge. Bathymetric Map Courtesy of and Copyright Sportsman’s Connection, based on Wisconsin DNR data. Watershed map courtesy of Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department. New! Zoom in even closer with this new interactive watershed mapping tool.  


Location/Directions: Boot Lake Road, Town of Rockland. Take County Highway JJ West from Manitowoc, through the un-incorporated area of Collins. Continue West on County Highway JJ approximately 4.5 miles to Long Lake Road. Travel north 1.5 miles to Boot Lake Road. East on Boot Lake Road .5 miles to driveway.
Accessibility: 44°8’37.89″ N / 88° 2’0.81″ W

Surface Area: 127 acres

Shorelength: 3.4 mi

Depth: Max 38′

Bottom: 0% sand, 5% gravel, 0% rock, 95% muck

Type of Lake: Deep Seepage. Deep Seepage lakes stratify, or form separate layers of water, during the summer months and have no inlet or outlet.

Restrictions: Operating restrictions on motor boats and waterskiing are posted at the access. Read the Wisconsin handbook

Recreational Features: Long Lake County Park occupies 4.5 acres on the northeast shore of this 117 acre lake. The park provides public access for boating and fishing and has been developed into an attractive picnic area. Facilities located here include a concrete boat launch ramp, pier, fishing pier, picnic tables, grills, playground equipment and a toilet building. A small open area is available for recreation activities.

Northern pike, large mouth bass, walleye, perch, white bass, bullhead, crappie, bluegill and pumpkinseed can be fished from shore or boat. Long Lake is also a popular spot for ice fishing.

A best bet in Manitowoc County for shore fishing for panfish! —The Wisconsin Fishing Report Spring 2017

Manitowoc County Map and Photos: http://www.co.manitowoc.wi.us/departments/i-p/parks/county-parks/long-lake/


Aquatic Invasive Species Threats:

Verified: Curly-Leaf Pondweed (1988), Eurasian Water-Milfoil (2003), Purple Loosestrife (2011, 2013)


Fishing Regulations:


Fish Stocking:

DNR Fishing Survey: View most recent report 2011

DNR Fish Stocking Data
Year Species Strain Age Class Number Stocked Average Length (inches)
2015 NORTHERN PIKE MUD LAKE – MADISON CHAIN OF LAKES LARGE FINGERLING 831 8.90
2015 WALLEYE LAKE MICHIGAN SMALL FINGERLING 4,434 1.70
2013 NORTHERN PIKE MUD LAKE – MADISON CHAIN OF LAKES LARGE FINGERLING 792 8.30
2013 WALLEYE MISSISSIPPI HEADWATERS SMALL FINGERLING 4,195 2.00
2011 WALLEYE LAKE MICHIGAN SMALL FINGERLING 4,615 1.90
2009 WALLEYE LAKE MICHIGAN SMALL FINGERLING 4,185 1.80
View more history

 

DNR Species Summary (2011):
Number of fish caught for the following length categories (inches):
species 0-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 >29 Total
Black Crappie  33 9 1 43
Bluegill 185 167 352
Largemouth Bass 8 15 7 18 10  1 59
Northern Pike 1  1 2
Pumpkin Sunfish  6  2 8
Walleye 1 1
Yellow Perch 8 2 10

Survey Date: 06-02-2011/Gear: Electrofishing


Condition: POOR

  • 5-Year Average Trophic State: 69/Eutrophic (Source: Wisconsin DNR)
  • Secchi Disk (2016): Average summer reading = 1 ft. SE Georegion average = 6.8 ft.
    Summer (July/Aug) water was reported as MURKY and BROWN. Note that the Secchi disc hit bottom during 1 reading. This indicates that the water clarity was actually greater than the readings imply. Observations suggest that the secchi depth may have been mostly impacted by suspended sediments, tiny particles of soil or organic matter that are suspended in the water. Shallow lakes are often turbid because wind stirs up sediment from the bottom. High suspended sediments are often found in flowages and impoundments where precipitation runoff from the watershed transports solids via an incoming stream.
  • Chemistry (2016): The average summer Chlorophyll was 59.5 µg/l (compared to a Southeast Georegion summer average of 23.5 µg/l). The summer total Phosphorus average was 86.4 µg/l. Lakes that have more than 20 µg/l and impoundments that have more than 30 µg/l of total phosphorus may experience noticeable algae blooms.
  • Trophic State Index (TSI) (2016): 66/Eutrophic. What does this mean?
    Eutrophic lakes are high in nutrients and contain large populations of plants, algae, and fish, which often grow to nuisance levels, and the fish species are generally tolerant of warm temperatures and low oxygen conditions. Phosphorus can fuel algae blooms. This TSI usually suggests blue-green algae become dominant and algal scums are possible, extensive plant overgrowth problems possible.

View this graph on the DNR website

Condition information is based on Wisconsin DNR data from volunteer and County readings taken at Deepest Point on 14 different days in Feb-Sept 2016. Additional readings for Deep Hole are available online.


Click on the maps to enlarge. Bathymetric Map Courtesy of and Copyright Sportsman’s Connection, based on Wisconsin DNR data. Watershed map courtesy of Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department. New! Zoom in even closer with this new interactive watershed mapping tool.  

Other documents of interest:

Long Lake Fisheries Survey (2007)

Long Lake 2017 Survey Report by Steve Hogler, Steve Surendonk and Derek Apps, WDNR Fisheries-Green Bay

Updated: February 2, 2018 — 1:37 am

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