The 4th Annual Winter Fishing Academy sponsored by Linn County Conservation and Hawkeye Angling Adventures is history! Four years ago, our good friend Captain Dave Nichols began providing anglers a break to the January cold with a day long fishing workshop featuring local and regional anglers. For 2018, the program which is now co-sponsored with Linn County Conservation featured a Thursday, January 11th, “Learn to Fish-The Basics” sponsored by Palo Outdoors. Chuck Ungs, Linn County Conservation Naturalist and Captain Dave provided their version of what beginners need to know about tackle, line, knots, lures and basic fishing techniques. The well attended program was held at our Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville, IA. Saturday, the 13th, was the Advanced Angling Techniques program which featured a presentation in the morning by CrawDaddy Outdoors owner Darrin Siefken and Jackson Kayaks Pro-Staff Tanner Speidel. We got to learn about kayak fishing, look over the kayaks brought to the workshop, and see how Tanner has equipped his kayak for extreme fishing. Please check out Tanner’s uTube videos he’s taken with the Go-Pro camera to see him in action catching huge fish from a small craft! Tracy Hayward and I gave a presentation on utilizing copper wire line to get trolling baits down deep with less line out on your line counter reel. We enjoyed teaching the attendees about this new to us technique we plan to utilize even more during the 2018 fishing season. Our luncheon guest was Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Paul Sleeper who provide us an update on walleye stocking in area lakes plus how the restoration of Pleasant Creek Lake at Palo, IA was moving along. “We need some snow melt and rain this spring to fill the lake up and take advantage of all the new fish holding structure we’ve placed there,” Paul noted. Bill Wagner of Crappiehuntr Guide Service covered catching crappies on Iowa’s Lake Rathbun and Red Rock utilizing 11-foot ACC Crappie Stiks and jigs tipped with small plastics. “Fish the eight to twelve foot depths pretty much anywhere on Rathbun and you’ll catch crappie!” Billy added. Many people from our area fish the Mississippi River. Captain Dave brought in Walleye Angler Trail teammates Kevin Oyen and Steve Kopp to cover the tools and techniques for catching walleyes on the River. Kevin is the owner of the WAT while Steve owns Dubuque Fishing Guide Service. Steve’s number is 563-599-9209 if you want to learn how to fish the River with an experienced angler! Our program wrapped up with a presentation on fishing the Mississippi for bass by Chris Ashwegan who represents the St. Croix Rod Pro-Staff. Chris covered where to look for bass during the fishing season and the proven baits to catch them year after year! Captain Dave’s staff filmed all of the presentations and we hope to share them with you here at walleyewisdom.com. For now, you have the recap plus some pictures I took during the day. Thanks for reading our report!