This has been one of the worst winters in years for those who live in Wisconsin and most of the Midwest. The frigid weather and constant snow has had many of us confined to the house if we’re not at work or doing something that just has to be done. The below zero temperatures and howling wind has prevented many people from spending too much time in the outdoors. Ice fishing is about the only thing that I’ve seen people doing, but not in the numbers you’d expect to see. The ice fishing has slowed down and it’s tough to find any consistent action in most of south-central Wisconsin. I recently wrote about some local fishermen who went to Devils Lake, North Dakota to partake in the fantastic perch fishing. But, not everyone can take the time off work or spend the money for an out of state trip.

kids fishing

But, the sport show season has now begun in Wisconsin and the bordering states. I’ve had many readers and friends say that they’ve been looking forward to the sport shows to cure their “cabin fever” and get them out of the house and thinking about open water fishing! This past weekend was the Milwaukee Muskie Expo and the National Pheasant Fest (also in Milwaukee) and the good crowds show that many people needed something to cure the winter blues! The next two weekends there are outdoor and fishing shows locally which will continue to get you in the mood for spring fishing, give you the opportunity to see what’s new in the fishing world, look at the new boats that you’ve been checking out, hear some great seminars, and talk to resort owners about that summer vacation. Plus, it gives you plenty of reading material till the rivers and lakes open up and you can start open water fishing.

This coming Friday, February 21st, the Madison Fishing Expo begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The show runs thru Sunday with the doors opening at 9:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday and closing at 9:00 p.m. Friday, 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Madison Fishing Expo is a non-profit organization which is in its 29th year beginning in 1985. The Expo has donated over $550,000. to various groups and organizations that help improve Wisconsin’s fishing. The weekend show will draw over 20,000 people coming to see what’s new and listen to some of the 24 diverse seminars that run every day. The admission is $10.00, which is a fair price, considering what you’ll see able to see and hear from some of the best anglers in the Midwest and country. The seminar speakers will talk about fishing for about any species you’ll find in our lakes and share their tactics, techniques, and tips for catching your favorite fish. There are activities for the entire family and especially the children with a Fishing Basics talk by Greg Karch, minnow races, a trout pond, and a casting area with great instruction for beginners. Remember that the kids are the future of fishing.

pressured muskie

Some of the speakers include; John Bethke on fly fishing tactics, Madison’s Lee Tauchen on muskies trending, Marianne Huskey on walleyes, Daryl Christensen of Montello on a “Lifetime of Fishing” as a child, guide, and a successful pro career, Pete Mania on muskies, Joe Puccio on panfishing the Madison lakes, Dan Fox on fishing the Great Lakes, Joe Bucher on bass and muskies, Rob Manthei and Ken Jackson on multi species fishing made easy, Rick Krueger on secrets of the Madison lakes, and Troy Lindner on how to catch more fish with swim baits. I know most of these anglers and have fished with many of them. This is one of the best groups of anglers that you can find in one location at any one time! You can go to the Expo website ( and see the times of all these seminars over the weekend. I know that you can find some speakers that you’ll enjoy and learn something from to improve your personal angling.


If you fish, then plan on spending a morning, afternoon, or day listening to seminars and checking out what’s new in fishing. You’ll find some great deals and specials plus have a chance to talk to the many companies factory representatives. Everything you could want or see is at the Madison Fishing Expo, so get out of the house and dream of the fishing that you’ll be doing in a few months. This is an event that you don’t want to miss! Next week, the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City is having their 31st Spring Fishing Expo and Sale with Mr. Walleye, Gary Roach speaking. I hope to see many of you at the shows. I’ll be the MC for the Madison Fishing Expo, so if you see me be sure to grab me and say hi!