Coffee and opinions (on fishing) always seem to go together
"There ain't nothin' like cold water lake trout from the deep on Lake Geneva," Thomas proclaimed.
The others at the table raised their cups in agreement and proceeded to slurp down their precious hot liquid.
I was part of a coffee klatch, which meets when the urge demands it.
It's a small morning-and-afternoon diner, which puts up with us cheapskates who rarely order from the menu. The waitress knows us by our egos and bragging.
Earlier in the week, guide Billy Heim was kind enough to report to the group about his recent catches of 30-inch-plus lakers. Not big, but just right for the broiler.
It's a seasonal gig, I've learned, when it comes to searching for Wisconsin lake trout, and Lake Geneva is a prime example of how one can be successful if common sense is applied to the excursion.
Many area anglers hold to their attitude that lake trout from Lake Michigan are nothing more than an unwanted distraction. And that's because the main target for big water trollers are the king and coho salmon. Granted, a Lake Michigan trout can often feel like lead weight on the business end of a fishing line.
But back to the coffee table for some additional opinions.
Terry jumped into the mix when I mentioned the ever-increasing number of Geneva muskies caught and released by smallmouth anglers.
"I myself tied into at least 10 muskies over 40 inches long," Terry reported. "And three came to the net in one day."
Lake Geneva, Lake Delavan and Big Green Lake have been "rediscovered" by numerous fishermen. That can be attributed to the Fox Chain near Antioch and Fox Lake. And please include the walleye numbers as well, which are slowly climbing back to the high numbers of big fish we saw a dozen years ago taken from Pistakee and Channel lakes.
I like to chase smallmouth bass and locate big bluegills. My trips to the Menomonee River and Door County continue to yield hefty specimens of "brown bass." The bluegilling is a story all its own. But the conversation was focused on ice fishing and lake trout.
Almost everyone I speak with about winter fishing never advocates taking part in the hunt for big lake trout. The gist is usually about saltwater angling in the Gulf of Mexico or largemouth bass in Florida.
So what about a winter vacation mixed in with journeys through Wisconsin and Minnesota's woodlands on a snowmobile? Couple that to some excellent perch and lake trout fishing.
You don't have to suffer the extreme cold and hurricane-like winds if you hire a guide with a warm ice shelter.
"For my money, I would rather go after jumbo perch," Norm said, adding his two cents.
Norm is a retired suburban firefighter whose addiction is all about the days when jumbo perch were available in great numbers. There was no 15-fish limit back in the day.
Now Norm joins his pals in a six-person ice fishing shelter. When the bite slows, Norm takes out the cribbage board and the poker deck for some "real" action. No one complains.
The most common thread with all these caffeine junkies is the dozens of opinions offered as gospel as they pertain to the best fishing available 12 months of the year.