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Pro angler James Lindner. / Submitted by Gary Engberg
Guide and pro Adam Oberfoell. / Submitted by Gary Engberg


It’s that time of the year when many fishermen and women are getting the “dreaded” cabin fever. Most of us are caught between seasons with the ending of a so, so ice fishing year and the beginning of spring river fishing is still a few weeks to a month away. This is why sport show promoters time February and March as prime times for their fishing and outdoor shows. There are many people who don’t ice fish and are tired of watching fishing and outdoor shows on T.V. or the Internet. They’ve also read all the magazines and website articles about their activity of passion, fishing. Anglers are “chomping at the bit” and can’t wait to go to these consumer shows and see what new in fishing equipment and gear, boats and motors, resorts and out of town fishing locations, find some good buys, and listen to fishing seminars from some of the best anglers in the country and local waters.

The Madison Fishing Expo starts this coming Friday, February 22, and runs thru Sunday, the 24th at the Alliant Center. The Expo has been run by a group of volunteers since 1985 and have done a wonderful job in bringing a quality show to Madison and southern Wisconsin which draws over 20,000 people. The show has evolved from humble beginnings to being one of the Midwest’s top fishing shows which donates all its proceeds to various fishing projects in our part of Wisconsin. The Expo Committee has donated over half a million dollars to their diverse projects. Improved boat landings, handicapped piers, fish stockings, and children and handicapped programs are just a few of the things that the Madison Fishing Expo has done with the event’s proceeds. There is something for the entire family at the event and it’s easy to spend a half a day or even the entire day checking out the latest gear and equipment, talking to manufactures representatives showing their latest products, and listening to experts talk about fishing for all species of fish with the latest in tactics and techniques. Plus, there is a casting event for the kids, trout fishing, and even minnow races for the young ones. Like I said, there is something for the whole family at the Fishing Expo.

I’ve worked fishing shows for the last thirty years and for professional anglers and guides this is one of the ways that you work for your sponsors who pay for your tournaments and the gear that allow you to fish for a living. Seminars have changed from slide presentations and talks to high-tech Power Point presentations which show you much more than the “old school seminars.” The best thing is that the Expo Committee spends considerably time choosing their speakers and picking anglers who know the area and the species of fish that attendees ply the local waters for. No matter what you fish for, you’ll find a speaker giving a seminar on that species be it walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, or panfish. If I was a local angler going to the show, I’d check out the list of speakers and find the time and day that they speak and plan my day or days around these presentations that talk about what you like to fish for. You can go to the Internet and check out the speakers list for days and times at

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I know many of the speakers and I’m again the M.C. for the Expo show. These anglers are all professionals who make their livings fishing and guiding and believe me when I say that they know their stuff! Larry Nixon or the “General” will speak and Nixon is a bass fishing legend being a master at fishing plastics. Walleye pro Tommy Skarlis is a tremendous speaker and person who I fished against for years and usually behind him in tournament standings. Tommy is a great angler, but also a family man and loves to talk to fellow fishers. Skarlis has won tournaments everywhere he fishes and being from Iowa and growing up fishing the Mississippi River, you can get some new walleye tactics from his presentation. Jeremy Smith is the young angler you see on many of the Lindner Media Production shows in the boat with Ron, Al, and James Lindner. He will speak on the newest bass and pike techniques. Another good friend, Dave Csanda will talk about smallmouth fishing. Dave was at In-Fisherman with the Lindners and then joined them at Lindner Media. Scott Hamstra of Rutabaga will speak about a new and growing way of fishing, kayak fishing. The master of electronics, Greg Fitch, will talk about rigging your boat, electronics, and battery maintenance. Another friend and member of our Four Lakes Guide Association, Ron Barefield, will speak on trophy panfish on local waters. There are few people you spend as much time on the water as Ron. He knows the waters from Madison to northern Wisconsin and everything between besides being a factory rep for many great fishing companies. Ron knows his stuff and I’d highly recommend this seminar. My best friend and co-host of Outdoors Horizons Radio, Tony Puccio, will speak on trolling for walleyes. Tony has done well on all the walleye and muskie tournament circuits and loves to talk and entertain the audience.

Another local angler and guide, Ted Peck, will speak on the Mississippi River. Peck spends over 200 days a year fishing and hunting. Kurt Schultz from Central Wisconsin will speak about early smallmouth and muskie fishing on rivers particularly the Wisconsin River. Another excellent guide from the Door County area will present a seminar on big Green Bay smallmouth. I’ve had friends fish with Brett and they raved about his prowess. A retired UW professor, Stephen Born, and author of “Exploring Wisconsin’s Trout Streams” will talk on fly fishing these great streams in Wisconsin. Ryan Rist will talk about some of fishing’s latest advancements and how they can save you time and money while you’re fishing. Finally, a fellow National Professional Angler Association member, Greg Karch, will present a wonderful presentation for children and their parents. This is the seminar for the entire family and Greg does wonders with getting youth involved in fishing.

Plan to attend this great weekend with something for everyone whether you’re buying or looking for quality information on how to catch your favorite fish! I’ll be running around, but stop me and say hi because like the speakers I always have time to talk fishing.

Saturday, March 2nd, the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City will have their 30th Spring Free Fishing Clinic and Sale. The Wilderness store has been remodeled and has expanded its fishing department with 1000’s of new muskie, walleye, and bass items for your fishing needs. Tom Lochner is the new owner and an avid fisherman who has done wonders with what already was a great store. This is a clinic and sale that I’ve been involved with as a speaker and M.C. for 20 some years and you won’t find a better in-store clinic. The show is free and so is the parking which saves you some serious dollars these days. The store has always had top-notch speakers and this year is no exception with some of the fishing world’s top anglers. This year’s speakers are tough to beat with James Lindner, Adam Oberfoell, Tony Roach, and Dan Sura.

Lindner is the driving force behind Lindner Media Productions and is an expert multi-species angler. Having grown up in the Lindner family, James was with In-Fisherman for years before the Lindner’s started their own company. Having your father, Ron, and Uncle Al, being Hall of Fame anglers doesn’t hurt. James knows the fishing industry from top to bottom besides being an excellent angler himself. James will speak at 9:30 am on “Seasonal Bass Movements” and at 12:30 p.m. on “River Muskies.”

Local guide and professional, Adam Oberfoell, will give a presentation at 11:00 a.m. on “Change Your Tactics for Bigger Muskies.” Adam guides local waters for muskies regularly and fishes the top muskie waters in the Midwest and Canada. He also works for Lowrance Electronics and knows his electronics as only a professional can.

Tony Roach is one of Minnesota’s and the countries top young anglers who guides most days on open water and on the ice in the winter. Tony is a personable person who gladly shares his secrets and tips to everyone he speaks to at shows and clinics. Roach will speak on “Catch Walleyes Anywhere: Plastics, Crankbaits, Livebait and More” at 2: oo p.m. His uncle is the famous legend, Gary Roach, Mr. Walleye.

Also, Dan Sura, who worked at In-Fisherman for years and Lindner Media Productions, will also be on hand to talk fishing with all anglers. Sura, recently retired and was just inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Dan is one of my favorite people and friend who will gladly share his fishing secrets with anyone. Dan was a regular with the Lindner’s on television for decades and is another expert multi-species fisherman. I would come to this great event just to talk to Dan Sura!

So, anglers you have two great fishing shows coming up for all you stir crazy fisherman and women. These are great places to see what’s new, find new products, and listen and gain knowledge from the best anglers in the Midwest if not the country. I’ll be the M.C. at both events and I’m looking forward to listening to all these great anglers and seeing what’s new in the fishing world. Mark these dates on your calendars and I look forward to seeing and talking to you at both events! Just think, soon we’ll be fishing on the Wisconsin River, just behind the Wilderness Fish and Game store, for spring walleyes and saugers. I can’t wait!

Gary Engberg is a professional tournament angler, fishing guide, and writer. He began fishing tournaments in the early 1990’s and has fished the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT), North American Walleye Association (NAWA), Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC), World Walleye Association (WWA), FLW, and Mercury Nationals in the years since. Gary has hosted the Outdoor Horizons radio show weekly for 14 years in Madison on WTDY 1670 AM and WTDY 106.7 FM Saturdays at 8:05 am. and is also a correspondent for the Wisconsin State Journal for the last 12 years. Visit for more from Gary Engberg.

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