South Lake Tahoe May 2011

By Chris Shaffer | 05/17/2011
With the sun ricocheting off Lake Tahoe’s motionless, mirror surface, the 8 o’clock hour seemed to drag on forever. Repetition set in. Cookie cutter mackinaw came to the boat, one after another. In the hour, we’d caught and released at least a dozen of these fat, yet smaller macks. Honestly, I was getting bored. It was too easy.

“Shaf, get that rod, there’s another fish on it. Hurry up, before it shakes loose,” said Pautzke pro staffer Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners Guide Service ( “Dude, are you going to grab it?”


By now, I was uninterested. I’d fished with Nielsen several times a year since 1998. We’d always catch schoolie size macks, but never this many, in such a short time. Surprisingly, two other boats trolled the same pinnacle near Zepher Cove, without similar success. One group was dragging pop gear. The other, another veteran fishing guide, was also dragging stickbaits.

“Have you got any yet Mike? The jigging bite hasn’t been that good, but we did get one trolling,” he said; somewhat expecting us to have not induced any strikes.

Nielsen smirked, looked over at me, took another bite out of his donut, held up a near empty bottle of Pautzke Liquid Krill and said, “See, I told you this stuff was the bomb!”


In the past, I’ve always wondered whether Nielsen truly used Liquid Krill to the extent he advertised. For more than a decade, I’d hop on his boat and see canisters of Smelly Jelly and YUM crawfish spray. Meanwhile, this time I only saw Liquid Krill and Nectar, perhaps because he knew I was coming, or possibly because he’d done enough experimenting over the years to gain confidence in the product and use it exclusively.

“Shaf, you still don’t believe me, huh? I’m telling you, I use this stuff. It’s been the difference maker today. These other boats are trolling the same baits we are and at the same depths we are and who’s catching fish?” Nielsen asked me. “I caught the lake record brown on Liquid Krill last week and putting it on the lures has been the difference maker today. You’ve watched me put it on every lure!”


Nielsen is one of my good buddies. The guy flat out catches as many fish as the best trollers on the planet, but he’s a secretive guy, too. Half the time if he’s trolling a Rapala he’ll tell me he’s dragging Krocodiles, because he knows I’ll write about it and everyone will be dragging whatever he is. Nevertheless, after using five bottles of Liquid Krill in a day, I’m pretty sure he’s employing it full time. Later that evening we caught and released a 10-pound brown on a Floating Rapala doused in Liquid Krill and a 7-pound brown the next morning on the same combo.

Despite Nielsen’s success, I’d like to think Liquid Krill continues to fly under the radar. Surprisingly, Liquid Krill was the scent that started the Krill phase across America. After Pautzke established the product and saw success with it nearly every scent company in America rolled out a knockoff.

“It’s kinda funny. Most anglers think that because it’s a liquid and not a sticky liquid that the Liquid Krill washes off right when it touches the water,” Nielsen explained. “But, this is a thick formula. And, while you don’t see the Liquid Krill on there after it hits the water, the film and scent stays on the lure.”

Nielsen recommends adding more Liquid Krill every hour or so, the same way you would with any scent. And, why not take advice from a guide who’s caught the last four lake record browns on it?


And, I’m here to attest that he’s actually using it.