Following a July Fourth holiday week of heat and storms, this week offers a promising forecast, with a few chances for showers and warm temperatures, but with most days not exceeding 90 degrees.
“Muskie action was good until we were besieged by record setting temperatures last week,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “In early morning and late evening hours, fish deep and shallow weed edges, humps, and other structure with bucktails, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and jerkbaits.”
At Hayward Bait, Mark says anglers can find suspended crappies by dragging (where legal) tube jigs tipped with waxies and under bobbers while you row around the lake.
“When you find one crappie you will find others, and you can do this while casting for other species. Water temperatures are very warm, so if you plan to release the fish you catch, return them to the water as quickly as possible.”
Randy at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage muskies continue to move on surface baits and bucktails, with black/green bucktails the favorite. For walleyes, fish leeches and crawlers in deep brush or Beetle Spins and Twister Tails in the weeds.
At Minnow Jim’s, Jim says Nelson Lake anglers are catching good numbers of smaller walleye on leeches under slip bobbers; Shad Raps, and Rapalas trolled on the river channel and weed beds during the day; and along the shoreline during evening hours.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage muskie action is best during dusk and dawn for anglers working the weeds with topwaters and bucktails.
“Walleyes are in 18 to 22 feet with sunken bogs and brush and taking leeches on slip bobber rigs. Some walleyes are relating to weeds, but again, a dusk/dawn bite. Cast crankbaits along weed edges for bigger walleyes.”
At Bay Park Resort on the Trego Flowage, Dan says there was good muskie action last week on Trego Lake and below the dam on the Namekagon River. No monsters caught, but some nice 40-inch and larger fish. Northerns are hitting spinnerbaits near weed edges throughout the day, and catfish below the dam are taking about any bait. Anglers are also catching some nice walleyes below the dam and on the lake at night.
Carolyn at Anglers All on Chequamegon Bay in Ashland says smallmouth are moving all over the Bay, with the rock pile this week’s hotspot and sucker minnows the most consistent presentation.
“Anglers are catching lake and brown trout from the flats all the way out to Outer Island, but watch for nets from Long Island to Houghton Point and be on the lookout for floating debris and trees from the last storm.”
“Water temperatures 50 degrees or cooler are key to finding these fish and that is on the bottom at these depths, and to troll big spoons and dodger/flasher combinations tight to the bottom at 1.5-2.0 mph, it is important to watch the current.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says water temperatures warming into the mid 80s on most lakes should mean increased fish feeding activity, but anglers saw only fair success last week.
“Largemouth have not yet set up in their typical summer pattern and are near dense weed beds and deep water cover. For muskies, topwaters, bucktails, and jerkbaits are the favorite baits.”
Visit the Northland Adventures website to view a brief video of Menard’s “Go Fishing with Northland Adventures” contest winners fishing for muskies on Moose Lake. Click on “They’re winners – 6-15-12” under Fishing Segments. Winner John Polluck of Green Bay and his father Ken, of Sturgeon Bay, stayed at Mystique Moose Resort and fished with resort owner Jim Onarheim and local guide John Myhre.
Muskie action is good, though as with other species the best times are early morning and late evening until after dark. Work shallow weed edges, humps, drop-offs, bars, points, and main lake structure with bucktails, plastics, tubes, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters.
Somewhat surprisingly, there is a fairly decent and consistent walleye bite, primarily during early morning and evening until after dark. Concentrate on weed/cabbage edges, gravel humps, brush, bogs, and river channels out to more than 30 feet, but do not overlook shallower water. Leeches and crawlers under slip bobbers and on jigs and Lindy Rigs are best, but anglers are also catching fish on stickbaits, crankbaits, Beetle Spins, and Twister Tails.
Northern pike action can be fair to very good, depending on the day and water. You can catch pike near weeds at various depths, from shallow to deep, on spinners and spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, plastics, and northern suckers.
Largemouth action is on and off, but anglers are catching fish. Work weed lines, wood, brush, and stumps – deep, shallow, and all depths between – as well as shallower water shoreline vegetation, lily pads, slop, docks, and rice beds. Top baits include plastics, worms (wacky, Senko), swim jigs, spinner, buzz, and crank baits, topwaters, weedless plastics (i.e., frogs), and live bait such as leeches and crawlers.
Nearly all reports indicate smallmouth action is inconsistent, with the bass uncooperative and “selective” about the offerings they will hit. Fish for them on deep and mid-depth rock, cribs, gravel, weeds, wood, and other structure with spinner and crank baits, Beetle Spins, Twister Tails, plastics, topwaters, tubes, worms, and leeches.
Crappies are scattered and suspending at various depths, but offer good action when you locate them. Look for crappies suspending over deeper water, on weed edges, near cribs, and on stumps, brush, and bogs. Bait choices include crappie minnows, waxies, worms, plastics (Mini-Mites, Tattle Tails), and Gulp! baits. Tip them on small jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers.
Bluegill fishing continues to be good on most lakes. Look for fish around weeds, cribs, brush, and stumps in 12-20 feet and even deeper water (larger ‘gills are in deeper water). Baits of choice include waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler chunks, minnows, plastics (Tattle Tails, Mini-Mites), and Gulp! baits on small jigs with/without bobbers, and small pre-rigged rubber worms, topwaters, and poppers.
July 15: Turtle season opens statewide for species not listed as endangered or threatened (see regs).