Okay, here’s the deal. This week’s forecast for the north woods is very good – warm, some chances for rain, and a bit of wind. Many species of fish are congregating in the shallows to spawn (or feed on spawning fish!) and fishing action is OUTSTANDING. As mentioned to a friend earlier today, golf courses are open all summer, but this type of fantastic fishing lasts only for a few days!
“Water temperatures are on the rise and that spells good news for anglers,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Try shallower areas of darker water as they warm up the fastest. On deep water lakes, keep retrieves slow and steady.
“We expect walleyes to continue on a steady post-spawn feed for the next week or so, taking minnows and jig/minnow combinations. Look for them from shallow to mid depths, off the edges of the drop-offs. Crappies are moving shallow and small jigs and small minnows work well.”
Fishing is good and rising temperatures will only improve the action, says Bob at Hayward Bait, adding that anglers should remember fishing is more than just the catch.
Chippewa Flowage crappie fishing is excellent right now, according to guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations. He says (with a laugh) “If you are not crappie fishing right now, whatever you are doing better be very, VERY important!”
At Minnow Jim’s, Cathy advises Nelson Lake walleye anglers to fish deeper water with minnows and leeches during the daytime and to go with stickbaits on the shorelines early and late in the day. Fish crappies and bluegills with minnows, worms, and Gulp! baits in water less than 10 feet.
Dan at Bay Park Resort on the Trego Flowage reports walleyes are taking leeches and minnows in 6-12 feet of water. In the narrows, both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in 4-8 feet of water near structure (fallen trees) and hitting fatheads. Crappies action is a little inconsistent, but the size is excellent. Fish in 3-6 feet of water with minnows, Mini-Mites, and tubes. For northern pike, fish spinnerbaits around weeds and stumps on the south end of the lake.
Fishing action is good for many species on Lake Superior.
Smallmouth are making beds and offering great fishing, says Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland.
“Most smallmouth action is in the Sand Cut area (primary spawning grounds) and fish are mostly in 2-5 feet of water. The presentation most productive and safest for the fish is 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jigs tipped with Twister Tails and moved slowly along sand bar/weed transition areas.
“Trout and salmon are transitioning to the deeper drops and trolling stickbaits, spoons, and bait flies remains effective. Fish the first drop early in the morning and move deeper as the day progresses.”
Smallmouth are shallow in Chequamegon Bay and fishing is good, according to Jim at Jim Hudson’s Guide Service in Bayfield. Post-spawn walleyes are starting to feed in/around Ashland, lake trout are showing up throughout the Apostle Islands, and the Houghton Point area and down the length of Long Island still holds some coho.
“Anglers report very good success on the trout lakes,” says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, “with nearly everyone catching fish. Most trout are in the 8- to 10-inch size, but with some nice rainbows and brookies up to 18 inches. While water levels are near normal on the trout streams and rivers, there is rather light fishing pressure.
“For walleyes, live bait jig and minnow combinations and slip-bobber rigs work best, while crankbaits are producing some fair action in the shallows near dark. Bass action is good, with smallmouth a bit more active than the largemouth, and anglers report some good size smallmouth when the walleye bite is slow during mid-day.”
Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB), providing recreational fishing opportunities for all anglers with disabilities, will hold its 25th annual fishing event May 18-20 at Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. More than 120 participants will enjoy a unique fishing experience that for some was once only a dream. See what FHNB is all about in person by visiting the event this weekend. For more information on becoming a sponsor or to volunteer for future events, call Pat at the FHNB Hayward office (715) 634-3185.
Walleye fishing is good, though somewhat inconsistent. Depending on the lake, depths range from 5-20 feet, and even shallower in the evening and nighttime hours. Fish weed lines, sunken bogs, and other structure with jigs or slip bobber rigs with fatheads, leeches, or crawlers. In the evening and after dark, cast or troll crankbaits and stickbaits along shorelines and shallower weed lines.
Northern pike action is good around weed lines, stumps, structure, and panfish concentrations. Use minnows on plain hooks or jigs, spinners, spoons, stickbaits, and crankbaits.
Bass fishing is good and improving with the warming water. Look for them in depths out to about eight feet near trees, logs, weed lines, and structure. Top baits include spinnerbaits, stickbaits, Rapalas, tubes, and live bait. Please note: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is catch-and-release only in the northern bass zone until June 16.
Crappie action is excellent – it will not last forever – and the weather is nearly perfect. Seriously – what more incentive do you need? Go. Now. On most lakes, look for fish in less than six feet of water in bays and on their annual spawning areas. Use small jigs – plain or dressed – tipped with plastics or small minnows (or fished bare), tubes, Mini-Mites, Tattle Tails, or Gulp! baits.
Bluegills are moving shallow and fishing action is good and improving. Fish weed lines, mud flats, bays, and the usual spawning areas in shallower water, especially during evening hours. Use small jigs and ice jigs tipped with waxies, worms, crawler pieces, plastics, and Gulp! baits – or try poppers.
Perch are shallow, on mud flats, in bays, and wherever you find new green weeds. Fish small jigs tipped with plastics, waxies, worm pieces, minnows, or Gulp! baits under slip bobbers. Anglers are catching some decent size fish.