Thunderstorms moved into the Hayward area Sunday morning, but a bit of rain did not put a damper on the Fishing Has No Boundaries 25th annual event. Though quite windy, two of the three days were warm and sunny. The forecast for now through Memorial Day weekend shows a mix, with temperatures in the upper 70s.
The northern zone muskie season opens this Saturday, May 26, and warming water temperatures should make for a good opening weekend. According to the DNR, fishable muskie populations exist in 667 lakes and 100 river segments across the state – and nearly 90 percent of them are in northern Wisconsin.
“At this moment, crappie action is fast and furious,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Fishing is now good to very good in virtually every lake holding crappies, and in the next couple weeks they will the peak for this season.”
“The warm temperatures have bass on the beds in many lakes, but fishing is still catch-and-release only here in the northern bass zone.”
At Hayward Bait, guide Steve Genson says the rapidly warming temperatures should make for a good bite for most species. Genson say the northern zone muskie opener this Saturday should be a good one since we have warmer water, better weed lines, and the muskie spawn is behind them.
It looks as if the Chippewa Flowage crappie spawn is ending, says Randy at Jenk’s. Some fish remain shallow, but anglers are now catching more fish at mid-depths on minnows and Mini-Mites. Bluegills moving into the shallows are taking waxies and worms.
Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers are taking fish on jigs and minnows, floating jigs with leeches, Lindy Rigs, and stickbaits while drifting and trolling deeper water and below the dam. Bluegills are close to spawning. Start in 6-8 feet and work shallower using spiders, poppers, and small jigs tipped with waxies or worms.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage walleyes are in 15-20 feet of water on brush and sunken bogs. Jigs and minnows work best, but leeches are starting to produce some fish. Anglers are finding crappies nearly everywhere in the shallows – and the fish are not fussy, taking minnows, waxies, hair jigs, and jigs with plastic.
Dan at Bay Park Resort on Trego Flowage says the crappie bite is consistent on minnows in 2-6 feet of water, bass fishing is improving on the south end of the lake and near shallow inlets, and northerns are hitting crawdad-colored jointed Shad Raps. The best walleye action is on minnows and leeches fished deep along the river channel during the day.
Fishing is very good on Chequamegon Bay for virtually all species, says Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland.
“Most trout and salmon action is outside the bay in 35-40 feet of water on spoons, bait flies, and Spin-N-Glos, with fish active from Long Island to Houghton to the islands to the flats. Smallmouth fanatics are having a ball in the shallows of Sand Cut and Oak and Brush points. Work jigs and plastics slowly on the bottom.”
Jim at Hudson’s Guide Service in Bayfield on Lake Superior says fishing is great on Chequamegon Bay and into the Apostle Islands.
“Lake trout action is good shallow the length of Long Island to Bad River and against the islands with stickbaits and shallow rig sets. For deeper spots, such as the flats and North Refuge areas, use Spin-N-Glos and flutter spoons. Smallmouth are staging and/or spawning, so cast both shallow and deeper with soft plastic and hard baits.”
“Water temperatures moving up to the low to mid-60s on most lakes has spurred fish activity,” says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.” The milder weather also started smallmouth and largemouth bass activity and fish of both species are spawning in area lakes.”
During Free Fishing Weekend, the Great Divide Ranger District is hosting a free Kids Fishing Derby Saturday June 2 at Lake Hayward City Beach and Park. Register at 8:30 a.m. and start fishing at 9 a.m. Young anglers up to 15 years of age will fish for bluegill, sunfish, crappie, and northern pike. For more information, call (715) 634-4821.
There is a good walleye bite, but fish are scattered and the best fishing hours are in early morning and late evening. Depths vary depending on the lake, time, and weather. During daytime hours, fish deeper (12-20 feet) weeds, brush, humps, and sunken bogs. In early morning and evening, work drop-offs and weed beds in 5-15 feet. A jig and fathead is working best, but leeches and crawlers are starting to catch fish. In the low light hours, cast or troll crank and stick baits along weed lines or shallow shorelines.
Northern pike action is very good in, on, and around shallow weeds and weed lines, and near spawning panfish. Top producing baits include northern suckers under bobbers, spinnerbaits, stickbaits, crankbaits, and spoons.
Bass fishing in the northern bass zone is catch-and-release until June 16, but anglers are certainly having good success during the C&R season. With the warming water temperatures, both smallmouth and largemouth have moved shallow and are already spawning on some lakes. Plastics, stickbaits, spinnerbaits, live bait, and topwater baits are producing good bass action.
Crappie fishing continues to be very good, though spawning activity is winding down on most lakes. While you will still find and catch fish in shallow water, look for weed lines, brush, wood, and other structure in mid-depths. Best baits include crappie minnows, waxies, Mini-Mites, Tattle Tails, plastics, and Gulp! baits on dressed or plain jigs or hooks, fished with or without a bobber.
Bluegill fishing is excellent as the ‘gills move shallow for spawning – this is a great time to catch a few fish for a meal. Start your quest in four to five feet of water and work your way in to very shallow depths. Use ice jigs, small jigs, and plain hooks tipped with waxies, worms, crawler pieces, Gulp! baits, or plastics, or try surface baits such as poppers and spiders. When the fishing is this hot, it is more about having a hook in the water than what is on the hook.