We have enjoyed better weather for past game fish openers, but we have also had worse – and this year no anglers had to shovel snow from their boats before fishing. This week’s weather forecast is “okay,” with normal seasonal temperatures and maybe some rain. The following week shows a slight warming trend.
People driving after last Tuesday night’s rain (May 1) observed a “frog parade” on many roads. Wherever the frogs were heading, many surely did not make their intended destination. Rose-breasted grosbeaks, orioles, and hummingbirds have just arrived for the summer.
“Opening day anglers targeting a specific species were very successful,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and walleye anglers had little trouble catching fish. Most worked jigs and minnows or small crankbaits along shallow weed edges and on drop-offs to deeper water.”
Randy at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage walleye anglers found success fishing minnows in 6-12 feet of water. Cooler weather is keeping crappies off the beds, but they are still in 3-6 feet of water. Fishing is very good on everything from crappie minnows to Mini-Mites to tube jigs to Gulp! baits.
Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleyes made a good showing for the opener, with the best presentation dressed jigs tipped with minnows or leeches. Panfish are in less than 10 feet of water and hitting live bait, plastics, and scented artificials, either jigged or under bobbers.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says most Chippewa Flowage walleyes are in 12-18 feet of water and taking 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jigs tipped with fatheads or mud minnows. Anglers are also making good catches in the evenings working crankbaits over weeds.
Carolyn at Anglers All on Chequamegon Bay in Ashland says trout and salmon fishing is good from Houghton to Long Island to the Sioux and Onion rivers, the Islands, and the shallow edges of the south channel in early mornings. Most anglers are trolling stickbaits in the shallows.
“Most area lakes are three to four weeks past the main walleye spawning period and fish should be getting back to active feeding,” says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt. “Anglers should find the best action in early morning and late evening hours with live bait and slower presentations.”
Period E, the fifth of six, seven-day spring turkey season periods, opens Wednesday May 9 and runs through Tuesday May 15. As of May 7, permits remain available in zones 1 and 3 (periods E, F) and zones 4 and 5 (period F).
According to the Hayward Lakes Visitors and Convention Bureau ATV trail report as of May 1, all Sawyer County ATV/UTV trails are open with the exception of the Flambeau State Forest trails that open May 15. Current rules allow side-by-sides (UTVs) on all county ATV trails and routes except those on the Chequamegon National Forest (maximum 50-inch width). Contact the Sawyer County Forest Department (715) 634-4839 for specific information.
Musky Tale Resort is still accepting entries for the Northern Encounter pike fishing event May 18-20. The entry fee is $85/team. Anglers fish in two-person teams, with prizes paid to the first five places and the largest fish. For more information, call Bill at (715) 462-3838.
Cable Natural History Museum is hosting a free fly-fishing workshop Saturday May 19 for both beginners and experienced anglers age 13 and older. Anglers will meet at the Museum at 9 a.m. and return by 3 p.m. For more information, call the Museum at (715) 798-3890.
The 28th Annual Treeland Walleye Challenge (May 11-13) has a few openings available for the three-day family fishing event on the Chippewa Flowage. The entry fee is $70 single, $125 with spouse, and $15 per child with parent. Registration is limited to the first 300 adult entries. The Grand Prize is a $3000 Cabela’s gift certificate; the Grand door prize a Humminbird sonar. For more information, call (715) 462-3874.
Walleye action is good, though as is often the case, the best fishing is in early morning and late evening. Look for walleyes in less than 18 feet of water, over weed beds, on shallow weed edges, and on drop-offs adjacent to deeper water. Best baits include walleye suckers, fatheads, and leeches on bright jigs or plain hooks. In the evening, cast stick and crank baits over shallow weed beds and along shallow shorelines.
Northern pike are providing good action near new weeds in shallow water (less than eight feet) for anglers fishing northern suckers under bobbers. Numerous pike also hit the minnows of walleye and crappie anglers this past weekend.
With water temperatures still somewhat cool and the northern bass zone catch-and-release only until June 16, bass fishing did not take top priority during opening weekend. Still, bass are active in shallower water and offer great action on live bait and artificials.
Although as a rule opening weekend anglers primarily seek walleyes, good numbers of anglers enjoyed excellent success catching crappies this past weekend. Depending on the lake fished, crappies are near weeds and wood and at the mouths of shallow bays in less than 10 feet of water. Hit that deeper water for larger fish. A wide variety of baits are catching fish, including crappie minnows, waxies, tubes, plastics, and Gulp! baits. Fish them on plain hooks or various jig configurations (dressed or plain), with or without bobbers.
Bluegill action is good, but it will probably take some sorting for a meal. Concentrate on water less than 10 feet deep around weeds and in shallow bays. Waxies, worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits are productive on plain hooks or small jigs, fished with or without a bobber.