Fishing Report

Welcome to summer, but with the weather we have been having it is not making believers out of the people up here in the northland. It has been a continuous march of cold fronts passing through the area this early season. We had April showers in May and thunderstorms in June and if you drive around you see water where it never used to be. The lakes and rivers are full and trout streams are high and swift. None of this is good for fishing.

Water temperatures are in the high upper 60’s and low 70’s. Weed growth is good, but the high lake levels can makes it appears as the weeds have not come up. Most landings are easy to use and in good shape. Be sure to bring some repellent along as the mosquitoes and the lake flies are out in force.

Walleye fishing is still surprisingly good, or at least it was good before this last cold front came through. Anglers using an 1/8 oz. jig and flathead minnow combination has produced the best. Some anglers are starting to use half a crawler or leech combination, but success has been moderate. Anglers are finding the fish both in the shallow weeds and in deeper water off the humps and rice beds. On the larger lakes the fish are in their summer locations near the break lines in 12 to 15 feet’ of water and feeding on minnows. In the evenings, they are moving into the weeds for feeding.

Bass fishing is also good. Smallmouth are out in deeper water on the rock/gravel areas. Crayfish imitations work best in this pattern. Just drag these jigs over the rocks and jerk them for effective presentations. Leeches work very well for live bait, and a few anglers report getting some on half crawlers. Largemouth are in their summer locations in cover of all types. Piers, boathouses, downed trees and weeds are all working well for cover for them. Plastics and Wacky Worms are working along with surface baits. Try some spinner baits as a good search bait. Crawlers will attract too many bluegills.

Northern pike has provided some good action. They will hit on larger minnows such as fatheads or suckers under a bobber. Artificial baits are working in the weeds, as long as they are flashy. They will hit on surface baits also. Just look for weeds for these fish.

Musky fishing has been somewhat slow in starting this year, as the spring was late and we have had so many cold fronts. They have been hitting surface baits and smaller bucktails over the weeds in the last week or so. The larger fish are always a little slower in starting to hit, but a few nice fish have been caught. As, or if, the water temperature warms up they will become more aggressive.

Panfish action is good, with bluegills on the shorelines and the crappies still in the weeds or shoreline structure. Minnows or small plastics are working well for the crappies and leaf worms for the bluegills. Perch are deeper in the weeds. Worms, waxies or smaller leeches will work.

Let’s Go Fishing

Here are the species of fish available to catch in the “QUIET LAKES”

MUSKY

The king of freshwater fish. They are the top predator and least populated fish in our lakes. Catch and release is the common practice these days. It’s known as the fish of 10,000 casts, but hiring a guide will cut those odds.

NORTHERN PIKE

Wisconsin’s second largest predator fish, second only to their relative the Musky. Pike are typically very aggressive and will feed anytime the opportunity allows. They prefer weed flats and other ambush points.

WALLEYE

The walleye is the largest member of the perch family and is often targeted for its table fare. Walleyes can be tough to find, but when they are located, they typically cooperate and bite. Bait secret: minnows, nightcrawlers and leeches, and back to minnows as the season starts and finishes.

PERCH

A small fish that most anglers seek more for the taste than the tug. Adults average 7 to 10 inches which make it a good fish for all ages to catch. Perch have a tendency to congregate in large schools making it a one-stop spot to catch your dinner.

BASS

Large and smallmouth bass are brothers, but like family they do take separate paths. We have several small backwoods lakes that offer untapped largemouth fishing, and several area lakes that offer numbers to trophy fishing for smallmouth. NOTE: the season for smallmouth isn’t open to harvest until the 3rd Saturday of June. Regulations for harvest of largemouth are different from lake to lake.

PANFISH

These fish are probably one of the most popular sport and eating fish in Wisconsin. Crappies, bluegills, and sunfish are our most common “panfish”. Probably the most targeted fish in the spring, and often over harvested. Remember to take only enough for a meal and leave some for another day.