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.
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Fishing Report

With the cold weather of last week the water temperatures has dropped abruptly on all lakes, sending the crappie that were coming in to their spawn back out to deeper water. The crappies have, again this year, had their spawning activities disrupted. This week’s weather is a huge improvement and we hope that we have seen the last of these cold fronts.

The temperatures are expected to rise daily this week and the water temperatures will quickly follow. Many of the crappie have spawned, but there are a lot that have not. Hopefully they will come back in and finish this, as there has been times that they will simply not spawn after being driven off the beds repeatedly due to falling water temps. The same goes for the bass.

Walleye fishing has been fair to good this past week. They are mostly post spawn now. After this spawn, many of the females will move to deeper water to recover. When feeding, mostly early mornings and later evening into the dark, they will move back in to shallower water in search of minnows using the weeds for cover. That means you will find much more active fish in the weeds. An 1/8 ounce jigs with large fathead minnows is working well now. Find the cabbage weeds, as this is where the minnows and the small perch are holding for cover.

Northern pike are in these same weeds and are feeding actively. It seems most of these fish have been caught by accident by walleye or crappie anglers. They will hit any size minnow and if you are targeting them use a larger minnow. Might even be surprised to catch a walleye as they will hit on those larger minnows also. Spinnerbaits and smaller crankbaits will work also.

Bass action has been good, especially on largemouth. Bass are cruising the shorelines where they will be spawning shortly. They will feed while on these search runs and will hit just about anything. Anglers have reported seeing largemouth and smallmouth moving to their beds and were catching some before the cold front moved in. They will resume this movement as they water warms this week. Remember on some lake largemouth season is open and on some lakes there is no size limit. Be sure to check with the local bait shop for information on regulation or at the boat landings for the particular lake you will be fishing. Smallmouth bass are open to catch, but must be released until June 28th . Most anglers will release the largemouth, but the population is abundant and needs to be reduced so take some out. We have been told that they taste just like fish also.

Panfish action was going well, with the crappie spawn having started on many lakes before that cold front. Hopefully, things will resume quickly with warmer weather. Perch and some crappies are in the weeds along with some of the walleye. Plastics such as TattleTails, Mini Mites and small tubes are working well for crappies. Leaf worms or small minnows will work for the perch. Bluegills will be moving into the shallow in a week or so with the warmer weather and are presently staging in the deeper weeds.

Musky season open on May 28th, but several have been caught by anglers fishing for walleye and panfish. They too are in the weeds, but must be released immediately until the season starts. Again, be sure to check the regulations for size limits on the lake you will be fishing. Some anglers have confused the difference between a northern pike and a musky, so learn the difference. It can be very expensive to have a out of season or undersized musky in the boat should you be stopped by a warden.

This week should be good week for fishing as the weather will be warming daily.