Good morning, MUSKY season is upon us!!! First and foremost, take some time to thank/honor our veterans this weekend. Their sacrifices allow the rest of us to enjoy the woods/waters and recreate how we choose. Looks to be great weather for a while with a +/-50% chance of rain in the middle of the week. Temps will be in the low 80s and upper 70s for the week as well. Water temps are in the low to mid 60s so all of the fish should be active and it should make for a great start to the musky season. It sounds like most of the panfish have spawned out and are still up in shallow water.
Musky–The musky bite should start off strong as we have good water temps, consistent weather and lots of bait fish up shallow. I would start with fast moving baits such as bucktails/spinner baits and slow down to glide baits/jerkbaits if you are getting no action. I would also start shallow and work towards deeper edges. Weed beds should be a great place to start your hunt for musky this year.
Walleye–The walleye bite has slowed up a bit from the opener and it sounds like fish are moving a little deeper. I am hearing reports of fish hanging around structure or points in the 10-15 FOW range. A few anglers are finding jigs with crawler chunks or minnows to be productive. I have also heard trolling crankbaits in that depth range is working as well.
Northern pike–Pike are still up in the shallows chasing and eating panfish as they are just now in a post spawn. With the water warming up, casting a spinner bait or shallow diving crankbait can also be fantastic for pike this time of year.
Crappie–A majority of the crappie have spawned, but most are still in shallow water. I would look for fish in 3-8 FOW and around the emerging weed beds. Most crappie are still being taken on bobbers and hooks or small jigs with crappie minnows or fatheads.
Largemouth bass–Largemouth are also up shallow in some of these smaller bays most likely feeding on minnows and other small baitfish. Most likely bass are hitting simple setups like a bobber rigged with a bit bigger plain hook, sinker and good sized chunk of nightcrawler. Spinner baits will also start producing well for LMB right now.
Smallmouth bass–I have not heard much on a smallmouth bite, but my guess would be anglers will be finding them on and around the same areas where they would find walleye. Look for rocky points or sandy/rocky shorelines that head out into deeper water. Jigs/crankbaits and even drop shot rigs can all produce right now for smallies.
Bluegill–Bluegill will be stacked up in shallow weeds right now and should still be active as they are starting a post spawn (for the most part). Keep the rigs simple with a bobber/hook/crawler. Folks are also doing very well on small jig/plastic combos as well i.e. cubbies, beetle spins, mimic minnows…..
Perch–I have not heard too much about a perch bite, but my guess would be some will be found in shallower weeds, while some may be holding a little deeper along rocky points or deeper rock/gravel bars. Set ups with bobbers/hooks/crappie minnows always seem to work well for perch.
Have a great weekend and we will talk soon!