Good morning from the Northwoods, as much as it’s a bummer Musky Fest may be a wet weekend, we need the rain. We got a little bit overnight last night but overall most of it missed us (at least out to the east of Hayward). Looks like this evening through Sunday should be a steady soaker rain which will help out the lakes for sure. Tonight also brings in a cold front with high temps tomorrow and Monday in the upper 60s. The rest of the week looks good with temps in the mid 70s with slight chances of rain late in the week. The lakes are in dire need of water both to cool them down (I’m hearing right around 80 degrees on most of the lakes by us) and to bring the water level up. I have had a few customers actually going out and buying extensions for their docks so they can move the boats further out to keep them in water. A rough guess is most of the lakes are down about 18-20″ right now. From what most anglers are telling me its scattering fish like crazy so here we go:
Musky–The musky bite is still active with fish coming by bucktails and topwater baits. Fish are in and around shallow weeds and weedy shorelines (think lily pads). Just be mindful if fishing musky right now that musky are fragile when water temps get this high and some do not survive after being caught and handled in warm water/air temps. Most die hard musky anglers wont fish for them over a certain water temp, however I understand if you only get one chance to come up and musky fish a year and want to target them. Just be prepared with all the tools, the net, the camera, and anything else to make a quick measure and pic go smoothly. Try to keep the fish in the water as long as possible and handle it the least amount you can get away with.
Northern pike–I am hearing that even the pike bite has slowed down a bit and fish are kind of scattered. It sounds like fish are hitting crawlers and other panfish set ups vs faster moving baits like bucktails and spinners. Anglers should still fish weed beds, but maybe switch up the spinners for smaller crank baits that can be twitched over and through weeds.
Walleye–The walleye bite has slowed significantly this past week with most anglers struggling to find fish. On deeper lakes I am hearing fish are pushing out into deep water breaks/points and anglers are using live bait. Leeches on jigs seem to be working. On shallow lakes, anglers are having a tough time and my guess is fish are hiding in deep weed cover and just aren’t very active right now. Fish pockets of weeds and the deep edge if targeting fish in shallow lakes. It’s tough to beat live bait as you can keep that in the zone for longer to entice bites.
Largemouth bass–The largemouth bite is going strong in these current conditions. Everything from spinnerbaits and bucktails, to topwater frogs, prop batis, and even live bait seems to be catching nice largemouth right now. Anglers should focus on weed beds, shoreline weeds, and docks/piers with sandy bottoms.
Smallmouth bass–We had a young angler in the bait shop that caught a beautiful smallie from the dock by his cabin on a Ned rig worm in about 4 FOW with a sand bottom. The smallmouth bite has been good outside of that shallow bite as well. I’ve heard reports of nice fish in the 20 FOW range on certain lakes, so it really depends on the lake you are fishing as far as depth goes, but fish are active. Ned rigs, crank baits, and even live bait on jigs are catching smallies right now.
Crappie–The crappie bite has been sporadic, but a few fish are still being caught. Look for fish in 6-8 FOW and a simple bobber, hook, minnow seem to be getting the job done. It sounds like anglers still have to weed through small fish to get some nice ones.
Bluegill/Perch–Anglers have been buying up nightcrawlers like crazy and are reporting the panfish bite is on fire right now. Lots of nice gills and some big perch being caught, mainly off of piers and docks. Anglers are also finding panfish in shallow backwater bays and fish should be upon weedy humps in the lake.
I apologize for the long winded report today, but hopefully points anglers in the right direction. That’s about all I can think of for this week, hopefully some rain and a cold front drop water temps a bit, while adding some much needed water to the lakes. Have a great weekend and we will talk soon!