Where in the heck did summer go? Like most of you, I can’t believe it’s Labor Day weekend. Kids are heading back to school, football season has begun, and there’s a touch of fall in the air every morning. Wasn’t it just May?… August has treated us well with weather and fishing. Lots of walleyes, big smallmouth, crappies, and muskies have all been cooperative over the last couple of weeks. Like it or not, we’re turning the page and charging full steam ahead into the last part of our fishing season. Here’s the latest report from northern, Wisconsin!
HAYWARD AREA LAKES
I’m not sure I remember seeing so much color in the trees around the Hayward Lakes before Labor Day. Cool days and nights have started early this year, and water temperatures are beginning to drop. We’re seeing mid to high 60’s on most lakes and getting cooler by the day. Walleyes have been located on mud flats in 30′ – 35′ , and trolling has been the most effective way to put them in the boat. Depending on the day, you’ll find them holding close to bottom or suspended around schools of bait. Using your electronics is key to dialing them in, and crawler harnesses pulled around 1 mph. with bottom bouncers or snap weights is a perfect presentation. We’ve been using Bait Rigs AstroBrite Blades in a variety of colors with gold, purple, and pink patterns producing the best. My old friends Brent Jacobson, Kevin Murphy, and Larry Parce made their way back for the annual reunion of fish catching and story telling from the good old days. The walleyes were hungry, and we battled some windy conditions to put some really good eyes in the net. It’s a good thing Murph had his fishing shoes on or he might have ended up in the lake… You had to be there!
The full moon musky bite produced some big fish in our area, and I was able to spend a day with a couple of good dudes chasing skis for the first time in awhile. Cory McClure & Steve Berg from Minneapolis, MN arrived for their annual two day trip, but we were missing our buddy Dan Martin. It wasn’t the same without him, but we had an agenda. Steve needed to catch a musky really bad… He’s been trying for awhile, and we were finally able to make it happen. The size if his musky is a bit in question with no photo evidence, but I can vouch for him! Cory put a good one in the net though, and we had 13 different encounters with fish. The guys were chucking bucktails on a small river, and action was steady throughout the day with lots of strikes and follows. The fish were having commitment issues, but it sure was some crazy fun. We’re counting on you next year Danno!
Crappies are beginning to make the move to deep water, and we’re finding them in a couple of different situations right now. Thermoclines and mud flats are the places to pay attention to right now. In lakes that have a thermocline around 25′, you’ll find fish suspended just above it. Other lakes have fish stacking up in 20′ – 25′ on the mud. Use your electronics to cover water and mark fish. You’re looking for big clusters, and it’s not worth stopping until the screen lights up. Tight lining jigs with plastics, slip bobbers with plastics, and small Jigging Raps will all put fish in the livewell. Jeff and Mariah Miller (Bloomer, WI) spent a day of fish catching with me with great weather, lots of action, and a bunch of fish. Always good to have my favorite father/daughter team in the boat. This is one of our favorite bites of the year, and it never gets old. They don’t taste bad either!
Smallmouth bass are anywhere and everywhere right now. Seriously… We’re catching them in 10′, and we’re catching them in 30′. They obviously can’t make up their mind, and you’ll have to put on some miles to put good fish in the net right now. Look, look, look, and don’t stop the boat until you see what you’re looking for. For whatever reason, fish are completely scattered. They’ve all got full bellies, and you’ll get some good ones when you get into them. Tom Huckaba (Joliet, IL) and Larry Evans (Mesa, AZ) were here for their annual 4 day trip and caught a bunch of big fish, but they had to work for them. Weed edges, rock piles, points, and wind blown shorelines are all spots to look, and you need to be patient while looking until you see the right stuff on your screen. Don’t stop that boat until you land on a school. Fish are really stacked up on specific spots right now, and the wait is worth it with fast furious action when you find them. Minnows and crawlers presented on live bait rigs or under slip bobbers are really hard to beat right now. As water continues to cool and fish migrate shallow we’ll start transitioning back to some artificial presentations. Don’t forget to add a Bait Rigs Willow Spoon to your live bait presentations. That little extra flash can make a big difference. Sorry I ran out of film Tom and Larry… See you next year fellas!
LAKE SUPERIOR – CHEQUAMEGON BAY
The stable weather we had in early August on Lake Superior finally gave way to some rough seas. It was bound to happen, and the run was good while it lasted. Several days of northeast and east winds have made it tough to plan any trips chasing the south shore walleye bite lately, but I was able to squeeze in a quick filming session with my good buddy Dave Brown from Bait Rigs. We ended up getting the fish we needed in 20′ of water using Psycho Minnows pulled behind snap weights and boards. 1 oz. weights 50′ from the bait was the recipe that day, and the fish we caught were hugging bottom. Water temperatures were in the high 60’s, but I’m sure that’s changed dramatically since then. You can check out the video Dave put together on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gbsbgks5QE8 . Pretty good stuff! Don’t forget about Chequamegon Bay. We’re definitely overdue to get back out there. Too much water, and not enough time… Good problems to have! The big smallmouth bite that happens on the bay every fall is hard to beat, and you can bet we’ll be getting after it sooner than later. As water temps cool into the low 60’s and 50’s fish will begin congregating on off shore rocks, mud flats, and current areas in 15′ – 25′. Jigging spoons, swim baits, plastics, and minnows will all produce depending on the day and scenario. Can’t wait to get back out there!
Enjoy the last days of summer, and gear up for the fall run. It’s a magical time to be on the water, but it doesn’t last long. Happy Labor Day weekend everyone. Enjoy your family and friends, be safe, and catch a bunch of fish! By the way… Our Badger football team is 1 – 0. Go Bucky!