Smallmouth, check…Walleye, check…Where in the world are the muskies???
The inland smallmouth bite got a little funky at the end of last week, and I took advantage of a down day on Friday to get my big bass fix. My father and I headed to Chequamegon Bay, and it proved to be just what the doctor ordered. South winds kicked up in the afternoon and sent the big gals into a feeding frenzy. We caught smallies up to 21″ on jig and minnow combinations along with swim baits in 12′ to 17′ of water. A nice pike and a beautiful steelhead that was apparently lost rounded out an awesome day. At one point it was hard to even get two rods in the water without one of us hooking up. Good problem to have!! Water temps varied from 53 to 58 degrees depending on our location with water closer to shore being a bit cooler. There’s nothing like a trip to “The Bay” to cure a big bass craving!
Apparently the muskies I’ve been fishing are federal employees and are taking part in the government shut down. It’s time for this nonsense to end… Andrew and Jess L’Roe from Madison caught a beauty with me while walleye fishing on the St. Louis River at the end of August, and it inspired them to bring Jess’s mother Denise Long from Charlotte, NC to Hayward for a fall musky adventure on Saturday. Unfortunately we had to deal with 30 mph wind that made for a difficult day to say the least. It wasn’t for a lack of trying however as Jess pulled out all of the stops including musky poetry and musky calls that apparently fell on deaf ears. I give her an “A” for effort! The gang worked hard and was simply dealt a bad hand. Denise’s quest for a fish “just a bit bigger” than Andrew’s continues, and I’ve included a picture of it for scale. We’re definitely in a bit of a musky slump. The good thing about a slump is that it has to end, and it’s a humbling reminder of how great it is to catch a musky. Water temps were steady on the day at 58 degrees. Thanks to Andrew, Jess, and Denise for sharing the day with me, and I look forward to finishing what we started!
Scott Roppe from Birchwood, WI returned on Sunday for his annual fall trip, and the results were consistent with our previous adventures. Scott and his dad Rick have caught a lot of fish with me in the past, and today was no different. Unfortunately, Rick couldn’t make it, so we had to do our best without him. Smallies and walleyes are our usual target, and we found active fish along weedlines in 14′ to 16′ of water. Fish were very active and on the feed, and it was by far the best walleye bite I’ve seen in a couple of weeks. Our smallies topped out at 19″, and our largest walleye measured 18″. All fish were caught on jigs and minnows as we used controlled drifts to catch fish that were suspended just above the weeds. After a very cool night, water temps started at 56 and ended at 58 degrees. I think the big cool down has begun, and the best should be yet to come. Thanks to Scott for another fantastic day of catching up and catching fish, and I can’t wait to see Rick, Mae, and Joe at deer camp!!!