Chequamegon Bay, St. Louis River, & Hayward, Wisconsin Fishing Report 5-7-14

dad2The uncertainty of open water in Wisconsin for our opener provided an opportunity last weekend, and we took advantage.  My father and I joined Nate Berg from Babe Winkelman Productions on a trip to the Rainy River in Baudette, MN to fish sturgeon.  Typically my trips to northern, MN include wind, cold temps, and all around tough fishing conditions.  This was no different.  We arrived just in time for a beautiful weather pattern that included 30 – 40 mph north winds, cloudy skies, and snow.  Sounds fun doesn’t it???  Well for three guys coming out of one of the worst winters in memory it was!  Just being on open water was wonderful even if we were treated with the dreaded “Should’ve been here last week” syndrome.  Apparently the bite was on fire prior to our arrival, and sturgeon are no different than other fish when it comes to cold fronts.  Two days of fishing produced three fish with the largest topping out around 40″ landed by my father.  Not a huge fish in sturgeon terms, but a neat fish regardless.  We lost two fish as well, and one was a tank for sure.  This was my first dedicated sturgeon experience, and I definitely learned a lot.  There’s no doubt that when it’s on, it would be a blast.  With a face only a mother could love, I was amazed at their appearance up close.  They’re amazing creatures for sure and certainly a success story having been brought back from the brink of extinction on Lake of the Woods.  They’re prehistoric in every sense, and their skin has a sandpaper texture just like a shark.  Very cool fish, and as Nate put it, “The sign of a healthy fishery”.  Thanks to conservation efforts, these dinosaurs will be around for years to come, and I highly recommend you check it out.  With lots of fish up to 60″ or better, the Rainy River is definitely the place to go.  Nate’s prior experience gave us an advantage as far as technique and presentation, but it’s pretty basic.  Our rigging included nightcrawlers and jeff4frozen minnows on circle hooks with no roll sinkers put together on a basic river rig.  Add a little “secret smelly sauce” and you’re good to go.  We fished deep holes anywhere from 15′ to 40′ deep and found the “downstream” end of the holes to be more productive.  By the way, we also bumped into a few walleyes that grabbed our dead baits off the bottom.  That system is stacked with spawning fish right now, but you can’t target eyes until this weekend.  If I was looking for a spot to fish the Minnesota opener, that might be the place to be.  Just sayin…  When it was all said and done, we had a great Wisconsin Opener.  It just happened to be in Minnesota.  Good friends, open water, and an outstanding fish fry provided by Nate with some fillets from his freezer were all we needed to to have a great start to the 2014 season.  Thanks to my father and Nate for an outstanding weekend and a great adventure!


Since this is a Wisconsin report…  Most of our inland lakes are wide open.  I spent tonight finishing off breaking in my new motor on a 1000 acre inland lake with only a few small ice chunks to navigate around.  As of Tuesday, most of the larger lakes around Hayward were on the brink of being completely ice free.  Cheguamegon Bay still has a lot of ice pushed into Ashland, but the wind and rain predicted on Thursday should take care of most of it.  Don’t hesitate to hook the boat up and head north this weekend.  There will be lakeplenty of water to fish.  Damon, Archie, and the gang at Hayward Power Sports put the finishing touches on my boat this week so I’m ready to roll.  Many thanks for all of your efforts guys.  You’re the best!!!  Customers are on the way, and reports will follow.  Stay tuned…




I’m writing this report with a heavy heart.  Our loyal companion and friend for the past 16 years left us on Monday.  Rest in peace Abby.  You’ve been a good dog.




  1. Greg Miller on May 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

    May you rest in peace, Abby….

  2. Jim & Sarah Oyen on May 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Rest in peace, Abby. I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet her. What a spitfire!

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