What a week it’s been… My truck claimed deer #2 of the season on the way to pick up my customers Saturday morning. Nothing like picking up your crew with deer remains all over the side of your truck. Good grief!!! John Schlussler from St. Paul, MN and Stever Leach from Maplewood, MN didn’t seem to mind however. These two buddies fished with me at the end of last October in a snow storm, and returned this time for a little warmer weather and some crazy smallmouth action on Chequamegon Bay. We caught fish all day long at pretty intense pace that included a 21 7/8″ beast landed by Jon. That fish stands as our largest smallie of the year so far. Who’s going to crack 22″ ??? We fished in 12′ – 16′ of water and started the day out on drop shots with plastics. After a fast start, the bite slowed and we switched to minnows. It was quickly back on again. By the end of the day, we were catching them on tubes as well. Water temperatures ranged from 57 – 58 degrees. It was definitely one of the highest numbers days we’ve had this year and one heck of a performance by Steve and Jon. It’s a good thing I thought of throwing that tube. Don’t you think Jon??? Way to go boys… See you in October!!!
I left for Hayward on Monday towing my boat with my parents vehicle. Thought I was done borrowing mom and dad’s car when I was 18!!! Jerry Favero and Dick Clemmens from Sand Creek, WI joined me for a very enjoyable day on the water catching a mixed bag of smallmouth up to 19″, walleyes up to 17″, and pike up to 28″. It was a typical early fall trip with bursts of action throughout the day and some slow stretches mixed in. Water temperatures ranged from 60 – 63 degrees as we had stiff NW winds that put a pretty good chop on the water. Jerry is a Viet Nam Veteran with two purple hearts, and it was an honor to share the boat with him and his long time family friend Dick. All of our fish were caught on minnows with a variety of presentations from slip bobbers to jigs. We shared a lot of stories, a few laughs, and caught some nice fish along the way. Not a bad way to spend a fall day I’d say… Thanks for your service to our country Jerry!
Long time customers and friends Bill and Ruth Whitfield from Lowell, AK arrived at Angler’s Haven on Thursday along with their daughters Cindy Whitfield from Springdale, AK, and Cheri Maier from Cincinnati, OH for their annual fall smallmouth trip with my partner Terry Peterson and I. We always look forward to fishing with this gang, and this year proved to be our most successful in terms of numbers of fish and weather. The Whitfields are usually met with a nasty fall cold front, but I believe we got that out of the way last week! Day #1 produced some very nice fish up to 20″ with Cheri and Cindy in my boat. The inconsistent action continued as we caught fish in spurts throughout the day. Constantly moving was definitely the key to staying on active fish as that pattern continues to persist on the inland lakes. Water temperatures ranged from 60 – 62 degrees on a very nice day as the two sisters teamed up to land some whoppers. All of our fish were caught on minnows in 15′ – 20′ of water. What a great start, even though I found out that Cindy hasn’t learned a thing from me in three years!
Day #2 with the Whitfields was a fabulous fall day with changing leaf colors providing a wonderful backdrop for a day on the water. It seemed like you could actually watch the colors transform while we were fishing. Eagles, loons, warm temps, and light winds made for an almost perfect day to be fishing. As Cheri said, it felt like we were in the movie “On Golden Pond”. Hopefully some of you can remember that one! Oh, and the fish were biting as well!!! The inconsistent pattern continued as we started and finished strong with some slow stretches in between. Apparently Cindy must have learned something as she had the hot hand landing several nice fish up to 20 1/2″. Cheri pitched in also as this duo actually landed a triple. I’m still not sure how it happened, but it sure did! A cold front with clouds and north winds moved in toward the end of the day that dropped air temps by 20 degrees, and we ended bundled up in our cold weather gear. Funny how quickly things can change at this time of year… We caught fish on slip bobbers with minnows as well as drop shots and plastics in 12′ – 21′ of water, and water temps ranged from 59 – 62 degrees. These are the kind of days I’m sure going to miss in a couple of months!
Thursday was the final day of the Whitfield Bass Blast with Bill and Cheri putting the father/daughter attack on the fish. We started out smoking hot on our first spot landing several fish up to 21″ within the first few minutes of the day. As we’ve seen happen routinely as of late, the hot bit quickly slowed. The rest of the day was spent moving from spot to spot catching one here and one there. A strong flurry at the end of the day helped us end up with some pretty good numbers, but the pattern of inconsistency continues. Keep moving, and you’ll keep catching fish. I would expect that trend to change as soon as we see water temps start to cool into the 50’s and fish begin to bunch up on specific structures. Bill put on a clinic throughout the day as we caught our fish on live bait rigs, jigs, and slip bobbers with minnows in 14′ to 22′ of water. Water temperatures held at 60 degrees on a cool and cloudy day. A variety of presentations and tactics is a must right now to capitalize on active fish in different locations on the lake. It sure was fun watching Bill and Cheri fish together and a great way to end three outstanding days with one of my favorite fishing families. Thanks for another great trip Whitfields. You guys are awesome, and I can’t wait til next year! By the way, that steak was awesome!!!
Big thanks to Josh and the crew at Poplar Auto Refinishing Inc. for getting my rig back on the road. Awesome people and awesome service!!! Memo to all deer in northern Wisconsin… Stay the heck away from my truck!!!