What a difference a week makes… It’s been snowsuits to swimsuits in northern Wisconsin, and we have a bunch of good bites going on right now. John Meier from Minong, WI and his buddy Scott Kimball from Cottage Grove, MN joined me on Saturday for a day of smallmouth fishing in the Hayward area. Our pre-spawn smallie bite had been slow, and I was shocked to see bedded fish at our first stop. Apparently they were tired of waiting around and decided to get things going over night! We had a great day catching fish on live bait and plastics in 4′ – 6′ of water with a few brutes up to 20″. High skies and glass calm water for most of the day made for excellent visibility as John and Scott put good numbers of fish in the net. Water temps ranged from 58 – 63 degrees, and I believe we’ll be in full spawn mode over the next couple of weeks. Please take care of these fish when you catch them. Rubber nets are a must, and a quick release is crucial to protecting this incredible resource we have. Fish em, catch em, enjoy em, and take care of em… It wasn’t the day I expected, but I’m not going to complain… Thanks for a great day John and Scott!
Jim Pones from Brownsville, TX and his son Jim Pones Jr. from Villa Park, IL fished with me out of Northland Lodge on Sunday, and we had some interesting conditions to deal with. Hi skies, flat water, and warm temps made it feel more like August than May, and we caught a little bit of everything the lakes had to offer. Water temps rose from 60 – 66 degrees throughout the day and we put crappies up to 10″, smallmouth up to 18″, largemouth up to 15″, walleye up to 20″, and a few perch and blue gills in the boat. Jim Sr. even got to tangle with a musky for awhile we hooked on light line while crappie fishing. It was an interesting day for sure without any real pattern setting up. Jigs/minnows, slip bobbers, and plastics were our best producers, and we just kept moving from spot to spot throughout the day until we found active fish in new weeds and 4′ – 6′ of water. We could see lots of forage swimming around, and I think the shallow weed bite is upon us on most of our inland lakes. The Pones men did an excellent job, and it was a pleasure to spend the day with them. Well get that musky next time Jim Sr.!
I was back at Northland Lodge Monday and fished with John and Nancy Smith from Schaumburg, IL along with Nancy’s cousin Patricia Godfrey from Charlotte, NC. When John boarded my boat, he let me know that he’d like to catch a musky and a trophy walleye. Since musky season is closed until Saturday, and trophy walleyes aren’t easy to come by… Those were going to be tough goals to reach! We targeted walleyes throughout the day, and struggled in the morning as we landed several pike but no eyes. We moved locations around mid morning, and after several minutes without a bite I was ready to move again. As I was bringing up the anchor, John let me know he was into a fish. After one heck of a battle on light tackle, we were able to land the 35″ musky that had grabbed John’s jig and minnow. Are you kidding me?!!! After releasing the musky, we were back after the walleyes and found a few fish in 4′ – 6′ of water and new weeds. Patricia put a beautiful 22″ eye ball in the boat, and I was fairly certain that would be the largest walleye we’d see. Water temps ranged from 61 – 64 degrees on a breezy and overcast day. Around quitting time, we decided to try one more spot. Not long after, John was locked into a big fish and eventually landed the 26 1/2″ walleye. Are you kidding me?!!! It’s hard to put it all into words, and I couldn’t have been happier for John, Nancy, and Patricia for having one of those days you won’t forget. I know I won’t!!! Mission accomplished John!
Merle Erickson from Hinsdale, IL is a fishing nut with a soft spot for smallmouth bass. He’d heard about the big fish we get on Chequamegon Bay and decided to see it for himself. A front moved in on Tuesday, and we had some crazy conditions to deal with that included rain, sun, clouds, fog, no wind, and east winds… Welcome to Lake Superior! In between changing clothes we were able to manage darn good day. After a slow start, we found a school of active fish in 4′ of water that kept us busy. It was a mid day bite with steady action until mid afternoon. Plastics with a variety of presentations caught fish up to 20″, and Merle put a bunch of really good smallies in the net. When the bite slowed, we moved back to our starting spot for the day, and found a few more cooperative fish to put a nice ending on a really fun day. Funny how that works… Where where they in the morning? With all of the bizarre weather we had throughout the day, water temps held around 64 degrees. This was Merle’s first day of a two day trip, and we definitely got it off to a good start. Can’t wait to see what day #2 will bring!