We took a few days off over Labor Day weekend to get ready for the final push, and I was able to get my dad on the water to scout for some crappies on Friday. Let’s just say that we did a lot of scouting and not a lot of catching… We searched for suspending or deep fish on a couple of Hayward Area Lakes for a few hours, but were only able to contact a few nice slabs up to 12″. There was really no pattern that had set up on the two lakes we fished, and we did a lot more looking than we did fishing. Water temps were in the low 70’s with a light west wind. Jim has been through this routine with me many times in the past, and it was good to have my scouting partner back in the boat. Jigs and plastics worked best, and the fish we found were in 15′ – 25′ of water. We’re definitely in the summer/fall transition, and patterns will vary from lake to lake over the next couple of weeks. Dad and I spend plenty of time hashing out the Badgers game plan for their opening game versus LSU on Saturday. Surprised the coaches didn’t contact us for consultion… It ended up being a big win and a heck of a game. Way to go Bucky!!!
Tuesday was scheduled to be back on the water, but an impossible forecast for Chequamegon Bay with thunderstorms ended our day before it started. I pulled the pin our our trip on my way to the landing. Better safe than sorry, but man what a bummer!
Tom Huckaba from Joliet, IL an his brother in law Larry Evans from Mesa, AZ joined me on Wednesday for a day of chasing smallmouth on Chequamegon Bay. Tom is a Viet Nam Veteran and served as a Marine while earning 3 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star during his tour, and Larry served 6 years in the Army Reserve as well. Our day started a bit slow, but we were able to find a few fish over rocks in 14′ – 15′ of water including a bonus 35″ pike landed by Larry. After checking a few spots late in the morning we hit the jackpot. Smallies were stacked up along a weedline in 12′ – 15′ of water, and the bite was on fire. Tom and Larry boated a bunch of fish up to 21″ before lunch and ended the morning with a cool double. Perfect! We began our afternoon with another double, and the boys continued to put big fish in the net until quitting time. Other than a couple of slow stretches, action was steady and typical of a fall bite. We saw our first Arctic Loon of the season on the water, and leaves were blowing off the trees at lunch. Fall comes fast around here! Water temps held round 68 degrees throughout the day. Thanks for an incredible time Tom and Larry, and thanks to both of you for your service. Heck of a day!
We were back on the bay Thursday with some old friends. Dan Linahon (Mason City, IA) and Mike Jensen (Thornton, IA) returned for their annual trip. They had never been to Chequamegon Bay, and the timing was right to show them what it’s all about. Weather conditions changed drastically from the day before with high skies and big northwest winds. Water temps had dropped to 64 degrees overnight, and it definitely affected the bite. We still found some nice fish including a 21 1/2″ magnum landed by Dan, but we had to work for everyone we caught throughout the day. Minnows were our best producer, and most fish we caught were holding in 12′ – 15′ of water along weed edges. Big winds limited the areas we could cover, but my crew of Hawkeyes worked it out and put fantastic fish in the net. There’s always lot’s of laughs with this gang, and today was no different. Thankfully, I retrieved my hat, Mike landed his fish, and Dan survived his fall all at the same time. You had to be there… Thanks again fellas. Can’t wait till next year!
Excellent weather is forecasted throughout northern Wisconsin over the next several days. Get out there and enjoy it. Have a great weekend everyone, and Go Pack!