I have to say, this rain and cold thing is getting a bit old… Not complaining, just saying. Larry Epperson and his crew from Fort Worth, TX were back in the boat with Terry Peterson and I on Tuesday for day # 2 of their trip, and we stuck to the Hayward Area Lakes targeting walleyes. Weather conditions were less than idal with strong NW winds, cool temps, and scattered rain. We seriously need to get this weather pattern out of here! Larry and his wife Ann were back in my boat along with Steve and Lynee Knapp in Terry's, and we were able to get into a good walleye bite in shallow weeds. They didn't come easy though, and bites were difficult to detect in the wind. We worked it out however and landed a bunch of quality eyeballs up to 25" on jigs and minnows in 4' – 6' of water. Water temperatures were in the high 50's. Ann was the hero of the day with the biggest fish, but Larry gave her a run for her money landing several fat eyes in the afternoon during nap time. You can't sleep on that guy Ann! The weather stunk, but the company was good! Thanks to these Texans for a couple of great days on the water. Can't wait to do it again!!!
Smallmouth junkie Merle Erickson from Hinsdale, IL returned on Wednesday for a two day trip in the Hayward area, and he forgot to bring his kite! 20 – 30 mph winds throughout the day made things a bit challenging, but we worked it out. We spent the morning casting jerk baits and plastics in 4' – 10' rock structure and caught some nice pre spawn smallies up to 19". Every spot didn't hold fish though, and we moved around a lot. By late morning the wind was getting out of hand and we had to switch lakes. We targeted spawning fish in the afternoon and caught a bunch of solid bronzebacks in 4' – 8' of water on jigs and plastics. This has been one of the strangest springs (if you can call it that) I can remember. Water temperatures on most of the Hayward Lakes are still in the mid 50's, and there's a bunch of fish that still haven't moved shallow. We ended our day focusing on wind blown rocks with jerk baits, and Merle got it dialed in. He nailed a bunch of fish including a fat 18" to wrap it up. Perfect ending to a good day with a great guy. We worked for every fish caught, but it was worth it. If the weather ever settles down, things could get interesting around here… I've got the right guy in the boat if it does!
The wind had to eventually stop blowing, and it did. Merle and I arrived at a glass calm lake in the Hayward area on Thursday morning with warm temps and sunny skies. I actually had to pinch myself! The fish held up their end of the bargain, and we had an absolutely amazing day of site fishing spawning smallmouth in 2' – 10' rock and gravel flats with jigs and plastics. If you've ever been lucky enough to be on the water when "it's happening", you know what I'm talking about. Visibility was perfect and the fish were aggressive. Merle landed huge numbers of big fish up to 21.5" and called it his "best day of fresh water fishing". Now that's saying something from a guy who's been all over the world catching everything that swims. I have to admit that it was one incredible day, and I won't soon forget it. Water temps shot into the high 50's, and we observed several nest that actually had fertilized eggs in them. Really cool to see, and I can't emphasize enough the importance of taking care of these special fish and fishery. Please use extreme caution when running motors around spawning areas, use rubber nets, handle fish gently, and return them to the water immediately after a picture. Take care of them so they can keep taking care of us. A day like that is the best therapy money can buy! I think that reel needs to be replaced Merle. You wore it out!
Two days in a row with sun and no wind…??? We'll take it! My partner Dave Brown and I teamed up to fish with long time customer Paul Dongieux from Oxford, MS and another great group of guys he brought along including Bill Vogel (Jackson, WI) Larry Vogel (West Bend, WI), and Rick Yoder (Casco, WI). Paul and Bill were in my boat, and we had another spectacular day in the Hayward Lakes area catching spawning smallmouth. The conditions and crew were perfect, and the results were not surprising. Paul and Bill netted big numbers of fish on jigs and plastics throughout the day as we worked 4' – 10' rock and gravel flats. We had a bunch in the 17" – 20" range including a 21.5" mammoth landed by Bill in the morning. It was "Double Time" in the afternoon, and my crew perfectly excecuted a couple of opportunities. Water temps hit 70 degrees in some areas by the end of the day. 50's last week, 70's this week. Welcome to Wisconsin!!! That was another day for the books, and these guys deserved it. Fun stuff with a fun crew. Looking forward to day #2…
Saturday was spent in the Hayward Lakes Area for another Bass O Rama. Bill Vogel was in my boat along with Rick Yoder for day #2 of their trip, and they put on a fish catching clinic. We were had another steller day, and I kind of feel bad about the complaining I was doing about the weather last week. Not that bad though… We site fished smallmouth bass again, and my crew caught big numbers of fish up to 19" on jigs and plastics as we worked gravel and rock flats in 5' – 10' of water. This has been one of those trips you wish every bass fishermen could experience, and it couldn't have happened to a better bunch of guys. Water temps warmed into the low 60's, and most fish we encountered were really aggessive. Rick and Bill were outstanding, and Dave Brown's crew put the hammer to them as well. By quitting time a pile of fish had hit the net. We absolutely wore them out and returned to the landing with tired arms and big smiles. Perfect! Every now and then you hit things just right. This has been one of those times. One more day left with this gang of good dudes, but I hate to see them go… That story still makes me laugh Paul!
We started the week with walleyes, and we ended it with walleyes. Bill and Larry Vogel wanted to switch things up for the final day of their trip, and we spent Sunday in the Hayward Lakes area targeting eyeballs. The bite was exactly what we were hoping for, and the Vogels put together one heck of a day landing big numbers of fish on jigs and minnows in 4' – 6' weed beds. They were able to tank a perfect limit of eaters and realease a bunch more. The weather was fantastic with sunny skies, warm temps, and a good breeze out of the west. We did notice that whenever the wind kicked up, the bite did as well. Interesting… We caught fish at every stop, and Larry even added a nice bonus pike to the day's catch. Water temps hit 70 degrees by the end of the day. This has been one heck of a swing in conditions over the last week. Winter to summer just like that. As long as the fish keep biting, we'll take it! Thanks to Bill and Larry for a memorable day. It couldn't have been any better, and I'm lookng forward to the next time you're in my boat. That was a fun few days!!!
We'll be back on Chequamegon Bay this week. Stay tuned…