Tal and Darlene Janowitz from Raymond, WI returned for a half day trip on Sunday in the Hayward Lakes Area. The weather forecast called for thunderstorms moving in by late morning. Well, they were sort of right… With no wind or glare on the water, we had excellent visibiliy to sight fish smallies at the start of our trip. It didn't take Tal and Darlene long to get the hang of it, and we put several fish up to 19" in the net on plastics before the first crack of thunder around mid morning. Bummer… Water temps were in the low 70's, and there are still plenty of fish on shallow gravel flats in 2' – 10' of water. It was great to have these two back in the boat again, even if it was for a short time. No worries though. We've got another date in September, and I'll dial up a better forecast for that one. Do weather men take bribes?… Thanks for the donuts Darlene. Excellent!
Some days don't happen how you draw them up. Monday was one of those… My original plan was to fish the Hayward Lakes Area, but the storms and huge rain they received on Sunday made me think better of it. So, Chequamegon Bay was plan B. Mylo Gustafson (Maple Grove, MN) was back along with his boys Corey (St. Paul, MN) and Brian (Austin, TX). Everything was going smoothly until the water pump on my truck decided to fail. All of you mechanics out there know that's not a good thing. After a few phone calls my truck was on the way to the shop, and we had new wheels courtesy of my parents. Jim and Jan thought they were done helping me out long ago. Not so fast!!! We arrived at Chequamegon Bay a bit behind schedule, and so was the bite. The water was full of junk from storms the previous day, and fish weren't cooperating. We managed a couple of good smallmouth on plastics, but it was obvious a change of scenery was needed in the afternoon. Water temps on the bay were in the mid 60's. Plan C… We moved to the Hayward Lakes Area in the p.m., and had perfect conditions to site fish smallies on spawning flats in 5' – 10' of water. Visibility was super, and the fish were aggressive. The Gustafsons made quick work of it, and landed a bunch of nice fish up to 19" on jigs and plastics before calling it a day. Water temperatures were in the low 70's. It wasn't what I had mapped out, but we made it work. Big thanks to my Jim and Jan for bailing us out, and thanks to the Gustafsons for rolling with the punches. You did well men, and I'm looking forward to next year! What a day…
My namesake customers from Mineral Point, WI returned on Tuesday. With the way these guys fish, we might as well be related… Scott & Wyatt Evans were back, and we spent the first day of a two day trip in the Hayward Lakes Area. The weather forecast was goofy, but we made it work. We targeted walleyes, and the bite was pretty nuts in the morning. Scott and Wyatt pounded a bunch of fish up to 15" in 5' – 6' weeds using jigs and minnows. We even had a couple of bonus catches when Scott put a 35" musky in the net, and Wyatt landed a thick 35" pike. Slime time slam!!! My crew did an incredible job fighting those fish on light tackle, and it ended up being a morning we won't forget… Afternoon storms rolled through around lunch time, but we were still able to squeeze a full day in after waiting it out on shore. It was pretty crazyy to watch, and I snapped a couple of cool pictures before it the storm hit. Our bite got a bit funky in the afternoon with lots of hits and misses, but we were able to connect with a few fish on each spot. It was a "Keep Moving" afternoon. Catch a couple and move… Water temps are in the high 60's to low 70's on most of our lakes right now, and it sounds like we've got more weather fronts moving through. What happened to all of that stable weather we were having…??? Welcome to Wisconsin! As usual, Scott and Wyatt were perfect. Can't wait for day #2!
Scott and Wyatt were back in the boat on Thursday. Our smallmouth spawn happened so fast that we didn't have much of a pre spawn bite, but we made up for it… The first part of our day was spent sight fishing spawning fish. There were still some fish on the shallow flats, but visibility was limited with stiff winds kicking up. Around mid morning we started drifting wind blown shorelines in 5' – 10' of water casting jerk baits, and dragging plastics on jigs. Bingo! Before lunch we put a bunch of nice fish in the net, and our game plan for the rest of the day was set. In the afternoon, it was more of the same. Scott and Wyatt wore them out on jerks, and I was able to connect with quite a few working the bottom as well. The fish we caught were coughing up anything from minnows to crawfish, so I think it's a matter of personal preference on how you want to fish them right now. Size and color of lures was important though, and we spent some time sorting trough various presentations before we dialed it in. The post spawn bite is on, and fish are trying to get fat. Water temps were steady around 70 degrees throughout the day, and it sure was fun watching the Evans crew land fish after fish. That never gets old… I believe Wyatt even wore out the hooks on the bait he was using! Heck of a couple of days with these guys. I think we say that every year… See you next year boys. What a trip!
Long time friend and customers Bill and Ruth Whitfield from Fayetteville, AK returned for their spring trip to fish with my partner Terry Peterson and I on Friday. Bill has been coming up here to fish with us for a long time, and he's seen the ups and downs over the years. Bill and Ruth spent the day in Terry's boat, and I had son in law Mark Holzer and his son Connor from Cinncinatti, OH in mine. Our day started out a bit tough. We tried locating crappies in the mornning, but it wasn't happening. After checking several spots without success, it was time to change our focus. We were in the Hayward lakes area, and with the smallie bite the day before it seemed to be a no brainer. Time to switch! The smallies didn't get the message thgouh, and they were a bit tough at the start. After lunch it was a different story… We worked shorelines and breaks in 5' – 10' of water and ended up putting a pretty good day together catching fish up to 20" on a combinations of plastics, jerkbaits, and topwaters. It was one of those days where you just stick with it until you figure it out. I think we got it! Mark and Connor did an awesome job working through the slow times and were rewarded with some really nice fish. Water temps were pretty steady around 70 degrees, and the top water bite is definitely happenig. You just have to be patient enough to work through a few misses until you connect. When you do, it's worth it. Fun day with this dad and son combo. What's in store for tomorrow?…
Terry and I were back in the Hayward Lakes Area on Saturday chasing smallies with the Whitfield gang, and we hit the smallmouth bass jackpot. Awesome weather and hungry fish are the perfect combination! Mark and Connor Holzer were back in my boat for the AM shift and we absolutely pounded a pile of big post spawn smallies up to 20" using top water baits and plastics. Sunny skies and light winds from the southwest made for perfect drifts, and the Holzer men put some really nice fish in the net as we drifted over gravel flats in 5' – 10' of water. That's about as good as it gets! After sitting out day #1 to let the boys have fun, Cheri Holzer was ready to get in on the action. This girl has caught some big fish with us over the years, and she wasn't about to let the guys have all of the fun. She's been recovering from shoulder surgery, but you wouldn't have known it by her afternoon performance. West winds kicked up and made things interesting, but we stuck with the program and put more big smallies up to 21" hit the net. We even took a break to catch a few small walleyes in 18' weeds on slip bobbers and leeches. Water temps were in the low 70's by quitting time, and nobody would argue that this was a special day. The Whitfield crew wore them out once again. Absolutely awesome! See you in September gang. Always look forward to it!
Great week with lots of awesome dads. Happy Father's Day fellas!!!