We've had it pretty good over the last couple of weeks. And here comes the weather… Jeff O'Dell (Branson, MO) along with his parents Paul and Lois (Tightwad, MO) arrived in northern, WI just in time for a good old fashioned cold front. Yes, the name is really "Tightwad"… We fished the Hayward Lakes area on Monday and had some interesting weather to deal with. Cool temps and scattered rain pounded us throughout the day. Rain gear was mandatory, but my crew was up to it! We targeted walleyes, and they were in a funky mood. Not a big surprise, but we made the best of it. The O'Dell's hung in there though and put a respectable day together connetcing on fish up to 18" in 5' – 7' weedbeds on jigs and minnows including a few bonus pike. It was a "one here, one there" kind of day, and we bounced around a lot to make it all happen. Good thing I had an awesome gang in the boat that took advantage of every opportunity we had. Water temps held around 70 degrees with nasty rain storms peppering us all day long. We love our summers up here until Lake Superior decides to get involved… Great first day with a fun bunch. Let's hope this weather gives us a break tomorrow. Gotta love Wisconsin!!!
The O'Dells were back on Tuesday, and we targeted smallmouth in the Hayward area. I was a bit skeptical on how the fish would bite with the cold front we've had moving through, but it turned out to be a good choice. Fish were happy right from the start, and Jeff caught one on his first cast. That's usually not a good omen, but it worked today! The O'Dell gang caught a bunch of nice post sqawn fish up to 20" throughout the day on plastics and topwaters as we worked rock and gravel in 5' – 10' of water. Some fish were on the rocks, and some were off the first break. We just kept weaving in and out and had steady action all day long. Just how we like it. Gotta love a good topwater bite! This is a great time of year to chase smallies on our lakes, and they're accessible in a lot of locations with different presentations. The post spawn binge is definitely on. Water temperatures have cooled into the high 60's, and we noticed a few fish still on nests as we covered lots of ground. What a fantastic way to wrap up a great trip with a fun crew. I swear that bass Jeff caught was the biggest I've ever seen Paul, but I WON'T be scratching that itch!!! Fun times with a fun family. Good stuff!
Incredible weather and some awesome customers returned to the Hayward Lakes Area on Wednesday. Michel and Nico Cramer Bornemann from St. Paul, MN were back, and it was a bad day to be a smallmouth bass with these guys in the boat. Conditions were absolutely perfect in the morning with flat water, lots of sun, and warm temps. We took advantage of it and cruised over rock and gravel flats catching fish on top waters and jigs with plastics in 5' – 10" of water. Top water baits were definitely the top producer of action, and most strikes came immediately at the end of the cast. Water temps were in the high 60's. We switched lakes in the afternoon just because we could, and had a blast pounding a bunch more. South winds kicked up, but it didnt' slow the topwater bite. My father and son combo "lit em up" with a bunch of exciting action on top along with some some bonus fish dragging football jigs with plastics through the rocks. Most fish we caught were coughing up crayfish. The bottom bite is starting, but we'll stay on top as long as it lasts… Why wouldn't you?!!! We even had an "Almost Topwater Double" at the end of the day, but both fish came unbottoned at the same time. Almost!!! Every day should be like this… Water temperatures hit 71 degrees by quitting time. Nice work fellas. That's as good as it gets!
Michel and Nico decided to change it up a bit on Thursday, and we spend our morning in the Hayward Lakes area targeting walleyes. The first mayfly hatch of the seaon that I've seen had obviously occured over night, and the eyeballs definitely had full tummys. We worked at it though and were able to scratch out some nice fish up to 18" on minnows and leeches in 5' – 8' weeds. The Bornemann's wanted a few for a fry, and we made it happen as overcast skies and scattered rain showers moved in. They also tangled with several pike up to 25" along with a pretty 25" musky that Nico landed on light tackle. Not so bad for a slow bite… The afternoon shift was all about smallmouth, and Michel got us off to a good start landing 3 good fish on a top water bait at our first stop. After some experimenting, the pattern that developed was either a top bite or a bottom bite. Nothing in between. We continued to catch fish on top waters as well as dragging jigs with plastics over rock and gravel in 5' – 10' of water throughout the afternoon. Our hookups on top were much better than the day before, and I'm sure the overcast conditions had something to do with the more aggressive strikes. Water temperatures continue to hover around 70 degrees. We also put a father son double in the net not long before quitting time. Perfect! It was another great perfomance by the Bornemann's, and I always hate to see our trips come to an end. Until next time fellas… See you in August!
Joel Kantor from Tulsa, OK returned to northern, WI in hopes of getting in on our June smallmouth topwater bite. On paper, it looked good… We wanted to fish Chequamegon Bay, but a nasty wind forecast pushed us inland on Friday. Been tough to get on that bay for us this spring… Joel brought along his father PK along with brothers Charles and Kent all from Tulsa, OK, and The River Rock Inn was home base for their two day trip. Josh Teigen helped out, and we spent the day with this really awesome bunch of guys targeting smallies. Unfortunately they weren't exactly cooperative. They've been on a feeding binge over the past several days, and apparently they're full. Joel and Charles were in my boat, and we threw the book at them including everything from topwaters, jerkbaits, plastics, and various flys in 5' -10' of water. They'd look but wouldn't commit. Joel is an excellent fly fishermen, and it's a pleasure to watch him work his craft. We were able to boat a few nice fish throughout the day, but they were well earned. No pattern materialized, and they were simply smallmouth being smallmouth. When they don't want to eat, they wont… Charles was a superstar though, and he cranked in several nice fish including a fat 19" smallie that was our big fish of the day. Joel had a couple of nice takes on his fly in the afternoon as well. Always cool to see that happen. Water temperatures hit 71 degrees with gusty NW winds. We've got one more day with this cool crew. Let's hope the fish get hungry!
Sometimes if you didn't have bad luck…. You know the rest. The Kantor men were back with Josh Teigen and I on Saturday, and the plan was to put a half day in on Chequamegon Bay. The weather forecast called for west winds at 10 mph. Had that been the case, we would've been ok. Instead we had NW winds at 20. We gave it a shot, but that's a scenario that just doesn't work out there this time of year. We had to wrap up our trip without getting the day in, and it was a real bummer. The water was a muddy mess and temperatures were around 68 degrees. We're snake bit trying to get on that bay lately… Safe travels back to Tulsa Kantors. Those fish sure got lucky on this trip, but I've got a feeling you'll get even. Stay cool Charles. You're the man!
The last week of June is here already??? Seems like we just got started!