The forecast indicates a slight break (low 80s) from the recent high temperatures, though with good chances of rain and thunderstorms throughout the coming week – and we could use some moisture!
Reminder: August 1 is the application deadline for the following hunting and trapping seasons: Fall turkey, Canada geese (in the Horicon Zone), sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, and otter. Bobcat applications costs $6; all other applications cost $3.
With surface water temperatures in the low to mid 80s, Pat at Happy Hooker says most muskie anglers stopped fishing since a long play landing a big fish may produce too much stress and make a safe release difficult.
“Largemouth bass and northern pike continue to provide good action in and around weeds in 6-15 feet of water. Use Texas-rigged plastic worms and other plastic combos, crankbaits, swim jigs, and spinnerbaits, and try topwaters such as plastic frogs and Jitterbugs over weed flats in 5-12 feet.”
Mark at Hayward Bait says the water is still warm and advises anglers to take care of any fish they plan to release.
“It is not necessary to return all fish. Catch and release can be great for some fisheries, but not only is there is nothing wrong with keeping a few for a meal, it is recommended on some waters!”
Randy at Jenk’s says surface baits and bucktails are still moving Chippewa Flowage muskies, but you do not want to play them for very long in this heat, as it will really stress them. The best walleye action is fishing leeches and crawlers on brushy humps and drops in 15-20 feet of water.
At Minnow Jim’s, Jim says most Nelson Lake fish are still in or near weeds and other cover. For largemouth bass, he recommends Scum Frogs, Snag Proof frogs, Lazy Ikes, Flatfish, buzz and spinner baits, and Gulp! worms.
Chippewa Flowage muskie fishing is decent, says guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations.
“Bucktails are hot right now, and by all means try black tails with lime green blades. With these hot surface water temperatures, use extra caution and please release the muskies quickly.”
Dan at Bay Park Resort says northern pike fishing is very productive on the Trego Flowage.
“Anglers caught several pike weighing more than 10 pounds in heavy weed cover, as well as a few nice muskies. People fishing below the dam continue to catch plenty of big channel catfish. Smallmouth action is good on jigs and leeches on the north end of the lake, and the Namekagon River is a smallmouth hot spot!”
DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says both Grindstone Lake and the Chippewa Flowage tested negative for viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) this past spring, but he reminds anglers and boaters to remain diligent.
“Draining water from boats before leaving a lake, checking trailers, and not moving live fish (including bait) from one waterbody to another are easy to do and critically important to preserve the quality of our lakes and fisheries.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says stream and river levels have fallen to their summer lows, and many canoeists are having a tough time navigating the shallower rapids on the bigger rivers. Water levels on the natural lakes are at their summer lows, but most flowages are at ‘normal’ levels.
Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. is holding its free, annual Kid’s Fishing Day Sunday Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Dick-Sy Roadhouse. Anglers 10-16 years of age have an opportunity to fish with knowledgeable muskie anglers on Upper Twin and nearby lakes. Pre-register at Hayward Bait (a parent or guardian MUST be present to sign the form). For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921. To volunteer as a guide or assist with shore lunch, contact Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
Many muskie anglers will not fish for muskies until water temperatures cool. Fighting fish under the current conditions causes stress and greatly reduces the odds for a good release. If you go, fish the cooler early and late hours of the day. The best bite is on bucktails, topwaters, and jerkbaits, with some sucker action.
Walleyes are scattered from deep to shallow, in/around various types of habitat, and continue to offer surprisingly good action. Concentrate on weeds, brush, breaks, rocks, and humps in six to more than 30 feet of water, and vary your baits and presentations. The top choices are leeches and crawlers on jigs, bait harnesses, and under slip bobbers, with some decent action on Beetle Spins, Rapalas, and crankbaits.
Northern pike action is good and getting better with dropping water temperatures. For now, look for them in and around deeper weeds and near panfish (pike call them lunch.) Buzz, chatter, crank, swim, and spinnerbaits, spinners, spoons, and suckers are all catching northern pike.
Largemouth action is good on most lakes, with the best bite in evenings and early mornings. Target shallower weeds, lily pads, logs, bogs, brush, stumps, and slop in 4-15 feet of water. Try Senkos, Texas-rigged plastics (worms, grubs, lizards), Gulp! worms, swim jigs, spinner, buzz, and crank baits, plastic frogs, and similar topwaters. Live baits include leeches, crawlers, and minnows on Lindy Rigs or under bobbers.
Smallmouth bass are scattered, from deep rock, wood, weeds, bars, breaks, and points, to holding with largemouth in shallower weeds and wood. A wide variety of baits will work (especially in crawdad patterns), including tubes, plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, leeches, crawlers, and small sucker minnows under slip bobbers or on live bait rigs.
Crappies are holding near cribs, weeds, and brush in 6-18 feet, as well as suspending over deeper water. Best action is in low light and evening hours. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, small fatheads, waxies, worms, tubes, and Gulp! baits fished on small jigs or plain hooks, Tattle-Tails, and Mini-Mites, all with or without slip bobbers. Try drift fishing your baits along weed edges and other likely cover to locate fish.
For bigger bluegills, fish deeper weeds and brush with waxies, worms, leaf worms, panfish leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits on plain hooks or small jigs. As with crappies, drift fish along weed lines. Poppers, rubber spiders, black ant flies, and similar surface baits work well this time of year.