By: Steve Suman
The forecast through Tuesday is for “wet,” but then mostly clear and sunny days into the weekend! Mild fall weather includes lows in the mid to upper 40s and highs in the low 70s and that is great for all outdoor recreation. Get out and take advantage of these days while you can!
“Depending on the species you target, fishing remains fair,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but it should get better through September.
“Musky angling is heating up and will get better as we move into fall live bait season, but for now, medium bucktails and topwaters are still the baits to use.
“Walleyes are on deeper mid-lake flats and humps, with most catches on small crankbaits or crawlers on spinners, with early and late the best times.
“Cast lures toward shorelines to hook some northern pike.
“Largemouth bass are in vegetation and around structure, with spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters all taking fish. Smallmouth fishing is good this time of year and casting crankbaits over rock and gravel areas will produce some fish.
“Crappies are around deeper shoreline cover near deep drop-offs. Panfish are on deeper weeds and taking live bait, but casting small plastics and small spinnerbaits is a fun way to target these fish.”
“Musky action is picking up and fish are getting aggressive on the figure-8s, with bucktails and topwaters producing on shallow bars and flats.
“Walleye reports are solid, with the best catches on bottom bouncers and crawlers, as well as on trolled crankbaits, in 15-30 feet.
“Bass action is still decent, with largemouth mostly hitting jigs/plastics and wacky worms. Smallmouth fishing is best on tube jigs and Ned rigs along rock and gravel flats.
“Crappie action improved with the cooling temperatures. Use minnows and plastics, focusing on deep cribs and weed edges. Bluegills are schooling along the weeds and taking leaf worms and waxies.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is down about 8 inches and the water temperature 68-71 degrees.
“Bigger muskies are moving shallower with the lower temperatures. The bite is on crankbaits and surface baits, with a few fish on suckers.
“The walleye bite is decent on crawlers, leeches, and minnows, and trolling slick chartreuse and firetiger Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows. When fishing in evening and early morning, work solid weed cover using weedless jigs and Beetle Spins.
“Northern pike action is good for smaller fish. Use spoons and tinsel tails in bays and weeds on the west end.
“Largemouth bass fishing is good around lilies and weeds in Crane Lake bays. Smallmouth action is solid on black/blue fleck and watermelon wacky worms and Chigger Craws fished around stumps, cribs, and shoreline cover on the east/southeast ends.
“Crappie action improved, with crappie minnows, Crappie Scrubs, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits producing on deeper cribs and brush piles.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses musky movement in the LCO Chain.
“Lac Courte Oreilles and Grindstone have the distinction of producing world record muskies, with Whitefish, Sand, and Sissabagama, the other lakes in the ‘Couderay drainage,’ also having exceptional musky fisheries. These waters, all connected, allow fish to move from one lake to the next, though upstream movement from Whitefish to Sand may not be possible for some fish.
“When PIT tagging muskellunge in these lakes, we learn how fish move around in the system. The recapture of most tagged fish occurs in the same lake as the original capture, but we have already documented examples of adult muskellunge moving from Sand to Whitefish and Sand to LCO (passing through Whitefish), as well as stocked fingerlings going from LCO into Grindstone and Whitefish.
“The interconnectedness of this water and the movement of fish from one lake to the next, points to the importance of managing the whole system as one genetic unit. Since LCO is a brood lake for muskellunge, this means not stocking outside genetics into LCO or any of the connected lakes in the chain.”
Join DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell at 6 a.m. Friday, September 14, at Flambeau River State Forest headquarters (be sure to RSVP!) as he checks for bugling bull elk on the forest. For more information and to RSVP, call (715) 332-5271.
The Wisconsin DNR and Missouri Department of Conservation will trap and transfer 300 ruffed grouse from northern Wisconsin to the River Hills region of east-central Missouri over a three-year period. Trapping is now taking place (through Sept.15) in Lincoln, Price, Sawyer, Taylor, and Rusk counties, spread across county and state properties to minimize localized impacts. Biologists do not expect these efforts to impact the statewide ruffed grouse population. The project is a continuation of a long-standing partnership, as Missouri provided Wisconsin with the original turkeys used to reestablish Wisconsin’s turkey population. Also concerning ruffed grouse, the Wisconsin DNR is hosting a meeting Thursday, Sept. 6, at the DNR Rhinelander Service Center, starting at 6:30 p.m., to discuss a proposal to shorten this fall’s grouse season. It will accept public comments at the meeting and online from Sept. 5-12.
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. welcomes the public to attend its (free) meeting Tuesday, September 4, starting at 7 p.m., at Flat Creek Eatery. Members will discuss current and future projects, the new musky vehicle license plates ($15/issue; $25/donation to Musky Club Alliance), and plan for the October tournament. People interested in becoming a new member of Muskies Inc. can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
Musky fishing is fair to good as fish are more active with the cooling temperatures. Best locations include shallower weed beds, bars, flats, and along the edges of those areas. Baits producing the most interest include bucktails, crankbaits, jerkbaits, stickbaits, and topwaters, with some anglers now catching fish on suckers.
Walleye action is fair to good, with shallower areas during low light hours and after dark offering the best chances for success. During the day, look for fish in weeds and on humps and flats in depths out to 30 feet. Live bait such as crawlers, leeches (when available), and minnows on jigs, bottom bouncers, Lindy Rigs, spinners, and split-shot rigs; trolled Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows, other crank baits and stickbaits; and Beetle Spins all catching walleyes.
Northern pike fishing is good to very good on shallow to mid-depth weeds in bays and along shorelines. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, minnows, and northern suckers are all pike enticers. As always, work deeper water with bigger baits for trophy pike.
Largemouth bass action is good to very good in and around weeds, lily pads, slop, brush, and other structure. Swim jigs, wacky worms, plastics, spinnerbaits, and topwaters are all effective at this time.
Smallmouth bass anglers report good success on and along rocks, gravel and other hard bottom areas, as well as stumps and cribs. Tubes, wacky worms, frogs, and other plastics, jerkbaits, stickbaits, spinners, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, and crawlers all work.
Crappie action is good and getting better. Fish are in, on, and around deeper weeds and weed edges, cribs, bogs, brush, and drop-offs. Crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks, with or without slip bobbers, are the presentations of choice.
Bluegill fishing is good on most waters. Look for schools of them in/along deeper weeds and weedlines. Best baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler pieces, small plastics, and Gulp! baits.
Sept. 14: Elk bugling at Flambeau River State Forest 6 a.m., with DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell (715-332-5271).
Sept. 15: Early Canada goose season closes.
Sept. 15: Seasons open: Archery and crossbow deer; Fall turkey; Ruffed grouse in Zone A; Cottontail rabbit in Northern Zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Crow.
Sept. 16: Canada goose season opens in North and South exterior zones.
Sept. 22: 34th Annual Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).
Sept. 29: Seasons open: Duck in Southern and Mississippi zones; Canada goose in Mississippi River Subzone.
Oct. 20: Seasons open: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse in zone B; Sharp-tailed grouse (by permit); Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Cottontail rabbit; Raccoon gun and trapping (resident); Red and gray fox hunting and trapping; Bobcat hunting and trapping Period 1 north of Hwy. 64 (see regs).