by: Steve Suman
The forecast “promises” fine weather until toward the end of this week when it mentions chances for rain and/or thunderstorms. Warm days and comfortable nighttime lows make for perfect summer weather. Get out and enjoy it!
“With challenging conditions such as we had last week,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “anglers must adapt to conditions and try different tactics. For now, slow-drifting worms and leeches off deeper breaks in 10-15 feet during early morning and late afternoon into dark is producing a wide variety of species.
“Muskies remain a puzzle, with big fish not overly active. Anglers report big fish following lures, but disappearing at the boat, and figure 8s bring no results. This should change when water temperatures cool. Anglers currently report surface temperatures around 82 degrees.
“Walleyes are now nocturnal, seeking the deepest holes during daylight hours. If you are after walleye, fish in early morning and late evening into dark. Jigging minnows, leeches, and crawlers will produce, and night fishing is best with a lighted bobber.
“Northern pike and largemouth bass still roam the shallows and if you fish in the heat of the day, target these species. Spinnerbaits, swim baits, rigged worms, and artificial frogs will all take these fish.
“Panfish anglers fishing live bait under bobbers near vegetation and steep breaks are catching good numbers of fish. For the most part, panfish are roaming near the coolest waters, especially on hotter days. Jigs and plastics in shallower water will turn fish in early morning and late afternoon and evenings, and slow trolling is becoming more productive.”
“Musky action is sporadic, but anglers are making decent catches, with most casting jerkbaits and bucktails on deep weedlines and bars.
“Walleye action is good on most lakes and fishing leeches on slip bobbers along weed edges and main lake humps is a good bet. Anglers are also catching some nice fish with crawlers on bottom bouncers in 10-25 feet, depending on the lake and structure.
“Bass action is solid, with both largemouth and smallmouth offering great opportunities. For largemouth, work thick vegetation with weedless worms and frogs. For smallmouth, focus on rock bars and deeper cabbage with topwaters, swim jigs, and jerkbaits.
“Panfish anglers are also doing well and plastics and leaf worms under slip bobbers should get some bites. Look to deeper water for bigger fish.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage remains at full pool, with water temperatures in the high 70s to low 80.
“Musky and other species moved deeper due to the water temperature. Muskies could come up for baits trolled at 9-13 feet, but try deeper when applicable. Mattlocks and larger Jakes and Grandmas are solid choices. For casting, try jerkbaits and Cowgirls on the south end, as it receives less direct sunlight than the north end. Round Lake anglers report success trolling the deep edges off Hinton Bay’s shoreline.
“Walleye fishing is difficult, so do not get stuck fishing your ‘usual’ spots. Trolling over deep cover is effective, but run baits deeper than usual. Try adding a Flicker Minnow or other deep diver to your spread. Leeches and crawlers on 1/4-oz. jigs and Lindy Rigs are effective, as are three-way crankbait rigs trolling along at 1-2 mph over deep water.
“Northern pike fishing is slow due to the water temperature, but you might hook one while fishing walleye or musky in deeper water.
“Bass fishing is also quiet, with few reports in the past week. Try fishing crawlers in the cribs.
“For crappies, crappie minnows and plastics are the way to go. Bog fishing in the early morning and at night is still successful, but during the day, check out deeper cribs and brush piles.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses recent survey results relating to fishing in Wisconsin.
“The DNR recently completed a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan with broad goals to increase participation in outdoor recreation and provide those opportunities for Wisconsinites. Within the plan are many great statistics on how the people of Wisconsin enjoy the outdoors, including many insights about fishing.
“According to public surveys completed as a part of developing the plan, fishing makes the top five outdoor activities, with walking/hiking, hunting, bicycling, and camping rounding out the top five list.
“The survey found 40 percent of Wisconsinites enjoy shore fishing or fishing from a pier on lakes as the most common means of fishing. Next was fishing from a boat/canoe/kayak on lakes with 37 percent, ice fishing at 23 percent, fishing streams or rivers from shore at 21 percent, and 20 percent of anglers enjoy fishing streams or rivers by boat. A majority of anglers responding to the survey fished less than 10 days a year – and those who fish more than 30 days a year were relatively rare.
“The report listed reasons people choose to spend time outdoors, which included exercise, being with family, and observing scenic beauty.
“For those who have concerns about the future of fishing, the reasons people choose not to get outside may be more revealing. The top reasons people do not participate more in outdoor recreation were ‘too busy with family responsibilities,’ ‘outdoor recreation equipment is too expensive,’ ‘do not have anyone to participate with,’ and ‘do not have the skills to participate.’
“Those last two should be a call to action for anyone with a passion and skill for fishing. Pass it on!”
Sawyer County Outdoor Projects & Education (SCOPE) is offering a DNR Hunter Education course that will meet August 6, 8, and 13 at Hayward Middle School. The August 6 class begins with registration at 5:30 p.m. and class from 6-8:30 pm. A Saturday August 10 class meeting at Hayward Rod & Gun Club will run from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The $10 fee includes all materials and bonus items. Participants must attend all class sessions and pass written and hands-on tests. Successful students receive a hunting vest complements of SCOPE, a distinctive embroidered emblem, and a hunter education certificate. These courses fill quickly and require advanced registration by emailing email@example.com with your name, age, and phone number. You will receive additional information by e-mail. For more information, visit www.sawyercountyoutdoors.com, or call (715) 558-5371 or 558-1633.
Musky action is fair for big fish that continue to avoid most offerings. Anglers report big fish follows, but no takers. Target weedlines, bars, humps, gravel, and shoreline edges in or adjacent to deep water. Bucktails in various sizes, jerkbaits, gliders, crankbaits, and stickbaits all work, or try trolling Jakes, Grandmas, Mattlocks, and similar baits.
Walleye action is fair/good, especially considering the warm weather, with best chances for success in low light early morning, late evening, and after dark. During the day, jig, cast, or troll deep weeds, weed edges, humps, and other structure out to 30 feet. Fish shallower cover during early and late into dark hours. Top baits include minnows, leeches, and crawlers on jigs, split shot rigs, bottom bouncers, Lindy Rigs, and slip bobbers, and trolled crankbaits and stickbaits.
Northern pike fishing is fair. Try in, over, and along the edges of thick weeds, both shallow and deep. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim baits, and live bait will all pique the interest of northerns. As always, fish deeper with larger baits for trophy pike.
Largemouth fishing is good to very good, with fish holding in and around shallow slop to mid-depth weeds, brush, and other structure. Best bass baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, swim baits, weedless worms and frogs, and topwaters.
Smallmouth fishing is fair to good on deeper cribs, cabbage, rock, gravel, and other hard bottom areas. The most productive baits include crawlers, tubes, plastic worms, jerkbaits, swim jigs, and topwaters.
Crappie fishing is fair to good, with best action in early morning and late afternoon into evening hours. Look for fish in and around mid-depth to deeper weeds, breaklines, cribs, bogs, and brush. Try somewhat shallower early and late in the day. Use crappie minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, and small spinners.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good in and around shallow to mid-depth weeds, docks, brush, and other cover. Early morning and late afternoon into evening are the most productive times. Go deeper for larger ‘gills. Standard bluegill baits such as waxies, leaf worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs and under slip bobbers all catch fish.
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs).
Aug. 1-3: 60th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).
Aug. 2-4: Jack Pine Savage Days - Spooner (800-367-3306).
Aug. 3: Flambeau River State Forest - cast iron cooking techniques, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).
Aug. 4: Hayward Chapter-Muskies, Inc. Annual Kids Fishing Day (715-634-2921).
Aug. 10: Flambeau River State Forest - Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday party, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).
Aug. 22-25: 112th Annual Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).
Aug. 25: Hayward Bass Club Youth Bass Tourney on Chippewa Flowage; noon-4 p.m. (715-699-1015).
Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 27th Annual Exeland Trout Festival (715-943-2242).