Outdoor Report: August could be a scorcher
If there is a month when heat and humidity hold rule in Wisconsin, it is August. August arrives on Wednesday, ready or not, and if July is any indication, it could be a bruiser. We’ll find out soon enough if the last month of summer follows the trend of above average temperatures that we’ve been having in June and again in July. If it does, it’ll be one for the record books.
Time, as it always does, will tell the tale of this August. For now, we’re still reeling from the heat of July, and about the only good news is that we’ve had enough rain to keep things green. Still, lake temperatures are higher than usual, and that has slowed fishing activity in the past weeks. Granted, mid-summer is not the best time for trophy fish, but the heat of the summer of 2012 has slowed things beyond the norm.
But there is always hope, and we found it last week with some reports of lively bass fishing, both largemouth and smallmouth. On deeper lakes largemouth bass were suspended in 10 to 15 feet of water, and at times were very active. Smallies seek out deeper water, but once anglers found them, they responded well. There seems no single lure that has been the key to it all, so it’s best to try a mix of deeper-running lures to get down to the depths where the bass are lying. On shallower lakes the best tactic is to fish in the late evenings or early morning, when the water temperatures are at their lowest.
We’ll never say that muskies and walleyes quit feeding during summer heat, but they do seem to slow down a lot. We’d fish muskies in deeper, cooler water and make an effort to get out on a day of good cloud cover, when the big fish are often active during daytime hours. Walleyes, we hate to say, continue on a mostly slow phase. They have simply never really taken off this season, and nobody can figure out why.
While August heat puts summer activities in the forefront of any outdoorsperson’s mind, fall is not far behind, and Aug. 1 is important for two reasons. The first is that it is the deadline for permit applications for fall turkey hunting. The second is that Aug. 1 marks the date that applications for the wolf hunting season can be submitted. The final deadline for that is Aug. 31.
A week later, on Aug. 8, the waterfowl season for Wisconsin should be set. As it stands, we’re looking at a probable 60 day season for ducks, with a total daily bag limit of six. That may change in the final version, but we think it’s a good bet that it’ll be close to the six duck/60 day framework.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.