Outdoor Report: Catch-and-keep bass fishing opens this weekend
There was a hint of summer weather this week, welcome news for weather-weary residents of the north land. And with that warming comes some optimism that summer activities will get into full gear and not slow down until, perhaps, mid-September. Granted, given the patterns this year, that may be unlikely but one can hope. Optimism, with weather, fishing and Brewers fans, does seem a consistent pattern.
On the fishing front, this weekend marks the opening of the last significant season, that being catch-and-keep (if you prefer) for bass, both largemouth and smallmouth. Bass are not favored as table fare, but the season now opens should you care to dine on bass filets. And it should be a good opening, given that the late arriving warm weather should have bass very active.
Bass on their spawning beds present ridiculously easy fishing and thus little in terms of challenge and satisfaction. From what we’re hearing, that may well be the case this week. A heavy harvest on any game fish can deplete that resource quickly, so we do urge some restraint.
For catch-and-keep, you may wish to move to walleyes; we’ve seen signs of life with them this week. Of most significance is that we have heard of very good catches by anglers using crawlers versus minnows. This is not true on all lakes but once the walleyes make the switch to crawlers, it is a sure sign that summer is here and crawlers (and leeches) will be the ticket until fall weather comes and walleyes go back to minnows.
Most walleyes have been off the first break between shallows and deeper water. Look for the emerging weeds and fish along the edges with jig/crawler combos.
Musky action remains slow. The first tournament of the season (in this area) takes place this weekend on Boom Lake and that should give us an indication of how the big fish are acting. There will be some good anglers working some good water. We’re expecting fish to be just off the shallows in newly emerging weeds; that’s what the pattern has been so far. But time will tell. We’ll have a better idea this weekend.
On the panfish front, bluegills are active on some lakes and just coming on on others. Smaller waters are the best bet for now, but we think if the warmer weather holds that all bluegill water should be very good this week.
And while it does not fit the “Outdoor” part of this report, we would be remiss not to mention the upcoming The Art of Hunting & Fishing art exhibit at the ArtStart facility downtown. The collection of artwork on display is exceptional. The exhibit opens this Wednesday, the 19th, and runs all summer.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.