Oudoor Report: When fishing this time of year, location is key
Hot, muggy weather has taken hold of late and it now looks like summer and feels like summer. Finally. Rains have brought water levels up; that’s good news. The same rains have brought huge crops of mosquitoes; the not-so-good news. You take the good with the bad and for now, lakes provide a great way to cool off, days are long and the time is enjoyable.
If nothing else, this past week reminded us of the power of summer weather. It can get big and ugly, and do so pretty quick. So keep an eye on the weather, no matter if you’re on the water, camping or out for a bike ride.
That heavy, muggy weather of late can bring some very good conditions for musky fishing. It’s been slow this year but a warm, humid summer day under heavy cloud can bring fish up. Look for any wind except for easterly (fish don’t usually bite under an east wind). And work large bucktails and crankbaits along weedy areas. If muskies are going to be active, that’s a good combination.
Largemouth bass are also good summertime fish to chase after. Bass will move into shallows at sundown and seek feed, minnows or frogs, under the cover of lily pads. A floating frog imitation or a splashy top water lure can work wonders at dusk. If the water is calm (and it often is as the sun drops), toss a floating Rapala close to cover, let it settle for a bit (usually until the ripples dissipate), then give it a twitch or two before starting a retrieve. It takes some patience, but big bass can really hit aggressively.
Plastic worms, rigged correctly, are also a great summer lure for largemouth. You can fish tight to weeds and take fish out, as long as you have a stout rod and some heavier test line.
Smallies are deep now, as are walleyes. Go deep to find them, working along gravel bars and rocky areas for smallies and along deep weeds for walleyes. Crayfish imitations often work for smallies now; jigs with leeches or crawlers do the trick for walleyes.
Difficult as it seems, we’ve passed the time of the longest days of the year and now, ever so slowly, have started the move toward later summer. Fishing can be very good this time of the year, but location is the key for all fish; put the lure where they are and you’ll see action. Miss by a bit and you’ll get skunked.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.