Outdoor Report: As summer marches on fishing continues to improve
It seems impossible to accept that July Fourth is less than a week away. Impossible. This is a season when everything seems off kilter; the late spring pushed it all back, all the yard work, the gardening, the house cleanup; all delayed. Fishing started slow; water sports the same; bicycling and camping and picnics, all late starters this spring.
But now we’re there; the Fourth looms and with it the certainty of summer in the Northwoods and all that it can bring. So we’d best prepare for the parades and the picnics and the festivities. It’s all here.
This Fourth Weekend will bring with it healthy numbers of mosquitoes; be ready for that. But it will also bring pleasant lake temperatures and long hours of daylight and that’s what we live for in July.
Each week of June seemed to bring better fishing and that should continue into the next week. Muskies and bass led the highlights but walleyes and panfish remained steady as well. We expect those trends to define the next week or so.
Muskies have been responding to mid-size bucktails and top-water lures and those are always good bets for summertime. The big fish were in shallow water the past few weeks but should be drifting out to mid-depths now. Find the first break off the weeds and work along that.
Largemouth bass are coming on better every week. They’ll be aggressive now and we usually take them with a mix of deeper running minnow imitations as well as surface lures, the latter coming into their own at sundown and later. That’s when bass often move to the shallow, weedy areas. Fish as close as you can to lily pads and other cover.
This time of the season minnows are less effective on walleyes; use crawlers or leeches and look for walleyes in mid-depths, 12 to 15 feet on most lakes in the area. They will look for weeds, both to take shelter from mid-day sun as well as to forage for baitfish that use the same areas.
Temperatures have been warm but not hot yet. If that continues we’ll see good fishing for the foreseeable future and certainly into the long weekend of the Fourth that is now only days away.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.