Outdoor Report: Fourth of July is a turning point in the Northwoods
The Fourth of July marks a turning point in most people’s calendars. It is, for most, the gateway to summer.
June is an iffy month, part spring, part summer; a fickle month when chill can lower in the evening and daytime temperatures seem halfhearted at best. But July, starting now, is summer. Period. And the Fourth of July is the key date. Now it’s all summer.
A year ago, July was cool and the entire summer was flawed because of that. The book is yet to be written for this year but for now we’re looking at higher water levels and nice conditions across the north. That’s good news. The week ahead looks pleasant enough; more good news. And with that we start summer 2014.
As it stands, all of northern Wisconsin is about perfect for summer recreation. Lake levels are rising and water temperatures pleasant. Mosquitoes are still an issue but numbers seem to be on the wane. Woods are lush and green and hiking and cycling conditions are very good.
We’ve seen average to above average success in fishing and that should continue until the real heat of summer arrives. Musky action has been consistent with fish responding well to bucktails and top water lures both. The latter has been the better choice in the past week and we’d continue to use them.
Walleyes have been steady; nothing special but many anglers are doing well by fishing deeper weed beds and using leeches or crawlers. Nothing big is coming to the net but numbers are good.
Bass are always a good summer fish as they thrive in warmer weather. Largemouth are hitting very well, often in shallow, weedy water. Weed growth has come on strong in the past two weeks and provides good cover for bass. Fish those areas for largemouth; look for deeper, cooler water for smallies. No one lure type is standing out but shallow water largemouth always like frog imitations; deeper water smallies hit on smaller crankbaits or swimming jig/tail combos.
Panfish seem a bit off of late. Most have moved into mid-depths but we’ve not had any real consistent patterns show up.
As always, hot summer weather can blow up into thunderstorms in late afternoon and evenings so do keep an eye open for changes in weather. Big storms move fast so if in doubt get off the water.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.