Outdoor Report: Mild temperatures make for plenty of outdoor opportunities
Mid-July typically brings the heat of summer and with it rising water temperatures, fewer mosquitoes, and wonderful summer evenings. Summertime in the Northwoods in July is about as good as it gets. This year we’ve been missing the higher heat that we usually see by now and the forecast shows we may not get it this week. Which is not all bad as the moderate temperatures, 70s or so, are pleasant enough for most.
If that’s the case, temperatures in the 70s instead of 80s in the next seven days, we’re set up for a nice week any way you look at it. Lake temperatures are good for swimming, water skiing and boating; air temperatures in that range are fine for cycling or hiking or picnics. The mosquito plague that dominated much of June has subsided now and that may be the best news we’ve had.
Fishing is in the summer pattern for the most part but the lack of oppressive heat has worked to hold fish activity higher than it often is at this point in the summer. Walleyes are steady, nothing special in terms of big numbers or large fish, but predictable now as fish are holding in their usually summer haunts of weed beds in 12 to 15 feet of water on most lakes. Jigs and crawlers or leeches will take fish. Mid-day fishing is generally slow except under heavy cloud; early mornings and evenings are best.
Bass are a good summer fish. Depending on the lake largemouth are often in the weedy or woody cover on shallower lakes but in deep areas on larger, deeper lakes. We see largemouth in water over 20 feet deep on some lakes in July. Smallies always like deeper, rocky areas on lakes but also are active on some area rivers where faster water holds them.
Musky action has been steady. Top water lures are a good summer bet and mid-size bucktails always work well. Days of heavy cloud and humidity can be very good at all times of the day; muskies stay active on those days and motor boat traffic is much less.
Any time we have warm days storms are always possible and the age-old caution still is valid: keep an eye on the weather, especially in late afternoons on hot days, and get off the water when weather builds.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.