Outdoor Report: July has been great for outdoor activities
We are a week out from August in a summer when the normal heat has not shown up in full force, only flickered briefly like a flash of lightning in a summer sky. By now, we’ve typically seen heat build, day by day, with more to come. This July has been pleasant but not hot, not by any stretch.
If you are into outdoor sports, the temperatures have been enjoyable. Cycling and boating, fishing and golfing, all those and more have been very good. If you like the high heat of an 80-degree-plus day, well then, you’ve been short-changed! But for the most part, we are now in the last half of a summer that has been a pleasant one.
In a more typical summer we’d have water temperatures higher than they currently are. For swimming and water skiing, the water is fine. For fishing, the water temperatures are slightly lower than expected for late July and that has not been a bad thing. High water temperatures often bring slower fishing. This summer we’ve not seen that.
As it stands, the upcoming week will continue the trend of warm, but not hot, temperatures and overnight lows that are in the 50s. This will keep water temps steady and fishing should be fairly predictable. Fish do not like huge swings in temperature so we think it will be a decent week.
Walleyes in summer can seem finicky, but they generally locate in deeper weed beds and stay there all summer. Find the weedy areas or cribs and you should find walleyes. Most often, precise location is important so you may have to work along the edges of weed beds to find the fish, but jigs with crawlers or leeches will take fish.
Muskies continue a steady pace and we’ve not seen a major drop in their activity, in part due to the slightly cooler (for July) water. Late July is not a time for classic big fish action, but they still feed regularly and can be caught. We’d stay with mid-sized lures, bucktails and crankbaits, as well as top-water lures. And given that the water is a bit cooler, slow the presentation down some. Look to find fish nearer the shallows in the morning and evening; deeper during daylight hours.
Bass are always a good bet in summer with smallies active on rivers as well as in lakes (mid-depths near rock and gravel) and largemouth mixing it up in shallows at night, but moving into deeper water during the day.
Summer fishing is usually best in the early morning and evening hours but a heavy, overcast day can be good throughout the entire day.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.