The annual Free Fishing Weekend takes place this weekend, June 2-3. All the rules on possession, size limits, and so forth remain in force, but for these two days no license is required. It’s a great idea, and one that gives everyone a chance to try fishing in Wisconsin.
Fishing in the area continues in a rather unsettled manner as we go into the first week of June. Musky season opened a week ago to mixed success, but certainly not a banner start after all was said and done. Fish seemed scattered and mostly uncooperative. That may change this week, as stable weather moves in to replace the cold front that slowed things way down mid-week.
We’re a month into the open water season for most game fish, and it has not been a notable month for most anglers. Walleye action has been slow, musky (although only a week into the season) has not started well, and panfish are now slowing down after a decent but not great few weeks.
Walleyes should be in deeper water on most lakes, seeking out the submerged weedbeds that are now emerging. Normally this early we’d be using minnows, but with the early warm-up this year we’re leaning toward going to leeches sooner rather than later. For certain if the minnows don’t produce, try leeches or even crawlers. Walleyes have simply seemed finicky this month, and we’ve not heard of any real success in catching them.
With only one week into the musky season (and with half of that week slowed by a hard cold front) we’re not seeing any single lure or tactic stand out. We’re still fans of bucktails for this week, gold blades with black tails usually being the most consistent. We’d work along weedy areas just off shore where weeds border deeper water. Surface lures should also work well, even though it’s earlier than normal for top-water action.
Bluegills were still showing some spark through the weekend, and we think they’ll be hot on some lakes into the next week. Crappies peaked a few weeks ago, and mostly moved off to deeper water now.
Largemouth bass are on the beds on most lakes, and can provide some easy catching this week. It’s still catch-and-release season for them.
With the longer days and warming weather, all outdoor activities are looking pretty good right now, and we’ve seen a real increase in the numbers of bicyclists and recreational boaters in the past couple weeks. That trend will continue now as schools are over for the year and vacation traffic picks up for this area.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.