If you like the out of doors, you can make a strong argument that we’re into the prime time of the entire year. Of course, if you really like to be outside there is no bad season. But this is what June has to offer: Warm days that have more daylight than any other month. There is no other month that delivers that. Early mornings can be calm and mild; afternoons can give a solid touch of summerlike heat; evenings offer sunsets, pleasant temperatures and easy living. June has the feel of summer without the overbearing heat of August. Nights are usually temperate; days seem to last forever.
Those conditions make for exceptional times on the water (think swimming, kayaking, water skiing, fishing), in the woods (hiking and mountain biking), or about anyplace else save for inside. June is meant for outdoor cooking, and any given evening will bring the scent of grills firing up and making dinner. June, any way you cut it, is a great month!
That great month is off to a slow start on the fishing scene unfortunately. There is, to be blunt, no real good news on all fronts. Musky season opened slowly and never got going; walleyes have been balky; panfish are showing some signs of life on some days, then tapering off. Even bass, which can liven up any day in early June, have not sparked. And, most frustratingly, there seems no real answer as to why. But it’s what we’ve got.
Right now fishing is a puzzler, with local anglers who know the water and fish often not able to figure things out. In times as this, it’s often best to break what you take for rules.Walleyes, for instance, usually are in middle depths and are still on minnows. This week we had a good report from someone who caught fish in 6 to 8 feet of water with small Rapalas.We’ve also had reports of leeches and crawlers producing fish, and we’d probably shift in that direction and work along submerged weedbeds. Walleyes usually head there in June. One factor has been a very heavy mayfly hatch this week that has fish feeding heavily on the flies and larva.
Muskies remain a mystery, but if there is a pattern, it seems that they are responding to bucktails and some surface lures. We still feel they should be making moves into shallow water on lakes with a bluegill population, as some of the ‘gills are still lingering, late it seems, near spawning areas. The same is the case with small bass that provide a good meal for big fish.
Panfish action is all over the board, with reports of surprisingly late crappie action and some very big bluegills still coming on. But nobody seems to be taking any real good numbers of anything.
Bass season remains catch-and-release for another week, with largemouth being active on some lakes even as smallies are drifting into deeper water in their post-spawn phase.
All in all, the best that can be said for fishing is that the weather makes it pleasant to be on the water regardless of the success. That same weather and those long days will make the next weeks good to be outside for whatever reason. And that is something everyone can agree on!
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.