Arguably the best news on the outdoor front came last weekend at the local Curt Ebert Musky tournament held on Boom Lake, when the fishing was fast and furious with some very good fish being boated. The largest fish topped 47 inches. Total number caught (and released) was as good as it’s been in the 30 year plus history of the tourney. That’s good news after a very slow start to the musky season. We’re optimistic that we’re now into a good week or two of musky fishing, and that the fish are back to normal patterns.
Last weekend, and through much of this week, saw overcast skies, rising humidity and southerly or westerly breezes, all of which add up to very good conditions for summer musky fishing. If that weather pattern continues into this weekend, we’re looking for more good musky action.
Lure selection has been a mix, with top-water lures producing well, as well as a mix of bucktail spinners and large musky plugs. Weedy areas are always a good place in the heat of summer, but the key with the cloudy skies is that fish will often feed during daylight hours. Barring a mean-spirited cold front, we think musky action will hold steady.
Bass fishing made the transition from catch-and-release to catch-and-keep (or release) a week ago, and the same conditions that moved muskies did the same for bass. Largemouth action was good to very good, with fish moving along lily pads (fish them there with minnow immitations) or seeking shelter under the thick pads (reach them there with a weedless frog imitation). Evening brings a time for top water lures, loud, splashy and noisy.
Smallmouth bass are in deeper water for the most part, where deeper-running minnow lures will take them. But don’t ignore some of the area rivers where smallies can be plentiful. There we use a swimming jig and plastic tail to find fish under cover next to shore, or in eddies in faster water.
Walleyes continue a slow pattern as they have all spring. Jigs with leeches fished along the edges of deeper weed beds should work, but we’ll not pretend that walleyes have been easy to catch; they’ve been anything but. Same for panfish, with the exception of some steady action on bluegills.
We’ve seen some weather build this week, and so must offer up a caution: On hot, humid days, storms can blow up a short time. If you see weather coming in (most often from the south and west), get off the water. Wind and rain and lightening can be dangerous when you’re on the water, whether in a fishing boat, kayak or canoe.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.