August is halfway through, and so far we’ve missed the blazing heat often associated with the month. Indeed, cooler evenings have been the rule the past two weeks, and there has been a distinct feel of autumn in the air at times. Shorter days now are the norm, and all signs point to the upcoming fall seasons. The time of seasonal change is here.
Mid-August has a lot going on. Blackberries are now near their peak, although reports are of a thin crop. Wild rice is just coming on, and for those who gather it, the next weeks will be busy ones. And while it is sometimes difficult to think of it, the first fall hunting season is now less than two weeks away. All the while, of course, fishing and other summer sports are in full swing.
Fishing is showing a slow improvement, as water temperatures slowly drop from the brutal highs of July. Fishing in August is never great, but this month we are seeing more action than is usual. Muskies are coming to life after slowing down in the heat of July. They’re still nowhere near the peak of activity; that will come in the next 60 days. Still, we are getting more reports on musky action than we usually do this time of the summer.
Muskies are still scattered, and they are still seeking shady, cooler areas near heavy weed cover. As days cool off they’ll spread out more, and even now a heavy cloud cover will put them on the move. Bucktails are always a safe bet, but there are a host of other lures that seem to be working. The key is larger lures, moderate speed on the retrieve.
Walleyes also are slowly coming on. It has been a pretty slow season all things considered, but people are starting to find walleyes where one would expect them in summer, namely in deeper water along weed beds. Some anglers have been using essentially a vertical jigging tactic to fish above weedy areas (as opposed to working off the bottom next to the weeds).
But while fishing and other summer pursuits are still popular, much attention is now turning toward upcoming hunting seasons. This Saturday, the 18th, antlerless tags went on sale, and next Saturday, the 25th, any leftover turkey permits for the fall season go on sale. Check the DNR webpage or local sporting goods stores for specific details on number of tags available.
Then, on Sept. 1, the fall hunt season kicks of with the early goose season, as well as mourning dove season. Neither is hugely popular in terms of numbers of hunters participating, but both do signal the start of the autumn hunt.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.