A string of warm days has set the stage for a good weekend of fishing in the area. In the past weeks we’ve had a warm day, maybe two, then a drop in temperatures that shut off any fish activity. In the middle of this past week, the temperature got to the 70s and the long-term (or at least through the weekend) holds more of the same. All this is good news for the fishing fraternity.
The fish bite has been tentative since the opener. Smaller, shallow lakes have been the best bet, but even they have not been consistent. Anglers have reported very finicky fish and very light strikes if at all. That is consistent with colder water; that simply slows fish down, cold-blooded as they are.
Warmer weather this weekend should put us in good shape. We’re thinking that this weekend will resemble what we typically expect for an early May opening. We are at least two weeks behind the norm, so we’d head to areas that might be productive in a normal early May. That usually will mean walleyes in shallow to moderate depths, where they will be looking favorably at small jig heads and small to mid-sized minnows or artificial bait. Retrieve should still be slow; too fast and the fish simply won’t catch up with the offering.
Crappies have been showing some life and seem to be staging near the shallows, but they have not turned on at all. We talked to anglers who can see the fish in the shallows but the fish simply have not been aggressive. That will change now and crappies should be coming on.
Bluegills will follow the crappies. It’s too early for them to have any real move to feeding but a few larger fish will probably start to show up this week. Again, shallow, dark water lakes will be the most consistent producers.
While some rain is in the forecast, we are still looking at pretty dry conditions.
The huge wild fire in the northwestern part of the state should serve as a reminder to use caution. Small fires can get out of control in a heartbeat when driven by a spring breeze over dry ground.
And yes, wood ticks are out in force as of this week! Permethin is the best repellant we’ve found and we’re not stepping off the pavement without it.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.