Fishing remains a puzzle of late. Not that it isn’t always somewhat puzzling, but one would think that by now things would be better sorted out. Yet the musky tourney last weekend saw only four fish boated; this in comparison to 20 a year ago for the same weekend. Water temperature gets the blame on this one, as last weekend it was still below average. We’re hoping that the late week rise in air temperature will bring water temps up to the point where muskies may move with more authority this weekend. The truth has been that up until now, it’s been slow.
Water temperature is always the key to driving fish activity and the simple reality is that we’re still running behind the norm. A few warm days may well do the trick and if that’s the case, this weekend could see the first good musky action of the season.
We’d expect the fish to come on as long as the forecast holds true and temperatures rise to seasonal norms. If that is the case, expect muskies to show some signs of life as they respond to rising water temperatures and become more aggressive. Up until now it’s been slow fishing for the big guys but if the water warms up, look for this to be a good weekend with medium-size lures and moderate retrieve speeds paying off.
Walleyes have been fairly steady of late as they move into more seasonal haunts in moderate depths. Typical summer times will find walleyes taking shelter in submerged weeds near sand or gravel and moving out from the weeds to feed. Find that zone between cover and open areas and you’ll find walleyes.
A week ago, we saw walleyes hitting crawlers (versus minnows) and we expect that trend to continue. Once walleye change over from early season minnows to summery fare of crawlers and leeches, they generally hold the course in terms of diet until September when minnows come back into play.
Bass season for catch-and-keep opened last weekend, but we’ve heard very little in terms of people focusing on them. The warmer weather should spur good bass fishing, as they seem to prefer warmer water versus the chill of spring. We’d look for bass in fairly shallow water this week, as many may still be on the beds.
Bluegills are pretty active on most lakes and this week should still provide some good fishing for them.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.