August takes the turn for home this weekend; Sept. 1 is just a week away from Sunday and with it summer ends and fall begins. That date, Sept. 1, marks the opening of early fall hunting seasons and from then on the emphasis on outdoors becomes far more weighted to hunting versus fishing, this even though fall fishing can be exceptional.
Now we can feel summer slipping away daily in spite of this week’s heat; days are shorter and the nights have a chill to them that suggest autumn. After a summer that seemed too short and too late, autumn looms and summer is soon to fade away.
Having noted that, we did see some very good fishing in the past week. We heard of a decided uptick in musky angling with some fish moving into very shallow water, three to five feet on some lakes. It seems too early for that but the fact remains that some very good anglers found fish in the shallows. The key seems to be that it was on a downwind shore where wave action was pretty intense and likely put some baitfish into peril. The big fish moved in for some easy takings.
Overall, we would think that muskies will stay fairly active. Surface lures can be very productive as can any manner of largish crankbaits and the like. Hopefully the big fish will come on now after a pretty slow summer.
Walleyes remain steady with some good catches showing up although large fish remain scarce, something that is not uncommon for summer. Deeper water remains the preferred haunts of walleyes as it usually is in summer. Find deep weed beds adjacent to sand or gravel and you should find walleyes.
Largemouth bass are still in shallower water; we heard of one very big fish taken in a weedy area about 6 feet deep. That depth, four feet to 10 feet, is usually a good place to find largemouth as long as there is weed or woody cover. Plastic worms are proving a very good choice of late.
Smallmouth have been OK but not great and we’ve heard a mix of reports with some very good fishing in deeper water on larger lakes (deeper here meaning 30 to 40 feet). Panfish are slower these days.
Hunting is more of a factor now with leftover Turkey tags going on sale this Saturday (the 24th) while the first marks the start of Early Goose and Dove seasons.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.