July 4th is in the rearview mirror now and summer ahead as we rush headlong into the short, intense summer season in the north. A touch of heat the past week set the stage for what we can expect; temperatures in the 80s will likely become commonplace.
This weekend will put things on hold as slightly cooler weather moves in before next week gets back to normal; highs in the 80s will dominate after the weekend.
Summer in the Northwoods for outdoor enthusiasts is a wonder to be part of. Cycling and boating, water skiing and swimming, fishing and evening cookouts rule the days. The short story is that July is the best summer will offer as longer periods of daylight guarantee plenty of time and rising temperatures make most activities pleasant.
Fishing in July can be a mixed bag. Fish move deeper now as they search for their own comfort zones in cooler water. Anglers that miss the location will come home empty handed. Those that locate fish precisely have a fighting chance for good action.
Walleye fishing this past week has been pretty good. Walleyes are in deeper water, near weeds; that was true last week and it will remain the case until cooler weather in September. Crawlers and leeches on jigs or, in some cases, slip bobbers will take walleyes now. But location is critical and weedy areas adjacent to sand or near drop-offs generally will hold walleyes.
Muskies are in similar waters; deeper and cooler. Bucktails remain a classic musky lure that allow and angler to cover a lot of water at varying depths. Surface lures are a natural for summer as well and the successful musky anglers use a mix of top water and deeper running lures to find fish. Successsful anglers also do not linger on one spot too long. If fish do not show in a reasonable time it may be a good idea to move on.
Panfish are in deeper water and slip bobbers over worms, waxes or small minnows usually work for bluegills and crappies. Smallmouth bass will work deeper areas now with largemouth mixed, often going deep during the high sun and moving to shallows at dark.
The cool weather this weekend will probably slow fishing success but steady temps and south and west winds next week bode well.
Summer storms are always a possibly in the heat of the afternoon and anyone on water need be aware at all times of heavy clouds that can lead quickly to hard storms.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.