Boating, picnics, swimming not bad, either
July makes its lazy way toward August this week. Nights are growing longer now; daylight hours gradually are waning. Summer heat will still build but the long hours of daylight peaked 30 days ago. We are in mid-summer and this week things tip ever so slightly toward August and summers end.
The weekend forecast holds rain on Saturday but after that the week ahead looks good. After three months of heavy rainfall, record setting amounts, July is, to date, under the average for rainfall. That is much appreciated by all. Water levels are very high and show no sign of dropping off much very soon.
July’s heat, and soon enough the heat of August, can be liberating to some who love the 80s and 90s, but stiffing to others. Summer heat makes hydration a constant necessity for any activity. Summer sun can bring sunburn and so cautions are advised for sun protection. But summer heat is what this time of the year is all about so best deal with it.
Summer fishing is predictable, year after year. Fish will move deeper to find cooler water. Most any species will be found in deeper water, near or in submerged weeds. Structure is always important and summer fish prefer the edges of drop-offs, deeper rocky areas, and the edges of weed beds in deeper water. Find the location and you’ll find fish.
If you want fast action you can fish shallower water but most of what you catch will be small fish. For bigger fish you need to go deep. Walleyes will be taking leeches on jigs; muskies like deeper running lures (though they will come up for splashy surface lures); smallmouth bass want crayfish imitations; largemouth will take minnow imitations but in cooler evenings do move to lily pads and take surface lures. Panfish are best fished with small jigs in deeper water off shoreline weeds.
But fishing is not the only game in town. Any lake use, water skiing, swimming or boating, is perfect now. Bicycling, either on road or off is as good as it gets (just remember to take plenty of water). And the simple summer joys of picnics and lawn games come to the fore now.
Mosquitoes continue to be bothersome; good repellents and ThermaCell units are a necessity. But other than that things are as good as they get in the Northwoods in summertime.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.