It seems improbable that we are on the leading edge of Memorial Day weekend. Two-plus weeks ago lakes were heavy with ice and the odds of an open water fishing opening weekend were slim. Then it warmed, ice fractured and drifted; open water came on. Most lakes were open for that weekend; all others soon thereafter. We will be only three weeks out from ice out come this weekend yet here we are: Memorial Day and the gateway to summer.
Fishing shuddered to a start in the chill water following ice out. It was not a banner opener for many but it was not all bad and since then warming waters have started to yield up some decent fish. The upcoming weekend is a holiday weekend on the calendar and, for musky anglers, a holiday of sorts given that it marks the opening of musky season.
A glance at the forecast shows hot weather ahead for the weekend. That may make time on the water a bit of an ordeal most often associated with July but it’s what we have. Water temps are warming up and that often spurs the fish to more activity. We have had muskies taken as incident catches (and releases) by anglers targeting bass and walleyes. The key takeaway is that the big fish have been willing to key in on smaller lures, not uncommon in May.
We’d think a small to mid-size lure will be the best bet this weekend. We’d also guess muskies would be in shallower water versus deep. Early season muskies often key into shallower water to take spawning panfish so we’d start in the shallows and work out from there.
Walleyes are scattered after having been in shallow water for the first week. For the most part they have moved out some but will come in toward dark so late evening fishing in the shallower waters remains good. Walleye fishing has been decent, all things considered.
Warming water is good news for anglers but also for boaters of all types. With people finally getting boats and docks ready after a late start this weekend, and warm temperatures and a long weekend for most, lakes should be busy with power boats as well as canoes and kayaks. All of this should have things in place for a very good Memorial Day weekend across the north.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.