In a year when wild extremes in the weather have become the norm this past week’s sweltering heat only added to the storyline. After not hitting 90 degrees a single time last year we got whopped with a string of 90-plus that is, really, unprecedented. We may, occasionally, see that in August. In May? Never.
Be that as it may the heat dominated the outdoor scene, overshadowing the opening of musky season as well as Memorial Day activities. All else took at back seat to the sledge hammer-like heat.
So it was that the opening of musky season took place under high heat that did no one much good. It’s too early to get a real good read on the opening but a number of dedicated anglers sat this one out as temps reared up high and strong. Those that did had mixed results. Best we can say is that it will get better.
Other anglers are seeing bluegills on the beds and bass either in the shallows or staging pretty close. Crappies are mostly in deeper water now but some lakes are still seeing them working the shallows. The heat drove water temperatures up, especially on shallow, darker water.
This may well be the week to work for bluegills (poppers at dusk is always a good idea) and for big fish anglers the waters just off the spewing beds are always a good bet as predatory fish will move in to take ‘gills.
Bass fishing should heat up a lot. Smallmouth are still in the catch-and-release season. While it’s tempting to fish bass on the spawning beds, one should be somewhat cautious as fish can be stressed to unhealthy levels if caught repeatedly. And keep in mind that the Boom Lake area has more restrictive limits on panfish to help build that population. Double check the regs if fishing those waters.
The hot weather has made being in the water pretty enjoyable but being on the water, via kayaks, canoes and the like, is also looking good. Early mornings on a hot day are the best time to be out.
And be aware of mosquitoes! The past week has seen a sharp increase in their populations as the combination of heat and standing water has been perfect to hatch them out.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.