It seems near impossible to realize that we are a week out from July Fourth, a week past Summer Solstice, and setting a modern record for days when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Difficult also to comprehend some high water levels on lakes and rivers, aftermath of the heavy rains two weeks ago. But that’s where we are and that’s what we have as we turn the calendar page, June to July, in the upcoming days.
The high water levels are apparent and many lakes and, most significantly, on most rivers. Floating the rivers in canoes or kayaks is a popular summertime activity but some caution needs be advised now as high water has flooded low areas adjacent to the main channels, increased the water flow significantly and raised water levels high enough that in some cases passage under bridges is impaired. None of which is to say don’t paddle the rivers but all of which is to say that one must be aware of the unusual conditions and be cautious at all times.
Higher lake levels have been inconvenient as docks in some cases are under water making access an issue not to say navigation problematic; a submerged dock is easily hit by a boater unaware of its presence. Again, caution is the word as many lakes simply are different waterscape than is normal.
Higher water levels have impacted fishing and not for the better. Big fish follow smaller fish as predators after prey and the flooding on both lakes and rivers has the small baitfish moving into shallows that have not really existed before. So the predators, the game fish most anglers prefer, are having to adjust. Bottom line is that typical fish patterns on many lakes are upset and the normal places one finds fish may have changed.
All game fish are well into summer patterns; walleyes in deeper water in weed cover, muskies moving from deeper to shallower looking for food, bass mixed with smallmouth mostly deeper but largemouth working shallows. But keep in mind that the shallow/deep water mix may have changed on your lake and fish may be in areas, mostly shallower water, than they have been in the past.
Walleyes still prefer leeches or crawlers with muskies mixing it up between deeper water lures and top water offerings.
The high heat forecast for the weekend will slow things down as blazing heat does little to encourage high activity. The week of the Fourth looks to bring in more 80s. That is the story, so far, of summer 2018. High water and high heat will alter our north woods landscape but the outdoor experience will remain a wonderful thing.
An assortment of outdoor products is available at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander. Call 715-362-5800.