Outdoor Report: As August wanes, thoughts turn to fall
A typical August night has people opening windows wide to let in the cool night air. This time around people are battening down that hatches against evening chill. The weather continues its out-of-synch pattern with a run of September-like days of late, putting people in the mind for fall activities even in what is usually a hot summer month. Now, as we pass the midway point in August we may be past the potential for high heat.
As it stands, mid August is usually when peoples’ thoughts turn to autumn regardless of the daytime temperature. Days are gradually shortening; nights typically can have some cool bite to them; reds of garden tomatoes are matched be early leaf change in a few spots. And thoughts do, in fact, turn to fall.
Fishing of late has been slow; multiple cold fronts that have dropped daytime temps below the norm and brought true chill to nights have conspired, as they always do, to put a damper on fishing success. Cold fronts do that, regardless of the time of year. Water temperatures are drifting downward but this past week that did not spur fishing action at all. We are optimistic (in the manner of all fishermen) that the warming trend forecast for this weekend and into next week will right the ship so to speak.
August fishing is typically a matter of fishing walleyes with jigs and crawlers or leeches along the edges of deep water weeds. That does not change week to week. Musky fishing often slows in August; this year it never really got going at all and remains sluggish. But the big fish still need nourishment and we’d fish them along weedy areas of shallower lakes and in deeper areas of deep water lakes.
Bucktail spinners and jerkbaits are productive and if conditions are right top water lures will produce strikes.
Bass fishing is a mainstay of summer angling. Smallies are in moderate depths these days; look for sandy areas of lake bottom in 12 -15 feet of water and ply those areas with deep-running minnow or crayfish imitations. Largemouth remain in the shallower waters and are hitting minnow imitations as well as top-water lures.
But mid August cannot pass without a look forward. Of note this week is the approval of waterfowl seasons (duck opener on Sept. 21; early goose Sept. 1); antlerless deer tags go on sale this Saturday, the 17th with a one tag per day limit; fall turkey tags will be sold on the 24th. It may be difficult to believe but hunt seasons are only 2 weeks away.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.