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Minocqua Area Report – 2015

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1551063

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-16-15:

    Wind shifts and the random down pour have thrown a few curves at anglers this past week. Steady temps though have brought some stability to our fishing.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Post spawn action has increased. Exceptional fish being caught and released as smallies putting on the feed bag after going without during spawn. Deeper running, crayfish patterned cranks during the day, as well as tubes and creature baits. We released a 21 7/8” fish along with several others in the 19 ½” to 21 ½” range the other day. It’s been a great time for big fish.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good. Many bigger bodies of water still not seeing bedding Largemouth. On these waters, pre-spawn bass on plastic craws, creature baits and jig/pig combos. On small to mid-sized lakes, use top water when calm enough. Chug bugs, Skitter Pops and X-rap pops have been working.

    Walleye: Good. While weeds still key on many lakes, rock and wood are also showing signs of holding fish, especially on days of changing weather (from cloudy to clear). Crawlers and leeches are providing the best action, though minnows are still working up along shallow, wind blown weeds.

    Bluegill: Good-very good. They are setting up to spawn soon. Small leeches and worms have been effective. Fly fisherman are having good success on Bimbo Skunk flys and poppers on warmer quieter evenings.

    Perch: Good. Search out deep wood for the best sized perch. The crayfish molt is going on in many lakes and perch are feeding heavily on crayfish. Medium leeches, ½ crawlers, Gulp Alive leeches on 1/8 oz jigs on slip bobbers.

    Northern pike: Good-Very good. Action from larger fish is evident in reports of 32-43” pike being caught. Jig and chub combos accounting for most fish, but, swimbaits and #3 Mepps also working.

    Musky: Good-Very good. Still shallow as evidence of a 51” caught earlier in the week in 2-3’ of water. Twitch baits, gliders and bucktails are working best.

    Crappies: Good. The best fishing has been around deep wood and boathouse pilings. Mini-mites, Tattle Tails tipped with small minnows or wax worm working best. On shallow lakes cast smallest Beetle Spin or Charlie Bee over weed tops.

    For those targeting walleyes, keep your eyes open for mayfly hatches. Turtle Flambeau Flowage had a big one on 6/14. Current surface temps are 64-68 degrees.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1551750

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-23-15:

    Despite it being the beginning of summer (so says the calendar), weather conditions have not been very summer like. Constantly changing weather, wind direction and some cold nights (one morning launched at 38 degrees) have made coming up with any type of productive pattern difficult.

    Musky: Good-Very good. Best in afternoons and evenings. Good numbers of fish being raised and caught. Still fairly shallow due to waiting for the bluegills to move in for spawn (I’m guessing). Small bucktails, 6 &7” twitch baits and smaller topwater baits have been best.

    Northern: Good-very good. Like their larger cousins, these fish have not been as affected by the crazy weather as other species. At times, it’s been tough to get bites, but, if casting square-lipped shallow running crankbaits and double bladed spinner baits don’t produce, return with a jig and chub combo.

    Crappies: Good. Best if you can find deep wood (12-16′) to float small minnows or ½ crawlers to fish suspending 3-5’ off the bottom. On lakes with good stands of northern milfoil, fish over weed tops with Gapen Freshwater Shrimp or Charlie Bees. Nice fish of 10-12” with a few 13-14”ers being caught.

    Walleyes: Fair-Good. Weather and scattered mayfly hatches are making this species tough to nail down. On lakes with hatches, target mud flats using ½ crawlers on 1/8 oz jigs in depths of 14-30’. Weed fish (pre or post hatches) have been giving up fish on chubs or leeches.

    Smallmouth: Fair-Good. Target 12-14’ rocky breaks either banging the rocky bottoms with crank baits in crawfish patterns or by working jig and worm or plastic crawls along the same areas.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. On many lakes, spawning has not fully started due to lake temps not breaking into the 70’s. Weeds of 12’ and less have been holding staging fish willing to hit jigs and grubs as well as jig and creature baits. Casting wacky worms into pockets in weed flats also working.

    Perch: Fair-Good. Wood in depths of 12-16’ holding perch that are feeding heavily on small crayfish. Use ½ crawler on 1/8 oz jigs or below slip-floats can’t be beat. Thunderbugs are like pizza to a teenager for this species.

    Bluegills: Fair-Good. This species should be at the top of the list, but, waters need to crest the 70 degree mark to see better spawning activity. Small leeches, thunderbugs and tiny jigs tipped with waxies. Fly anglers have done well with nymphs, but, not enough warm, flat afternoon and evenings for popper fishing.

    All we can do is hope for a warmer July to stabilize things here in the Lakeland area. While fishing has not been as easy as one would like – it’s still fishing and it hasn’t been all that bad.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1552625

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-30-15:

    Finally, area lakes are seeing temperatures in the low 70’s, giving Largemouth Bass and Bluegill anglers what they have been looking for! A few mayfly hatches have been reported lately and when they have been, they are coming in small patches, not entire lakes worth. With this food source out of the way, walleyes should be a bit easier to figure out.

    Bluegills: Good-Very good. The warm weather has brought gills in the shallows. A few warm/calm days gave anglers a chance to use poppers to get some great top-water fun. Otherwise use thunderbugs, wax worms and small leeches. Work the shallows and watch for beds…don’t take too many…leave some for seed.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good. Lots of action and a variety of techniques working. Lots of good heavy weed techniques using plastic craws or bugs. Punching into the thick cover using heavy weights to fish Wooly Bugs and Sweet Beavers. Top water with plastic frogs and popper lures. Shallow square lipped cranks and spinnerbaits over 8’ cabbage beds simple and easy.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Just off first breaks and along rocky drop offs. Work plastic craws and creature baits. X-raps early morning for cruising fish, chug bugs and x-rap pops in the evening for top water action. Live leeches hard to resist.

    Perch: Good-Very good. Liking the rise in temps, perch are feeding on crayfish. Deep wood best, but, sandgrass flats also holding these crab eaters. Use soft shells where available, otherwise ½ crawlers on 1/8oz jigs or dangled below slip-floats.

    Musky: Good-Very good. Despite a few draw back on the bright clear days, evenings have been good on bucktails and top waters (Pacemakers and Whopper Ploppers). Shallow water 2-12’ still best.

    Walleye: Good. Watch the weather, when clouds move in so should you to 8-12’ cabbage flats. XL leeches on crawlers on 1/16 oz weedless jigs. Bright days, move out to deeper breaks of firm to soft transition or deep wood, crawlers especially good here where walleyes are found feeding on soft shelled craws.

    Crappies: Good. Best over deep, curly leaf cabbage beds of 10-16’. Work tickling weed tops with small Charlie Bees, or light plastic or hair jigs tipped with small minnows, waxies or 1” Gulp Alive minnows.

    Pike: Good. Taking back seat to Largemouth Bass, but, still active on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and #3 Mepps Aglia and Comet spinners.

    Still getting fronts moving through, making it hard to get consistent patterns going at times, but, warmer water is really helping.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1553592

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-23-15:

    Despite a crush of activity on the water for the Holiday weekend, fishing was good. Weather, though constantly changing, brought in just the right mix for anglers and non-anglers alike. Water temps holding in the low 70’s, with some spikes probably coming with some warmer days in the forecast.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. Lakes with high populations offering great action on a variety of techniques. Early mornings cast shallow running cranks in panfish and crayfish patterns along inside weed edges. Mid-morning through mid-afternoon switch to pre-rigged plastic worms, wacky worms and beaver baits into heavier cover. On overcast days work chatterbaits and spinnerbaits over weed tops. Towards evening return to shallows with topwater (Jitterbugs, x-rap pops) and plastic frogs.

    Bluegills: Very good. Live bait best with thunderbugs, small leeches and worms in 6-8’. Calm warm evenings and even some still mornings providing great top water popper action.

    Walleye: Good. Cool June has kept the walleyes in shallower than usual. Best action in 8-14’ weeds on cloudy days using XL leeches or crawlers on 1/16 oz weedless jigs. Casting #4 through #6 Shad Raps also productive on these days. On high sky days start early (pre-dawn) on late (evenings). Lighted slip-bobbers with big leeches at dusk and after. Not a lot of fish moving on to deeper rocks, but patterns should develop as water warms.

    Pike: Good. A northwoods monster was caught last week (a 43”er…huge pike for these parts). Paddle tail minnows in 4,5 and 6” over weed tops as well as Johnson weedless minnow tipped with a 4” Twister tail or pork strip. Chubs and suckers, as usual, are good choices.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Though typically better by this time of year, as with the walleyes not as deep as you would expect. Early morning, cast for cruisers using X-raps and Rattlin Rouges. Work weed edges of 14-16’ and watch for signs of chasing on the surface of small minnows. Cast #2 Mepps, #4 Panther Martins or #3 Rapalas.

    Musky: Good. Bucktails during the day, top water at dusk. Have had good success on jointed twitch baits. Most action reported still weed related in 4-12’.

    Crappies: Good. Relating to tall weeds (narrow leafed cabbage) in 10-14’. Work small Charlie Bees, Road Runners and 206-208 Roster Tails to locate fish. Settle in with slip-bobbers and small minnows 3-5’ down over these weed tops.

    Perch: Good. The best sized fish relating to deep sandgrass or drowned wood in 12-18’. Frozen soft shelled crayfish tops! Follow that up with a ½ crawler if craws not available. Perch of 10-13” using these baits over this bottom type but a little searching required.

    Fishing overall has been good. Fronts and changing wind biggest obstacles, but water temps not fluctuating a lot. If forecast can be trusted, not a cool, but, not a hot July expected.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1554684

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-14-15:

    It is shaping up to be a regular summer, finally. Water temps are in the mid to upper 70’s (saw one lake hit 80 degrees on a warm Saturday). The higher water temps are pushing some fish deeper, while making others more active.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. The largemouth population continues to grow here in the Northwoods. With high populations, these bass are covering a large area and hitting a wide variety of live bait and lures. While large leeches and crawlers on 1/16 oz. weedless jig are hard for these bass to resist, don’t rule out artificial bait as well. Try working 3” Power Bait Ripple Shads and pre-rigged 6” worms over cabbage tops of 6-10’. Flukes and Breakin’ Shads are also hot right now. Yamamoto DH/T Grubs and Chompers skirted grubs rigged Carolina style as well as wacky worming Yum Dingers and Senkos when necessary to get into the weeds. With the hotter weather top-water action has picked up on both hard (Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and Skitter Pops) as well as soft baits (Lunker Hunter Combat Frogs). The top-water action is best at dawn or dusk.

    Bluegills: Very good. They can be found suspending around deep weed edges and on top of broad leaf cabbage in some areas. It’s a great time for poppers and dry flies as bluegills have been seen taking small insects off the surface in many locales. Small leeches, thunderbugs and worms can’t be passes up, even catching some larger gills on small minnows.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Action is improving as the water warms up. While off-shore rock/gravel holding some fish, deep coontail edges providing better action to anglers drop-shotting Yum Crawbugs and Jackall crosstail shads. Look to 14-18’ edges for best action.

    Musky: Good. Blades are working best. Bucktails and spinnerbaits over weeds in 8-12’, and despite movement deeper, don’t leave out shallow inside weed edges in as little as 3-5’ Topwater action is good with tail-type baits such as Pacemakers and Top Raiders scoring for evening anglers.

    Walleye: Good. Got to play the sun and wind, but, walleyes relating to cabbage. Anglers working low light times using shallow running cranks to “tic” weed tops coming up with jarring strikes. The traditional jig and crawler or XL leech doing well as is slip bobbering the same baits into pockets of weeds. Deep rocks just starting to give up some fish. Use big leeches or crawlers on 1/8-1/4 oz. jigs.

    Crappie: Good. Working deep curly leafed cabbage tops with small, flashy jigs such as Gapen’s Freshwater Shrimp, VMC’s Boottail or Curltail grubs or a jig/blade combo such as Northland’s Crappie Thumpers, Charlie Bees or Road Runners. Use these to locate crappies then relax with some small minnows and floats.

    Perch: Good. Best sized fish deep over sandgrass flats of 14-22’. Try Lindy rig or slip-float with a frozen soft shell craw. Half a crawler will work when soft shells not available. Nice eaters of 10-12” with some near 13” caught this week.

    With the exception of storms and occasionally too much wind, summer patterns are setting up nice.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1556212

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-21-15:

    Mid summer weather has certain species setting up in typical patterns for this time of year. Other species not so much.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. Providing the best overall action for our summer visitors. A myrid of tactics from simple wacky worming, to Carolina rigging, to crank baiting and top wet or buzz baits And plastic frogs. If one method isn’t working, move around. While most Large mouth anglers work shoreline docks And inside weedlines – deep edges of coontail in 14 – 17’ due holding plenty of fish.

    Musky: good. The warming temps have improved musky action. Evenings best on top water baits. Fast moving buck tails over deep weed beds and along deep weed edges. A 48 ¾” was best of the reported muskies caught this week.

    Bluegills: good. Best on less windy days. Nice gills of 7 ½ – 9” plus on small leeches, beaver tails below small slip floats around cabbage beds of 8 – 12’. Small beetle spins will attract attention, drawing fish in to take live bait on float rigs.

    Smallmouth Bass: good. Not up to normal action for this time of year, but picking up. Drop shotting with craw and pin minnow imitations working well over deep rocks. Early mornings cast shadow raps along shorelines for crushing smallies.

    Walleyes: good. While weed bites still giving up fish to early riser anglers on crawlers and jigs, some deeper rock fish starting to show on big leeches. On cloudy days with wind, try lipless cranks over weeds of 6-10’ adjacent to deeper water.

    Crappies: good – fair. Warmer days best in deep weeds on small minnows/rigs or bladed spinner jigs such as Charlie bees.

    Northern Pike: good – fair. Casting spinnerbaits over weed flats of 8-12’ BEST. Live chubs: suckers on jigs on below floats also effective.

    Yellow perch: good – fair. While sandgrass flats best for quality ( 10-13”) using frozen soft shells, weeds of or 8-12” and wood cribs providing better action of 8-10” perch on ½ crawlers.

    It’s been a some what disappointing week at times, but in some cases, changing lakes and searching different locales from your favorite standbys has produced some nice catches.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1556793

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-28-15:

    Lots of hot weather for the Northwoods, raising temps on the water and putting fish in some very typical bite patterns.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. Hard to deny this species the top spot due to the action they are supplying! Mornings finding good action on shallow running Cranks (Scatter Raps, Shallow Shad Raps) Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits later in mornings, cloudy afternoons. Otherwise wacky worm, Carolina rigging creature baits (Sweet Beavers, Cranks etc). Evenings following the heat providing great top water action on winged hard baits( Creepers, Pompadours), Jitter bugs and plastic frogs. Good #’s plus enough 20” fish to make things interesting.

    Musky: Very good. Stick to evenings on top water baits such as PaceMakers, Whopper Ploppers. Bucktails along deep weed edges during early mornings- rubber baits (Alien eels) over open water late morning early evening.

    Northern Pike: Good. Bladed baits such as # 3 -# 4 Mepps Aglias, Spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits as well as 3 1/2″ – 5″ swimbaits have been very effective over weed tops. Top water buzzbaits and small Whopper Ploppers fun to fish along weed edges now – or just kick back and soak & sucker while you soak up some sun.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Early mornings casting Shadow Raps, Scatter Raps, and x- Raps. Daytime hit deep rocks drop – shotting plastic Craws (Craw Papis, Christie Craws) or plastic pin-minnows. Big leeches on jig (1/8 oz) tough to pass up. Big smallies reported to 21” plenty of hard fighting 14-18” to make for lots of fun!

    Walleyes: Good. Setting up on classic structure. Deep rocks or wood on natural lakes. Surprisingly shallow along weed weed edges or flowages. While leeches and crawlers getting most the attention, a few local guides doing very well on redtailed chubs and black chubs.

    Bluegills: Good to very good. Big gills over wood in flowages on ½ crawlers. On natural lakes, small to medium leeches along deep weed edges. Evenings providing great action on top water poppers or dry flies!

    Crappies: Good. Best on natural lakes over tall curly leaf cabbage. Such as Beetle Spins or Charlie Bees. Small minnows also good under floats. Always check out any drowned wood (trees, cribs) using slip bobbers or vertical jigging.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Deep sandgrass flats using frozen soft shells or ½ crawlers on Lindy rigs or below slip floats. Some nice catches up in cabbage flats using crawlers or medium leeches.

    The hottest weather we have seen in the past three summers has typical summer patterns setting up nicely- finally! Surface temps running 78-82^ during the day- target early morning or late evening for best fishing.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1557839

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-03-15:

    It was a warm, but very windy week, making boat positioning and fishing more than a little difficult. The high winds didn’t keep fish from biting, in some cases it brought action up, but the good bites were tough to access.

    Walleyes: Very Good. Yeah ok, not as good as Largemouth Bass, but it was a very good week of walleye fishing if you could hold your boat. Wind pounded shallow weeds held walleyes taking advantage of the chaos and lower light to feed. Red-tailed chubs, black chubs, crawlers and leeches on 1/16-1/8 oz. weedless jigs took eyes in water from 14’ to as shallow 2’. While young of the year perch and other 1” long bait was their feed, any morsel tossed in their path seemed to work.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good: High winds took the top water equation out on most days, but sub-surface/shallow cranks, chatter baits and spinnerbaits have all been productive in the rough water. While wacky worming was still effective, finesse was not needed in the rough weather.

    Northern Pike: Good: Casting blade baits (spinnerbaits, spinners, chatter baits) and 3-4” Swimbaits worked over heavy weed beds in the wind. While local pike populations are not what they used to be, nicer average pike, mid 20” to mid 30” have become more common place.

    Musky: Good. Like Largemouth, top-water action was a tough (but not impossible) goal. Best using big bladed buck tails and large twitch baits. Lots of follows this week with enough high 30” to low 40” fish to make it interesting.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Extremely tough to fish in most cases but some true brutes (20 -22”) being caught rather shallow along scattered weed and submerged wood. Wacky worming and jig and creature bait/Jig & pig also productive.

    Bluegills: Good. Wind is tough on the bite. Some big gills (8-10”) caught deep around submerged wood/cribs using ½ crawlers. In lee-wind bays, small leeches under floats and good choice for action and picking out some keepers (7-8 “).

    Crappie:/Perch: Fair. Some nice fish caught while targeting walleyes, but overall tough week to target pan fish.

    As the coming week cools, hopefully winds will lessen to allow anglers to fish. Forecast for highs in the mid 70’s with overnight lows in the mid to upper 40’s will change some patterns. To what extent we’ll have to see.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1559223

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-11-15:

    Not a noteworthy week in many respects. The wind finally laid down enough for better boat control, but some storms (and threat of storms), changed plans and patterns.

    Musky baits and top water tail baits (Whopper Ploppers and Pace Makers) have worked well over thick weed mats, especially pre–front conditions. Big bladed buck tails/double bladed that move water also good choices.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. Wind not a friend to bass anglers early in week. Once things calmed down, plastics in the form of Sweet Beavers, Creatures and Craws Carolina rigged produced well. Buzz baits and other top water offerings towards warmer evenings.

    Northern Pike: Good. Best on spinnerbaits and swimbaits over thick weeds of 6-10’. Live chubs or suckers in and wide gapped weed less jig working well.

    Walleye: Good. Bite off from early in week when it was best. Picking back up some. Red tails good choice on weed edges in wind. Crawlers or leeches along sand grass of 14-22’.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Some evening top water action for big smallies. Daytime drop–shotting with plastic craws or pin–minnow’s best. Big leeches hard to resist.

    Crappie: Good. Deep wood best, though some big slabs 14” along deep weeds came to the boat using chubs meant for walleyes. Looks like a good number of 11-13” fish on many of our lakes and flowages.

    Bluegill: Good. Be better if less windy early. Evenings still good for top water poppers and dry flies. Small leeches along deep coontail edges of 12-16’. Nice gills even taking crappie minnows.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Good. Best using ½ crawlers or frozen soft shells over deeper sand grass or along drowned wood (cribs).

    Water temps dropped early last week, most surface temps running 72 – 74. Flowage water levels also dropping, with both the Willow and Rainbow down 6′.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1560014

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-18-15:

    Early in the week high pressure moved towards a three day heat wave over the weekend, pushing surface temps into the mid to upper 70’s all over the Lakeland area. Monday brought a cooler, but not cold system with clouds and a lower barometer, improving fishing.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good to good. Great top water action over weekend using Jitter bugs, Hula Poppers, Plastic frogs and buzz baits. The warming water sped up the bite- spinnerbaits, chatter baits and lipless cranks during the day.

    Musky: Very good to good. Like bass the top water action picked up with the heat. Tail baits (Pacemakers, Whopper Ploppers, Top Raiders) and prop baits all hot! Surprisingly, smaller blade baits- Rizzo whizzes and # 5 mepps have produced as well as the big bladed baits during this time.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Early and late casting lipless cranks (Battle Traps, Rattle Raps) and spinner baits. Mid-morning through afternoons moves off shore using jig/craw or drop shot pin minnows or plastic craws. Leeches and crawlers on 1/8 oz. jigs also good choice.

    Northern Pike: Good. Casting over weed tops of 5-10’ with spinnerbaits and swimbaits (use a light wire leader). Lots of pike caught by musky anglers this week on buck tails.

    Bluegills: Good. A bit windy on some days. Nicer gills suspended outside coon tail edges of 12-14’, 6-8’ off bottom. Small leeches, leaf worms and waxies are no brainers. Even small minnows work to target larger gills.

    Crappies: Good to fair. Best over weed tops. Small spinner/jig combos (Beetle spins, Crappie Thumpers, Charlie Bee’s) to cover areas till fish are found. Fishing for this species will improve as we head into September.

    Walleye: Good to fair. Action slowed on many bodies of water during high pressure of early last week. Heat brought more concentrated bites at dusk and dawn. Leeches, crawlers, even chubs and walleye suckers on Lindy rigs out isolated rock/gravel humps best of late.

    Perch: Fair. Lakes- weeds of 8-12’, sand grass of 8-12’. Flowages- drowned wood of 10-14’ ½ crawlers or frozen softshells best.

    Despite recent “heat wave” this is typically a time of mild cool down and changing patterns to some extent. Walleyes start to transition from weeds to rocks, smallies work the sand grass flats and also gravel/rock humps. By this time a “cold night” will turn a Sugar Maple or two- hasn’t happened yet so still on warm side. Surface temps around 74-75 degrees average.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1561593

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-18-15:

    Lots of wind, some rain and a cool down the past week put a kabosh on the areas fishing for most species. Surface temps of lakes dropped in to the mid-upper 60’s as daily high temps ran 10-15 degrees below our late August average. The recent weather seemed more Sept./Oct.ish than what the calendar reads.

    Musky: Good – Very good. The one real bright spot to the past week has been the Musky action. Top water lures have been hot (Tally Wacker’s, Pacemakers) this past week. Fish of mid-30 to 40 “reported by anglers willing to face the wind. Spinnerbaits have also been working, casting over weed tops along wind ward shores in water as shallow as 3-5’.

    Northern Pike: Good. Like their longer cousins, pike have also been active, many being caught on lures meant for Musky. Spinner baits, #5 Mepps and Rizzo Whiz’s, have all caught nice pike. Wind has kept most anglers from using live bait, but a few fishermen have reported success casting chubs on jigs when and where weather permits.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair – Good. Tough on boat control, largemouth holding deep in weeds. Jig and plastic craw/creature baits best bet to lure fish to bite. Wacky worms and Carolina Rigs and 4” worm also working.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Action slow as weather has made access to off shore locations tough. Drop–shotting craw imitation baits best.

    Bluegill, Crappie, Perch: Poor. Weather made for tough fishing for these panfish species. Few reports. By weeks end, weather should become more late August like (highs in the upper 70’s to low 80’s ), fishing pressure has been light and will remain so till Labor Day weekend. With conditions improving (less wind) fishing opportunities will improve also.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1564298

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-25-15:

    Lots of wind, some rain and a cool down the past week put a kabosh on the areas fishing for most species. Surface temps of lakes dropped in to the mid-upper 60’s as daily high temps ran 10-15 degrees below our late August average. The recent weather seemed more Sept./Oct.-ish than what the calendar reads.

    Musky: Good- Very good. The one real bright spot to the past week has been the Musky action. Top water lures have been hot (Tally Wacker’s, Pacemakers) this past week. Fish of mid-30 to 40 “reported by anglers willing to face the wind. Spinnerbaits have also been working, casting over weed tops along wind ward shores in water as shallow as 3-5’.

    Northern Pike: Good. Like their longer cousins, pike have also been active, many being caught on lures meant for Musky. Spinner baits, # 5 Mepps and Rizzo Whiz’s, have all caught nice pike. Wind has kept most anglers from using live bait, but a few fishermen have reported success casting chubs on jigs when and where weather permits.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair- Good. Tough on boat control, largemouth holding deep in weeds. Jig and plastic craw / creature baits best bet to lure fish to bite. Wacky worms and Carolina Rigs and 4” worm also working.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Action slow as weather has made access to off shore locations tough. Drop–shotting craw imitation baits best.

    Bluegill, Crappie, Perch: Poor. Weather made for tough fishing for these panfish species. Few reports.

    By weeks end, weather should become more late August like ( highs in the upper 70’s to low 80’s ), fishing pressure has been light and will remain so till Labor Day weekend. With conditions improving (less wind) fishing opportunities will improve also.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1564299

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-1-15:

    Following the previous weekends cold, windy weather, it’s been great to see some warm temps move back into the area. Lake temps dropped a lot last week, but are climbing back up, seeing some high 60’s to even low 70’s, with forecasted highs in the 80’s through Labor Day weekend. We should see surface temps well into the 70’s by weekend.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair – Good. Following the cold, bass action has warmed up right along with the weather. Warm, muggy early mornings are seeing a return to top water action! Casting cranks in crawfish patterns (both lipless and medium running such as Scatter Rap Cranks) in 6-10’ during the day. Wacky worming, plastic craws/creatures on Carolina rigs as well as Sweet Beavers, cover craws and Dartshogs all producing. Back to buzz baits, Jitterbugs, Combat Frogs, Top Props and Skitter Pops in the evening.

    Musky: Good. The one species that has remained a consistent (if you can call muskies consistent) producer with all the up and down weather of late. Bladed baits best – especially Spinner baits, buck tails, Rizzo tails. But with water warming back up get the top water baits out for evening action (Whopper Ploppers, Pacemakers, Tallywackers and Top Raiders). Most action up in fairly shallow water this week (2-Cool. Keep baits moving fairly fast!

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair – Good. Improving with warmth. Drop shotting Jackall Super Pintails and Cross tails as well as Yum Ultimate Craws over deep gravel humps of 18-28’. Search out weed points edging out to to deep water around 12-18’ casting Reaction Craws, Christy Craws and smaller Sweet Beavers on Carolina rigs. Live baiting with leeches and mud minnows on jigs or Lindy rigs also productive.

    Walleyes: Poor – Good. Despite full moon phase, day time action picking up as we move out of full moon and waters warm to normal. Deep lakes – from 28-34’ using Night Crawlers on Spinner harness or Lindy float rigs. Flowages- search deep wood with crawlers, but also spend time pitching fatheads or chubs to shallow weeds. Jigs (1/2oz.) with 3” twister tails working in same shallow areas.

    Northern Pike: Good. Spinners, Spinnerbaits, Chatter baits and Swimbaits. Northland Mimic Minnow Spins and Live Forage Swimbaits have been productive. Weeds of 4-8’ best. Chubs and suckers always a good choice if fish are not chasing.

    Bluegills: Good. Action heating up, some late season bug hatches leading to some evening surface popper fishing. Try yellow poppers or bee patterned wet flies (bees are everywhere right now). Day time – small leeches, leaf worms work outside weed lines – coon tail 10-14’ for suspended fish.

    Crappies: Fair – Good. Reports have fish spread out. Some surprisingly shallow (4-6’) taking small beetle spins, Charlie Bees. Most relating to deep wood or suspending off coon tail edges of 14-18’.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Good. Best action in 8-14’ weeds, with slip floats or 1/16oz. jigs tipped with ½ crawler or piece of frozen soft shell craws.

    Highs in the 80’s are forecasted through Sunday night with a chance of rain. Monday (can always change). The consistent weather should help angler’s pattern fish throughout the week. Warm weather will probably move best bites to early and late, yet cloud cover could bring about good day time bites.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1564565

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-1-15:

    Maybe it was the late Labor Day weekend or the threat of rain (that never amounted to much), but, traffic was light in the Lakeland area both on and off the water. Warm weather (highs in the mid 80’s) continued to warm the lakes. Combine this will some clouds and fishable wind, those that decided to get out on the water had good fishing.

    Walleye: Good to very good. Certain early fall-type patterns are setting up. Natural lakes with deep gravel humps are producing walleyes on 1/8 to ¼ oz. jigs over 22-40’ of water using large fatheads or redtail chubs. Flowages seeing the best action shallow casting 1/6 oz. weedless jigs tipped with redtails, fatheads, ½ crawler or 3” Gulp Alive minnows. Three inch twister tail grubs also scoring fish from depths of 5’ to as little as 2’.

    Northern Pike: Good to very good. Lots of reports of anglers catching pike on spinnerbaits over 6-8’ weed beds. Mepps Comets, #4 Aglias and Vibrax spinners as well as 4” swimbaits are working. Plenty of 22-28” fish with some fish of 30-33” being caught. Suckers and chubs on jigs are also producing. This weekend has produced some of the best pike action of the year so far and should only improve into the fall.

    Musky: Good to very good. With most action occurring up in weeds of 6-10’, spinnerbaits have been a hot lure as of late. The ability to fish above the weeds without getting fouled up has put a lot of fish in the net lately. Rizzo Tails, #700 series Buchertails, Mepps Musky Killers as well as top water tail baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Pacemakers, Top Raiders and Tally Wackers moving fish with surface temps all the way up to 77 degrees on some lakes. The blades and top water will produce until turn over (which is a ways off).

    Largemouth Bass: Good. Anglers targeting this species doing well with shallow running cranks and lipless cranks (Rattlin’ Raps, Rat-L-Traps), spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Casting Wacky Worms, Beaver baits and jig with plastic craws into heavy weeds of 8-12’ when fast moving baits are not working.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Drop-shotting gravel humps and deep coontail edges using 3” Gulp Alive minnows, pin minnows and plastic craws. Working sandgrass flats of 18-24’ Carolina rigging creature baits and plastic craws still producing.

    Bluegills: Fair to Good. Warm days found gills moving in shore a bit, but not tight. Swim rafts and other forms of shade/cover holding gills waiting to gobble up small leeches, waxies or worms. Dying weeds pushing gills out of shallows in most lakes. Look for suspended gills relating to standing, live coontail.

    Perch: Fair to good. Frozen soft shells hard to resist. Target drowned wood and the base of deep weed edges.

    Crappies: Fair. Surprisingly not showing up in the usual early fall haunts. Casting small jig/spinner combos best to locate active or aggressive fish.

    Last week’s long range forecast called for a warm September. That was easy to believe after a weekend of 80 degree days. Now the forecast is switching to cooler weather with highs in the 60’s. Temperature drops are not good in spring and summer, but, should bring lakes back in line for fall. Expect lakes to cool some and actually help bites of most species, especially musky, pike, walleye and crappies.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1566725

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-16-15:

    I know, I know….I’m late with the fishing report! Sorry!

    Following some brisk nights, daytime temps reached into the 80’s with wind and sun for both Tuesday (9/15) and Wed (9/16). The heat helped raise surface temps again on the lakes, some smaller lakes and the flowages cracking the 70 degree mark again. Otherwise, most lakes still seeing high 60’s as of mid-week.

    Walleye: Good-Very good. Best on the flowages along shallow weed/wood of 2-8’. Use 1/16 oz jigs tipped with medium redtails, large fatheads or ½ crawlers. On the large, deep lakes, depths of 28-38’ drifting Lindy Rigs and larger black chubs or redtails have been producing best. After dark, lighted slip-bobbers and large fatheads on weedy flats of 8-10’.

    Musky: Good-Very good. Bladed baits still tops (Bucktails, Musky Killers, Buchertails and Rizzo Tails) as well as big spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Topwater has also been very effective, the noisier the better (Whopper Ploppers). Despite warm weather, we had some success with 2 muskies on Monday (9/14) using suckers. Watch for this to pick up once surface temps fall back below 63-65 degrees.

    Newsflash! The Minocqua Police Musky Hunt just ended. The first day a 48 ¾” fish from Lake Tomahawk! The last day a 53 ½” fish also from Lake Tomahawk. Congrats Police Musky Hunters.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Big fish on the move with lots of reports of 18-20”+ fish. Fish gravel/rock humps topping at 22’ using drop-shot rigs with Gulp 3” minnows, Jackall pin minnows or live mud minnows. On flowages, big smallies are hammering chubs on 1/16 oz jigs.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good. With warmer water, it has been the return of top water action towards evening (early before it cools down). Loud topwater baits such as the Pompadour, Creepers and buzz baits. Active bass hitting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and lipless cranks over weeds of 7-10’. If action slows, drop into cover with the reliable wacky worm rig.

    Northern: Good-Very good. Most action from anglers targeting musky (using Rizzo Tails), walleyes (jig and chub) or Largemouth (swimbaits and spinnerbaits). Nice size fish of upper 20” to low 30” being caught.

    Crappies: Good. Finally some reports! On the natural lakes, anglers finding crappies in 8-12’ weeds once again. Jigs with small underneath blades (Thumper Jigs, Charlie Bees, Road Runners) sometimes tipped with piece of crawler or crappie minnow. On flowages look for drowned wood of 8-14’. Medium fathead on 1/16 oz jig or use below slip-floats for the larger 11-14” fish.

    Perch: Fair-Good. Best on flowages on ½ crawler, medium fat or piece of frozen softshell around drowned wood of 8-14’. On lakes, dying broad leaf cabbage has pushed most bait fish out to depths of 8-12’. Go with minnow or ½ crawlers here.

    Bluegill: Fair. Not a lot of reports. Dying broadleaf cabbage has pushed gills out, some returning to 8-12’ depths of green curly leaf cabbage.

    For mid-September we seem to be a bit warm. Water temps are above average, weeds for the most part are still good and not much sign of color in the trees. Wind and high pressure have been the biggest drawbacks for anglers, but, fishing has been good overall.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1567300

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-22-15:

    While still a bit warm for mid-September, temps are cooling a bit on area lakes. Once again, wind was the biggest hindrance to anglers this past week, with bouts of high pressure also making things a bit difficult. Overall though, fishing has been good.

    Walleyes: Very good. Casting 1/16 oz. weedless jigs tipped with redtails or large fatheads best along wind-blown shorelines of smaller, shallower lakes and flowages. Larger, deeper lakes seeing best action in 28-34’ using larger chubs on Lindy rigs or ¼ oz jigs. Night time walleyes on glow jigs or lighted slip-floats with large fatheads.

    Pike: Very good. Cast spinnerbaits, swimbaits or #3 or #4 Mepps Aglia spinners over weedy flats of 5-9’. Live suckers or chubs jigged in same areas have also been effective. Lots of numbers, but also some nice pike of 27-32’ caught this week.
    Musky: Good. Haven’t gotten reports of big fish like last week, mostly fish of 34-42” on bucktails, Rizzo Tails and Spinnerbaits. Some fast moving twitch baits and gliders also moving fish.

    Crappies: Good. Reports are improving. High winds are the biggest draw-back to fishing deep wood. On natural lakes, key in on green weeds that remain in 8-12’. Thumper jigs tipped with minnows, crawlers as well as just jig/shaking minnows along deep weed edges producing slabs to 14”.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. As water slowly cools, top water action has slowed, but sub surface twitch baits and shallow running lipless cranks are producing. Plastics still a good choice as wacky worming still working.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Big smallies being caught on flowages. Shallow in 2-6’. X-raps, spinnerbaits and 3 ½-4” swimbaits working. Natural lakes rig for deeper water (22-34’) using 4-6” suckers on Lindy rigs.

    Perch: Fair-Good. Pieces of frozen soft shell craws or ½ night crawlers dragged around drowned wood or cribs working best.

    Bluegills: Fair. Few reports. Not a lot of anglers targeting this species.

    Water temps that crested 70 degrees early last week due to a couple of 80 degree days have seen temps drop back into the mid 60’s. Cold, clear nights in the 40’s being checked by daytime highs in the 70’s. Sucker bite for musky just getting started, but, with above average temps, we are still a ways away from the hot “meat” bite. Trees showing little color, maybe 5-8%.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1568732

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-29-15:

    Another week of great fishing started to slow down by Friday/Saturday thanks to the same cloudless days, but, by Sunday (9/27) things started to pick back up and by the afternoon, good reports came back in by musky and walleye anglers.

    Musky: Good-Very Good. Action that slowed by Fri/Sat picked back up as reports from anglers scoring fish on bucktails (Mogambo’s), big spinnerbaits and top water as well as the start of some sucker activity. Number 8 double bladed bucktails also produced well for anglers working weed tops on Sunday. Water temps once again have peaked at 67/68 degrees, but, will surely drop as the long range forecast shows highs of 57-62 degrees over the next ten days. When surface temps dip below 65 the sucker bite will pick up, steadily getting better as the temps drop. A 51” musky reported during lunar eclipse Sunday night (released).

    Pike: Good-Very Good. Action improved even over the past week. While lots of smaller fish have been active, some very nice pike for the Northwoods (up to 34”) have been caught and released. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and Mepps and Blue Fox Spinners are all producing. Live chubs and suckers of 4-6” on jigs or under floats are always a good choice.

    Walleye: Good-Very Good. Bite has been off during high pressure days, but, nice catches otherwise once clouds and some wind come into the picture. It is a deep bite on natural lakes (between 22-38’). The larger the lake the deeper the better. Large black tail chubs, red tail chubs or suckers have been working best. Lindy rigging and vertical jigging Swedish Pimples and Jigging Rapalas also producing. Small lakes and flowages seeing better action shallower on wind swept shores of 2-6’, or out along flats adjacent to river channels of 8-14’.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Lots of action by bass taking place by anglers targeting other species on live bait. Jigging chubs or large fatheads in weeds for pike or walleye have been producing LMB. Casting spinnerbaits and swimbaits meant for Pike also working.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Big smallies looking to fill up are striking 4-6” chubs and suckers meant for pike. Swim baits, lipless cranks and #11 Scatter Raps worked along weed edges and drowned wood. On deep, natural lakes, drop-shot minnow imitation baits as well as creature baits fished on football jigs in 18-34’ on top of gravel humps.

    Crappie: Good. Deep coontail edges on medium to larger lakes, as well as after dark with lighted slip bobbers by piers and pilings. On lakes with less depth target standing weeds using small jig/blade combos to locate loose schools, then follow up with slip-bobbers and minnows. Flowage action picking up around drowned wood using medium fatheads or ½ crawlers.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1569708

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-6-15:

    Fall is upon us. Cold nights and mild daytime temps have brought color to the trees and dropped the lake temps into the upper 50’s. This high pressure system that allowed those cold nights (launch time temps at 32-34 degrees) also slowed fishing from the active bite it was.

    Musky: Fair-Good. Action tailed off with the high pressure and cloudless skies. Bucktails, gliders and twitch baits all accounted for fish this past week, just not as many fish as the week before. Suckers were favored, as is typical at this time of year, but also probably due to the less active bite.

    Crappies: Fair-Good. Deep wood (14-20’) and outside coontail edges holding nice crappies. Watch your locator for suspended fish 2-4’ off bottom. Jig and minnow or ½ crawler or slip bobber rigs helped produce nice catches of 11-12” crappies using the above cover.

    Walleye: Fair-good. The high pressure system late last week really seemed to hit these fish, but, by moving around on dark water lakes and flowages, some nice catches of walleyes were caught on small to medium redtails. Deeper lakes were off, but, should improve with weather this weekend.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Nice big fish of 18-21” this week, but not a lot of anglers out targeting this species. Jig and creature baits as well as 4” swim baits crept along sand/gravel humps of 10-18’. Larger chubs meant for walleyes also finding fish.

    Pike: Fair-Good. Lots of little fish on the flowages taking chubs or fatheads on jigs. Reports of larger fish falling off this week.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. Reluctant biters best on Wacky worm rigs and live bait. Participation falling off for the season, though Guide George Metrich had a client boat a monster 23” bucket mouth on a jig and redtail mid-week.

    Bluegill/Perch: Fair. Not a lot of reports despite beautiful afternoons. For bluegills try waxies and leaf worms in 6-8’ cabbage if green weeds found.

    The return of clouds and maybe some rain in the forecast should bring back a better bite. This is typically sucker time for muskies and with the lake temps in the 50’s this weekend should be prime.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1570926

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-13-15:

    Close to peak colors and peak musky meet sucker time. Good fishing for many of our favorite fall species plus a beautiful show to be outdoors if not a bit cool and windy at times.

    Musky: Very Good. Personally not as excellent as last year but a very strong sucker bite. Winds letting anglers move bladed quick set rigs with 12-16” suckers. Action fast and furious, but in small windows (5 fish in 25 minutes one outing, 3 fish in 15 minutes another). Casting twitch baits (Cranes, Grandma’s) and gliders (Smitty jerks) as well as true jerk baits (Suicks, Reef Hawgs). Casting over weed edges and first breaks where waters drop into 8-16’ of water. Keep casting to move fish out to your boat.

    Walleye: Very Good. With the exception of Saturday’s high winds, walleye action very good on medium red tails, black chubs. Deep lakes 30-45’, work 18-24’ depths where gravel meets mud, vertical jig when possible otherwise drift Lindy rigs or Spinner rigs with 3-5” suckers if windy. Lots of good catches of 16-19” + fish with plenty of 20-24” slot fish to be released.

    Crappies: Very Good/ Good. Wind a big factor, but when possible Crappie bite very good. On natural lakes with standing green weeds of 8-12’ use medium fat heads on slip- float rigs. If not finding weed fish, search out drowned wood, ½ crawlers or fats on jigs also effective in these areas of 10-15’.

    Northern Pike: Good. Most fish caught by anglers targeting musky (Rizzo Tails, smaller 10-12” suckers) or walleye (chubs on jigs). Spinner baits and twitch baits also effective.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Lindy rig 4-6” suckers in 24-32’ on large clear lakes. Work up slow to protect fish. Big smallies taking chubs near drowned timber on Flowages.

    Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass and Bluegills: Scattered reports, but few anglers targeting.

    Despite some cold mornings (launch times in low 30’s), daytime highs have kept surface temps on most lakes in the 54-58 degree range. Sundays high of 78 degrees helped. Temps should drop this week, some lakes could start turning over, keep eyes open for signs of turbid water- but plenty of options as lakes of different size and depth will turn at different times.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1572267

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-20-15:

    Cold nights with lows in the lower 30 degree range and some highs barely breaking 40 degrees last week pushed surface temps down. Some smaller shallower lakes saw surface water hit 47 degrees while mid – sized lakes 1,000 acre Big Arb for example) read 51-52 degrees and the largest lakes still about 54-55 degrees. Fishing pressure getting lighter as leaves falling opening up other pursuits such as grouse and archery deer hunting.

    Musky: Good–Very Good. Action slowing down from last weeks peak, but still good and more reports of larger fish (upper 40” to low 50”) being reported. Suckers the top of the menu, Rigs with blades best on dark water and windy days, but even in deep water (over 20’) blades help to add attraction. Casting Jerks (Suicks) Gliders (Smitty, Smutly) and Twitch (Cranes, Grandmas) as well as jointed varieties of the last two best. Work deeper once cold returns, 12-20’ + best.

    Walleye: Good-Very Good. Good overall in most cases as deep water (18-34’) bites on mid-sized lakes using Large Fatheads or ½ crawlers. On larger lakes 22-45’ depth using Red Tails, 4-6” Sucker or Black Tails on 3/8-1/2oz. jigs on Lindy rigs (tail hook for action). Once located, rating of very good as limits (3 per) can be caught quickly.

    Crappies: Good. Deep wood of 10-18’ especially with deeper water nearby. Medium fatheads or ½ crawler on 1/16-1/8 oz. jig or slip floats. Jig heads with spinner underneath tipped with medium fat good choice. Not numbers of Sept. but nice 11-14” fish being caught.

    Yellow Perch: Good–Fair. On flowages big perch up along wood of 6-10’ feeding on dragon fly larvae, small crayfish and some small perch ½ crawlers, med fats best. On lakes, target weed edges of 10-14’- out here best on small minnows and ½ crawlers.

    Northern Pike: Good-Fair. Action slowing some. For best results go live bait (chubs, suckers) Jigging and slip-bobbering.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Few reports. Wind kept some anglers from targeting these fish out deep over 20-35’ using Lindy rigs with chubs.

    Largemouth Bass, Bluegills: No reports.

    A warm spell (temps in 60’s Sunday and Monday, high 50’s Tues –Thurs) will keep surface temps where they are at. By the weekend, surface temps will probably start dropping a little as temps cool.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1573666

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-27-15:

    Despite some cold nights (temps dipping into frost time) daily average temperatures have been a few degrees above normal, leaving the lakes cool downs in a holding pattern. Almost daily changes in the wind direction, more so temperature change, have been the deciding factor in angler’s success. The consistent water temps have actually helped anglers stay on good bite patterns… when wind allows.

    Muskie: Good-Very Good. With water temps barely moving, good temperature range for continued feeding. Sucker quick strike rigs still accounting for a good number of fish. Spinner rigs (quick set) a good choice to add flash and vibration. Crank and twitch baits (Depth Raiders and Cranes) have actually out produced live bait in many boats reporting this past weekend.

    Walleye: Good. Some days very good, some days not (winds from S.W. led to best bites) 3-4” minnows red tails, blacks, suckers and muds all producing well. On flowages where walleyes feeding on bullheads and frogs, muds have shown to be a preference. On deeper lakes it’s been hit or miss with deeper fish taking larger 4-6” minnows in 34-45’ of water.

    Crappie: Good. Deep wood or cribs best. Medium fatheads on 1/16- 1/8 oz. jigs or white 2” twister tails. Big fish of 12-14” reported with good numbers by days end of searching.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Relating to deep rocks or wood. Most fish being caught by walleye anglers using chubs. The few bass anglers reporting fish using 4” tubes in brown colors to mimic sculpin.

    Northern Pike: Good. Most being caught by anglers targeting Musky or Walleye Feeding up for the coming cold.

    Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Bluegill: Few reports.

    The consistent surface temps (48 to 54 degrees) have been nice for putting some bite patterns together. The forecast for snow/rain for Wed/Thurs (10/28 to 10/29) will cool waters down, but more highs in the 50’s come Friday and Saturday should level things back out. Also, anglers reporting Whitefish staying deep outside traditional spawning areas being caught on Swedish Pimples.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1575720

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-02-15:

    Cool and wet! While the threat of an early snow was on last week’s forecast, few people saw the little snow we did get as it melted before dawn. Water temps have dropped this past week, low surface temps at 45 degrees to as high as 52 degrees. Could actually climb a little as forecast for low 60’s scheduled for Mon thru Wed. of this week.

    Musky: Good – Very Good. Most reports from angler’s still working suckers have been very good. Most of fish from 40-48” this past week. Multi fish trips with enough action on slow working gliders and jointed cranks to keep casting a viable option.

    Walleyes: Good – fair. Action slowing a bit as waters cools. Shallow bite on jigs w/chubs & muds getting slower as shallows cool. Deep water all about being able to hover over fish during windows of activity. Larger chubs and suckers on Lindy style rigs best.

    Crappies: Fair. Fewer anglers still out. Slow fishing med. Fat heads on slips around deep wood. Not easy with some windy days, but with good boat control on the light to moderate days decent catches of nice slabs (11-14”) still available.

    Most Smallmouth bass and Northern Pike have been incidental catches. Same with Yellow Perch. No reports on Largemouth Bass or Bluegill. Weather not bad when not windy. Still plenty of time to try and boat that big Musky of the year or add a Walleye or two to the freezer.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1576454

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-10-15:

    Unseasonably mild weather for the first third of November has kept plenty of fishing opportunities open, but few anglers out to enjoy it.

    Musky: Good. While suckers on quick set rigs accounting for over half the action, gliders and jerk baits as well as slow moving rubber baits also producing.

    Walleye: Good. Most over deep water humps and transition zones of 30-45’. Larger red tails, black chubs and suckers on rigs best. A few anglers finding fish suspended 4-6’ off bottom using jigging raps to score fish on less windy days.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. After weeks of no reports, anglers casting and slow retrieving spinner baits (Colorado blades) catching nice Largemouth bass in good numbers over weeds in 6-10’.

    Crappies: Fair – Good. On the nice warm days, with manageable wind, anglers scoring fish along drowned wood, cribs and in some cases rock piles.

    Water temps above average for this time of year. Mostly 42-50 degrees. A cool down with rain scheduled for late mid–week (Wed night – Thurs), but more highs in the low 50’s for the weekend.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1577837

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-17-15:

    While the continuing October like weather may come to an end this Thursday (forecast for highs in low 30’s by then), the past week has been a bonus for anglers that haven’t put their boats away yet.

    Musky: Good – Very Good. The sucker bite continues with some reports of surprisingly shallow (5’) bites during the day. Drifting or slow rowing suckers has been very productive with lots of the action coming from fish of 40-46”. Numerous reports of larger fish … getting away (of course)! Slow moving jerks, gliders and rubber baits still effective.

    Walleye: Good. While most reports from deep lakes where finding Walleyes in 30-50’ depths not uncommon right now. On smaller Lakes go back to weed edges. Flowages, edge of river channels in 8-10’. Smaller lakes and flowages fatheads have worked fine. On deep lakes, 3-5” suckers, red tails or black chubs on Lindy style rigs best.

    Crappies: Good. Most of the best reports from flowages where this species relating to drowned wood. Small to medium fatheads best.

    Largemouth Bass: While I’m sure bass are still out there – our anglers have put it away for the season.

    Water temps recorded this past weekend ranged from lows of 40 degrees (Rainbow Flowage) to highs 46 degrees (Trout Lake). With two days of temps in mid – upper 50’s to buoy lake temps – still expect to drop with Thurs / Fri high barely reaching above freezing.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1579764

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-24-15:

    Its gun deer season, so little going on over the water, but a few diehards still venturing out.

    Muskie: Good. Fewer anglers and a little less action, but fish still being caught – mostly on suckers. Last day to fish Musky is Nov 30th, so some time left.

    Crappies: Good. Gets the nod over Walleyes as good numbers and big fish (14 plus inches) reported along deep gravel/mud transition areas and drowned wood.

    Walleye: Fair to Good. A few anglers picking up deep water fish. A return to the shallows is showing up as the lakes get closer to ice up.

    Temps in the low single digits Sunday closed up the pond behind the shop and added ice to some bays and small lakes. Lows in the 20’s with highs in the low 30’s won’t lose ice, but won’t make much very quick. A very few options by this weekend for ice fishing – better by the following weekend

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1581254

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-1-15:

    Finally enough cold to give ice anglers a preview of the coming ice fishing season. Not sure how long this will last, not a lot of real cold in the forecast, but for now most lakes are ice covered and some fishable with measurements of 3-4” available.

    Early reports of good Walleye and Crappie fishing from anglers able/willing to go out and able to find bait.

    The heavy wet snow of Tuesday (12/1) could be just what we don’t need right now, forecast for highs to hit 40 degrees with lows only in the 20’s won’t be making ice, hopefully we can hold on to what we have.

    Keep an eye on our website for up-dates. Don’t forget 6th annual Ice Fishing Show at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop this Fri – Sun Dec 4th thru the 6th.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1582905

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-7-15:

    Mother Nature is not being kind to us ice anglers. She’s being a big tease. Some small lakes and bays have just enough ice (3-4”) to lure a few adventurous anglers out. Other lakes, due to highs in the upper 30’s to 40 degrees have become just iffy enough to keep anglers off. Several large / deep lakes are still open.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Good. Anglers finding safe ice over 4-6’ of water in some bays catching, then sorting perch on small minnows on jigs or tip downs.

    Crappies: Fair- Good. In some cases, anglers can’t find safe ice over deep enough water. Where safe ice available crappies being caught on small minnows or tip downs and #2 Jigging Raps.

    Bluegills: Fair –Good. Safe ice is key over 3-6’ water. Grubs, plastics on small jigs (#12 – #14) tungsten not necessary in this shallow water, in fact lighter jigs are better right now.

    Walleyes: Good – Fair. As the ice over better bites has gotten bad, fewer options. Those willing to try smaller, less known waters are finding some success on shiners and #5 jigging raps.

    Pike: Good- Fair. Similar situation to Walleye.

    Things are very tenuous. Night time temps below freezing just enough to firm up existing ice, not enough to build new ice. Day time windows of above freezing, while not thawing, just enough to undo any gain made by overnight. Extreme caution advisable! Fish with a buddy. Carry rope. Flotation in the form of life vest, throw cushion or floating suit (striker brand) a must. Creepers, safety spike also a must.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1585368

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-14-15:

    Two days in a row of rain has just about melted out most fishable ice. Another shot of rain/snow on Wed. should do in any thoughts of being on the ice till late Thursday. By then, lows in the teens, followed by highs in the teens Friday, should give us some new ice to work with. Due to present conditions, keep an eye on our shop web site for updates to ice reports. Also, Sat./Sun. Dec 19th & 20th will be another chance to see ice shacks on display at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

    Mark

    icefanatic11
    Participant
    Birnamwood, WI
    Posts: 554
    #1586065

    Well I figured I would put up a post other than Mb on this thread.

    Was up in the Minocqua area today seeking out some early ice here is what I found. Minocqua was very sketchy ice, a real thin layer over most of Schoolhouse bay, nobody went out there, should be iced over by tomorrow I would think but fishable…not so sure. Did get out on Big Arb today and fished for about four hours, 3 inches and pretty solid in the south bay, fished about 40 yards from open water. Caught a whole bunch of little perch and that was it, plenty of guys had tip-ups out but nobody was catching a thing while I was there. Pickerel and parts of the Rainbow are frozen over, some guys fishing on Pickerel (3-4 inches in south bay) scouted the area for the first time, saw no fish on the cam and no marks on the Marcum so that was it and moved along. Sweeney is iced over, the bay in Little Arb is frozen as well. Buckskin is frozen as well at least near shore, drilled two holes bout 30 feet out off of landing and found 3 inches but open water in the middle there as well.

    Overall it was a good day, got to test out the new toys, caught a few fish and had some fun. I wore a life jacket on every lake but probably would not have needed it. Use extreme caution if you are going out, feel free to add onto this thread if you guys have any other spots that have decent ice and some fish are present. I heard a few guys were fishing the lakes near Tomahawk but no details other than guys were out today.

    shamus
    Inactive
    Posts: 317
    #1586122

    Keep the reports coming guys!

    I’m in SE Wisconsin and with the way things are around here I think I might have to make a day trip north to hit a small lake or two for panfish and pike.

    Thanks

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