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Minocqua Area Report – 2016

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1590061

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-5-16:

    Caution is the best way to describe conditions in the Lakeland area, Still! Here it is the 5th of January and some lakes in the area are not completely iced over. Walking is the ONLY way to go, and even then- spud your way to make sure. In some instances, certain lakes look ( due to snow cover) and start out safe (3-8”) but there may be pockets of thin ice and even open water. Too many quads and snowmobiles have gone through this week to do anything but walk. One snowmobile rider unfortunately lost his life after breaking through! Fishing action slowed some over the weekend. Could have been barometric up & downs as well as number of anglers on the ice Fri/Sat. But despite the dip in activity from earlier, good reports still persist.

    Walleye: Very Good to Good: Best last hour before dark, again around 8pm and then near mid-night. Had to list this species first because of 14.94#, 32” walleye brought in and weighed on a certified scale this morning! Other anglers targeting walleyes still getting best action on jigging Raps, Ultra Lite Rattling Raps, Chubby Darters and slender spoons. Standard tip-up rigs baited with suckers on river shiners also doing the trick.

    Northern Pike: Very Good-Good. Another species with exceptional size fish (32-36”) being caught with a photo and released 43” pike caught on Sat. 1/2. Big pike suckers and shiners best. Bigger fish along weed edges of 8-10’.

    Bluegills: Very Good-Good. Action slowed and size average dropped on popular areas- probably due to such an influx of pressure. Reports from smaller outlying lakes coming in with good catches of gills 8-9”, 7-10’ seems to be key. Lots of action on jig fly’s by V.M.C and Northland. Number #3 & #4 Tungsten tipped with single waxie or spike also good. This week’s hot plastic color was root beer and motor oil.

    Crappies: Very Good-Fair. What started out the week as HOT! Cooled by weeks end. Still some action on tip-downs with minnows towards dusk. Plastic dippers best on white, silver and chartreuse.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good to Fair. Action slowed, but fish to 18” being caught on tip-ups with medium shiners or as accidentals on jig poles, teardrop and waxies.

    Yellow Perch: Good to Fair. Most of the best “classic” perch spots not accessible, so reports coming from shallow (less than 12’) areas of weeds by anglers using medium fatheads on small forage spoons. Mid–week temps look to be mild (highs low 30’s) not ice making weather. By Sunday (1/10) single digit nights and low teens for highs on Mon/Tue should firm up ice the way we need to get around. Continue to carry safety picks, rope, flotation and fish with a friend. If you have a Floating ice suit (Striker) wear it – or borrow or buy one. Please use caution and common sense- no fish is worth the loss of life.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    reverend
    Participant
    Rhinelander, WI
    Posts: 1115
    #1591878

    Had the opportunity to get out with @bigpike and his wife last weekend on his “secret” perch spot. In spite of a wet foot and bruised shin from stepping in a slushed over old hole, I caught a couple of fish and had a great time. I might have caught more, but it was hard to see the Vex through the blindfold. wink
    First IDO member I’ve ever gotten to meet in person and I must say he was as friendly and generous as most of the folks on here seem to be.
    Hope to return the favor soon, thanks @bigpike!
    -Rev

    bigpike
    Participant
    Posts: 6255
    #1592055

    Thank you Reverend Jim. Next time we’ll hit Nokomis! It was great to meet you and hopefully we can do it again soon!

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1592093

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-11-16:

    Finally some true cold winter like weather to help make the ice we need to be able to safely venture out. Air temps shot down into the negative degree marks, enough to expect a good inch plus of ice to be made per day over the next five plus days. Once some lakes become safe for vehicle travel by next weekend, dispersing the fishing pressure and adding new water should help reports.

    Walleye: Fair. Action slowed as the week went on. That big fish from last week (14.94lbs) was followed by a reported 31”er released the next day. Dusk has been best, but window of activity was small, giving anglers just 30-45 minutes of action. Suckers on tip –ups over 18-24’ sand grass on deep lakes best.

    Crappies: Fair. Anglers having to work for best bites. Tip-down action will slow with recent cold, best to try jigging Lethal Cecils tipped with waxies, plastics on rockers (white, yellow, and silver). Anglers seeing/marking lots of crappies, very tight lipped.

    Northern Pike: Fair. Less active than weeks past, bite windows smaller. Big suckers, shiners on tip-ups best. Some nice fish (30” plus) but not many.

    Bluegills: Fair. Anglers working to keep ½ limits of 7” fish. Small pockets of biters, but lots of just lookers. The tungsten jig flys have continued to produce, tip with a single spike, moussee or waxie.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. A few anglers venturing out on safe ice over deeper water (18-24”) finding some perch cruising sand grass. Hali jigs, Perch talkers, Flash champs and Kastmasters tipped with red spikes. In shallower areas of 6-10”, small minnows working, but a bit of sorting. No reports of limits, 7-10 keepers a good catch right now.

    LargemouthBass: Poor. Cold put clamps on the species. Look for action to pick back up by weeks end with temps peaking in the 20’s Thursday and Friday. With morning temps hitting -16 degrees and I’m sure even lower in some parts, ice will be thickening quickly. Caution still important, but by weeks end it will be time for power augers and quads, maybe small trucks on some lakes.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1593977

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-18-16:

    A near mirror image of the previous week’s weather (nicer temps on Thursday and Friday, temps falling through the day Saturday followed by below zero and wind on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) put participation levels on par with the week before, but, results were somewhat better. While ice thickness continues to baffle (not building as fast as it should), reports of slush on top of lakes that do have 9-12” of ice, with not a lot of snow is a problem.

    Truck travel is still NOT advisable despite all the sub-zero weather. Snow depths are low enough for quad and snowmobile use.

    Pike: Good. Lots of action fishing this past week. Pike are taking shiners on tip-ups. A few reports of low oxygen on smaller lakes requiring anglers to keep baits 3-4’ off bottom where the oxygen levels are better. While lots of anglers reporting bulk of action from 18-24” fish, a few mid 30’ers caught to keep things interesting.

    Perch: Good. Access to deeper water as ice thickens adding to reports. Deeper water (18-24’) perch taking wigglers or red spikes tipped on Perch Talker rigs, Hali jigs and Northland Forage jigs. Less numbers, but, better size perch found fishing soft bottomed, weedy depths of 7-10’. These fish are more interested in meat. Medium fatheads, gob of waxies on a Vingla spoon or #2 Swedish Pimple working well. While depth providing numbers, shallow fish providing size with perch of 10-13” being caught by punching and moving.

    Bluegills: Good. Action in 7-12’ weeds using Fly jig or #10 Moon Glos tipped with a waxie or Moussees. A few anglers starting to find deeper gills over sandgrass flats of 16-22’ using a #3 Tungsten jig to get down quickly with a single spike.

    Walleye: Fair-Good. Cold kept many walleye anglers in shacks where Jigging Raps, spoons tipped with minnow heads were working well. Fish need to be “coaxed’ into biting once seen on locators. Leave some “goodies” hanging from head on center hook of Raps or Slender Spoons. Medium walleye suckers on tip-ups over sandgrass humps also working.

    Crappies: Fair. They are there! Anglers dropping cameras are seeing hundreds in bays. Night time anglers marking “loads” of fish on breaklines, but they are very tight lipped. Seem to be very affected by high barometer. Small windows (30-45 minutes) each day of activity followed by shut down. Tip jigs with small slice of Gulp-Alive for added scent to entice light biters.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Poor. Just don’t like the cold. Bit during the end of the week on medium shiners on tip-ups, but… shut down during weekend cold weather.

    Another warm up for this weekend forecasted. Let’s hope it stays that way. Daytime highs in the 20’s and winds from a favorable South West. Things should improve this weekend.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1595754

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-26-16:

    Following two consecutive very cold weekends, this past weekend was a nice change weather wise. Unfortunately the fishing wasn’t as great as the weather for a lot of anglers. Initial reports were slow, though as the weekend progressed into Monday, better reports came in from anglers who didn’t give up.

    Crappies: Fair-Good. Action slowed from a good bite on Thursday. As the bite got tougher, anglers did the best with plastics. Scent seems to help when crappies are tight lipped. Try a small pinch of Gulp Alive waxies on the hook along with a small Wedgee plastic (Purple, Red) to entice reluctant biters. Gulp Alive 1” minnows cut down to ½ – ¾ “ also worked on slow drops.

    Walleyes: Fair-Good. Action spotty with successful anglers rarely reporting more than two walleyes a night. With fish less aggressive, live bait has been best. Smaller suckers, shiners and even large fatheads or rosies were better producers over the weekend. As we get out of this full moon period and fish hopefully get more aggressive, Rippin’ Raps and jigging spoons will again be good choices.

    Bluegills: Fair. Despite warm temps, catches of better gills were hard to come by. Down-sizing to small #2.5 or #3 tungsten or #12 or #14 teardrops tipped with a single spike or mousee (*see editor’s note at the bottom). Make sure you are tight to the bottom (6-12”) and light 2# test were needed in most cases to tempt bites.

    Perch: Fair. Anglers probing mud flats found wigglers on #25 Hali jigs, #2 pimples or small Perch Talkers best. Use a #4 (size 10) Tungsten jig or 1/32 oz Flash Champ spoon tipped with waxies or a minnow head over sandgrass. These areas gave up the better numbers (though not good over the weekend). Fishing weeds of 6-12’ on bars surrounded by deeper water, anglers reported best results on small to medium fatheads or Northland Forage spoons tipped with waxies.

    Pike: Fair. Usually these fish to make flags fly even during tough times, the pike action was noticeably off over the weekend. Try tip-up rigs with small blades above the hook for added attraction. Also try raising the bait higher off the bottom on at least some rigs to see if pike may be cruising higher for some reason (possibly low oxygen levels on some lakes).

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. Surprisingly slow over weekend with the warm up. Those reporting success found best action on tip-ups baited with medium shiners in weeds of 6-12’.

    A couple inches of snowfall on Monday and Tuesday should make the snowmobilers happier, but, will surely suspend any more ice building. Most reports seem to be stuck in the 9-12” range. We still aren’t recommending truck travel, but snowmobiles and ATV’s (for now) still good. Forecast of 4 days of above freezing temps this coming weekend will make for another nice change to get out on the ice. Reports of a lack of standing weeds is a concern. Not sure why, with such a mild December and not much snow, that weeds aren’t in better shape. If fishing is slow and you can’t find standing weeds (try snagging a few if you don’t use a camera), move on. The fish have moved to better feeding areas. With the lack of December ice fishing, it stands to reason there should be more hungry fish out there for us.

    *Editor’s note: For those of you who know us, you may know that my husband, Kurt Justice, hand writes this report which I then type. While joking around during typing the Bluegill section, I asked him “How do you know a single spike from a married spike.” He replied, “the single spikes are smiling.” Just thought you might want an explanation if you see him with a black eye. ?

    Christy Justice
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    Rusty Sasquatch
    Participant
    NULL
    Posts: 12
    #1596016

    The updates are much appreciated! We will be in the area next month to hit a few of the lakes for walleye hopefully!

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1597457

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-2-16:

    A second weekend in a row of fishing success not meeting the expectations of us anglers, what with all the great weather we had. Warm temps cresting 40 degrees, a little sunshine, made for a great time to be on the ice, just not as much under the ice. Reports from Fri/Sat were slow, with things picking up by Sun/Monday as the fishing pressure dropped off.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good. Winners of the weekend as pike bit just enough in some areas to keep anglers attention. Actually a few good reports of fish 28-34” with others catching “ picklers” of 20-24”. Large shiners, River shiners and Pike suckers under tip-ups. Not much for technique, just put a spread out over a weed flat and its deepest edge till the fish tell you where they’ll eat.

    Bluegill: Fair–Good. Best on the lakes with 8-12’ of weeds. Flowages seeing better bites in 16-18’. On clear lakes use mousees, spikes on dark tungsten jigs one foot off bottom. Flowage gills responding to 1/16 oz. Flash Champs tipped with 4-5 red spikes. Bright colors, UV colors seem to get best response.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. Medium shiners on tip–downs. Tingler spoons tipped with a minnow head. Numbers of 14-16” bass this weekend, with a few over 18”. They love those warm ups.

    Yellow Perch: Fair–Good. Some bites over deep sand grass of 22-26’ or over mud flats in 18-28’. Grass bites on natural or brownish jig/plastics tipped with spikes or mousees. Over mud, Hali jigs, #2 pimples and Perch Talkers banged into bottom to stir up mud, tipped with wigglers or red spikes. On lakes where perch found in 10’ or less of weeds, Ratso jigs in motor oil or red tipped with waxie working well.

    Crappies: Fair. As good as the weather was for tip-down anglers, the crappies just didn’t seem to want a big meal. Best slow working jig and plastics one foot off bottom. Some very nice Crappies reported, fish of 13-14” – most of those from the flowages. Bright colored jigs tipped with waxies or spikes best in the dark water.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair. Tough bite of late. Late night anglers reporting small windows of activity on smaller sucker minnows. Very little action while jigging.

    With a snow storm looming our way today, travel on what had become an already messy (slushy) ice cover will only get worse. The warm temps over the weekend condensed snow, but added to the slush. With a blanket of new snow forecasted, the slush will be insulated as will the ice! Don’t expect to see any more ice for the rest of the season. The 10-14” we have now will probably be it. As of now, snowmobiles and A.T.V. traffic is good. There has been truck traffic on the Flowages, Stacks Bay and the south end of Big Arb. Watch our website for travel updates after the storm passes on Wed. For now wear water proof boots to combat the slush.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1599175

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-9-16:

    Once again our area missed the heavy snow that was predicted, a narrow band of only 4-5” when both east and west of our area got 9-10” last Tuesday. Also the snow was light and dry. High winds pushed most of it off the lakes, maintaining good travel for A.T.V’s as well as snowmobiles and some truck travel where ice thickness allows. Fishing improved over the past week, with the exception of a low pressure that moved in Sun/Mon.

    Bluegills: Good. Best in areas away from the crowds. Nice gills of 8 ½” and some pushing 10”. Water depths of 10-18’ depending on lake type (clear, hard bottom lakes deeper than lakes with color). Dark colored tungsten jigs, (black, purple, red, green) tipped with mousees, spikes or waxies. Work over mud bottoms and occasionally stir up mud to attract roaming schools using a larger spoon to disrupt bottom.

    Northern Pike: Good. Action improved with some nice reports of fish to 34” on big baits on tip-ups.

    Walleye: Good. Finally some improved bites, most at or just after dark. Jigging Rippin Raps, Raps, RP Minnows and Slender spoons with a minnow head for enticement all working well again. When Walleyes striking these baits it’s a good sign they are more active. Suckers in the 3-4” size on tip-ups over sand grass flats of 22-28’ have been productive. Get set up a couple hours before dark and stair step some tip-ups leading to the top of humps as the walleyes move up at dusk to feed.

    Crappies: Good-Fair. Mixed reports. Some anglers having better success out away from weed bays in 14-18’ of water on neutral colored plastics (red,rootbeer,motoroil) or small minnows on tip downs. At this time of year deep flats with pockets that drop a foot or two deeper also are key areas for crappies. On the flowages some days bites good on small rosies and tip-downs 4-5’ off bottom. Yet when bite off, a small VMC Flash Champ tipped with red spikes held a afoot off bottom is needed to draw bites.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair. Deep mud flat bites starting to show up. These fish feeding on mayfly and midge larvae. Wigglers and red spikes good choice on Hali jigs, #4 Tungesten jigs and #2 Pimples. Work mud flats of 18-28’. Heavy lures good to get bait down quickly to keep roaming schools in area once they show up.

    While still slushy, lake travel not as bad as expected since snow did not accumulate on lakes in most cases. Some areas have only a couple inches of snow, while others may have drifts of 6-8”. Slush still a problem and unlikely to go away. Ice thickness reports of 8-15” with 11-12” average. Four weekends left of the game fish season. A little cold weather this week may slow crowds, but holiday will give some a longer weekend to get out on ice.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1599176

    I was hoping to get out this weekend, but the cold may slow me down… The silver lining, I might see if I can get my truck out to one of the better spots from the holidays and see if the fish are still there…

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1600660

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-1616:

    After a week of watching the fishing plummet right along with the air temperature (20 below on Valentine’s Day) some fresh reports from Monday (2/15) are going to help add a little better outlook on this week’s report. The sub-zero temps and winds kept most anglers looking for other things to do this past weekend. Those that did go out struggled to keep warm and catch fish. As Monday’s temps rose above zero to start the day (13 degrees at dawn) so did anglers and their catches.

    Bluegills: Fair-Good. Action was slow most of the week, but, picked up on Monday. Anglers doing best on neutral colored (brown, red, blue) 3mm Tungsten jigs and Tungsten jig/flys tipped with spikes. Some anglers are finding gills as shallow as 6-7’, others working mud for perch picking up nice gills in 20-25’.

    Northern: Fair-Good. Not a lot of action during the cold snap, but, improved after. Most pike caught on typical tip-up set-ups with big shiners or suckers as bait. One lucky angler caught and released a 36”er on a jigging Rapala yesterday as action picked up with the warm weather.

    Perch: Poor-Good. The best bite is deep over mud flats. Perch probing mud for blood worms and mayfly larvae in 20-25’ of water taking Halis, Pimples, Bro Bugs and #4 Fiska jigs tipped with red spikes or wigglers. Anglers working sand grass flats getting some action on minnows, but, the mud fish just seem to want bugs.

    Crappies: Poor-Good. Dismal weekend for this species, but, showed improvement on Monday. While a few anglers picked up some crappies in 6-7’ while targeting gills, deeper water proved to be a better bite. Also producing was 10-12’ cabbage areas with dark rockers (#8 or #10) in black, purple, green or red dressed with red, brown, purple or black plastic or live spikes. Tip-down anglers working outside weedy bays in 14-18’ of water on lakes or 18-24’ on flowages did better on rosies. A few anglers reported nice slabs hitting #2 or #3 jigging Rapalas. This is a good sign of some aggressive action to come.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair. While most anglers reporting bad walleye fishing (most catches 0-1 per outing), a few are having luck after dark on deeper lakes finding bars or humps topping 18-22’ on walleye suckers.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor. Not surprising with the cold. This weekend with forecast to hit upper 30’s/lower 40’s should improve bite. Not sure if it’s the doldrums of mid-winter, but, fishing has not been good overall this past month. We have just 3 weekends left of the gamefish season. With most ice reports running in the 12-17” range and a forecast of warm weather to come, I can’t foresee having fishable ice into April, leaving a short late ice panfish season (but, I’m wrong more than I’m right…just ask my wife) so it may be imperative to get out and get your ice fishing fix in soon.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1601831

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-22-16:

    Finally something to write a report about! Fishing picked up across the board over the weekend, with Saturdays west winds and above freezing temps bringing the best of the weeks fishing.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good. Deep water anglers plying the mud flats of 20-30’ of water had good success using Halis, Pimples, Perch Talkers and VMC Chandeliers tipped with red spikes or wigglers. On lakes with less mud, but good sand grass similar depths provided good catches with a few reports of tip-downs and small minnows also producing. On shallower lakes perch patrolling weed edges and sparsely weeded humps found good catches using VMC Flash Champs and Northland Forage Minnows tipped with minnow heads or spikes.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. What started out a bit slow progressively got better as the week wore on. Pike were actively feeding taking large baits (suckers, shiners) on tip-ups. Lot of heavy fish as females are feeding up to help their eggs. Lots of 25-32” fish reported over the weekend.

    Bluegills: Good-Very Good. The combination of hackle, weight and a bit of meat (spikes, waxies) on this years hottest jig for gills has made VMC & Northland Jig Fly’s and Larvae jigs a must have. The gills (as well as the anglers thanks to the warm weekend) got active and anglers iced lots of fish while probing the 6-9’ weeds. A few big gills were being found cruising with perch over mud flats in 21-24’ of water – probably picking off wigglers that the perch were rooting out of the mud.

    Crappies: Good. The reports from the Flowages saw an upswing as tip-down anglers had some of their best success on rosie reds. On natural lakes, tip-downs with crappie minnows accounted for some of the catch, but anglers dipping plastics and grubs did better.

    Walleye: Fair-Good. Catches improved this weekend. Anglers actively jigging for walleye were successful using jigging Raps, Slender Spoons or just Forage jigs tipped with large Fatheads. The late night/all night anglers are having their best success using pike sized suckers on tip-ups on off-shore humps topping at 18-24’.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. Got into the action with warm temps. Most on tip-ups baited with medium golden shiners. Lots of incidental catches by pan fishermen with jigs and waxies.

    Lets hope the improved fishing is here to stay for the rest of the ice season. The game fish season ends March 6th, so we’ve only got two weekends left. Ice thickness seems to be averaging 14-17”. There is some water on the ice in places, but snow depth and slush have not been a problem. A.T.V. and snowmobiles traffic best, but several areas good for truck travel. Colder temps this coming weekend (highs in teens) will firm up some wet areas. Forecast is for no new precipitation this week.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1603596

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-29-16:

    A February record temperature for Saturday (52 degrees) unfortunately did not set any records for fish catching. As been the case on most of our nicer weekends, great weather did not equate to great fishing. Maybe it was the number of anglers, maybe the high barometer at times. While certain lakes produced well, others that had been improving suddenly went quiet. Still, enough anglers had catches of fish to rate the entire weekend fair – good.

    Walleye: Fair–Good. What started out not so good mid-week picked up by the weekend. Evenings best with anglers having success jigging with Raps, Rippin Raps, RPM’S and Slender Spoons tipped with a minnow head worked over off–shore humps and along breaks in 18-28’ of water. Tip–up anglers did best using 3-4” sucker minnows or large fatheads. While no reports here of monsters- nice catches of 14-22” fish from the larger lakes.

    Northern: Fair–Good. Pike action slowed compared to last weekend, though some anglers found pockets of good action on tip–ups baited with big shiners and suckers. By the looks of their bellys these fish are feeding heavy to help with egg production.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. With the warm up came the bass action. Tip–ups baited with medium shiners scored best, but anglers targeting crappies and gills using small minnows or teardrop jigs and waxies inadvertently caught more than a few bass.

    Yellow Perch: Fair–good. Deep mud flats (18-28’) are best. Mayfly larvae (wigglers) and red spikes on Hali jigs, Pimples, Flash Champs, Chandeliers and Perch Talkers best. These mud fish relating to invertebrates and don’t seem interested in minnows. Small windows of activity as seen on Saturday when bite is good early A.M., followed by hours of no interest, till minor bite mid–afternoon.

    Bluegill: Fair–Good. Good bites scattered. Anglers finding pockets with small numbers of gills willing to bite for short periods. Small dark colored tungsten jigs (black, red, dark green) tipped with mousee on spike in 7-9’ best.

    Crappies: Fair. Flowage bites shut down, while anglers working lakes with standing weeds in 10-12’ enticing bites using plastics (this weekend motor oil and root beer were best). Some tip–down/minnow action early and late in the day. Some success on Lethal Cecils tipped with waxies as well as Rembrandts and Purist tipped with spike.

    The gamefish season ends March 6th at midnight. With averages of 14-18” of ice on most lakes we should see a few weeks of good March pan fishing. Not much snow cover as of now means the ice could go quickly if we get any prolonged warm spells. Forecast for this week looks mild – shouldn’t lose any ice, probably won’t make any.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1605815

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-08-16:

    Thanks to high winds last Monday (2/29) that blew most of the remaining snow off the lakes, followed by nights in the single digits, we started the weekend with the best ice/travel conditions of the season. It’s going to go downhill from here. While forecast can’t always be trusted (didn’t rain last night), the call is for 14 straight days above 32 degrees with the highs in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. With ice almost bare due to last Monday’s wind, we actually gained a little ice thickness (reports were of 16-20” average) but, it will start to deteriorate quickly now. Gamefish season ended Sunday (3/6). It was one of the better “closers” we’ve had with good reports of walleyes, northern and largemouth bass being caught. Now all attention is on panfish and the next 7-10 days will be key.

    Crappies: Very good. Anglers fishing lakes are finding fish in two types of areas. Weed fish in 8-12’ are taking slow dropped rockers and Lethal Cecils tipped with plastics (a variety of shades of pink were hot Sunday). Chena, spikes and wax worms also working. Anglers fishing deeper crappies have had their best success on tip-downs with rosies. Some anglers having success using tungsten jigs to present orange plastic to deep crappies (20-30’). Flowage anglers relying on tip-downs baited with rosie reds. In deep water, watch for crappies suspending 5-7’ off the bottom.

    Perch: Very good. Mud flats in 18-30’ are producing nice catches of “eaters” (8-11”) for anglers using wigglers, red spikes on Chandelier jigs. Hali jigs, #2 Swedish Pimples and Slender Spoons also working. These “mud” fish don’t seem to be as interested in minnows, but a few do pick up small crappie minnows on tip-downs as well as a bonus slab crappie from time to time. Shallower “weed” perch taking meat! Crappie minnows on tip-downs as well as jigging Vinglas, Flash Champs and Forage minnow jigs tipped with 2-3 waxies. These plump fish are being found in weeds of 6-10’.

    Bluegills: Very good. The tungsten “jig flys” continue to be hot for gills tipped with a waxie or spike. Plastics on #10 rockers in darker colors (plastic colored red, rootbeer, motor oil, purple) as well as thin strips of Chena. Check shallower water of 8’ and less. When bite is good, go to larger jigs (#8’s) to try to discourage smaller fish. When bite lessens, us small 2.5mm to 3mm Fiska jigs with single spike, moussee or thin dark wedgee plastics.

    Best to wear rubber boots from here on out with your cleats. Keep an eye on shoreline ice, especially with southern exposures. Safety spikes, rope and flotation are also smart attire from here on out. Truck travel will end soon, but, ATV traffic should be good through the weekend. Keep an eye on our website http://www.kurtsislandsports.com for updated ice conditions.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1607058

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-15-16:

    From the forecast, I would have been sure the ice would be done by now. Instead, since a few nights dipped below freezing last week and the rain never really showed Sunday, we still have fishable ice throughout much of the Lakeland area. Ice thickness that ranged 16-20” last week is now down to 9-13” with the top 2-3” very rotten. Walking is the best approach, but, use caution. A beautiful high pressure Saturday caused the biggest melt down and didn’t do much for the fishing, but by Saturday night and through this morning (3/15), the panfish bite has been very good.

    Crappies: Very good. Following some very good fishing early last week, action slowed on all but the Flowages with the sun and high pressure. Tip-downs were the ticket here, baited with rosie reds and set up along the sides of river channels and over wood piles in 12-18’ of water. On lakes tip-downs with crappie minnows best at dusk and just after dark in 8-12’ weeds. During the day, finesse fishing Rembrandts, Purists or Rockers dressed with plastics (pink has been hot), Chena or waxies has been best. Big crappies of 13-14” coming towards dusk and right at dawn.

    Bluegills: Very good. They really turned on with the cloud cover. Many reports of gills coming up high, sometimes 2-3’ under the ice. You don’t need tungsten in these conditions. Standard lead jigs or the Northland Helium jigs work nice for slow drop. Bait with moussees or waxies. Plastic colors of red, raspberry, purple and black have been best.

    Perch: Very good. Very early mornings best over deep mud using wigglers on Hali jigs or #4 Tungsten jigs. Anglers reporting perch in the 8-11” range on lakes while the Flowages had 10-13” perch reported on tip-downs with medium fatheads or VMC Chandelier jigs with a waxie on each hook of the treble.

    It’s very tough to predict how long the ice will hold. A heavy rain could eat up shore line ice in a hurry, yet a forecast of lows in the teens by Friday may stretch some access out for a while. Just like the beginning of the season, use caution (Rope, Spikes and Friends).

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1609389

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-22-16:

    We have more and better ice today (3/22) than last Friday (3/18). Anyone surprised? Nights in the teens and not very warm days actually firmed up the ice and made a little. Not everywhere is safe, a few lakes have had shoreline ice pull away enough to prohibit access. There are still plenty of other options throughout the area to quench your thirst for some late ice panfish.

    Crappies: Very good. On the high sky days, the bite shuts down for the most part, but, early and late in the day anglers scoring big. Cloudy days are seeing bite going throughout the day. Crappie minnows, rosies on tip-downs when the bite is on. Less aggressive bites, finesse with a #8 rocker, Lethal Cecil or Gill Getters sporting a plastic tail (white, yellow, pink, lavender), Chena or waxie. Nice crappies of 11-13” being caught with several anglers boasting 14-15” fish.

    Bluegills: Very good. Similar to crappie bite, but, a little more willing when the sun is out. Moussies, waxies, spikes and plastics (red,purple, maroon, black) on light lead jigs worked just 2-3’ under the ice in some cases. Limits being caught in short order for anglers starting early in the day. Lots of action, some sorting, depending on the lake, but, gills of 7-9” filling buckets.

    Perch: Good. Fewer reports of anglers working deep water, but, still producing using wigglers on pimples, Hali jigs. Up along weeds in 6-10’ perch feeding up preferring minnows or jigs loaded with waxies.

    Caution is advised wherever you go from here on out. North accesses are especially poor. South access, especially those well treed or protected by high hills best. Ice averages 10-13” as of today. Foot traffic best – some areas seeing ATV use, but, while ice can be 12” or more, this is not quality ice, so be careful. Should have fishable ice throughout this weekend and beyond.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1610454

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-29-16:

    Ice fishing season continues to shrink along with it’s most important ingredient..ice. Fewer places are accessible everyday with a forecast of heavy rain for Wednesday (3/30) even the forecast for nighttime temps in the teens for Friday/Saturday (4/1 and 4/2) may not be enough to give the hard water anglers safe footing for the weekend. Keep an eye on our website fishing report for further details.

    Crappies: Good-Very Good. At times the bite is relegated to early morning and evenings. But with the south end of Big Arb reporting 14-15” on Monday (3/2Cool, most of the fishing pressure in this area is on the very protected south shore. Tip-downs with minnows as well as slow dropping plastics and spikes has been effective. Work from just under the ice to the bottom to find where fish want offerings. Some true slabs of 13-15” being caught, though majority of reports are 10-11”.

    Bluegills: Good-very good. Gills active, preferring darker plastics (purple has been hot). Mostly shallower than crappies (6-8’ vs 10-12’) but also tending to move more up and down the water column. Moussies have been hottest live bait.

    Perch: Good. Not as many reports as deep water tougher to access and more of the gravid (egg bearing) females migrating to shallower weedy cover as ice thickness lessens. These fish will eat, so feed them a big meal of wigglers, medium fatheads of several waxies on a minnow shaped jig.

    The pond behind our shop looks to be about 30% open as of 3/29 morning. Traditionally 7-10 days after the pond goes ice free, Minocqua Lake will be ice free. No one is fishing west side of Lake Minocqua. Use caution anywhere you go.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1612330

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-4-16:

    Despite cold temps (18 degrees this morning when I opened), lakes that opened up to some extent are NOT safe to access. Reports in our area show only the south end of Big Arbor Vitae having enough ice (aprox 8″) to fish and even that should be approached with extreme caution!

    Crappies: Good. When conditions allow. Slow drop plastics or waxies, or try tip-downs with minnows.

    High winds and cold made for tough conditions. With the exception of Big Arb, can’t really recommend ANY ice fishing.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1613170

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-12-16:

    It has been strung out for weeks now, but, the ice fishing season in the Lakeland area should be over by this weekend. With the south end of Big Arbor Vitae Lake and the east end of Lake Tomahawk still holding on to barely safe ice (thanks to overnight lows in the single digits). The forecast for this weekend with a six day stretch of mid 60’s to low 70’s should seal it. High winds kept most anglers off the ice this past weekend. The few that tried had marginal success on crappies. Flowages are rising as well as some lakes controlled by dams. There won’t be much to report for the next few weeks. Looking forward to the opener of game fish season on May 7.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1615240

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-21-16:

    Sorry for the delay in getting the fishing report out. Anglers that have been out chasing pan fish (only species open in our area) have had good success for perch, crappie and bluegills, especially on the warmer afternoons. As the bays warm (some reports have surface temps hit the low 50’s), crappies and gills have moved into shallows. They spook easily, but, long casts have produced some good catches. Anglers finding perch up shallow looking for places to spawn. There is just 2 ½ weeks until the opener. Walleye spawning going well we here as calm nights easy on newly laid eggs.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1615815

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-26-16:

    Unfortunately we didn’t get another beautiful weekend like the previous one. The temperature was cooler, and it was rainy so there was very little fishing activity. Surface temps reported anywhere from the upper 30’s (big lakes) to upper 40’s. That is down from a few that reached the low 50’s during that warm weekend. As the week progresses it looks like we will slowly creep out of this cooler weather into some 50’s and 60’s. As the weather prevented many anglers from getting on the water, fishing reports are few and far between. Hopefully the cold weather will be gone by the opener (May 7). Do yourself and your favorite license vendors a favor and purchase your license BEFORE May 6. Go Wild!

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    reverend
    Participant
    Rhinelander, WI
    Posts: 1115
    #1615878

    However, on Saturday the perch were on fire! waytogo

    Attachments:
    1. IMG_0819.jpg

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1617424

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-3-16:

    Here we are on the brink of the opener. A late one. Walleye spawning is almost completely done throughout the Lakeland Area. What anglers can expect will be a post spawn bite for the most part. Surface temps ranging from 47-53 degrees on many of the area lakes and Flowages. Following a brief recovery time after the rigors of spawning, walleyes should be on the feed.

    Typical light jigs tipped with large fatheads, small suckers as well as chubs and Dace (where and when available) fished near newly emerging green weeds will probably be the top choice amongst most anglers. Look for the warmest water on the lake (can change daily with wind direction). Casting minnow style shallow running crank baits at dusk and after dark is usually a good tactic early on.

    If water temps on the lake you choose hits the low 50’s, take along some leeches as they will start emerging from the mud in shallow bays. Forecast for the temperature to hit low 70’s Saturday should help as long as clouds accompany.

    Crappies: Very good. In the afternoons, crappies becoming active, moving into the shallow, warmer bays – sometimes as little as 4’ of water. Long cast so as not to spook the fish. The crappies, bluegills, bass and musky being seen in the shallows mixed in with large schools of bait fish is a good sign.

    Despite the late start, hopefully we will see some good fishing, but, don’t forget Sunday is Mother’s Day! Take Mom fishing.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1619553

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-10-16:

    Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us. Friday’s temps cracking 87 degrees, then fell quickly by 30 degrees as a fast moving storm passed through during the night. The opener saw temps in the 40’s with North winds and a high barometer. Fishing conditions were tough, though a few bodies of water produced catches, but, those bodies were also stacked up with anglers.

    Not just the anxious walleye anglers were affected either. The steadily improving panfish bite shut down for the most part also. Things improved somewhat by Sunday and should through the week. The forecast looks too cool by the weekend, but, we will wait and see.

    Walleyes: Poor – good. Much depended on where the fishing took place. Overall more of a “fair’ rating for the whole weekend, though some anglers (on flowages) did well. Most reports were of little or no walleye action. Minnows on jigs as well as slip bobber rigs did best. What looked like a good potential for a leech bite didn’t materialize when the temperature dropped so quickly.

    Northern: Fair-Good. They were active on the Flowages. While few targeted this species, a lot were caught by anglers jigging minnows for walleye.

    Crappies: Fair. The bite shut down with the cold. Fish were still caught, but, the bite only slightly improved by Sunday. It was odd to catch crappies in 16’ and also in 6’ of water on the same lake an hour apart. Judging by the coloration of the males, some bedding is occurring. Minnows have been the top choice below slip floats. Lakes with water temps in upper 50’s will see the first hot action of spring, but, up and down temps could push fish out and back in. Afternoons have been best.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. With the season open for this species (smallies not until June 18th), surprisingly some anglers were out targeting LMB. Due to sudden cold spell, plastics in the form of 4” wacky worms as well as small creature baits worked best.

    Bluegills: Poor-Fair. The few decent reports were from anglers on the flowages fishing deep wood. Friday, before the temperature change, gills were thick and hungry in the shallows.

    Surface temps varied widely from lows of 46-47 degrees (Trout, Fence) to highs close to 60 degrees by Sunday afternoon. Clear nights have led to cold early mornings, as temps warm in the afternoon so has the bite.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1620260

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-17-16:

    Snow in mid May! A big step backward in weather saw area lakes lose as much as 10 degrees and more in surface temperature. Many anglers who had scheduled their fishing trips were disappointed to see such weather play havoc with their plans and expectations.

    Pike: Fair. The drastic drop in temperature was too much for even these fish in most cases. A few anglers reported nice catches using black tail chubs on jig or under floats. Not much of an artificial bite this past week.

    Crappie: Poor-Fair. With a lot of anglers chomping at the bit to get into their May crappie bite, the past weekend was a huge letdown. Those that did find fish looked deeper than usual. Probing deeper weeds, where available to produce staging crappies in 6-10’ of water on small minnows was the best bet.

    Largemouth: Poor-Fair. A few patient bass anglers reported catching bass in 6-10’ weeds on small wacky worms, minnows and leeches. Not many fish, but a few big (18” plus) reported.

    Walleyes: Poor-Fair. With dropping water temps pushing bait fish out of shallows, the best bites were found in 14-22’. Slowly dragging Dace, large fatheads or small chubs up and over drowned wood and rocks worked best. Jigs, Lindy rigs and slip-floats on a slow drift also produced.

    Perch and Bluegill: Poor. Few anglers are targeting these species, fewer catching.

    Despite season closed until June 18, several reports of incidental catches of big Smallmouth this past week. Fish of 18-20” with photos of a confirmed 21”er reported.

    Despite the doom and gloom of this past weekend (cold this morning…28 degrees) from here on out things look very good. Temps in the low 70’s by the weekend should ramp up the crappies spawning process, get bait fish back into the shallow, weeds starting to grow and overall improvement in May fishing. It has been a cold spring, fish should be hungry.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1621189

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-23-16:

    Gorgeous weather moved into the Lakeland area this past week, warming up the waters and improving the fishing immensely. Lots of much needed sun; very little, if any wind and temps in the 70’s brought about a lot of great fishing to the area.

    Crappies: Very Good. It was “that” weekend. Water temps warmed into the low 60’s bringing the stalled crappie bedding/spawning to a peak. Anglers filled the lakes with buckets of crappie minnows on board to catch, in many cases, limits of crappies. Fish were being found in as little as 1-3’ while others were done, or just staging outside. The cold nights (temps below freezing) helped to stretch the spawn out, but surface temps in the low 60’s are being found on most lakes and the spawn won’t last much longer with that.

    Walleye: Very Good. Good catches on redtails, Dace, Fatheads and leeches. Some lakes still holding fish in 14-18’ depth over wood, rocks. The cloudless skies have kept the shallow bite curtailed, but early morning anglers and after dark using lighted slip-bobbers with large leeches are doing well. Also, after dark casting shallow running stick baits over newly emerging weeds, producing nice walleyes (though many in protected slot). Cloud cover should make for some good daytime walleye fishing as we move away from this full moon period.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good to Very Good. (Catch and Release Only!) Smallies moving into shallower water to stage as their time is next. Low to mid 60’s prime for smallies Twitch baits (ShadowRaps, ShadowShads, X-Raps) as well as top water Pop-R’s working well in 3-6’. Nice smallies of 17-20” this weekend C&R pitching jig/minnow combos in shallows for early morning walleyes.

    Largemouth Bass: Good to Very Good. Cruising the warm shallows. Twitch baits, plastic worms, lizards, craws as well as top-water hand baits. The warm water is bringing lots of small bluegills, minnows and bugs to the shallows. Opportunistic bass following.

    Bluegills: Good to Very Good: Flooding the shallows to warm up (not spawning till waters in low 70’s). Thunderbugs, wrigglers, small leeches and worms below tiny floats won’t soak long! Make long cast to not spook fish. Tiny 1” tubes also good to target larger gills. 11” monster brought in Sunday. Small minnows also good big gill bait!

    Northern Pike: Good. Not as much attention with walleyes and crapppies as main focus. Chubs on jigs as well as #3 Mepps, 212 Roostertails and Small Daredevils working anywhere some green weeds are developing.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Not being targeted much. When some make way to the fish house, finding dragonfly larvae (Thunderbugs) is heavy part of their diet.

    The weather had been a plus (Though some clouds would be nice) and much needed chance of rain mid-week is supposed to give way to more nice weather for the Memorial Weekend.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1622167

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-31-16:

    A soggy Memorial weekend put a damper on what could have been a great opener, but, despite the forecast (and unfortunate reality), anglers who dodged the rain in many cases faired pretty well.

    Northern Pike: Very good. Many being caught by anglers targeting other species (bass, walleye and musky). Big chubs and suckers of 5-7” on slip-bobber rigs and jig combos worked well, but casting swimbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits (Boonies accounted for a lot of pike in the 24-30” class this weekend), caught lots of pike. Depths of 3-8’ with plenty of cabbage best.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very good. Many fish up on beds. Topwater action best between rain squalls using Pop-R’s and Skitter Pops. Twitch baits such as Shadow Raps, X-Raps and Husky Jerks all producers.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. From 1’ to 8’ depths, LMB cruising the warmest shallows taking plastic Lizards, creatures, plastic craws fished on light Carolina rigs. Spinner baits, square billed cranks and pre-rigged plastic worms all helping anglers connect.

    Walleyes: Good. Overcast and rain is ok for this species. Big leeches and 3-4” chubs and suckers in weed beds of 6-10’ when sun not shinning. Anglers casting Shad Raps (#6, 7, 8) over and along side weed beds/weed edges of 8-14’ doing very well. Fish of the week a 31” monster caught and released by a young fisher gal using a Boonie Bait (spinner bait).

    Crappies: Fair-Good. The easy stuff is over as the previous weekends warm spell brought the spawn to a fast end. Still, anglers catching post spawn crappies using minnow on floats in 8-12’ depths.

    Bluegills: Fair. Action will resume once the sun comes out and warms the shallows. Thunderbugs and small leeches best in 2-6’.

    Perch: Fair. Not a lot of reports. Some anglers working weeds in 5-8’ using Thunderbugs and small leeches catching some nice “eaters” of 8-9”.

    Much needed moisture, but, unfortunately on a Holiday weekend. Water temps bouncing from 64-69 degrees. Rain threat to end by Thursday.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1623056

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-04-16:

    Early June starting out a bit wet and windy. Water temps have settled into the mid 60’s and many species have settled into their late spring patterns.

    Walleye: Very Good. The cloud cover has benefitted day time walleye anglers. Casting diving cranks (ShadRaps, Flicker Shads, and Smash Shads) over and through cabbage beds of 8-12’ has produced very well again this past week. Opportunities come during lowest light periods or cloudy patches that are turning the fish on. Jig anglers finding very good success using minnow, leeches and crawlers. The night bite has not been as good yet, but will improve as the water warms and after the impending Hex hatches occur.

    Northern Pike: Very Good. Good pike weather! Pike taking spinnerbaits (Boonies, Booyah), weedless spoons (Silver Minnows, Jawbreakers), and swimbaits. Live bait anglers very successful on chubs and suckers, 6-12’ weeds.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good! In an aggressive mood! Spinner baits (Boonies, Booyah) and chatterbaits are hot! A 22”er on a Booyah 6/5! Faster moving swimbaits as well as pre-rigged plastic worms ticking weed tops of 5-8’. Top-water action is slow due to mid-60’s water and a lot of wind/rain.

    Bluegills: Very Good. Surprisingly, lots of signs of bedding gills already. Small leeches, Thunderbugs, and worms are working. Tiny tubes and twistertails. Once beds found, play nice- catch a bunch, but keep only a few; leave some for the next time out.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Post spawn. Best on twitch baits such as Shadow Raps and X-Raps. Fish moved away from shallow spawning areas to next breaks. Plastic craws and cranks that dive to 8-10’ in craw patterns are working.

    Musky: Fair-Good. Most reports of fish in upper 30” to lower 40” class on smaller bucktails and 3/8 oz. Spinner baits.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. A few good reports coming from flowages. If fishing drowned wood areas, chose Thunderbugs (dragonfly larvae) for bait- perch being cleaned picked with these bugs.

    Crappie: Fair. With spawn over, this species has fallen off the radar a bit- maybe to recover. The few reports are of scattered fish taking jig/spinner combos (Beetle spins, mimic minnow spins eat).

    Despite water temps averaging mid 60’s, spawning fish seem to be ahead of schedule. When anglers could fish (Rain/wind) reports were good. With temps forecasted into the 80’s for the coming weekend, expect more from our bass, musky and pike reports and with some top-water coming into play.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1624745

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-14-16:

    The past week ended with a huge storm, knocking out the power in much of the Lakeland area this past Friday night. A week of very changing weather: sun, clouds, cold (launched boat at 32 degrees on 6/7), wind, and flat calm. Crazy ups, downs, and sideways so anglers had a lot of changes to deal with.

    Largemouth Bass: Very good. Post spawn, hungry fish. A wide variety of techniques working, much dependent on weather, but, lots of great action. Spinnerbaits (Boonies, Booyahs) best to start covering weed tops of 5-9’ of cabbage. On cooler mornings switch to twitch baits (Rattlin Rouges, X-Raps, Shadow Raps). Surface lures best on warm evenings. Plastics such as Wacky worms, Jig and Craws and Sweet Beavers have all been working well as anglers reworking areas that were covered by faster moving baits pick up, the more aggressive fish. Lots of 14-18” fish with several 20”+ being caught and released.

    Bluegills: Very good. Still bedding on the larger lakes. Fun for popper fishing in the evenings. Small 1” tubes, small leeches, Thunderbugs and worms all tough to resist. Once off beds, gills are in 4-8’ cabbage.

    Pike: Very good. Actively slamming blade baits (Boonies, Booyahs, Chatter baits) and swim baits in the 3 ½-4” size. Twitch baits (4 ½ – 5”) and lipless cranks are also hot. For a more relaxed pace, cast 4-6” chubs and suckers on jigs or under floats.

    Walleyes: Very good. Cloud cover is walleye angler’s friend and on cloudy days work cabbage beds in 6-10’. While leeches and crawlers working well, Dace and smaller redtails are also producing in the mid 60 degree waters. Twitch baits such as Husky Jerks (#8) and Shadow Shads also picking up better than average walleyes (19-24’”) over and through early morning cabbage of 5-10’. Top fish of the week: 26”er on a Boonie Bait. Released.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. At dawn, work shallows with X-raps, Shadow Shads. As smallies move out during day, working the next break lines of 8-15’ using plastic craws, wacky worms best.

    Crappies: Fair-Good and Improving. Starting to find crappies working upper column of weeds in 8-12’. Cast light jigs tipped with small minnows or 1 ½” tubes. Wood is key in deeper water. Angler reporting action increasing with several big slabs of 13-14” being caught.

    Musky: Good. Topwater, bucktails and 7” twitch baits. Lighter rubber baits also moving fish.

    Perch: Fair-Good. Action picking up. More perch being caught in weeds of 8-12’. ½ crawler, medium fatheads working best.

    Between fits of weather, anglers have found good to very good fishing. Waiting out slow periods have paid off big. The last big hurdle for patterns to settle in for summer will be the impeding Hexagemia (Mayfly) hatch.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1625832

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-21-16:

    They are Heeerrree! The dreaded Hexagenia hatches have been going on for the past week at a lake near YOU! And there are still a few more to come.

    The larger lakes, with deeper, cooler waters are yet to see hatches. Mid-sized (1000 Acres and less) and the flowages have finished.

    Warm afternoons have pushed surface temps into the low 70’s; most spawning fish are done, though there are some exceptions here and there.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Weeds have been key, green bass lurking in cabbage flats of 8-10’ hitting lipless cranks, ShadowRaps and spinnerbaits over weed tops when aggressive. Slip down into pockets using wacky worms and sweet Beavers rigged weedless to hoist bass from mid-day cover. Evenings with rising water temps great time to work topwater plugs and frogs.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good. Early A.M. find cruising shallows-use #6-#8 Husky Jerks, X-Raps and Shadow Raps (Shallow). During day move off-shore to humps- drop–shoting plastic craws, 3” Senkos and JackALL Clonefry & Cross Tail Chads.

    Bluegills: Very Good. Worms small leeches, tubes in 6-9’ weeds. Most spawning is done. It’s a great time to try your hand at fly-fishing, with poppers, dry flies and nymphs.

    Crappies: Good-Very Good. Working weeds of 7-10’. Very light tubes, Gapen Freshwater shrimp and 1’ twister tails. Nice 10-13” fish being reported. Questions about crappies still having eggs? Those fish missed their opportunity and will reabsorb those eggs- the changing temps this spring messed up the crappie spawn in some places.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. Loving the moving targets. Spinnerbaits (Boonies, Booyah) Chatterbaits, Swimbaits (3 ½-5”) and twitch baits (Rattlin Rouges, X-Raps, Husky Jerks and Shadow Raps). The more relaxed type are reporting good success on suckers (5-7”) under floats.

    Walleye: Good-Very Good. Surprising with hatches going, but high winds helping anglers find actively feeding fish in relatively shallow water of 2-8’. Leeches and smaller redtails have led to nice catches of eye with quite a few slot fish (20-24”) being released.

    Twitch baits also producing: X & Shadow Raps!

    Perch: Good. Perch catches picking up. Mixed in with walleyes in wind-blown weeds, smaller chubs, ½ crawlers producing some very nice 9-11” fish for those willing to spend the time out in the rough.

    Musky: Fair-Good. Best action on smaller bucktails (RizzoWizz’s, #500 Buckertails, and 7” Twitch baits (Cranes) and top water towards evening.

    With the Hex hatches past the mid-way point and some stable, warm weather moving in expect summer patterns to begin. This could mean some tough fishing on “nice” blue-bird days for some species (Walleye, Musky) but fishing only late and cloudy, windy days should help.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    Mark

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