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Minocqua Area Report – 2018

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1742835

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-09-18:

    With temps going from bitter cold thru last Saturday morning (Jan 6 = 20 below) to the twenties and even above freezing by Monday, anglers started flocking out on the ice to take advantage of the “warmth”!Despite a few reports of localized “poor” fishing (time, place?) fishing good overall. Conditions for travel on ice near excellent with ice averages of 14-17” (though a few reports of only 9-10” in certain places)

    Walleye: Good-Very Good > Best last hour of light through first hour of dark. Walleye suckers, large fatheads and large rosies over mud, sandgrass flats in 18-32’. Jigging #5 – #7 jigging Raps, Hyper Glydes producing well. On lakes with less depth chose medium river or golden shiners along cabbage edges of 9-12’.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good > Good Pike fishing using large golden or river shiners, black chubs and larger suckers.

    Yellow Perch: Good > Getting best reports from anglers following perch out to deep mud flats of 18-30’. Wigglers, red spikes on Hali jigs, with warmth tip-downs with small rosies also working. Anglers working shallow weed flats of 6-10’ finding single “roamers” from time to time, though these fish typically nice average size of 8-11”.

    Bluegill: Good > With warmer temps anglers moving a bit more catching gills on Moon Glos, Fiskas and Flirty Girtys tipped with moussies or waxies. A few anglers reporting bigger Gills in deeper water using #2 pimples tipped with waxies in 16-24’ mixed with Crappies.

    Crappie: Good-Fair > Anglers looking for Crappies in typical Flowages locations having tough time. On lakes, deeper better for mid-day action (18-25’) but a weed bite in 10-12’ occurring hour before dark as larger Crappies moving in for bite.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor-Fair > Improving with warmth. Medium shiners, jigging Shad Raps, Rippin’ Raps and #3-#4 pimples working. Tip with a minnow head for flavor.

    The good ice we have hopefully will hold dry with the coming snow. Our area is on the edge of Thursday’s storm, the amount we get will determine if ATV use will still work or if it will be all truck and snowmobile use soon.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1745417

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

    Cold and clear skies met weekend anglers, slowing what had been a very good ice fishing season so far.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Best chance for a meal is to work mud flats of 18-28′ using VMC Flash Champs, Halis and Pimples tipped with wigglers or Red Spikes. Warm forecast for weekend would allow for tip-down use with small rosies.

    Walleye: Good-Fair – Definite slow down over weekend. Bite more sporadic, probably due to barometer (though Flowages not affected same as lakes). Suckers in the 2 1/2 – 3 1/2″ range best.

    Crappie: Good-Fair – As with Walleyes, flowages better option on high sky days. Warmer weather this weekend should improve tip-down bite.

    Northern Pike: Fair – Bite slowed, some deeper water fish over sand grass should improve with warm up.

    Bluegill: Fair – Tighter lipped fish need to be finessed with smaller darker jigs tipped with dark (red, black, purple, brown) plastic and red spikes or moussies.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor – Look for bass action to pick up over weekend with warm up. Use medium shiners.

    A definite drop off in action over past weekend can be attributed to high pressure and cold (-28 degrees Sunday, Jan 14th). This week things should improve as temps slowly rise by weeks end, mid-week clouds should help till then.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1747018

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-23-18:

    Warm weather plus a free fishing weekend put lots of anglers on the ice! Popular areas got covered with anglers taking advantage of the conditions. Even some less frequented areas had visitors as travel was (get back to that later) excellent!

    Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Best over mud flats in water of 18-28’. Fast dropping spoons (Pimple, Halis, Flash Champs) tipped with wigglers, red spikes. Nice temps of 20+ degrees allowing for good tip-down use baiting with #14 or #16 trebles and small rosies.

    Crappie: Good-Very Good – Overall deep mud and transition degrees in 14-30’ best using tip-downs with rosies or Clam Caviar Drops tipped with waxies. In shallower water, with good cabbage in 7-12’ anglers picking up Crappies slow dropping #8 rockers of white or gold tipped with white or sliver plastic. Euro Tackles Z-Vibe also been a hit in water less than 14’.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Nice catches with anglers scoring well on tip-ups baited with shiners. Suckers also doing well in some areas, but reports of preference in shiners of late. Tip-up rigs with wire and small blade above hook getting best results.

    Bluegill: Good – Fiskas and Dudes tipped with moussies, spikes, waxies and dark plastics picking up good action. A few anglers fishing out of the way lakes finding some big Gills, up to 10+”!

    Walleye: Fair – Action overall has slowed. But some anglers finding pockets of success using jigging Raps (#5, #7) along transition zones of gravel to mud between 4-5:30 pm. Suckers have been preferred tip-up bait.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Poor – Despite warm temps, not a lot of Bass reports. Some action on tip-ups with medium shiners, others on small to medium slender spoons targeting Perch in 8-12”.

    Following a great weekend, 8+” of snow fell on the area Monday (1/22). This new snow will probably have anglers leaving their ATV’s at home, requiring travel from trucks and snowmobiles. It’s too early to get a report on the ice conditions.

    Check our website and/or Facebook page by Thursday for update on travel.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1748498

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 1-30-18:

    Despite warm temps and some southwest wind, fishing cooled off this past weekend. Temps in the mid 40’s on Jan 26th pushed snow down so travel, even by ATV, was good, though some areas reporting slush.

    Bluegill: Fair – Small windows of good bites occurring with anglers dipping tungsten jig tipped with J&S plastics in 7-10’ cabbage. The Gills being caught on Minocqua Lake for example have been running larger than average (7 ½-8 ½”+) with photos of 10+” Gills coming from outlying lakes.

    Crappie: Fair – Action spotty with best bites on tip-downs baited with small rosie reds. Depths of 18-30’ producing best. Jigs with glow such as VMC Chandeliers or larger 5mm tungsten tipped with waxies also working. In water of 12’ and less, EuroTackle Z-vibes catching some large, aggressive slabs at times.

    Northern Pike: Fair – Flags not flying here either. A few big Pike, one 37”er reported, but not a lot of action. 6-10’ weeds using large shiners best.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Small windows of opportunity for bites. Deep mud flats holding perch. At times, unresponsive. Fast dropping spoons such as Flash Champs, Kastmasters, Halis, Pimples, Clam Flutter spoons. Wigglers, red spikes or small minnows on tip-downs.

    Walleye: Fair-Poor – With the exception of where you can’t keep them (Minocqua Chain, very good), Walleye reports not good. When bites slow, switch to smaller suckers, shiners or large fatheads. #5 jigging raps. Couple good reports on the new Flash Bangs by night anglers.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor

    Travel improved as snow condensed. Most ice reports 17-20”+.

    Tournaments
    2/3 Ice Derby on Stacks Bay
    2/17 Lake Katherine
    WIFA High School State Championship
    2/24 Carroll Lake

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1750247

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-06-18:

    Despite the bracket of cold temps and added snow this past weekend, the lure of February’s Ice Derbies brought anglers out in droves to fish a little and get a chance to win something, as well as help raise money for good causes.
    Fishing picked up over the past weekend for many, though “the day after the derby hangover” seemed to have slowed things a bit.

    Crappie: Good – Most action deep. Tip-downs (when not too cold) tipped with small rosie reds best. When Crappies turning their nose up at minnows, try jigging chartreuse, orange, glow or gold #4 or #5 Fiskas tipped with waxies. Keep movement to a minimum when dealing with these negative fish. VMC Tungsten Flys also working well, here the subtle movement of the added hair may be what’s making the difference. Most reports of Crappies in 18-30’, usually 1-2’ off bottom. One group found nice fish suspended 15’ off a 30’ mud flat.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Deep mud flats best. Venom tungsten core glow rattle spoons, Halis, pimples, Chandeliers and Flash Champs. Red spikes and wigglers best. The rattles and glow of the Venom spoons help pulling in fish. Bang bait in mud to attract attention.

    Northern Pike: Good – Action improved, a few 30”+ fish reported. Best on large shiners. Where a deeper, 10-14’ weed edge is applicable, fish there as larger Pike being caught along these edges.

    Bluegill: Good – Not great numbers, but good reports of 7, 8, 9 and even 10”+ Gills! Anglers finding Gills in 8-12’ standing cabbage using small Tungsten jig flys or just plain #3-#4 Fiska jigs tipped with red, purple, motor oil and sometimes clear/silver J&S plastics or wedges. Some open water Gills holding over sandgrass in 16-23’ preferring clear, motor oil or black plastic on Dude jigs of red or black.

    Walleye: Fair-Poor – Catches few, but better than previous week. Smaller suckers, shiners or large rosies. Jigging Raps, Hyper Glydes and spoons with light by Northland and 13 Flash Bangs for after dark. The smaller Rippin Raps also working, though Walleye don’t seem to be as aggressive as earlier in season.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor – Cold not conducive to good action. Use medium shiners on tip-ups or a shiner head jigged on a #4 pimple.

    Ice thickness continues to grow slowly, 18-22” on average. Travel good despite recent snow. A few reports of slush on lakes with heavy snow and little traffic.

    Tournaments
    2/10 Plum Lake Tournament – to Benefit Sayner-Star Lake Lions Projects
    2/17 Bob Lemmer Tournament – Lake Katherine
    Wisconsin High School State Championship – Minoocqua/East-end Tomahawk
    2/24 Carroll Lake Ice Derby
    Lake Tomahawk Fisheree

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1751997

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-13-18:

    Not a noteworthy weekend, but it looks as though an uptick in action, as we may be starting to come out of the mid-winter blues. Certain species are making a stronger showing and this week’s warm up could provide some better fishing conditions.

    Bluegill: Good-Very Good – Good Action and some above average size Gills reported. Best action has been late morning through early afternoon as of late, probably due to below zero morning temps. Skandia #14 & #12 tungsten jigs as well as Fiskas in #2.5 thru #4’s tipped with Skimpees, Duppies, Wedgees, as well as J&S Larva Mites or Ice Mites. As for live bait, moussees, waxies working well. Small and dark best when fish get quiet.

    Northern Pike: Good – Big shiners ruling the action, partially due to lack of larger suckers, but also due to activeness and flash of shiners. Rigs with small blades helping to attract fish. Standing cabbage best in 7-10’, but larger fish (30”+) coming from deeper 12-17’ edges.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Depth of 18-30’ working mud flats using heavy spoons/jigs to stir up mud. Tip Venom Tungsten Core Rattle Spoons, Hali Sliver Spoons, Chandeliers, Flash Champs and Kastmasters with wigglers or red spikes. With warm up, rosie reds on tip-downs should work, but once found, fast dropping jigs/spoons way to increase #’s.

    Crappie: Good – A few reports of large fish moving into shallow weedy bays towards dusk, but for the most, deeper edges and flats. Weed edges of 12-18’ using tip-downs with rosies, glow or UV colored Flash Champs, Chandeliers, pimples, Demons. Waxies on glow #5 Fiskas. Use lighter colored plastics (white, pink, silver) when weed fishing. Look for fish to suspend 4-7’ off bottom over flats, anglers finding Crappies in bays at dusk 2-4’ below ice taking gold or white rockers tipped with Chena bait.

    Walleye: Fair – Out over deep sandgrass flats, Walleye suckers, large rosie reds and large fatheads on tip-ups. Jigging spoons with rattles or lights (Northland/Fish 13) tipped with minnow heads. Jigging Raps, Hyper Rattles & Glides also working. Best early AM, 1 hour before dark and again between 10 PM and midnight.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor-Fair – Expect action to pick up as temps get over 20’s this week. Shiners on tip-ups always top choice, but jigging Euro Tackle Z-vibes in 7-10’ weeds, tipping with minnow head, also producing some nice Bass when weather allowing.

    Should be a good weekend with new moon period coming up, plus some warmer weather. Reports of ice depths in the 22-26” range, with some areas to 30”. Snow depth making ATV travel tough, but trucks and snowmobiles good. Mid-week warm up (in the 40’s) should pack snow down to make ATV’s viable again in some areas.

    We welcome the Wisconsin High School Ice Fishing Championship on Lake Minocqua and the eastern half of Lake Tomahawk. Good luck to all the participants. Bring your Student ID’s and show at counter for specials on tackle.

    Tournaments
    2/17 Bob Lemmer Tournament – Lake Katherine
    Wisconsin High School State Championship
    2/24 Carroll Lake Ice Derby & Lake Tomahawk Fisheree

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1753974

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-20-18:

    Thanks to a holiday weekend, decent weather and the Wisconsin High School State Championship, the Lakeland area was busy with ice anglers this past weekend. Fishing started out slow on Thursday and Friday as high pressure didn’t help anglers trying to catch uninterested fish. But Saturday, with a change in the weather, action improved.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good – Some very nice fish in the mid 30” range on the largest of shiners and suckers. 10-14’ depths brought about the largest fish where that water was available, but nice fish from shallower flats also came in.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Action dipped but picked up by weekend. Deep water still best with anglers using Tungsten jigs and spoons to work waxies and even plastics, as well as a decent minnow bite when weather allowed for tip-downs or inside shacks. Look for suspended fish 4-6’ up off bottom.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Similar action with perch preferring wigglers or red spikes on Hali jigs, Tungsten Demons and Chandeliers. A preference for small minnows was seen as bite improved.

    Bluegill: Fair- Good – Improving catches in standing cabbage. Anglers doing well using #10 rockers tipped with plastics in red, maroon, black, purple and motor oil. #3 Fiskas tipped with small J&S plastics or Chena also good.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair – Some improvement as weekend progressed (Big Walleyes caught and released on Minocqua chain of 28, 27 & 26 1/4”, but that fishery NOT open ‘til May 2020.) Best action deep on most lakes using 3” suckers, large fats on large rosies. Jigging Raps and Slab Raps accounted for several nice Eyes over weekend (18-23”)

    Largemouth Bass: Poor-Fair – Medium shiners or large slender spoons best.

    The Wisconsin Interscholastic Fishing Association did an outstanding job running their State Championship here. Great organization and the participants did a great job of representing their high schools, their upbringing and the great sport of ice fishing. I encourage anyone reading our post to support this organization and the young anglers that participate. Our hats off to you!

    Tournaments:
    2/24 Carroll Lake Ice Derby
    Lake Tomahawk Family Ice Derby

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1755434

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 2-26-18:

    With just one weekend of gamefish angling left to the season, it’s time to pull out the stops if you’re planning on one last fresh meal of Walleye, Pike or Largemouth Bass to tide you over ‘til May!

    Recent heavy snows are making travel tricky as only trucks, snowmobiles or quads with tracks are making it across the lakes right now. 12-14” of new snow may get rendered down this week with highs in the low forty’s forecasted, but then it will be slush anglers will have to deal with!

    Bluegill: Good – Windows of activity, usually in the afternoons, have anglers doing well using #3 Fiskas tipped with red, motor oil or purple J&S Ice Mites. Using a tungsten jig to get down past the smaller Gills is necessary at times. When the bite is “on”, the larger Gills are rising to brighter jig/plastic combos of white, yellow or chartreuse. Waxies and moussees also working. Most Gills found in 7-10’ but some anglers finding larger Gills mixed with Perch in 18-28’ mud taking Flash Champs tipped with red spikes.

    Northern Pike: Good – Large shiners, suckers or frozen smelt set on wire leader rigs in 5-12’ doing well below tip-ups. On some shallow, weedy lakes check minnows 15-20 minutes after set-up. If your minnow is dead, raise bait 12-16” higher. Continue with this adjustment until minnows survive. A few of these type lakes are suffering low dissolved oxygen levels, but as the oxygen levels get lower, higher levels are found higher in the water column, fish will move higher to survive.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Best out over mud. Heavy, quick sinking jigs and spoons (Sliver Spoons, Hali, Kastmaster, #5 Fiskas) tipped with wigglers, red spikes best. With mild temps, tip-downs with small minnows working.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Deep still best! On some lakes, 35’. Reports of movements up into bays at times. Minnows on tip-downs good, glow jigs tipped with waxies also producing. Some reports from anglers using plastics (black unusually HOT!) doing well.

    Walleye: Fair – Anglers moving and jigging scoring some nice fish in the low-mid 20” range, but with new snow, mobility may be an issue. Stick to tip-ups with suckers to score a few last of the season Walleyes.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair – With warm up action on medium shiners and slender spoons should improve.

    Take a shovel if you’re traveling by truck, or follow existing trails best you can. Ten day forecast has nights below freezing but days of mid 30’s to mid 40’s. Comfortable temps, but could get messy.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1757468

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-06-18:

    With the amount of snow on the ice (and more coming down as this is being written), our ice coverage here in the Northwoods is in NO danger of leaving us any too soon. The amount of snow on the ice has made travel tougher on many bodies of water. Snowmobiles and full sized pick-ups, as well as quads with tracks, have been the best ways to get around (and the trucks are sometimes a maybe – bring a shovel… do as I say, not as I do…). Slush from last week’s warm up and a crust separating layers of snow has only added to the difficulty traveling, but will add weeks to our ice season!

    Yellow Perch: Good – Luckily with this species, if you can find a school you don’t have to move much. Still feeding heavily on wigglers and blood worms in the mud, though some anglers finding perch in mud as shallow as 13-18’ while others still in 20-28’. Venom Core, Pimples, Halis and Flash Champs baited with wigglers or red spikes. Glow colors popular.

    Bluegill: Good – Moving about the hardest part, but Gills biting. Look for standing weeds in 6-10’. Small #3 Fiskas, #10 tear drops and Jig Flys tipped with waxies, moussees or dark plastics. The tungsten jigs let you get down closer to the bottom quicker, where the larger Gills seem to be holding.

    Crappie: Fair – Action split between tip-downs with rosies and jigging small, flashy spoons (rockers, slender spoons) tipped with silver, clear or white wedgees. On some lakes, fish high, above Bluegill bite using #10 white rockers tipped with white or pink wedgees to find Crappies – sometimes 2’ under ice.

    Game fish season on our lakes is over. With 26-30” of ice below 12-16” of snow, no warm spells in forecast, we should see safe ice for panfish into April.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1759254

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-13-18:

    With the gamefish season over, all local attention is on the panfish in the Lakeland Area. Unfortunately, recent snows and warm ups have caused quite a bit of slush, making getting around difficult on lakes that don’t receive much traffic. Ice is still plenty thick (22-30”) but I personally noticed ice getting a bit soft due to the water on top working its way through ice. Still, with the 12-16” of snow on top, it will take a while to get down to some serious ice melt.

    Bluegill: Good – Varying reports, most Gills up in 7-10’ of weeds, with the better Gills moving through the deeper weeds in schools taking #3-#4 Fiska tungsten jigs tipped with moussees or waxies. Plastics also producing using Mustache worms and Shrimpy tails. Also some Gills still deep, relating to rock in 22-26’. Heavier offerings of larger tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or wigglers producing nicer Gills of 8”+.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Most action over mud using Chandeliers, Pimples, Halis, Venom Tungsten Core, and #5 Fiskas to get wigglers and red spikes down to fish. Depth of 14-24’ on average, find schools then keep them interested by getting bait back down quickly. Tip-downs with rosies and small fats working due to mild weather.

    Crappie: Good – Getting better, but far from peaked. Staging away from bays, but moving closer. Tip-downs have been good choice as crappies found suspending 3-5’ off bottom in 14-22’. Not a lot of strong reports from anglers dipping plastics in bays until last hour-and-a-half before dark, then big slabs moving in.

    March should be a good month for ice as day time highs in 30’s and 40’s will be countered by night time temps in teens. Watch for shoreline pull off where melting snow eats at access points, but so far good access not a problem.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1761033

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-19-18:

    Great weather and improving conditions on the ice led to lots of angler participation over the weekend.

    Crappie: Very Good – The warm weather helped with the functioning tip-down bite. Oddly, some reports on Crappies in 22-25’, some in 13-18’ and others up as shallow as 7-10’. Rosies and small minnows on tip-downs. In shallower water dipping plastics, especially dark colors such as black, maroon, red and purple best. Lots of reports of 11-13”+ fish.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good – Wiggler bite hot over mud flats, varying depths depending on lakes from 14-28’. Tip-downs with minnows also producing.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Lots of action but some sorting. Small #10 rockers, as well as Moon Glo jigs tipped with waxies, mousees or plastics. Dark colors on bright days, but bright colors working when Gills very aggressive.

    With ice 22-30” thick and still plenty of snow cover, add in nights in single digits to teens and we should have another 3 weeks of ice fishing to go.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1762959

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 3-27-18:

    Ice still at 20”+ on most area lakes, however overnight rain and warming temps could make for some slushy conditions.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good – Finding in mud flats, deep. Minnows, wigglers in the morning or afternoon best.

    Bluegill: Good – Rocker jigs or MoonGlo with waxies

    Crappie: Fair – Tip downs with rosies, best bite last 2 hours before sunset.

    Temps forecasted to reach into the 50’s mid-week and then snow chances for the weekend. Ahh…springtime in the Northwoods. The ice conditions will be as unpredictable as the weather, so be prepared.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1764905

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-03-18:

    Winter just is not ready to say goodbye to the Northwoods this year. About 10 inches of snow fell over the weekend and they are predicting another 6-9 over the next couple of days.

    There hasn’t been much fluctuation in temperatures so we are not seeing much change in the fishing patterns from last week.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good – Minnows/wigglers look to be the preferred meal for Perch. Look for them deep in mud flats, morning or afternoon best.

    Bluegill: Good – Waxies on Rocker jigs or MoonGlo

    Crappie: Fair – Finding best bite a couple of hours before dusk using tip downs with rosies.

    Not seeing any temps above freezing for the coming week, evening temperatures still in the teens or even single digits some nights, leaving plenty of ice. Be cautious along shorelines that could be open/thin but camouflaged with the new snow cover. Also be on the lookout for opening waters created by aerators (‘tis supposed to be the season). As usual, be prepared, all this new white stuff could make travel to your favorite spot quite adventurous.
    Don’t forget to get your new fishing license for 2018.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1766751

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-10-18:

    What can be said??? Our mild(ish) winter keeps flexing its muscle, putting cold and snow all over our spring and hopes for a good opener! Temps below zero (it’s April ?!) and a fresh blanket of snow have slowed fishing. Signs of stress on our smaller lakes due to lack of sunlight has hampered angler success.

    Bluegill: Fair – To be fair, few anglers were venturing out due to weather. Stay clear of the smaller lakes (low oxygen?) while larger lakes and mid-sized lakes with access to depth or moving water best.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Snow cover pushing most perch back out a bit deeper for now (10-15’+). Wigglers, rosies best.

    Crappie: Fair-Poor (for this time of year) – Bite lethargic. Tip-downs with minnows typical, but when fish tight lipped, work small #10 rockers tipped with small plastics to pry open some lips.

    A warm up by mid-week (4/11) should knock snow down some, but more cooler weather by weekend will hold up the ice melt. Average ice reports are running anywhere from 24-34”, we need the snow cover to leave to address the ice melt.
    No one knows for sure, but as of right now, don’t bury your tip-ups for opener, you might need them.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1768528

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-17-18:

    Not much to report! Unusual amounts of mid-April snow and high winds have kept anglers off the lakes. Access is tough right now as the snow depth makes getting around very difficult.

    Crappie: Bad-Poor! – No recent reports over the last five days, though a few anglers heading out as of this writing. Concentrate on bays of larger lakes (small lakes could very well be suffering from low oxygen with all this late snow). Slow, fluttering spoons such as Lethal Cecils and Demon Tongues tipped with waxies, Chena or light colored plastics should do well. Minnows on tip-downs or under small bobbers, as the warm up begins this weekend, should prove effective. Holes staying open, with much needed oxygen flowing down, will improve fish activity…and catches!

    Yellow Perch: Bad-Poor! – Ditto on reports. Gravid (egg laden) perch moving into weedy bays. As with Crappies, fluttering spoons such as Vinglas, Demon Tongues loaded up with waxies or tip-downs with minnows.

    Bluegill: Bad-Poor! – See above!! Once warm up keeps holes open, tip small rockers, Moon glows or tear drops with moussees, waxies. Also, Little Atom Duppees or J&S Larva mites or Ice mites for plastics. Keep to larger lakes to start as small lakes with low oxygen will have sluggish fish.

    In all cases try high under the ice, this is where the best concentration of dissolved oxygen will be. With temps hitting the 50’s this weekend, hopefully snow will melt down enough for decent travel.

    As far as the Opener…Things look grim, with upwards of 30-34” of ice covered by two feet of snow and only 19 days ‘til May 5th, forecast is bleak. Weekends heavy snow fall quashed the hopes of even the most optimistic of us for open water com early May.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1770339

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 4-24-18:

    Hard to believe that at the end of April we are still getting reports of 24 to 30” of ice on most lakes. Use caution getting out on the North Shores of some area lakes as there is a little bit of water, but once on, the ice is good. Not a bad idea to bring hip boots. South shores could be slushy too. Fish are starting to move into shallows. Recommend using light weight lines with some finesse to peak their interest.

    Crappie: Fair – Slow, fluttering spoons such as Lethal Cecils and Demon Tongues tipped with waxies, Chena or light colored plastics should do well. Minnows on tip-downs or under small bobbers.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – As with Crappies, fluttering spoons such as Vinglas, Demon Tongues loaded up with waxies or tip-downs with minnows.

    Bluegill: Fair – Tip small rockers, Moon glows or tear drops with moussees, waxies. Also, Little Atom Duppees or J&S Larva mites or Ice mites for plastics.

    Could use some warm rain and sun to speed the ice melt along. There are some chances of both reported in the forecast over the next few days and into next week, keep your fingers crossed.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1772635

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-1-18:

    When will the ice be off????

    My crystal ball is covered in frost, but it’s starting to defrost! As of 4/30 there was still 22” of punky ice on Lake Minocqua out in front of our shop, but it looks to be going quickly with this recent warm spell.

    Ice anglers are still hitting a few areas, but conditions are changing by the hour! As of this writing, ice thickness across the road from our shop dropped from 22” to 12” in one day.

    Those pan fishermen getting out reporting good fishing for Bluegills, Crappies and Perch, should remain good for weekend.

    With temps in the 60’s & 70’s driving water temps up into upper 30’s, anglers finding open water will probably also find Walleyes getting ready to spawn.
    When will the ice be off? Check our web-site daily, http://www.kurtsislandsports.com or check our FaceBook page.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1774780

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-8-18:

    It’s ON!!
    The Opener has happened. Sorta snuck up on us. Wasn’t available everywhere, but where it was, Walleye anglers had some great fishing. While some lakes are still ice covered (Trout, Fence, etc.), many favorite Walleye lakes opened enough to allow anglers to launch, thanks to the warm temps of last week. Surprisingly, on some smaller lakes that had been ice free for a while, anglers were finding spawned out Walleyes in lakes that saw surface temps in the low 50’s already! Daytime fishing on these lakes produces best when anglers worked depths of 10-15’ using 1/8-1/4 oz jigs tipped with large fathead minnows. On Flowages, where fish are being found pre, post and in the act of spawning, mud minnows and large fatheads on 1/16 oz weedless jigs proved best in 3-7’. Casting Thundersticks, Rattlin’ Rouges and Floating Rapalas also producing nice catches.

    Northern Pike (open) and Smallmouth Bass (closed) provided anglers with bonus action while pitching for Walleyes.

    A few reports of Crappies and Musky cruising the warm shallows of smaller lakes.

    Water temps vary from mid 30’s on large lakes to mid 40’s to low 50’s elsewhere. Remember, on lakes with protected slot sizes (20-24”) those are meant to protect those egg bearing females. If you catch some smaller, egg laden girls, let those go too, they are carrying our future fishery.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1774781

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-15-18:

    With temps fluctuating from day time highs of upper 70’s at times, to night time lows in the 30’s, it has been tough getting a handle on patterning the post-spawn fishing for walleyes as well as the pre-spawn patterns for Crappie. But as the post-spawn habits of Walleyes, on most lakes, is just beginning, thanks to a late ice out, we actually have spawning Walleyes on some of our larger lakes days after Mother’s Day.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good – This early spawner is showing up in shallows but with bellys full of wigglers (May Fly larvae) meaning they have moved out to the mud for a while to gorge on bugs before heading to shallows (pay attention Walleye anglers!)

    Crappie: Good – Starting to stage up in shallows on warm afternoons. So far a lot of in and out due to cold nights. Small minnows, Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp or tiny hair jigs under small floats in 2-6’ of water.

    Northern Pike: Good – Actively taking chubs and fats jigged for Walleyes. Swimbaits, shallow running stickbaits and larger Beetle spins worked over any existing green weeds.

    Walleye: Good-Fair – Post-spawn activity in a lull as anglers looking for the fish they had last week not finding much. Walleyes on most lakes have moved out over mud, but should be retuning to shallow weeds as bugs, leeches and minnows fill in around emerging green weeds. On larger lakes, spawning in full force. Chubs (if available), suckers good choice on Lindy rigs, 1/8 oz jigs.

    Bluegill: Not much to report.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good – Searching warmer shallows with soft bottom muck and emerging weeds.

    Lots of clear skies of late have not helped. High temps in 70’s follows by nights in 40’s, and even 30’s, making for shifting fish. The warm shallows (up to low 60’s in some areas) and sun should have weeds growing quickly. Lots of “Nice” weather in forecast.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    bechjl15
    Participant
    Posts: 31
    #1775544

    Thanks for sharing! Any thoughts on what the muskie will be up to Memorial weekend? Sounds like they might be spawning now?

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1775902

    bechjl15:

    As we prepare for the upcoming musky season, there is an agreeance of the peeps in my network that most of the ‘skies have been in spawn mode. I haven’t heard of any of them starting to seperate, but the skuttlebutt in the area has been more about the walleyes and crappies currently… I’ll be bartending again tonight and see if I can get an current info from the guides coming in…

    Mark

    joe_the_fisher
    Participant
    Wisconsin Dells WI
    Posts: 908
    #1775924

    Mark,

    Tell Rob we need to know everything, even his hotspots…Lol

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1775943

    The whole problem with Rob is he is never there long enough for me to talk to!!!

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1776175

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-22-18:

    Despite a couple cold mornings recently (5/20 & 5/21 were 33-36 degrees) shutting fishing down for the early a.m. anglers, fishing has been very good. Water temps sky rocketed into the upper 60’s on most afternoons, but cooled overnight into upper 50’s to low 60’s by morning.

    Walleye: Very Good. Post spawn activity picking up in shallows. Green weeds key, new coontail growth or cabbage in 3-7’. 1/16 oz. invasion jigs or Jack’s weedless jigs tipped with large fatheads, dace, mud minnows, or leeches. Also 3” swim baits on 1/8-1/4 oz. heads have been hot, as have thundersticks, husky jerks, and floating rips.

    On large lakes where spawn is just finishing up black or rainbow chubs, 1/8-1/4 oz. jigs on Lindy style rigs along gravel edges of 10-18’ best. Lots of nice “extras” this year, result of extended growth stocking no doubt.

    Crappies: Very Good. Where committed; crappies bedding in shallows among timber. Cold nights of late have moved those just getting started back out into staging areas. Mini-mites, codpen fresh water shrimp and small hair jigs as well as the typical small minnow under a float has scored well. Lots of nice 10-12” fish with plenty of stories and photos of 13-15”SLABS!

    Northern Pike: Very good. Pike are actively taking spinners (#3 Mepps) spinnerbaits and 3-4” swimbaits. Chubs and minnows meant for walleyes are also being chowed on. 4-9’ depth with good, new weed growth preferred.

    Bluegills: Very Good. They are stacking up in shallows to bask in the warm water in the afternoons. Long casts with rocket bobbers into 1-3’ shallows to deliver tiny offerings of small leeches, worms, or waxies on tiny jigs. No bedding yet just soaking up the sun.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. This species seen cruising shallows even bedding on a few small lakes. Top water action towards evening.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good. Working shallows taking medium fatheads and medium leeches as these fish are feeding up to recover from spawn.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Catch and release only. Nice incidental catching of 18-20” bass by walleye and pike anglers reported.

    Musky: Season opens this coming Saturday May 26th. With such warm water temps and sightings of musky spawning last week we should be in good position for some good action this weekend.

    Despite losing opening weekend fun the exceptionally nice weather has made for some very successful outings this May. A week of highs in the 80’s starting Wednesday could push a lot of spawning for the nesters, crappies, smallmouth, largemouth and gills. It’s been a strange season and looks to get stranger.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    bechjl15
    Participant
    Posts: 31
    #1776762

    Thanks! We will be up this Saturday-Saturday just outside of Hazelhurst on Lower Kaubashine. I’ll post here if we have any luck!

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1776822

    bechjl15:

    As Joe the Fisher mentioned above, my boss Rob, is one of the better fishing guides in the area. He and one of his friends took a day to sneak up north to the border lakes which open earlier than our season does to see how the muskies were reacting to the early spring. His friend got a pair of smaller fish and they saw several during the time they were out… I would think that your stay on L. Kaub will be a decent one. Good Luck and Stay Safe!!!

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1777608

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-29-18:

    In the beginning… of the month of May, 2018… our lakes were ice covered! We lost much of our opening week of the gamefish season due to the late ice out. NOW we have lakes with surface temps we never saw all last summer.

    Fish have been bedding and spawning at accelerated rates. Most of what you know of bedding fish timing should be thrown out the window this season! There are largemouth bass and bluegills bedding during the smallmouith bedding time (which is almost already done!) These are things we normally don’t see till mid/late June!

    Bluegills: Excellent. Bedding already! Even where they aren’t, they are in shallow and voracious! Thunderbugs, leafworms and small leeches. Poppers, dry flys as well as the tiniest of jigs tipped with plastics are producing lots of nice gills. An 11 ½” er, caught and released was reported late last week.

    Largemouth Bass: Excellent. Top water action in the shallows! Twitching Rapalas, walking baits and various creature baits are hot in shallows. Lots of #’s and fish to 21” reported C&R.

    Smallmouth Bass: Excellent. Most done, some finishing up. X-raps, husky jerks and slug-gos. There are reports of hot action, but best early and late due to traffic on holiday weekend.

    Crappie: Very Good. Anglers disappointed to not find bedding fish. Good catches out and away from bedding, but not too deep (6-8’). Mini-mites, tiny tubes, gapen freshwater shrimp. minnows, and small leeches under floats.

    Northern Pike: Good. Early and later day are best. Spinnerbaits, #3 Mepps, and 3-1/2” to 4-1/2” swimbaits.

    Walleye: Good. Some surprisingly shallow evening action on #11 Rapalas, thundersticks. Leeches becoming relevant as water warms. Some crawler action reported.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Cruising weed beds of 3-8’. Thunderbugs, small-medium leeches. Nicer perch of 10”+ taking medium leeches on ½ oz jigs.

    Musky: Good. Evenings are best. Topwater action, small #500 series bucktails and 6” Twitch baits in shallows as muskies seem to be patrolling bedding bluegills.

    Water temps as high as 79 degrees recorded this weekend (could have been higher in places). As this warm water pushes down, look for early mayfly hatches to start playing havoc on walleye bites.

    Despite weather almost too hot to fish in (a few days over 90 degrees), fishing is relatively good.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1778833

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-05-18:

    Winter, Summer, Fall! That’s the New World Order according to Mother Nature (forget you ever heard about Spring!)

    After a week of record highs brought our lakes to near boil, a cool down has corrected water temps to bring averages into high 60’s to low 70’s.

    Bluegill: Excellent – Either bedding or pre-spawn, lots of great reports of Bluegill action with lots of above average fish (8”+) being caught. Thunderbugs and small leeches under tiny floats for the live bait enthusiast. 1/100 – 1/80th oz jigs with hair or plastic, wet flys behind clear casting floats or, towards evening, poppers as waters warm.

    Largemouth Bass: Excellent – In a bit early due to warm up last week, but lots of reports of pre-spawn and spawning Bass! Plastic creatures, Ned worms and Wacky worms for mornings. Twitch baits, Pop R’s on warming afternoons.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Despite mis-reporting most were done (1st time wrong ALL SEASON…yeah), large lakes still have Smallies, mostly males, protecting beds. 3” Wackys, X-Raps, and Torpedos effective. Lots of action, not as many large fish as earlier.

    Northern Pike: Very good – Working 3 ½-4 ½” swim baits over existing 4-8’ cabbage flats. Chatter baits, Mepps #3’s, Comets, spinne-baits all good.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good Thunderbugs, medium leeches and fatheads. Work 5-9’ weeds or around drowned wood.

    Crappie: Good – Work out over narrow leaf cabbage in 6-10’ using small minnows, Mini mites or Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp under small floats. Suspend bait/jig just at weed tops.

    Musky: Good – Best later in day as water warms. Small bucktails, spinner baits and top-water.

    Walleye: Good-Fair – Mornings tough early ‘til chill (steam) off water. Leeches, large fatheads for weed Walleyes in 6-12’. Deep lakes use chubs, suckers of 3 ½ – 5” on Lindy rigs

    That warm stretch pushed spawning ahead, so don’t be surprised that Crappies (done) and Smallmouth (almost done) are already being replaced by Largemouth Bass and Bluegills in the bedding shallows of many lakes

    Bugs hatching, a few reports of small Hex hatches, will list as confirmed.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1780370

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-12-18:

    Lots of east and south east winds, unusual for our area. That, and some high barometer days have made for less than stellar fishing the last part of this past week. Still, fishing not bad, just not as good as expected.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Good – Small leeches and thunderbugs best in shallows as Gills that had set-up when water was warmer are still hanging on beds. Be kind on these fish, their success at spawning will lead to your success for years down the road!

    Yellow Perch: Good – Cruising in loose schools in cabbage flats of 6-9’. Medium fatheads, leeches & beaver tails on 1/16 oz jigs or under slip-floats.

    Northern Pike: Good – Jig and minnow, spinner baits, #3 Mepps, 3 ½” swim baits

    Largemouth Bass: Good – Some still bedding, others in 6-10’ weeds. Wacky worming, Ned rigs and Carolina rigging creature baits.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Fair – Some beauties this week up to 20”. Wacky worming and similar subtle presentations to entice reluctant fish.

    Walleye: Good – Fair – High skies and east wind are not our friend. Leeches, ½ crawlers and chubs in and along weed edges of 6-12’.

    Musky: Fair – Not a lot of reports of movement. Smaller bucktails, 6-7” twitch baits, 6-7” jointed cranks.

    Crappie: Fair – Scattered weed fish.

    Once this weather pattern leaves our area and we get some warmer temps and west wind, look for things to get back to normal for June.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1781228

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-19-18:

    Hard to get many fishing reports when anglers can hardly get out to fish thanks to the rain and lightning we’ve been getting!

    Rains have been heavy (4” on Friday) causing lake and Flowage levels to rise. Earlier in week, a four day stretch of east winds, that confounded anglers, was followed by a short reprieve before Friday let loose with the Monsoons!

    A few decent reports have drizzled (HA! Comedy!) in, but most trips have been cancelled over Father’s Day weekend due to the electric storms.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – When able, top-water action good towards evening. Wacky worming in the day.

    Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Spinner baits, chatter baits and 3 ½ – 4 ½” swim baits.

    Walleye: Fair – Tough bites, but a few good reports from anglers night fishing with lighted slip-floats after dusk using Jumbo-XL leeches.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair – X-Raps and Husky Jerks along 7-10’ rocky breaks best.

    Crappie – Bluegill – Perch: Fair – Few anglers in this weather. Once it breaks – small leeches and thunderbugs for Gills and Perch. Small beetle spins, minnows for Crappies.

    Musky: Fair-Poor – Quiet on the Musky front – unless you’re not trying. Top-water drawing some strikes. Size 700 Series bucktails, jointed shallow running cranks.

    It’s hard to be enthusiastic when you can’t even get on the water. May take a day or two for things to settle this week. We’ve received a lot of water in a short amount of time!

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
    http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
    Like us on FaceBook
    Minocqua, WI 54548

    Mark

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