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Minocqua Area Report – 2018

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1783183

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-26-18:

    My friend Noah is talking to me again. Last week, during our torrential rains that filled our lakes and Flowages to the brim, he was so busy building some giant contraption in his back yard he didn’t have the time to say a word to me, what a Nut!

    The high water has thrown a curve to our local angling endeavors, as has the inconsistent hexagenia, Mayfly hatches. Water temps at the surface of our lakes run about 75 degrees, while I saw Flowage surface temps to 80 degrees over the weekend.

    Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Not as affected by the hatches, Pike have been good sports hammering Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and shallow Crankbaits. Work these lures over cabbage tops in 6-10’. Chubs and suckers in the 4-6” range working, but very difficult to come by, as are all wild minnows this season.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Also somewhat immune to Mayflys. Green Bass actively hitting Spinnerbaits and 3 ½” Swimbaits. Wacky Worms and Ned Rigs, pre-rigged plastic worms and jointed Cranks. Top water action picking up with the old stand-bys, Jitter Bugs and Hula Poppers, as well as last years hot top water bait, the Whopper Plopper!

    Bluegill: Good – Use small leeches, as they stay on the hook well, to find Gills in 6-10’ weeds. Thunderbugs, worms and 1” Twister tails on 1/64 oz jigs also work.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Lots of reports of schools of 3-5” Perch being seen, good to see as these are great forage for our Walley, Pike and Musky. Better sized Perch on medium Fatheads or leeches. Frozen soft shells a favorite where available.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good – Somewhat inconsistent reports. Not set up firmly on deep gravel humps yet. Drop-shotting 2 ½” minnow imitations preferred. Tubes and 3” Wackys also producing.

    Crappie: Fair – Catching good, it’s locating schools not as easy. Cast small Spinners, Beetle spins over 8-14’ weeds to locate. Then settle in with slip-bobbers and small minnows.

    Musky: Fair – Bucktails at average speeds over weed tops, should see some better top water soon.

    Walleye: Fair – Been a struggle of late. Fish seem scattered and uninterested (Full?). Leeches and crawlers been best of late.

    High temps for coming weekend mean anglers should concentrate early and late. As Mayfly hatches pass, angling should improve for Walleye anglers. Others just look to stabilizing conditions.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1783730

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-03-18:

    Settling in on our summer patterns! To start July, water temps in the low 70’s to 80’s mark, with mid-day air temps in the 80’s, have put the best fishing early and late.

    High pressure, hot weather, and lots of boat traffic kept some lakes off for anglers. Moving away from the full moon should help day time anglers.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and swimbaits over and through cabbage of 6-10′. Evenings top water hot on plastic frogs, jitterbugs, and whopper ploppers. During the day, neko, ned, and wacky style worm fishing producing bulk of catches.

    Bluegills: Very Good. Anglers using small leeches, worms, and thunderbugs reporting good catches of gills (7-9″) in 6-10′. Towards dusk use popper on a fly rod or small flys behind clear floats on ultralight spinning equipment.

    Northern Pike: Good. Fast moving swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. Cabbage flats in 4-10′. Some nicer pike up to 39″ this week, using chubs and suckers on slip-bobbers.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Drop shotting 3″ Gulp Alive minnows, Senkos, and Jackall Crosstail Shads over 22-30′ rock/gravel humps mid-day. Early a.m. work X-raps, Shadow Raps along shallow rocky slopes.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Like the heat! Medium fatheads, leeches, in weedy or woody locales. Work sand-grass flats using Lindy rigs to find larger perch (9-12″) using frozen softshell crayfish.

    Musky: Fair. Good time for evening top water action. Bucktails and large spinnerbaits during the day.

    Crappie: Fair. A few good reports from anglers on large water over narrow leaf cabbage on tinsel jigs. In flowages over deep wood using medium fatheads.

    Walleye: Fair. Best on leeches and crawlers along 12-14′ weed edges early in morning. Then again on lighted slip-bobbers with big leeches after dusk.

    Actually all reports are starting to improve after lull of weekend. Air temps not fluctuating as much, this helps water temps stabilize.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1784987

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-10-18:

    Running into a hot summer at this point. Daytime highs in the mid to upper 80’s pushing lake surface temps from mid 70’s to low 80’s (Ouch!)

    Patterns are starting to develop for many species, with the stable (but hot) weather helping things along.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Pick your style, these Bass are more than happy to cooperate. Early morning twitch stickbaits such as Rattlin Rouges, Thundersticks or X-Raps between shore and inside weed edges. Mid-morning through mid-afternoon hit the weeds with Wacky worms, Ned rigs and Neko Rigs. At dusk, go to top-water using Whopper Ploppers, Spooks, and plastic frogs (Lunker Hunt, BOOYAH, and Keara Frogs)! Big Bass (for our area) over 22” this past week!

    Bluegill: Very Good – Best to use small leeches as they stay tough on the hook. Evening anglers having fun on poppers. Depending on lake depth, most of the better daytime Gills are being caught in deeper cabbage of 8-12’.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Better fish (9-11”+) found in deeper weeds. Deep wood is also favored as these fish love to eat crayfish. ½ crawlers, frozen soft shells, medium leeches and medium fatheads all working well. Preference has been on brown, orange jigs.

    Northern Pike: Good – Best casting weed flats using chatterbaits, spinnerbaits. Chubs and suckers working along deep weed edges for the larger Pike (30-38” reported this week).

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Drop shot Jackall Crosstail shad, 3” Senkos and 3” Gulp Power Minnows over gravel humps of 18-30’, sandgrass flats of 17-25’ and deep coontail edges of 14-18’. XL leeches and frozen soft shells for the live baiters.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Search out tall narrow leaf cabbage. Work tops using Charlie Bees, Beetle Spins, VMC Boottail jigs or Gapen Freshwater Shrimp. 1 ½” tubes and Mini Mites also working. If fish not up high on weeds, go deeper using 1/32 oz jigs to get scented plastics like Impulse or Power Bait Nymphs down to suspended fish 4-6’ off bottom in 12-18’.

    Musky: Fair+ – Best bets on bucktails and larger spinnerbaits. Top water producing and should be doing much better. Later, towards evening, best.

    Walleye: Fair+ – Some of the standards not producing like we would like them to. Still, anglers jigging and slip-bobber fishing with XL leeches and crawlers finding Walleyes in weeds early in morning and late evenings to after dark. Some deep rock bites occurring mid-day in 22-30’. Casting 3-4” swimbaits (Keitechs, 360GT) producing early and late in weeds of 7-10’.

    With the stable weather and new moon coming up, should be a good week ahead. Mid-day temps may be too much to fish, so pick your early and late times to stay out of heat and away from traffic.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1787294

    Sorry this one comes late, I was at Lac Seul last week and fished Rainy on the way up. More on that later…

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-17-18:

    High skies, hot weather and boat traffic was the talk last week. Throw in some late Mayfly hatches on our favorite Walleye waters and for some anglers, it was a tough week of fishing.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – One of the few bright spots. Largemouth fishing has been very good towards dusk on top-water lures such as Whopper Ploppers, Spooks, Jitterbugs and Lunker Hunter Frogs. Mornings, very early, are also good. Switch to stickbaits for a while after, then start pitching plastics into the cabbage beds. Spinnerbaits and pre-rigged plastics also have been working when wind or cloud cover moves Bass off bottoms.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Not as hot as the Green Bass, but work deep rock/gravel humps in 18-26’ using drop-shop rigs with 2 ½” Gulp minnows, 3” Jackall baits or small tubes.

    Bluegill: Good – Cabbage and some coontail edges holding good #’s with size depending on lake and locale. Worms, Beavertails, small Leeches. 1” tubes and Mini Mites tipped with Waxies also working.

    Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Spinnerbaits best working weed flats. For shot at larger fish, work outside Coontail edges of 12-18’ using 4” Swimbaits or large Chub/Sucker on jig or Lindy style rig.

    Crappie: Fair – Best reports are deeper over wood using medium Fatheads. Fan cast narrow Leaf Cabbage tops with small jigs, Spinners, Beetle Spins, to locate Crappies. Return with small minnows under floats.

    Musky: Fair – Despite a near World Line Class Record Musky being caught (#10 Class, 44 #’er) most action spotty. Bucktails and top-water best.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Cabbage beds holding #’s. Sandgrass for size. Use ½ crawlers on jigs in cabbage. Rig frozen soft shells on Lindy style rigs.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair – Deeper cooler lakes best, but late Mayfly (Hexagenia) hatches throwing bite off our best lakes. Crawlers, Leeches (getting hard to find) best.

    Cooler temps this week may make it easier for anglers as far as comfort and maybe (?) less traffic on lakes. How this will affect mostly mediocre fishing remains to be seen.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1787299

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-24-18:

    Summer has settled in, patterns have taken place and not a lot of new activity (for the plus or minus) this past week. The hottest part of the summer seems to have passed. Lake surface temps are averaging mid 70’s. A few cooler nights, but warm afternoons and fairly mild/consistent weather.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – On cooler mornings, work down into weeds to extract Bass using drop-shots to plunge plastic worms and craws. Heavy jigs work for this also. Afternoons have seen Bass getting more active on pre-rigged plastic worms, 3” swimbaits and shallow square billed cranks over weed tops. As the sun settles and the water temps rise, top-water commotion baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Jitterbugs, Buzzbaits and plastic frogs have been HOT!

    Bluegill: Very Good – Out along deep weed edges for the largest Gills. Use small jigs tipped with plastic nymph/craw imitations.

    Northern Pike: Good – Spinnerbaits and 4 ½” swimbaits. Warm water will mean chase is on, but key on deeper weed edges for the larger Pike.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Offshore gravel/rock humps topping at 18-28’. Drop-shot craws or 3” minnow imitations. Tube jigs and Carolina rigging creature baits.

    Yellow Perch: Good – Best along deeper cabbage edges and over sandgrass flats. Use soft shell frozen craws or ½ crawlers. Any drowned wood is a magnet for small crayfish – Perch favorite.

    Crappie: Fair – Scattered reports. Best deeper over wood or along coontail edges.

    Musky: Fair – Bucktails, rubber baits over deep weeds. Some top-water evening action.

    Walleye: Fair-Poor – Best after dark, lighted slip-bobbers/leeches.

    Tough to judge what we will see this week. Will the lunar eclipse bring about a hot bite? Walleye have been difficult this summer, even trollers finding bites tough. At least the Largemouth Bass and Gills have kept up their end of the bargain.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1788824

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-31-18:

    Its Summertime…..but the fishin’ ain’t easy!

    Several species seem tight lipped this summer, but a few are staying right in line.

    Bluegill: Good – Moving deeper on the large lakes. Anglers surprised to find Gills in as deep as 25’, yet most hovering in the 12-18’ range. Small leeches and worms, even small minnows. Mini-mites and small tubes. Warm evenings bringing good top-water action for anglers using poppers in the shallows.

    Largemouth Bass: Good – Best buried in weeds. Use Ned rigs or Wacky Worms to pull fish out. Nice Largemouth of 15-18”, a few larger. Creature baits and jig/creature combos also working. Evenings bringing top-water action on plastic frogs in slop. Tail baits (Whopper Ploppers, Tatsumakis) working well on warm evenings along or over top weeds.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Deep gravel humps or over Sandgrass beds. Drop shotting 3” craw imitations. Tube jigs also producing as are Football jigs/creature dressing. For live bait anglers, leeches, crawlers and frozen softshells working.

    Northern Pike: Good-fair – Could be the recent high skies, but the chase isn’t on! Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and 1/8-1/4 oz jigs with 3-4” twisters working best.

    Crappie: Fair – Not a lot of reports this week. A few scattered nice slabs (12-13”) over deep wood. 2” twister tails or med Fatheads on slip-floats.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Best fish deeper over Sandgrass or along weed edges. Frozen softshells best choice followed by ½ Crawlers or medium Fatheads.

    Musky: Fair – Big spinnerbaits worked over cabbage flats. Some top-water action early and late. More lookers than takers.

    Walleye: Poor (at least by my accounts) – Picking the right lake at the right time (I can hear the collective “Duh!”). Windows small and very early or after dark. Leeches best.

    Maybe the full moon (or the Eclipse?) but action off a bit. If action is your goal – target Bass and Gills this week.

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

    Mark

    Reply

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1789851

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-06-18:

    Moving into the second week of August, nothing too out of the ordinary. Some rain and storms over the past weekend, but weather stabilizing as the week moves on.

    Bass and Bluegills have been the main stay, but a slight uptick in some of the other species this week should give anglers a little more promise.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Plying the weeds with Wacky worms, Ned rigs and creature baits best. Later in week, as air temps hit 80’s, look for top-water action to return on frogs, Whopper Ploppers and spooks! Moss Boss and Jaw Breakers in the heavy slop.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Due to rain and clouds, little top-water (should return at week’s end). Best on small leeches, worms along deep edges.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Working gravel humps in 20-28’ using drop-shot rigs best. Tubes, Carolina Rigging some Hula Grubs.

    Northern Pike: Good – Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and paddle tailed swimbaits on ¼ oz heads. Cabbage first, deep Coontail edges for fewer, larger fish.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Weed pockets on the natural lakes, wood on flowages. Use pieces of frozen soft shell on light jigs. ½ Crawlers next best.

    Crappie: Fair – Reports of anglers finding Crappies high up on 10-14’ beds of Narrow Leaf Cabbage. Swim tiny jigs (1/32 oz w/ 1” Twister, Mini-Mites or Gapen Freshwater Shrimp). Work small minnows 1 foot down into weed tops using light floats.

    Musky: Fair – Action picking up. Bucktails and spinnerbaits best. Loud top-water baits in evenings.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair – The clouds and rain opened up some opportunities on the clear lakes. Leeches and Crawlers in 12-16’ weeds when light levels low.

    With New Moon coming up, should be a good weekend ahead. Water temps running mid-70’s.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1791428

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-06-18:

    Mid-August, warmer than usual and not a lot of change on the fishing front in the Lakeland area.

    Water temps have been rising due to heat, Bass action and Bluegill activity is up. Musky, Pike action is timing. Crappies and Perch catches flat. Walleyes??

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – #’s and size as heat bringing up great action over Sandgrass flats and some gravel humps. Drop-shotting crayfish imitations, tubes creature baits and minnow imitations best. Some hawgs this week in 19-21” range, feeding heavily on softshells!

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Wacky worming can’t be beat! Spinnerbaits, chatters and some hot top-water towards evening and early morning producing. Frogs, Jitterbugs, Whopper Ploppers – fun fishing.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Small-medium leeches (if you can find any), worms and thunderbugs. Poppers and wet flys behind clear floats during evenings.

    Northern Pike: Good – Cloud cover or wind (haven’t had much of either) have helped anglers casting spinnerbaits (Boonies, BOOYAH) over cabbage flats in 6-10’.

    Crappie: Fair – Some nice slabs over deep wood, but numbers lacking.

    Musky: Fair – Fast moving bucktails, spinnerbaits and top-water baits. Evening and early morning-flat, clear, days been tough.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Few reports. Softshells over Sandgrass flats best.

    Walleye: Poor-Fair – Not great conditions. A few fish here and there on crawlers, leeches (where available).

    Been a tough season for wild bait. Redtails have been scarce, also black chubs, mud minnows, dace, wild suckers – late snow in April put a hurt on a lot of our smaller, bait supplying waters. Now leeches are coming off the menu early as supplies are drying up. Good time to try some artificials for those of us so used to live bait.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1793072

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-21-18:

    Could be the smoky haze from Canada fires or maybe the fish just a little hungrier. Either way, fishing has improved across the board in the Lakeland area, though some species more so than others.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Rock/gravel humps of 18-28’ and even some isolated humps with sparse weeds in 10-14’ holding nice Smallies. Drop-shotting 3” Senkos, 2 ½ – 3” Gulp Minnows, 3 ½” Jackall Dartshogs and 3” Crosstails as well as 4” Chompers drop-shot worms over the gravel. Ned rig TDR’s, Wacky worming (4”) and swimming 3” Keitech worms around weeds. Lots of nice 14-18” fish with a few pushing 20”.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Warm, flat water has made for great top-water action. Whopper Ploppers, Matzou Tornado Tails, Pompador Jrs., Zara Spooks and Lunker Frogs early and late in day. In between, casting spinnerbaits, lipless cranks, square billed cranks and pre-rigged plastic worms worked over weed flats. Wacky worming Senko’s and Yum Dingers and swimming 4” power worms behind 1/8 oz mushroom jig heads also popping lots of Bass fish to 22 ½” this week.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Work the deepest weeds available for the largest Gills! Thunderbugs, leeches, worms or small 1” plastic tails on light 1/32 – 1/80 oz jigs. Good #’s of 7-8 ½” Gills, some 9+” mixed in. Larger, deep clear lakes best.

    Northern Pike: Very Good – Baits with blades (spinnerbaits, chatter, Mepps style) all good. Fast moving swimbaits in 4” sizes or plastic Bluegill imitation best. A 41 ½” was caught and released this week.

    Crappie: Fair-improving – Showing up more in tall, narrow leafed cabbage beds of 8-14’. Cast tiny tinsel jigs on small beetle spins to locate. Then cast small minnows under bobbers.

    Musky: Fair – Better action on top-water this week, bucktails, spinnerbaits also working well. Cloud, (smoke?) seem to be improving day time action.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Sandgrass flats of 18-28’ using frozen soft shells (yes, they are legal) or ½ crawlers on Lindy style rigs or under slip-floats. On Flowages, key on drowned wood using same baits but more stationary to stay in feeding zone.

    Walleye: Fair-Improving – Cloud cover helped the day time bite as anglers using crawlers or leeches over sandgrass in 18-26’ found fish. On deeper lakes, redtailed chubs or crawlers drew bites on rock/gravel humps of 22-34’.

    Very little wind most days, but cloudy/hazy skies helping. Water temps running about 77-79 degrees on average, bit warm for this time in August. Typically, a few cooler nights would have turned a Sugar Maple here and there by now, but everything green.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1794244

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-28-18:

    Fishing has improved along several fronts as clouds, rain and assorted weather has helped fishing.

    Surface temps have cooled a little, many lakes seeing temps of 72-74 degrees, down from the upper 70’s of early last week. A few signs of a little die off on certain weeds, may be seeing a little transition away from these areas ‘til die off over.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Drop-shotting 3” plastic worms, craws and minnows best. Ned rigs, though heavier jig heads needed, for deep rocks has been hot. Also, any stand up (Football style) jigs tipped with craws or skirted grubs have been hot.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good – While storms have quieted bites at times, overall very good action on pre-rigged worms, spinnerbaits and shallow Shad Raps over weed tops. Wacky worming and Ned rigging TRD worms has been hot. Try small swimbaits (2 ½ – 3”) or 4” power worms on 1/8 – 1/4 swimming heads or 1/2 moon jig heads over cabbage in 6-10’. Don’t forget top-water! Whopper Ploppers, Pompador Jr’s, Tornado tails and Jitterbugs!

    Musky: Good – Action picking up. Top-water best on tail baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Pacemakers, Tally Wackers. Good action on large spinnerbaits. Savage swimbaits in Bluegill and Burbot models and fast moving twitchbaits such as Cranes and jerkbaits with tails. #’s of fish in mid-30’s to low-mid 40” range.

    Northern Pike: Good – Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits worked over and through existing green weeds of 8-14’.

    Bluegill: Good – Weather took some of the gloss of this species. Still best outside coontail edges of 12-14’ suspended 4-8’ down. Try medium/small leeches, thunderbugs and worms. Small twister tails on 1/32 oz jigs or Mini-mites tipped with waxies.

    Walleye: Fair – Best on overcast days or after dark. Daytime bite on crawlers, large leeches along 12-16’ weed edges or out over 14-24’ gravel humps. At night, lighted slip-bobbers suspending red-tailed chubs, black chubs or suckers of 3-5” over off-shore humps best.

    Crappie: Fair – Reports vary. Best over drowned wood on flowages using medium fatheads. Try 1-2” white twister tails on 1/32 – 1/16 oz jigs heads twitched over weed tops of 8-12’.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Mostly incidental catches from anglers using 1/2 crawlers medium fats for Walleyes or Crappies.

    May have some weather for early part of Labor Day holiday weekend, but as waters cool ever so slightly and water levels continue to fall on our flowages, early fall fishing should improve.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1795596

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-04-18:

    Rain, not as bad as South Central Wisconsin, but enough to affect fishing participation even in the Northwoods. While not the volume of rain as down south, the after affects of some of the electrical storms put a couple of the morning bites off. Yet, once things settled there were some bright spots to the fishing.

    Musky: Good-Very Good – Top-water action has remained hot as tail baits (Whopper Ploppers, Pace Maker – Tally Wacker style) have been producing. Spinnerbaits and bucktails with large, fluted blades to lift the lures over weed flats. Surprisingly, quite a few reports of Musky taking suckers, despite the relatively warm water. Pink baits, blades on body, have been particularly effective this past week.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and Mepps #3 & #4 Comets, as well as 4” swimbaits, worked over weed beds. Chubs and suckers on jigs or under floats for the more relaxed angler producing nice Pike in the mid 30” range.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Work gravel humps or sandgrass flats using drop-shot rigs of 3” Gulp minnows or Dartshogs. Also, a good bite on larger fish on top-water. Watch for feeding Gills then race to within casting distance. Reports or 4#+ fish!

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Bite seems to have fallen off a bit. Best with more subtle fare such as Wacky Worming and Ned rigs.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Small tubes, Crappie Thumpers, Road Runners or 1-2” twister tails on a 1/64 – 1/32 oz jig. Work top sections of weeds at deepest point before breaks.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Best around drowned wood, cribs 8-14’ of water ½ crawler or piece of frozen softshell.

    Bluegill: Fair – Better when weather clears. Small jigs, Mini-mites tipped with Waxies, Thunderbugs or worms. Better Gills suspended off weed edges of 12-16’.

    Walleye: Fair – Mixed reports from poor to “decent”. Best on leeches and crawlers along drop-offs of 12-18’. After dark, a bit shallower 8-12’ using lighted slip-bobbers and 3-5” suckers or chubs.

    Should be a time of cooling temps and lowering water levels. The flowages have dropped, but recent flooding down in Southern Wisconsin could mean water may start to be held back up here. Warm days have kept surface temps in lower 70’s, some upper 60’s reported. Forecast for rain early in week leading to cooler, cloudy weather by week’s end.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1797010

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-10-18:

    Cool mornings and stable weather the past week have been a nice change from the summer heat and rains. Fishing has improved too a bit because of it. Although summer looks to be sticking around still with the forecast calling for upper 70’s – low 80’s this week.

    Musky: Good-Very Good – Top-water continues to produce fish. Baits that make a lot of noise like the Whopper Plopper or Topper Stopper are good choices. Spinnerbaits and bucktails have also put fish in in the boat over weed flats. We’re having more reports of Muskies taking small to medium sized suckers as well.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Inline spinners, chatterbait and spinnerbaits have all been a good choice for Pike. Work these baits over weed beds. Suckers and chubs have also been producing some good size Pike too.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Gravel humps and sandgrass flats are good areas to fish right now. Ned rigging and drop-shotting Chompers worms or 3” Gulp Minnows are good bets for these areas. Reports of nice Smallies 4 to 5 pounds being reported.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Wacky rigging, Ned rigging and Texas rigging are all catching fish. Just slow down your presentation, cooler nights and mornings are making the Largemouth not as active as they were in August.

    Crappie: Good-Fair – Plastics, such as tubes, twister tails and Crappie thumpers are good choices. Small fatheads under a slip float will get the job done as well. Work the top sections of weeds at the deepest point before breaks. Early morning and evening are best times.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Worms, small fatheads and frozen softshells are all getting Perch to hit. Look for cribs 8-14’ of water and drowned wood.

    Bluegill: Good-Fair – Clear weather the past week has helped improve the fishing. Look for Gills suspended off weed edges in 12-16’ of water.

    Walleye: Fair – Bluebird skies this week has made it tough on fishing. Though a few Walleye being reported. Fishing early morning or after dark is your best bet. Fathead, chubs and crawlers are taking fish. Drop offs 12-18’ of water and after dark look for the Walleye to be in 8-12’ of water.

    Hasn’t cooled enough yet to see significant color change. A couple of trees here and there for now. Bring your sun screen if you are headed out this week.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1798164

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-18-18:

    It’s been hot and muggy, leaves and grass are green, people jumping off the dock for a swim to cool down, you would think it’s July. It’s September though, archery season just opened this past weekend, football is well into swing, but you couldn’t tell by going outside. Water temperatures are in the low to mid 70’s. In all my years of guiding I have never seen the water this warm, this late. The fishing though, continues to be fairly decent.

    Musky: Good-Very Good – Even with the warm temps, I’m hearing more and more fish being caught on suckers. Top-water has also been an effective choice, Whopper Ploppers, Top Raiders are good bets, throw these baits early morning, late in the day or after dark. Bucktails over cabbage is another good option that has been putting fish in the boat.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Weed beds and edges are holding Pike right now. Small bucktail spinners like Mepps #5, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, anything that gives off a lot of flash and vibration are triggering these fish to bite. For larger fish, try using suckers or chubs rigged under a float.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Fish have been coming from 6-13’ of water and along the first break. Plastics like tubes, Ned Rigs and grubs are taking some pretty decent fish. Fish still aren’t in their fall pattern and fish are scattered. Good fish in the 4#+ category continue to be reported.

    Largemouth Bass: Good – Weed edges are good locations to find fish right now. Texas rigging creature baits, Ned Rigging and Wacky rigging have been good bets.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Best bites are still coming early morning and late evening. Small 1” tubes or small twister tails are good search baits to find schools of Crappies. A slip float with a small fathead minnow is another good option to finding fish.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – If you can find deep wood you should find some Perch. Worms, minnows, softshells and mini-mites are all effective ways to get these guys to bite.

    Bluegill: Good – Fishing has picked up a little bit with the warmer temps. Better fish are still coming deeper in 12-16’ of water off weed edges. Look for Gills to be suspended. Worms and wax worms are getting these fish to bite. Also try a mini-mite tipped with a waxie for the larger fish.

    Walleye: Fair – With the warm water, fishing continues to be slow, though a few Walleyes are getting fooled into being caught. Fish are deep, 22’ down to 26’ is where fish have been coming from. Jigs tipped with a crawler, chub or fathead are getting some of these fish to bite. Jigging Raps, Slab Raps and shiver minnows are good choices too.

    Fall is coming, the 22nd to be exact, and the weather is coming too this week. Low 60’s for highs forecasted and 40’s at night, this should help to cool off the warm waters. Hopefully a turn in the weather mid-week will get us back to a more fall like pattern. With all the rain down in the south/mid-state, our flowages are high (Rainbow up 8’ in two weeks) and warm. Not what we are used to.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1799578

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-24-18:

    What a difference a few days make, fall is officially here and it brought heavy rains, strong winds and cool temperatures with it. Fishing slowed down a little bit due to the weather, though there is an upside…water temps are dropping and soon enough fish will be in their fall feeding patterns.

    Musky: Fair-Good – Fishing slowed a little but with the cooling temps more and more fish are coming on sucker rigs. Most fish I’m hearing being caught are in the mid to upper 30” range, nothing huge yet, but with fall coming on look for fish size to get larger.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good – With the cold front, suckers or chubs are a good bet for Pike. Fish them under a slip bobber rig around weed edges. Mepps spinners or jerkbaits worked over weed beds would be another good bet as well.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Despite the weather Smallmouth fishing still remains good, just slow down and downsize your presentations to put more fish in the boat. 6 to 14’ of water, with rock or gravel bottom, along the first break you’ll find fish. Drop shotting and Ned rigs are catching most fish.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair – The cool front slowed down Largemouth fishing a bit, though fish are still being caught, one just has to bring out the finesse gear to catch these guys more productively. Ned rigs are a great choice. Also, a dropshot rig, rigged up with a 3” Wacky worm on a weedless hook would be another good bet. Look for these fish along the weed edges and work your baits slowly.

    Crappie: Fair – Live bait, as in a small to medium size fathead, under a slip float, is a good choice for Crappies now. Plastics thrown on a light 1/32 oz jig is another good bait to search for these fish. Find cabbage weeds and fish along the edges of them.

    Yellow Perch: Fair – Deep wood is still the key to finding these fish. Jigs tipped with crawlers or a small fathead is a good bait presentation.

    Bluegill: Fair – Deep weed edges in the 12’ range is a good location to be searching for Gills right now. Small worms or wax worms are all you need to be putting fish in the live well. For large Gills try tipping a Mini-mite jig with a wax worm.

    Walleye: Fair – Hearing a few more Walleyes showing up from guys braving the winds the past week. Jigs tipped with a fathead, chub or crawler have been all good bets. Fish are still on deep structure or points in 18’ of water all the way down to 25’ we have been hearing.

    Cool weather this next week is forecasted, highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s. Look for fish in the following weeks to start changing into their fall patterns. This is an exciting time of year to be on the water, larger fish are more common, less boat traffic and beautiful scenery as the leaves begin to change.

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

    Mark

    Walleyestudent Andy Cox
    Participant
    Garrison MN-Mille Lacs
    Posts: 4484
    #1800760

    Beautiful afternoon yesterday in Iron County…

    Attachments:
    1. Resized_20180930_122134.jpg

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1800770

    Andy:

    How long are ya around???

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1800865

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-02-18:

    Now its Fall!
    Cold nights, wind, rain and some color in the trees!

    Lake surface temps have fallen from a high of 75 degrees two weeks ago to an average of about 57 degrees this weekend.

    It’s Musky time, and that has shown in the reports of Musky hunters throughout.

    Musky: Very Good – Despite the cooler temps, top-water action has been hot and will remain so until the lakes turn. Whoper Ploppers, Pacemakers and Top Raiders have produced well on these cloudy, windy days. Action on big bladed bucktails and spinnerbaits as well as jointed cranks and twitch baits. Multiple fish days being reported, with the beginning of a sucker bite building.

    Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Mepps spinners in #4 & #5, spinnerbaits and even some top-water action over cabbage beds in 4-10’ of water.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good – Work gravel/rocks in 18-28’. Drop-shotting minnow, sculpin imitations. Ned rigging in the shallower humps (18-22’). Some big Smallies reported, nice fish of 14-18” but up to 21’s, when weather allowed.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Fewer anglers pursuing these green bass. Still working Senkos and dingers in weeds with success.

    Crappie: Fair-Good – Wind made fishing tough, but a few reports on calmer days of Crappies taking white jigs (hair) tipped with minnows around drowned wood in 14-20’.

    Walleye: Fair-Good – Some hot reports on certain days as anglers found action on jig/minnow combinations along shallow weeds and wood on lakes not prone to turn-over. On lakes with depth (over 24’) mud flats outside gravel humps in 18-28’. Jigging Rap lures good choice for the more aggressive fish, jig/crawlers for when bite slows.

    Bluegill and Perch reports few and far between.

    More rain predicted for this week can affect the flowages the most with rising water levels.

    Watch night time temps! With surface water just above the critical turn-over stage (52-54 degrees) another cold snap could put some mid-sized lakes into the flip-flop. Look at water clarity before launching.

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

    Mark

    Walleyestudent Andy Cox
    Participant
    Garrison MN-Mille Lacs
    Posts: 4484
    #1800866

    Andy:

    How long are ya around???

    Mark

    Already back at work today. frown These trips are always too short.

    Went over Saturday through Monday and was hoping to do some muskie fishing. The lake where my buddies cabin is at, Pike lake (Iron County)…water was still to high to get his boat in at the access.

    Just had a good time anyway doing other things. Always a beautiful area especially this time of year.

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1800877

    Andy:

    Pike Lake landing at Rugger’s??? Wouldn’t have realized it was that high!!! We canoe that stretch from Echo Lake down with the kids in the early summer, then get pizza from Rugger himself!!! Heck I might even know your buddy…

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1802793

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-09-18:

    It’s the heat of the fall musky season! Surface temps running 52-55 degrees (and could start dropping this weekend) Sucker bite good, but still good action on artificial.

    The wind, rain and cool down has limited the species anglers have been fishing for, not uncommon for this time of year. Also with some lakes in or on the verge of turn-over fishing reports are all over the board depending on the day and the lake.

    Musky: Very Good-Good > Lake temps very important to location! The warmer lakes saw fish on the inside weed lines on top-water and bucktails/spinner baits. As lakes cool, outside weed lines best using jointed cranks, plastics and jerk baits. Sucker action good, bladed rigs (Smity rigs) with 12-14” suckers seem to be best. Good numbers of fish with fish to 52” reported this week.

    Crappies: Good > Find deep wood or base of coontail edges in 14-18’. Small to medium fatheads below slip-floats. Light colored (white, yellow, silver) jigs also working. Big Crappies to 14”+ this past week. With good numbers of 10-12” fish.

    Northern Pike: Good > Most caught by Musky anglers tossing bucktails and twitch baits. For those targeting Pike, outside weed edges soaking a 5-7” chubs on sucker baits.

    Walleye: Fair-Good > Best on deeper lakes using chubs or suckers on 1/4 – 3/8oz jigs in 22-34’ of water. Jigging raps working along hard to soft transition zones. A few anglers fishing after dark finding shallow weed walleyes on chubs and casting shallow stick cranks (floating Rapalas, Storm Thunder Sticks and Rattling Rouges)

    No reports of bass, bluegill or perch. Some incidental catches by anglers seeking other species, but overall not the weather for anglers choosing those species.

    With highs only in the low-mid 40’s forecasted from Thursday through the weekend, expect to find lakes in the midst of turn-over. Check landings before launching, if messy (floating debris, odd color) go someplace else – if clear – launch and fish.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1803846

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-15-18:

    Snow, wind and cold continue to push lake temps down in the Lakeland area. Many lakes showing temps of 44-49 degrees as of Sunday (10/14)

    This early cooling off has slowed the bite down on many species and brought the “Hot” bites, while still good, to a slower presentation.

    Musky: Good-Very Good – Best reports on suckers since mid-week. Bladed quick set rigs get the nod with several reports of multi-fish days coming in. Gliders, jerks and jointed twitch baits also producing.

    Northern Pike: Good – 6” twitch baits, small jerks or live suckers or chubs under floats.

    Crappies: Fair – Bite better mid-week, slowed by weekend. Medium fatheads under slip-floats. Deep mud flats or drowned wood.

    Walleye: Fair – Boat control tough in wind. Best deep gravel/mud transitions using jigging Raps, large fats or chubs on Lindy rigs.

    Bass, Bluegill, Perch: No Reports

    With water temps so cold, consider most all lakes turned over. Slow presentations best. Looks like warmer air temps (50’s) this coming weekend, should make for more pleasant conditions.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1805609

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-23-18:

    Rough week of weather for anglers this past week. Temps in the 20’s and high winds made targeting most species pretty tough.

    It is October (though it feels like November), so Musky is what is on most angler’s minds. Those willing to brave the elements had good things to show for their efforts.

    Musky: Good – Participation was down, but good reports from anglers who ventured out. Guide Jake Smith had a nine fish day, mostly on suckers, but jerk baits also working. Similar reports from the few and the brave.

    Walleye: Fair – Weekend conditions not favoring Walleye anglers due to boat control issues with winds gusting in the 30’s on Fri/Sat. When able to fish, the deeper lakes producing in 28-40’ using #7 & #9 jigging raps, Lindy rigs or 3/8-1/2 oz jigs and chubs, suckers or even crawlers.

    Crappies: Fair-Poor – Tough conditions, the cooling water temps also seem to have slowed the bite for now.

    Northern Pike: Good – While not being targeted much, some nice Pike in the mid 30” range being caught by Musky anglers

    It’s been a cold October so far, water surface temps are in the low to mid 40’s. Fish, being cold blooded, feeling the affects as presentations need to slow down. Forecast with highs in the 40’s and lows in the upper 20’s to low 30’s will only keep temps low.

    As long as winds stay down, fishing for late fall targets (Musky, Walleye) should remain good.

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

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1806663

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-30-18:

    Weather wise, the last weekend of October felt like mid-October and not like the early December feel of the week prior. Unfortunately, despite milder weather, anglers seem to have given up on the open water season for the most part. Surface temps actually rose a couple of degrees on average (43-45 degrees), though coming weather will probably drop them again.

    Musky: Very Good-Good – During the week action best on suckers, not as much activity, but good enough for the higher rating. By weekend fishing slowed some, still moving fish and some takers on suckers, glide baits. Note: with colder water expect a lighter sucker bite (by feel), cold water/cold fish, slower, more deliberate bites, the “rush” doesn’t seem to be there, get a good “angle” before hook set.

    Walleye: Fair-Good – A few more reports as conditions were easier to take (a lot less wind). Slow jigging and Lindy rigging. Large fatheads for most lakes. Walleye suckers for larger, deeper fish.

    Few reports for other species.

    With lows in upper 20’s and highs in lower 40’s, shorter sunlight, expect lakes to slowly continue to cool. Pond had skim ice last week, but gone now. Fishing pressure light. Most public piers have been removed, so bring knee high boots for launching.

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

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1808152

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-06-18:

    Following a too hot and wet September, then a cold, wet, windy October, the first three days of November were incredibly nice, weather wise! Nicer than any three days in October it seemed. Now back to reality!

    Rain, snow and wind came crashing back down to the Northwoods, with temps not forecasted to reach above freezing till the deer opener (Nov 17th).

    Lake surface temps, up in the mid 40’s, will certainly start to fall again over the next two weeks. Not very many anglers out there, but…

    Musky: Good – Lack of wind required using trolling motors to move suckers till the weekend. Still good action on suckers, slow moving glide & jerk bait or rubber baits.

    Crappie: Good – Not numbers but big slabs this week to 15 ½” over drowned wood of 14-18’. Medium and even large fatheads under slip-floats best.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Big Smallies! Most of 18”+ with fish to 21 ½” stacking up along deep water transition areas. Larger minnows (suckers, chubs) best. Not many anglers targeting, but those that do – great fishing!

    Walleye: Fair – Action slow. Fish at many depths, from 24-75’, but tough to convince to bite. Best on live minnows near wood in 18-24’. Deeper, mud flats use jigging Raps or Lindy rigs with larger suckers or chubs.

    Cold for forecast means limited reports for next week also. Dropping water temps will get the hard water anglers excited. Keep eye on our social media for reports.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1809721

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-13-18:

    The cold has come to the Northwoods and winter’s icy grip is not far behind!

    Temps in the teens have helped push lakes from a surface high of 40 degrees down to just about ready to get solid! The pond behind our shop froze up Friday (11/9) and typically that means 7-10 days till Lake Minocqua locks up. Some bays already skimming over.

    Musky: Good-Fair – Not many brave (read:crazy) souls ventured out last week due to high winds, low temps and generally miserable conditions! What few anglers did try had best results on suckers as the bite was sluggish, with fish just “mouthing” suckers.

    Little else to report as few anglers to report from. Rut still going on, so our early deer opener should go well. Four-six inches of snow on ground to improve visibility.

    Watch our social media sites for ice reports as these night time temps in low teens will start freezing things up.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1811527

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-20-18:

    With two of the past five nights reaching lows below zero and very little time with temps above freezing, areas of safe ice are increasing rapidly.

    Some bays, those protected by the west winds of mid-week, are seeing ice thickness of 5+” already! Caution is still advisable as larger bodies of water have only just skimmed over entirely or are still showing some open spots.

    There have been good reports of Walleye action on tip-ups where anglers can get on ice. Smaller Perch have been abundant in the same shallows (5-9’) with a few better Perch taking baits meant for Walleyes.

    Crappie anglers finding some very good action and size (11-13”+). Slabs cruising the bays in 5-8’. Small minnows and horizontal jigs tipped with Waxies producing.

    With little snow in woods, access to some hard to reach lakes good for anglers willing to walk a ways. Forecast of highs not till weekend to break above freezing bodes well for getting some good solid ice set up.

    Be sure during this early ice, to carry safety picks and rope. Take someone along and test all ice with a chisel before walking on…then continue to check as you go!

    As landings icing up, focus is on gun deer and ice fishing, few anglers venturing out for final weeks of Musky season.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1812656

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-26-18:

    Early ice fishing definitely underway as anglers have been plying waters of the Northwoods for almost two weeks.

    Despite rain on Friday Eve/Saturday making things very slippery and not very safe for walking, the rain may have actually helped by removing snow cover and weight from existing ice. We seemed to have lost very little in ice thickness, mostly just the snow cover.

    Walleye: Very Good – Early evening bite best followed by dawn bite as next best time. Jigging lures (UL Rippin Raps, Slab Raps, Jigging Raps, Hyper Glides) as well as jigging spoons (Demon Tongues, Slender Spoons, Tinglers w/ minnow heads) have been deadly as Walleyes actively chasing moving baits. Tip-ups with large fatheads, suckers or chubs also producing. Yet, while bite is active, great time to work on your Walleye jigging skills! Lots of “eater” Walleyes reported this past week, yet bigger Eye’s to 28” also caught and released.

    Bluegill: Very Good – Where safe ice covers green weeds of 4-8’ nice Gills taking small jigs (Moon Glitter, Dot Tear Drop, Mooska jigs) tipped with waxies, spikes or plastic (red, purple best this week)

    Crappie: Very Good – Shallow fish cruising in the same waters as the Gills. Horizontal presentations (Ratso’s, Sled Heads, Z-Vibes and even the smallest UL3 Rippin Raps) producing larger slabs (along with occasional Large Mouth Bass). Slip floats and tip-downs with minnows also producing.

    Yellow Perch: Very Good-Good – Great numbers in the shallows, but necessary to sort for some keepers. Try larger baits (medium fatheads, Impulse rigged mayflys, waxtails or Flutter Spoons tipped with 2-3 waxies) Aggressive jigging seems to draw in Perch, then pause to get bites.

    Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Big shiners, chubs and suckers on tip-ups. Pike cruising shallow weeds where panfish are located.

    Musky: Poor? – Sorry, but few anglers out. Only a few lakes open for boats, though one report of an ice angler catching a low 30” fish on tip-up. Season’s last day Nov 30th.

    Unlike the southern and eastern parts of the state, the weather this weekend should only help our ice formation. A light dusting has put some “grip” back on the ice, but creepers still a must, as well as a spud bar for checking ice thickness. Most anglers reporting 5-6”, but there are areas that need watching. Be safe, carry a rope, get a float suit and take a friend.

    Our 9th Annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza is this weekend, Nov 30th, Dec 1st & 2nd. Meet reps, pro staffer’s (Paul Delaney will be here), get great deals and a chance to win a Striker Floating Ice Jacket & Bibs.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1814978

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-04-18:

    With ice thickness slowly building, more opportunities opening up for anglers here in the Northwoods.

    Most areas averaging 5-7” and while some of our larger lakes are just locking up, with the lack of snow on these newer freeze ups, the ice will actually catch up on these lakes.

    Walleye: Very Good-Good – Some action even as early as mid-afternoons as anglers working jigging spoons (Clam Flutter Spoons) finding good action. Best still just before dark, but the mid-day action sign of active fish. Biggest draw back has been winds this past week making fishing difficult at times.

    Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Action during morning gets best using big chubs, suckers or shiners in relatively shallow water still (4-9’)

    Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Lots of action, but reports of sorting needed to get a decent bag. In shallow water, classic lead jigs (Dot Tears, Darts) tipped with waxies all that’s needed in water of 4-8’. Some anglers on smaller, deeper lakes using tungsten and spikes to get down in 20-25’ for some big Gills.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Some nice fish being picked up in shallow, cabbage flats of 5-9’. Most on horizontal profile jigs tipped with waxies. Some minnow bites, but these fish not schooling tight, so bite scattered.

    Crappie: Fair – Had been better, mostly wind keeping anglers from slow dropping rockers with plastics.

    Biggest thing holding anglers back was wind over weekend. Snow (which we didn’t need yet) wasn’t bad and wind actually kept some off lake. Cold this week will help build ice. Temps for weekend forecasted to be highs in low 20’s should be just right to continue ice build, yet be “workable” for early ice anglers to get out.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1817222

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-11-18:

    Good ice conditions, NOT great, throughout the Lakeland area. Good because most lakes are reporting 6-8” of good solid ice. Not great because we don’t have 12-16” and because some larger lakes are still reporting only 3-6” mid-lake. Yet oddly, things are worse north of us where heavy snow has halted ice growth to the 3-5” range. Still, most lakes good for walking, ATV and some snowmobile use.

    A high-pressure system on Friday and Saturday was the biggest hurdle for anglers, fish just seemed to shut down everywhere – even the small panfish were hard to entice. In cases like this, shift to dark moving water to hopefully offset some of the high barometric effects. Those that did Sunday found some nice Walleyes taking small #3 : #4 tungsten jigs meant for panfish, just an example of how to go small on a tough bite works for even larger fish.

    Walleye: Poor – Fair – See above. With new, lower pressure system moving in, bite has already improved as of this writing. Live minnows for now, but jigging lures and spoons will be good as week progresses.

    Northern Pike: Poor – Fair – Same here. Downsize to medium shiners, suckers but supersize ‘em for warm weekend coming up.

    Bluegill, Crappie & Perch: Poor – Fair

    What can be said? But hey, its behind us and this system coming in should pick things back up to what it was before.

    It was an unfortunate blip on the early ice season. But the end of last week’s cold did add some ice and improve mobility on the lakes. Still, use precaution, but this coming week looks great.

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

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1818760

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-17-18:

    A long mild stretch of weather halted ice production for the time being. Night time lows firming things up for morning anglers, but afternoons are a little sloppy.

    Access pretty good overall for foot, ATV and snowmobile traffic. Travel over mid portions of lakes with any type of vehicle not advisable on the larger lakes, but overall averages of 8-10” seem to be the norm.

    Walleye: Good-Very Good – After last weeks tough weekend, things have turned around. Better reports as fish feeding again. Jigging Raps, Slender Spoons, Northland Glo Spoons and Clam Flutter Spoons effective. Tip ups baited with suckers over sandgrass flats and mud transitions from hard drops in 14-18’. One hour before dark till one hour after. About 8-9 PM and again from an hour before dawn till about 8 AM best. Good reports of eaters plus several reports of 26-28 ½” Walleyes this past week by the after work crowd, all releases, thanks guys!

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Best action dawn till late morning. Cabbage flats and along edge using big suckers on slab shiners. Decent numbers of eaters (22-26”) but several 34-39” “gators” caught and released also.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Most reports are of numbers, but sorting to get a meal or two plus lots of fun! Venom Glow Spoons, Pimples and Kastmasters tipped with spikes or wigglers. With warm (above freezing) temps, tip-downs have worked very well baited with small fatheads or rosies.

    Crappies: Good – Best slow dropping plastics (Duppies, Wedgees) on rockers, moon glows. Tip-downs with minnows good also. Hold tighter to base of tall cabbage in 8-12’ for larger slab (12’13”) Crappies.

    Bluegills: Good – Small lead jigs, (popular on calmer days) tipped with waxies or plastics producing “action” Gill, with sorting required to get some eaters.

    Largemouth Bass: – Good – With warmer temps, anglers catching Largemouth on tip-ups baited with shiners and even smaller jigs baited with waxies.

    As much as anglers are enjoying these daytime highs in the 30’s, and even low 40’s, many of us would like to see some sub-zero temps to get a good base of 14-16” of ice before snow arrives. Fortunately, no snow in near forecast and night time lows in upper teens will help keep what we have.

    Fishing has been good, and with friendly temps, and not a lot of ice to cut, it’s a great time to get out on the ice.

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

    Mark

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