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Minocqua Area Fishing Report – 2014

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1408149

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-1-14:

    The pond behind the shop is about 50% ice free.
    I checked the Willow Dam last night, from the launch to the first point where everyone beaches their boats is open, the rest is ice!

    Cedar Falls- river is open, walked through the woods….open as far down as I could see.

    Katherine- Is out 20′ from the landing, the rest still iced up.

    Minocqua- Iced up, only open areas by aerators.

    Lake Tom- Still ice fishing on the bay….rest of the lake is still iced.

    Big Arb- Accessible from the south end to ice fish….no open water to speak of.

    Little Arb.- Mostly Iced up….not safe to use the ice though.

    Carrol- Ice fishing access from in front of parking lot, DON’T use the landing! Lake is ice covered.

    Sweeny- Ice covered, but not accessible.

    Rainbow Flowage- Ice covered, not accessible.

    I haven’t visited the lakes to the west. I did get a report that the Pike / Round Lake chain looks about ready to open up.

    It’s been raining off and on for a couple of days, just not warm enough or hard enough to eat through the ice.

    Thanks,
    Kurt

    Kurt’s Island Sportshop
    Minocqua Wi. 54548

    Michael Saal
    Participant
    Merrill, Wi
    Posts: 587
    #1408220

    There were two guys out on the ice in schoolhouse bay today when we went through town!

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1408233

    You didn’t go fishing with them???

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1408492

    A guy was asking about fish kills on another site… Here is my answer along with ice condidtions as I saw/heard of them over the weekend and today.

    So far not too much has been said about any kills… Most of the lakes being targeted right now have pretty decent flow in them all winter and the ones to be suspected probably haven’t opened for inspection by any fisherman.

    I work just to the north of Content, which has had bad kills in the past and haven’t heard anything bad from the peeps down there that have been in the restaurant lately and have asked.

    It sounds like the area to the east of you has open water and to the south… There are only two lakes in the Minocqua area that are open, Mid and L. Musky. West of us is pretty much iced up yet until you get over to the Highway 13 corridor where it sounds like most of those lakes have opened. North of us in the Mercer area, because of all the rivers flowing into each lake, there is a fair number of acres of water opening.

    Each end of the TFF was open this weekend with Sunday being a pretty good day from the three reports that I received… And I also heard the Gile was open…

    I did run down to Nokomis yesterday just to fish as I know that I will not get to fish pretty much the rest of this week. I have never fished there and chose to fish the east end. I fished shallow water and managed to find just about 41*, but without a lot of time, I really didn’t get to fish any of my “A” choices. I also stayed strictly with throwing small crankbaits in shallow windblown shorelines…

    Mark

    Michael Saal
    Participant
    Merrill, Wi
    Posts: 587
    #1408645

    Mark,Just rode up to open the seasonal campsite. Couldn’t drive to my site because of snow on the road and where there wasn’t snow it was to soft. Got most of my honey do list done so I can get out this weekend. Is the Rainbow ice free? Friends have a cottage on Nokomis but I havn’t heard how they did on the opener.

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1408805

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-6-14:

    Can’t wait till the opener!!!?

    Oh yeah….it was last week.

    The weekend was a bust! Open water opportunities were few. Of the few areas where open water was available, the water was just a bit to cold still and the walleyes haven’t
    moved up…. bodes well for those coming up this weekend.

    Anglers still ice fished the opener on Trout, Big Arb and even Minocqua. While the Wisconsin above the Rainbow, the Tomahawk above the Willow and parts of the Turtle at Murray’s Landing were available for the opener. These areas were crowded, the most action took place from Tomahawk and below.

    Crappies: Good. Ice anglers on Big Arb and Minocqua did well. Some reports from the top of the Willow where anglers found nice crappies along 10-12′ depths jigging for walleyes. Keep an eye out for sunny afternoons- North shore flats will warm and crappies will lay very shallow to gather heat.

    Walleyes: ? A few areas (Turtle Flambeau) were very good to anglers. The dark shallow water warmed up enough to get walleyes into pre-spawn mood. Other areas that were open were too cold for the most part. There have been a few late night anglers finding success casting Rattlin Rouges along rocky shorelines at night where the ice had pulled away enough to warrant cast (usually where pumps used to protect docks had kept water open) and have found nice walleyes… most females still seemed hard while males were milking.

    With mild temps this week smaller lakes will continue to open. Shorelines are pulling away, with areas of 80-150′ open here on lake Minocqua.

    The pond went officially ice free Sat. May 3rd.

    Thanks, Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, WI

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1409237

    Almost all waters are in the Minocqua area are ice free… The only lakes with ice are the largest lakes, i.e. Trout, Tomahawk and people are expecting that they may lose their ice even before the weekend ends… I went by Trout this a.m. and in the brief view I get, I am not sure I would collaberate that, but I would be happy if they went off too!!! It seems that most all of the lakes even to the north are very close to being open, so check with your locals before heading up, but there should be plenty of water to access this weekend!!! Good luck and be safe!!!

    Mark

    Randy Wieland
    Participant
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 12954
    #1409446

    With the mass of rain passing over the north woods, I would think that one more good sunny day and some wind should take care of it

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1410285

    All clear this weekend…

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1410304

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-13-14:

    Ice is gone!!! The last sight of ice (on Trout Lake) left Saturday. Water temps on the lakes range wildly from high 30’s to 40 (Trout) to as much as 60’s on some of the small dark waters. Average temps are in the low 50’s. Due to the fact that the ice stayed on so long, walleyes were busting to spawn….and they did. On most bodies of water the spawn came and went quickly. There are lots of signs of the larger females already recovering and feeding heavily in a post-spawn pattern.

    Walleyes: Very Good. While a few larger lakes are still seeing a spawning bite, most are past that and on a hot post spawn bite. Warming shallows, mostly on north and east banks are holding actively feeding eyes. Jig and minnow combos accounting for most catches, but casting long stick baits (Rattlin Rouges, Thundersticks, floating Rapalas) also tagging nice fish in 4-6′ in and around any green weeds. Low light times best, but overcast days seeing action all day long.

    Crappies: Good. Best along North shores as crappies (and bluegills) piling up into shallows where water is warmest. Sometimes a shift in the wind will push warmer water to one side or the other of bay, follow the warmth. Since fish are in shallow and spooky (they are not spawning….just warming)stay back as far as a long cast will let you reach using rocket bobbers to crappie minnows or tiny jigs to reach fish.

    Northern Pike: Good. Actively feeding in shallows of 2-6′. Lots of upper 20″ fish. Stick / Twitch baits and 4″ twister grubs best. Chubs & suckers on weed weasel jigs with wire leaders. On days the walleye bite seems to slow (Sunday for example), slow dragging a lively dace or large fathead was needed to entice reluctant pick-ups…. patience needed to set the hook.

    Looks like some cold nights (30’s) coming at weeks end, but daytime highs in the 50’s – 60’s should keep things moving.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop
    Minocqua Wi

    Mark

    bigpike
    Participant
    Posts: 6255
    #1410886

    Spent most every evening and last weekend fishing either the Tomahawk river or Lake Nokomis. I had a blast and fishing was basically fair to good even excellent at times. I started out fishing the river hard and I found below the dam on Nokomis on the Tomahawk river to be stacked with fish. Walleyes liked 3″ tails with 1/4, 3/16 or 1/8 jigs pitched to current seams. Biggest was 17″ so nothing huge but plenty of action, 1 day I hammered a bunch of nice crappie in a line of pilings next to a current edge. The walleye had not spawned. Last Saturday I put my boat in for what was my opening weekend. It was a chilly 48 water temp but the fishing was good in 8-12 FOW neck down areas around bridges. By the end of the weekend the water temps were 65 in spots but the fishing died with the quickly rising water temp. Monday I switched gears and targeted shallow pies. I was not disapointed as they were coming in. The key was any wood in protected bays. I love this type of fishing. Water temps were up to upper 50’s to low 60’s. Before the big cold front the fish were coming in big time. Next week is going to be killer if the weather model holds out

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1411392

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-20-14:

    After a little taste of winter late last week (yes, snowflakes on May 15) and the drop in water temperature that comes with the cold, things look good from here on out with a nice gradual warm up for the next 7-10 days. We will need the warmth and sun to get the weeds growing. We are weeks behind on both plant growth above and below the water.

    Crappies: Good and Improving. Crappies are moving up to the shallows on North and East shores to collect warmth in the afternoons. Now that we are done with the night cold, these fish are staying and staging in areas. Submerged wood along these shores and in protected bays help to gather heat to the surrounding water and adds protection for these fish. Pitch tiny jigs (Gapen’s Freshwater Shrimp, Mini-mites, Hotties) under small floats from as far away as possible to suspend these offerings to entice hits. Small minnows, leeches and wax worms also working.

    Walleyes: Fair-Good-Improving. Drop in temperature hurt late last week, but there was still a good bite in the afternoons and evenings as the waters warmed back up. Post spawn walleyes are moving shallow to feed up after the rigors of spawning.

    A lack of green weeds to hold forage fish means a lack of targets for walleyes and anglers to key in on. A majority of walleye stomachs have been full of small bluegills and perch (though fish from the Turtle Flambeau Flowage have reportedly been full of leeches). Small, shallow running crankbaits that run to 5-6’ depths and not retrieved too quickly have been a good way to work shallow flats, covering water and enticing strikes from active fish. A jig and minnow (or leech) combo slowly worked back over the same areas will produce the less active biters.

    Pike: Good-Improving. Most catches have been by anglers targeting walleyes with jig/minnow combos. Larger chubs or suckers produce best. Slow moving plastic spoons (Moss Boss) worked with a lift and glide as well as Slug-gos also garner nice action.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair- Improving. Twitch stick-baits over shallow warming dark bottom areas. Plastics such as Salamanders, craws and tubes crawled/hopped in like areas also working.

    Perch: Fair. Few reports

    Bluegills: Fair-Good. Moving into shallows on warm days. Tiny jigs tipped with waxies.

    Musky: Opener is this Saturday. Haven’t seen or heard much this spring. With the Memorial weekend temps forecasted to hit 70’s, water temps should rush through the 50’s and into the 60’s bringing fish up to pre-spawn mode.

    Weather looks to be very favorable for the upcoming holiday weekend. Water temps should climb and weed growth should begin.
    Wild bait such as chubs, dace are tough to get. Leeches are in good supply.

    Should see pre-spawn activity increase for crappies, smallies and musky. Crappies and musky spawning the following week, if not before on some smaller lakes.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1412578

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 5-27-14:

    A weekend such as the last could almost make ya forget about the winter and opener of 2014…. almost!

    A truly gorgeous weekend of weather brought anglers out by the droves as they pursued their favorite species all over the Lakeland area.

    Crappies: Excellent! Anglers found crappies in both pre-spawn and the start of spawning modes. Flipping tiny 1/64 oz jigs such as Gapen’s Freshwater Shrimp as well as Hotties and Falls Fine Ball jigs under tiny floats produced limits for 10-13″ crappies throughout the Lakeland area. Big fish topping out at 15″ succumbed to small minnows suspended 2′ under floats outside and through just about any downed timber. In a matter of hours a shoreline devoid of nesting crappies would fill up with nesting pairs. With many lakes just hitting their peak this week, action should continue through the coming weekend.

    Walleyes: Very Good. The tribal spearing counts are in and the bag limits on many- but not all lakes bounced up from 1’s and 2’s to 2’s and 3’s. Check the new bag limits at the Wisconsin DNR website. Lots of big fish being caught after dark. Fish of 24-28″ hitting long twitchbaits with Rapalas Scatter Minnows #11 tops. Anglers casting from shore and piers doing the best. Daytime bite mostly on jig minnow combos with Dace and chubs (where available) top choices.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Action picking up as largemouth moving into shallows to pick up heat and feed on small pan fish and insects. Even had reports of top water action as local angler caught 20 LM in one evening on Baby Bully 45 frog. Spinners, spinner baits, small shallow running cranks all producing nice catches to 20″ers. A 24″ was caught on a fly rod with a white streamer (reportedly).

    Northern Pike: Very Good. Pike following pan fish toward shallows of 3-6′. Jigs and sucker combos accounting for lots of action on fish of 24-32″. One 35″ caught by crappie angler. #3 Mepps spinners also effective.

    Bluegill: Good. Not as heavily targeted due to crappie bite, but bug hatches bringing gills up high to surface. A few larger gills taking minnows meant for crappies. Small leeches tough to beat here.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good. (catch and release only) Big fish staging outside spawning areas. With temps on many lakes warming to mid 60’s in a hurry- watch for beds to appear
    Jig & Creature, Jig & Lizard and top water lures such as Chug-Bugs good way to go.

    Muskie: Poor-Fair. Not many reports and the ones we have received not good. Could have caught the midst of spawn or post spawn with how warm it got so quickly, tough to know. Disappointing opener for most.

    Sun and little wind caused lake temps to soar into the 60’s. Shallows becoming active with insect life and small bait fish pulling in the larger fish. Weed growth weeks behind making any standing green growth valuable real estate.

    Good Luck,
    Kurt
    Island Sportshop, Minocqua, Wi

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1413915

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-3-14:

    Spring was short! Jumped right from late ice out to summer time temps in a matter of 2 1/2 weeks. Lake surface temps shot through the 60’s on smaller lakes and flowages right into the mid 70’s. Larger lakes recording temps of 64-69 deg. Recent rains brought temps down some, but warm temps of the past week have accelerated spawning of Crappies, Muskies and Smallmouth bass.

    Smallmouth Bass: Excellent. Smallies bedding. Great top water action on Pop R’s, Chug Bugs, Zara Puppys and Skitter Pops. Plastic Lizards and Creature baits also very effective. Catch & release only till June 21st.

    Walleye: Very Good. A bit of a lull mid-week brought on by high pressure, but as barometer dropped, walleyes really kicked in. Jig & minnow as well as jig & leech combo helping anglers to lake limits during the day. After dark, casting Scatter Rap minnows along shorelines scoring big walleyes to 30″ this past week. Lighted slip bobbers suspending big leeches in 6-8′ of new growth weeds also top tactic.

    Crappies: Very Good. Spawn all but done on most lakes, but good catches of big slabs floating small hair (Pinky), tinsel (Gapen Shrimp) or plastic (Fall’s minnows or mini-mites) below small floats outside of areas where spawning occurred. Big fish to 14 1/2″ this weekend. Rain should hold these fish shallow for a while.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Top water action Hot! Anglers working Torpedoes and other prop baits having 30-40+ evenings on fish. Big fish showing up with a 21″, 5 1/2# taken before the weather came in on Sunday night.

    Bluegills: Very Good. While not ready to spawn, gills very active taking poppers on the surfaces well as small jigs, plastics and live leeches. Once thunder bugs are available gills cant pass up these bugs.

    Northern Pike: Good to Very Good. Lots of pike action on Chubs & Suckers in the 5-7″ range on Slo-poke jigs. Slip-floats also good way to suspend bait near weeds. Casting #3 Mepps Aglias and Comets and smaller Daredevils also hot.

    Musky: Fair- Improving. Following the spawn, recovering fish starting to show up. Small twitch baits (Cranes, Shallow Raiders 5-6″ long), #5 sized Mepps Aglia and Buchertails as well as 3/8oz. and larger spinnerbaits fished in shallows best. With water warming so quickly, top water action should pick up. One reported 48 1/2″ on a Mepps this week from small, weedy lakes.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. A few incidental fish on the Flowages by anglers targeting walleyes or Crappies. Medium fatheads best.

    Weed growth is still behind even as water temps climb Mosquitos have been on a rampage looking for dragon fly hatches to help curb the clouds of biters at the boat landings. Load up on bug spray and such before you depart.

    Thanks
    Kurt Island Sportshop
    Minocqua Wi.

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3842
    #1415358

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-10-14:

    Despite cooler temps this week, we seem to be in an early summer mode. Water temps have settled into the mid 60’s range. Enough warmth seems to be working its way down to help push some bug hatches as a couple species of dragon flies, some types of midge and what looks like march brown mayflies have hatched. The thing to keep an eye out for is the Hexagemia hatch, needs to warm up some….but its coming!

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good- Excellent. Largemouth found in a variety of stages. Pre-spawn, spawn and (if one source is correct) post spawn. Top water action has held despite cooler temps. Plastic frogs, Jitterbugs and Skitter Pops tops. Wacky worms (Yum Dingers, Senkos and Jackals) hammering fish in shallow on unweighted hooks. Largemouth guarding beds scooping up Lizards, tubes and creature baits. Lots of bass measuring 16-19″ with a few 20″+ showing up.

    Walleyes: Good-Very Good. Fresh weeds holding walleyes in 5-9′ depths during overcast days and after dark. Daytime bite on 1/16oz. jigs tipped with large fatheads, Dace or large leeches. At dusk or after dark, casting shallow running stickbaits (Rapala Scatter Minnows, Rattlin Rouges) still catching larger 20″+ walleyes.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Action falling off a bit as spawn finishing and fish moving off to recooperate. Tube jigs fished in 8-14′ best. Also crawl rubber craws or creature baits on stand up jigs to entice slow biters.

    Bluegills: Good. A few scattered reports of bedding fish, but we really need to see water warm a bit more. Small wet flies and rubber spiders behind a casting float (or on a flyrod for those who know how) is accounting for a lot of fish. Small leeches tops for live bait anglers.

    ALERT!!!! SORRY! But thunderbugs won’t be available this season.

    Northern Pike: Good. Chubs and suckers on jigs or under floats. Spoons such as Daredevils and Johnson Silver Minnows and #3 Mepps working well.

    Crappie: Good. Moving out a little deeper. Warmer temps may bring fish in as minnows and young of year fry move in. Tiny tinsel, plastic and hair jigs tipped with waxies or small minnows in 6-10′ weeds best.

    Yellow Perch: Good / Fair. Not a lot of reports. Best to use medium fats in 6-9′ sparse weed flats.

    Musky: Fair. Not many reports at our location. Anglers spotting lookers (follows), and mid 30″ fish but not much for catches.

    Fishing overall good, though daily weather patterns can cause poor “days” (high pressure). With weeds still a bit behind schedule, finding green standing weeds helps to locate fish till everything greens up.

    Thanks,
    Kurt

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1431903

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-24-14:

    East wind and lots of it along with cooler than usual temperatures postponed several events that have usually transpired by now.

    On the larger lakes, largemouth bass, bluegills and pumpkinseeds have not started bedding yet. Plump females of all three of these species are being caught by anglers targeting walleyes and smallmouth bass along outside weed edges of 10-16’. While reports of bedding largemouth and gills were coming in a couple weeks ago, these were from small lakes with much warmer water.

    The other event that usually occurs by now is the massive Hexagenia mayfly hatches. Typical of mid June in our area during this melee of swimming flying, mating, dying bugs; almost all walleye catches drop to zero for about three days. While some smaller, lesser species of mayfly have hatched- this cloud of walleye angler doom still lurks and should be coming sometime to a lake near you!

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Wind has put a damper on top-water action. Best catches on wacky style worms, pre-rigged plastic worms and 7” worms rigged Carolina along outside weed edges of 10-16’.

    Walleye: Good. Action slowed from previous week but still nice fish being caught. Still utilizing cabbage flats and (depending on lake) coontail edges. No distinct preference on bait, though red tailed chubs worked best on windy days (more weight, easier to control) but as wind died down leeches and crawlers also doing the job. Releases of 23-27” this week with plenty of 15-20” eaters.

    Northern Pike: Good. Most catches on chubs meant for walleyes in the wind. Past few days as winds settled casting spinner baits producing will including 40” release!

    Bluegills: Good. Oddly deeper weeds are better. Tiny jigs, tubes, small leeches and worms on the deep weed edges producing nice gills of 7 1/2 -9 ½”. Spawn yet to come on large lakes. Wind keeping popper bite down.

    Musky: Good. Bucktails & Plastics best bets. Fish roaming windy weed beds feeding on panfish in 6-10’.

    Crappie: Fair-Good. Wind making it tough to find & stay on fish. Catches jigging medium fats, small chubs aggressively through weed tops scoring nice crappies of 11-13”. Look for bite to improve as weather (wind) mellows out.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Wind tough on perchers. When possible jigging ½ crawlers or frozen soft shells over windy weedy flats producing some nice perch.

    Smallmouth bass: Fair. Not a lot of reports of late. A few nice 17-19’ fish on chubs meant for walleyes along 11-14’ coontail edges.

    Ease winds have left for now. Action picking up as conditions easier to fish, with the exception of the pending mayfly hatch, outlook is good.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sports

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1431904

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 6-17-14:

    At least all the wind has kept the mosquitos at bay. Wind has been the biggest hindrance to fishing for most species. Where possible and with proper boat control some of the best walleye fishing of the season came last week, but the wind made it work!

    Walleye: Excellent to Good. Action slowed some after the full moon. Prior to that lots of limits (lake limits) of larger fish (18″ plus). We personally released 8 walleyes of 23-26″ on jig and dace combos. Evening casting with #13 Rapalas, Rattlin Rouges and #11 Scatter Raps remains hot! Seems to be a lack of forage in some lakes which is equating to hungry walleyes.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Cooler temps (some morning launches saw 41-44 deg.) pulled water temps into the lower 60’s.Any largemouth bass that hadn’t started to bed on larger lakes are holding out. Jig and creature baits still good choice as has been pre-rigged worms.

    Northern Pike: Good. Actively hitting jig/chub combos. Mepps spinners (#3’s)and chatterbaits also effective. Most pike running smaller (20-25″) but a few low 30″ fish caught this week.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Post spawn fish starting to scatter out to usual summer haunts. Wind has made fishing off shore humps difficult. Work calmer waters at dusk with x-raps to find cruising fish up around flats. Once possible, fish breaks and side of humps with tubes.

    Bluegills: Good-Fair. Wind has limited accessibility. Find good water on the lee side of the lakes and good action with some fish to 10 1/2″ reported taking small leeches, wax worms and even crappie minnows! Tough to fish poppers in this wind, though once things calm down this week expect action on top to pick up.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair. Larger perch up in weeds of 6-8′ dining on dragonfly larvae. Use medium leech below slip float for best action. 1/2 crawlers also doing well.

    Crappie: Fair. A few incidentals jigging for walleye. The lucky few who had shelter from the wind inside boat houses also scoring some fish. Should pick up with calmer seas.

    Musky: Some decent numbers on bucktails, tubes, small rubberbaits, not much for size.

    Fishing has been good, just difficult. Not much for hex hatches, could be the cold mornings and high winds keeping the hatch from rising. Lots of daylight, so early mornings / late evenings best times to fish.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt’s Island Sports

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1432944

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-01-14:

    Water temps rising as warm winds pushing surface readings to the low 70’s. High winds making boat positioning difficult, hard on the precision needed for walleyes or to anchor for panfish.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Winds keeping action sub-surface. Jig/pig – creature baits along deep weed edges. Wacky worms (this is where the heavier Senko worms shine over other lighter like style worms) also an excellent choice. Cranks and Chatterbaits taking a fair share, lots of 14-17″ fish,
    but fish to 20″+ this week reported.

    Walleyes: Good. Wind helping, yet hurting. Keeps walleyes up in weeds later into the morning. Haven’t seen a strong preference – redtails, crawlers and large leeches all good. Larger fish still being caught (24-26″) with most fish in the 16-20″ range. Scatter Rap minnows continue to produce fish at dusk. Lighted slip-floats with extra large leeches after dark.

    Musky: Good. Bucktails and smaller (6″) rubberbaits producing best. Temps good for topwater….wind not!

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Slow start to smallie season. Action beginning to pick up. X-raps over rocky breaks and peaks of 8-12′ good. Try drop-shotting Craw-papis or 2 1/2″ Jackal crosstail shads over deeper humps – fish just starting to show up over 14-18′ depths.

    Northern Pike: Good. Casting spinner baits over weed flats produced a 40″ (released) pike this past week. Shallow, square bill cranks and soft bodied jigs also scoring.

    Bluegills: ?/Fair. Water temps are prime for bedding (72 deg.), but wind roughing up the water. Fish tiny plastics below small leeches, waxies, leafworms all favorites.

    Crappies: ?/Fair. Wind making targeting this species tough.

    Yellow Perch: ?/Fair. See above

    Small cold front could slow things, but once winds die down expect both bass species as well as bluegills, perch and crappie fishing to improve by weeks end.

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1438580

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-08-14:

    Good Morning….Still lots of wind!
    Rather mild temps for the 4th of July week. Cool mornings and wind have put the bite off. When you throw in late bug hatches and missed spawning opportunities….a typical summer pattern has yet to emerge.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. Not even close to what we should be seeing for July. Best bet has been Wacky Worms in 6-9′ weeds. Action slow for reasons unclear. Wind has made boat positioning tough. Yet even good bass anglers are finding it difficult to dig bass out using jig/pig-jig creature baits.

    Northern Pike: Fair. Live bait best, chubs on jigs. Also slow working chub on safety pin style spinner bait producing.

    Muskie: Fair. Bucktails towards dusk has been best pattern as water warms during the day. Little top water reports. Some fish working small rubber baits.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Slow for time of year. Hard to hold over deep humps. Some fish along coontail edges of 14-17′ hitting drop-shot rigs with Jackall baits and Senkos.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. 5-6′ weeds on Natural Lakes- deeper on flowages. Medium leeches best, using slip-floats on lakes. Drifting over 11-14′ flats on flowages.

    Bluegills: Fair. Fish over weeds of 6-9′ with small leeches. Tiny tube jigs tipped with waxies also working.

    Crappies: Fair-poor. Not many reports.

    Walleyes: Fair-poor. One bright spot is row trollers finding fish out deep over open water. Signs of mayflys working their way up from deep water probably reason for slow fishing on larger lakes (LDF Chain, Trout) but medium size lakes should be back on bite soon.

    We should see a return to better fishing as the weather warms and hopefully winds subside to tolerable and bug hatches are behind us.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1440718

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

    Lake surface temps remain cool for this time of year. (Aug. 68-69 deg.) yet seem to be holding out despite some cooler nights and daytime temps. Due to the cooler water, in many cases live bait is out producing artificials as of now. With the return of some summer like weather come this weekend (forcast in the 80’s) fish should become more active.

    Crappies: Good. Setting up in bays of the larger lakes (deep wood in flowages), crappies actively taking small minnows under small floats fished 2-21/2′ down over 8-10′ weed flats. A 1/32 – 1/16 jig with a 1 or 2″ twister tail in yellow or chartreuse or white, fished over the same weed beds to locate active fish. On flowages a 1/16oz jig tipped with a 1/2 crawler or medium fat and worked around 12-16′ drowned wood has been working well.

    Northern Pike: Good. Liking the cool weather, pike anglers doing well on 5-7″ suckers on jigs or worked behind a safety pin style spinner bait rig.

    Walleyes: Fair-Good. Fishing improving. While not as deep as usual for mid- July. Working 12-14′ weeds using big leeches or whole crawlers on windward edges producing decent catches of 18-22″ fish. Releases of 24-28″ this past week.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Picking up a bit, look for improvement as weather warms. Best on wacky worms or live big leeches in heavy weed cover.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Drag 1/2 crawler or better yet, frozen softshell on weedless jig through 7-10′ weeds for nice eater of 8-11″.

    Musky: Fair. Still best on bucktails. Later part (warmest) of the day.

    Bluegill: Fair. Small leeches, waxies and leafworms best.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Disappointing season as smallies yet to set up on deep gravel humps. Shallower humps with some mixed gravel / weeds producing on tubes. Crawlers / leeches on 1/8oz jigs also catching some fish.

    Hopefully this weekends weather will stick and bring water temps and action back up to par.

    Kurt
    Kurt’s Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1442368

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-22-14:

    Finally some summer like weather moved in over the weekend, bringing some typical mid-summer action as well as some non-typical mid July occurrences such as mayfly hatches! On just about any other summer, off shore gravel humps provide anglers plenty of opportunity for walleyes and smallmouth bass action. Until the past week, this action has been late to occur – but now the pattern is setting up nicely, providing good action for both species. The late mayfly hatch on certain lakes the past couple of days has been small yet visible, but not enough to impact the walleye fishing in most cases. These mayfly are not the big tan Hexagemia yet a med/large green mayfly I’m not as familiar with. Calls and concerns about the hatch have been followed with reports that this hatch has not affected the walleye bite.

    Crappies: Good- Very good. The warming weather brought on some stronger action in bays with tall weeds of 8-10′ in 10-14′ of water. Casting small Beetle Spins, Charlie Bees, Road Runners and Northland Fish Fry Spins as well as just 1/16oz jigs tipped with 2″ twister grubs has been the ticket for nice catches of Crappies in the 12-1/2″ range on many of the larger “chain” lakes.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-very Good. Wacky worm bite from mid-morning through late afternoon has been hot! Work weed beds of 7-12′ on windy days a Senko worm (because of the weight) or a weighted hook needed to keep feel. Otherwise Yum dingers, Trigger X, and Jackall Flick Shakes have all been producing as well. With the warmer weather, the top water bite has picked up again- plastic frogs & mice as well as the hard top water baits (Skitter Pops, Jitterbugs etc.) has been best after 7pm.

    Bluegill: Good-Very good. Finally some good panfish weather has helped anglers with nice catches of gills. Daytime bites on small leeches, waxies and worms- towards evenings poppers and dry flys providing fun action and nice fish along emergent weeds in water of 2-6′.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good to Very Good. Best out on the deep humps of gravel topping out at 18-26″ Drop shotting Jackall Crosstail Shads and Clone Fry as well as Yum’s Craw Pappies finally seeing good success. Tubes still a good choice, especially early and late as smallies cruise shallower in search of small baitfish.

    Walleye: Good- Improving. Nice catches off gravel humps and deeper sand grass. 1/8 – 1/4oz jigs tipped with whole crawlers or extra large leeches. Drifting these same baits with slip bobbers also producing. Best depths 22-34′.

    Northern Pike: Good. Action picking up on artificials. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and #4 Mepps. Jig or spinner rig with live chub / sucker also producing nice fish this week- several in low 30″ class.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Warmth improving bite. Soft shells or 1/2 crawlers on slip floats or Lindy rigs along outside weed edges of 10-14′

    Musky: Good. Bucktail & Top-water action picking up nicely. Most catches on bucktails but warm evenings producing good top-water fish on Whopper Ploppers.

    Though facing a cool down mid-week, the bite has increased and anglers finding more success (and more typical summer success) than the previous 2-3 weeks.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1443937

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 7-29-14:

    Mark your calendar, July 25th, our one day of summer!

    Rain clouds, wind and cool weather followed our one beautiful summer day, throwing a wrench into many anglers plans.

    Largemouth Bass: Good- Very Good. The cool weather is hurting the surface bite. Best bet is to go to the sub-surface with shallow running square billed cranks, run over weed tops in 3-8′ of water. Texas rigged 4 & 7″ worms snaked through the same weeds also productive.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Fish weed edges in 12-17′ of water for best action. Drop shotting Craw Pappis, Jackall and Gulp Minnows as well as tubes on 1/8oz jig heads…. producing smallies that are moving back off rocks from last week.

    Bluegills: Good. Action is improving with last weeks warm up. On warm evenings poppers on top can’t get any better. Small leeches, waxies and worms along the inside edges are producing nice catches of 7-8″ fish.

    Musky: Good. Finally there are some decent reports coming in from anglers targeting the 20′ weed edges, working bucktails 8-10′ down.

    Northern Pike: Good. Live chubs & suckers on slip-floats are producing several pike to low 30″ class this week. Chatterbaits & Spinnerbaits are also good choices.

    Walleye: Good-Fair. Action did slow down some. The early mornings are finding some nice catches….eaters of 15-19″…. fish along deep weed edges of 8-13′ with leeches. Later on work deep gravel humps of 22-34′ using full crawlers on 1/4oz jigs.

    Crappies: Good. Fish weed tops in 8-14′ of water, 2-3′ feet down using crappie minnows below floats or running Charlie Bees or Beetlespins at weed top levels.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Best bet is on softshell craws or 1/2 crawlers over sand grass flats of 14-18′. Also fishing pockets on weeds using medium leeches or fatheads under floats.

    Some cool weather is here once again will slow some of the action, but there are enough opportunities to expect good fishing if you pick your target times correctly. The early mornings and early evenings have been best.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1444313

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-05-14:

    Fishing in general has improved for several species, the somewhat summer like weather has put a better bite where things were way off.

    Musky: Good-Excellent. Excellent may sound like a stretch but with catches of 45″ Musky… topped by a 50″ Tiger (row troller)only to be topped by a 52″ Tiger a day later. I have to consider that an excellent week of reported musky fishing. Other fish of 40-43″ also reported. Bucktails tops, But crankbaits and even some top-water action occurring.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Lots of action from live baiters (leeches, minnows and crawlers) to plastic worm pitchers (wacky style, Carolina rigged) to hot bites toward dusk on Hula Poppers, Jitterbugs and plastic frogs. Numbers high, not much above 17-18″ on size reported.

    Bluegills: Very Good. Evening anglers are taking near limits on poppers. Flowages are giving up huge gills on 1/2 crawlers or medium leeches around vegetation. Natural lakes seeing better gills(7 1/2+) suspending outside deep weed beds of 14-18′.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. There is finally some better action. Big fish relating to rock humps. Creature baits on football jigs as well as heavy tubes are enticing smallies of 19″ plus.

    Northern Pike: Good. Casting spinners, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits producing above average pike this past week. Pike of 30-34″ being caught on these artificials plus live bait.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Weedy flats of 8-10′ are producing 7-8″ perch on 1/2 crawlers and medium fatheads. Bigger (10-12″) perch require drifting sandgrass flats of 14-20′ using frozen softshells.

    Crappies: Fair-Good. Not big catches but very nice fish of 11-13″ over deep drowned wood on minnows.

    Water temps averaging over 70 deg. “Finally”. Good to see some big muskies being caught and released. Walleye bite is best at dawn, dusk and after dark (lighted slip-bobbers).

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1444314

    and I will tell you that the 52″ tiger is a beaut!!! If I can figure out to pull a pic and get it up in the Musky forum I will, with the catchers permission…

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1445484

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-12-14:

    A great week of weather and fishing, just got slammed shut by a mild cold front and some high north winds.

    Musky: Very Good- Good. Another big fish (52″) reported from the Flambeau Chain. Bucktails continue to provide the best action, though last weeks warm weather brought fish to the top.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good- Good. Action packed over the warm spell. Short lipped cranks over weed tops, Chatterbaits and top water plugs (Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers). As the water cooled… plastics are back in vogue.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Deep weed edges are best. Tubes, creature baits and leeches.

    Bluegill: Good. Poppers were the ticket as the temps hit the 80’s. With temps dropping, tiny jigs tipped with leeches or waxies.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Sandgrass flats of 18-26′. Use frozen softshells.

    Northern Pike: Good. Best on bladebaits, (spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Mepps spinners).

    Walleye: Good-Fair. The warm spell brought fish up to off shore humps. Use crawlers and big leeches.

    Crappie: Fair. Beetle spins and tiny jigs over weed tops in 8-12′ weeds.

    Things should pick-up towards the weeks end as the water warms back up and we move out from this full moon period.

    Thanks, Kurt

    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1446715

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-19-14:

    Cool mornings and warm evenings have made for predictably better bites towards dusk. Water temps yo-yo between 69-73 degrees and the cool nights have produced signs of things to come as a few sugar maples have started showing color.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good. A typical day of LMB fishing starts out early on deeper weeds as falling night time temps push bait fish out from the shallows.
    Drop-shotting 2 1/2 – 3″ Gulp Alive & Jackall minnows as well as Yum craw pappis provides slow, but best early action. As water warms, casting crawfish shaped cranks and shallow, square lipped cranks are best. Finish your evenings with top water Jitterbugs, Buzzbaits and plastic frogs up in the shallow slop.

    Bluegills: Good-Very Good. Small leeches 6-8′ down on a slip-float along 12-14′ coontail edges are hard to beat for a mess of gills right now. Some anglers reporting success towards evening (6-7pm) on poppers on top.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. It hasn’t been a great smallie season. Fish seem scattered. Work deep coontail edges with tube jigs, sandgrass flats of 14-18′ with a frozen softshell crayfish or creature bait or try rocks with deep diving cranks (to 12-14′) or jig and plastic craws over rocks of 14′ plus.

    Northern Pike: Good. Live baiting a good bet during mornings, but as the temps rise use spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and #4 Mepps Aglias to catch “active” pike to 36″ this week.

    Crappies: Fair-Good. Staging up in bays with tall weeds (8-14′ of water) cast Charlie Bees, 1/32 oz jigs with 1-2″ twister tails to locate fish. As action slows, use the old minnow under a float to pick up reluctant biters.

    Musky: Fair. After the past 2 weeks of some very special fish, reports have slowed. Bucktails during the day, top water baits in the evening.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Those taking the time to drift softshells on Lindy rigs over 14-20′ sandgrass are catching nice (10-13″) perch but usually a catch of 5-8 fish is normal.

    Lots of crayfish activity right now; good time to use crayfish imitations in crankbait and plastic forms. Fishing pressure light for the next week or so till Labor Day weekend.

    Kurt
    Island SportShop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1449325

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-26-14:

    With the water temps stable in the 70-73 degree range, anglers are finding patterns stabilizing for their favorite fish.

    Largemouth Bass: Good- Very Good. An early morning start with plastics. Pre-rigged plastic worms, Senkos and Dingers fished wacky style are working well.
    Spinnerbaits and crayfish patterned crankbaits along and over weedbeds or wait till evening to use Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers or plastic frogs around lily pads and other emergent vegetation.

    Bluegills: Good-Very Good. Small leeches have been tops for nice gills, suspended out along deep weed edges. Fish with leeches below small floats or cast 1/32oz jigs.

    Crappies: Good. Work through weed tops in 8-14′. Using small beetle spin type baits to locate then canvas area with small minnows below floats.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Off-shore humps holding smallies in 18-24′. Tubes and creature baits as well as live leeches and crawlers best. Drop-shotting plastic craws and 2 1/2″ minnows also producing good action.

    Musky: Good. Some nice fish (tops a 48 1/2″) this past week. Bucktails along deep weed edges (where bluegills suspend) and plastic baits such as Medussas and Crazy D’s are tops. Some good action towards dusk on top water.

    Walleye: Good. Best over hard bottoms using crawlers and leeches on jigs and Lindy rigs.

    Northern: Good. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and #4 Mepps Spinners over weeds of 8-12′. Nice fish to 34″ reported this past week.

    Perch: Fair-Good. Best on crayfish tails (soft shell/frozen) or 1/2 crawlers. Sandgrass flats in 14-22′ for fewer but larger fish, weed flats of 8-10′ for better numbers.

    A threat of rain on Friday looks to be the only glitch on what should be a very good holiday weekend. Some of the best fishing of late has been late in the day, but getting out early will help beat the crowds.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1457
    #1450805

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 8-26-14:

    Fall fishing! The start of good things for anglers in the Northwoods for the next 6-8 weeks. While we have nice surface temps for early fall angling (70-73 deg. Aug.), lots of rain and high water are changing some patterns and the availability of some of our most popular fall bait.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Anglers finding smallies active in two very different locales. Deep gravel and rock humps holding smallies feasting on crayfish and sculpins…. anglers jigging crayfish, plastics and creature baits as well as drop shotting craws and minnow imitations. Others are finding smallies cruising shallow (7-10′) weed patches hitting lipless cranks (Rattlin Rays, Rattle Traps), shallow Shad Raps and live minnows. Good numbers of 2-4# fish are being caught and released.

    Large mouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Wacky wormers have been scoring lots of LMB in heavy weeds and around boat houses. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits over heavy vegetation. On the right evenings, not much wind, warming evening, top water has been proving to be working well with plastic frogs and jitterbugs.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very good. The very good is not so much for action as it has been for size. Multiple fish in the low 30″ range just since Monday. 5-7″ suckers on jigs and #4 & #5 Mepps accounting for above average pike for this area.

    Bluegills: Very Good-Good. Was better with the stable weather. Nicer gills (7-8 1/2″) suspending out from coontail edges of 12-16′. Small leeches tops, but pieces of worm, waxies, even small crappie minnows are producing limit catches.

    Crappies: Good. While weed tops in 10-14′ remain a good place to start on most lakes, pitching Charlie Bees and small beetle spins, A few locations are giving up fish deeper down… 2-4′ off the bottom along deep weed edges. The lighted slip-float and minnow bite has started after dark.

    Walleyes: Fair-Good. On deeper lakes transition to deep gravel / rock has started. Chubs and suckers of 4-6″ are best, crawlers are the next choice. A shallow move on the flowages as water levels drop has been stalled as heavy rains have raised levels some.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Few reports…. 1/2 crawlers or pieces of softshell craws (frozen) best around wood or cribs.

    The rain over the past week (3-6″ south of our area) has changed the flowage patterns for fishing. Worse yet, wild bait such as suckers for musky fishing as well as red tails and black chubs for walleye and pike are unavailable. Leeches are almost unattainable (but working great if available). Hopefully river and stream levels will return to normal soon so we can get these fall favorites.

    Thanks,
    Kurt

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