Fishing Report provided by Mitch Mode of Mel’s Trading Post in Rhinelander
Summer’s exit is a few weeks away on the calendar but for most of us Labor Day is the real end of it all. And this Labor Day summer holds a firm hand on thing as late August heat sets the stage for a very nice weekend. That heat of the past week has brought water temperatures back up after a few weeks where we had drifted more to September temperatures. That should see fishing this weekend move to more traditional summer patterns again.
Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, have come on strong in the past 30 days. Largemouth especially have been very active and we’ve heard of some very large fish being taken of late. Largemouth are always a key summer species given that the heat of summer does not slow them down. The other thing with largemouth is that they are fairly predictable and accessible given that they prefer shallower waters and a fairly narrow range of lures.
This weekend we’d look for largemouth in their typical summer haunts of weedy areas (the thicker the better) in 4 to 10 feet of water. Bass like the heavy cover for the shade and the access to food. Lately bass have been taking plastic worms (Senko type are the best) as well as the normal mix of lures that imitate minnows, or top-water frog imitations. We expect that to be the case this week.
Smallmouth, unlike their largemouth cousins, like deeper water in lakes or faster moving current in rivers. We’ve seen decent catches, mostly of lake fish, of late. You need to get down deeper to take smallies as they will be near the bottom in many lakes or, in deeper lakes, suspended in the cooler water that is sometimes 30’ down. We’re hearing of them taking deep-water crankbaits or crayfish imitations.
Summer is generally not the best time for walleyes but they are active and can be taken. Location is always the key; they like deeper water, weedy areas butting against sandy or rocky bottom areas. Fish cribs can also attract walleyes in summer. But it’s a simply matter of rigging a jig with leeches or crawlers (or sometimes some good plastics) and working the small area adjacent to those deeper weed beds. The time for big walleye is still a ways off, October or even November, but anglers have been taking mid-size fish pretty consistently in the past few weeks.
Musky action has been slow all summer. That in itself is not a huge surprise; summer is generally not the best time. But don’t give up on them. Fish them on cloudy days with bucktails or larger crankbaits or use some surface lures; they can be very productive in summer, even on windy days. On a day of overcast and humidity muskies will be active during daylight hours. Otherwise early and late times are often the best and some anglers will swear by fishing them in the dark of night.
All in all the weekend looks like a good one as rising water temperatures will make time on the water, or in the water for that matter, much nicer.