Report Submitted by Mitch Mode of Mel’s Trading Post in Rhinelander.
Hot weather has dominated northern Wisconsin this week. Highs of 90 degrees have been the rule and even nights have not given much relief given that overnight lows have been near 70. That hardly breaks the firm grip of the heat. All of which makes the weekend, with forecast highs in the 70s and lows near 50, seem a relief.
The mid-week heat slowed fishing down considerably and now it remains to be seen if a cool down for the weekend will improve things.
All of this is not uncommon; the Dog Days of summer bring sultry days, high humidity and generally slow fishing. That’s the rule for much of July and August in a typical year. So we’ve been here before. But fish will continue to feed in the heat, just not at a fast pace that is more the norm at other times.
Walleyes have moved into deeper water, again, not unexpected. The key to them is precise location; they’ll seek weedy areas adjacent to sand bars if they have the opportunity and if you find them you can do well. Leeches or crawlers are the preferred bait for now though some find that good artificial lures (flavor-infused plastic leeches and tails) will do well. On a sunny day morning and evening are the best times to go after walleyes.
Muskies too are hard to find in the heat but on a cloudy day you can often have some action during daylight hours. Larger lures, bucktails and the like, are the best bet.
But if you want summertime fish action we always go for largemouth bass. They like the shallows, moving in at sundown to weedy areas where they can feed voraciously on frogs, mice and smaller fish. A good frog imitation, preferably weedless, fished in lily pads always will do well. Just remember that largemouth fight aggressively which suggests using more robust tackle to pull them away from weeds.
We have always done well with floating minnow imitations worked very close to cover. Bass are in the weedy areas to feed on smaller fish and often attack a medium size minnow lure with some gusto.
All in all summertime fishing can be very pleasant. Set the alarm for daybreak or fish after sundown and you’ll usually increase your odds.