Aug 30, 2016

Scouting Report

Northern Wisconsin 

Phillips area including Phillips Chain, Solberg Lake and the Flambeau and Elk Rivers 

With the cooler start to our fishing season, I look for the panfish and walleye to hang fairly shallow through the summer months. I usually key in on 8 to 15 feet of water, in our darker rivers and flowages for all species of fish. I like to set out a slip float, set about a foot off the bottom with a fathead minnow to target crappie and walleye. And, with another medium light action rod, I like to cast small jigs with a half a nightcrawler to target perch, walleye, smallmouth bass and larger panfish during day light hours. In the evening or early mornings, working the shorelines with a number 5 or 6 Shad Rap in firetiger or hot steel patterns.  These baits will produce some nice walleye and smallmouth bass. 

Late July and early August is the time for catfish on the Flambeau River. We like to use crawlers, live walleye suckers or cut bait targeting the cats on shallow flats right above the deeper holes and cuts. Cat action remains strong through the fall, but fishing for them gets harder as the summer goes on, depending on the amount of floating vegetation. As water temperatures fall, more grasses die off and break away from the bottom collecting on lines as you fish. This usually starts to happen in mid to late August and is a challenge for bank fishermen.  

Late July and August are top water time for musky and smallmouth bass on Phillips area lakes and rivers. For smallmouth, I like to use Baby Torpedos or Chug Bugs. Topwater action for smallmouth peaks in low light hours, but can last all day long for the musky anglers, especially on the rivers. My favorite lures for summer topwater musky are Lake X Lures Cannonball JR and walk the dog lures like the Suick Weagle. Work around fallen timber, weed edges or current breaks and wind-blown points for the best chance of hooking up on the surface. 

John Carlson,  

Hayward Area  

Midsummer in the Hayward area means muskies and smallmouth bass.  Lost Land and Teal Lakes have a good summer musky bite.  Bucktails and topwaters catch a lot of fish.  Focus your efforts on main lake cabbage weeds with close access to deeper water. On Lost Land, setup a drift over one of the large weed flats on windy days, pitch flasher bucktails for good results. Teal Lake has smaller spots that can be covered quickly with a run and gun approach, again bucktails are tough to beat. 

For midsummer smallmouth, the Chippewa Flowage is a good bet. Smallies on the east side of the lake like hanging around wood cover. Look for logs, stumps, and fallen trees in the 6-12 ft. zones. Any good looking area could hold fish. We like a jig and plastic most often, but at times they'll hit on top too, so be ready for anything. 

Jim Stroede 

Vilas and Oneida County 

The kids are out of school and vacation season is in full swing!  These months see lots of tourists wanting to enjoy the summer weather by fishing, jet skiing and pleasure boating.  There will be a lot of boat traffic on tourist saturated waters.  The key to enjoying fishing at these busy times is to fish at 'odd' hours.  Get up really early and enjoy first light on the lake.  There is something special about fishing a quiet lake when the sun comes over the trees.  The other time would be within the last hours of light before the sun sinks over the western sky.  Another great opportunity on busy waters is when it rains. While everyone else heads for shelter, fishing in the rain can be the best bite of the day!   

Push yourself by getting out of your comfort zone and learn new water.  There are plenty of lakes to explore that don't have resorts or vacationers.  Put your boat on the trailer and scout some new bodies of water.  The way to become a better angler is to always learn new things.  There are many lakes without pressure that have great fishing to offer.  You just have to go and fish them.  A good way to find different waters is to buy a good lake book that covers the county or general area you want to fish. You can pick these up at any local bait shop.  Study this book during the winter months and circle with a pencil the lakes you want to go try.  After you have tried these lakes, put your own notes in the book.  Jot down any important information that you have learned: boat landing conditions and amount of parking, lake hazards, spots you caught fish, weed beds, etc. My theory about fishing is that if you are not learning new things you are going backwards as a fisher.  The only way to become better is to consistently learn.  This may be as simple as learning new spots on a body of water you have been fishing for years, or exploring new waters entirely.  Just remember that safety is always number one on the list, so be very cautious for hazards when fishing new water.      

"SET THE HOOK!" 

ANDY HENDRICKSON 

Turtle Flambeau Flowage 

For great tips on fishing on fishing the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, go to page 76 and read Jeff Robl’s article, entitled, Turtle Flambeau Flowage: Northwoods Fishing at it’s Finest! 

Western U.P. 

Lake Gogebic 

Lake Gogebic is located in Michigan’s western end of the U.P. It is the largest lake in the U.P., having approximately 14,000 acres and it is a relatively shallow lake. The north end of the lake is shallow with good weed growth that always attracts fish. One of the most popular ways to fish for game fish (walleye, northern, smallmouth bass, perch, etc.) is with a slip bobber setup on the north end. Using your graph to find the edges of the weeds, or pockets within the weeds, is critical to getting setup correctly. 

The main part of the lake is long and narrow running about 16 miles long and a couple miles wide at its widest point. Describing this section of the lake; you have rocky shorelines on both the east and west sides and a large mud flat running down the center of the lake. Up fairly tight to the shorelines you will find sporadic weed patches that can be targeted with slip bobbers or jigging techniques. The breaks off of these shorelines are typically steep and I like to rig these areas with a three way presentation or lindy rig setup using live bait. Finding rock is usually the key to finding the fish in these areas. 

Once out into the mud flat, you can troll, drift, slip bobber, and rig whatever your preference would be. To be the most effective, I like to troll cranks and crawler harnesses throughout this mud flat area at this time of year. By trolling, I am covering a lot of water in a short period of time. While starting out the day trolling, I will experiment with colors, speed, and depth. I try to achieve a determined depth by what I am seeing on my graph. 

So in the end, you will find that Lake Gogebic has many different opportunities for the type of fish you want to target and the techniques used to catch those fish, all located in God’s Country! 

For the latest fishing information or inquiries for lodging on Lake Gogebic contact Tim & Sarah Long here at The Timbers Resort  

Captain Tim Long, owner of The Timbers Resort and Eyes-Guy Guide Service 906-575-3542  

West Central Wisconsin 

Lake Wissota 

Good numbers of walleye can be taken a variety of ways in July and August.  Everyone seems to have their favorite method.  Pulling crawler harnesses will boat excellent numbers of eyes on the sharp drop-offs, near the weed edges.  Slip-bobbering with leeches is also a good way to put walleye in the boat.  Trolling Shad Raps and Flicker Shads will also catch good numbers of chunky walleyes.  Lead lines will work well in the deeper waters of the Chippewa near Mallard Resort.  Pitching cranks to the shallows at dusk is also an effective method. 

What is crazy about Lake Wissota is the robust catfish population.   Some anglers will fish at night, however, I prefer going out at 3:30-4 am and fishing until about 9.  Fish anywhere between 10 and 25 feet with cut bait.  Some will use stink baits or chicken livers, and do well.  I have never personally done well with those baits, but I do know others do.  I like to use a bait cast reel with a clicker. Keep the bail open, and wait for the scream! 

Lake Pepin 

I really enjoy any day I can get out on the Mississippi River.  Lake Pepin is a large body of water that has all kinds of fishing opportunities.  You can catch practically anything there.  From walleye and sauger, to bass and to panfish.  I would recommend going in the early morning or on a weekday to get away from recreational traffic.   

 I like to troll cranks when I fish here.  Sometimes lead core will out produce regular long lines, especially nearing midday.  Between Bogus Creek and Stockholm is a popular trolling destination.  Some decent ‘eyes can be had, along with white bass and crappie.  Firetiger is a popular pattern, or anything perch.  Some folks like to troll at speeds of up to 4 mph, but I personally like to keep the speed in between 2 and 2.5 mph.  

Largemouth and smallmouth bass, alike, can be caught along any rocky shoreline.  Tubes work great, as well as wacky rigged Senkos. Work them slow and wait for the strike!  If bass are not your thing, you can try for bluegills along these same rocky shorelines. Fish a 1-inch Gulp! Minnow, 1-2 feet under a bobber, thrown straight up into the rocks and reel back a foot or two.  Don't be afraid to sneak into a harbor and work the rocks inside, but don't block the boat traffic. 

Chris Powell 

West Coast of Wisconsin 

Mississippi River 

Summer is here, on The Big River, located on the West Coast of Wisconsin and it doesn’t get much better. The water levels are down a bit, compared to the spring and the winter run off but the fishing is excellent. Out on Lake Pepin, one can catch just about anything they would want. The bass and perch are quite active and the walleye are there, with a little work.  I’ve had good luck casting off the levy in the park in Stockholm, right across from The Spring Street Inn. Just before dark the crappie are really biting and they are quite descent in size, making it an enjoyable experience for our guests. I have also landed a handful of catfish right off the levy. They have been good-sized, about fifteen inches on the average. Just sinking the hook off the bottom and using scraps of meat works well. The action has been great and the huge slabs of meat on the cats make it well worth your while. We have quite a few catfish fries planned on the shoreline this summer, a good time for all. 

The backwaters are completely different this time a year. The water levels change daily, so a hot spot today might be a sand bar tomorrow. Don’t let that discourage you from fishing the channels. The fishing is great, you just have to be willing to adapt to the water conditions each day. The panfishing is really good, as well as the bass. If you want the monster channel catfish, now is the time. Remember that the fifteen mile stretch of the Great River Roadway, along Lake Pepin, was voted the most beautiful drive in America by The Huffington Post. So I urge you to pack up the kids and come visit us here on the Mississippi River, you will not be disappointed. From one river rat to another, enjoy the rest of your summer. 

Bart Armstrong 

East Central Wisconsin 

Fremont Area  

July and August are a great time to fish the Fremont area.  From crappie, to catfish and flathead, the fishing in this area can be outstanding.   During the summer, the crappies move into the downed trees in the river. They are a fun fish to catch. Use small jigs with minnows or small plastics. Also, use slip bobbers because the crappies generally are a suspended fish.  

The catfish bite is on all summer long. Some of the best places to fish are above downed trees and above deep holes. In summer, use cut bait and stink bait on a slip Wolf River rig. #1 circle hooks work great to ensure the cats don't swallow the hook. 

Now to my favorite summertime fish, the flathead. I use a slip Wolf River rig with 3 oz. sinkers and 5/0 to 11/0 circle hooks. I use 8-12 inch suckers for bait. In my opinion, the flathead is the best eating fish in our river system. Remember there is a slot limit on flatheads so please be sure to check the regulations.  

Good luck and tight lines. 

Captain Patrick Morack, MoracktionGuideService.com, (920) 216 9085 

Lake Winnebago System 

On Lake Winnebago, July and August can be a little more difficult to catch the elusive walleye.  Trolling crawler harnesses out in the mud for suspended walleye can be one of your best options. I usually will split the water column to find the active fish and troll around 1 to 1.3 mph. When the conditions are right, you can cast crankbaits or jig on windblown reefs or shorelines for active walleye feeding in the shallows. 

The perch bite should fire up as the water continues to get warmer. I feel the best tactic to catch them is to straight line over the side of the boat or cast out small slip bobbers. I tend to target the edges of reefs, gravel beds or any bottom transitions.  You can fish with all different kinds of bait. Redworms, butter worms, wax worms, nightcrawlers or hellgrammites are some of the top choices, 3" to 6" off bottom.  

Tim Euting, Get ‘Em Hooked Guide Service 

Bay of Green Bay 

For information on summer fishing on the Bay of Green Bay, check out Captain Jeff Boutin’s article on page 14, entitled Bay of Green Bay: Hunting for Trophy Walleye!  

South Central Wisconsin 

Petenwell and Castle Rock Flowages  

This time of year, the water temperatures are very warm. Most guys troll cranks and use planer boards for walleye. Trolling and utilizing planer boards will call for focusing on flats in 12 to 18 feet of water to target walleye. It is necessary to run baits high in the water column. The most active fish will be suspended up high. As far as speed goes, 2 to 2.5 mph and even faster, at times, works. Also, fish will be most aggressive for bigger baits. Baits with a hard wobble and even baits with a lot of rattles work best. For example, #7, #9 flicker shads, and 3/16 oz. Hot N’ Tots are great choices. Since both flowages are considered “stained” bodies of water, at times bright baits work the best. On sunny days, chrome works very well. The last couple of years, the bite has been best early morning and midday. However, there were a lot of times last year where the best bite was 10 am until 2 pm. There is still a late afternoon bite, but it seems the fish feed more actively during the middle of the day. 

In July and August on both flowages, catfish are on fire! Fishermen target big cats in just about any spot on the lake; shallow sand flats, deep holes on the lake and river, and below the Nekoosa and Petenwell Dam. Best options here are cutbait, use stink bait in the channels. For flatheads, use live suckers, small sheepshead and/or white bass. 

Panfish are in shallow water early morning and late. Midday, when the water warms up, focus on deep wood holes in the river and on the main lake. Slip bobbers with small jigs, tipped with red worms, leeches and a half crawler work the best. Some use minnows, but minnows are a hard thing to keep alive during the heat of summer. Personally, I pitch plastics, or half crawler on a weedless jig tight to shore up in the river. 

Bass fishing can be good for both smallies and largemouth. Fish will be on rocks, and in the weeds early. In the heat of the day, deep holes with a lot of wood or weed cover will hold fish. Best baits to use are cranks, spinner baits, plastics and topwater. 

And last, the mighty musky.  Musky fishing can be very good this time of year. The best times to fish them are both early and late in the day. Reason being that water temps are cooler during these time periods. Catching muskies in the heat of the day is not good! This puts a lot of stress on these big fish since they fight so hard. The survival rate won’t be good if fish aren’t handled right. If you do hook one, keep them in the water as much as possible, snap a couple pics and let them go to fight another day. In July and August, most use topwater baits early and late evening. Others troll in depths of 20’ to 30’ with large cranks. 

Jesse Quale 

Lake Koshkonong 

Most know this shallow system can heat up pretty quickly in the dog days of summer.  Fish generally try to locate cooler water, such as springs or inlets from feeder creeks.  When searching for these cooler areas, electronics are a must!  Look for subtle temperature changes, a few degrees can make a huge difference.   

To help cover big water and locate springs, trolling is very productive.  Crankbaits like Berkley Flicker Shads, Wally Divers, Salmos and Rapala Shad Raps are top choices.  Also, crawler harnesses should not be overlooked when working the main lake basin.  Color preference can change daily, but firetiger and perch colors are always a good choice.  To fish more lines and move lures away from the boat, using planer boards will greatly help catch fish.  Planer boards run with an attached “tattle flag” will help detect small fish and weeds.    

Some shallow springs and inlets can be located in back bay areas where trolling isn’t practical.  Pitching or casting spinners and shallow running crankbaits can be unbeatable.   Also, when the water is calm, surface baits produce too, but make sure you have heavy enough tackle...pike can grow big in this lake.  

Rock River 

The upper river system near Blackhawk Island has cooler, deeper water and will hold fish year round. Vertical jigging or dragging jigs, tipped with live bait works best while drifting downstream, however trolling 3 way rigs also can produce an assortment of fish.  When jigging, ⅛ oz. sizes work well, but weight can be varied depending on current speed.  Panfish can also be found hanging around shoreline structure, especially when minimal current is present.  Slip bobbers, tipped with live bait, can pull out decent sized bluegills and crappies.   

The lower river system from Newville to Indianford Dam has some great spots.  This area is shallow like Lake Koshkonong; however, it has a decent flow of current moving through despite low water levels typically seen this time of year.  There are plenty of rocky structures, bridges, and shoreline structure to find in this stretch of river.  Jigging, trolling, bottom fishing with Lindy rigs, and bobber fishing shoreline structure all can produce a variety of fish.  Be careful of snags when fishing between the Hwy 59 bridge and I-90 bridge.  Also, the I-90 bridge is currently under construction and equipment is positioned in the river.  A channel for boat traffic is well marked, but it’s pretty narrow. 

Madison Chain 

Any location growing weeds will most likely hold fish.  First try fishing the edges of these areas and work your way in if needed.  Work the area parallel to the weed edge by pitching a small Northland Tackle Bro’s Bloodworm jig.  Using a quick popping motion while retrieving works well, but make sure to allow time for the jig to fall.  No bobber is required with this presentation and black, purple, and white colors seem to work well.  If fishing deep in the weeds, a slip bobber will help keep your bait above them.  Keep the line distance from the bait to the slip bobber short and pitch it into the weeds.  Let the bait fall, then retrieve it a few feet and let it fall again.  Repeating this process can be deadly on crappies and bluegills.   

As summer progresses, some fish will leave the weeds for deeper, cooler water.  Use your electronics to mark large schools and try vertical jigging.  Live bait can work well, but we’ve also had great luck using small Northland Tackle and Berkley plastics.  Make sure to work the entire water column and target suspended fish.  Many times these fish are the most aggressive biters. Using a trolling motor to maintain position over moving schools of fish is valuable.  Good Luck! 

Captain Adam Walton, Pike Pole Fishing Guide Service, www.pikepolefishing.com, (608)290-3929