Jul 5, 2017

Scouting Report

Northern Wisconsin

Turtle Flambeau Flowage (TFF)

The game fish season for northern Wisconsin opens May 6th. There have been recent years when the northern lakes were still ice covered for the opener. As of this writing (early April) the ice is turning black. The ice was not very thick to begin with, due to the mild winter and it will surely be gone for opening weekend. 

Most of my time is spent fishing the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. In a warm spring year and early ice out, the walleye will likely be past spawning, some of the deeper river channel holes that, with a late spawn, can be very good may not hold many fish. Walleye after the spawn can be found in shallow flats with abundant wood cover on the bottom. These areas warm fast and will hold feeding walleye. Some of the shallow rock humps and shorelines can also be good early, especially if there is a good chop. As May progresses, these shallow rocks become dominated more by smallmouth bass, whereas wood structure will hold walleye all season. These flats can be drift fished with weedless jigs and slip bobbers, tipped with fathead minnows and later on crawlers and leeches. Casting shallow crankbaits is also a fun way to catch them on the flats.

There is currently a good perch population in the TFF and they are often caught while walleye fishing; downsizing the bait isn't necessary and both can be fished at the same time. Perch kept are in the 9-11" range with an occasional 12" fish. The panfish limit on the TFF is a 10 fish aggregate, hence 5 perch and 5 crappies would be a limit.

Another draw to the TFF is the excellent smallmouth fishing, which opens June 17th, prior to that is catch and release (May 6th-June 16th). These hard fighting fish can be caught on live bait while walleye fishing. However, most fishermen targeting them are using artificial lures. Any number of lures will attract the attention of smallmouth: tube jigs, rubber worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and various surface lures can all work well. 

Many anglers will also come to target musky, which opens May 27th. In May and June, shallow water is the place to target musky. Emerging weed cover in June, shallow wood and shorelines are good places to look for musky. Bucktails are always a good lure to start with. You might try downsizing early in the season if the water is still cool. 

The Mercer area has not only the TFF to fish, but hundreds of lakes within a short drive. In fact, for many people these smaller lakes are easier to search and find fish than a 13,000-acre body of water. Mercer also has an abundance of lodging in the form of hotels, resorts and campgrounds.

Have a great fishing season. 

Jeff Robl, Bobber Down Guide Service 

Phillips Area

With the early ice out again this season, look for some awesome panfishing in May and June in the Phillips Area. Crappie usually move shallow in early May on the Phillips Chain in preparation for the spawn and then spawn in mid to late May. The bluegills usually move in mid-May and spawn about a week after the crappie are done. Look for the crappie and gills in the same areas of the flowages and around any fallen trees or brush cover. At the same time, the smallmouth bass start to move shallow, feeding on young panfish and crayfish. I usually target these shallow water fish with small 1/32 oz. jig heads, tipped with plastics like tubes, twisters or sliders. I like to hang them a couple of feet under a float and work as tight as I can to the structure. The fun part about mid-May is that you never know what fish is going to hit your rig next! It could be the panfish you’re targeting or a trophy smallie. As the water warms into June, the panfish start to move deeper to the first break and are joined by walleye in these areas. Target most of these fish with a medium light action rod and small jigs, tipped with leeches or a piece of crawler. Most of the area lakes have great opportunity for some nice mixed bag catches at this time of year.

Musky action should be going hot and heavy with the earlier ice off on most area lakes. Look for musky to be super shallow around new growth weeds and wood for the Musky opener and should stay close to those areas for a few weeks. Smaller topwaters, like Dr. Evil’s and small #7 Revo’s, are a good bet to throw early. Bright colors like orange, yellows and greens are always a good choice in our darker waters along with classic black. As the water warms, the fish should start to move out to the edges of the weeds and start to use some of the shallower mid-lake structure, especially if there is wood or weeds on it. Speed up your presentations and start throwing larger profile lures as the fish move into these areas.

John Carlson, Ross's Sport Shop & Guide Service, (715)339-3625, www.rosssonline.com

715-820-0958 mobile 

Lost Land And Teal Lakes

Early summer is a fantastic time for fishing the lakes of Northwest Wisconsin. Lost Land and Teal Lakes in Sawyer County east of Hayward are known as the “quiet lakes,” no waterski or jet ski activity is allowed.  This fact, combined with very good fishing, makes these lakes a great early summer destination.  Each lake covers about a thousand acres on its own, and the lakes are connected via an easily navigable channel, giving the angler lots of options and spots to explore.  During this time frame, the walleye fishing is at its best for the year.  Newly developing cabbage weeds are home to a nice population of walleye and the slightly stained color of the water lends itself to a good daytime bite. The locally favored method for catching walleye this time of year revolves around pitching jigs to weedlines looking for active fish and then anchoring and breaking out the slip bobbers after a group of fish are found.  Minnows catch their share of walleye on Lost Land and Teal, but by June leeches and crawlers become the better choice.  

Long Lake 

This beautiful lake in Washburn County, which lies just east of Spooner, is a great early summer choice too.  Here the multi-species bite is where it's at this time of year.  Walleye, pike, smallmouth, largemouth, crappie, perch, and bluegill make up part of a typical daily catch on Long.  A real good early in the day bite is common as is a last light bite.  Lots of different presentations can work at any one time here. Trolling crankbaits is one option that works for the game fish. It is also a great way to find fish and go back over them with a jig or rig approach to bag a few more fish.  Weeds, wood and rocks are all available here and certain fish can show a preference for one cover type over the other on any given day, so it helps to have multiple spots on a variety of cover options.  

Jim Stroede

West Central Wisconsin

Lake Wissota

Early May, look to the Chippewa, and Yellow Rivers for walleye.  A jig and minnow vertically jigged, or retrieved will produce.  Fish points, drop-offs and current breaks.  Trolling cranks will always produce as well.  As the water warms, and weeds begin to grow, make sure you fish outside of the weedbeds.  Slow trolling crawlers, and jig dragging will also start to heat up as the water warms.

The crappies are always a hot commodity come May.  Minnows are the bait of choice here. Early on, fish the deeper water near shore.  Try different depths and see where they are hanging out.  Watch your locator to see if you can't put together a pattern. Once the water hits 60 degrees you can catch some pretty nice slabs in shallow water near the timber.  Just fish a minnow 1-2 feet under a bobber and cast to the timber.  Be prepared to lose bobbers!!  Instinct tells you to go retrieve your bobber right away, but just relax.  You don't want to disturb the water.  Patience is the key with these shallow crappies.  Give a spot a little bit to settle down, before you give up on it.  Crappies are a very spooky fish, and will likely spook away when you pull up with your boat at first.  What a blast it is!

Chris Powell

West Coast of Wisconsin

  • Well, the summer season has officially arrived here on the West Coast of Wisconsin. After a long sleepy winter, the Pepin Marina is full and the lake is alive with boaters. If you have never been to this side of the state now is a great time. The businesses are all open and the fishing has been excellent. The water levels are pretty decent so the fishing is good in the backwaters as well as on the lake.
  • I’ve been spending most of my time kayak fishing. My favorite trip is to put in at the Dunnville Wild Life Preserve on the Red Cedar River. I drift down the Red Cedar until it flows into the Chippewa and continue on until it flows into the Mississippi (Lake Pepin). This is an excellent adventure. If you want to spend a couple of days camping and fishing at one of the most spectacular places in the state, the sandbars and beaches in the Tiffany Wildlife Preserve are incredible places to camp and fish. The Tiffanies are 1300 acres of public lands that the Chippewa flows through as it pours into the Mississippi. If you truly want to spend a day off the grid, this is the trip for you. We’ve been catching a lot of perch and panfish. The shore lunches have been legendary, reminiscent of the times north of the border, but all right here in beautiful Wisconsin.
  • The fishing on Lake Pepin has been consistent. We’ve been having our best luck just before dark right off the rock jetti in Stockholm and just south of the Marina in Pepin. The saugers have been really busy with some real nice walleye mixed in.
  • If you want some good bass fishing, I recommend putting in at Deer Island and hugging the shoreline heading north to Agot Beach.
  • Remember, if great family fun is what you are after, don’t forget to put the West Coast of Wisconsin on your travel plans. We look forward to seeing you.

Bart Armstrong

East Central Wisconsin

Bay of Green Bay

The Bay of Green Bay has become one of the best spring fisheries in the world. Open water spring fishing can produce that fish of a lifetime for many anglers. As the walleye migrate towards their spawning destination, it (the migration) provides the perfect time to intercept these active trophies. This can be done during the day and also at night. Bret Alexander, of Alexander’s Guide Service, is one of the best at pinpointing these trophies with key techniques.

It is key to target tributaries on the Bay of Green Bay. Targeting river mouths in depths ranging from 3-12 feet is most effective using Rippin’ Raps, plastic paddletails and blade baits. If you are a night owl, you're in luck! As walleye get close to spawning, they migrate towards rocky shorelines and are primed for reaction bites. Finding clear water and leveraging Glo Smithwick Rogues, Husky Jerks and Flicker Shads generally will produce great results. Walleye can literally be caught in 2-4 feet of water, trolling.

 

If you have any questions or need some information on our techniques please contact Jay Stephan at Stephan Sportfishing 920-851-7033 or Bret Alexander at Alexander Sportfishing 920-851-4214. 

 

 

Here are a few tips to help get your fishing season off to a great start. Make sure you have fresh line on your rods and reels. To save some money, you can take the line from one reel and put it on to another. I strip off the first 40 or 50 feet and re-spool it on another reel because the line that is further into the spool is literally unused. I will also use this line to put backing on a new reel. Check your crankbait hooks. I go through every single crankbait to make sure every hook is good and sharp and that none of the hooks are bent or twisted. Always keep a good stock of the different treble hooks with you when you’re fishing. Having the ability to replace hooks on the water is a must when you don’t have 5 or 6 of every color. Here is another tip, (my wife loves this) I take all my crankbaits and run them through the dishwasher. I don’t use detergent, nor a rinse aid, but it is enough to get all the scent off of them and make them look shiny and new. Something else to keep in mind is your terminal tackle. Stock up on snaps, swivels and split shots. I replace my snaps all the time as they get bent and come unclipped very easily.

The 2017 season is here, be safe and have fun,

Captain Jeff Boutin 

Lake Michigan, Northern Half

            May and June offer some of the most fast paced action of the whole year on Lake Michigan. Each year the spring coho fishing remains a fan favorite for the fast action but, with the mild winter we had this year, we are expecting an earlier than normal start to our king salmon and trout fishing. Lake trout fishing has a more appealing limit this year, given to an emergency rule change to increase the harvest of lake trout in Lake Michigan. These lords of the deep can be found both suspended and near bottom in the month of May. These fish provide a great opportunity for anglers to get out early and see what is around in the month of May. Each year we take the opportunity to test the waters in May in search of lake trout and the first kings and steelhead of the year.

            Targeting lake trout in the month of May near the bottom requires gear that will keep your baits there. We rely on downriggers and 3-way rigs, with a 1-pound ball, keeping our dodgers and Spin-n-Glo’s right where the majority of lake trout live and feed, near bottom. A trolling speed from 1.4 mph to 1.7 is a good starting point for lake trout and allows for only a reasonable drift to keep baits near bottom.

            To lure in those first king salmon of the year, a systematic approach of covering the water column with spoons, flashers and flies allows us to locate kings and determine at which levels they are targeting their bait. With the colder surface temperatures, start your trolling speeds out slow and increase until you find their particular liking. Our best early season king baits, year after year, seem to be any Howie fly with aqua material in it, teamed with chrome, white and green flashers. Once you have figured out the speed, depth, and bait preferences of the kings, you can watch your cooler fill up with some of the hardest fighting and greatest tasting fish anywhere.

            While our deepest lures search for king salmon and lake trout, we always have an assortment of Michigan Stinger spoons up near the surface to catch the attention of those highflying steelhead. These trout love brightly colored spoons, consisting of orange, pink, or chartreuse. When they see one, you’ll probably first notice them leaping out of water with the spoon in their mouth. Their ability to fight anglers to the boat and their pleasant taste has anglers all over the Midwest waiting for this year’s first reports from Lake Michigan.

                  In 2016, by mid-May we were already seeing very good numbers on our charters. With another mild winter behind us, we look for 2017 to read the same script as last year and provide some amazing fishing in May.

Get out early and you might be enjoying some of the best fishing of 2017. You can follow our daily action aboard the “We’re On!” on our website, www.baylakecharters.com or by liking our page on Facebook. 

Captain Adam Cochart, Bay Lake Charters, (920)594-0910, www.BayLakeCharters.com 

Fremont Area

May is an exciting time in the Fremont area. Walleye, white bass, catfish, flathead, crappie, bluegill, and bass are all biting at this time. With all of this going on in Fremont, it's the busiest the river is all year. Please keep safety and courtesy in mind when fishing. Now let's get to the report. 

Walleye galore! From casting Flicker Shads and Shad Raps to dragging crawlers, many walleye are caught during May and June. I cast cranks along tree lines and sand bars. This lends itself to being very productive and providing fast action. However, I catch most of my walleye dragging 1/8 oz. jigs with a half crawler on the bottom. I mostly fish sand flats with this technique.  Trolling lakes Poygan and Winneconne is also very fun and productive.  I use #4 Salmos, #5 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps for this. I run my baits anywhere from 10 to 30 ft. back from my boards, depending on depth and line diameter.  

Bluegill and crappie can be caught in the sloughs, bayous and Patridge Lake. They are on their spawning beds and ripe for the picking. Slips bobbers with red or wax worms work best for bluegill. Small minnows and slip bobber or jigs and small plastics for crappie. 

Catfish and flatheads are also in full swing by the beginning of May. Check Wisconsin DNR regulations for flathead season and slot limits. I use cutbait, shrimp, chicken livers and stink bait for the cats on a Wolf River rig fishing above log jams and drop-offs. For flatheads, I use 4-7" bluegills or rock bass and 5-12" suckers. Flatheads will normally only hit live bait. Use a Wolf River rig for this live bait with 3 oz. sinkers and large circle hooks. Try fishing mostly fish above drop-offs for flatheads.  

Largemouth bass are also on their spawning beds in the sloughs and backwaters. Topwater baits such as frogs, buzzer baits and plastics yield the biggest fish. Smallmouth can be caught during this time too. Fish along rocky shorelines and dock pilings with tube jigs, crayfish plastics and spinnerbaits. 

Now for the famous white bass! They are plentiful and fun to catch.  My favorite bait is a small inline spinner, casting the shorelines. Small white jigs with red hair, tipped with a minnow are also a white bass favorite. When fishing is tough, I use a Wolf River rig with a red fly and minnow. The key to white bass fishing is to keep moving. If you're not catching in 20 minutes, move! You will only waste time, patience and bait beating a dead horse. If they're not there, you need to keep moving.  

Remember safety and courtesy out there. There will be many boats and fishermen out there. Tight lines and good luck! 

Captain Patrick, Morack Moracktion Guide Service, (920)216-9085, MoracktionGuideService.com  

Winnebago System

Ohh Baby… it’s here! Get that suntan lotion out, the rods ready, and batteries in the radio because we are heading into the prime time season on the Winnebago System! If you’re not fishing here, you are certainly missing out. We are sure blessed here on our system with our legendary fishery!

If you are looking for a place to experiment on, this is it. There are so many tactics that can work on our system on any given day or even any given hour! Slip-bobbering, jigging, casting cranks, trolling cranks, trolling harnesses, drifting harnesses, pumping flies… you name it, any of these tactics could be your ticket for the day.

If you’re coming here and want to get “jiggy” with it, check out the reefs, shorelines, and weed beds scattered all about the system. This time of the year, a 1/16 oz. to 1/4 oz. jig, tipped with a crawler, leech, or plastic, can be deadly. If you anchor to jig the structure, throw out some slip bobbers with the same offerings. You won’t regret it.

If you are looking to “troll it” up, that’s cool because we have you covered too! If you want to use boards or just dangle a line overboard and one-line it, either tactic can certainly give you some rod thumping moments. Here on the Winnebago System, we have two well-known baits: Salmos and Flicker Shads. The size and color combinations are up to you as everything can change in the flip of a switch. The past two years, I have grown very fond of the fire tiger patterns. Trolling or casting cranks (Flickers) around shorelines and reefs can show promise at any given time. It’s important to keep moving until you find active fish.

So, you want to try something new and “fly” into some fish? That’s good because we have a fun [little] tactic on our system called pumping flies. It encompasses either a knot or three-way swivel to run a dropper weight and a leader containing two or three flies (kind of like salmon flies). Weights run from ¼ oz. to over 2 oz. dependent upon the conditions… and the fisherman. Colors vary as much as the jig and crank colors and anything can be hot. If you are new to our system, stop at any bait shop. They will all have these rigs ready for you to hunt within the rivers or the river mouths.

If you want to “harness” your inner walleye, look to our lovely mud and transition areas, as this article covers the start to some exciting fishing. Slow trolling a variety of spinner harnesses or drifting some of the awesome contours Lake Winnebago possesses, can both be ways to feel the tug. Harness fishing in the mud flats can be a fantastic way to see a mess of fish within a small amount of time, dependent upon your luck to land on the fish. One important area to note here is that we can get some massive fish, just a couple feet under the surface in 20 FOW. Don’t always think: big fish = deep in water column.

If you folks are new to our area, please remember us locals love to let our spawning females go! I have only ever kept one fish over 20” in my 26 years of fishing this system… and I sincerely hope to keep that record going! 

If you want to see some how-to videos on some of the topics discussed, check out my website: www.OBoutdoors.com. Until next time, “Tight Lines. Stay Dry.” – Kyle Sorensen

May and June are great months to slip bobber leaches or minnows, pitch jigs or cast small crankbaits on shallow 

structure for hungry post spawn walleye. 

Mid-May crappies and bluegill will be moving into the shallow bays, streams, and channels to spawn.  Pitching bobbers with small fathead minnows, small white twisters, or 1" Gulp! minnows are my choices to catch crappie.  Early June bluegill will bed up in the shallow sunny bays and casting a small bobber with a piece of crawler works great.

White bass on the Wolf River, Fox River, Winneconne and in Oshkosh can be crazy fast during the month of May.  Cast spoons, spinners, small crankbaits, or jigs with minnows to fill up your buckets.

Tim Euting, Get ‘Em Hooked Guide Service

South Central Wisconsin

Petenwell and Castle Rock Flowages

This time of year on both Petenwell and Castle Rock the bite can be very, very good! There are a number of options for targeting fish; out on the main lake, the river and deep water cuts in back sloughs. For those targeting walleye, they can be caught in deep holes in the river and caught trolling small crankbaits over shallow flats. They will also be found in deeper troughs, over gravel bars and big turns in the river. A good technique to start with is by pulling stick baits. As the water temperature warms up, it is a good idea to switch to a bait with more of a tight wobble or a bright colored bait with rattles. For those that prefer jigging, live baits of choice are leeches, crawlers and large fatheads. One tactic is to vertical jig deep holes in the river, pitch jigs in timber and slip jig the current in the main channel basin. Another great way to target walleye this time of year is to pull 3-ways and flies.

 

For fishing the main lake, a good option is to troll the main lake flats in 8 to 15 feet of water. Another option is to troll crankbaits over main lake humps. Trolling can be very effective this time of year. Just about any given day during this time of year you can catch a very big mixed bag of fish including walleye, crappies, perch, white bass, pike, cats and muskies! Fishermen and women on the main lake using live bait will want to target the main river channel, main lake points, southeast end bouy line and submerged timber in deep water. It is best to use weedless jigs, tipped with crawlers and leeches. Use of fishing rigs should include large chubs, suckers and large fatheads.

May/June also can be some hot panfishing action. There are a few good areas to catch them out on the main lake. The first area to target is down south, along the buoy line. But for the most part, up in the river is the most popular place to target. The most effective technique is to use small jigs, tipped with minnows, red worms and crawlers. Focus on areas around wood, weeds and timber. Pitching plastics can be effective as well. 

If catfish are on the radar, both flowages are loaded with channel cats. Flatheads are present and can be caught as well. Flathead fishermen will use live suckers, large chubs and bluegills (just a reminder, bluegills must be caught on the body of water you plan on fishing with them on). Channel cats will be mostly caught with stink bait or cutbait. There are some that fish using crawlers. The channel cats can be caught from just about any given spot out on the main lake and river! Flatheads like to be in the deeper water holes below the dams and in the river. 

Muskies and pike can be fun to target this time of year as well. The best places to target them are in warmer backwaters, flats and below the dams. It is best to start out using smaller bucktails, jerk baits and smaller plastic swim baits. As the water warms up, it is a good idea to switch to bigger baits and topwater baits over weeds and back sloughs.   

Bass fishing can be a blast as well. Both flowages have a large abundance of smallies and a decent amount of largemouths.  Both large and smallmouth bass can be caught on the main lake and in the river. Places to target are rocky shorelines, weed flats and submerged timbers.  Baits of choice are spinner baits, crankbaits, jigs and small plastics.  If you are looking for a travel destination, a new home, or even a summer home, Petenwell Flowage and Castle Rock have lots to offer.   

Jesse Quale

Southeast Wisconsin

 

Lake Koshkonong and Rock River System Overview

  • Fishing remains strong in this system. Annual walleye and pike stocking efforts help maintain a healthy population of game fish, however, there has been a noted decline in large fish present. Selective harvest and CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) are important practices to help this fishery thrive for future anglers. Although this is a shallow system, DNR reports show the forage base is excellent and game fish can likely grow to trophy size if given the opportunity. With that said, the strong numbers of fish present creates plenty of action once you find their location and preferred bait selection.

Lake Koshkonong

  • Watch water temperatures and weed development. These two factors will help determine fish movement and location. In early May into June, fish tend to roam developing weed edges and travel between the limited structures located throughout the lake. When water temps get too warm, expect fish to move to and hold near cooler springs and various inlets. When fish are constantly roaming, trolling is common to help cover the 10,000+ acres the lake spans. A variety of crankbaits will produce, but Flicker Shads remain a top choice. When fish are found holding in areas like the mid-lake rock pile, various springs, or inlets, slip-bobbering and bottom bouncing jigs work well. Snap jigging plastics over hard bottom or transition bottom areas also works well. Northland Tackle RZ jigs, Northland Tackle Stand-Up jigs, or Fin-Tech Knuckle Ball jigs all work well when using these tactics.

Upper Rock River

  • The Upper Rock River System is known for the spring walleye run, but it produces fish throughout the season. Vertical jigging or dragging this area works well. Trolling or snap jigging also produce fish, but please respect the river narrowness if pulling boards. When jigging or dragging, use the smallest weight needed to maintain occasional bottom contact. Live minnows, crawler and plastics all work well. If the fish are short biting and keep nipping the tail of your bait, try adding a stinger hook, but be ready to find a few snags. If using plastics, try Kalin’s Sizmic Grubs, Kalin’s Lunker Grubs or an Authent-X Moxi lure. Casting paddle tail plastics toward the banks and slowly working them back to the boat will help pull fish sitting in cover.

Lower Rock River

  • The Newville area can offer good action in late May and June. This section of river is shallower than the upper section, but there are plenty of areas between the mouth and the I-90 bridge that hold fish. Trolling crankbaits or drifting/dragging live bait tipped jigs along the bottom both work well here. Construction of the I-90 bridge is on-going and crews temporarily created a narrower river channel under it. Buoy markers will help navigate through the construction area. Shore anglers can easily fish the Indianford Dam and Monterey Dams. Both offer great fishing opportunities for a variety of fish. The Indianford Dam can be found just outside Edgerton, Wisconsin while the Monterey Dam is further south in Janesville, Wisconsin. Casting minnow tipped jigs, cranks and plastics all work well here. Slip bobbers, tipped with small minnows or crawlers, also work well in eddy areas or calm water. Two local bait shops are near each dam. “Trep’s Bait & Tackle” can be found above the Indianford Dam and “It’s A Keeper Bait & Tackle” is near the entrance to Monterey Dam. Both owners have extensive knowledge of the current fishing activity.

Madison Chain of Lakes

  • When water temps hit the mid 60’s and 70’s, panfish action heats up due to spawning activity. Look for open pockets in shallow weedy areas and the fish should be nearby. A basic live minnow under a slip bobber works well for crappies along weed edges, as do lightweight jigs slowly popped through cover. Small 1/32 oz. or 1/16 oz. jigs, tipped with Gulp’s baits or Northland Tackle Bloodworm jigs, work well. Working shallow sandy pockets inside weedbeds will produce bluegills as the temperature warms. A simple wax worm or redworm, rigged under a bobber, will likely keep kids busy. Please be selective when targeting any spawning fish, especially bluegills that can be easily picked off their beds.

Captain Adam Walton, Pike Pole Fishing Guide Service, www.pikepolefishing.com, 608-290-392 

The fishing in southeast Wisconsin on Lake Michigan has drastically improved over the last week. The coho salmon have started to show up making for mixed bags being caught in a very short time. The brown trout have slowly increased in size as the alewives have also come into shallow water to feed, allowing the game fish to have a consistent source of food. The main style of fishing is trolling in water 12-20 feet in depth. The brown trout are starting to favor the Brad’s Thin Fish with their body style matching the bait fish and the rattles, triggering strikes on a regular basis. The secondary bait producing hits are the Rat-L-Trap Echo 1.75 in blue, black, and chartreuse colors. The spoons remain Michigan Stinger spoons, run back 100’ on the downriggers, and run on Slide Divers. The spoons are taking larger brown trout at this time. The coho numbers are very good when jigging using a 3-way system with a pink spawn sack, or small piece of shrimp. This setup has a 12” drop to the weight and a 12” lead to the bait and is slowly twitched back to the boat. The best coho action while trolling is on Rapture Peanut trolling flies in the shrimp color. The lead behind a 00 dodger has been a bit longer than standard, usually around 17 inches. This allows for just a slight roll with less action and is takes the majority of the coho salmon when trolling. This setup is again best on downriggers, and on the Slide Diver. 

In shallow water, it is best to get your Church Tackle TX-12 boards quite a distance from the boat for a stealth presentation when fish are finicky. The currents can be very difficult to read and the catch rate can very much depend on those who utilize their Depth Raider to read the changing conditions while finding the right temperature and speed at the downrigger ball. If you’re new to this style of fishing, use 8’6” Okuma rods and Okuma Convector reels as a great all around setup, regardless of the species of fish you want to target and is very universal. The fishing will remain strong for the mixed bag during the next month, and slowly transition to more coho salmon showing up. This is a great time of the year to get the kids out, as action is fast with very nice sized fish coming into the boat, and the weather continues to remain stable. 

The 2250 Crestliner Authority will remain on the water for the next 6 weeks, and we are available 7 days a week. Tight lines and get a kid out fishing! 

Captain Michael hanke, A1 Big Fish Charters