Last week we had a boost of pure awesomeness. Things will only continue to get better. Except maybe for pesky bug hatches which will be here soon. I forecast insects like mosquitoes and biting flies to make their presence known in the next few weeks. I already had a wood tick the other day.
Water temps continue to stay in and around the 60-degree mark and have been slow to warm up. That’s prolonged some regular cool-water spring patterns. We seem to be about two weeks behind schedule, so there is still a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. We’re less than three weeks away from the summer solstice and the longest days of fishing.
Lake Superior continues to have a large amount of mud-stained waters in and around the Twin Ports, especially on the Wisconsin side, but fishing picked up last week. Lots of lake trout are being caught in off-shore areas using a variety of tactics with more anglers moving to Dipsey Divers and riggers as fish move a little deeper. A few salmon are being caught on stick baits trolled off long lines, with some nice reports of chinooks and brown trout. Chequamegon Bay is seeing its fair share of boat traffic with anglers reporting some nice catches of smallmouth bass and walleyes coming from the Ashland area. Stream fishing picked up last week as well as rivers began to drop toward normal levels.
St. Louis River fishing has been steady with a nice crop of eater-sized walleyes coming from all areas of the estuary. Many anglers are now getting fish in the lower sections of Superior Bay. These fish have dropped back down on their way back out to Lake Superior. This bite should continue to be good for the next few weeks. (Remember the significance of bigger fish and what they mean to our fishery when deciding to harvest some walleyes for a fish fry.) Best tactic has been covering water with trolling schemes. Shallower channel edges have been producing best. We are seeing a few shiner runs in select areas of the estuary. Find these and you will find fish. Another fun opportunity has been shore-fishing for rough fish. A mix of channel cats, suckers and grass carp are hugging shorelines. Simple bottom rigging with live bait will turn these fish.
Inland waters are still early in their vegetation buildup. Crappies are now starting to haunt typical spawning grounds, utilizing whatever cabbage, pencil reeds and other growth they can. We are seeing a mix of very colorful fish. The dark black crappies are males and will hang with the colorful bigger females. Again, it is important to practice conservation when targeting these very vulnerable fish this time of year. Soon, largemouth bass and sunfish will also begin spawning. Walleye fishing continues to be great using simple jigging tactics. If the jig-and-minnow or jig-and-plastic bite slows down, try breaking out the ice fishing lures and tipping them with a minnow head. Thinking outside the box can pay off. Pike fishing continues to be productive casting shorelines with a variety of spoons, spinners and stick baits. Smallmouth are going steady as well with some big fish coming off rock and other structure transitions.