~ Fishing guides from Anglers All, 715/682-5754, report the following:
This report is about the Ashland side of Chequamegon Bay. “Well, we’ve still got the dirty water shoved into the head of the bay, but they’re getting walleye anyway,” noted Carolyn Swartz, co-owner of Anglers All.
She said walleye fishermen are having success by trolling, drifting crawler harnesses and jigging with leeches.
“Most of your walleye activity in shallow water takes place during the low-light hours,” Carolyn pointed out. “There are people fishing off the ‘pig iron’ even during the day, but the majority of the walleyes are in the drop-offs in the channel or on the humps during the daytime, especially if it’s high sun. Of course, that’s different if it’s cloudy or overcast.”
The smallmouth bass in the shallows are still in all three modes: pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn mode, she said.
“As we keep getting these little cold fronts moving through, oftentimes if it drops the water temperature down it could send them out to a little deeper water. But overall, we are looking at the shallows of the Sand Cut, Brush Point and Oak Point.”
She said the bass fishermen are using crankbaits, plastics, spinner baits, and walleye-size sucker minnows for live bait to target those smallies.
Trout and salmon anglers have reported good days all the way from Houghton Point to Outer Island. “It all depends on the day, the weather and the water temperatures,” said Carolyn.
She said the salmon reports have dropped off. “We’re not hearing of many cohos now, but they’re getting plenty of brown trout and lakers.”
Carolyn advises fly fishermen to be aware that an early “Hex hatch” might be in store for the Chequamegon Bay area this year. For the uninitiated, that’s when the large mayfly with the scientific name Hexagenia limbata appears in huge numbers. They have the power to bring the largest trout to the surface where they can be caught on dry flies.
There are four stages of this hatch that the angler should be aware of: nymph, emerger, dun and spinner. The pesky critters can be seen covering the sides of buildings close to the waterfront in Ashland after they have moved from emerger stage to fully winged dun.
“With the warmer weather coming this weekend, they could start popping on the White River, so get ready for that.” Carolyn said by using the proper fly, trout anglers can have great success during the Hex hatch.
** Located at 2803 E. Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Highway 2) in Ashland, Anglers All is a full-service tackle and fly shop with a professional guide service for Lake Superior and area inland lakes and rivers, offering the largest selection of baits and tackle in the Chequamegon Bay area. For the most complete and up-to-date fishing report, just give them a call at Anglers All and they will gladly keep you informed!
~ Fishing guides from River Rock Inn and Bait Shop, 715/682-3232, report the following:
The Ashland area has been kinder to anglers the last week since the weather calmed down.
“We’re starting to get some stable weather now instead of all that rain and wind,” commented Scott Bretting, owner/operator of River Rock Inn & Bait Shop. “Fishing has been pretty decent,” he continued, “and I think we’re going to have a good weekend.”
Bass fishing has been “pretty good,” he said. “There’ve been some nice catches of smallmouth and the numbers are up.”
Scott said for the most part the bass should be in post-spawn mode now.
“Although we may have a few late bloomers in there,” he added. “Folks have been reporting some smallmouth still hanging out in the shallows. They’re moving in and out of that area.”
He said anglers can sight-fish them right now off of the Sand Cut. “But the water is cloudy by the Kakagon Slough, which makes it tougher.”
And unfortunately, that cloudy water is making walleye fishing a little more difficult as well. “Guys out trolling have been reporting some nice fish,” Scott said of the walleye seekers, “but as is typical with this unstable weather pattern, the water’s all clouded up so that makes it a little more challenging.”
Scott did say that folks are still getting walleye down by the “pig iron” beach and close to the Xcel Energy Bay Front Power Plant. “There’s rock bass in there, too, and some smallies, plus the occasional northern pike,” he noted.
Last weekend was the Saxon Harbor fishing tournament. Scott said the adverse weather conditions probably had some effect on the turnout, but it was still fun. “They had close to 30 boats participate. It’s mainly a trout and salmon tournament.”
Anglers have been venturing out to the Apostle Islands and into the flats, Scott noted. “They’ve been getting browns, cohos, lake trout and splake, about everything the bay has to offer for trolling. No huge fish, but plenty of nice ones.”
FYI: For those who don’t know, Scott explained that the so-called “flats” area of the bay is about 90 to 100 foot deep and has a consistent clay or sandy bottom.
He said a couple of hotspots have been the front of the Bad River and the old Coast Guard dock on the tip of Long Island. “That another good spot with a nice drop-off in that area,” he said. “It’s abandoned now, but there used to be a Coast Guard station there.”
Scott said anglers are out “trolling with the stickbaits. There’s a few guys downrigging, too.” Hot steel and hot pink have been good colors, he added.
He said folks are using crawlers with a jig head and harnesses for walleye. “Some are using leeches on a jig head, too.”
Fishing on the area’s inland lakes is going well. “It’s your typical, late spring bite,” Scott said. “You start to see some pollen on the water so you’re competing with some of the live forage on the surface. All reports are that the panfish, perch, northerns and walleye are into their pre-summer patterns. They are hanging out in those deeper spots during the day and then moving into the shallows in the evening.”
“With all of the rain we’ve had it’s been tough fishing,” Scott continued, “but those fish are hungry! They’re waiting for those fishermen to come and entice them. We are starting to see some of the clearer water you see in the summer. It’s going to be a great June and July for anglers coming up here!”
** Stop in and see their wide variety of live bait, fishing tackle, gear, accessories, smoked fish, local cheeses, meats, and microbrews, and much more at River Rock Inn & Bait Shop, 1200 W. Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Highway 2), in Ashland. Call River Rock for the most current fishing report and they’ll give you the 411 on the bay area!
~ The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-284-9484, reports:
Fishing is always a thrilling adventure in the Ashland area! Chequamegon Bay is famous for its world-class smallmouth bass fishing. The 12-mile-long bay’s rock piles and breakwater structures make for perfect bass habitat.
• You can fish and win weekly cash prizes in the Species Master Classic, an online catch-and-release fishing tournament. This contest starts June 15 and runs all summer. Cash prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place. Open to all ages, the Species Master Classic allows participants to fish anywhere in Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, Price, Washburn, or Barron counties. Catch, photograph and upload images of your fish to www.speciesmaster.com. There is a cost to enter. Visit the website for more information or to register, or call 715/718-6438.