Well, this past week went pretty much as predicted. The Crappie in the Minocqua, Lac du Flambeau, and St. Germain areas were very catchable. But the best is yet to come. Most lakes were giving up Crappie in the northern shorelines near wood or green weeds. Some of the larger deeper lakes are just getting started. But stage 5 of the spawning process is right around the corner.
Remember, as with any spawn there are basically 5 stages.
Stage 1, a few weeks before they actually drop eggs, is a heavy feed time and fish are suspended in deeper water near their spawning areas.
Stage 2, heading to the beds, a few days before dropping eggs, is when the males and females are making and scouting beds, light feeding.
State 3, the spawn, the days when they are dropping eggs, the males are in light feed while the females aren't normally feeding at all.
Stage 4, post spawn, a few days after dropping the eggs, the females are starting to recover and the males are protecting the beds, feeding is light but the males are protecting the beds by attacking anything that he perceives will threaten the hatch.
Stage 5, post spawn staging is a week or so after dropping the eggs, the females are recovered and feeding heavily and the males start to leave the beds and put on the feed bag, too.
It's like this for most species. Most crappies are in stage 3-4 right now. The bluegills seem to be mostly in stage 2 right now. Bass are in stage 2-3 and northerns are confusing. So depending on your lake there should be a species you can catch. And individual fish can be in different stages even on the same lake.
Now I said Northerns are confusing. I said that because a bunch of the Northerns we boated this past week or so have been full of spawn, milk and eggs. Not sure why? Maybe just a bunch of non-conformists?
The walleye, mostly, seem to still be in stage 4. Still not a heavy feed. I saw some caught walleye a couple of days ago and they looked like snakes, not a thing in their belly. But, that will change.
As an illustration on how presentation matters, I was out with a father and son last night and they normally fish with heavier jigs. As always, I started with 1/32 oz jigs tipped with plastics. We caught fish all over the place. Not hot and heavy but steady. After a couple of hours I switched the father to a 1/16 oz jig (unintentionally) after a break-off. His pole went silent until he noticed the jig change and we switched him back to a 1/32 after which his pole got very noisy again. It matters folks. Some days it could be the opposite. If you ain't catching nothing try something different.
Here comes another empty minnow bucket. Gotta go!
FYI. Two major DNR regs to be aware of are that they extended the walleye no harvest rules on the Minocqua chain and changed the Manitowish Chain from a size exempt water to the normal state 15" rules.
FYI 2, our jumbo crawlers come directly from Canada. Crawlers went up this year for a myriad of reasons. We are doing our best to keep the prices low. We do have 2 dz jumbo crawlers for $6.75 and bulk crawler flats for $60. To order your flats in dirt or bedding please call ahead at the Minocqua shop at 715-358-5130. If you don't get a response, as they are very busy, you can always call back or call me at 715-892-2751. Also remember your 1st scoop of crappie minnows is only $2 with any purchase. We have the lowest leech prices around which come direct from Minnesota. We now have panfish, medium/large mix and large/jumbo mix leeches that we sell by the dozen, 1/4#, 1/2# and full pound. Our minnows come direct from trappers in central Wisconsin. Right now we have crappie minnows, fatheads, XL fatheads (tuffys), Mud Minnows, Walleye Suckers, Northern Bait Minnows, and Blacktail Chubs. No middleman! Fresher and lower priced.
Jeff Bolander, owner of Dewey, Catchem and How Bait Shop and Guide Post at www.DeweyCatchemAndHow.com
Reports at www.UpNorthFishing.com
Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DeweyCatchemAndHow
Check out my Up North fishing and resort web sites at www.UpNorth.info
Jeff Bolander <[email protected]>
- Friday, May 29, 2020