Lake-Link Home

Vilas County Lakes, Vilas County

Vilas County Lakes, Vilas County
Kwik Trip
@ the lake
Kwik Trip: Fried Chicken
KwikTrip Freshly Prepared Fried Chicken
KwikTrip Freshly Prepared Fried Chicken

5/26/21 @ 9:24 AM
USER SINCE 8/12/09

When Rob speaks, people listen. Please don't over harvest the resource. 

Wounded Warriors United: GoFundMe
5/26/21 @ 6:39 AM
Rob Manthei
USER SINCE 5/26/10

plastics will out fish minnows any day of the week.....

5/25/21 @ 12:35 PM
Kurt Justice
USER SINCE 5/12/04

A warm and rainy week helped those anglers not afraid of getting a little wet while angling for their favorite fish.  Lots of good reports across the board.  A bit of a cool down on Sunday seemed to affect fishing by late morning, but things picked back up by Sunday evening.

Walleye:  Very Good-Good – Back in the spotlight as the cloud cover and warming water brought Eyes into the shallower water on many lakes to feed.  Leeches were hot for most bites with dace, fats and smaller chubs not far behind.  Wind blown weedy shallows where small Perch, Bluegills and Crappies congregated were tops!   Reports from Bass and Pike anglers catching Walleyes over shallow weedy flats were not uncommon over the weekend.

Crappies:  Very Good-Good – Reports vary as some anglers finding Crappies still on beds while others moved out to nearby weeds to feed.  Don’t expect to find bedding fish for much longer, but Crappie populations seem to be strong and still very good catches being reported.  Small jigs (Gapen Freshwater Shrimp and Mini Mites) under small floats as well as the good ol’ bobber & minnow rig working best.

Smallmouth Bass:  Very Good – Big Smallies in the 3-5# range being reported every day as fish are up shallow and on beds!  Top-water action on Chug Bugs, Pop-R’s, Zara Puppy’s have been a blast!  Ned Worms, Wacky Worms and tubes not being turned away.   Remember, season is catch & release only, get ‘em back in the water quickly to ensure great Smallie fishing to come.

Largemouth Bass:  Very Good – Not in spawn mode like the Smallies, but cruising and hungry.   Spinner baits and chatter baits scoring well as Bass active.  Swim baits and shallow cranks also producing over weed tops.  Lots of #’s with some nice LMB in the 18-20” range reported.

Northern Pike:  Very Good – Take your pick!  Actively pursue with a spinner bait, chatter bait or Mepps, or kick back with a bobber and chub or sucker, Pike have been willing participants.

Bluegills:  Good – Anglers targeting other species for the most part, but doing well with shallow water action.  Like Largemouth, Gills are not bedding, but enjoying a smorgasbord of bugs and small invertebrates.  Tiny jigs or just a plain Aberdeen hook with some worms, small leeches or thunder bugs all producing well.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Like Gills, not heavily targeted, but decent catches in and around drowned wood and cabbage flats of 4-8’.

Looks to be a good, yet cool weekend weather wise.   Cold mornings may lead to better late morning bites and better evening fishing.

Musky opens on Saturday, May 29th.  A lot of sightings of paired (and tripled) Musky in shallows as they are spawning, many fish showing signs of “rough” Love!   Could be finished on small to mid-sized lakes by week’s end.     

Kurt's Island Sport Shop
(715) 356-4797
5/22/21 @ 11:42 PM
Got out to 2 lakes today with my son. Both small Vilas Co. Lakes. Was targeting mainly pike on Lake 1 and Smallmouth on Lake 2.

We did not do well on big smallmouth. Lots of smaller ones. 

We did not do well on pike.  

We did get a mixed bag of crappie sizes, some small perch, a LM bass, and some big rock bass today. 

However, the story of the day on both lakes was that we were funneled into bluegill fishing because it was simply so good! Quite a few fish and some truly impressive sizes. So easy, that my son did not need bait on his jig at times. I don't bluegill fish I'm no expert, but I can see where this is a very fragile resource. These small lakes would be severely affected by over harvest this time of year. Just too easy to catch them when they are stacked together in the shallows. 

Great day to be out. Makes up for the poor fishing my son and I had in early May. I call myself the "Average" fisherman and that's my report!

5/22/21 @ 6:51 PM
John Andrew
USER SINCE 8/10/09


A few days behind in posts.

Some of the nicest clients possible. These 2 brothers were awesome. Catching fish and laughing all day long.

Always asking questions, wanting to learn more about fishing and enjoying the day. Great job guys, look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Warmed up nicely today after 2 days of rain.

A few openings in September and October.
As always, stay positive, think clearly, do not listen to negative talk and do not listen to negative  people.

God Bless
John Andrew 

5/20/21 @ 11:21 AM
Jeff Bolander
USER SINCE 8/25/13


Remember those old black and white comedy films where the guy is pumping up his bicycle tire and behind him a bubble pops out from the tire and we are just waiting for it to pop!  Well that's what the fishing is like right now.  It's getting ready to pop.  The surface temps have been climbing quickly but it still takes awhile for the temps below the surface to catch up.  That's what we are waiting for to happen.  Although the fishing is still good, it's not 'hammer-time' yet.  But it could be this afternoon!

Crappie is always the big interest this time of year so let's delve a little into that.  They are close to shore and sometimes right on it but still pretty spread out.  For the most part they are a 'one-here-one-there' mode right now.  But of course that is lake dependent.  You're going to catch a few but probably not a lot right now.  But there are gonna be windows where you'll pop them pretty good for short periods of time.  My suggestion.  Hit them where you know they are very late in the afternoon and into the evening.  Stay back away from them with leeches, crawlers, minnows, small plastics or waxies under quiet slip bobbers. Or throw long casts of beetle spins or small plastics on 1/32 oz jigs. Big Bite came out with some new Crappie plastics in some really awesome colors.  We'll be using those tomorrow with clients.

Bass are near the spawning areas but the bigger the lake the deeper water they are in.  A couple of days ago we couldn't catch one up on the rocks so we donned the Rat-L-Traps and threw into deeper water and did very well.  A couple of the smallies were over 6 pounds.  Even in the shallow bays with wood we could sight fish them and they wouldn't take a crawler or leech but a fast moving plastic or other bait brought them to the boat.

Looks like another beautiful weekend coming up.  A few sprinkles here and there but we need it and after all that's why we sell the Blackfish raingear.  That's some good stuff there.  Get your yards raked and the lawn mowed cuz next weekend we pay tribute to our fallen heros who gave their lives so we could pursuit ours via Memorial Day.  Get out the flag and the Musky baits!

Our store hours are M-T-W-Th 6am to 7pm, Fr 6am to 10pm, Sat 6am to 7pm and Sunday 6am to 5pm.

Our minnows all come direct from trappers in central Wisconsin. Right now we just have crappie minnows, large fatheads, XL fatheads (Tuffys), Redtail chubs, Blacktail chubs, River Shiners, Mud Minnows, Northern minnows and Walleye Suckers.  We have plenty of jumbo night crawlers from Canada, along with Jumbo panfish worms and wax worms.  As always, crawlers are available in 1dz, 2dz, 100ct and by the flat (500 ct) in dirt or bedding.  And we sell waxies in bulk tubs, too.  And of course we got lbs and lbs of leeches.

Jeff Bolander, owner of Dewey, Catchem and How Bait Shop and Guide Post at
Reports at
Facebook page at
Check out my Up North fishing and resort web sites at
 Jeff Bolander <[email protected]>
 - Friday, 5/20/2021

5/19/21 @ 9:52 AM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

Someone sent me a friend request to offer some crappie tips. Unfortunately I accepted it before I made note of the user name and now have no idea who sent it to me. If you're reading this, you should be able to PM me now. And thank you for replying!

5/19/21 @ 7:59 AM
USER SINCE 12/20/07

Fished a couple deep clear lakes a week ago. Hoping a good 7 days of warming trend should get things going.  Did not find any smallmouth or crappies shallow.

5/18/21 @ 2:23 PM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

Obviously there's no predicting the future, but based on how things are progressing, how do we look for Memorial Day weekend to be in general?  More specifically, if the crappies are spawning now or soon, what do you look for to target them post spawn?  Never been much of a crappie guy before, but we're headed up to Little St. Germain again and was able to show my wife and daughter a good time fishing them shallow last year. Seems we're looking at a different timeline/pattern this year. 

5/18/21 @ 1:01 PM
Kurt Justice
USER SINCE 5/12/04

With the poplar and dogwood trees blooming, it’s a sure sign of Crappie time!  Surface temps are rising quickly on lakes as warm weather with lots of sunshine is adding energy to the shallows!  Oddly, not all bodies of water are seeing a rush of life to the shallows.  Certain species on some lakes have held out in deeper water (Walleyes in mud flats), but this should change soon.

Crappies:  Very Good – In to spawn, anglers are finding bedding fish in 1-4’ of water depending on water clarity and available backing or cover.  Following a weekend of high pressure, some areas are picked over, move around to less obvious spots, but keep movement down and cast long not to spook fish.

Northern Pike:  Very Good – Live bait and artificial lures all producing well as Pike active in new weed growth.  Swim baits a good choice as anglers can “count down” to different depths, retrieve speed and vary action (straight, hop, etc.)

Smallmouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Catch and Release only as season not open ‘til June 19th.  But action good with big fish in the 19-21” range being caught in shallows (anglers reporting bedding Smallies already) using X-Raps, Husky Jerks or going soft with plastic craws or Ned worms.

Largemouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Cruising shallows taking offerings meant for other species (Crappie, Smallmouth).  Black, brown hair jigs, Ned worms, Wacky worms all good choices.  Some anglers working spinner baits over 3-5’ mud/muck bottom areas also doing well.

Walleye:  Fair-Good – Surprisingly, not a lot of hot shallow bites.  Bright, cloudless days could be affecting, but a few days fish turned on in shallow weeds at times.  Jigging leeches, fatheads, dace on 1/16 oz weedless Jacks or Invasion jigs.   In some bodies of water Walleyes remaining over mud flats feeding on Mayfly larvae.  In these areas small to medium leeches best.

Bluegills:  Good – Lots of fish roaming shallows, mostly smaller fish.  Worms, thunder bugs, poppers behind clear floats.  Not a very targeted species right now with focus on Crappies.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Little attention, but a few anglers targeting Perch in wood scoring nice catches on medium fatheads, half crawlers or thunder bugs.

I’ve been seeing Smallies bedding already, Musky paired up in shallows and suckers also working beds at the same time the Crappies are spawning.   Not totally unusual, but as early in the month and so condensed at the same time is.  Weed growth seems behind, but improving with all the recent sun and warmth.  Weekend should be good, yet forecast says wet - but that can change.

Kurt's Island Sport Shop
(715) 356-4797
Advertise here
Advertise here
Please take a moment to visit our sponsors. Without them we would not be here.