Found fish Saturday in 8-10' with new weed growth. Did run into spawning fish despite reports of spawning being completely done. Went out at 630pm and returned at 8pm with 3 fish limit. Pic below is of filleted male with full sperm sacks. Found in 6' on gravel in current area. Might be nearing the end but like the whitetail rut, seems there is a front and back that is less popular to the animals and humans alike.
“A Nice Opener”, that’s pretty much what the opinion has been about the start to the 2021 season. Overall good weather (sort of cool in the early AM, a bit windy) but warmed up and well attended!
Lakes out performed Flowages to start the season. The very early ice out caused the Walleye spawn to finish early, with most of those who targeted spawning beds disappointed. On the subject of disappointment, despite the month of open water, weed growth is still sparse, Bad News/Good News – the Good News…it has a way to go, so lots of good May Walleye fishing still to come.
Walleye: Good-Very Good – As earlier stated, some bodies of water, notably the Flowages, were poor. Anglers working lakes had very good success working 6-8’ depths with any type of new weed growth (as hard as it was to find). Using 1/16 oz weedless jigs tipped with Dace, large Fats and large Leeches action never seemed fast, but good catches brough in. On some larger lakes, a rock gravel bite was still going on. A bit larger minnow, black chubs or Walleye suckers were more effective.
Crappies: Good – With air temps hitting upper 70’s, Crappie fishing got better and shallower by the afternoon/evening. Wind made afternoons a bit tough, but those out on the water able to hold did well in 3-5’ depths.
Northern Pike: Good – Active bite on spinner baits, swim baits and jig and chubs. Not a lot of anglers targeting, but as Pike tend to do, they were willing to bite.
Largemouth Bass: Good – Spinner baits worked well as water temps were on the rise Saturday. Still effective on Sunday, but a better bite on plastics such as Wacky Worms and jig/Sweet Beaver combos.
Surface temps moved into the low to mid 50’s with Saturday’s temp. Forecast for more nights in the 30’s, highs in 50’s means temps will probably hover in the upper 40’s – low 50’s, delaying more weed growth, but spreading the bite out this month.
Lost cell phone found at Willow Flowage dam landing Monday May 3 around 3 pm. If it is yours, or perhaps you know someone that lost theirs, message me. I'd like to see the proper owner get it back.
It’s the cusp of the 2021 Walleye opener here in the Northwoods! As usual, nothing ever seems the same from one opener to the next.
A very early ice out back in late March followed by temps in the 80’s in early April shot water temps up quickly. Walley spawning started early and is all finished this year, even with the cold snap we’ve experienced dragging things out. So…what to expect?
Lake temps that hit the high 50’s back in early April fell back in to the 40’s for most of the rest of this month. The cold mornings and warming afternoons could be helping opening day anglers by dragging out the slow warm up, keeping the post spawn bite active as minnows, insects and leeches start to fill the shallow, newly emergent weeds with food and warmth.
Working those newly greening weed beds with the customary jig/minnow, jig/leech or jig and plastic combinations should be all most angers need to do well this weekend. Finding those patches of green weeds and areas with slightly warmer water will be key. A temperature difference of just 2-3 degrees from one part of the lakes shallows to another can make all the difference.
Watch as water temps rise in the afternoons as Crappies, Pike, Largemouth Bass and Bluegills move to the shallows to warm and feed. Long cast with weighted floats (so as not to spook the fish) will be key for panfish anglers. Casting stick baits (Husky Jerks, X-Raps, Rattlin Rouges) has been effective as early season catch and release Bass anglers have been finding out.
Looks to be great weather for our opener, we’ve missed the pre-spawn and spawn bite, but that happens more often than not and gives those Walleyes less pressure as they work to repopulate our waters.
Bait supplies look good for this opener with only Redtails and Dace in short supply. With water temps looking to get into the 50’s by the weekend, don’t be shy about adding some leeches or crawlers to your arsenal.
Twelve days, from the time of this writing, until our inland lakes Walleye opener on May 1st.
Cold weather came back, hard to believe we had 80 degree temps 1st week of April and have mid 20 degree nights now!
Warmer temps look to be moving in by the end of the week. The cold has delayed some of the Walleye spawn, but for the most part, it’s over. Be prepared to target post-spawn, recovering Walleyes for the opener. Soft bottom bays with newly emerging green plant growth. Watch your temperature gauge as a 1-2 degree difference in water temp can mean a lot to location and activity.
Til then, panfish has been good, but erratic. Temps moving up and down has put locations at times from very shallow on warm days (as panfish seek to warm themselves-Crappies and Gills for egg production, Perch to recover and feed up from spawn). The cold nights have pushed these fish back into deeper waters of 8-10’ where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as quickly, but they will still bite in these areas.
Bass anglers (it is catch and release this year in April), casting jerk baits (Husky Jerks, X-Raps) in shallow, dark bottom bays has been productive for Largemouth Bass.
Water temps varying, but holding in the 40’s (low-high). Next week we should see temps climbing fast into 50’s (again).
Remember to key on the post spawn.
Weather more typical of April, has moved in! Following a week of unseasonably warm weather, when temps peaked at 80 degrees, cooler weather has arrived. Temps forecasted to hit upper 40’s to low 50’s (still not bad for April). Water temps that shot into upper 50’s on some bodies are now back into low-mid 40’s.
The good panfish bite also slowed, though maybe more from lack of participation than from weather. Some of those warm day patterns from last week changed as the shallows cooled.
Crappie: Good-Fair – Still the most targeted panfish in our area at this time. Most indications have them moved out to 10-12’ depths with the cool weather. While working fyke nets this past week we are seeing a lot of Crappies that are moving to the shallows after dark!
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Perch up in pre-spawn and spawning mode. Very shallow, 2-5’, small minnows, worms and tiny jigs working.
Bluegill: Fair – Anglers catching some big Gills on Flowages in wood along channels. Lakes were seeing some shallow, sunning fish, gone with rain.
As our chapter of Walleye for Tomorrow has been working with GLIFWC to get a population estimate on Minocqua and Kawaguesaga Lakes, it’s been very interesting to see the process as the location and timing of the spawn varies from night to night and lake to lake (even on these two connected lakes).
Spawning Walleyes, while starting early due to the warm early April, are now seen dragging things out a bit as the water cooled down and fewer fish are coming in to spawn. While this is not unusual, continue to prep for a post spawn opener. Still 2½ weeks away.
40° - 45° F
71° - 75° F
Spotted northern pike spawning in shallow bays today while kayaking. Multiple species staged near new growth lily pads in 2 ft and under. Water levels were down 12-15” on several lakes. Storms this week should raise water and continue to warm up typical spawning areas very early this spring.
A very unusual warm early April has most of our lakes completely ice free. The few exceptions being the largest lakes, Fence and Trout. But with air temps hitting 80 degrees on Monday (4/5) that won’t last long.
It’s rare to see such an early ice out with open water and such nice weather. Anglers are out checking on Crappie spots, Perch spots and getting the kinks out of their equipment.
Crappie: Good-Very Good – Anglers finding Crappies filtering through standing weeds in 6-8’ of water. Spooking easily, so long cast required with small floats and minnows or tiny hair jigs. While still a long way off from spawning, some anglers reporting Crappies moving close into shallow brush. Most likely to soak up warmth that helps with their egg production later.
Yellow Perch: Good – Below dams that are open to fishing (The Rainbow Dam closes April 10th as a sanctuary until May 1st). Jig and medium fats or pieces of crawlers, lindy rigs or floats in the eddies work.
Bluegill: Poor – Just no reports as of now. Most interest in Crappies and Perch.
With ice off so early and so much warm weather, expect almost all Walleye spawning to be finished by May 1st. A good post spawn bite should occur, but lots can happen here in the Northwoods between now and then.
Catch & Release Bass IS open.
Panfish (Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch) IS open.
NO Walleye fishing is open up here with the exception of the research Lake Escanaba with its one over 28” regulation.
The closed season is to give some species a break from harvest and pursuit. Please be aware and respect these rules. Rules like these and bag limits are meant to ensure opportunities for the future, so everyone can enjoy for years to come.