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Vilas County Lakes, Vilas County

Vilas County Lakes, Vilas County
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5/7/21 @ 8:58 AM
Jeff Bolander
USER SINCE 8/25/13


Well the 2021 Opener is in the books.  Mixed reports for sure.  As far as the shop went we were even busier this year than last year but as far as lake traffic, most told me than is was way less than last year.  I chalk this up to pent up demand. Last year folks were getting out to avoid the you know what and this year we had ice out quite a bit earlier than last year.  My clients cancelled for the weekend so I'm going by what others have told me.  

The catch seemed to be very average at best.  The Walleye spawn is not as far along as we had thought.  Blame all the cold temps and lack of sun over the past few weeks for that.  But surprisingly the weed growth isn't too bad.  I got out a few times the past week and each lake we were on had a healthy amount of greening weeds.  We might just have a normal year for a change!  I'm glad the weeds aren't too developed as this will keep the Walleye post spawn bite going longer into May. A few of my river and flowage guys said they did very well in the current and current fed bays.

Poor crappie.  They are still waiting for some sun to make their move.  With the right electronics you can see them schooled up all over the place but none seem to be in the attack mode.  But that could change any day now, any minute even.  So you gotta keep trying and stay on them until they are ready.  The guys that are catching a few are fishing the warmest parts of the day close to their spawning areas in the warmest water they can find.

Not a lot of great catches of northern reported.  But again, we need sun and warmer water to get the rest of the fish going so the northern will turn on and chase them.  Then the northern will become the normal pain in the butt we all love them for.

Perch have no MO right now.  You will catch them along side of everything else.  Look for wood and greening weeds in where they may be chasing minnows or bugs and throw minnows and bugs at them.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass are all over the charts right now as well.  Put bluegill into that same category.  We have some warmer temps and sunnier days in the forecast.  If we actually get those you'll see the fishing take off, all species.  My suggestion?  Get out there so you're ready when they are!

No big DNR changes this year.  The Minocqua chain is still catch and release on walleyes.  But remember, on the Minocqua chain, you can keep 5 of any size largemouth bass and 5 of any size northern pike and in my opinion they are much better table fare than a walleye any day.

Good luck and be safe.  Our store hours are M-T-W-Th 6am to 7pm, Fr 6am to 10pm, Sat 6am to 7pm and Sunday (MOTHER'S DAY) 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), Dace, Redtail chubs, Blacktail chubs, River Shiners, Mud Minnows, Northern minnows and Walleye Suckers.  Remember your first scoop of crappie minnows is always only $2 with a purchase of anything else in the store.  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.

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, 5/7/2021

Wounded Warriors United: GoFundMe
5/6/21 @ 10:26 PM

Water temps still cold. Every morning I’m scraping frost off the truck windshield. I bet in about 10 days the bite really improves. Some are catching now. But not many. 

5/6/21 @ 7:54 PM
John Andrew
USER SINCE 8/10/09


May 4,5 and 6, 2021.

Cooler temps continue and not warming up until next Tuesday, according to the weather channel .  Water temps are remaining cold. Certain lakes are producing well.

Lots of fish being caught, Pike, Walleye, Crappie and some big Perch. All our fish are on minnows. Current areas are still producing for us. Rock Bars and some flats are also producing.

 More great clients and lots of new clients. A few openings in July and August.

As always, stay positive, think clearly, do not listen to negative talk and do not listen to negative people.


5/4/21 @ 9:06 AM
Kurt Justice
USER SINCE 5/12/04

“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.

Kurt's Island Sport Shop
(715) 356-4797
5/3/21 @ 10:16 PM
Mike Smith

Was out today for 7 hours with Mike and Jim, brothers up for the week. Started out with a 27'' in the first 2 min's then got slow but got 4 keepers around 9 am. Then at 11 am they were on fire, we had more than half are fish in 2 hours with us getting 3 over the 24'' 2 slot 4 shorts and 6 keepers and they were still biting when we left. All fish came on minnow working slowly in 8 to 12 fow.  As always was great to see you guys again and it was a lot of fun.   Thanks

5/3/21 @ 7:20 PM
John Andrew
USER SINCE 8/10/09

May 1-2-3,  2021.

Beautiful weather and lots of fish.

Reports of fish being caught for the past 3 weeks have been coming in to myself from all over northern Wisconsin.

This was a fantastic Game Fish opener. Some caught big Walleye, we caught numbers and numbers of smaller Walleye. These clients wanted fish and they caught numbers of fish. All on minnows for us and possibly best bait of choice for not just Walleye but Crappie as well.

Current areas were best for us (depending what Lake, River, Flowage) or other areas your fishing .We caught several fish from 5 to 12 ft deep and again many, many smaller fish.

Hard work but good results.

God Bless

John Andrew

5/3/21 @ 1:50 PM

We hit a couple lakes this weekend. Did fairly well Saturday morning but struggled Saturday night. We caught walleyes ,northerns and a couple smallmouths. Of course the northerns we really active. I was really disappointed to see the lack of respect between boaters. Their would be guys anchored and boats would fly by full speed 15 feet from the other boats. One old guy was in a 12 foot flat bottom boat anchored 20 feet from shore and guys were going full throttle between him and shore needless to say their was lots of swear words everytime it happened.  

5/2/21 @ 10:23 AM
Fishin fam
USER SINCE 10/18/20

Found some 50 deg + water temps. Small northerns and a walleye. All fish were a jig and a minnow less than 12’ of water. 

5/2/21 @ 9:00 AM
USER SINCE 3/29/20

Got out yesterday for awhile fishing crappie and walleye crappie were not biting heavy but were biting nonetheless ended up getting 15 nice crappie between 10 and 13 Inches on crappie minnows and slip bobbers and walleye on jig and minnows all fish came from 5 feet of water or less 

5/1/21 @ 10:30 PM

Got out today in the afternoon on a local lake. Just wasn't ready yet. Crappies and bluegills not very active. Did get a bass and a couple of pike between us though. Nice once the wind died down. We were in a canoe. Looks like it'll be a week or so yet on this lake, then things should get really good. 

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