Fishing Report: Mayfly hatch arrives; bass hitting well
For the Tomahawk Leader
NORTHERN WISCONSIN – The biggest change in the lakes now is that the mayfly hatch is on, and that will have an effect on the fishing for several weeks. Let’s hope that this general change to warmer weather keeps on.
There are a lot of insects hatching and the mosquitos, while a bit better, are still nasty, so take some repellant along. With high water in the marshes, we’ll be seeing a lot of mosquitoes this year.
Walleye fishing has actually been good, but this mayfly hatch will change walleye patterns significantly. If you notice any hatch, such as winged insects flying over the water or the shells of hatched ones, look for softer bottom areas to be more productive.
These mayfly emerge from mud areas and the larvae swim to the surface. This is when the fish feed on them, especially walleye. They really gorge on them, so they don’t need to be chasing minnows during the hatch.
The best bait to use during the mayfly hatch are leeches. Small leeches imitate these larvae pretty well, and can be very effective at times. This hatch generally comes a little later on the larger, colder lakes.
The whole population of walleye do not feed exclusively on mayfly, so anglers will still catch these guys on rocks and weeds using leeches or minnows on a jig. Look for the hatches, though, and fish right in the middle of them is you see one happening.
Bass fishing has been fantastic lately, with both the smallies and the largemouth in post-spawn feeding mode. The simple pattern is to look for rocks and hard bottom for the smallies and softer bottom and cover for the largemouth. Bullrushes, lily pads musky cabbage and piers all provide great cover for the largemouth. Plastics, surface baits and spinnerbaits all work very well for largemouth.
For the smallies, look for them to be moving deeper and locating in hard bottom areas. Swim baits, crankbaits and plastics work well for them, as do bigger leeches. They love crawlers also, but it is hard to fish with them because the bluegills steal them so fast.
Northerns are hitting well now, mostly in the weeds. Most northerns seem to be caught by anglers actually targeting walleye or bass. They will hit minnows well – the larger the better. As far as artificial baits, anything that will make noise or flash will work.
Musky action has gotten a slow start this year. We are seeing action on all of the typical lakes. Smaller bucktails and twitch baits seem to be working best now. As these weeds continue to come up, we’ll find more fish feeding in them.
Panfish action has been good, with the bluegills spawning now on most lakes. Look for them with worms right on the shorelines. Crappies have spawned and have moved to the weeds. Minnows or small plastics such as Mini Mites are working well. The perch are in the deeper weeds hanging with the walleye, per usual.
What a great time to be on the water. Get out there and enjoy!
Good luck and good fishin’!