Fishing Report: Fish settling into basic summer patterns

By George Langley

NORTHERN WISCONSIN – As we enter mid-summer, we’re still seeing water temperatures cooler than we’re used to at this time of the year. Despite this, the fish seem to have settled into their basic summer patterns. Weeds have been in good shape, water levels are good, and the water is busy with boaters, skiers, swimmers and jet skis. Ah, summer!

In general, you can think about bluegill and crappie in the shallows and of walleye near or in the deep holes, smallmouth on rocky points in deep water and largemouth in cover. Musky are moving around from the weeds to the deeper water, and northerns are generally weed related.

The walleye are mostly deeper now, especially on those warm and sunny days. Although minnows seem to be the favorite, many anglers will try night crawlers or leeches for these fish at this time. There’s a reason for this – they work, and you just may get some other fish, too. Bass, perch and even northerns will eat a leech or crawler. While they have mostly moved deeper, you might still find some in the shallower weeds in the evenings and early mornings before the traffic gets bad. As it gets busier and warmer on the water, you will generally find them having moved deeper, to weed edges near drop-offs. This is particularly true in the high-traffic areas. The current trend seems to be that the evenings are the best time to fish for these guys. Don’t be shy about checking those major and minor times – and be fishing right on top of those.

The panfishing has remained good since spring. Try four to six feet of water in the cabbage, even in high-traffic areas for crappie and bluegill – on the deeper end for the ‘gills and shallower for crappie. We have found Charlie Bees to be very effective. Look for the perch in the same places you find the walleye – deep weeds.

Bass fishing has been good, and you can count on finding largemouth under cover, such as docks or trees. Whopper Ploppers work for some really fun action. Large leeches are also working for the largemouth, if you prefer live bait. Smallmouth can be found in deeper water around rocks and structure. Try a Ned Rig or a tube jig for those deep smallies.

Musky are hitting, but this fishing remains slow at this time of the year. Use surface baits and/or bucktails in both weedy areas and out over deeper water. Look for nice cabbage weeds and move around those areas.

The 4th of July is over, which means the summer is going to fly by from this point forward. Be sure to get out and enjoy it while you can. It’ll be over in the blink of an eye.

Good luck and good fishin’!

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