It’s the eve of the Wisconsin Fishing Opener, and I’ve been in typical panic mode over the past week trying to tie up loose ends before things get into full swing. Cutting firewood for next winter, making jigs, and preparing equipment chewed up most of my time, but I was able to get out with Terry to do a little crappy scouting early in the week on the back end of the nasty cold front we had. We found a few willing fish in 5′ – 6′ of water using plastics and slip bobber presentations, but the bite was anything but hot. Strong NE winds persisted and water temps were in the low 50’s in most areas we looked. Of course I had scheduled all of my projects for later in the week when the weather warmed up. That’s about right… We had temps in the 90’s today across northern Wisconsin, and it felt more like mid August than early May. Hard to believe that three years ago we still had a foot of ice on our lakes!
Last year I had the pleasure and honor of checking fyke nets with Hayward Fisheries Biologist Max Wolters and his crew. I missed out this year, but Terry Peterson was able to tag along last week and helped check nets on one of the Hayward area lakes with Max, Russ Warwick and Scott Braden. This is a busy time of year for these guys as they collect data on as many lakes as possible to help with fish population estimates and long term planning for regulations and policies. Max’s pro active approach to fisheries management along with cooperation from local anglers and organizations has me very optimistic about the future of our lakes. This is a hard working bunch of guys that has the best interest of the resource in mind. We have new regulations regarding fish limits on many of our local waters this season, and I encourage all of you to check the DNR postings at the boat landings or go to their website to see if any changes have been made on the lakes you fish. Big thanks to Max, Russ, and Scott for all you do. Hope I run into one of those walleyes you’re holding up!
Terry was able to sneak out for a short trip at the end of the week, and he brought along our friend Larry Cowley from Hayward. They only fished for an hour and a half, but the bite was on. Larry landed his personal best, a 14 1/4″ slab that was released after a few photos. Congratulations Uncle Larry. What a great fish! For all of you that will be hitting the inland waters this weekend, I would expect to find walleyes and pike in post spawn mode near spawning areas with smallmouth and crappies on a pre spawn bite just starting to move shallow. Good luck out there everyone, and have a great opener. Away we go!!!