Greetings from NW Wisconsin! The smoke from wildfires out west and in Canada has created a semi permanent haze here so that even sunny days are not super bright here. The upside is some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets you have ever seen!
Fishing here in NW Wisconsin and the Hayward area is in full-on late summer mode now.
Panfish have been stacking up like cordwood on any deep wood structure like cribs and brush piles. Smallmouth bass and some stray walleyes can also be found prowling these deep haunts. A drop shot rig with a finesse plastic or half nightcrawler can be dynamite for vertical fishing these cribs.
Crappies and bluegills can also be found using outside weedlines.
They often school loosely along these deep weed edges so don’t be afraid to use your electronics out away from the thick stuff to locate suspended panfish.
A light jig tipped with a plastic or live bait is perfect for this scenario and will often get smoked on the drop.
Walleyes can be tough to locate right now as they are constantly on the move. Some of the more consistent fishing for walleyes has been found basin trolling with planer boards over open water. Troll either spinner/crawler rigs or stickbaits and don’t be afraid to troll over the deepest portions of the lake.
The walleyes will be suspended around schools of ciscos, perch and shiners so watch your electronics and concentrate on areas showing lots of bait balls. The other walleye tactic that works well right now is slip bobber fishing with leeches or crawlers on top of offshore humps in the late evening all the way into the dark. It may take a few tries before you find the right spot but once you find them the fishing can be fast and furious.
Bass fishing is still very good with lots of awesome topwater action for largemouth in pads and slop. Throw weedless frogs or rats and skim them slowly over the top of overhead cover, stopping in the pockets to twitch the bait a few times and hold on! This is one of the best ways to catch really big bass in the summertime.
Smallmouth have been holding 12′ and deeper for the most part and using deep rock and gravel, cribs and deep weeds. Drop shot fishing can be really effective in these areas for pressured bass, especially during mid-day.
During low-light periods a jig and plastic or tube dragging along the bottom is hard to beat for big smallies!
The water is still a little warm for safely releasing trout and muskies so if you do fish for them make sure to take it easy on these fish. Leave them in the water to unhook them and handle them as little as possible.
We will be tracking trout and salmon fishing and muskie fishing a little more as we move into early fall so stay tuned. Go get hooked up!