If you’re into big smallmouth bass, this is the report for you. Warm weather continued to hang around in northern Wisconsin over the weekend, and there’s been no lack of rain. I have to confess that the warm temps don’t bother me even though I know that a cold blast will get the fish cranking. I think they (the fish) got impatient on Saturday… Tal and Darlene Janowitz (Franksville, WI) joined me for a half day in the Hayward area on a smallmouth bass quest. Our first fish on spot #1 was a 17″ walleye landed by Darlene, but the rest of our morning was all about bronzebacks. We had a perfect scenario with 15 mph winds rolling up on a rocky point with a nice weed edge and a crayfish binge going on. We drifted jigs and minnows over rocks in 10′ – 15′ of water and put a pile of big smallies up to 20″ in the boat that were coughing up crayfish all the way in. Our net got one heck of a workout. Every drift produced fish or opportunities, and the Janowitz crew didn’t miss many. It was about as good as a half day trip could get. Water temps held around 65 degrees on an overcast day with a bit of a chill and a stiff SE wind. Hate to say it, but the long underwear may be coming out very soon… Tal and Darlene were fantastic, and I can’t wait to have them in the boat again. I’ll see you in June gang, and way to go Bucky. Big win for our Badgers today!
We were back on the big water Sunday and dodged a bullet with the weather forecast. Nate Gove (Crystal, MN) and Bill Roth (Eden Prairie, MN) returned to fish with me on Chequamegon Bay. Wind and rain was predicted, but we were able to squeeze in one heck of a morning before things got a little nuts. Nate and Bill put a bunch of big smallies in the boat up to 21 1/4″ on minnows as we drifted over weeds in 12′ – 15′ of water. Action was steady, and these old buddies handed out plenty of sore mouths. I wasn’t surprised though. These guys know how to catch fish, and we’ve had lot’s of great days over the years. Our afternoon started out in a big way when Nate landed a massive 20″ fish at our first stop, but that would be the last bass we’d see on the day. Big winds rolled up on us, and we were forced to spend the rest of the day looking for places to hide. There weren’t many places… A few pike along weed edges kept us busy until quitting time as the winds continued to howl. Water temps were steady at 63 degrees throughout the day. Only one question remains… Who caught the most? Everything is negotiable fellas… Thanks for a great time boys. Big fish and big laughs!!!
Nasty weather was in the forecast for Monday, and it was time to break out the long underwear. Jon Schlussler must be in town… Yep! Jon (St. Paul, MN) and his pal Tim Leach (Stacy, MN) returned and brought their usual weather along. Our local weather men should seriously consider hiring these guys. Plan A was to fish Chequamegon Bay, but that wasn’t an option with the wind conditions so we headed inland and fished the Hayward area lakes. We immediately got into a bunch of nice smallies and spent the morning drifting over wind blown rock points and flats in 10′ – 15′ of water with jigs and minnows. It was a good example of making the wind work for you, and fish were stacked up in rough water. Almost every drift was productive, and the boys connected on some big brownies up to 20″. Jon even landed a couple of nice walleyes up to 20″. His favorite! If you’re looking for a walleye guy, Jon is your man! After getting beat up by the wind, we moved to another lake with little more protection to finish off the day. We drifted weed edges in 12′ – 15′ of water and ended our trip with more smallies up to 19″. Tim added a little excitement when a huge pike chased up an 18″ fish he was reeling in. The pike was big, but that meal was a bit ambitious. Pretty cool to see though… Always great to have these guys in the boat and always a lot of laughs. How about a little sunshine and warm weather next time Jon? Nice walleye buddy!!!
Bass O Rama continued on Tuesday in the Hayward area. Devin and Paul Bruening (Decorah, IA) were back and brought their friend Jake Miller (Cresco, IA). North winds with nasty rain persisted, and it’s definitely time for this weather system to get out of here. Devin and Jake were first in the boat for the am shift. Jake is new to our prorgam, but it didn’t take him long to figure things out. We tried to fish out of the wind on our at our first stop, but the bite was weird with only a few smallies and a small walleye landed. Moving into the wind was our next approach, and we found a bunch of cooperative fish as we drifted jigs and minnows over wind blown weeds and rocks in 5′ – 15′ of water. Devin and Jake put some big fish in the net including Jake’s personal best 21″ smallmouth and a really cool walleye/smallmouth double to wrap up the morning. Paul wasn’t about to let the “young guys” have all of the fun, and he joined us as we switched lakes in the afternoon. Needless to say, Paul put on a clinic and landed some magnum smallies including a 21″ monster that’s probably the largest I’ve seen out of that lake. The bite got tougher as the day went on, but this crew was up to the challenge and continued to put fish in the boat. It was another outstanding performance by a crew that I always look forward to seeing. The fall transition has set in with water temps cooling into the low 60’s, and leaves in northern Wisconsin should be at peak colors within the next couple of weeks. This is an incredible time to fish, hunt, and explore, and I’ve always wished we could have two Octobers. One is not nearly enough! I’ll be expecting some pictures of that buck Devin!