Opportunities are abundant right now in northern Wisconsin, and typical late spring patterns are starting to set up for all species. I fished out of Angler’s Haven on Monday and had a fun bunch of guys in some interesting weather conditions. Paul Jacobsma (Omaha, NE) and Mike Burrill (Iowa City, IA) had the a.m. shift and definitely drew the short straw as we were peppered with rain and 30 mph NE wind gusts throughout the morning. Yuck! Just finding spots to fish was difficult, but Paul and Mike rolled with it. We were able to put a few pike up to 30″ and small bass in the net on minnows and leeches, but the struggle was definitely real as we worked new weed growth in 12′ – 15′. It was a classic situation of making lemonade out of lemons, and we made the best out of a nasty situation. Paul and Mike were great sports though and fished through it honorably. In the afternoon their friends Tyler Wurst and Josh Markward from Chicago, IL took over, and the weather started to break. Winds calmed and a little bit of sun helped us site fish spawning smallies in 4′ – 6′ of water. This was new to Tyler and Josh, and it was fun watching them get the hang of it as they landed some really good fish up to 21″ on jigs and plastics. Water temps held in the low 60’s throughout the day. I’m curious to hear who won the MVP of the trip fellas, and please leave that banana in your cabin next time Paul!
 

WI Smallie
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I don’t like to play favorites, but I’d be lying if I said that George Hollow (Elmhurst, IL) and Wilbur Mennell (Warrenville, IL) weren’t two guys that I always look forward to seeing. They arrived on Tuesday for a three day trip, and we kicked things off fishing walleyes in the Hayward area. Northwest winds and high skies pushed out gross weather from the previous few days, and we found some happy eyeballs up to 18″ in 4′ – 6′ of water and new weed growth on minnows and leeches. Wilbur even put a couple of impressive pike in the net including a fat 36″ fish that couldn’t resist a jig and minnow. George was really happy for him… Water temps were 63 – 64 degrees, and it was a great start to a fun trip with some awesome guys.
 

Hayward northern pike
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Wednesday was dedicated to smallmouth, and we spent the day around the Hayward area. It was a spectacular morning as we stumbled into a mayfly hatch with our first top water action of the year happening. Fish were surfacing and boiling everywhere as we tossed poppers and slow sinking plastics to them in 5′ – 10′ of water. We had steady action until noon and boated several nice fish up to 20″. After lunch flat conditions and high skies slowed the top water bite, but we were able to site fish and did really well catching all of the big smallies we could handle in 2′ – 10′ of water on jigs and plastics. It was one of those “I wish every day could be like this…” kind of days with perfect temps and lots of hungry fish. Water temps started to climb into the mid 60’s. Wilbur and George put on a clinic, and I was more than happy to help with the net!
 

WI bronzeback
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All good things come to an end, we decided to begin Thursday looking for walleyes. The first lake we tried was a dud with only small pike and largemouth cooperating. Lake #2 provided better results though… George landed a nice 20″ walleye and Wilbur put a fat 18″ smallmouth in the net at our first spot along a weed line in 15′ of water on minnows and leeches. After lunch we switched our focus to smallmouth and had perfect conditions to site fish with flat water and sunny skies. They were cooperative, and we wore em out using jigs and plastics landing a bunch of nice fish up to 20″ in 2′ – 10′ of water. Again… Why can’t every day be like this??? Water temps were 65 degrees at the end of the day. After lots of laughs and lots of fish, I hated to see it end. Unfortunately Wilbur has turned into a top water snob, so he may be a bit difficult to deal with in the future… Keep him honest George!
 

Wisconsin Smallmouth
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My good friends Greg and Geralyn Miller from The Hunt were back in the Hayward area for their annual vacation, and we spent Friday searching for walleyes. Geralyn “The Walleye Queen” wouldn’t have it any other way, and she didn’t disappoint as we found plenty of fish up to 18″ in 4′- 6′ of water and weeds. They wanted nothing to do with leeches, but the jig and minnow bite was hot. The Queen was at her best and figured out the weed jigging presentation like a champ. Approaching thunderstorms shortened our day, but not before the Miller gang gave plenty of fish some sore mouths including a couple of bonus 18″ smallmouth landed by Greg. If there’s a smallmouth swimming, he’ll catch it! Water temps hit 70 degrees in some spots on a warm day with south winds. Perfect conditions. Geralyn has definitely mastered the jig & minnow presentation, and that’s some bad news for any walleyes swimming… Excellent performance as always Millers. Good times and good stuff!
 

Big thanks to Matt & Damon at Hayward Power Sports and Craig Toycen at Bloomer Ford for keeping me on the water this week. These guys are incredible, and you need to check them out. Their customer service is priceless and beyond expectations. I can’t thank you enough fellas!
 

Jeff Evans
jeffevansfishing.com