Northwoods Fising Report: Late June
Summer in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is off to a fantastic start. The weather has been great and the fishing has been great as well. We are so fortunate as we have so many lakes to fish. We don't get a ton of wind up here, but if we do get a windy day there is always somewhere to fish.
The huge number of lakes we have in Oneida and Vilas County makes our area one of the best places in the US to fish and relax. Shameless plug here but not only the beautiful Northwoods is a top draw for people to visit but The Musky Shop truly is a destination stop. We get visitors from all across the US and the world actually that make The Musky Shop their travel destination. We are the World's Largest Musky Shop and located in the heart of Musky County. We see people all the time taking their picture in front of our Musky Shop sign. So, if you're thinking of a place to travel to on your next adventure plan a trip to The Musky Shop and enjoy our business and great fishing the Minocqua area has to offer.
When planning your trip one suggestion to help narrow the learning curve is to connect with one of our Guides. They are all super knowledgeable and are always on top of the bite and their locations.
Quick story, a gentleman and his family have had a place on an area lake for approximately 20 years. They have never caught a Musky on their lake. So, they decided to hire a guide and booked Al Frost. Frosty has been guiding Muskies for 30 plus years and has a vast knowledge of local patterns, fish locations and movements as well as how and where to fish in the Northwoods. Al, the gentleman and his brother hit an area lake and had a great day. They caught one Musky, saw several others including one giant Musky in addition to that they caught a Walleye on a bucktail and approximately 20 nice Northern Pike. The gentleman and his brother learned a lot in the guide trip with Frosty that they now feel confident that they can go out on their lake and be successful.
Another thing to consider is sometimes it's a hassle to pull your boat on vacation and pay for gas and all so something to consider would be connecting with one or a few of our fishing guides. Save the hassle, hop in and go fishing, sounds like a plan to me!
Like I mentioned earlier, fishing has been outstanding. Crappies have been in that 7'-9' range in weed cover or wood. Our guides and staff member Fred Palermo is always hooked up on where the Crappies are at. Freddie continually follows their locations throughout the fishing season. Crappie Scrubs has been the go-to for Fred and his clients. Fred also follows all species including muskies throughout the season.
Walleyes have been mostly located near weeds and structural edges and out off of the edges. Deep weeds, deep sand and rock are holding eyes as they look for any type of forage in or near weeds, sand grass, sand and gravel bottoms: Size #5 through size #11 Rapalas have been great along with Rip N Raps, Jig N Raps, Scatter Raps .
Don't forget your tools as you hit the water, but our guides have all of that stuff if you're hopping in with them. We carry an array of Rapala branded tools including folding rulers, 11” long reach pliers, split ring pliers, and double-sided hook sharpeners, to make sure you’re prepared.
Muskies have been quite active as we have been hearing a lot of great reports. One of our guides Doug Smith is having an outstanding start to the season. Doug "Big Ticket" and his clients have boated many muskies thus far including a few upper 40" fish. Big Ticket has been guiding for many years and he specializes in Trophy Hunts. Doug can and will guide for all species but his passion is the LARGEST fish in the lake and he is very successful at it. As you know musky fishing can take some patience but if one of your passions or goals is a large musky, Big Ticket is your guy. All of our guides are quite capable of putting you on big fish but Doug in particular has a ton of experience and knowledge when it comes chasing and catching True Trophy Muskies.
The majority of Muskies have been locating from shoreline structure out to the first weed edge. They are in an active mode of you will as they recover from the spawn. Currently we are having some summer type air temps in the mid 70's to mid-80's. Muskies are in their summer pattern and locations. Shoreline structure out to the first weed or structural edge. If you're not finding muskies in that area, keep your boat in the same position but cast out versus casting in as you work your way along. If still nothing then, slide out a bit and work the outer edge and just off of the drop. In my opinion if you kind of use a system to locate some skies it will really help you be successful.
The last area to consider in a summer pattern is suspended Muskellunge. During this pattern there will always be some muskies that spend most of their time out in the basins following forage. Sometimes they won't even be that deep in the water column in let's say 50' of depth. One can troll or cast in a systematic approach out in the main lake basins and boat some really nice fish. Some baits to consider for the inside fish(shoreline to the outer edge): Smity Top-Kick, Toothy Tuff Assault Eels, Restless Rider Swim Bait, and Big Fork Avitar. For targeting basin musky choose: Supernatural Big Baits, Slammer Deep Divers, or Big Bear Swim Whizzs.
Our hope is that all of the above information will help you put a plan together catch some fish when you get out fishing. If you have questions or need assistance, please feel free to stop by The Musky Shop or contact us it would be our pleasure to serve you.
"If You Don't Know Ask A Pro"
God Bless and Good Fishing, Jim Stewart