This has been one of the latest and weirdest starts to spring I’ve experienced. Water temperatures have once again slipped back into the low 50s, prolonging some patterns. It’s not all bad, as the walleye continue to roam around predictable spring fishing grounds. The only thing to really complain about is the weather. I mean, snow on May 19? Last week’s repeated northeast winds really kept temperatures down.
With all that said, we still have lots to look forward to as far as spring fishing. Soon enough, walleyes will be slipping into deeper transitional waters and panfish and bass will come up into the shallows to start colonizing beds. We’re starting to see new vegetation growing. Old-timers will argue the fishing gets really good when “X, Y & Z” plants life comes to life. Many times, it’s probably a coincidence. But always interesting.
Lake Superior (as well as most waters of the area) has seen a decrease in boat traffic this last week. Brutal winds have kept most big lake anglers at bay. Mudlines are now reaching many stretches of the South Shore. Salmon can still be found long lining stick baits. Smelting harvest for the most part has come to a close. Stream anglers have also been sidelined with the high, fast and dirty water. Look for fishing to pick up this next week as water clarity improves and flow decreases.
About the only boats out on the St. Louis River last weekend were members of the Twin Ports Walleye Association battling it out for the prestigious Berg Cup. Weather and wind was so bad last Sunday that they moved the start to any point on the river the anglers choose. Fishing has been decent as we continue to see many males still emitting spawning fluids. Lots of tactics are working, but crankbaits with the right size and colors have been especially important. With the recent rains and northeast winds of the Gitch, the water is high, fast and dirty. Bring along some rubber boots as there is a good chance you may need them at the launches throughout the estuary. Also, be cautious as you navigate because there is a good amount of lumber and other debris floating.
Inland lakes are starting to see more activity. Especially from lake residents putting in docks, swimming rafts and launching boats, etc. We are still waiting for bass and panfish to make their beds. Fish are mostly being found on mid-depth pencil reeds and other dead vegetation. Slip bobbers with worm chunks are taking some nice fish. Crappies are schooled up and are also susceptible to live bait under a float. Pike continue to take casted spinner baits and stick baits. Husky Jerks are a fun way to tangle with some pike. The walleye bite has been best with drifting and/or jigging a minnow in the 5-15 feet of water. Start shallow and work deeper.
For Wisconsin waters, muskies are now fair game; the season starts Saturday in Minnesota.