August was a month for trophies, and the inland bass fisheries of Vilas and Oneida County showcased its world class fishing for monster smallmouth bass. For the first time all season fish locations and behaviors were predictable. Despite lake surface temperatures ranging from 75-80 for the first half of the month, we finally had great weather and consistency. With great weather comes bigger and longer feeding windows, patterns that last several days, and awesome fishing. Finally, for the first time all season I can openly say that the fishing was the best its been all year! My guests and I fished a variety of lakes this month, ranging in size from 80 acre ponds to flowages, and the largest waterbodies in Vilas County. Each lake is unique that they are all fished for bass differently, and none fish the same. Some are nothing but action while others have trophies only or are somewhere in between. With all of this available it’s impossible to get bored with bass fishing in the Minocqua region.
Hello readers and anglers, thank you for following my pursuit of the northwoods bass during the month of July. It was a month filled with travel and adventure. First week of July, I traveled to Rainy Lake Ontario, to fish smallmouths and multi-species with Camp Narrows Lodge, located at the northwest arm of Rainy Lake. From Minocqua, it’s a 6-hour drive where one can experience some of the best fishing in all of North America for smallmouth bass, walleyes, and northern pike. After Rainy lake, for the rest of the month I enjoyed the paradise of largemouth and smallmouth bass the Minocqua region offers. Fishing in July required fishing early and late. Feeding windows varied lake by lake, however 7-9am and 6-8pm seemed most constant, even though the fishing inconsistent due to heat and many tree-knocking storms and monsoons. The heat wave we had from 7/17-7/24 took a toll on many area lakes as surface temperatures reached as high as 85 degrees.
June was an interesting month of fishing. Inconsistent weather, coupled with mayfly hatches, busy boat traffic on some days, plus short feeding windows and lack of fish activity made June bass fishing a challenge. Like all problems we face on the water, there are often solutions. My boat succeeded, but fell far below my high standards. We have officially entered the early summer period. Bass are recovering from post-spawn and feeding more frequently. Water temperatures on our Vilas and Oneida county lakes are anywhere in the range from 68 to 72 degrees, though it may vary by lake size and depth, and clarity. In June there weren’t many obvious bass patterns. Mayfly hatches, the early and much prolonged bass spawn, marine repairs for the Ranger, and bad weather forced me to explore new waters, fish places that I normally wouldn’t visit this time of year, try new locations, and experiment with presentations I am not accustomed to.
What another wet and wild month of May, 2016 it was! The weather was lousy, but bass fishing good enough. Thank goodness the season started! Now rain, please go away. It rained 4 inches on us in Minocqua last week. Last month I had the privilege of fishing throughout the northwoods from May 14th through the 31st. Being my first season of operation, I would like to personally thank all friends and guests who joined me aboard my vessel thus far in 2016. I’m glad to fish with, and host, a number of different great people, and instruct and share knowledge with bass anglers of all skill levels. I look forward to scheduling outings with new anglers as 2016 rolls on. In the last few weeks northern Wisconsin avoided a spring season altogether, as in one week we went from 30 degree snow showers to 80 degree sun. Summer already happened, and it took place on a Wednesday this year. In consequence, water temperatures rose from 48 degrees on May 13th, to as high as 65 degrees by May 21st. This resulted in one of the most difficult and lethargic bass fishing bites I had ever encountered.
Spring bass fishing has always been personally challenging, engaging, and exciting for myself and guests throughout the years. More heavyweights tipping the scales between 4 and 8 lbs. are caught and released in May and early June than most months combined. Catching them consistently however, isn't easy. While their movements from ice out to pre-spawn are generally predictable, it's usually the unpredictable weather and water temperatures that's throwing curveballs our way. This winter was mild and tolerable, but spring, despite an early ice-out, has been meaner and colder. I anticipate a cold spring season that will last until Memorial Day weekend. This could undoubtedly slow the fishing. There are no shortcuts to consistently catching trophy northwoods bass in spring, but there are certain strategies and methods you can implement to improve your success. The most important order of business is to spend most of your time fishing the right waters.
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