Jarrid Houston column: No dog-days slowdown yet in Northland fishing
Go earlier, go later, but fishing remains hot for several species.
As I write this report, it is currently very humid and pushing 90 degrees. Anyone that knows me knows I am not built for this kind of heat. So fortunately, I am done working for the day and typing this up in the cool AC with a cup of ice-cold seltzer water.
Fishing in the area has been good and the weather has been clear for the most part. We are now starting to notice the sunset times are getting earlier and the over nights are just starting to dip into the cool temperatures. In other words, welcome to August. This is arguably the warmest and slowest time of year for fishing. Some have heard us talk about it and many avid anglers call this time of year the dog days of summer. But fishing for us has continued to be good.
Let's spill the beans on our local fishing report.
Lake Superior anglers have been busy trolling deeper waters and getting some lake trout to go. Some anglers are even getting a few king salmon as they have started showing up over the past week. Lake Superior does not produce big salmon like ones you might find in Lake Michigan, but occasionally, a lucky angler gets blessed with success.
Fish have been coming boatside on many different techniques, but long lining lead or using downriggers have been best. Bright colors continue to be best and it pays to load up lures with meat for scent if possible. If you don't have any smelt or other type of cutbait, try spraying on some Dr. Juice.
The walleye angling is starting to get more popular now that we have crossed into August, especially along the South Shore. Trolling stickbaits behind off-shore planer boards will be the best attack, but boards are not always needed. I prefer long lining without boards if I can help it.
Lake Superior walleye fishing will get busy the next several weeks with several local and out-of-town anglers competing in the upcoming AIM Walleye Tournament in the Twin Ports on Aug. 19-20.
In Chequamegon Bay, anglers are finding plenty of smallmouth opportunities by rip-jigging plastics in and around the 20-foot mark. Don't be surprised to run into a few bonus pike and walleyes along the way.
St. Louis River fishing continues to be on the quieter side of things as fishing has not been great the last few weeks. At some point we should start to ramp up another walleye bite that will take us into the fall, but it just hasn't happened yet. You can still get some fish if you concentrate on wind driven areas over 8- to 10-foot flats. Trolling stick baits is still the go-to. It also pays to get out early or stay late.
Catfish seem to still be going strong, as well as smallmouth in the upper sections. Fan-casting spinner baits and boot-tail plastics skirted up will turn a few fish. The muskie anglers have been present, but we have not heard of a lot of success.
Inland lakes north of Duluth have been going good for great mixed species by using live bait. Same goes for most inland waters of Northwestern Wisconsin. Minnows have been taking some fish, but leeches and worms have been better. Similar to the river, concentrating your efforts in the early mornings or later evenings has been best. Best bites have been coming from the 16- to 22-foot transitions as well as the midlake reefs.
Another tip: Pay attention to the wind. Wind driven shorelines can be money during these hot days. Bass anglers have been doing well casting thick bodied crank baits at structured shorelines. Anything that has shade is a good spot to target.
As far as panfishing goes, it has been hard to go wrong. Rockbass, sunfish and a few perch and crappies have been going in 10-foot vegetative areas. As always, it's hard to beat a float over live bait. But I prefer small, 1/16-ounce jigs and plastics.
Rock 'n' roll, anglers, and we will see you on the water.
Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide ( houstonsguideservice.com ) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.