We are already past the summer's Fourth of July milestone and things are moving quickly. It never fails to amaze me how fast time flies. With that said, hopefully everyone is enjoying some great summer fun with family and friends. Fishing in the area continues to be great. We have started to see some slower days, but ultimately fishing remains consistent. The slower days, true to nature, usually happen right after a change in the weather. It may be inconsistent popcorn thunderstorms and/or rain. Or it may be a crazy switch in the wind that drops or raises air temperatures. There’s a lot to be said about barometric swings, but truth be told, you’re not going to catch anything if you don't get out. Area waters are now packed with recreational users, so be cautious/courteous of others and stay safe out there.
Here is our report:
Off the Twin Ports on Lake Superior has most anglers cruising 8-12 miles out from the entries. It is key to find not only mudline transitions but also temperature divides. Fish are starting to transition over deeper waters, but don’t overlook shallow, near-shore areas. Dipsey Divers, copper line and/or downriggers are starting to make sense with the warming temperatures. Flasher-fly combos with or without meat are taking a few fish, as well as bright colored stick baits. Most catches are happening over 80-150 feet of water. Mostly lake trout, but some are still mixing in a few coho salmon. Chequamegon Bay areas are continuing to catch some nice smallmouth bass, pike and walleye in the sloughs throughout the Ashland area.
The St. Louis River has some colored mudlines throughout the system, mostly down-current of red clay areas. These areas still hold fish, but it is important to utilize baits that emit noise and good vibration. Anglers are still catching some nice walleyes in all sections of the river. We have noticed fresh leech hatches and good shiner runs in some select areas. These are the areas we like to fish. We’re still getting fish jigging channel edges, but most success has come in the form of trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits over flats in 3-8 feet of water.
Inland waters are seeing the most diverse water temperatures. Finding areas that have inlets are producing a nice mixed bag of walleye, panfish, pike and bass. Simple jig and a 1/3 nightcrawler will boast a great multispecies day on any inland lake. Best times of day to fish are early mornings and later afternoons into evenings. For those ambitious enough to fish overnights, you are going to find success. It can be super-duper fun fishing topwater baits in the dark! Let's also not forget walleyes are nocturnal and can feed aggressively under the stars, especially in clear water lakes and rivers. Night trolling and light-up bobber fishing is in the very early stages, but look for this bite to pick up as we move further into summer. A side-note: Make sure all proper vessel lighting is intact. And remember to bring the bug spray as the pesky critters are now out in full force. Be safe out there.
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.