Fishing with the Guides by George Langley. Week of 5/21 to 5/28.
Cold. Windy. Raining. What a crummy bit of weather! Once again, we've been “blessed” with some really bad weather right through the beginning of this week. This bad weather dropped the water temps by as much as 10 degrees on our lakes, and for the most part shut the fishing down over the weekend. With the high water and the slowing of the weed growth, we are now really behind schedule for our bass and crappie spawns.
The lakes haven't been this high for over a decade, and the rivers and trout streams will be dealing with this water for quite a while. The good thing in this is that as of this writing the forecast for the next week or so is getting better. With water temps in the low 50's, we'll not see a lot of water skiing or tubing over the Memorial Day weekend. We will, however, see a lot of fishing.
Walleye, like all of our fish, were put off by this cold weather. Fish that were beginning to come up into the emergent weeds to feed stayed in deeper water. We did have a few reports of some shallow walleye in rock areas, but those were few and far between. The anglers who did get some walleye got them on jigs and minnows in 8 – 12' of water. As the water warms this week, we should get a material improvement in the walleye fishing.
Bass also have been slowed by this cold water, as they were coming into the shallows to build spawning beds before the cold hit. Most have moved back into areas just off where they will spawn, with very few at this point having built spawning beds. This is late this year, very late compared with past years. We'll see bass spawning well into June on many lakes. Remember that you can't keep smallies until the third weekend in June, and most conservation minded anglers will also return largemouth to spawn. We were seeing some nice large smallies cruising the shorelines feeding and scouting the spawn areas, but they have left with the cold weather.
Northerns, as usual, have been active and feeding with aggression. If you can find some green weeds, you'll find northerns feeding in these weeds. A good part of this population moved to deeper water for the duration of the cold front, but will move back in quickly. These fish are mostly caught by walleye anglers by accident, but are great fun and great for action on their own. Larger minnows or flashy baits will catch them daily.
Musky season opens this Saturday, and you will see a lot of anglers out looking for them. They will also be helped by the warmer weather this week. Most anglers will use smaller baits in the Spring for these fish – small baits, slow retrieve, shallow location. Please consider release of these fighters, and leave them be if you see them on the shorelines spawning.
Panfish action was also slowed by the cold, as many crappies stopped their spawning activities and moved close to shoreline cover or to deeper water. We were experiencing good action on the Eagle River Chain until the cold. Bluegills are the last to spawn, but were starting to hang on the shorelines until the cold front. Perch are in the weeds and were hitting well mixed in with some northerns and walleye until the cold hit.
As it warms, it should be a great week on the water.
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