While the open water fishing season is winding down, with other options pulling sportsmen away (duck, archery, grouse etc.), those still plying the ever-cooling waters of the Northwoods are still finding success.
Cold (A.M. launch temps to 25 degrees) and wind haven’t made it easy on the late October anglers. Colder water (43 – 46 degree average) has slowed the activeness of fish, but good catches still being made.
Musky: Good – Suckers (or Trout), if you can find them are still the way to start out. More reports of pick-up and drops as the takes seem less aggressive, more tentative. Happen every year, are the fish getting “educated” as the season winds down? Strikes on gliders (Smity jerks) and jerk baits such as Suicks continue to hold up. Slow moving plastics and twitch baits. Even over depths of 15-20’+ with baits that only run 2-3’ down, picking up fish. Sucker supplies still an issue, hatchery raised Brook Trout proving to be effective, durable, somewhat attainable yet pricey. Call your bait dealers ahead to see if any suckers are on hand.
Walleye: Good – Biggest hindrance has been wind. Deep, transition areas of 22-32’ where gravel slides meet mud flats best. Chubs, suckers, large fats and even ½ crawlers on 1/4 – 3/8 oz jigs or Lindy rigs.
Crappie: Good – Best over deep wood or along coontail edges, 14-20’ suspending 2-6’ off bottom. Big Crappies will take medium fatheads suspended below slip-floats. Mark fish on locator, then get upwind, anchor up and float bait back to schools.
Northern Pike: Good – Few targeted, but being caught while fishing for other species. Most on twitch and jerks meant for Musky. Largest this week, 39”.
Bluegill: Good – Few targeting, but those that are finding fish deep, willing to take small Crappie minnows or ½ crawlers. Nice averages of 8-9” with a few 10” scattered within.
No Bass reports. Though a big 21” Smallie (C&R) caught wile slip bobber fishing for Crappies this weekend.
With water temps in mid-40’s, night time temps in upper 20’s to low 30’s, chance of a little snow by weeks end, action and participation will likely slow. Yet good catches still to be had as reports of largest Smallies, Pike and Walleyes made to shop have all come in last 10 days. Keep an eye out for weather, but don’t put your rods away quite yet!