The 2020 Opener is in the books and while not a great opener, it could be deemed pretty darn good, all things considered. While the Covid issue kept some people away, and the closing of the Lac Du Flambeau Reservation landings sent anglers to other bodies of water, we didn’t have to face ice for the first time in three openers and the weather wasn’t too cold, though somewhat windy.
Walleye: Good-Very Good – Depending on lake type and time of day. Walleyes on small to mid-sized lakes (1,000 acres or less) and flowages were either completely done with the spawn or just finishing up. Jig and minnow combos ruled the daytime bites; while casting shallow running stick baits (Rattlin Rouges, Floating Rapalas and Jr. Thundersticks) was the best for nighttime anglers wading the shores. On the larger lakes, spawning just kicking in over the weekend, but will probably run its course quickly. Cast 4-6” chubs along gravel reefs of 6-12’; early mornings, evening and after dark best. Forecast for cold nights (upper 20’s) and highs of 40-50 degrees will stretch the post spawn bite out for a while. Great time to work emerging weeds with weedless jigs and large fats best.
Crappie: Good – The cold nights have kept the Crappies at bay (literally) until afternoons when they move into warming shallows to help with egg production. AM anglers finding Crappies in 8-12’ soaking small minnows or Mini-mites under slip-floats. In the afternoons, tail hook small minnows under float with not split shot to allow minnow to slowly struggle against hook in and around shallow wood. Some real trophy Crappies of 15-15¾“ were caught AND released using this method.
Northern Pike: Good – Not many anglers targeting, but Pike working weedy flats feeding on Perch recovering from spawn. Black chub on a weedless jig tied to a light wire leader best in morning. As surface temps increase in afternoon, cover more water with shallow stick bait or 4” swim bait.
Largemouth Bass: Good – anglers have been working shallow bays with dark bottoms that hold the heat from the afternoon sun. Jig and subtle trailer best, though 3-4” stick baits (X-Raps, Husky Jerks and Thunder sticks) producing also. 3” swim baits and smaller plastics (Wacky worms, Ned rigs) also producing.
Yellow Perch: Good – Not much being targeted, but nice Perch working shallow weed flats looking to fill their bellies after the spawn. Medium fats or medium leeches on a 1/32 – 1/16 oz jig has been working well.
Smallmouth Bass: Good – Catch and Release only until June 20th, but nice Smallies hitting X-Raps over 10-14’ off breaks leading to what, in a couple weeks, will be spawning areas of gravel and rock in 2-4’.
Bluegill: Fair? – Not many reports as anglers have set their sights on larger game. Some reports of Gills warming themselves in shallow on sunny afternoons.
Water temps running upper 30's-low 40's (TROUT) to low-mid 50's most other bodies.
With the Covid could still looming over us, it was good to see people getting outside and enjoying fishing and the outdoors in general. Please use precautions and good judgement to remain safe and healthy.