Leading up to Memorial Day weekend, the North Woods experienced another roller coaster weather pattern with cold spring temperatures.

Water levels are high and the weeds are coming, but a little lower than usual due to the cold temps. They’ll come sooner than later. 

Walleye fishing has been good, especially on the Chain of Lakes. The fish are either in the weeds (most fish) or in the holes. There have been some nice-sized fish caught in the last week in both places. As always, the best rigs are jigs and minnows. A number of anglers have also experienced good luck with slip-bobbers and minnows in the weeds. On the larger lakes, things are just a week or so behind the smaller, darker lakes. A few anglers have reported luck with floating Rapalas twitched over those emergent weeds, especially in the evenings. Try Cranberry, Catfish and Otter lakes.

Bass fishing was slowed by the cold fronts, but the fish are back to their spawning activities as it has warmed this week. The smallies are on the harder-bottom shorelines and will be there for a while. Smallies are catch and release until June 19. They come much earlier on the darker lakes, and may already be done on some of the shallower lakes. Move deeper to try for post-spawn fish in rocky areas, with jigs and leeches. For largemouths, try the bullrushes and heavy-cover in the shallows for the spawning fish. Surface baits can work very well. Crawlers will work for them, but quite often the bluegills will beat them to the bait.

Northerns are, as usual, hitting well in the weedy areas. Try Mepps, Johnson Silver Minnows, or Daredevils. For live bait, larger minnows will work best under a slip bobber.

Muskie fishing just opened last weekend, and the fishing was a little slow as they were put off by the cold water temps. The smaller of the species (males) become active sooner than the larger females, as they are recovering from the spawn. Generally, we use smaller baits in the spring. Try some No. 5 Mepps for them. Bucher Baby Tails and small Suicks have also worked well.

Panfish are around the shallows. The crappies have had a tough spring, with the cold fronts chasing them out of the shallows repeatedly. They should be back this week and hitting well in the shallow weeds and structure. Small crappie minnows or baits like the Cubbies or small Twister Tails work well at this time. Bluegills will be on the shorelines very soon. Worms or waxies work well for them. Perch are in the weeds, but a little deeper in those weeds. They have been hitting small leeches well.

What a great time to be fishing, with all these spawning fish so available on the shorelines.

Good luck and good fishin’.