Well, I guess the fire danger in the North Woods is over after last weekend. Multiple days of rain can do that for us. 

Once again, the lakes are high — very high. The water temperature has dropped significantly, and it will take a while to get back to where it was a week ago. These last few springs seem to have that up-and-down temperature pattern, and it can be tough on the spawning fish. 

Look for a few gravel landings to be washed out and for that high water everywhere. The Wisconsin River also is at a high level and has a lot of current as they are trying to drop the Chain of Lakes down a little. This will make the river hard to fish.

Walleye are hitting throughout the area, with the spawn basically over everywhere. Fortunately, the spawn happened on the Chain before these last two severe cold fronts. What we would like to see now is some warmer water for weed growth. Last year, the water stayed so cold in the spring that a lot of weed growth was severely limited. Many lakes simply did not have a lot of weeds. Walleye love to feed in the emergent weeds at this time of year, but right now seem to be just holding in deeper water. This makes daytime fishing tougher. Jigs and minnows remain the best bait for them now. If you are fishing in the evening, it is worth fishing the shorelines, but look for the holes on the Chain during the daytime. Cover such as cribs or boathouses also will hold fish. It seems that mostly smaller males are feeding the best, but the females will recover and start hitting soon. With the dams open now, also check the current areas on the Chain.

Bass fishing is just starting everywhere up here, but this cold weather also has interrupted this bite. Larger female smallies will often cruise shorelines feeding at this time, but remember that you can’t keep them until June 15. It seems a bit early for largemouths, and we haven’t heard much about them yet though their season is open.

Northerns are hitting well now, and if you can find weeds you will find there are fish feeding in them. Mostly the smaller males are active now, but a few big females have been reported. Use a spoon, such as Doctor Spoons, for these fish now. Big chubs are the best live bait for them.

Muskie season will open this Saturday, May 25, and as usual it is hard to figure out what will happen. As with other fish, the smaller males will be more active in the beginning. Small bucktails or twitch baits will work well. For good action on the Chain, try some small Suick baits.

Panfish action also has been affected by the cold fronts. Crappies were starting to move into the shallows to spawn, but have been chased out by the drop in water temps. This is not good, and when it happens repeatedly some of these fish will simply not spawn. As it warms, look for these fish in the warmest bays on the lakes. Bluegills were even starting to move up into the shallows, but were repulsed by the cold. They are the last fish to spawn and will be up in a week or so. Worms work best for the ’gills, and small minnows for the crappies.

Hang on, spring will come sooner or later.

Good luck and good fishin’.