Shermann Steffens of Eagle River caught this 40-inch-plus northern while fishing on a Forest County trout stream. —Contributed Photo
Shermann Steffens of Eagle River caught this 40-inch-plus northern while fishing on a Forest County trout stream. —Contributed Photo
It’s August already and the summer goes by so quickly each year. Water temperatures are now down in the 70s and dropping, but don’t be fooled. The North Woods could still get an extended warm spell which would move those temps up again.

The North has had some rain, but the water levels are dropping. Weeds are still much less than last year, and those that you can find are starting — just starting — to get a little slimy and brown in the shallow areas. All in all, we are in the midsummer slow pattern.

Walleye fishing remains inconsistent, with both good and bad reports coming in daily. Most of that population seems to have moved deeper during the daytime, so you’ll have to try the deeper hole edges and the mud flats during high light periods. Most of our guides report success with jigs and crawlers in 12 feet of water or deeper on the Chain. Evening fishing is better when the fish move into the weeds as the water traffic slows down on the Chain. On the larger lakes, the same general pattern is happening with the fish on the deeper rock bars during the daytime. You can get some in the weeds in 10 to 14 feet of water on these larger, clear lakes. The best fishing is in the evenings in weeds from 6 to 12 feet of water using jigs and crawlers or minnows.

Bass fishing has slowed down some with the cooler mornings and the resultant drop in water temps. The largemouths have been pounded on most lakes this year and a good part of that population has moved slightly deeper. Good green cabbage and nice lily pads are still productive for these fish, with all bait types being effective. Smallmouths are still in somewhat deeper water relating, as always, to hard-bottom areas. Leeches are the best live bait for these fish, and for artificials, try some metal-lipped crankbaits. They are still feeding on crayfish, so try brown or red baits.

Northerns are using the weeds, both the shallow and the deep weeds. They’ll hit all types of baits with aggression even at this time of year. Try sucker minnows under slip-bobbers for good live bait results.

Muskie action has been inconsistent also, with fish both in deeper water suspended and those feeding in the weeds and hitting in short time bursts. Deeper water has in general been better than the weeds this year, especially with the fewer weeds. For larger fish, this is a good time to night fish. The action is lasting until midnight, so it is better to stay out later. Surface baits and bucktails remain the best baits for muskies.

Panfish action is good, with crappies again leading the way. The key to these fish are weeds and they have been harder to find this year. Very good size and good numbers are the norm when you do find crappies in the weeds in the 4- to 8-foot range. You’ll also get some on the cribs in 10 to 12 feet of water. Bluegills are feeding at low light, so try the evening for these fish. Worms always work for them, but some anglers report very good evening action with waxies.

Take advantage of the nice afternoons this week for good action.

Good luck and good fishin’.