The North Woods has had some inconsistent weather recently, making for inconsistent fishing. The water temperatures are going up and down with the weather, which causes the fish to move from spot to spot. That has been a hallmark of this year. You’ll find fish in one spot one day and then the next day they are not there.

We’ve also had a lot of rain, which has brought the lake levels up considerably. Water temperatures are back down in the 70s after the cold snap. There will be a lot of boat traffic the next few weeks, so plan your fishing trips accordingly. Evening and early mornings are the best.

Walleye fishing was both good and bad in the last week. We have had multiple reports of this “good and bad” from anglers on both the Chain of Lakes and the deeper, clear lakes. On the Chain, the fish are most likely to be near the holes in 10 to 15 feet of water during the day. The best bait on the Chain are crawlers now, with minnows in second place. On the bigger deeper lakes, anglers are still using minnows, but crawlers are also working there. Fish in the 12- to 16-foot range near or in weeds on these lakes. Evening fishing right up to dark has been better on these lakes also.

Bass fishing has been very good this year, with both smallies and largemouths providing great action. The largemouths are more a “cover” fish, using the weeds and shoreline spots like downed trees and piers as ambush spots. Plastics and surface baits, plus spinnerbaits, are all working well. Smallmouths are hitting well on most lakes. Try the 8- to 15-foot range with wacky worms or other plastics. Some of the crankbaits with red or brown colors also work well. For live bait, use jumbo leeches for the smallies.

Northerns, as usual, are working the weeds for prey and can be caught easily with sucker minnows or artificials that have flash or noise. This includes surface baits. If you know of lakes that have some deeper grass weeds, try these areas.

Muskie action has been very inconsistent this year, with a slow start to the season due to a late spawn. That colder water this spring hurt this fishing early. There are a lot of suspended fish now, and the development of a strong thermocline has meant you can crankbait or throw large plastics to these fish. Night fishing for muskies has been pretty good this year, with good action from 7 to 11 p.m. on most nights. Bucktails or surface baits are best at this time period.

Panfish action has been pretty good for bluegills, which are located in any weed area with sufficient cover. Worms are best for the ’gills. Crappie action has been less consistent, as the crappies are moving on what seems to be a daily basis. Mini Mites or crappie minnows are working best. Perch are in the deeper weeds.

Good luck and good fishin’.