The North Woods has had a warm-up from several weeks ago and it has made for much more pleasant fishing conditions. 

In fact, it has been so warm that the water temperatures have actually gone up in the last week by 2 to 7 degrees on our lakes. This has made for an improvement in the muskie fishing on almost all lakes in the area. Water temps are now back to between 40 and 45 degrees.

We’re now in the late fall period. The leaves are all gone except on the oak trees, the water levels remain high, and even when the days are warm and the nights are relatively cold. The late fall muskie anglers are happy with the pleasant weather change.

Muskie fishing has improved a lot in the last few days, as the water temps have stabilized and even gone up a bit. Before that, the fish were, I think, night feeding with the full moon and this produced bad daytime fishing. Also, the precipitous drop in the water temps was not good for the muskie anglers. Suckers are working very well now and will for the rest of the season, which ends on Nov. 30. Jerk baits and slow-moving crank baits which imitate suckers are working well. That’s the old “match the hatch” idea. It should be a very good period for the next several weeks unless we get another bad cold front. The next big thing to look forward to is the cisco spawn, which can provide some great late fall muskie fishing.

Walleye fishing remains very good. Jigs and minnows are now the best bait without exception. On the Eagle River Chain, the anglers are getting very good numbers of fish in the holes and a few big fish are being caught in those holes.Yellow Birch, Eagle, Catfish and Cranberry lakes all have been producing good fish in the holes. Current is gone from the river now, so the lake fishing is better than the river. On the bigger lakes, the usual edge fishing from 15 to 30 feet has been increasingly productive. Larger minnows are working well, and the best advice for anglers is to try some of that deeper water off the edge. 

Bass fishing is almost nonexistent, as 99% of our anglers are fishing muskie or walleye. There are some bass being caught in the weeds by the few bass nuts. Plastics are by far the best at this time of year. A few smallies are also being caught by both the walleye and the muskie anglers. These are big fish.

Northerns up to 40 inches have been caught in the area by muskie anglers. They are even hitting the muskie suckers. If you want to try for the larger northerns, give Dam Lake a try. They are still in the weeds on all lakes.

Panfish are now basically done except for crappies. These fish are in the holes along with the walleyes and are often caught by accident. They are usually in tight schools in those holes. We see a very few perch anglers also fishing in the weeds. We assume that unless they are insane, they are getting some perch.

It’s time to think about putting the boat away and start getting ready for the ice fishing season.

Good luck and good fishin’.