We are certainly into the midsummer doldrums now, with a lot of boat traffic but not a lot of good fishing, according to reports from anglers and guides. 

It has been a strange year, with the cold of the spring followed by the extreme warmth we’re getting now. The water temperatures are now in the 70s and heading toward the 80s on many lakes. That’s great for the swimmers and water users, but not so great for the anglers. For the most part, fish are either in the deeper, cooler water or in the weeds.

Water levels remain reasonably high despite the lack of rain in the Eagle River area. The tiny thunderstorms that last five minutes don’t really add to the water table. There are a lot of bugs now, which seems to happen more on these warm years. Take repellent along for your trips to the woods or on the water. Pack sunscreen also, as time on the water can really fry you.

Walleye fishing has been OK for this time of year. On the Chain of Lakes, there are two patterns: either in the weeds for cover or in the holes for cooler water and to escape the boat traffic. All types of live bait are working now, with leeches, minnows and crawlers getting about the same reaction. Use one-eighth ounce or even one-sixteenth ounce jigs in the weeds, with evenings and early mornings working best. Try one-eighth ounce jigs when fishing the holes. The larger, deeper lakes are producing some decent fish in the weeds and on the drop-offs near the weeds and rock bars. 

Bass fishing is great right now, especially for largemouths. They are warm-water fish anyhow, so this weather doesn’t bother them at all. All bait types are working, with spinnerbaits and surface baits doing quite well now. Plastics have been working well also, and try different colors as they seem to be quite color selective now. Smallies are deeper and usually near hard-bottom areas. Crayfish imitations work very well now, as that is their main food source. Try bouncing red or brown crankbaits off the rocks in 6 to 12 feet of water on lakes like Butternut or Big Portage.

Northerns are in the weeds of all depths feeding. You can catch them on live bait (bigger minnows) or artificials like Mepps or Johnson Silver Minnows in good numbers on lakes like Anvil and Boot.

Muskie fishing is better now than it was this spring, but for some reason it just doesn’t “feel right” to our league anglers this year. The numbers seem to be down. It is the time of the year for surface baits, and for the deep-running plastics for those suspended fish.

Panfishing is good now, with the crappies providing good action in the weeds. They seem to be moving from spot to spot daily, so move around for them. Best bait is either minnows or Mini Mites. Bluegills are in the weeds for the summer and perch are in the deeper weeds. You will find good panfish action on almost all our lakes.

Time to be on or in the water!

Good luck and good fishin’.