Summer fishing is here

Capt. Luke and his son Jay with a Bay smallmouth

Capt. Luke and his son Jay with a Bay smallmouth

Water temps have finally started to climb and the fish have responded nicely.  Smallmouth are starting to really get into their post-spawn feed actively chasing shiners.  There are still plenty of fish shallow, but some real nice fish have moved into summer areas.  

Walleye fishing had been great with most fish coming on crawler harnesses, but some guys are pulling stick baits off boards as well and picking up fish. The Hex hatch is going pretty good each night, and that can make the bite tough.  

Lake Trout fishing continues to be strong in the islands with most guys starting to pretty much fish deep with spoons off downriggers, but it still pays to have some lines higher up in the water column.  As usual, smaller, "eater" sized fish are being found in the "flats."  

An often overlooked method for catching Lake Trout around here is vertical jigging.  It's actually a pretty darn simple way to get out there and catch some fish.  Use your electronics to locate bait or the fish themselves and drop down to them.  Heavy tube jigs in white have been working best, and depending on the current, you may need to go almost up to 2oz in some cases.  Work steep breaks or offshore stucture and you'll find fish and it's great fun. 

Late June

We've kind of been in a June Gloom weather pattern lately with a mix of unsettled weather that doesn't really make it feel like the end of June/Early July.  Hopefully the clouds will leave soon and the sun starts to shine again!  Water temps on the Bay range from the low to mid 60s in most places.  The smallmouth bite has still been strong with a great mix of fish up shallow and a few starting to roam around summer locations.  It pays to keep moving around to find active fish this time of year.  The aggressive post spawners are starting to feed and the fishing can be great when you can find them.  In the shallow water, it's hard to beat a soft plastic fished slow across the bottom, and in the summer spots, soft jerk baits have been picking up fish.  On the fly side, we've been throwing bigger baitfish patterns, but fishing them pretty slow.  We've got a good supply of Murdich Minnows in the shop tied up for us by Solitude Flies, and they've been working great.  

Walleye guys are finding fish at the head of the bay and back in the sloughs pulling harnesses, and a few guys have been picking up some real nice fish pulling stick baits off boards in front of Ashland in the evening and into the night.  

Trolling in the islands has been steady with guys starting to fish deep with spoons and spin n glows for Lake Trout, but there still is a mix of fish hanging up higher in the water column.  We've been out jigging for trout as well, and that's been a fun and easy way to pick up a few fish.  1 oz tube jigs with a white tube, or big white/chart. bucktail jigs have been working well.  

Early June Report

The weather has been fantastic for the past 10 days or so and the fishing has been hot.  The wind has come up pretty hard out of the SW today, so it's a good day to spend on land and regroup for the next few weeks on the water.  After dealing with some pretty dirty water through the end of May and into the first few days of June, things cleaned up in the Smallmouth water and the fish have been happy.  There's a mix of spawning fish and some post-spawners roaming around out there.  Scattered piles of wood in the 2-4 ft depths as well as out in the 5-7 ft depths have been holding fish.  The weeds are starting to finally show up and if you find an isolated pocket that holds shiners, the fish will be there.  Lots of different things have been working to pick up fish.  On the gear side of things, I'm having most guys throw topwater early, and then go down low and slow.  A texas rig with a grub has been hard to beat.  Twitching a soft jerk bait has worked well too, when the fish are out and active chasing bait.  On the fly side, we're pretty much either throwing hair divers, or murdich minnows.  Heavy sculpin patterns work when the fish won't come off the bottom.  

There are walleyes being caught out from second landing in the early mornings and evenings.  Guys are drifting lindy rigs, or pulling crawler harnesses. 

Guys trolling are doing well too.  The nearshore water temps are still in the mid 50s in some spots and cooler or warmer in others.  Seems like Lake Trout fishing has been great again so far this year.  Most guys are still pulling boards with stickbaits, as well as dipsy divers.  

 

Update

Well, May is flying by.  We've been on the water everyday of the Smallmouth season, so fishing reports always take a back seat.  I love the daily grind this time of year.  Wake up, get the boat ready, get on the water, wash the boat, sleep and repeat.  The weather the past few days has made it a little tougher, but that's the way it goes up here.  Water temps have completely tanked out.  Today the warmest I could find was 45, with some spots coming in at 43.  Temps had been reaching the upper 50s in most areas just a short time ago.  The fish are still in their normal spots, but just holding really tight to cover.  Low and slow is the name of the game.  Water clarity is still fine, hopefully we don't get any westerly winds, but we'll see.  Thanks to all of our clients who have been out with us so far, and we can't wait to see the rest of you soon!  

What's working?  On light tackle, a variety of soft plastics fished extremely slow through the wood have picked up fish when everything else doesn't seem to work. On fly, I've had guys throwing an intermediate line rigged with neutrally buoyant flies to offset the sinking line.  This allows the fly to hang in the zone, much like a hard jerkbait would.  And of course, Clousers are picking up fish.  

With all the big winds, I haven't heard too much on the trolling front.  We're headed out in the morning to cast for Browns before heading in for Smallmouth so we'll see how it goes.  

Good luck out there!

Late April Report

Capt. Luke displays a really nice brown caught by David Denham.  This fish ate once, got off, then came back and hammered his spoon again near the boat.  

Capt. Luke displays a really nice brown caught by David Denham.  This fish ate once, got off, then came back and hammered his spoon again near the boat.  

Ryan with a great brown that followed all the way to the boat like a musky, then ate boatside.  

Ryan with a great brown that followed all the way to the boat like a musky, then ate boatside.  

David with another great Seeforellen brown caught while casting.  

David with another great Seeforellen brown caught while casting.  

What's up with the weather?  Oh well, spring on Lake Superior can be tricky business, and it's nothing new that we've had warm sun and snow within a few days of each other.  The Wisconsin general fishing opener gets under way next Saturday and it looks like the weather is going to shape up just fine by then.  Inland lakes should be in great shape for a variety of species.  Smallmouth fishing on the bay will be getting underway as well.  We'll see what these cold temps will do to the bite.  The water is really dirty out there right now too.  Right now, guys are doing really well in the Bay chasing big Sturgeon.  Chequamegon Bay is really a sleeper Sturgeon destination and they can be great fun for the guys who like to chase them.  

On the trout/salmon front, fishing has been really good this spring.  There's plenty of little cohos around and guys are picking up quick limits of those fish.  The big Seeforellen fish we like to chase have been happy too.  We've got some new casting spoons with custom colors by Jim of Jim's Flashback spoons and they've been on fire.  Throwing those spoons along the shorelines has been really good for picking up big browns.  Everyone else is trolling, but we run guided trips for casting for these fish and let me tell you, it's FUN.  

If anyone is interested in a nearshore casting trip for these awesome fish, give Capt. Luke a shout:  luke@freshcoastangling.com  Spring trips are no longer available, but he's taking bookings now for fall.  

Well, hopefully this weather straightens back out, I'm sure it will.  Get out and fish!

 

 

Smelt and other stuff

----SMELT WATCH 2017----

Our gang went out last night and only came back in with about a gallon of smelt.  So not too much happening yet, maybe the full moon is too bright? You don't know until you go.

 

Quick Fishing Report:

The weather has been great and the fishing has been awesome.  LOTS of little cohos out there this year, so that's keeping a lot of people happy.  Water temps range from the low 30s to the low 40s depending on where you're at.  Finding the edges of clean and dirty water have been the best.  Not much dirty water out there, but it's there.

In the News....

Check out this recent story in the Duluth News Tribune on how we like to chase big brown trout out on the lake:

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/outdoors/fishing/4247039-fishing-guide-prefers-simpler-tactics-lake-superiors-big-seeforellen-brown

Interested in a guided casting trip for these awesome fish?  Get in touch with Luke (luke@freshcoastangling.com).  Spring dates are pretty much filled, but fall is prime time, and he's taking bookings now. 

 

 

Early April Report

Lots going on up here right now!  There's still ice floating around in the bay, but many nearshore areas are ice free and it won't be long until it's all the way open out there.  North of Houghton Point is ice free, although some of the landings have ice in them yet.  It's still wise to pay attention to wind forecasts, as ice from the bay could show up somewhere out there, but generally it's pretty clean to go.  Most guys have been trolling out of Saxon and the Coho bite has been great.  The fish aren't too big, but there's plenty of action most days.  The winds have been down too, which makes it nice.  Water temps are ranging from the low 30s to upper 30s depending on where you're at, so it's still pretty cold out there.  

On the Steelhead tribs, fishing has been good with real nice water levels.  On the Brule, most fish being caught right now are spawned out dropbacks, but a few fresh ones are starting to come in.  The other South Shore tribs are taking fresh fish as well, so now is the time for Steelhead.  

 

****SMELT WATCH 2017****  

Nothing major happening yet with the smelt run, but it could be any night now.  

 

Open Water is Near, Are you Ready?

First off, thanks to everyone that stopped by at the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo down in St. Paul this past weekend.  Great to see everyone, and we had a great time as usual. 

Second, Smallmouth guide trips are filling fast.  We've got two days in May available, and a few remaining days in June left.  Please email: luke@freshcoastangling.com or call the shop if you'd like to see what we have left.  

Last but not least, open water fishing is not too far away.  The nearshore trout bite will be happening shortly, Lake Superior tributaries open up this weekend, and inland trout streams are fishing really well.  The Brule and other south shore tribs will be very fishable come opening weekend, and even though it's usually pretty busy on the more well known rivers, it can be a great way to scratch your open water itch.  We've got a good supply of Redington Waders, lots of steelhead flies and tackle, and everything else you might need to go look for some Lake Superior chrome this weekend.  

Current Ice Reports

Ice in the Bay is still pretty good as of today for snowmobile and atv travel.  It was around 12 below zero this morning when I opened up the shop and not much wind, so perfect ice fishing conditions today.  Most of the ice to the north of Washburn is gone, and there are a lot of areas that have very poor conditions, so be sure to check with the shop before you head out.  Weather for the ice-o-rama contest looks to be pretty good this weekend, and we have tickets for sale at the shop if anyone wants to head out.  

The actual fishing has been up and down throughout the day.  Early mornings have been good as well as the late afternoon into evening.  There's lots of smelt around, which can either make fishing good, or tough.  It's best to try and move out of a school or at least find a spot where they're not as thick.  Tough to compete with that kind of forage sometimes.  Bigger jigging spoons, especially the Williams ice jig and Kastmasters have been working best lately.  We're not sure how much longer the ice will be good for safe travels, but we've got a little time left anyways.  The good news is that a lot of areas are becoming available for trolling, so that's kind of on everyone's radar right now.  Good luck out there and be safe!

 

 

Ice Fishing Report

Happy Valentines day folks.  If you're lucky to sneak out fishing today, just be sure to be home when you're supposed to.....

Fishing in the Bay has been solid.  A good number of Coho have been showing up as well as some really nice Splake.  There's loads of smelt around right now, too.  Whitefish are being caught out in some of the deeper areas on spoons rigged with a small soft plastic.  Travel conditions on the ice are great right now, but there is a warm up  forecasted in the future, so if you want to get in on some of the hot action right now, get up here asap.  

The loss of a legend, but not a legacy

In late January, Capt. Roger Lapenter passed on to watch over all the people he cared so much for.  He will be missed by many people, but the legacy he created for all of us will continue to be strong.  Roger was instrumental in creating the world-class Smallmouth fishery here on Chequamegon Bay, and even though he is gone, the fish he worked so hard to protect are still here and it will be up to those of us who pursue these fish to make sure this great fishery will be enjoyed by future generations of anglers.  

A fund to protect Chequamegon Bay's trophy smallmouth bass has been established in Lapenter's name. Tax deductible contributions may be mailed to: Roger Lapenter Chequamegon Bay Fund, ℅ The Ashland Foundation, P.O. Box 762, Ashland, WI 54806.

 

What's happening out there?

For a nearshore casting trip on light tackle or fly for a shot at big browns, steelhead, and other species, contact luke@freshcoastangling.com

For a nearshore casting trip on light tackle or fly for a shot at big browns, steelhead, and other species, contact luke@freshcoastangling.com

Interested in nearshore Trout fishing this spring or fall?  Captain Luke has been working on a program over the past few years that should interest you.  Most guys around here have always trolled to catch big browns, steelhead, coho and other species out there, but Luke has been getting after these fish on light tackle and flies.  Nothing beats the fight of these powerful fish on light tackle and it's an underutilized fishery around here for sure.  If you're interested in a trip, shoot Captain Luke an email to set something up:  Luke@freshcoastangling.com  or visit this link: https://www.freshcoastangling.com/nearshoretrout to find out more!

 

 

ICE REPORT:

On the ice fishing front, we're starting to get out from Washburn to Memorial Park and there's been a few guys out near Houghton Point.  Ice reports are mixed with some spots having 5 inches and other spots having 8 inches over there.  BE SURE TO CHECK AS YOU GO!!!!  On the Ashland side there's quite a few guys driving out there now and they're bringing their shacks out so there's a nice little village developing out there.  Fishing has been fair, with some days better than others.  Perch fishing has been steady off Second Landing, a mixed bag is being caught in the Bay proper and some real nice Splake are showing up over out of Washburn.  The new Rapala Flat Jigs have been working really well over in that deeper water.  

 

 

Ice fishing in full swing

The Ashland side of the bay has been fishing real well with about 8-12 inches of ice in most areas.  Areas from the S curve through Washburn have been re-making ice and it won't be too long before we're fishing on that again as well.  There's been a lot of whitefish around making for good numbers of fish and as always a few nice browns thrown into the mix as well.  Snowmobile and Atv travel are possible on the Ashland side and if you're walking, be sure to have some yak-tracks or similar equipment because it's really slippery out there.  Have fun and be safe. 

Ice Outlook and 2017 Guided Trips

Well, it's cold out.  Ice is forming on the Bay, mostly at the head of the bay and along the shoreline.  As of today, there's still blue water on the outside of the breakwall.  It will be a little while yet before it's safe to head out there.  We're in for some frigid temperatures the next few days here and that will help, but it is really windy out there too.  Don't be afraid to call the shop to check on conditions as we move forward.

Yeah Yeah, I know we're not even ice fishing yet but it's not too early to think about open water fishing next year.  We'll be offering a few new trips this year, including a nearshore trout trip that involves pure casting for Brown Trout, Steelhead, Splake and Lake Trout.  These trips will begin at ice out and then continue in the fall.  This is a highly underutilized fishery around here and we've been working hard to put this program together.  Contact Capt. Luke for details:  Luke@freshcoastangling.com

As for smallmouth dates, there's two days in May (14th and 21st) available and a few days in June still open.  These fill fast so if you're interested in the peak shallow water smallmouth season, let us know.  Other dates throughout the summer are available as well. 

Not quite over yet?

The Wisconsin gun deer season usually signals the end of fishing for many people up here, which is hard to not agree with right now.  It's been pretty chilly for the past few days, and although I'm not ready to be done yet, I'm hoping for at least one more warm up before heading back out.  The cold temps have most guys thinking of ice fishing season right now and we've got new products coming into the shop for this year.  If you've put the boat away for the season, be sure to come in and get stocked up for ice fishing season, which isn't too far off.  For now, I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the crazy good nearshore casting bite we've been on for this fall.  

 

We'll be running trips for this unique fishing for next spring and fall.  If you're looking for a really cool way to catch these big brown trout, this is it.  This isn't trolling, we're casting 100% of the time, so sometimes the numbers aren't there, but you usually get to see the take, and experience a great fight on a fly rod or light tackle.  

Nearshore fishing at its finest

Big fish on big flies or light tackle nearshore.  An extremely under utilize fishery in our area.  

Chrome Seeforellen.  These fish jump, run line, and are very aggressive.  

With the great weather we've been having, it's hard not to be out on the water.  Add in some great fishing right now, and things are pretty darn awesome up here right now.  Most days we've been chasing big brown trout in the nearshore areas from the bay and out into the islands.  Chucking big flies or throwing spoons has been very productive and we've been outfishing a lot of the guys trolling.  If you know where a school of fish is, it's very easy to make casts into structure and move a bunch of these fish.  If you really want to experience what it's like to handle a big open water Lake Superior brown trout or steelhead on light tackle or a fly, this is the time of year to do it.  The Seeforellen Brown Trout program has been extremely successful up here and these fish are just awesome.  They stay nearshore, they're aggressive and they fight damn hard.  Weather permitting, we should be able to stay out after these fish for a while here.  If you're interested in this type of fishing, let us know and we'd be happy to set you up for a trip.  Capt. Luke will be taking bookings for next year.   

Whoa, It's almost the end of October?

Kelly stuck this great little musky on the fly on a recent fall day.

Phil and Brian hooked up with a bunch of silver bullets recently and had a great couple of days on the river.

Matt got into this great Steelhead on his second cast of the morning.  

If there's a time of year to catch a really big smallmouth, it's for sure fall (or spring or summer on Chequamegon Bay).

If there's a time of year to catch a really big smallmouth, it's for sure fall (or spring or summer on Chequamegon Bay).

Sorry for the lack of reports here lately, time flies when you're having fun I guess right? Well, obviously a lot has changed around here since my last report, so we'll get right down to it.  The fall Steelhead fishing has been great, with great water conditions in the Brule and happy fish making there way through the system.  I've been on the water every day over there, and we've been having a blast with those fish.  There's not a finer fishery to experience than the Brule in fall, especially when you've got a chrome bright steelhead on the end of your line, kicking your butt.  

Out on the Bay, the smallmouth bite has been solid, as it usually is in the fall.  The fish have been schooling up and making there way to there wintering grounds.  Jigging spoons and ripping raps have worked great.  This bite will continue to last for a while, as long as the weather keeps up.  

On the Musky front, it seems like the fish are pretty much in that classic fall pattern, although the weather doesn't really feel like it yet and I think it has limited a really strong bite on some days.  The days we've floated for musky, its either nothing, or we get a few fish.  Some of the best fishing is yet to come for these fish, and if you want to experience a great trip with cool scenery and big fish, a fall float down one of our local rivers should be on your list.  

The nearshore trolling bite for Brown Trout has been great, with a lot of real nice Seeforellin Strain fish being caught.  Most of the Cohos have gone upriver to spawn and die, but there's usually always another wave of fish that come later in the year.  

Lots going on right now out there so get on it before it's too late!