Prime Time


The fall bite is in full swing for a multitude of species in the Chequamegon Bay region.  Water temps are getting down into the mid to low 50s in most areas and the fish are on the feed.  Nearshore Brown trout fishing has been very, very good with some nice spake mixed in as well.  Some hot baits have been purple X-raps and our custom colored "Jims Flashback" casting spoons available in the shop.  

On the Smallmouth front, the fishing has been steady and the fish are in a fairly predictable fall bite.  Mud flats in front of Ashland in the 14-16 foot range as well as in the 22-25 foot range have produced best lately.  Slowly drifting in the wind while dropshotting, live bait rigging or ripping a gold spoon have been the best.  

Tributary fishing has been good as well with nice flows and some real nice fish around.  The Brule has been in fantastic shape and some of the other local tribs have been holding some nice Cohos yet as well as browns.  

Grouse hunters have been reporting a few birds in the woods, nothing crazy, but plenty of action to keep everyone on their toes. 

Looks like we're in for a good NW Gale on Tuesday, so hopefully you got out this weekend or tomorrow before the wind comes!  Good luck the rest of the fall, it's the best time to be on the water!

Early October Report

A great brown caught while casting the shallows with Capt. Luke Kavajecz.  Email luke@freshcoastangling for information on guided light tackle and fly trips for these special fish.  

A great brown caught while casting the shallows with Capt. Luke Kavajecz.  Email luke@freshcoastangling for information on guided light tackle and fly trips for these special fish.  

Fall has slowly but surely gotten here, but it arrived with a pile of rain.  Local rivers are running high and dirty after yesterday's big rain, but when they come back into shape, there should be a good push of fish.  There should also be some good mudlines forming up out in the lake for those looking to troll.  Fishing the edges of those mudlines can be very productive. Some of the best trolling of the year is upon us, and it's also some of the easiest fishing.  Planer boards, or flatline trolling is most productive.  Floating Rapalas, scatterrsps, flicker shads and bombers are all popular lures to run.  Fish have been caught in the 15-20 ft depth range trollling lures about 5-10 feet down.  Some days the fish are out over deeper water, but still high in the water column.  

On light tackle, the fishing has been great for nearshore trout right up shallow in the rocks.  Throwing spoons, x-raps, or soft jerk baits has put some nice splake, browns and even a few Steelhead in the boat.   

Smallmouth fishing is getting better by the day, water temps are still hanging right near 60 degrees, but its cooling down a little bit everyday now.  In the fall, look for schooling fish near deep breaks, rocks, or places of current.  If you find one, there will be others.  Dropshotting, jigging spoons and live bait work best.  

Fall transition time

We're midway through September but it sure hasn't felt like it yet.  It's been pretty warm and nice and not too fall-like, but that's ok, we'll take it.  Water temps are still hanging in the lower 60s in most places.  Coho Salmon are being caught, over deeper water 20-30 feet down.  Flickr Shads have been best.  There are for sure fish being caught in the near shore areas too, it's just that they're pretty spread out.  There are fish in the rivers as well, so don't over look that option either.  On the Brule, there's already been a nice push of early fall Steelhead and a number of Cohos over there too. That fishing will only get better.  

Smallmouth have been pretty spread out lately, and are still in a late summer pattern.  Major schooling hasn't yet to have seemed to happen.  Keep moving to find active fish and stay on the bite.  

Musky fishing has been pretty decent lately as well.  Fall is the time to get after these toothy critters in our many area inland lakes and rivers.  

Stop by the shop to see what we've got to help you get out this fall.  

Fall Guided Trips

So many things to do in the fall.  Catching big Browns and Smallmouth is one.

So many things to do in the fall.  Catching big Browns and Smallmouth is one.


Just a quick update on available Fall guided trips:

Fall Smallmouth fishing is coming up and September can be prime time to look for big fish.  We've got a few days open near the end of the month.  Currently 21,22,27,28 and 30 of September are available.  

Looking towards October and early November, things are filling up fast for near shore brown trout casting trips.  If you've never had the chance to target a big brown trout on light tackle or fly, this is the time of year to do it.  Sure, you can catch fish trolling, but nothing compares to the fight of these fish on light tackle.  It's not a numbers game, but it's a unique way to experience the fishery.  Open dates at this point are October 23,30,31.  Give Capt. Luke a shout if you're interested:


Seasons Changing?

Brandon and Christa from California spent a day on the water and put some very nice fish in the boat including this fish.  22 inchers are very rare on the Bay, but this one made the cut.  Very cool to see.

Brandon and Christa from California spent a day on the water and put some very nice fish in the boat including this fish.  22 inchers are very rare on the Bay, but this one made the cut.  Very cool to see.

Whitefish are a great fish to target if you like jigging light tackle.  There's plenty of them around and they're pretty easy to catch.  

Whitefish are a great fish to target if you like jigging light tackle.  There's plenty of them around and they're pretty easy to catch.  

Cohos are being caught in and around the Bay right now and there's some nice size to the fish again this year.

Cohos are being caught in and around the Bay right now and there's some nice size to the fish again this year.

Cool nights and cools mornings have been the norm around here lately and it's hard not to start thinking about the next season ahead.  Fishing pressure has been minimal on the Bay and the bite has been on for a variety of species.  Smallmouth fishing has been great with morning fishing being the best.  Some really nice fish are starting to come back into the mix and although there are still a few fish hanging out in some shallow spots, most of the fish have been hanging in that 15-30 ft range.  Dropshotting small shiner imitations has been the best technique for those deeper fish.  

There are cohos and browns making there way into the Bay as well, and again, early morning has been the best to find these active fish.  Fish have been found in 30-50 feet of water running shalow stick baits as well as cranks that run 10-15ft down.  

Whitefish are being caught jigging in 50-60ft of water and make for great fun on light tackle.  

Lake Trout season has been closed to recreational fishing in zone W-2, as the quota for the year has been met.  It will reopen again on December 1.  Lake Trout fishing in zone W-1 is still open.  

Welcome to August!!

It's August already, hard to believe!!!  July ended with an absolute stellar run of weather and the fishing was off the charts!  Water temps in the Bay warmed into the mid to upper 70s with consistent winds and happy fish.  The amount of bait in the bay over the past few seasons is still showing up with massive schools of shiners patrolling shallow weedy areas and points of current.  Smallmouth are relating to these areas and sometimes it pays to look around a little more to find active fish instead of beating the same old spots over and over. This is also the time of year to look for fish getting after crayfish.  Lots of fish have been spitting them up when we've hooked them, so adjust accordingly and you'll get bit.  

Walleyes are being caught trolling cranks and stickbaits as the sun goes down along deep weeds and we've even caught a few casting plastics into structure near deep drops.  

Lake trout fishing is steady throughout the flats and into the islands with guys reporting consistent limits of fish.  

When we get to this time of year, it can be important to watch wind direction as it influences water temperatures.  When a good offshore wind is blowing the water will cool and with it brings some browns.  We caught a few real nice browns on drop shot rigs while fishing a smallmouth spot the other day as the water had cooled due to some offshore winds.  As the summer progresses, this will be more and more common.  

Good luck out there!!  

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.  



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:  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:

Interested in a guided casting trip for these awesome fish?  Get in touch with Luke (  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: 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.