Getting to the good stuff!

We’re getting to the most magical time of year up here! That’s right, fall is just about here and with it comes some of the best fishing of the year. Now is a great time to get geared up for all the opportunities that fall gives fisherman. Here’s a quick rundown of some gear and fall situations that are the most popular fisheries around here:

Smallmouth: Think deeper water, (15-30ft). Fish will transition with temps cooling and start to feed heavily. Drop shot rigs, jigging spoons, heavy tube jigs and of course live bait will take fish. Can be the best time of year for big fish.

Trout/Salmon: Fish will be found in nearshore areas around the mainland and in the islands. Rain will bring fish to the rivermouths. Trolling stickbaits on flatlines is the best way and is very easy. Some hot baits include scatter raps and bay rats.

Musky: Fall is the best time to chase these toothy critters and one of the best places to look for them is our area rivers. Don’t overlook fly fishing as a way to fool these fish. We’ve got some nice fly gear in the shop to help with your fall musky hunts.

Steelhead: Everybody should experience the fall steelhead run on the Brule. The leaves are turning, and the fish are chrome and fired up. If the water is low and clear, go small with your flies (12-14s). If it’s high and dirty, fish bigger. We’ve got a great selection of steelhead flies to help get you started.

Get geared up and get out this fall for some amazing fishing!

Summer's winding down

The so called dog days of summer are here, but that doesn't mean the fishing is over for the summer, in fact, it's far from it.  While the fishing report is about the same as it always is this time of year, there's plenty of great action to be had on the water yet before the next seasonal change is upon us.  

Smallies are still in their summer haunts, which means finding places of current, rocks, or man made structure with either current, or bait, or both.  There's lots of bait around this summer and it seems the best fishing has been in or near the areas where the bait has been congregated.  Dropshot rigs, or smaller swimbaits have worked best worked slow down on the bottom when the fish have been moody, and soft jerkbaits and topwater have worked well when the fish have been actively chasing bait.

Lake trout fisherman are still reporting great catches out in the islands with some real nice fish being put in the boat.  Spin n' glows and spoons are a staple this time of year.  Don't be afraid to start pulling some stickbaits higher up in the water column this time of year.  

Looking ahead, the fall fishing is on everybodies mind, and things will get exciting again around here.  We're all looking forward to chasing big browns and those fatty fall smallies!

Summer at its Finest

The past few weeks have been awesome up here!  Great warm weather, great conditions on the water and happy fish!  We're in full summer mode in terms of the bite out there right now and in terms of smallmouth fishing, that means there's some fish deep and some fish shallow.  For deep fish, look for sharp drop offs, current points, deep weeds and rocks.  Shallow fish can be found early and late in the day on nearshore structure, or current points.  Summer is a favorite time of year for smallmouth as the fishing pressure is low and there's lots of water to fish.  

Lake Trout fishing has been steady with eater sized fish being found on the "flats" and bigger fish being caught further out into the islands.  Spin and glows or spoons run right on the bottom are picking up fish.  

 

Early July

Well, we made it through all the crazy weather and now it's been pretty darn nice out there!  12 inches of rain a few weeks ago made things pretty interesting around here, but these things happen and there's not much you can do to stop it.  The Bay is still recovering from the dirty water that was dumped in after the storm.  It's not been a pretty sight out there for the past few weeks, and it probably won't clear for a couple more at the pace it's moving.  The good news is that smallie fishing has been awesome back in a few areas yet as the water stayed nice and clear and very fishable.  The topwater bite the past week or so has been just awesome back in the shallow areas that are still clear.  Many fish have moved on to different summer areas, and even though the water is dirty, they've got to eat, so if you know the spots, you can catch fish.  The water conditions change daily right now with wind and current, so nothing is very consistent when it comes to predicting how conditions might be.  

The water is also in good shape for the trollers and they're reporting good Lake Trout fishing on the flats and into the islands.  There's even a few nice Brown Trout hanging around the nearshore areas yet.  

So, there's fish to be had out there, even though the water isn't too pretty to look at!  

 

Check out the photos above from the past few weeks on the water!  Enjoy and get out and fish!!

 

Mid-Spring Report

Well it's been a whirlwind guide season around here.  We're already into mid-June!  The past few weeks have seen some incredible fishing, as well as some tough days too.  We had our annual spring cold front in early June which made things tough, but once that pushed out things got right back on track.  The weather the past few days has been pretty unstable making hard to even get out for a couple hours of fishing.  The smallmouth bite is right where it should be for this time of year with a mix of spawn, and post spawn fish.  A good push of new fish arrived about a week ago too, making things interesting.  Most fish are still being found in the 2-5 foot depths with some larger, post-spawn females out in the deeper water.  The post-spawn feed should get going when our water temps bump up a bit, making for some great fishing.  We've had our best luck either on topwater or dragging something right down on the bottom.  

River anglers were reporting good Brown Drake hatches before the storm, but the 3-5 inches of rain we just recived will shut things down for a while.  Your best bet will be to fish the upper stretches of the Brule.

Big Lake trollers are still finding some fish high in the water column if you can find cooler water, and some guys have transitioned to deepwater.  

A fast few weeks!

Man, it's been a busy season so far!  Fishing has been so good, it's tough to find time to get on the computer and write a report!  The past three weeks have flew by and we've made some great memories on the water with both old and new clients!  After a slow start to the season due to the ice, things are back to about normal in terms of timing.  Smallmouth fishing has been great and the trollers are reporting a good mix of action on both flatlines in the nearshore area and some guys are starting to poke around the deeper lake trout holes.  

 

We're rolling now!

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The endless winter has finally ended and this past week of fishing has been great, both for catching and for the soul!  Most days we've had to literally force our way onto the water, moving icebergs out of the landings and breaking a little skim ice here and there, but it hasn't been too bad.  The Bay is just about ice free, but there's still some ice floating around out there and pushed up along the Ashland shoreline.  Points North are pretty much ice free, but the occasional ice berg keeps you on your toes.  Water temps range from the mid 30s in the islands to the low to mid 40s along the main shoreline.  Water temps in the bay range from 36 by the lighthouse to the upper 40s in the shallows.  

The nearshore trout bite has been really good.  We're finding fish right up tight to shore and it's been a classic mix bag with Browns, Splake, Steelhead, Cohos, and a few Lake Trout.  We even landed a rare Coaster Brook Trout last week, which was cool to see.  All our trips are casting for fish, but the trollers are reporting great action as well.  

Next up our focus shifts to Smallmouth and though they're taking there time to get going, the bite should be on in no time.  We still have some dates open for July and August, so if you'd like to experience this great fishery in the underrated months of summer, give us a shout!

Opener 2018

Well, we're on the eve of the 2018 WI general fishing opener and, there's not too much to report on!  The Bay still has ice and many inland lakes have ice on them as of today.  There are a few small lakes here and there that have opened up, but not many.  The ice is really going fast now though with the warm temps we've been having.  

The good news?  There's LOTS of open water on the big lake out in the Islands and out of Saxon Harbor.  Trollers have reported great fishing so far with lots of Cohos again this year.  The water is cold out there, raging in the mid-30s in most areas.  There's some off colored water to deal with too, but it hasn't seemed to bother the fish too much.  

Steelhead fishing on the local tributaries is picking up too now that the run off has sort of slowed a little bit.  Still some high and dirty water to deal with, but there are fresh fish showing up daily right now.  

It might not be the classic fishing opener we all hope for, but there's plenty of fishing to be had.  

Spring isn't quite here yet

Winter just doesn't want to give up this year.  Everybody is getting anxious to get in the boat and do some fishing, but it will be a little while up here yet.  Things can change in a hurry on the big lake, so don't give up hope just yet.  In the meantime, there's lots of fishing to be had right now.

On the lake, the fishing pressure has been light out on the Bay, but anglers are reporting good catches of Perch, Smelt, Splake and a few nice Pike.  Fishing around the rivermouths has been productive too with some nice Steelhead staging up and a few big browns hanging out as well.  

The Lake Superior Tributaries are open and although it's a little early for good fishing in many of them, the Brule is consistent with overwinter fish being caught.  Low and slow is the key this time of year over there.  Can't beat an egg pattern and small stonefly combo under an indicator.  We've got a great selection of locally tied X-Legs that will do the job.

In the meantime, it's a great time of year to go through your gear and make sure everything is in shape for when that ice lets go!

Mid March Report

Well, we're still very much in winter mode up here which is great news for you die hard ice fishermen.  Anglers are reporting great fishing for Lakers and many guys have been on a hot Burbot bite lately with some very nice fish being landed.  Drop a dead smelt on the bottom or bang the bottom with a heavy spoon to get bit by these guys.  Cohos are being caught as well, right under the ice on tip ups rigged with a shiner.  There has been some good action around the rivermouths too, with the warmer days being a little better as a little run off gets the fish moving in and out of the dirty water.  The Lake Superior tributaries open up soon as well, so it's a good time to get geared up for spring Steelhead fishing.  The Brule should be in great shape and the pre run off fishing will be good.  Get out there and take advantage of these great late ice conditions!  

Lapenter Fund donates to Ashland Ore Dock Redevelopment

 Dave Gellatly and Luke Kavajecz present Ashland Mayor Deb Lewis with a donation from the Roger Lapenter Chequamegon Bay Fund for the Ore Dock Redevelopment.  

Dave Gellatly and Luke Kavajecz present Ashland Mayor Deb Lewis with a donation from the Roger Lapenter Chequamegon Bay Fund for the Ore Dock Redevelopment.  

As part of the Roger Lapenter Chequamegon Bay Fund, one of our long term goals is to continue the awareness of the varied resources throughout Chequamegon Bay.  The Ashland Ore Dock redevelopment plan is going to create a very unique experience for local and non-local people and give them a chance to access the waters of Chequamegon Bay.  Ashland has great fishing, but sometimes it's hard to access without a boat but the new Ore Dock redevelopment is going to change this in a big way.  The support of the Roger Lapenter Chequamegon Bay Fund has been overwhelming and we're very happy to start using the support of the fund for projects that will make Chequamegon Bay and the Ashland area a better place to live and visit.  

For more information and to see the vision of the project visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=sXiKkKSVMxk

Early Feburary Update

Well, it's certainly has been a winter for the ice fisherman!  Consistently cold temps have created some great ice this year and this had enabled fisherman to get out into some areas that haven't been accessible for a few years now.  Ice conditions in the islands are always variable and if you're not sure of the area, it's best to go with a local guide and we can help set you up if you're interested in that.  For those that go it alone out there, it's best to sick to the nearshore islands before venturing too far out.  There are many different sheets of ice that have formed in the islands, and some are thicker than others.  As always, check your way out and remember no ice is safe, especially out there.  For those concentrating on the deepwater bite, fishing depths of 50-150 feet with big bucktails, heavy tube bigs, jigging spoons and beetles rigged with cutbait are the best producers.  Don't overlook the nearshore bite in the islands either, as all species of trout can be caught in these areas.  Whitefishing has been a very consistent bite as well in the 60-80 foot depths.  Big gold spoons rigged with a small white twister tail have been producing best.  

In the bay proper the bite has been steady for the normal winter mixed bag.  Lots of smelt around this year again, so that's been fun.  A few cohos have been showing up here and there and splake and browns have been mixed in.  Travel conditions are great for both snowmobiles and 4 wheelers out there, though snowmobiles have been best in the bigger water areas with all the cracks.  

Spring Smallmouth Dates and a Late January Report

 We're booking up fast for spring/summer smallmouth fishing.  If you're interested let us know!

We're booking up fast for spring/summer smallmouth fishing.  If you're interested let us know!

Yeah, it's still a ways off yet, but if you're looking to book a trip with us for this upcoming smallmouth season, now is a good time to call!  May and June dates are almost filled up, but we've got some great days open for the post-spawn period in late June and early July which is one of our favorite times of year for fishing.  The fish are hungry, and there's very little pressure on the fish.  Give Capt. Luke a shout at: luke@freshcoastangling.com to see what's open.  We do have another boat available for select dates in May, so if you're looking for that timeframe, we'll see what we can do!

Ice conditions have changed a bit to the North of the bay after the big blow we had, so be sure and double check your way out, or give us a call at the shop.  Things in the bay are still solid and travel conditions have been steady.  Fishing continues to be similar to what we've seen with the classic mixed bag in the bay and a good trout bite in areas to the north.  

 

Mid January Update

The fishing has been steady now for the past few weeks with plenty of ice to be had.  We are looking at a potential winter storm for Sunday into Monday, but we'll wait to see what happens.  As always, after big weather events, things can change in a hurry out on the ice.  Right now, travel conditions are great for snowmobiles and atvs on the Bay.  

Whitefish have been coming in good numbers in the 40-80 foot depth ranges with some good trout mixed in at the same places.  Our custom colored Viking spoons have been working great tipped with a small white soft plastic.  Gold has been the best color.  In the nearshore areas, to the north of the Bay, the Browns and Splake have been really aggressive with some real nice size fish being caught.  Concentrate on depths anywhere from 10-40 ft, with emphasis on the first break into deeper water for shots at these fish.  Again, spoons in a wide range of colors with Pink, Golds, and Orange being the top colors.  

In the Bay proper, a great mix of Perch, walleyes, smelt, splake, Pike and the occasional Brown have been coming to those who are working areas in front of Ashland or near the Lighthouse.  The nicer perch have been coming from deeper water, (28-35 ft).

It's free fishing weekend in WI this weekend, so if you're interested in getting out on the ice to try ice fishing, this would be a great time and the weather looks great Saturday!

End of Year Ice Fishing Report

The ice fishermen wanted cold, and they got it!  Sub zero temps have been great for making ice out on the big lake and anglers are hitting a few different zones on the Bay.  Washburn side has around 8 inches and people are taking machines out off the Coal Dock.  A few guys are still walking off the S-Curve and machine travel has been the norm at Second Landing to a mile out and maybe more now.  

Fishing has remained steady with a  great mix of Browns, Splake and Whitefish being caught off the Washburn side.  The fishing pressure has been pretty high over there, and just like open water fishing, the fish can get wise to all that pressure.  There's been very few people fishing the Ashland side, but the fishing has been just as good on this side as the Washburn side, there's just nobody fishing over here.

We've got plenty of tackle and we've got Lake Shiners, so stop in and see what's happening!

 

Frist Ice

Well, there's some fishable ice to be had out on the Bay.  Reports of 3-4 inches in front of town, a little more behind our shop and reports of 5-7 down out of second landing.  Fishing has been stable with the classic winter mixed bags reported (perch, whitefish, northerns, and a few nice walleyes.)  Next week looks like another run of cold temps, so the ice should just keep building to open up some more areas.  Just remember, this time of year, even though there's plenty of ice in other areas of the upper midwest, Lake Superior is a different world.  ALWAYS carry your ice bar, and when in doubt don't go out. 

The end of open water season?

Well, it looks like it could possibly finally be the end of open water season up here.  The past few days have seen incredible fishing on the big lake with big numbers of Brown Trout and Lake Trout.  Speaking of Lake Trout, the season opened on the 1st of December and we put our first fish in the boat at 8am after lines were set at 7:58am, so yeah, the season got off to a great start!  WIth highs in the mid 40s and calm winds, it made for a great weekend on the water.  Trolling and casting were very productive in shallow water in the islands.  

We're in for a big change weather wise the next day or so, with high winds out of the NW and temps dropping back to normal.  It looks to be pretty cold for the next 10 days, so I'm sure the ice fishermen are excited about that!  In the meantime, don't forget to stop in and stock up on all your ice fishing needs for this season!

It's still good out there

 Lots of big browns around right now.  The late season is some of the best fishing of the year on the big lake.

Lots of big browns around right now.  The late season is some of the best fishing of the year on the big lake.

So many people hang up their fishing shoes this time of year and sit around and wait for the ice to come.  And yeah, there's some ice fishing to be had right now on the smaller inland lakes, but it's been pretty warm as of late, and the winds have actually been cooperating which means the big lake is prime right now for late season action.  Trolling, jigging, casting; it all works right now and the fishing has been great!  The nice thing about this late season is you don't have to go very far from the boat launch to get into fish.  Think about the same places you'd fish during early ice on the big lake, it's pretty much the same thing.  Lake Trout season reopens on the 1st of Dec., and with a hight of 43 degrees forecasted, it could be a great day on the water.  

The In Between

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Well, It really won't be too long now until that lake out the back door is frozen up and everyone will be headed out on the ice.  Water temps are dropping fast with the USGS gauge at the lighthouse reading 35.8.  It's the time of year to be gearing up and getting ready for the next season and we've got a few new products in the shop that look pretty neat for the ice fishing season.  

The fun thing about Chequamegon Bay, is that it really becomes the ultimate multi-species body of water in the wintertime.  Many people call the shop to ask how the fishing is, and we always like to ask, "what are you fishing for?" because there's so many different species to target and depending on where you're at, things can be really different out there.  It's worth having tackle that can accommodate anything from a 12 inch perch to a 28 inch brown trout, because you can catch both in the same spot, especially early in the year.  Medium action ice rods are a good "all water" rod for the bay, and you can see some of our top picks for rods below.  Rigged with at least 8 pound braid ice line, you can downsize your leader if you'd like if you're into smaller fish like perch, or smelt, but it will be enough if you tie into a big brown.  Baits can vary, but jigging spoons like Swedish Pimples, Kastmasters, or Clam Flutter Spoons are good places to start.  We've also got some new glide style baits from ACME that look pretty hot.  Swing in today to get geared up!  You'll want to be ready for that first ice of the year, because when it's finally safe to head out there, it can be some of the best fishing of the year! 

BASIC CHEQUAMEGON BAY ICE FISHING RIG:

  • St. Croix Mogo Ice 28M
  • 6-8 Pound Power Pro Ice-Tec Braid
  • Clam Flutter Leech Spoon, Swedish Pimple, Hali Jig, Kastmaster (gold, pink, firetiger, white)
  • Beaver Dam Tip Ups
  • Live Bait (Lake Shiners)
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