The best time of year!

There’s so many options right now, it’s hard to choose just one thing to go do! With the general fishing opener coming up this weekend, the list gets even bigger. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on out in the water right now!

Trolling: Lots and lots of cohos around right now throughout the bay and into the islands. It’s actually hard to go out and not catch them, lol. A few nice browns and splake are mixed in as well, but cohos have been the main catch. Stickbaits on flatlines are the way to go.

Steelhead: With the water coming back down into fishable levels, there’s a few starting to get back on the tribs in search of chrome. There should be fish around well into May this year.

Smelt: They’re running.

Spring fishing is here!

Well, this past weekend was like unofficial start of the 2019 fishing season for many people on the big lake. A few of the launches are opened up and it was a great weekend to be on the water with good weather and good fishing. Trollers are catching cohos and browns pulling stickbaits off planer boards as usual. Water temps are pretty steady in the mid 30s just about everywhere you run. There’s some good mudlines developing too, which are good places to look if you’re out trolling.

The ice on Chequamegon Bay proper is really taking a hit this week with warmer weather and rain. There’s still a fair bit floating around out there but it won’t be too much longer and it will be all clear.

Big water has been an issue on the steelhead tribs and it’s been hard to find a window to get out when it’s not blown out. The rain today isn’t helping things, but the good news is there should be fish around well into May this year.

Hopefully you’ve got your boat ready to go, and if you do, stop in and gear up for spring!

April is here

Well, we’re getting right to the in between season right now out there. There’s still ice, but most guys are calling it quits this year, as each day the conditions will get more and more unpredictable. Steelhead season is open on the tribs, and while some of the rivers are high and dirty and cold, the Brule is stable and guys are catching fish. We’ve got some warmer temps in the forecast, so hopefully that will really get that ice moving out of here and maybe we’ll be on some open water before you know it!

Bobbing has been great!

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The conditions out in the islands have been fantastic for some great lake trout action. Most days have seen plenty of action and some really nice fish being landed as well. As we are on the eve of yet another snowstorm, conditions might change again out there, and maybe for the worse, but we’ll see. Nearshore, guys are again starting to target white fish, and the bite in the Bay is slowly picking up with splake, burbot, perch and smelt being caught. Snowmobiles are really the only way to get around yet out there.

March is here

Capt. Aron Kastern of Unlimited Trophy Outfitters with a beauty caught recently in the Islands

Capt. Aron Kastern of Unlimited Trophy Outfitters with a beauty caught recently in the Islands

Well, March is here and winter is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. For those of you that love ice fishing, it’s great news! The lake trout bite in the Apostles has been great with some really good fishing being iced. Some pockets of slush here and there out there to watch out for but generally decent travel conditions for snowmobiles. Big plastics have been working well, as well as the traditional bobbing gear. Fresh smelt have been key, and the best way to get some is to head out on the Bay with a little Haley Jig and catch your supply before heading into the islands. Might as well take advantage of these conditions and get on out there! And, as always, if you’re new to fishing in the Islands, it’s best to head out with an experienced guide or acquire some first hand information before venturing out there. I

Lots of ice!!

Currently, Lake Superior sits at about 75 percent ice covered! This has allowed for some great fishing in the classic “bobbing” areas of the Apostle Islands and guys have been on some great Lake Trout and Whitefish out there. The one big thing that’s been a factor this year has been slush, with all the snow, which is making for some miserable travel conditions in some areas. The best way to go right now is by snowmobile just about anywhere you go out there.

Those big lakers can be found anywhere from 60-200 ft of water and all the classic baits are working. The best way to go is a “beatle” rigged with cut smelt, although bigger jigging spoons or big bucktails work well too. It’s a lot of fun to get yanked on by a huge old laker in deep water! If you’re a first timer to the Apostle Islands trout game, it’s best to go with a guide as conditions in the Islands are always changing and it can be a dangerous place to ice fish. Call the shop and we can set you up with an experienced ice outfitter.

We have “bobbing” equipment in stock, and this isn’t stuff you can find at the local big box store, so stop in and we’d be happy to help get you in the right direction. This is one of those year with a lot of ice, so we might as well take advantage of it.

Also, lots of people asking if they can drive trucks on the Bay, and the short answer is no. There are a few plowed areas, but it’s best just to run out on a snowmobile.

Early Feb. Report

Well, unless you’ve been living under an iceberg, you know that it’s been cold, REAL COLD, around here. That cold, along with calm winds allowed a lot of ice to form up out there and now we’re fishing everything from the Bay to points way North. Guys are starting to venture out into new Lake Trout and Whitefish territory and fishing has been great. With manageable temps forecasted, conditions should be great to head out and see what you can find. For the whitefish, bigger williams soons tipped with a small plastic have been working, as well as gold kastmasters and sebilles/blade baits. Look for fish from 60 FOW or deeper and move to find an active school of fish.

Early January Report

As we move into mid-winter, most guys are looking for the new, fresh ice, but there’s plenty of great fishing to be had closer to Ashland with better ice conditions. Ice ranges anywhere from 24 inches to 4 inches depending on where you’re going, with the Washburn side having the thinner ice. The usual mixed bag is being caught in front of Ashland in the 15-30 FOW range. The long range forecast is calling for some cold weather coming, so that will continue to lock of the ice further to the North and continue to make fishable ice on some newer water.

Christmas Report

Well, the ice on the Bay is slowly getting to the point where we have some fishable areas just in time for Christmas. Mostly guys have been prospecting areas in front of Ashland and finding the usual early season mix of perch, whitefish, pike and occasional brown trout. There’s still plenty of open water on the Washburn side, so conditions aren’t quite there yet. Hopefully we can get a cold snap into the new year to really start locking things down out there.

12-17-18

Not much new ice to report on for the big lake. The warm temps the past week or so haven’t done any favors and conditions are pretty marginal at this time for big lake ice fishing opportunities. That shouldn’t stop you from getting out fishing though, as there’s plenty of open water available and plenty of open boat launches at this time. Trolling has been great for a mixed bag of lake trout, browns and splake. Water temps range from 34-36 degrees in most places and the fish have been found pretty shallow. There’s plenty of inland options as well for panfish, walleye and pike fishing through the ice.

Ice Report

There’s a few people venturing out onto the minimal ice that’s on the Bay right now. A few people have been going out right behind the shop and a couple in front of Ashland, but not very far out. Anglers have reported catching a few Whitefish, some nice perch and the occasional brown trout. There’s no ice on the Washburn side or places to the north, and with warm temps forecasted, there probably won’t be any for a while yet. Lots of options for inland fishing though and there have been good reports for panfish and walleyes from some of the areas smaller lakes. Be sure to call the shop for the best and most recent date ice reports!

Ice fishing Season Approaching

Cold temperatures across much of the northland have got the ice fisherman pretty excited about the upcoming season. There’s shore ice and skim ice forming up on the Bay and it might not be too much longer before people are out fishing on the big water. Early season fishing can be great right around second landing and out in front of Ashland for a variety of species. Smaller inland lakes and “pot hole” lakes will have some fishable ice and that early walleye bite can be strong on those lakes. As the season approaches, and really gets rolling, the fishing reports page will be updated with the most current information we can get you! As always, call the shop for the most accurate and up to date reports.

Mid Ocotober report

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Well, fishing has been pretty good so far this October even though the weather has been very cold and windy. The nearshore brown trout bite has been strong and we’ve been putting some very, very nice fish in the boat. The seeforellen strain browns have been doing very well and seem to be getting bigger and bigger each year. Water temps have been hanging in the mid to upper forties which has those fish fired up. We’ve been finding fish in that 3-10 ft range, right up in the rocks, real tight to shore. X-raps have been a great bait this year, as well as a pink fluke. Not many people out trolling, but they’re picking up fish as well

Late September Report

Cohos and big browns on light spinning and fly tackle are a blast!

Cohos and big browns on light spinning and fly tackle are a blast!

The big browns are starting to show up.  Casting spoons, x-raps, or soft plastics have been working in nearshore areas.

The big browns are starting to show up. Casting spoons, x-raps, or soft plastics have been working in nearshore areas.

It’s starting to feel like fall around here with temps dropping and the leaves starting to turn. It’s been a little cooler this year than we’ve had in the past few years and things are happening on the water!

Nearshore trout and salmon fishing has been good with water temps in the mid to upper 50s in most areas and most of the river mouths have good mudline/color breaks that have been holding fish. Good numbers of cohos around, and of course brown trout and a fair number of Steelhead hanging around as well. Trolling and casting in these nearshore areas is the best way to get after fish right now. Somedays the fish are right tight to shore, others they are out over deeper water, but still up high in the water column.

Smallies are starting to school up and fishing has been steady, with some days producing better than others. We’ve had lots of different weather over the past few weeks, with front after front coming through, so look for consistency in the weather for this bite to really line up and get going strong. Tubes, drop shot rigs and jigging spoons work best fished over rocks or mud flats in the 15-30 feet zone.

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.