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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Fishing Report from the USA 6-10-2004

This report from: Bill Sherer's We Tie It Fly Shop -Boulder Jct., WI

The fishing conditions are beginning to again stabilize as we enter an ³Indian Summer² period. With the lake temperatures cooling down into the mid 50ıs, the fishing is excellent for Musky, Northern Pike and Walleyes.

Northern Pike action has increased quite a bit on many area lakes, a medium/large sized Perch or Sucker colored pattern is working best in the 6 to 10 foot depth range - especially near or up on the weed beds. In lakes with large flats try to concentrate on the heavier GREEN "Cabbage" patches. The cooler water temps of this summer allowed for prolific weed growth and there are many large patches of green weeds for the fish to inhabit right now. Large sized minnows, crankbaits, streamers and jerk baits are still the most effective. I am now having good success on Northerns with larger Olive/White or Sucker colored streamers.

The Muskie fishing is excellent, the fish are on the rampage looking to fill their stomachs, this respite of Indian Summer, with cool nights and warmer than average days make the fishing enjoyable and very productive. My best pattern in weedy lakes is a Sucker colored weedless Figure-8 fished near the shore and in the shallow weeds 4ı to 10ı. Iım fishing a Cortland 444SL Ghost Tip line and getting the fly down about 3 to 5 feet. Many of the weedier small to medium sized lakes are turning over (again) and visibility is poor - most of our strikes are at the boat and many times we donıt see the fish untill it hits - this is a very exciting time of the year!

In the very clear, deep lakes the fish are off the drop-offs, use larger sized crank baits and Figure 8ıs, move the bait a bit slower but continue lots of erratic twitches and pauses, the darker colors are working the best, especially Sucker and Ciscoe. Some early migrations of Ciscoes in the deep er lakes are schooling just off the gravel bars where they like to spawn, Now is the time to run your B.P.ıs over these edges in the evenings looking for those monster Muskies in shallower water adjacent to the deep drop-offs.

The water temperatures have held up very well in the low to mid 50ıs and the fish have responded favorably. Walleye and Northern Pike are also very agressive right now - especially on the larger weed flats and shallow water areas in the evenings.

Walleye fishing is very good, with lots of good eating sized fish and a few trophies being caught. Most of the fish in weedy lakes are in the greener patches of weeds and the rock bars with some weed cover. I am picking up an occasional ³hog² in the weed flats on large streamers. There is now a good open water bite on many larger clearer, mostly sand bottomed lakes - run a deep diving medium sized crankbait off the drop-offs and rock bars, move it slowy with lots of erratic movements and use darker colors.

Schools of Crappies are fairly scattered throughout the deeper weeds during the day and in the evenings nearer the thicker patches of green weeds on the smaller to medium sized lakes like Palmer, Allequash and Little John. A good sized minnow is working best. Almost all the Bluegills have migrated to deeper water and are feeding best in the late afternoon in 15 to 20 feet of water. Jumbo Perch are still being caught in Van Vliet Lake and Allequash Lakes throughout the day in 12 to 20 feet of water over the mud flats and weed edges. Many other lakes in the area are also seeing a long awaited resurgence of these fish coming back into their fall feeding patterns.

The top water action for Largemouth Bass is long over, the Largemouths are now mainly feeding in the late afternoons and evenings on larger minnows and panfish. Most Largemouths in our weedier lakes have moved off the shorelines and are near the weed lines seeking deeper water.

Most Smallmouth Bass have moved offshore and are hanging near drop offs and large boulders in the 14 to 20 foot depth range, a large minnow pattern fished slowly throughout these areas has been working the best in the early afternoons. Some Smallies are still hanging off the drop-offs in our larger clear water lakes taking large minnow baits.

As the temperatures continue to be stable the fishing activity will also continue to improve, the best fishing has shifted back to the mid-day hours, with some excellent fishing in the late afternoon.

Michigan: U.P. fishing conditions are similar to Wisconsin's in many cases, but the cooler nights have kept the water temperatures down throughout most of this season and that means the fishing has slowed down as well. Muskie and Northern Pike activity continues to be very good. Northern Pike are still biting well on the Bond Falls Flowage and Langford Lake off the weed flats and mid lake weedy humps. Walleyes are off the deeper drop-offs during the day and moving up onto the rock bars, stumps and points in the afternoons and evenings. Smallmouth Bass are holding along the deepest banks on the drop-offs in the 12 to 18 foot depth range. Tamarack and Imp Lakes are beginning to turn on for fall Lake Trout and Splake action - a Green/White or Black Deceiver will bring a strike from 2 to 4 pound Splake chasing minnows in 8 to 14 feet of water.

Trout and salmon Lake Run fish are beginning to show up in the Ontonagon, Presque Isle and Black Rivers. Water levels are still low and until we get more rain the fishing will remain spotty with very few fish entering the rivers. The Black and Presque Isle will see the best possibilities since the fish donıt have far to run before they come in contact with a barrier (water falls). Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon and Brown Trout along with a few Steelhead will be most common. If you plan your trip just after a rainy period the fishing will be the best. In the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park the Big and Little Carp Rivers will also get some good runs of fish in the next 10 days or so - in particular the Big Carp gets a few Atlantic Salmon which are by far the most acrobatic and hard fighting of all the lake run fish. Some Steelhead are being caught on the East Branch of the Ontonagon at Sparrow Rapids. Low water levels in the rivers and sparse rainfall have held the fish from coming upstream in large numbers, but there are Chinook Salmonand Lake Run Browns in the rivers in fishable numbers.


Surface fishing in the shallow water is over for the season. The Bluegills have migrated to deeper water in all the Lakes. Clark Lake has the largest Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass of the tract, fish the deeper rock bars and drop offs, especially in the narrows. During the day, larger Tongue Depressors, Buggers and Clousers are still taking most of the fish. Snap Jack, West Bear and Cory Lakes are still producing Largemouth Bass in the 5 to 7 pound range and are best fished with streamers and other deep diving larger baits. Whitefish and Big Bateau Lakes are producing many Smallies in the 3 pound range on the deep side of just about every rock bar. Fish a 20 foot Sink-Tip line with a 4 or 5 foot 3X leader and a Black/Yellow Rubber Legs or Black Tongue Depressor on the deeper sides of the bars for the best results. Quite a few 20 to 40 inch Lake Trout are beginning to move into spawning areas in the channel and near the islands in Clark Lake, larger streamers and crankbaits are beginning to get the attention of these powerful ³demons of the deep²..

Indian Summer has brought the fish into very favorable fall feeding and spawning patterns, most activity is centered primarily in the early mornings and late afternoons.

Martin James Fishing