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home : outdoors : outdoors May 25, 2016

7/8/2014 1:35:00 PM
Fish are biting in the Northwoods
Bass, panfish especially active
Largemouth bass are among the most active feeders right now.Craig Turk photograph

Largemouth bass are among the most active feeders right now.

Craig Turk photograph


Craig Turk
Outdoors Writer/Photographer


Things are looking good for area and visiting anglers. The fish, for the most part, have been cooperative.

“It’s been pretty good, all in all,” Jeff Smith of J & J Sports in Lake Tomahawk said of the fishing Monday.

“Bass fishing has been really good, walleye fishing’s been so-so. But there was a 28-incher caught on Lake Tomahawk, a couple 24s.”

Smith said muskies “have been pretty active,” and that anglers are finding a lot of panfish – and some of quite respectable size.

Not many people keep the bass they’re catching, but Smith said bass anglers have been showing off pictures of bass in the 20-inch range. In the recent past there was one very impressive bass catch.

“There was one 24, but that was two weekends ago,” Smith said.

The bass have been feeding actively on crawlers and leeches. Rubber frogs have been productive for largemouths “in the slop,” he said.

Anglers are finding muskies on the weedlines.

“Probably chasing bass around, chasing panfish around,” Smith said.

Glide baits, jerk baits and bucktails have been taking muskies.

“A couple guys had some luck on topwater, too,” Smith said. “But guys were talking about the small jerk baits working good.”

Most fish reported were in about the 40-inch range. Nothing especially large had been reported recently, though some were in the mid-40s.

But it’s much smaller species that are delivering the bulk of the action right now.

“The story right now seems to be a lot of panfish, and a lot of kids catching a lot of fish. So that’s a good thing,” Smith said.

Some of the bluegills being caught were nice sized.

“They’re telling me 8 to 9 inches, so that’s pretty good,” Smith said. “There were a couple of 10-and-a-halfs caught out on the (Rainbow) Flowage by guys who were fishing for walleyes and they hooked into one.

“Sometimes that’s what happens. You’re fishing for walleyes with a jumbo leech or something and you’ll get one big ‘gill that’s a monster.”

Smith noted that anglers are very much into catch and release.

“Nobody’s bringing stuff in anymore it seems like. They show me on their camera,” he said.

As they are wont to be, northern pike have been active.

“There was a 38-inch pike caught,” Smith said. “That was Sunday.”

Smaller and mid-sized pike are, like the largemouths, often in the slop.

“The kids that were catching the bass on these frogs were also getting the northern,” Smith said. “They’re ripping’em apart. They come in to get a new frog.”

One thing is for certain – it’s a good time to pick up that rod and reel and slide the boat into the water.

Craig Turk may be reached at cturk@lakelandtimes.com.







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