Kickapoo River (West Fork) reports
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Bill Sherer (wetieit)
1 - Excellent
Fishing Report 8-20-08
from: Bill Sherer's We Tie It Fly Shop - Boulder Jct., WI
The stifling heat of the past week has been replaced with refreshingly cooler temperatures - at least for us humans! Water temps will take a few more days to recover, but the cool nights and shorter days will bring those changes along quickly. Our August is coming to an end and with it comes the increased threat of dramatic changes in daily temperatures making the fishing conditions uncertain. Fish feeding cycles will increase with the frontal temperature and pressure swings but their feeding habits will change little for the next few weeks - until we get our first major frost. Since most of the weeds are reaching the end of their growth cycle and are beginning to show signs of dying back, we can expect the fish to congregate in areas where there is more oxygen and fewer decaying weeds. The typical â€œslimy growthâ€ on the weeds and â€œAlgae Bloomsâ€ in many area lakes are all signals that the summer season is coming to an end. As the weeds die off and the â€œBloomâ€ continues to cover the shallower water the fish will relate less to these areas and more to water with more oxygen (dying plants and Algae use up oxygen). This typical fish behavior is a direct reaction to their environmental changes - the smart angler will respond to these changes just as the fish do.
Most of the Mosquitoes and other biting insects are becoming a thing of the past as we continue through the late summer time period, you should get out and enjoy the last bit of our beautiful summer weather.
Northern Pike action has increased quite a bit on many area lakes, a medium sized Perch or Bluegill colored pattern is working best in the 4 to 12 foot depth range - especially off the edges of weed beds and on adjacent rock bars with sparse weed growth in the morning hours. In lakes with large flats try to concentrate on the heavier GREEN "Cabbage" patches in the deeper weed flats and drop off edges. Medium sized bucktails, weedless divers, streamers and smaller jerk baits are still the most effective. I am now having good success on Northerns with larger Olive/White or Perch colored streamers. Many Muskies in the 28"- 35" range have responded well to this setup as well. It's the end of summer and the fish are beginning to respond best to more natural colors and normal amounts of flash, fish the flies a bit slower to get them down into the â€œcomfort zoneâ€ of the fish feeding areas. Full Intermediate or short sink tip lines are the best at this time of the season.
The daytime fishing for Muskies is once again picking up as the fish are again on the rampage looking to fill their stomachs after the heat of the past week. My best pattern in weedy lakes is a Perch or Bluegill colored weedless Flute Fly or Diver fished well off the edges of the weed lines on a full sinking Intermediate line throughout the day. In the very clear, deep lakes the fish are still farther off the shelves and sand beaches and are taking small to medium sized crank baits, move the bait a bit slower but continue lots of erratic twitches and pauses. Before the sun gets up and the boat traffic increases, fish the inlet and outlet streams and the inside edges of the major weed lines. Top water action is slowing down on many of our lakes, but the large Boilermakers, Surf Plugs and other noise making large profile baits will occasionally take a fish or two. River fishing is great with lots of larger fish now up in the rivers from lakes that are starting to show signs of algae blooms and decaying weed growth. Larger main stem rivers with a bit more depth have been producing the largest fish, with water levels below normal the fish are holding mainly in the deeper pools and setting up ambushes near the heavier weed growth and log jams.
Walleye fishing is picking up considerably, with lots of good eating sized fish being caught in the cooler early morning hours. Most of the fish have left the weeds and are cruising the rock bars and open water. I am still picking up some real nice (4 to 7 lb) Walleyes in the area streams and rivers - theyâ€™ll hold in the shade of thicker lilly pad clumps in 2 to 4 feet of water, but a well placed weedless Deceiver or other minnow colored bait will get a quick strike! There is now a good open water bite on many larger clearer, mostly sand bottomed lakes - run a deep diving medium sized crank bait near the drop offs and rock bars late in the evening, just before dark. Smaller weedier lakes are now fishing best with larger minnow imitations in more open water where the weed growth is sparse. Larger schools are more concentrated and feeding methodically across mid-depth rocky points and bars. Minnow and Leech patterns fished in 8 to 12 feet of water have been catching good fish especially off points in the early mornings and late evenings. Some very good midday fishing is now being had on Trout Lake on the deeper rock bars and windy points, crayfish and leech patterns are working best. Most weedy lakes are also responding well to slip bobber techniques using a large crawler fished over a gravel bottom with sparse weed cover at about 12 to 15 feet.
Schools of Crappies are more concentrated in open water during the day and in the evenings nearer the thicker patches of green weeds. A small minnow pattern (like a Black Ghost or Cats Whiskers) is still doing well especially in the evenings. Almost all the Bluegills have migrated to deeper water and are feeding best in the late afternoon. Some schools of Bluegills and Sunfish have ventured back into shallower water feeding on a prolific shrimp population which has popped up in the warmer shallow water - a size 12 or 14 tan scud is a great imitation.
Good numbers of Jumbo Perch have been caught on small minnows and crawlers in Van Vliet Lake throughout the day in 6 to 10 feet of water over the mud flats and gravel edges. Many other lakes in the area are also seeing a long awaited resurgence of these fish coming back into the shallower water and beginning their early fall feeding patterns.
The top water action for Largemouth Bass is better than last week, the Largemouths are mainly feeding in the late afternoons and evenings on Small minnows, frogs and panfish. A frog popper twitched (not popped) through the weeds has been very effective in the past few days. Many Largemouths in our weedier lakes have moved off the shorelines and are near the weed lines also seeking deeper water and cooler temps which will hold more oxygen. Great midday action has been very consistent in Wild Rice Lake and in the Trout River to Alder Lake.
Most Smallmouth Bass have moved offshore and are hanging near drop offs and large boulders in the 8 to 12 foot depth range, a Crayfish pattern or cone head rubber leg wooly bugger jigged throughout these areas has been best in the early afternoons. Some Smallies are cruising the shallows taking smaller minnow baits aggressively - I was surprised, but not disappointed to find 16â€ to 20â€ Smallmouths in 4 to 6 feet of water on Jag Lake taking a size #6 Black Nose Dace in the middle of the day! Good numbers of Smallies are still up the Manitowish River upstream of island Lake and many other larger rivers throughout the area. I continue to have great success with Black/Yellow Cone Head Rubber Legged Wooly Buggers and Yellow Deceivers this past week in many area locations. The Smallies are holding on or near shoreline rocks just out of the faster current and dashing out to take the flies as we twitch them by in the current.
Many Largemouth Bass are still upstream in the area rivers and creeks, I am still having great success using a Frog colored popper and larger Bunny Bugs in yellow or Orange. Late afternoons are the best time to locate these feeding bass in an around lily pads and stumps, they are enticed best with a slow subtle retrieve rather than a lot of pops and top water thrashing.
This seasonâ€™s â€œace in the holeâ€ fishing on smaller "carry in" and "bog" lakes are once picking up quite a bit as the daytime temperatures and humidity levels drop. Crappie fishing on Oswego Lake is very good especially in the trough between the west shore and the gravel bars. Spectacular Largemouth Bass fishing for â€œSchool Bassâ€ is reaching a crescendo on Salsich Lake and the Bluegills are still feeding well on Blueberry Lake just East of Big Muskellunge.
As the temperatures continue to drop the top water fishing activity will also continue to drop off with our seasonal weather changes, the best fishing has shifted back to the late afternoon hours, with some good fishing right at sundown in the evenings. Look to the rivers and streams for increased action for migrating Muskies, Bass and Walleyes!
HEY EVERYBODY ITâ€™S HOPPER TIME - LETS ALL DO THE HOPPER DANCE, 1 - 2 - 3 HOP; 1 - 2 - 3 PLOP...!!!
The shorter days have changed our weather patterns, the streams and rivers have cooled down considerably and the trout are again feeding throughout the day with a flurry of activity at dusk. I still like to get out just before or during a storm or rain shower (as long as there's no lightening!), the falling pressure, darker skies and windier conditions all add to the increased feeding activity of larger trout.
Most of the larger trout in our area rivers have begun migrating towards the headwaters in preparation for spawning in the fall. This means there are lots of above average trout on the move hiding in some very â€œskinnyâ€ water where they are more vulnerable to predators - consequently they lay low during the day and feed mostly in the low light of dusk. In their unfamiliar surroundings however, they are more easily fooled by a good cast with a larger Grasshopper imitation â€œploppedâ€ tight to an undercut bank or log jam.
Good hatches of Tricos and Midges are still dominating the morning dry fly fishing action. During mid day and early evening a sporadic hatch of Caddis and White Millers is making it's presence known, followed by a good evening hatch of Ephron Lukons - the fabled White Mayflies. Terrestrial insects (Beetles, Ants, Grasshoppers and Crickets) are very abundant and making up the largest portion of a trouts diet throughout the afternoon hours in the area. Most of the trout in our local "Put & Take" lakes have gone deeper for the summer looking for more oxygen, the best way to get these fish consistently is to use small deep running baits on full sinking lines and concentrate on points, mid lake humps and drop offs, most trout will hang off these structures and stay deep throughout most of the daytime hours. I look for a thermocline to set up at this time of the year and try to keep my offerings just above that depth range. I usually use a Deceiver or Clouser in Chartreuse or Green & White.
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 consistently been better throughout the day. Muskie and Northern Pike activity continues to be good. Northern Pike are still biting well on the Bond Falls Flowage and Langford Lake off the deeper shorelines and mid lake humps and weed beds. Walleyes are off the deeper drop-offs during the day and moving up onto the rock bars, stumps and points in the early mornings and evenings. The fish are beginning to stage on the deeper drop off points and moving up onto shallower flats in the evenings. Smallmouth Bass are holding in the log jams along the deepest banks and near the drop offs with more logs and other cover in the 8 to 12 foot depth range, look to inlet streams and rock ledges for the highest concentration of Smallies in this water. A good number of Smallies are now migrating up the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon and are taking Brown/Yellow Rubber Legged Cone Head Buggers very well. Smallmouth Bass fishing has been very good in the Main Stem of the Paint River and on Lake Gogebic in the Slate River at the South end and in the the Merriweather Creek sloughs on the northeast end of the lake. Tamarack Lake is really turned on for great Smallie action near the inlet of Imp Creek and at the outlet of the Tamarack River - a Green/White Deceiver cast to the rocks and logs will bring a smashing strike from 2 to 4 pound Smallies almost immediately. A word of caution - the Tamarack River Bridge is being replaced and the road from the west is closed, you can only access the boat landing from the west on Old US 2.
GRASSHOPPERS RULE THE STREAMS IN THE U.P. TOO!!!
Excellent hatches of Midges and Tricos are dominating the morning dry fly fishing action on the Ontonagon, Sturgeon, Brule, Tamarack, Paint and Cooks Run. During mid day and early evening a Grasshopper is best with good hatches of Caddis and White Millers are still making their presence known and are being followed by a good evening hatch of Ephron Lukons - the fabled White Mayflies. Terrestrial insects (Beetles, Ants, Grasshoppers, Moths and Crickets) are now abundant and making up the largest portion of a trouts diet throughout afternoon hours throughout the area. The bigger fish will feed most heavily during a rain storm or in the low light of dusk and after dark. Cooks Run and the South Branch of the Paint River have been very good for the past week or so with Brookies and Browns feeding throughout the daytime especially in the shade and under overhanging branches. The Middle Branch of the Ontonagon is also fishing well again for native Brookies. Below Agate Falls, the Rainbows are rising well to a small Hopper or #14 Tan Caddis. I expect to see some Lake Run Browns to show up there in the next 2 to 3 weeks, but some may come in a little earlier.
Smallmouth Bass surface fishing in the shallow water is basically over for the season, but some fish will still cruise the shallows and drop off zones chasing minnows and crayfish so donâ€™t neglect these areas all together. Most of 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 rock bars and drop offs, especially in the narrows. During the day 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 an Olive/White Double Bunny ripped through the water in the 4 to 7 foot depth range. Whitefish and Big Bateau Lakes are producing many Smallies in the 3 pound range off the edges of just about every rock bar. Fish a 10 foot Sink-Tip line with a 4 or 5 foot 3X leader and a Brown/Yellow or Black/Yellow Rubber Legs or Black Tongue Depressor on the deeper sides of the bars for the best daytime results, in the evenings go to a floating line, 9 foot 3X leader and a #6 Yellow Popper or dark colored Diver and work it slowly near the deeper banks, logs and reeds. The Rusty Dragonflies continue to return to the water on Deer Island and Clark Lakes and a good evening top water bite is still on, this wonâ€™t last much longer.
The water temperatures are abating this week, the fish are still holding in deeper water with less surface activity. Cooler air and water temperatures are bringing the fish into shallow water primarily in the early evenings. Stream temps are falling this week and the feeding activity has picked up considerably. A large Hopper pattern with a small nymph dropper is still the best!
Get into some great end of the summer fishing opportunities while they last! (12/30/08)
Kickapoo River (West Fork) descriptions
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Chris Walkowicz (walkowiczc)
real good fishing here. your arm will be tired from catching so many. if the fish are not biting, try to fish near the road...the locals will stop by and tell stories about what they did to make this river so great...many people that live nearby have worked hard to make this river what it is today..there a tons of nice people in this area. beautiful bluffs, several good access points, great fly shop in viroqua, good coffee at the coop (1/19/13)
Andy Idema (aidema)
Yep this is an awesome river. Scenic country and tons of nice browns. (1/19/13)
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