July can be Hot on the Flowages

This month can be really hot for both temperatures, and the fishing action. The water temperatures are in the upper 60s to mid-70s early in the morning and can reach the low 80s as the day progresses.

When the water reaches these temperatures, the algae bloom starts to gather on the surfaces of the lakes. I like to get out early in the morning to get away from the heat of the day. This also allows me to get off the water before the pleasure boaters take to the lakes, which makes for a lot of wave action. This can be a very uncomfortable fishing experience at times, especially weekends.

Jigging channel edges and trolling crankbaits produce a variety of species on these lakes.

I usually like to start my guided trips using bright-colored jigs tipped with minnows and ’crawlers along channel edges and mid-lake humps in and around submerged timber. Both Castle Rock and Petenwell lakes have scattered brush and trees all along the old Wisconsin River channel. Castle Rock also has channel edges from the Big and Little Yellow rivers that enter in Buckhorn Bay.

The water in the Wisconsin River system is very stained and light penetration is minimal, which impedes the growth of weeds except in very shallow areas. There are also only a few locations that have rocky structure that fish can relate to. But there is submerged timber here that most species use to ambush their prey.

The stained water along with the summer algae bloom keep light penetration to a minimum, so the fish tend to stay high in the water column during daylight hours. This is why trolling is one of the most productive presentations during the summer. Rapala Shad Raps, Berkley Flicker Shads, Storm Hot-N-Tots and Salmo Hornets are a few of the top producers.

Both Castle Rock and Pentenwell have diverse fisheries, which means sometimes you never know what’s on the end of the line until you get to the net. Some of the species you might encounter are walleyes, white and black crappies, perch, bluegills, white bass, northern pike, muskies, channel and flathead catfish, carp, largemouths and smallmouths, dogfish, sheepshead and rainbow trout.

When trolling, I use Off Shore planer boards to spread my lines out away from the boat. When I have two or more clients along, the use of these allows me the option to run eight lines at a time so I can present numerous colors and actions of

crankbaits. It’s common, with the diversity of fish present and the number of lines out while trolling, to have three or more fish on at a time that are all different. That is what makes fishing these lakes so exciting.

July is the time to get out on these lakes and enjoy what Castle Rock and Petenwell lakes have to offer. Keep an eye on my message board for reports on my website listed below for what is biting. You can also click on “Gallery” to view pictures of past catches.