Star-spangled Fishing

Also the month with my birthday, July is my favorite fishing month and a time where action is in full swing on the waterways. The Wolf River system has many walleyes in the river and out on the lower lakes.

Early mornings are best for walleyes, and the bass and pike are strong enough to keep you busy. Catfish also bite well, which makes for some fun night fishing if there’s enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitos at bay.

Lake Winnebago really starts heating up in July. By this time most of the walleyes that were headed back to the big lake have made it there. Although many of the post-spawn fish return quickly, the bulk of the population takes their sweet time returning. That’s why so many of the big-time June walleye tournaments are won on the upper lakes or in the Fox River west of Lake Winnebago. But by this month the “mud bite” gets going for the trollers and the reef fishing can be great with the right wind. And don’t overlook shallow, windblown, rocky and weedy shoreline areas.

Over the last number of years, the Bay of Green Bay has been a destination I enjoy. The walleyes and smallmouths are world class. Add a rebounding perch population and the availability of some big pike and trophy muskies and you have plenty of reasons to take the trip. I like the area around Little Sturgeon Bay and Larsen’s Reef.

In the past, trolling had been king for walleyes, but in 2017 you can find more anglers casting and jigging to catch these fish. It’s a return to the days when anglers really had no way of effectively trolling and could work the reef areas in such a manner. Handmade spoons and other ways to get a minnow to flutter to the bottom were incorporated. Anglers would then work rock humps and fish- holding areas, often anchoring on or near a high point on the structure. A long cast with high-tech fishing line was not a part of the formula then nor were the bait-imitating plastics we have today. It was pretty much close-at-hand combat for the big-bay walleyes.

Want some July-fishing fireworks? Head out to the big lake and get yourself hooked up with a big chinook or steelhead. Now is the best time of the year to do so because it’s when things start heating up on Lake Michigan. From the tip of Door County to the Milwaukee Harbor, charter captains and recreational anglers are out in search of these hard-fighting, great-tasting fish.

Other species like lake and brown trout can be caught now, into August is when the lake salmon really turns on. I like the fun and feel of being with a well-schooled charter captain. The sheer number of baits that one can run on one of these boats is amazing. Electric downriggers, for instance, were the “innovations” used with these boasts since I’ve fished the lake way back in the ‘80s. A day on a Lake Michigan charter boat is a well spent, especially with family, friends or a group of people from work.

So get out and enjoy some summer fishing. And if you’re planning on being in the Fremont area, feel free to reach out and I’ll try and point you in the right direction. If you’re going out on the big lake and have an open seat, well, feel free to let me know about that too.