Water levels at seasons start were very good, up and generally at more normal levels than past several seasons. Spawning areas, bays, reed flats, sand/gravel shorelines, etc had good water depths, creeks flowed good, water temps didn’t rise or fall dramatically and all species seem to have had very successful spawns.

It was a busy opening first couple weeks and fishing for walleyes, trout, pike, and bass was excellent. walleye fishing started out centered in and near spawning sites, and bass were moved up onto beds a full week to 10 days early.

Water temps have stabilized somewhat in the 65-68-degree range and weed growth is coming along very well, ahead of last season. Walleyes are now on the move from spawning areas to early summer haunts with big numbers of eater size and the occasional slotter fish on mud flats / big bays with grass/emerging weeds 4-12’. This group of fish are full of larvae and will probably continue to use these general areas till the Mayfly hatch is over in a couple weeks or water temps rise from mid-60’s to above 73 or so then a major portion will start a move out to the reefs for the warm water period. They are being taken spinner rigging and slow death hooking with crawlers, trolling flicker shads, and jigging with minnows or ½ crawler. This patterns are consistently producing 50-100+ +fish days. Mid lake south sections of the lake have been best for numbers, west and north less numbers but bigger on avg size slot and over fish with a lot of 22-27”. This group of Walleyes are already sliding up onto rock bars and humps topping off at 2-12’ in transition areas in secondary basins midway on way out between spawning areas and the main lake basins. These same fish can be found at the rock / mudline 16-22’ in between movements shallower. The hump / rock fish have gone best on jigs with fatheads / smaller minnows and 1/8-1/4 oz Carolina rigs with bigger dace minnows.

Bass were on beds by late May and some excellent fishing was the norm the past several weeks. Big avg. size fish with 14-17” males and 16-20” + females. The females are now off spawning beds and scattered, moving around chasing perch, spottails, and fattening up on crawdads. Broken rock shorelines, boulder points, downed timber, reed/ emerging weed cover while males are still on and guarding nests. Wacky worms, finesse worms, and a drop shot leech or minnow for the guardians. X-raps, crawdad cranks, tubes, jigs, spinner baits for the roaming females have worked well. On the clear water sections of the lake sight fishing has been a blast and in the west/northern sections fish are still in more stages of the spawn than southern/ eastern section fish.

Though not targeted as much as walleyes and bass the Lake Trout and Pike fishing has been steady with lots of pike 22- to 30” around edges of reeds and emerging weeds in bays on Husky Jerks, spinnerbaits, spoons and the bigger fish 27-40”+ in areas with groups of walleyes especially the near deeper water humps. Lake Trout have started their movement back to the deeper sections of Portage Bay and the Western Arm and are being caught at 45-65’ trolling spoons and jigging Kastmasters and hair jigs tipped with sucker strips or white tube jigs on both Eagle and portage lakes.

Musky season opens this coming Sat. June 18. We’ve seen more incidental action in some past years than experienced this season SO FAR by anglers fishing for other species though some have been hooked/water released up to 49”. Most incidents have been involving what appears to males 38-47” and though there have been some sighting of big females following or grabbing walleyes and small pike. With the info at hand I’d have to guess with the cooler weather in early June the spawn was delayed a bit and the big females are now out over deep water near spawning areas recouping. With the stable warming water temps, and the quickly growing and thickening weed beds they will be making their move in shallow shortly for some exciting early season action. Fish the best weeds you can find, shallow rocks near mouths of spawning flats and bays, and anywhere lots of walleyes are congregating. Try a combination of blades in the #7-9 sizes, twitched minnow baits, glide baits, and jerk baits casting 4-16’ of water. For a shot in the dark at the biggest females give trolling a try in the nearest deep water holes closest to the spawning areas. Troll minnow baits and blades at 4-16’ deep down regardless of depth of water.

So far it looks to be a great season with a new cabin #7 , 2 newly remodeled cabins, new guide boats, fish biting, great guests, and for the most part booked solid through aug ( check for availability occasionally one opens up with a cancellation) with a few sept/oct openings remaining . Due to popular demand and requests the last week of Oct. has been opened for bookings for serious diehard musky hunters. Come join the hunt, feel the buzz, be a part of it!!

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Steve Herbeck- AML guest fishing instruction coordinator