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  • Writer's pictureTodd Martinson

Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report


After outings the last three days we have learned we are in the post spawn lull. We were still able to find fish but we had to work hard for them. Some see our pictures and think finding Smallmouth Bass consistently is easy. Truth is, there are a certain times in the year when we have to work harder to find them than others. The two-week post spawn lull is one of them.

I've said it before that we fish waters others choose not to and Tuesday was another example of that. Those fancy Ranger boats you see on the highways and in the lakes won't touch certain sections of the Wisconsin River like this due to the many boulders and obstructions in the river.

I truly wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it up the rapids but low and behold we did.

With water temperatures in the mid 60's the fish were not as active as we hoped but we still managed to catch a decent number of northern wisconsin smallmouth bass using topwater presentations.

Teacher Todd Guide Service on the Wisconsin River
Topwater poppers for Wisconsin River Smallmouth Bass


We fished a new section of river near the Wisconsin River and only found a few small Smallmouth and a few snake Northerns in the first few hours. This was a great lesson in patience as the fishing picked up as the water slowly warmed. Water temps were only 66-67 which is about 8 degrees lower than a week ago. Fishing was slow and then all of a sudden, in the shade and near structure, a gigantic Smallmouth came out of the water and destroyed my fly. Ended up measuring 20.5" and over 4lbs. A great fish who jumped 4 times on its way to the boat.

Northern Wisconsin Smallmouth Bass
20.5" over 4lb Smallmouth Bass


We found water temperatures in the up 60's with a few locations making it to 72. We of course found warmer water farther away from the dams that are spilling cooler water from the reservoirs above. We continued our plan of fishing topwater flies and lures all summer long. We found plenty of hunger Northern and Largemouth bass over and around the edges of cabbage weeds. We had a few small muskies take a look at our presentations as well but no takers this outing.

I did learn two difficult lessons yesterday. First, lesson is to keep your hooks sharp. I had hooked and lost a few fish a few days ago using a certain fly that I have been using and hooking fish on over the past month and a half. I knew the hook was a bit dull but forgot my hook sharpening tool. In the past I have not had to sharpen my hooks as I usually lose the fly/lure prior to needing to sharpen the hooks. The two fish I lost the day before were in that 15-16" range so I just brushed them off.

BUT THEN...I had a Monster Smallmouth crush my fly and run straight towards me. I was concerned about my hook set but felt fairly good after I survived its first run. To my knowledge, I had him under control and was bringing him close to the boat to be guided into the net. The fish either saw the boat, net, or both and made one last run. (Here is where lesson number two comes in.) Rather than give the fish line and let him run I clamped down on my fly line and tried to keep the fish from going away. That is when the hook pulled out. When you get used to pulling in 15"-17" fish with ease its easy to forget you need to change tactics and be more patient with the bigger fish. Whether it was a dull hook or a bonehead error this fish was over 20" and at least 5lbs and will take first place for this summer's memory of the fish that got away!

Wisconsin River Smallmouth Bass Fishing Guide
The beautiful Wisconsin River

Enjoy Today,

Teacher Todd

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