The pictures above are from the 2018 opener this past weekend. This was a perfect example of how each trip out is a learning experience. We had a game plan for Saturday, with the water and outside temps rising it looked like it was going to be an epic day.
Due to crowding at our first stop, we fished a little lower on the Wisconsin River than we originally planned. Water ended up being the correct temperature but flows were a bit high. We gave it a go but only hooked a few fish in a few hours of fishing. Not what we had hoped for. The water temperature was low 50's but the current was just too strong to fish as slow as I feel we needed to. Fish are probably still a little deeper than suits our style of fishing(casting towards the shore) so we decided to fish elsewhere on Sunday.
My phone also fell into the river on Saturday so we spent a good few hours of fishing time at Verizon getting a new phone. I am still unsure why I had my phone in my upper shirt pocket when I leaned over the boat, but at least can confirm the water was around 50 degrees from jumping in to retrieve my phone.
Taking what we learned on Saturday we formulated a new plan for Sunday and decided to fish
a section further downstream from the dam in slower/warmer water. Taking our focus off of Smallmouth for awhile and mainly targeting Northern. We felt we could find them in the small northern bays or near where small streams enter the river.
In our new location, we found water temperatures in the 58-60 degree range and found plenty of hungry pike in two to four feet of water using smaller flies and lures working them slowly back from the bank near new weed lines. Most Northern averaged 22'' with Jim hooking the largest of the day around 28''.
We also found a few Smallmouth very tight to downed timber in the slower/warmer water. Smallies ranged from 15-18'' and were caught on suspending lures or small articulated flies worked very slow around structure.
This week water temps will continue to rise and fishing should stay strong before a little rain and cooler temps over the weekend slow things down a bit. I'll be out Thursday through Sunday this week so stay tuned for more reports.