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Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports, Mercer Wisconsin

June15, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

Fishing has ranged from excellent to a couple days when it was a real struggle to get walleyes to bite, then there were periods of the day when it was slow in the morning and the fish really turned on in the afternoon or vise versa. In general we have been seeing bigger fish this year , yesterday we released a 24" walleye, five minutes prior on the same spot(10' sand bottom with a lot of wood) we had a big fish on that came unhooked. At first glance I thought it was a musky then had a good view of the fish it was a big walleye. Over the years I've had customers catch a 27" and a 28" this fish looked bigger, not many fish like that in the tff but they are out there.
The walleyes are in a summer pattern, what's the pattern? It is all over the board. Had a good weed bite going for a few of the days, cabbage in 4-5' we've caught fish in deep wood flats 12'-16', have done well on humps with stumps in 7-8', sometimes on the sides of humps on the slope in 7-12' where there are stumps on the slope and some hard bottom areas with laid down logs in 12-14'.
Bait I've not been taking minnows anymore the fish were coming exclusively on crawlers, the last few days we have however caught fish on large leeches. The 24" we released was on a leech as well as the big fish that came a little short of the net.
Tackle: we have been starting to use bobbers more and putting out a dead stick with a leech while we cast 1/8 oz. Jacks weedless jigs. The jig rods are spooled with 8lb fireline or power pro both good lines.
The smallmouth on some days have been on fire catching numbers some days in the 14-16" range with a few bigger. They will take crawlers obviously but leeches are a good bet for the bass.
Been catching perch with the walleyes some nice fish other times run into groups of mostly 6" that will chew up a lot of crawlers. If you're getting "machine gun bites" and can't hook the fish, they are small perch.
The fishing pressure during the week has been incredibly lite during the week, some days on the "big waters" only a couple boats in all the water you can see.
Enjoy the fishing.

 

June 5, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

Enjoyed some smallmouth fishing yesterday, rather enjoyed running the boat and watching my customers catch fish. I met Father and son Dick and Jeff for an annual outing with their flyrods. We were greeted with fog on the water, a cold north wind and air temps in the low 50's, the day did warm a little as time passed.
We started on a shoreline that was our best producer last year, the wind was blowing in but being proficient fly fisherman it wasn't insurmountable. We worked the best part of the shoreline and found only rock bass and a pike that would take the offering. I was really surprised it was prime territory for shallow bass. I worried the cold front might have put a big damper on the bite.
Jeff suggested we try some calm water, one of my favorite smallmouth islands was only a mile away, not a big island but big enough to provide a break from the north wind on its southern side. Again perfect structure, a mix of different size boulders with open areas of sand and small pebbles.
The fish were there, not sure why I never took up fly fishing, I never loose enthusiasm watching the fly rods bend into a u-shape with a smallmouth at the end of the line.
Dick took one of the bigger fish of the day on a yellow popper, it was the only fish taken on the surface. Jeff who for two days last year cast nothing but poppers somehow knew the bite wouldn't be on the surface, he tied on Clauser minnows in an olive green color and conehead wooly buggers, black bodies and white legs. He broke in a new St. Croix 7 wt. fly rod , he was really impressed with.
At days end I netted 18 smallmouth, 6 or 8 pike, they also caught about 30 rock bass, not as many as most years but for the conditions we were pleased. Oh I did catch a few fish, on one island shore I saw an approaching down tree, scrambled for a crawler and my jig rod and in 4 or 5 casts caught two walleyes and a rock bass.
Most of the fish were pretty tight to shore in a foot or two of water, the calm water was defiantly key to active fish. Some of the most fun to be had on the TFF, not sure how much longer they'll be shallow in numbers but they were yesterday.

June 1, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

Fishing has been very good in general since my last report, there were a couple of those days when most of the fish in the lake will take a bait if you get it in front of them and a couple where we thrashed a lot of water and structure types to come up with a mixed bag of fish.
I've been fishing mainly walleyes and perch, there is a really good population of perch in the flowage currently. They range considerably in size there is a big year class of fish a little small to make the cut but a lot of fish in the 10-12-1/2" range.
We've caught fish in a wide range of depths but most days have done better in shallow water in the 4-8' range. Fishing both wood cover, laid down logs and stumps in 4-8', and weed cover in the 4-5' depth .
Our bait of choice, rather the fishes, made a pretty abrupt change from fatheads to a half crawler.
The smallmouth action in shallow water is on right now, shorelines with boulders/gravel and mix of sand. We did surprisingly catch some nice ones in weeds yesterday.
Hope to have time to post a few pictures next day or two.
Have fun out there!

 

May 15, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

Fishing has been good since my last report , there have been slow time periods but in general we have been finding hungry walleyes in mainly shallow water relating to warmer water and wood structure. Shorelines with a drop close to shore then a gradual taper down to 6' depth about 30' from shore with a lot of wood, mostly laid down logs, held walleyes and pike with a few random perch. The fish were sometimes close to shore in a few feet of water others closer to the boat in 6 feet. We also caught some nicer size walleyes on small humps with stumps, humps in the 6-8' range were best. Downed shoreline trees also accounted for some walleyes. We've been fishing with extra large fatheads and 1/16- 1/8 oz. weedless Jack's jigs and a slow presentation.

We did give some of the river channel holes a brief try with very few fish caught. The spawn this year came and went very quickly. In the coming week I will be focusing on water mainly in the 3-10' depth range with wood and rock structure. Today we tried some cabbage in 5 ft. of water that at this time last year produced perch and walleyes, today only one big perch.

Drifting shallower flats with a lot of log structure on the bottom might be a good producer this up coming week.
After a slow start to the fishing season(fisherman not fish) with very low fishing pressure the first week, there were quite a few anglers out this weekend enjoying a pretty good bite and some weather that didn't require long underwear.

Looking forward to a lot of good fishing coming up, enjoy the great north woods.

May 7, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

MOON PHASE
Last Quarter
CONDITIONS
Sunny
AIR TEMP
66° - 70° F
WATER TEMP
46° - 50° F

Probably assumed, yes the ice is out. I launched Friday at Murray's landing and spent the weekend camping. On Saturday, people were able to launch at Fisherman's. Late Saturday afternoon, Baraboo Basin and Springstead Landing were still frozen in. By Sunday morning the ice was out of Baraboo and I assume the landing as well.

There were a lot of boats fishing the east end of the Flowage where there was known to be open water. In general, however fishing pressure was low for opening weekend and the Flowage as a whole, surely due to limited access.

How was the fishing? It was very good! There were walleyes being caught in the original river channels in the 12-20' depth range. My customers and I did best however opening day, and myself Sunday, on shallow rocks. The females had mainly released their eggs but were still on the rocks along with the males.

One rocky point where we caught fish, further down the shore we saw fish splashing, I said they were probably bass. We worked towards the activity catching fish on the way, when we got there, customer Jeff in the bow laughed, do bass have white tails! Several times another walleye followed a hooked one to the boat. The fish were in 2 feet of water (fow) and down the drop into 5 or 6 fow. 1/16 oz. jigs worked through the shallow rounded boulders better than 1/8 oz. Bait was extra-large fatheads.

The week ahead: I would expect with the fast warm up for the spawn to be a very short window. The right shallow rocks will still be good especially early and late in the day. There will still be fish relating to the river channels. Shallow warm water with log structure and shallow stump fields are also good shortly after the spawn.

 

 

May 3, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

I think I'm going to revise my ice out prediction and move it up a couple days. Tuesday our home weather station said 78, it was full sun and windy, the ice really took a beating that day. The change in the ice from morning to late afternoon was dramatic. Today the 96 acre lake we live on is about half open water, it will likely be gone tomorrow. I think some of the lakes in that size range in the Mercer area will probably be open by Saturday morning.

I think the chances of the main landings on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage being open Saturday morning is still slim. Springstead, Fisherman's,Sportsman's, and Sturgeon Bay was also still iced in. I would guess by early next week the ice will be off.
Back to cleaning the boat...

 

May 1, 2018
Jeff Robl
Bobber Down Guide Service
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Mercer, Wisconsin

Frozen lakes on opening weekend were thought to be about a one in twenty-year event. We have the same ice conditions we had in 2013 and 2014. I can't predict ice out any better than anyone else, but, if I look at the 10-day forecast and factor in the experiences of 2013 and 2014, I would guess the ice will go out about the 9th or 10th of May. I can't remember which, but either 2013 or 2014 had record cold temperatures. I remember mornings well into April with temps starting below zero, I believe that year the ice went out on May 10th.

My forecast for the fishing: opening weekend in 2013 was preceded by a snowstorm on Thursday and cold front conditions on the weekend, opening day, the walleye fishing was as bad as it gets, it improved slightly on Sunday. In 2014 opening weekend and the whole month of May had some incredible walleye fishing, I can remember a 100 fish day fishing with a husband and wife with a lot of nice fish. I predict the quality of the fishing will be somewhere between 2013 & 2014, how’s that for a forecast? LOL

The main body of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage will be frozen and area lakes will also be frozen (best guess). Fishing opportunities in a boat will be limited to areas where there is current from rivers. Parking is not ample and there will be not be an endless supply of water to fish.

Ice fishing: I'm sure there will people ice fishing. I would avoid the novelty of being able to say you ice fished on opening weekend. The land on shore transfers heat to the shorelines which gets thin before the main body of ice, looking at our lake outside, there is a thin band of open water around the shores with full sun exposure.

One more day of carpenter work, the rest of the week I'll be getting boat and gear ready, can't wait to get out fishing. With unknown conditions people waiting on the sidelines, I do have openings the first week, I'll be fishing somewhere, and it won't be watching a tip up!

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