Musky season is open, with walleye, crappie, white bass and catfish all hitting; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
The 2014 Wisconsin northern zone musky season has opened and thousands of eager anglers are taking to the water in the central Wisconsin area with one thing on their mind — catching a big musky. Seeing how we just came through one of the longest and coldest winters on record anglers are going to have to change things up a bit if they are going to be successful.
Most lakes are way behind with fresh or new green weeds limiting the areas for muskies to hold. With that said targeting these predators leaves us with a few options like rocks and wood. Start by looking at the backwater areas in the area lakes and off the main Wisconsin River channel. Target shallow muddy stump filled bays with less than five feet of water. Small bucktails, twitch baits, and small rubber baits are all going to work well under these conditions. As the day progresses and the water warms up start targeting any rocky areas along the Wisconsin River or in the lakes.
The walleye bite has been very good in the central Wisconsin area with some very nice fish being caught. Most of the fish are in 10 to 16 feet of water holding tight to the bottom. Jigs tipped with fathead minnows or plastics have been taking the majority of the fish as well as running slip bobbers with baits set within a foot of the bottom.
The crappie bite has been the best many have seen in years in the central Wisconsin area few remember a year when the bite has been this good. A lot of fish are holding in shallow water in and around traditional spawning grounds. We have been catching most of the crappies by running a small jig tipped with a tube or minnow (both work very well) below a tiny bobber. Set the bait about a foot under the surface and cast it in towards the structure or area the crappies are holding. The action can be fast and furious as these slabs take the bait.
In addition to the multiple game fish we are catching in the central Wisconsin area we have been seeing quite a few white bass and catfish as well. Most of these are incidental to walleye and crappie fishing but non-the-less these are some of the strongest, hardest, fighting fish in the area. Don’t be fooled by their size either because pound for pound they will hold their own against any other species.
(This report based on interviews with licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and licensed guide Glenn Moberg, of Hooksetters Fishing & Hunting Guide Service, Mosinee Wisconsin).