The opening weekend for fishing is
over and the results are in: Fishing wasn't too bad and believe
it or not, business wasn't too bad, either.
In fact, Becky Smith, of Dick
Smith's Live Bait and Tackle in Delafield, said her license
sales are up 22 percent from this time last year.
"People are fishing,"
she said. "I'm not certain if it's because people are laid
off or because fishing is a great family sport that doesn't cost
much money, but we're seeing a lot of people come through the
doors right now."
Smith admitted sales have been
slow on bigger ticket items, but lures, live bait and other
smaller items are selling well.
"It's nice to see some
positive things happening in the industry again," she said.
Over the weekend, Smith said
people were coming in with mixed reports, but that trout fishing
on Nashotah and Lower Nemahbin offered the best action.
"It's a great spot to take
the kids," she said. "The trout were biting in deep
water anywhere from the surface to about 15 feet down. The best
action was on small and large fathead minnows."
Bass fishing was mixed, with
people catching fish by either finessing them real slow with
jig-'n-pig combinations, or ripping crankbaits for a reaction
"Just like every year,"
she said, "people are having the best luck in the warmest
part of the lake anywhere you can find green weeds. That's where
the baitfish will be congregated, so that's where the game fish
will be, too."
Water temperatures around these
parts are in the low 50s, which is pretty cold, but the next 10
days should provide more consistent action as crappies, panfish
and bass move in to spawn.
"The muskie action was good
on Pewaukee, but I didn't hear of any huge fish being
caught," Smith said. "Crappie action has been good,
too, and I think this weekend will be excellent with the full
moon coming on the ninth."
Joe Hills, of Musky Mike's in
Okauchee, said the water temperature is still pretty cold, but
crappies are being caught.
"They're getting them in two
to four feet of water," he said. "The bass are staging
on the breaks, but should be moving in soon."
Hills also said license sales
have been up and smaller products are selling.
"It's been a very busy
opener," he said. "We've been selling a lot of live
bait and the artificial plastics have been moving well, too.
There were a lot of people on the lake this weekend. On Saturday
both the public launch and the Golden Mast were filled up."
John Laimon, of Smokey's Musky
Shop in Pewaukee, said his boat rental business has been good.
"I've rented out more boats
this year than I have probably in the past 17 years," he
said. "My guess is because it's a very cheap date for the
For $49, a family of four can
rent a boat, including a motor and gas, for a 10-hour day. You
can bring your own food and drink, and there are free grills at
both of Laimon's bait shops for use.
"And fishing has been really
good," Laimon said. "One of my employees went out on
(Pewaukee Lake) Saturday and caught 17 legal bass and six legal
muskies. People haven't been targeting the bass out here for a
while, but the bass are here."
Laimon said walleye fishing has
been slow, but bluegill and crappie action has been hot.
"One of the wardens measured
a 15-inch crappie last week," he said. "We're seeing
huge schools of bluegills and crappies this year. You have to
sort through them, but you can easily get a fish fry out of
Down in Mukwonago, bass and
bluegills were being caught on Lake Beulah and Phantom.
(Dan Durbin writes a weekly
outdoors column for The Freeman. Call Durbin at 644-7940, or
e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have a story idea.)