Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors June 2009

June Bug Walleyes
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

If there is one thing that I learned a long time ago, it was that June is one of the best times of the year to fish here in Wolf River Country. White bass are usually still around in good numbers and the walleye fishing can be quite outstanding, especially on the lower lakes. There are also good numbers of walleye in the river, seemingly following the last groups of white bass back to the lakes. Bass fishing can also be quite good thanks to good numbers of largemouth and smallmouth in the system. There is plenty of prime habitat for both with many weedy bays and backwaters along with literally miles of rip-rap shorelines. Northern pike fishing can also be quite good and by June the catfish bite is usually going strong. Bluegill and perch can also be found throughout the system with year class numbers for both species well above average and nearing historical high marks. With so much open space to fish, anglers can usually find an area all to themselves, especially between Fremont and New London. Early mornings are the best time for walleye with the bite usually continuing until the start of the recreational boat traffic. That can be said for other species of fish like the bass and maybe even northern pike as well. Most fish will be active as the sun rises and seem to bite better until the boat traffic causes them to hold tighter to cover or be a little “spookier”. Still, good fishing lasts all month on the entire system.

Walleye are found throughout the Wolf River below the Shawano dam. Although local anglers talk about having to work for walleye on the river in places such as Leeman and Shiocton, there are still fish to be caught. An Odd Ball jig rigged weedless and cast to shoreline structure can produce walleye. I like the Berkley Alive 3” leech worked on a non stretch line with a 7 foot medium action rod with a fast tip in this situation. “Shad Tails” also work well but really can’t be hooked weedless. If I’m looking for more of a “minnow” action, a 4” grub tail will work and can be rigged weedless on the Odd Ball. A trick that works is to add a “beetle spin” to the combo for a bit of additional flash and vibration. A jig and leech combo works best after the sun comes up with the pre-dawn fishing being the best time for the crank baits. Sometimes they will bite all day on small cranks, but usually go deeper once the sun is up. This type of fishing can be found from Shawano to Lake Poygan, with walleye density, and boat traffic, increasingly larger as one travels towards Lake Poygan.

June is a good time for walleye out on Lake Poygan. Most are caught by anglers trolling crawler harnesses and small crank baits but there is a jig bite on some shallow rock piles and around the emerging weed beds. I like the tapered design of the Slo-Poke jig for pitching these areas as it too can be rigged weedless. A small piece of nightcrawler or real leech would be my go to choices for this type of fishing. Pitch to the edge of the weeds or rocks and let the bait sit for a few seconds before giving it a small hop. Those without trolling equipment can catch fish drifting over open water casting a “Beetle Spin” tipped with a leech and retrieved in a rise and fall pattern. Quite often the fish will bite as the bat falls through the water column.

White bass will also be found out on Lake Poygan and can actually be thought of as a nuisance by many walleye anglers. Flocks of seagulls will often give away the position of schools of bait fish being worked by groups of white bass. Casting a spinner in these areas will usually catch fish. The lower river and “rock wall” in Fremont typically hold white bass in early June with their leaving of the river based on water temperatures and river levels. A jig and minnow is still my favorite way of catching fish in the river but spinners and crank baits let you cover water faster.

Largemouth and smallmouth fishing can be quite good. Because of the numerous species of fish that provide great table fare, most anglers release all bass. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS PRACTICE AND RELEASE ALL LARGEMOUTH AND SMALLMOUTH BASS! Typical patterns catch fish and it doesn’t take much investigative work to find good areas. Places where weeds and back waters meet the main river are prime spots as are the deeper lilly pads that can be found. These areas are also home to some dandy pike, with fish in the 40 inch class far from rare. Smallmouth are found more often around the rocky shorelines, points and wooded areas of the river near deep water. Sand bars near flooded vegetation with adjacent deep water will also hold fish as will clam beds and spring beds. Anglers will even find a few walleye in those spots. In fact, if you’re working a jig and leech, you could catch anything including a catfish, sheep head or even a rock bass as you fish.

Speaking of catfish, they are fun to catch, usually bite well and are good to eat. ESPECIALLY the Flatheads. Most action is from the abundant channel cat population. A piece of cut bait on a slip sinker or Wolf River rig is all you need. Some like the more aromatic formula’s but that’s not for me. Flatheads take a better skill level for consistent success with live bait, time of day and location the key elements. Most are caught at night on set lines but there is a growing number of anglers learning to target these fish with rod and reel. The Flathead population is down due to previous harvest practices but there is still a viable number of healthy spawning fish in the system.

Bluegill, crappie and perch are also abundant in the system and often over looked. With good numbers from recent strong year classes, the panfish population should only get better in the next few years. Try Partridge Lake, Boom Bay or the channels in Winneconne for perch and bluegill action. I catch crappie out on Lake Poygan quite often when trolling for walleye. Sometimes it’s possible to stick with the school of crappies and catch a bunch.


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