Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors August 2010

Hot August Nights
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

With the rain clouds open for most of the first week of July and a continued forecast of better then average precipitation, it looks as though we may have some extra water here in August. That's good for anglers looking to catch walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and northern pike on the waters of the Wolf. Higher water levels provide extra areas of cover along flooded shoreline grass that grew during the low water period of the early spring. That provides cover for young of the year fish and other baitfish in the forage base. Those conditions help keep fish using the river instead of heading out into the lower lakes of the system in search of food.

It is actually a little known fact outside the local area just how good the summer walleye, bass and pike fishing can be on the Wolf River. Add the canoe & kayak territory up the Waupaca, Little Wolf, Embarrass and Wolf River above Shiocton and you've got great fishing nearby. I've often floated the waters between “Mac's Landing”, where County M crosses the Wolf River, and New London. My 16 foot boat works fine as long as I take it slow in areas I am unfamiliar with. There are LOTS of stumps, logs and complete trees in the river that can bend a prop or do damage to the lower unit of my outboard. I fish the deep holes, spring beds and fallen timber in the river with OddBall jigs rigged snag-less, tipped with a nice juicy leech. Walleye, smallmouth bass and catfish provide the bulk of the action along with an occasional drum (sheephead). I've found walleye in as little as 3 feet of water using fallen timber in the middle of the river for cover.

Another little known fact is that there are quite a few Muskies and world class northern pike all throughout the Wolf River system. Although populations of these fish are much denser in the lower end of the system, there are good numbers of fish from New London to the dam at Shawano. Large plastics, spinner baits and surface baits are my favorite things to throw. Weedy spots are the best for pike but I've found that the Muskies like to use wood for over. Trees laying parallel to the current and large bunches of wood seem to be where I have seen the most Muskies. A new fishery to me, I've only been out a few times but have caught some quality pike and raised a few Muskies. The biggest pike have been between 38 and 42 inches. The biggest Muskie I had on was MUCH bigger and could have easily been in the 50 inch class. Those are world class fish. Make sure to have the right tackle and don't expect to see much fishing pressure.

Hot August nights are also one of the best times for catfish. With a little breeze to keep the bugs at bay, action can be fast and furious for channel cats. There are also a group of anglers who know where to look for flatheads, the tastier of the Wolf River catfish. Flatheads prefer live bait and are usually caught near the top end of the deep holes at night or near deep flooded timber. Suckers work well but if you can hit a backwater and catch a few bluegills, that's the best bait you can have. Use a slip sinker rig so the fish can take the bait without feeling any drag. Let them have it a bit, then set the hook hard. Populations of bigger flatheads are down due to over harvesting by set line and bank pole anglers but there are new rules and bag limits in effect to protect and help rebuild the population. Please make sure to check at the bait shop or on the DNR web site for the current guidelines.

The lower lakes and Lake Winnebago are also a great place to spend a day in search of walleye. Trolling gets tougher on lakes Poygan and Winneconne due weed growth but many walleye, northern pike and catfish are caught trolling. Another way to catch fish is with small jigs and slip bobbers near the cane beds and other places of weed growth. The river channel above and below the Winneconne bridge can always hold a few walleyes too. On the big lake I look to people like my friend Scott “Axl” Ehricke to help me find the schools of fish. “Axl” knows the lake well and varies his tactics between trolling crank baits, crawler harnesses and jigging the reefs. His Winnebago Fishing guide service and web site are valuable tools when considering fishing the big lake.

Perch and bluegills will also be found using various parts of the system. Populations of both panfish are exploding in the entire Winnebago pool which is good news for all anglers. Places where back water meet the river and river’s many sloughs are the place to look for Wolf River panfish. Bluegills can also be found at times searching for food in the rip-rap walls along the main river. As August turns to September look for the crappie to start their fall migration and show up in the first mile or so of river above Lake Poygan.

If you are looking for information about the Wolf River, please check out my new project, It's a video magazine that highlights the great fishing and outdoor activities on Wisconsin's lower Wolf River. Besides 3 new shows each month there will be an online magazine and video share site where you can upload your own videos and pictures of “Life On The Wolf”. Also check out the new Wolf River Walleye Club at for information on walleye fishing in the area. IT'S FREE! So are the meetings. Hope to see you at the next one.

Joel “Doc” Kunz is a field editor for Midwest Outdoors and 2005 Readers Choice Award Winner. He is also a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.


© Copyright 2009 - 2011 ~ Joel "Doc" Kunz - All Rights Reserved
No Use Or Copy Of The Material In This Website Allowed Without Written Consent By The Owner
Web Site Hosted By The Big Palm