Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors September 2008

Strong Year Classes Should Mean Good Fishing
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

If everything continues as it has, this could be one of the better years for fall fishing here in Wolf River Country. The high water from the spring and short periods of higher then normal water during the summer have brought lots of fish in to the system. So far fishing for catfish, smallmouth and walleye has been pretty good all summer. Anglers who fish the upper stretches of the Wolf, Little Wolf and Embarrass rivers have all been talking, (quietly), about the good fishing so far this summer. There are reasons for that. First, the talk is quiet due to the limited number of people who take the time to fish here. It’s prime wading, canoe and small boat territory where the deeper holes hold smallmouth bass, walleye and catfish looking for a meal. Limited numbers of people also mean limited amounts of trash, traffic and fishing pressure. That’s because it’s pretty easy to break something on your outboard and access is limited. There are also no guides that I know of and no published maps. Still, properly used, this area of the river should provide the back to nature type of quality outings those who like to canoe and fish can enjoy. The fishing is better then you might think too. That’s where the high water of the spring and average water levels this summer have helped. We’ve even got some nice periods of rain to keep river levels from falling to the point where the fish spook back to the main river. That happens each fall as water temperatures drop but can happen mid summer if water levels drop well below average levels. In that situation instinct keeps them from getting stranded and drives the fish downstream to the main river and lower lakes. But based on things so far, that shouldn’t happen. That means fishing in the upper river could be very good as September’s cooler nights start to gear up the fishing activity. Try Wolf River’s Edge Camping Resort near Leeman if you are looking for a good place to organize a canoe trip. There are a number of launching points up stream, Steve can help with drop offs and it’s a nice pace to end the day.

The river from New London to Fremont should also be good for walleye, smallmouth and catfish but the real star arrival should be the white bass again. Large schools of fish were in the river this spring and decent water levels should provide another chance at the big biomass of white bass in the system. Some smaller fish are already showing up along the rock wall in Fremont in the mornings which may be a good sign of things to come.

Fishing for northern pike in September is an often overlooked way to spend a day. Action can vary from a bunch of hammer handles to few bites, but big fish. I’m talking fish over 34” in length as expectable and pike over 40” possible on every cast. I’ve even seen pike over 50 inches come in to Larry & Jan’s resort and have several between 40 and 43 inches myself. Spinner baits, crank baits, spoons and bucktails are all good baits but don’t overlook fishing with big jigs and some of the new plastics available. Fall walleye anglers are often greeted with the old “swing and a miss” bite where they get nothing back but their freshly cut line. Getting lucky enough to catch the aggressor in the lip is how I’ve caught numerous green monsters in the fall. For this reason, having a jig/plastic combo ready to deploy in “pike size” is a good idea when fall fishing. I like the big shad tails because they can work vertically or via cast and retrieve. Areas where the back waters meet the main river, fallen trees and weedy cover can hold pike. They are going to be looking to eat, so prime ambush areas and places where smaller fish such as crappie, white bass and walleye are feeding are best.

Speaking of crappie, some already started showing up in August. Bluegill have also been pretty active in the river. That could make the fall fishing in some of the backwater sloughs quite good. It’s all up to Mother Nature though and the only way to find out for your self is to visit my web site or come fishing here in Wolf River Country.


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