The other night while I was checking the facebook page, and trying to catch up on all of the fishing info I could, something caught my attention. Over in the lower right hand corner of my laptop display was an instant message from my cousin Chuck. It read, Wolf trip, May 1&2. Now I've been telling myself for the last three months or so that I wasn't going to go the Wolf this year. Being unemployed is starting to take a toll on the old bank roll, and the thought of me trying to explain to Shirley that I was planning another fishing trip (I have one scheduled for the second week of May to St. Germain WI, and another one on the books for the first week of August to Orr MN. That doesn't include the annual Muskie tournament in October) just wasn't making me feel all too comfortable. Our dog Scruffy has a rather large cage for a Jack Russell Terrier but I don't think he would appreciate having to share it with me. So I didn't respond all to quickly to the message, but then I got to thinking about it...and I responded back, sounds good!
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of fishing the Wolf river in and around Fremont WI, I am sorry for you. It truly is an awesome fishing experience. Now for the rest of you, I am sure you can relate to what I am talking about. March/April begins the Walleye run. Late April/May is the White Bass run. June is the Catfish run. The summer can be great for the Smallmouth/Largemouth. Then by the beginning of September the White Bass start again. October/November bring the Walleyes up the river for the fall run. I prefer to make a trip in the beginning to mid May for the White Bass. The fishing can be nonstop action if you hit the right weather days. White Bass seem to bite more regularly on the sunny warm days as opposed to the cold cloudy days but I have had good days under both conditions.
We like to start out fishing the deeper holes with a Wolf River Rig tipped with a river shiner to see if there are any active fish stacked in the current. If they are there and feeding aggressively it can be the best method for catching them consistently, without having to move the boat too often. This is a great opportunity for the youngsters to get out and enjoy a day of fishing. The bite can be hot and heavy and easy for the kids to catch a bunch of fish, and get hooked on fishing like I did. A good river anchor is a must when fishing the Wolf. The currents can be quite strong, and without a good anchor you will not be able to stay upon these fish in the deeper holes.
The other fishing option is to drift down the river casting to the river bank structure with spinners. This can also be a very effective way to catch White Bass very quickly, the key here is to find the schools of fish that are entering the shallow areas to spawn. On trips in the past, I have seen fishermen catch a fish in 10 out of 10 casts. That is how quickly you can fill a cooler full of White Bass on the Wolf. Boat control is critical here when casting spinners to a school of hungry fish. You may be just a few feet off of the school or at the wrong angle to the structure and you can get nothing. I am talking from experience here and it's not very much fun when you can't catch a fish and the boat next to you is stacking them up one after another.
White Bass can be quite good on the table if prepared correctly. Here are few tips that I have found can make a big difference in their quality of taste. First, it is critical to keep them cold until you clean them. I prefer to ice them immediately in a cooler instead of keeping them in the livewell. Most of the fish will die in the livewell anyway because you will have too many, and the water will get too warm. Once they are warm the meat will begin to soften and will not be as firm as it is when cold. The next tip is to remove the mud vein when cleaning the fish. If you are not sure how to do this you can look online for videos that show how to remove the mud vein. The third tip is to keep and eat only the fish that are caught in the deeper holes. Once the fish have gone up shallow and begin to spawn, the fish tend to have a different flavor than the fish in the deeper current. I'm not sure exactly what the cause is, but I have my theories, and it is a noticeable difference in the taste quality.
One last thing you can do to make your Wolf river trip a successful one is to check the local conditions before you go. Ma's Bait and Tackle in Fremont can provide all the information, bait and supplies, to make your trip a great one. Stop by and see Ma's or visit them online at http://www.masbait.com. Tell them Cast Across America sent you! Good luck at the Wolf this Spring!
If you get a chance to make it to the Wolf this year let us know how you did on facebook at Cast Across America or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and don't forget to visit our website at http://www.castacrossamerica.com