"Just as sure as 100 percent of the fish are caught when your line's in the water, this column ain't gonna write itself," WW&W shallow water correspondent Sandy Bottom nudged me back to work.
She was well-intentioned, but wrong. I'd already decided to delegate this one and doled out enough beer money to lubricate the conversation and tap into the hot anecdotal action and overt outdoor adventure and romance to be found lolly-gagging along Yooper backroads between fishing holes.
We weren't sittin' on the docka just any bay, we were backa Dollar Bay. Anybody can waste time; what counts is who you waste it with, and I was sittin' on the docka the bay with Sandy Bottom and Dolly Partanen, listening to Otis Redding croon the romantic classic by the same name. You're never wasting time when your line's in the water, and we were catchin' fish right under the dock.
So pull up your camp chair and ice chest, pop a cold one, and enjoy a summer smorgasbord of fishing reports, both near and far-fetched, from your favorite WW&W correspondents:
"Everything's snappin' in Lake Gogebic," said WW&W Lake Go correspondent Merri Weather from the westernmost barstool in the Eastern Time Zone at Hoop 'n Holler, where you can enjoy a world-class fish fry, savory sea-salt shrimp, and launch your float tube in luke-warm water right outside the door and catch fish.
"There's some pretty decent fishin' around Watersmeet," said WW&W Yooper correspondents Bruce Crossing and Paul Ding over a cold one at Jarvi's Bar after wettin' a line with Ed Wetelainen and limiting out on plump keeper brookies from secret local no-name cricks.
"There's lotsa places in the Keweenaw where you can catch fish while you're sittin' on the docka the bay," said WW&W walleye correspondent Sandra Vitreum. "Splake in Copper Harbor, smallies and crappie in Lac la Belle, trophy bullheads at Sandy Bottom and Bootjack, lake trout and coho from the dock at Eagle Harbor and the piers at Big Traverse Bay, South Entry at White City, Ontonagon, and the Breakwaters at McLain State Park.
"And don't forget my yuicy yumbo yellow perch," said WW&W correspondent Lily Pond.
It's as pure and simple as fishin' gets, all you gotta do is walk out there and start casting to your heart's content. Or try my stroll-trolling technique; pitch a Rapala upon the water and drag it as you walk along the pier.
Hannah Koskiniemi, Calumet, who turned 15 on the fourtha July, caught a big 26-1/2", 4-pound northern to win the Lake Linden-Hubbell Sportsmen's Rice Lake Fishing Derby on June 12 by having a floating Rapala flopping around behind her paddle boat. Let that be a lesson to all of us.
"The water's warmed up to about 65, but the walleye bite's been slow on Lake Fanny Hooe, Lake Med, Gratiot Lake and Lac la Belle and the fish barely legal," Vitreum continued, "but they will take a bladed crawler harness finessed along the edge and over the toppa weedbeds in 10-20 feeta water. Northern are beating them to it and nailing the same presentation."
"Or try bottom bouncing," she tipped, bouncing excitedly on her tippy-toes. "It takes a certain touch but when you feel that rhythmic tick-tick-tick along the bottom, you know you're doing it right and the fish won't be far behind."
"We haven't caught many big fish out on Bete Gris, but we're getting, frisky, well-fed splakers and lakers in the 4-7 pound range on Finn Spoons and Reef Runners," said WW&W char correspondent Dolly Vardenen. "Two to four-pounders make the best eaters; Splake and steak is the surf and turf of the Keweenaw, you know." Another stealth presentation is running spoons offa slide divers.
WW&W navigation correspondent Otto Pilot reports pretty smooth sailing to Isle Royale with a hot lake trout and salmon bite on shallow reefs where you least expect it.
"The blueberries are blue and the brookies and bugs are biting like buggars on the Yellow Dog Plains," said WW&W wildlife correspondent and fishinista Paris Hiltunen. "Most brookie cricks are pretty brushed in, buzzing with flies and mosquitos, and crawling with icky ticks. Woodtick Crick is the worst of all, so you don't wanna go there."
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at jjunttila@ chartermi.net.