Seasonal changes hold the key to Big Chip’s secrets
By Drake Williams
Life abounds on the Chippewa Flowage.ith baitfish like gold shiners, minnows, and crayfish found throughout the flowage, anglers have the difficult task of deciding what they should be throwing in the face of the game fish.
The answer ultimately lies in understanding the changes that take place on the Chippewa Flowage between opening day in May until ice-up in fall.
During the postspawn period, fish leave spawning areas and begin their summer feeding patterns. Scattering weed cover is developing in certain spots of the flowage. Baitfish are hatching and fry are just developing. Grass creates the much needed oxygen that will hold available food and cover. The angler should match the appropriate bait size to the fish under these conditions.
Summer begins with the first few weeks of warm stable weather. Temperatures are rising, grass is reaching full growth and the food chain is being fueled. The angler needs to find grass structure and fish cribs that will hold the fish. At this time fish often settle into predictable locations and feeding patterns.
Activity can also be determined by wind and weather, cold fronts and sunlight penetration. Deep weedlines or structure, coontail or cabbage weeds on shallow flats offer cover for baitfish.
Fall patterns on the “Big Chip” seem to be sparked by the first few blasts of cold wind and rain. Water temperatures begin to cool and weeds start to die off.
At this point feeding activity has now become aggressive all day. As weed cover thins, baitfish become more accessible for larger game fish like the walleye and muskie. Anglers serious about catching big fish rarely miss a fall fishing opportunity on the flowage!
Be sure to call any of the resorts or bait shops in the Chippewa Flowage Resort Association for up-to-the-minute fishing conditions or to help you set up an exciting fishing adventure with a professional guide.
The Chippewa Flowage is filled with life and full of wilderness beauty. Because of its size, the “Big Chip” will forever be a challenge for anglers.