Fishing at Keyhole

What to Expect on Your Trip

ICE-OFF through JUNE: Unpredictable weather and unpredictable target species.  

  • Northern Pike will begin to move into shallow water and weed beds, making them prime targets on a small to medium-sized fly.  Once the females begin to spawn, we’ll leave them alone and target the usually smaller males that tend to eat flies through mid-June before moving back to the depths as water temps climb above 60 degrees.  Spring fishing for Northerns can be hit or miss.  
  • Crappie are feisty little critters and the high numbers caught through May and June can be fun for anglers of all experience levels.  When they’re on, they’re on – and boating 100 fish in a day is not out of the question.
  • Smallmouth Bass will liven up with the rising water temperatures.  Pound for pound, a good fighting fish and we’ve personally witnessed 19” bass being caught.  
  • Common Carp abound in these waters and if you’ve never targeted carp on a fly rod then you’re truly missing out on a memorable experience.  Spot and stock techniques on spooky fish coupled with perfect fly placement and control will give the best anglers a challenge.  Hold on to your rod when they do eat because there is no better fighting fish.  Carp fishing really heats up in early June when the brutes move into shallow water.  
  • Walleye can be caught on slow retrieves in specific spots on the lake.  Better in the morning and evening, but a patience game on a fly rod.  The June bite can really turn on.  

JULY through LABOR DAY: The dog days of summer when temperatures can climb over 100 degrees.

  • Northern Pike are hard to find this time of year with a fly rod and we’d personally prefer to leave them alone anyways with the hotter water temps making it harder for them to recover from a fight.
  • Crappie can still be found in some deep structure, but will require sinking lines and some patience.
  • The bigger Smallmouth Bass have settled in the deeper water, but you can still find some hungry fish.  This is a good time to catch them on topwater – foam or poppers, though no longer a numbers game with the hotter water temps.
  • And let us PLEASE not forget about the Carp, our personal favorite species to target through the hotter months.  Perfect for a half-day guided trip through the peak sun heights of the day.  Poling boats through 12 inches of water, throwing flies at cruising and tailing carp – this may be the closest thing to saltwater flats or mangrove bay fishing you’ll ever experience in the contiguous 48.  When the weather cooperates, you can have shot after shot at 9 pound plus fish.
  • Summertime walleye is a recipe for early morning and/or late evening.  Baking in the sun, blind casting and slow retrieves.  Not for the faint of heart with a fly rod.  

LABOR DAY through ICE-ON: Sun, rain, snow, wind, sun (All in the same day).  The weather is cooling down, but the fishing is heating up.

  • Northern Pike will once again migrate to the shallows and weed beds.  As water temps decrease, the numbers AND size of fish GO UP.  October can be the best month of the year to catch a lot of hungry and healthy Northerns.  Looking for a 40” fish?  This is when you need to book your trip!
  • Fall Crappie begin to school up and when you find them – it’s game time!
  • Smallmouth Bass are lurking in the shallows and can often be a bi-catch of Northern Pike fishing.  
  • Common Carp have all but gone on auto-pilot.  Shorter days and colder temperatures make them a hard target this time of year.  But don’t think we won’t throw a fly at them if we see a peaceful pod of carp basking in the afternoon sun.
  • Walleye at this time of year can be located and caught by casting baitfish patterns towards the shore and bumping them back towards the boat.  We’re honing in our techniques and electronics to make this a more consistent and rewarding experience with a fly rod.