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Friday, June 23, 2017

Fishing Report 6-23-17

Hey gang,

I was "professoring" a good chunk of this past week, so I wasn't out as much as I have grain of salt on this report which is assembled from my usual sources, but lacks some my usual contributions/observations. When assembling this information, I just like to be up front about what you're seeing.

It sounds like dishing has been hit or miss the last week as fish have been feeding during blocks of time each day. If you're on them when they feed, the fishing has been good, but this run of unstable weather has made them very hard to pattern. A glance through my fishing logs suggests that this (unstable weather fishing pattern) is actually pretty common for late June.

Right now most lakes are in the mid to high 70s, but the rains this week have made it a crapshoot. Areas where there's drainage into the lakes (springs, creeks, river channels) may be on the cooler side. Weed growth varies from lake to lake, but is about average for this point in the year. (It really caught up during that sunny/hot weather spree we had about 10-12 days ago.)

A few of the lakes with muddy/silted areas are starting to see a significant algae bloom. Check out this Blogpost from UW-Madison on the blue-green algae bloom on Mendota.

Bass: Fish are setting up on summer patterns, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days when its not raining cats and dogs, topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially on isolated weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. On sunny days, especially those with lots of wind, fish are tighter to cover or using shallow rock bars in 3-8 feet of water.  When there's steady wind, drifting and casting grubs/jigworms on the flats can really produce. When the wind lies down, texas rigs or jig/chunk combos fished along the transitions of points will put fish in the boat. The action lakes are all rolling right now (Ashippun,  Beaver, Silver, Moose, School Section) and the lakes with better fish (Okauchee, Pewaukee, Nag, North and Oconomowoc) have been steady. Don't be afraid to slow down and really fish an area through to find a little better success. Note: Everything I heard this week was largemouth...nothing on the smallies, at all.

Pike fishing has been steady, with a fair number of quality fish coming in during the unstable weather. (Again, something the log shows over the years) The number one way to catch bigger pike right now is a small sucker or medium to large shiner (biggest ones you can find, but keep them cool) on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of weeds and you'll find some fish. Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, jerkbaits and spinner baits are also producing, especially in the shallow water, with prop-baits producing before first light or after dark.

Musky fishing continues to be slower than average for this time of year. My guess is that the fish are starting to set up out deep and that people just haven't gotten on them.  Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but converting fish has been difficult. Topwater produced a few fish when the moon was down during low light conditions, but the largest fish I heard a personal report on this week was 38".

Walleye fishing has much better on the windy days or after dark. Fish  are still using shallow weeds and weed edges. If you can find fish on a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, work it, multiple ways. Jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive, but in low light conditions, minnow baits in the weed tops has produced. Casting with grubs and ringworms put some fish in the boat for a few folks this week, but mainly in areas with sand adjacent to current.

Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action, a few areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but if you want some bigger fish, move out to 9-15 feet of water and look for beds in gravel and sandy areas. Vertical fishing with a split shot and live bait rig works great, as does pulling a 1/8 ounce lindy rig with a short leader through likely areas. (Try panfish leaches or leafworms). A few fish are starting to school up in deeper water, and you can find them off mainlake points, suspended 12-18 feet down over much deeper (30-50 FOW)

Trout- I was surprised to get a report on stocked trout from one of my contacts, as the bulk of the fish are usually fished out by this point in the season. The information, which came in ahead of the storms on Thursday suggested there still lots of fish in a couple of the local lakes, and that with the recent bug hatches, those fish were really active along the depth transitions.

Good Luck,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fishing Report 6-19-17

Hey gang,

I'm on my way to the Twin Cities to do some professor-ing things this week, but I'll be back on the water by Friday. Around the area conditions are starting to stabilize into summer patterns. Water temps are in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes. Water is still very high, and areas with current can have some fast moving water in them.

Panfish are close to done spawning on most of the lakes. You may find some stragglers here and there, but the bulk of the nesting activity is over and there's lots of freshy hatched fry swimming around. The next week will be transition time and you should start looking for (keeper) panfish suspending off the ends of points or along the deep weedlines. 12 feet down over 15-22 FOW is a good starting point. I like to fish vertically for these fish, although slip bobbers can really produce. If you're on fish, but they're running small, try getting you bait a foot-18 inches deeper...the bigger fish are traditionally at the bottom of the school.

Largemouth Bass fishing has been about average. The shallow fish are moving into traditional spots: slop, docks and shallow rockbars and the larger fish are recovered from the spawn. On bright sunny days, fish tight to cover...flipping into weed pockets, or texas rigs on deep weed edges can really produce. Isolated patches of weeds along depth transtions are still holding lots of fish. On the windy days, try crankbaits or spinner baits on edges or transition areas in 8-12 or 12-15 FOW. Downsizing is still a solid bet as are natural colors (browns, pumpkins and greens) for your plastics.

Smallmouth are biting, but the bite seems a little inconsistent by most reports. Some days you can knock them dead, some days they have been a little scarce. Stick to the plan...look for them on top of mainlake structure and points early and late, and look for them in deeper water during the main part of the day. Grubs, jigworms and tubes...but don't overlook dropshotting along the edges of sand/rock transitions in 8-12 FOW.

Northern Pike continue to bite. Shallow fish are actively chasing buzzbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, especially on the shallow-flat areas with scattered weeds. Out deep, slip-sinker rigs with small suckers or the biggest shiners have been red hot for larger fish.  If you want action, look for scattered weed clumps on flat areas in the shallows...out deep you'll need to find some baitfish near a weed edge or hump to have consistent success.

Walleye fishing has slowed down as the fish have starting moving out deeper. If you've been catching eyes at one depth, look for them in the same areas but at the next major depth contour. Deep weeds seem to be key, but a few people have been catching them off of deeper sand. On the cloudy, cooler days, rip-jigging, lindy/split shot rigs or slip bobbers can catch some out of weeds in 8-12 FOW.

Musky fishing has been pretty good. Bucktails are catching/raising some decent fish along mid-depth weed breaks while crankbaits/jerkbaits are raising some fish off the first deep break. Topwater is turning on, especially during low light periods and when the moon is down. Look for fish around shallow rocks that have an solid inside weed transition immediately adjacent to it.

Talk to you next weekend. Be safe and catch some fish this week!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fishing Report 6-14-2017

First off, some administrative things.

I will post an updated report on Monday, then another later in the week, but the report later in the week will be based on the reports I collect each week rather than my on the water observations.

Disclaimer: I have been fishing North Lake all week. I have been out everyday, but my personal observations this week are based on one lake plus my usual assimilation of reports from the other folks I communicate with.  North is similar to many of our area lakes, but it does have some significant grain of salt and all.

Panfish: Crappie have moved out and are in the tops/adjacent to weeds in 8-15 FOW. Everything I heard this week suggests that the fish are relatively high in the water column. Meanwhile, bluegills are still spawning on most lakes but there's been lots of reports of people struggling to find larger fish. I'd propose that most people are fishing way too shallow for the keepers. Look for keepers in deeper sand in 12-18 FOW. Slip bobbers are a great way to target these deeper fish, but don't over look a heavy split shot rig or a 1/8 oz lindy rig with a #10 red hook and a panfish leech. I like to drag this setup.

Bass: Largemouths starting to move out deep, but are also starting to use docks, pontoons and slop. Early mornings the topwater bite was a little tough this week, but the mid morning bite (6-8am) was been steady. Wacky, jig and chunk, flapper grubs and skirted grubs up shallow....jigworms, dropshot and cranks are working out deep.

Lots of fish are using mid depth patches of milfoil, especially after the sun comes up. You can work grubs, jig and chunks or ned rigs through this sparse grass with a little effort. It has been the most consistent pattern for me this week.The fish seem to be up and chasing some smaller baitfish, ambushing bait that swims over them.

Smallmouth bite was steady, but fish have been mixed in with the largemouths, so it was hard to pattern them separately. Morning has been best as fish come up onto shallow areas to feed, but you can get at them in deeper water with texas or carolina rigs and with a dropshot or tube bait. If you don't see baitfish in an area, move to another. Best bet is just to fish "for bass" and catch the mixed bags.

Walleye have been moving in and out of the shallow weeds. Slow trolling/drifting with lindy rigs or  jigging with large/jumbo leeches has been productive, but early and late grubs, swimbaits, ringworms or floating minnowbaits fished along weed edges/in the tops of weeds has been producing. Shallow fish have been tight to weeds, but on both the inside and outside edges.

Pike fishing has been slow but steady. Typical action for this time of year...shallow weeds holding smaller fish that can be taken by casting lipless crankbaits, buzz baits or spinner baits. Looking for something bigger? Head out deep, (12-18 FOW) and use live bait (small suckers or large/jumbo shiners) on a slip sinker rig.

Musky I heard several reports that musky fishing picked up this week, with some better high 30" to low 40" fish being caught. I was surprised to hear this with the heat followed by unstable conditions, but there was something in the air this week apparently. Topwater seemed to be productive, but also heard that 3 quality fish were taken on shallow running jointed baits (ie Shallow Raiders). Note: all of this info is second or even third hand this week, but there was some chatter.

See you Monday,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fishing Report 6-8-2017

Hey gang,

I've been out a bunch again this week. Conditions are starting to stabilize on our local lakes. Water temps are in the low to mid 70's. There's been significant weed growth over the last 10 days. Water is still very high, especially on the smaller lakes. A couple have speed restrictions in place, so make sure to check the signs at the launch before you head out.

Bluegills are spawning on most area lakes. There's lots of nests in the shallows, but the better panfish are being caught out of the deeper sand. Look for them shallow, but if you want some better sized keepers, find sand/gravel areas in 8-15 feet, and fish for them vertically with light lindy or split shot rigs baited with panfish leeches.

Crappie are moving out to weedlines. You can find them suspended in the tops of standing green weeds (especially milfoil patches) or along any weedlines you can find.

Bass are starting to settle into their summer patterns, anglers are catching fish both out of both shallow (2-6 FOW) and deep water (10-15 FOW). Docks, rockbars, slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines all have (some) active fish. Largemouth have been active around isolated weed clumps in 6-12 feet of water.The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8am over flat areas adjacent to deep water, especially areas with small patches of weeds. Pop-R's have been producing some nice schooling fish, and grubs, jigworms, jig/chunk combos and wacky worms are all producing shallow...texas rigs and drop shots are turning on deep.

Musky fishing has been very inconsistent. Struggling to find them in shallow water, active fish have come been caught on topwaters around mainlake points and on deep divers and tubes fished along the deepest weed edges you can find.

Walleye action has been about average with the bite fluctuating day to day with the weather shifts.  There was a significant hatch of mayflies this past week, and that always slows the bite some. Jigging and rigging along the 8-12 FOW weedges has been working when the fish are active. Leeches under slip bobbers are catching fish in 8-15 feet, especially around weed/rock transition areas. Suckers fished on a split shot rig have been taking some better fish, especially in the late evenings. Weededges and sand grass are the areas to key on, especially in 10-15 feet of water. If you're fishing after dark, floating rapalas and smaller swimbaits are catch fish out of shallow areas with current.

Pike action has been slow and steady. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are really producing for the action seekers. Reapers and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish, but the action has been very slow.

Good luck and be safe out there.


Friday, June 2, 2017

This weekend (Free Fishing Weekend)

Looking for the current fishing report? Click Here.

Looking for a rundown of local Free Fishing Weekend activities? Click Here


Thursday, June 1, 2017

What's happening!

1.) June 3-4th is the annual Free Fishing Weekend

Waukesha County Events:

2.) American Legion Post 166 is having its 4th annual multispecies fishing derby this Saturday:

3.) Tournaments!

Okauchee has a pair of tournaments scheduled for Saturday: WABTA (Bass) and Quad-graphics (Multispecies) (Details)

Pewaukee has a Multispecies tournament on Saturday (Details)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guiding Opportunties

Hey gang,

A couple things for your attention.

1.) I'm running my usual special (20% off) on pre-paid trips as a present for Father's Day. Need a gift for dad?...Why not give him the gift of time (on the water)? Spend some time with Dad/Grandpa (and Me) fishing a local lake!!!  Email me for the details.

2.) I have 3 openings the week of June 12th for half day (6 hour) trips on "Lake X." Lake X is a local lake with extremely limited access. As a result, the fishing on Lake X is usually much better than average, and I've had some of my best days out there right at this time of year. This might be your last opportunity to fish the lake before the public don't want to miss out.

I don't want to say too much here, but if you're interested in learning more about this special opportunity, email me right away...there's only three half days available.

Fishing Report 5-31-17

I have been on the water quite a bit since the last report. Inconsistent is my new favorite word.

Yesterday and today were great examples. Yesterday (5-30) out on Okauchee and could do no wrong. 6am-2pm. Worked some shallow rocks and drifted some flats. Moved around to hit more spots, but caught fish everywhere we fished. Didn't keep a good count, but easily 25+ LM plus some rockbass. Some decent fish, but nothing north of 17.5. Some solid keepers in there...they are definitely on the feed. Action was steady throughout the day. No complaining about how the day went, but just couldn't find any of the larger fish today.  Nothing fancy: Wacky (including my new slingshot rig), Ned Rigs and Chompers Skirted Grubs on the rocks plus jigworms on the flats.

Today (5-31): spent some time this morning upgrading my electronics then headed over to Moose mid morning. Caught some fish...but it was slow and we had to grind to get them to bite. Not sure what was wrong, but couldn't get anything steady working out there. I know its the post spawn for the bass, but even the pike were a little sketchy today.

Everyone has good days and bad days...but I'll tell you, when its been on, it has been great...on the other days, I'm putting fish in the boat, but I'm grinding for them. The better part of consistent fishing is patterning fish....and it has been difficult to do it day to day.

Water temps are in the low to mid 60's in mainlake areas, mid to upper 60's in the protected bays/ dark bottom areas. Weed are starting to show up, but we're just a couple weeks out from the photocycle shift, and there's not much to talk about. Notably, I'm not catching solid numbers working weed patterns right now. Water is still very high, and some of the lakes have speed restrictions....make sure to check the sign before you head out.

Panfish bluegills are staging for the spawning process. Crappies are at the end of the run, (saw some dark ones near some brush the last couple of days) but the bluegills are just getting started. I'm starting to see some beds in the shallow water, especially in areas of sand or small gravel, but these tend to be the smaller fish. If you're looking for decent keepers, you need to look for those fish in 12-15 FOW. They are hard to find with the eye but a good starting point is the deeper water adjacent to areas where you see beds in the shallow water. Rock Bass have been biting like crazy everywhere, and could be a solid option if you're heading out with the kids.(Best bets: Middle Genessee, Lower Nehmabin, Nagawicka, Okauchee, Garvin, Keesus, School Section)

Largemouth are at the end of the spawn. You may still find a few fish on nests, but many are defending fry or starting to feed on juvenile bluegills. Most fish are patrolling shallow flat areas or are feeding hard around rockpiles and roadbeds. Look for them around scattered weeds or near where bluegills are starting to spawn. This is topwater season, and poppers, jointed floating minnows and smaller walk the dog baits (spooks) can really produce. As the sun gets high, look for fish around docks and in first deep water adjacent to longer points. Wacky, Jigworms, Jig/chunk, Skirted grubs, pre-rigged worms, Texas rigs and Sliders will all catch fish. (North, Keesus, Okauchee, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Golden, Forest, Silver, Ashippun.)

Smallmouth are also approaching the end of the spawning process. Lots of fish are in small wolfpack schools, patrolling shallow bars, points and drops with rock/weed transitions. Tubes, grubs, soft jerkbaits, topwater and live leeches or small suckers on lindy rigs are producing. (Pine, Oconomwoc, Lac Labelle, Nag, Upper and Lower Nehmabin, Beaver and North)

Northern pike are making move out to the deeper weed edges. Look for them in 10-15 or 12-18 FOW. Live bait on slip sinker rigs is always the most consistent approach for larger pike. If you're looking for faster action...square bill or lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, spoons, oversized grubs, Husky Jerks or spinners fished around shallow weeds, especially in flat areas will all produce. (Pretty, Golden, Kessus, Fowler, Okauchee)

Walleye are using mid-depth weeds in 8-15 FOW. Pitching jigs tipped with live bait into the holes on the weed edges or ends of weedlines has been very productive. Back trolling lindy rigs or pulling spinner harnesses along th 12-18 FOW transition is producing some keepers. (Pine, Nagawicka, Oconomowoc, North, Fowler, Lac Labelle).

Trout Stocked Trout fishing has still been good on many of the local lakes that got fish. The cooler weather and rain has pushed many of the fish deeper than they have been.

Musky fishing has been fairly slow. Reports suggest Pewaukee has been slow, and Okauchee is giving up a few smaller fish. Oconomowoc has been the most consistent. Gliders and bucktails have been the most productive daytime, with topwater giving up a few fish at dawn or just after the sun sets.