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Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Opening Weekend Preview

Greetings

Here is my annual pre-opening weekend post. Look for an final update Friday, May 6th with weather and water conditions from around the area.

For now, here's what to expect when you hit the water for the opener.

1.) Water temps in the high 40's to low fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 55 degrees, but only if the wind stays down, and the afternoons stay warm next week. Nighttime temperatures will dictate most of what happens next weekend.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and not too many piers are in.

3.) I'd skip the morning run on Saturday, and focus my efforts in the warmer parts of the day. You may need to make some adjustments throughout the weekend as conditions change.

4.) Live bait, fished slowly is going to be a great way to kick off the season. I'd fish for pike or walleye and wait until the weather stabilizes a bit if you want to target bass. (Again more than a week out, I'm guessing a bit, but patterns are patterns for a reason.)

5.) Local lakes are open, but the rivers are still active.

Fish Stocking- Trout: Full List Here
 
Local Trout Stocking:

Fowler and Lower Genessee were each stocked with 1600 Brown and 1418 Rainbows this season.

Lower Nashotah received 2134 Browns  and 1418 Rainbows.

Panfish: Staging on weed flats and in marshy areas. Look for the warmest shallow water in the afternoons. Plastics tipped with waxworms, or small tail hooked minnows are catching fish, but they are running small. Strike zone is small, so make sure to make accurate casts if fishing for shallow, visible fish. (Best Local Options: Okauchee, Pine, Kessus, Nag, Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Middle Geneessee, Moose, Garvin and Golden)

Bass: Pre-Pre spawn. Look for small groups of fish to be cruising in the shallow water in the afternoons. Some of the early warming bays and channels may have some early bucks up in the shallow water, but I'd expect to see more schooling activity. Grubs, tubes and wacky are your best bets, but a jigworm might be the key approach. (Okauchee, Silver, Golden, Nag, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Kessus, Pewaukee, Beaver)

Action will come in spurts, but look for warmer water and any green weeds you can find. If the sun is out, rocks can pull in fish later in the day as they absorb heat. Large fish can be caught on suspending jerkbaits or slow rolled spinnerbait on the deep edges of points near spawning coves. If you're seeing bigger fish in the shallows, jig and pig in a black/blue, black/red or rootbeer pattern will produce. If you can find some fish out deep, a texas rigged lizard can land you the biggest bass of the season.

Northern: Lots of fish on the flats. Live bait, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits will produce the most fish. Probably your best option for early fishing this weekend if you're looking for steady action. Big fish will be one breakline deeper than where the active, smaller fish are. Chrome or reflective lipless crankbaits will get your line stretched for sure as will a slip sinker rig with a jumbo shiner or small sucker.(Moose, Kessus, Nag, Emily, Okauchee, Pretty, Golden)

Walleye: Lots of fish on the 6-12 foot deep flat areas. Especially around, but out of the current, and in any shallow standing weeds you can find. Jigging the channel edges or points, lindy rigging and drifting or slow death trolling are good options. #11 or #13 floating rapalas will pull up any bigger fish you come across. (Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Fox, Nag and North)

Musky: Live baiting with suckers, small bucktails and jerkbaits are your best options for the opener.  (Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler and North)

Getting ready: Need bait, equipment, or a fishing license? Do yourself a favor and buy from one of the locals.

Musky Mikes (Okauchee)

Dick Smith's (Delafield)

Smokey's  (Pewaukee)
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Taking a Kid Fishing this weekend? The DNR Suggests these spots:

Ashippun Lake Park
Location: In Oconomowoc, WI. Take Capitol Drive west to State Highway 16, go west on 16 to County Highway P, then take P north to County Highway K, go west on K to McMahon Road. Watch for "public access" sign.
Notes: Run by Waukesha County Parks. Park has picnic area, restrooms and shorefishing.

Denoon Lake

Location: Located on Crowbar Drive, south of Kelsey Drive. Go west from Highway Y.
Notes: Public park with ballfields, restrooms, picnic area and boat launch. Not much shorefishing, due to marshy area near shore.

Lac La Belle

Location: At the Fowler Lake Dam, on Highway 67, one-quarter mile north of State Highway 16 in the Oconomowoc, WI. Located just northeast of the beach and park on Lac La Belle. The beach and park are on Highway 16, just west of Highway 67.
Notes: Disabled accessible public fishing pier.

Little Muskego Lake
Location: Access from Idle Isle Park in Muskego, WI on the northeast side of Little Muskego Lake. Take Martin Drive to Hardtke Drive to the park.
Note: Idle Isle Park has a beach, picnic area, restrooms, accessible public fishing pier and boat launch.

Lower Phantom Lake

Location: In Phantom Glen Park in Mukwonago, WI. Take County Highway ES (Main Street) to Andrews Street, then go west into the park.
Notes: Public park with picnic area, restrooms, disabled accessible public fishing pier and boat ramp.

McKeaun Springs

Location: Trout pond located on the west side of Highway 67, between Piper Road and Road X. About 3 miles north of Eagle, WI.
Notes: No facilities, but there is a picnic area with restrooms just a short distance to the south. DNR manages as a children's trout fishing pond. Although it is officially category 3 (3 bag and 9 inch length), there is a voluntary regulation for adults to catch and release, and kids are allowed to keep one trout of any size. Designed to encourage adults to take kids out and teach them to trout fish.

Nagawicka Lake

Location: In Nagawaukee County Park. Take County Highway C, three-quarters of a mile north of Interstate 94 in Delafield, WI.
Notes: Public beach, picnic area, restrooms and concessions, camping, shorefishing and boat launch.

Nemahbin Lakes, Upper and Lower
Location: Southeast of Oconomowoc, WI, off of County Highway DR.
Notes: County owned access on frontage road between the two lakes, Highway DR. shorefishing on Upper Nemahbin from the road right-of-way. DNR owned carry-in site on Lower Nemahbin off Sugar Island Road.

Pewaukee Lake

Location: Village park in downtown Pewaukee, WI.
Notes: Public park with beach and public fishing pier. Can also access Pewaukee River just below the dam. On Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Pewaukee. Boat launch and shorefishing from county park and boat ramp at the west end, on Highway E.

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Local Shore Fishing Locations

Moose Lake: Shore and pier fishing is available at the Moose Lake Public Launch area. This launch has a nice park like area available to shore fisherman. The Launch area is just off Highway C, across from Cedar Bay road.

Lac La Belle: Public Fishing Pier Located in Memorial Park in downtown Oconomowoc.

Nashotah Park: Just off of the corner of HWY C and HWY R in Nashotah there is a park and ride. Across HWY R, there is a low fence that marks access to the Forest Lake area of Nashotah Park. Anglers have to hike down the hill, but the entire shoreline of the small lake is available for shore-fishing.

Fowler Lake: There is space for shore fishing by the Labelle/Fowler Dam, at the boat landing and in the Riverside Park. The lake is just off HWY 16 in Downtown Oconomowoc. The boat landing is behind city hall.

Nagawicka Lake: Two areas allow public shore fishing access. There is some space at the public launch in the County Park off of HWY 83 near Delafield. A second option allows you to access St John's Bay and a section of the Bark River. Take HWY C to where the Military Academy is. There is a small park just south of downtown Delafield on the east side of the road.

Pewaukee Lake: Located in Nagawaukee County Park on the west side of the lake. From I-94, north on State Highway 83 for 1/8 mile, east on County Highway DR 1 1/2 miles, north on County Highway E to park entrance. Park fee is charged. There is also a public fishing pier along the city strip near the beach on the east end.

Ottawa Lake: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From State Highway 67, west on County Highway ZZ for 1/3 mile to park entrance. State Park sticker required for entry.

Upper Genessee: Carry in boats and shore fishing are available. Parking is in a small gravel lot, just south of I-94, on the east side of HWY 67.

Paradise Springs: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From downtown Eagle, west 1 mile on State Highway 59 to County Highway N, north on N for about 1/2 mile to site. State Park sticker required for entry. Artificial lures only.

Lower Phantom Lake: Located in Phantom Glen Park. From County Highway ES, west on Andrews Street to park entrance.

Other Useful Links

Local Fishing Reports from Lake-Link.com

Becky Smith's handy list of shorefishing locations, boat ramps and boat rentals is online at at www.Dicksmithslivebait.com

The DNR maintains a database of printable lake maps online.

There's also a easy to use reference to find boat launches at the DNR Website.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fishing Report 4-21-16

Ok Gang, we're back at it.

Warmer weather has really gotten things happening. Last weekend really helped, and relatively stable conditions has made a difference this week.

Crappies and Bluegills are active in the usual early spots. Look for them in shallow, protected areas with a north bank. Dark bottom areas with green weeds are especially good right now, but sandy areas near reeds will also produce. Small minnows, tail hooked, and suspended under a bobber is the best way to catch crappies, but if the bite is tough, don't overlook waxworms on an icefishing jig as an option or both species. Bay 5, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays, The Crane's Nest and the Channel on Okauchee are always great areas, as are Garvin (North end) Kessus, Golden, Pine (Both Ends) Moose, Fowler, Lac Labelle and the boat channels on Nagawicka.



Walleyes continue to bite on the Rock River in Jefferson. The walleye spawning runs are done for the most part, but fish are still being taken from shellbeds, rockpiles and in the channel swings. Jig and minnow, or jig and plastics (including ringworms) have been the best baits this year. While the walleyes have done their ritual, whitebass fishing is really picking up as large schools move into the river and make their run. You'll have better action fishing for white bass, but catfish are starting to turn on as well.

I'll be posting my usual pre opening day reference material between now and next weekend. Keep checking back for more details.

It is great to be back.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fishing Report 4-8-2016

Greetings again.

If you have a window that allows you to see outside, you may have noticed that our local weather conditions haven't been fishing friendly.

That said, early spring conditions continue on the local lakes. Early warming, protected bays with dark sand or rock bottoms, or areas with current continue to give up some fish, especially in the late afternoons during the warmer parts of the day. Windy conditions have limited the days and areas people are fishing...but if you can brave it North, Okauchee, Garvin Oconomowoc, Lower and Middle Gen, Golden, Ashippun, School Section, Nag, Lower Nashotah and Moose are giving up decent bags of keeper panfish.

River fishing is in a weird spot. Walleyes would appear to be in all three stages of the spawn, but fishing for them has been steadily inconsistent. The Rock River is high, dirty and fast with the recent weather, and while people are still catching fish, lots of undersize fish are still being reported. White bass are starting to make a move, but catches have been limited.

Around the state, the Dells have been spotty like the rock, Depere is giving up some quality fish, but in limited numbers by traditional standards. The runs on the Fox and Wolf Rivers are likewise in a weird half-completed status.

Get ready for things to start happening as soon as the weather gets stable and spring actually sticks around for a