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Friday, August 18, 2017

Fishing Report 8-18-2017

Hey gang,

Fishing has slowed a bit over the couple of days. Fish are still biting, but the bite has been slow, and often tough to trigger. Monday was gangbusters, Tuesday and Wednesday were a slower. Weeds are at summer peak, and water temps are in the low 70's.

Panfish are suspending in deeper water, or holding tight to the bottom in areas where the weedline in adjacent to a steep drop off. There's also a solid batch of keepers in areas with lots of current. Tightlining vertically, slip bobbers or light lindy rigs are your best options for chasing keepers out deep, small jigs with plastics or skirts are better for the current orientated fish.

The bass bite dropped off substantially this week after the weather went through. Fish are still biting, but the catch rate and size of the fish being caught is down a bunch from just last week, but expect action to pick up as conditions stabilize some. Largemouth are making a slow move into transition areas, but it has been hard to pattern fish day to day. Docks and slop are holding fish during the sunny days, and fish are chasing bait throughout the day on the mid-depth (6-10 FOW) flats. Mornings were so-so, but afternoons were where it was at for active fish. Topwater, minnowbaits, grubs, flappers and jigworms are catching these schooling fish. Flipping into holes on the outside edge of the weedlines or on inside turns has been slow, but productive for the better fish.

Smallmouth have been more active, starting to wolfpack mid depth transition areas. Drop shotting edges, humps and current breaks, wacky, small cranks and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish, but crankbait along the edges of mainlake points has produced some better fish this past week.

Walleye bite has been hit or miss. The fish are tight to weed edges or in the deeper sandgrass. Lots of guys are reporting some short bites, and I certainly saw this when I was on the water this week. I didn't do any night fishing this week, but I'd guess the fish have been active after dark.  Slow death and back trolling lindy rigs with live bait had been producing, but like most of the fishing during the last week, some days have been far better than others.

Pike fishing has been steady for action, but inconsistent day to day. The fish are doing what they should be doing (chasing baitfish in open water along the weedlines) but connecting with them has been difficult to do. Live bait rigs are still catching fish in the 12-18 FOW range, and buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless cranks are still moving fish out of isolated clumps of weeds in flat areas.

Musky fishing has been slow with very few reports of legal (40+inch fish) coming in. Undersize fish are chasing bait mid-morning and just before sunset The topwater bite dropped off, but I'm hearing about lots of follows on gliders and smaller jerkbaits.

Good Luck,
CT

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fishing Report 8-11-17

Hey gang,

I had limited on the water time this week I was only out 3.5 days this week.

Conditions are about what you would expect for mid-august. Weed growth is heavy, there's still schools of baitfish roaming around and the crayfish molt is wrapping up.

Out this morning, I fully expected to start pounding some fish up on the rocks, but after a quick start, the bite wasn't steady enough to work, switched gears and worked some fish in open flats and pulled out a solid day. The weather ahead of the front yesterday was stable, and I'm sure the feedbag was on, Activity level was a little light, but getting a presentation around cover with bait nearby paid the bills today, but basically I think the cold front and unstable weather has the fish in a bit of a funk right now. You can still catch/pattern fish, but you're going to have to slow down, get precise with your presentations, and recognize that it is the middle of August. There's lots of slop out there right now, and punching it rather than pounding it with a frog might make a difference. (It did today...)

Panfish are still schooled up in deeper water. Crappies are tight to the weedlines in 12-15 and 18-20 FOW, but are suspending off the edge. Bluegills are still in tight schools in the deep part of the basins. Look for them 18-22 feet down over 30-50 FOW. If you're out with the kids, and just want action-- docks and swim platforms in or near current areas are holding tons of potato chip sized fish right now.

Bass fishing is about average for mid-August, especially on the down size of the full moon. Slow and steady wins the race.Fishing tight to cover, punching slop or skipping tight to docks/pontoons will produce if you're having trouble finding fish out deep. Expect the fish to have small strike zones...and be ready to make multiple casts to targets. The morning top-water bite has been good, but only until about 8:30, but the shallow flats with scattered weeds are holding fish throughout the day..so shallow running-wide wobbling and lipless crankbaits can turn a zero into hero time.


I don't have any new news on walleyes this week. I haven't been fishing for them this past week. I'd assume the fish have been biting at night with the full moon cycle, and that if you're out very early or late in the day, that weed edges and sand flats with sandgrass 8-12 FOW or 18-25 FOW will hold some fish. As we get on towards fall, look for walleyes on shallow areas along deep water/mainlake points. Jigging and rigging with live bait works the best on our local lakes, but if you're out at night....don't forget the number 11 floating rapalas in natural/ silver-black patterns. Fish that over weed patches, trying to make slight contact with the weeds.

Pike bite has been slow and steady all season. Spinners, cranks and buzzbaits will take fish, as will wide wobbling crankbaits. Small pike are still on the shallow weed flats...bigger pike are in 15-22FOW on the weed edge. Chase these fish with a small sucker or big shiner on a slip sinker rig.

Musky fishing was off and on this week. Some people are trolling the deeper basin areas looking for fish relating to ciscos, but it seems like the people catching fish are hitting shallow pockets (6-10 FOW) with topwaters or weed edges in 12-15 FOW with large spinners or gliders. Lots of chatter about smaller (sub 30" fish) being caught  or lazy follows from larger fish. (Also reflected in my own on the water time this week.

I'll be out a bunch over the next two weeks, before I head back to professor land. See you on the water.

Cheers,
CT

PS....Thanks for reading this blog.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fishing Report 8-4-17

Around the area, the heat pulled water temps into the high 70's to mid 80's. Thermoclines are certainly part of the equation if you're trolling in the main basins of the larger lakes. The rain clouded up the water, but with the usual exceptions (Moose, Lac Labelle) the lakes and creeks are high, but not flooded out. The changing weather patterns complicated fishing some this week. Fish were still biting, but activity levels and strike zone size were great pre-front, but afterword, the bite was more limited. Afternoons and evenings have been better than early in the day. As we move into August look for fish in the usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photo-cycle and the length of day start to affect the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day.

Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for crappie to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend 12-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Tightling was solid this week, but I heard of some folks finding some solid batches of keepers with slip bobbers with plastics tipped with live bait.

Largemouth  On sunny days, the fish are piled up on shallow docks. As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell and they'll be feeding on rocks or weed/rock transitions close to docks. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic. Deeper fish will continue to use weed- edges and points in 12-18 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish.

Smallmouth are starting the early fall pattern of making 3-5 foraging moves each day. When you are contacting active fish in shallow water, the bite can be incredible. Topwaters, including size 9 or 11 rapalas or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to tubes, wacky, skirted grubs, drop shot rigs or even twister tails as the day progresses. When things are slower, look for them to be just off the first major break in deeper water. Crankbaits in white or chartreuse, spinners or live bait are better for the deeper fish.  Tip: Slow and steady won the race this week, even ahead of the weather change.

Walleyes will continue to hold in their summer patterns for another couple of weeks, but they will quickly make a move to shallower weedy areas as the baitfish move in for their fall spawning run. For now jigging or backtrolling with live bait around weededges or drop-offs in 8-12 or 22-25 feet of water is a good place to start, and be ready to adjust to deeper water on sunny days or shallower on cloudy or windy days.  A few fish are appearing on mid-lake structure but many are staging off main-lake points, especially where there is bottom transitions from rock to sand or from sand to muck. Trolling with bottom bouncers and spinner harnesses or drifting with live bait rigs are great ways to target these fish.

Northern pike activity has been on the slower side all summer, Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.

Musky reports have been spotty over the past couple of weeks, but topwater early and late, or trolling deep has turned a few (stress on the few) fish the last 10 days.  For the next run, look for them to over weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water , or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite.


Good Luck and Cheers.
CT

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fishing Report 7-28-17

Summer is flying by...  

Water is in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes, with heavy algae blooms, and there has been several baitfish hatches over the last week to ten days. It was a mixed bag of fishing for me this past week. Had a couple of slow days, had a couple (including this morning) which were pretty solid.

Overall, game fish are setting up shallow, but there's a solid batch on the first break or in areas where bait has stacked up. You may have to work the wind a bit, but your best bet is to look for baitfish (either with your naked eye or your electronics) and then set up on an area where you find them. I'm not saying you can't catch fish deep, but there is a solid batch of fish in 4-8FOW, especially where there's patchy or sparse weeds. Docks and slop really turned on with the bright sun as well.

One big note: The Okauchee Tie up is Saturday the 29th. (tomorrow as I write this).


Panfish: Crappies are suspending along outside weed edges, but with the baitfish hatches, they've been higher in the water column than the last couple weeks.  Bluegills are still suspending in deeper water, but the unstable weather has pulled them tighter to the weed edge or the ends of points. 15-18 feet down over 25-40 feet of water is still holding schools, but weedy points with sharp drop offs adjacent to deeper water have been really productive. Remember to get your bait down, as the smaller fish in the schools will be towards the top. Slip bobbers, tight lining vertically or light lindy rigs thrown shallow and dragged off the edge of steep structure and allowed to sink have been producing. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are your best bets, especially on the smaller lakes.

Largemouth Bass are catchable in a variety of traditional summer patterns, but the weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day.  Docks, rockbars, slop, and scattered weeds on shallow to mid depth flats have all been producing at different points in the day, but after the sun gets up, the docks have been a solid pattern on the sunny days. The best fishing has been early in the morning...just before first light until about 8:15-8:30am. You'll need to move tighter to cover or shadows after the sun gets up. My tip, so much as it is a tip, is fish topwater early, then slow down and get methodical around 8:30am. I'm consistently catching  fish with wacky, ned rigs, and grubs. I'm staying with watermelon seed or watermelon red  for colors for the most part, but green pumpkin or smoke with some purple or red flake have also been pretty good. My skirted craw bite just isn't consistent yet, but the August molt is right around the corner.

Smallmouth are active, but the bite has been very inconsistent. Some days...wow. Some days...nothing. Hard to predict, but this is very common this time of year as deeper fish start to transition to shallow rocks for the crayfish molt which is imminent. Check back next week.

Walleyes are still biting. On Lac Labelle the bite during the day is steady, but only in the shallow weeds. Early and lake have been gangbusters all season. We've had a mild summer, and I don't think the fish really ever left the areas they use in the late spring.Weed edges in 7-10 FOW are holding lots of baitfish and the walleyes are there with the bait, but don't overlook the other batch of fish in the deeper sandgrass (where the perch like to hide this time of year.) Jigging, rigging or backtrolling with leeches, night crawlers, chubs or small suckers as produced. Heading Out: Labelle for action, Oconomowoc or Nag for keepers, North for trophies.


Pike Fish have moved to the weed edge, are suspending over 30-50' FOW or are roaming the shallow flats. Casting spinners, buzzbaits, lipless cranks, or wide bodies square bills will generate decent action, but the better fish are coming on small suckers on a slip-sinker rig.

Good Luck,
CT

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fishing Report 7-20-17

Hey gang,

High water, see our earlier post, and unstable weather continue to dominate local fishing conditions. You need to check the launches at each lake each day to understand whether or not the lake is under a slow no wake provision. In many places, like Moose lake, the prohibition is long term, but in others the restriction is day to day.

Water temps are in the mid to high 70's on most lakes, but a few of the darker bottom lakes can creep in the low to mid 80's. Lots of the lakes have some dirty water from the current and on/off again rains we've had.

All of that said, fishing is about average for late July. Notable is that with the higher water (and faster current in many areas) there's a large quantity of active fish in relatively shallow water this season. That's been the quirk this year, and I'm sure it has alot to do with the conditions we've had since late May. As we move towards August you can continue to look for fish in the obvious usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photocycle become part of the fishing equation over the next month...and you can expect to see fish activity levels peak and ebb during each day.

Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for them to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend over deeper sandgrass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Action fish for the kids can still be found around swim platforms and many docks. Live bait rigs are great options as are small plastics tipped with live bait. As always, if you're on some fish but you keep coming up small, try to make your presentation deeper (ie lower) into the water column.

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On sunny days, you can find them around shallow docks, wood laydowns, slop and scattered weed clumps.  As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic. Deeper fish will continue to use weededges and points in 12-18 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish. Some fish are still being taken off the weedlines and off the weed flats by anglers flipping around heavy cover.


Smallmouth are starting the early fall pattern of making 3-5 active foraging moves each day and then suspending when not schooled up. When you are contacting active fish in shallow water, the bite can be incredible. Topwaters, including size 9 or 11 rapalas or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to plastics (wacky, jigworms, Ned rigs, grubs or tubes) when things are slower. After chasing them up shallow early, look for SM to be just off the first major break in deeper water. Some people are dropshotting out to 25FOW for SM, but most of the ones in my boat came in 6-12 FOW this week.

Walleyes will continue to hold in shallower weedy areas as the baitfish move in for their last spawns of the summer. For now jigging or backtrolling with live bait around weededges or drop-offs in either 6-9 or 12-18 feet of water is a good place to start. A few fish are appearing on mid-lake structure but many are staging off main-lake points, especially where there is bottom transitions from rock to sand or from sand to muck. Trolling with bottom bouncers and spinner harnesses or drifting with live bait rigs are great ways to target these fish.

Northern pike activity has been slow and steady all summer, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.

Musky reports have been slow, but a few fish are being caught early and late. For the next run, look for them to over weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water making for some great topwater or large bucktail action, or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite. Action will pick up considerably in the weeks ahead.

Good Luck and Cheers.
CT


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fishing Report 7-15-17

Hey gang, sorry for the late report...I was up north fishing in the Eagle River area the last couple of days. The professor in me might make a point about how bad internet speed and access can be up there...but you're here for the fishing report.

High water remains the story. (Check out our previous post for more details) 

Around the area bass fishing has remained fairly steady. There's an topwater/shallow water early bite happening on most lakes up until about 8:30am. The fish are then moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can be targeted around overhanging cover or weed edges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is slow mid day, but picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, tubes, skirted grubs and shakey head worms. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged worms or tubes or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 25 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike fishing has been spotty. As is typical for this point in the season, shallow fish are still being caught on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits around shallow weed clumps on the flats in 5-10 FOW. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. 15-18 FOW seems to be the best for pike right now.

Walleye fishing has been steady as the rains have kept the current flowing and the water temps down. Walleye are using current areas as well as shallow weeds. Rigs, jigs and slip bobbers are catching fish, sometimes as shallow as 3 FOW, but look for a solid bite on weed edges or points in 8-12 FOW. Labelle has been very active the last 10-12 days if you're looking for some action...Oconomowoc has been giving up some keepers early and late.

Musky was still slow. Lots of lazy follows this season, especially on Okauchee or Pewaukee. A few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points where the weedlines touch the edges of the drop offs.

Good Luck.

Cheers,
CT

High Water and Lake Access

Our local lakes continue to be very high.

Dick Smith's Live Bait and Tackle (http://www.dicksmithslivebait.com/hot-spots/) is circulating the follow status list.

As always, check at the launch or with the local enforcement arm.
Nagawicka- OPEN
Pine- OPEN
Okauchee- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Moose- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Golden- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Silver- OPEN
Beulah- OPEN, Slow No Wake
School Section- OPEN
Eagle Spring- OPEN
Phantom’s- CLOSED, SLOW NO WAKE
Rock Lake - OPEN
Rock River – OPEN, SLOW NO WAKE
Delavan- ALL BOAT LAUNCHES CLOSED, SLOW NO WAKE
The Madison Chain OPEN
Big Muskego- OPEN
Little Muskego- OPEN
Denoon- OPEN 
Pike- OPEN
Oconomowoc- OPEN
Nemahbin- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Lower & Upper Nashotah - Slow No Wake
Ashippun- OPEN
Keesus- OPEN, Slow No Wake
LacLaBelle- OPEN
Fowler- OPEN
L. & M. Genesee - OPEN, Slow No Wake
Pewaukee- OPEN, Slow No Wake

Thursday, July 13, 2017

High Water and Slow No Wake Orders.

The recent rain and overall high water conditions have imposed emergency Slow No Wake Orders on many area lakes.

I am trying to confirm orders and post links but the fishing information grapevine has been active. Here's what I've heard so far:

Moose
Kessus
Okauchee
Pewaukee
http://www.lakecountrynow.com/story/news/local/lake-country-reporter/2017/07/13/slow-no-wake-order-pewaukee-lake/475802001/
North
http://www.lakecountrynow.com/story/news/local/lake-country-reporter/2017/07/03/no-wake-order-levied-north-lake/447606001/


I have to assume Oconomowoc and Lac Labelle have limits, but I have not yet heard or been able to confirm that.

As conditions change (or continue to maintain these water levels) you should check at the launch for a posting about speed/usage restrictions.