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Friday, October 17, 2014

Fishing Report 10-17-14

Fall is fallen, and as guys put down their fishing rods to head out to the woods, the fishing is getting good.

The rain and cooler night time temps this past week have brought the lakes very close to turnover which will complicate things for a bit, but if it holds off for a couple of days, this next stretch could be some excellent fishing. Water temp is in the mid to high 50's right now.

Muskie fishing is close to early peak. Pewaukee has been absolutely on fire, and Okauchee, Oconomowoc and even Lac Labelle are all giving up fish. I even heard of a 40+ caught on Fowler this past week. Look for the fish to be chasing bait on the shallow flats adjacent to deeper water. The ciscos are moving in, and there's some big fish right behind them. Obviously it is time to have a sucker out on a quick strike rig, but it is certainly time to dig out some of your bigger tackle and start chucking.

Walleye fishing is starting to pick up, both on the local lakes and on the Rock, Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. A mixed batch of fish are being caught between the Jefferson Dam and Blackhawk Island in Fort. The Dells are giving up some slot fish and a few keepers...and the white bass are red hot on the Fox in the Oshkosh area.

See you out there.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fishing Report 10-4-2014

It was a cold, rainy couple of days, but the weatherman is calling for a period of stable weather, with decent afternoon daytime temperatures. The fish will be feeding, of that, you can be sure. Concentrate on shallow structure that is adjacent to deep water. Rocks, gravel and sand that are shallow, but close to deeper drops will really pull in fish right now. Baitfish will be moving to the rocks, and the Bass, Pike and Walleye will be right behind.

Here's what I would do. In the morning, fish tight to weed clumps, flipping or pitching, or using one of my favorite fall baits for fishing tight to cover, a buzzbait. You'll be able to grab a mixed bag of gamefish doing this. As the sun comes up, start moving off the sand/weed areas and looking for fish in rock/sand transition areas. Swimbaits, grubs and tubes are awesome for picking fish off the rocks, but if the action is a little faster go with a spinnerbait or a lipless crankbait.

If you're musky fishing, look for fish starting on the deep weed edges in 10-12 FOW. Casting with gliders, bucktails, cowgirls or jerkbaits can really produce, but we're really getting into sucker fishing season now, and you should always have at least one out. As the day goes on, start looking for fish to move into weed pockets to forage, and don't be afraid to look for fish in shallow water, especially from the early afternoon until just before dark.

Around the area,  Pewaukee has been hot, but many of the fish coming in are on the smaller side. Okauchee has been outproducing Oconomowoc and Lac Labelle, but everything should be rolling this week, especially as the nights cool the water temps.

Walleye Fishing has been steady on Lac Labelle, and about average on Pine and Oconomowoc. A few fish are being caught in the Dells, as well as the Rock River, but reports have been sketchy as more people are hunting than fishing right now.

Good Luck,

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fishing Report 9-19-14

Well gang the Musky are biting and the days are getting short. It is fall.

Water temps are in the mid 60's. The weeds are still very green, and thick on most lakes. Fishing  is picking up as the water cools.

Bass and pike continue to relate to shallow weeds. Weeds on shallow flats are being used by active fish a couple times a day to feed and as ambush points. There's lots of baitfish  swimming in the 3-8 foot depths, and the bass are feeding heavily. Floating minnow baits, grubs, jigworms or lipless crankbaits are catching these fish. On cooler, cloudy days, fishing tight to the weed clumps with shallow crankbaits, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits can be very good. Bigger fish can be caught flipping and pitching jigs to weed edges, around docks with deep water or near wood laydowns.

Musky are moving from the deeper water and are holding on the weedlines, an a great place to connect with a fish is an area where you find the combination of weeds and rock, near where deep and shallow water converge (ie points and bars that stretch out to deep water) Some nice fish are being moved off very shallow along rocks, especially later in the afternoons. As the daytime temps continue to cool down, expect the action to pick up dramatically. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and suckers on a quick strike rig have all been producing.

Bluegills are starting to pile up in weedy areas in 6-12 feet of water. Plastics tipped with wax worms are your best bets. Be ready to move in or out depending on conditions, but keepers will be a couple feet above the edges of deep structure. Expect the crappie to move in as the water temperature continues to drop, if the weather gets cool this week, areas with current will see some schools of nice crappies move in.

Walleye  are moving shallow in the morning and the evenings. Minnowbaits, shiners or suckers, or spinner harnesses have been producing. Look for the most active fish to be in 6-12 FOW early in the mornings and in 10-15 FOW during the day.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back at it-Fishing Report 9-13-14

Sorry about last week starting up kept me very busy (for those who don't check in regularly, I teach journalism at UWM) and I didn't double check to make sure the report went up (I tried to send it in via my mobile) very quickly became Fall. And as things far, so good and remember some of the best fishing of the year is between now and the end of the season.

The cooler nights during the last week or so have really changed the conditions on local lakes. Water temps have dropped significantly, and you'll find some in the 60's on most lakes. The late algae blooms we had this season are clearing up quick as a result, and the baitfish numbers, which were thinner this year, are really starting to thin out as fish turn on for fall.

Bass fishing will remain really good for a couple weeks, then it will be time to put away the plastics and start fishing live bait for a trophy. Smallmouth (usually) go on a tear on our area lakes in the fall, and we're getting real close to that kickoff. For now... expect the fish to make a couple foraging runs a day, but if you're having trouble connecting with active fish, look for the in the deep water, adjacent to the shallow structure. Plastics, cranks and jigs will work, but as the days get shorter, live bait becomes a better option, especially for bigger fish. Leeches will still be good for a bit, but it is time to start using the biggest shiners you can find, or small suckers if you have to.

Walleye fishing is hasn't really started pick up on the area rivers, and fishing the area lakes has been slower than average for this time of year. I'd expect that to change real soon. On the area lakes, the fish will be anywhere there's baitfish around weeds or rock/weed transition areas in 8-12 or 15-22 feet of water. Fishing cranks and stickbaits around weeds works well for active fish, and if you get one out of a patch of isolated weeds, fish through the area very methodically.

Pike have been active in 10-22 feet of water along weed edges, points or sand/gravel transition areas. Spinners are always a solid option for pike, but as the water cools I usually switch back to crankbaits, especially wide wobbling deep divers in natural or red/white patterns. Jerkbaits can really shine right now, especially suspenders worked around weed clumps where there are visible baitfish hovering.

Musky fishing has been picking up, but is sure to get really good. Ditch the tree stand and/or your  goose blind nowis the time to start working for this years trophy. Gliders, bucktails and jerkbaits are all solid options for casting, and remember to keep a sucker out on a quick strike rig for lazy followers. Right now, look for the them to be using weeds in 12-15 feet of water or rocks in 8-12 feet of water. As the water cools, they'll follow the ciscos in, and that's when things start to get really interesting. Pewaukee has been giving a fair number of smaller fish (30-36"), and lots of guys are starting to see some bigger fish on Lac Labelle and Oconomowoc. I know Okauchee and North have guys fishing them, but I don't have a current report as of this morning...and I have heard nothing on Fowler.

Good Luck,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Weekend 2014- Fishing Report

Well gang, it looks to be a nice weekend to wrap up summer. The unstable conditions mean it is time to break out some live bait. Lindy, split shot and slip sinker rigs really shine under these conditions. Larger sized shiners, nightcrawlers and small suckers are your best options for gamefish.  Unless you're going for panfish, leave the fatheads at home this weekend.

On area lakes, bass fishing has been hot and cold depending on the conditions. Windy days are dramatically better than still days. Fish are using the weedlines in 10-15 feet of water, points and off shore structure in 6-10 feet of water, as well as the piers and the slop. Shallow fish can be taken on jigworms, skirted grubs, tubes or jig/chunk combos. Deeper fish are being taken on crankbaits, live bait rigs, slow rolling big spinnerbaits or by flipping the weededges with a heavy jig. The morning and evening is producing a topwater bite, especially over shallow flats with scattered weeds. Okauchee, School Section, Ashippun, Golden, Pine, Silver, Moose and Kessus have been the most consistent, but the bite has been pretty much the same from all of the area lakes. Key are just about done with the rocks, so look for them to make a move out to deeper water for a week to 10 days.

Walleye fishing has been fair overall, but much, much better in the low light hours. Small jigs with live bait, or lindy rigs have been the best producers. A few fish are still being caught on spinner harness/bottom bouncer combos while trolling with electrics. Evening is the time to be fishing minnow baits around weeds for bigger fish. Pine, Oconomowoc, North, Lac Labelle and Lake Koshkonong have all been giving up walleyes.

Northern Pike continue to bite in the shallows. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, shallow diving square billed or lipless crankbaits are the best ways of catching these fish. Larger fish are still using the weedlines and are moving onto some deeper rocks and can be targeted with inline spinners, or using live bait like larger chubs, shiners or small suckers on a slip sinker rig. Vertically jigging structure in 22-28 feet with a jig/repear tail combo has caught a handful of nice fish, but the pattern has been inconsistent overall. Try Okauchee, Golden, Pine, Fowler,, Kessus, Pretty and Moose Lakes for pike.

Musky fishing has been slow, but steady. Lot's of people are starting to see some mid to high 30" fish, especially early and late in the day. Look for fish on or adjacent to mainlake structure that has easy access to deep water. Topwaters have still been catching a few fish, especiallyin the morning. Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Lac Labelle, and Fowler are all producing to one degree or another right now, but the boat traffic is pushing the active fish into low-light/low activity periods.

Panfish are still using deeper water, suspending 12-16 feet down over deeper water, and drifters have been picking up some nice keepers. Some anglers are reporting some decent gills in weedy areas as shallow as eight feet, but most people out have reported the most consistent action along the weedlines in 12-18 feet of water. Tightlining with panfish leeches, leaf worms, or plastic/wax worm combos all have been productive.

Good Luck and Cheers,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fishing Report 8-22-14


Water levels vary from system to system, but weed growth is still very heavy, Water temps are in the low to mid 70's.

Panfish have slowed down over the last two weeks. Crappie and bluegill continue to bite along weedlines or suspended out over deep water, as well as in mid-depth weeds, but keepers have been hard to come by unless you're working deeper fish. Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce. Evenings have been better, as is typical for this time of year. (School Section, Lower Geneessee, Lower Nashotah, Forest and Golden)

Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. Fish are feeding in short spurts throughout the day. On the hot sunny days, look for them around docks or slop, or out deep in 12-15 FOW. On the cooler cloudy days, look for active fish in sand/rock or rock/weed transitions in 4-8 feet. Topwater bite will be good, especially early in the morning. (Silver, Moose, Ashippun, Okauchee, Nagawicka, Garvin)

Smallmouth fishing has been spotty. If you can find some active fish, you can do well, but making that connection can be a tough nut to crack, especially on the hot days with little or no wind (like today). Look for fish around the edges of the shallow structure like rock bars or sand/rock transition areas. The fish will be deeper than you think they should be in most cases. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits and small white crankbaits can be dynamite, but don't skip the tubes and lipless crankbaits. On tough days, live bait rigging, especially with large shiners can save a day on the water.(Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Pine and North)

Pike fishing has been slow, but steady. Lots of undersized fish are being caught in the shallow and mid-depth areas. I'd consider moving out deeper and using live bait on a slip sinker rig, trying to connect with active fish in 18-22 or 22-25 feet of water. (Okauchee, Nagawicka, North, School Section, Pretty and Kessus)

Walleye fishing has been entirely inconsistent lately. People still fishing at night are reporting some success off the deeper sand flat areas, but a few decent fish are being caught out of the shallow weeds very early in the morning using rapalas or similar minnow baits.  (North, Nagawicka, Pine and Oconomowoc.)

Musky are getting more active, but anglers are still reporting lots of lazy follows. Gliders, bulldogs and cow-girls have all produced limited action in the past week, but most of the fish are mid-30's to low 40 inch fish. Topwater is working just before the sun gets up and just after it goes down. As the water begins to cool, the action will pick up considerably. (Pewaukee, North, Okauchee, Lac Labelle Oconomowoc)

Good Luck,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Paul Smith's Column (8-17-14)

Paul Smith has a column in today's Journal-Sentinel on the DNR's new panfish research and proposal. There's some significant changes within the plan, especially if you are someone who has been targeting keeper sized panfish for a fair amount of time.

Panfish limits were fairly open when I was a kid. 50 Fish per guy-per day with just about any panfish or perch species counting towards the 50. I can remember going out with groups of guys and filling coolers of fish at night when I was a kid...(I especially remember having to clean those fish in the middle of the night)

The DNR has resources relevant to this discussion here and with research data here. It's probably worth your time to take a look if you regularly target panfish for the table.

The local informational meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m on Thursday, September 4, at the Waukesha DNR Service Center, Room 151, 141 NW Barstow Road.

Update from the water 8-17-14

Ended up being a good week for my first week back in action.

Fished Okauchee on Wednesday.

Hit the water about 9am. Tried to fish some isolated rock piles looking for bass foraging for craws...caught one decent fish and a pair of snakes for the trouble.
Switched gears a bit, started fishing tight and deep in cover and went on a couple hour shooting spree...had a dozen+ mixed LM and SM..some on both sides of legal, but with three real quality fish mixed in. Also broke off a small musky.
Caught a couple more closer to the launch on the way back. Not rock-em/sock-em robots or anything, but a decent midday run.

Fished Oconomowoc Thursday for Musky.

Struck out, but had five follows between 1-8pm. Fish were using transition areas with bait fish nearby. Pulled a nice one up to the boat mid-afternoon on a mini-dawg, but just couldn't get the fish to commit on the figure eight. Looked to be a mid-40's in about 8 FOW.

Saw a couple of smaller fish after that, but about 4:45 we saw some gar feeding near where we were fishing. A big fish followed in a glider we worked through the area where the gar were busting minnows on the surface. Fish was high 40's, had it right up to the boat, but again a fairly lazy follow.

Fished Oconomowoc Friday for Bass.

Worked hard using one of my proven patterns. Started with a topwater approach and caught a couple of nice fish right away, but then made an adjustment and stayed on a quality bite for the rest of the morning. Slow and steady wins the race. Ended with a nice batch of LM + SM with multiple fish over 20."

Fished Lake X Saturday.

Lake X is my secret project lake right now. As usual, Lake X is a special underfished place, with just solid fishing for numbers and size of multiple gamefish. Yesterday was no different...30+ bass (14-19") and six pike (24-34") in just over three hours of fishing.

Good Luck Out There.