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Friday, February 27, 2015

Fishing Update

Your last run at gamefish is this weekend, as inland gamefish season closes on March 1st.

There's one last chance to catch that trophy before you have to move to open season waters, until of course, open water.

Early (catch and release) Trout Season starts March 7th. More information is here with a good information video here.

Not much else happening in terms of open hit the ice and stay tuned, it'll be spring soon enough.

Update (3-2-15):

I just received this email from the DNR: Next Saturday's early trout season opener may be a bit on the chilly side, with statewide temperatures projected to remain below freezing through this week. The good news, state fisheries biologists say, is that many of the state's top trout waters feature strong groundwater flows and stay free of ice. So, the trout will be there waiting if anglers can gear up properly to manage the cold.

Join DNR fisheries staff for a live chat on Tuesday, March 3 at noon for a discussion all about the 2015 early trout season. From fishing tips to ways to have fishing success in the cold, our staff will be ready to take your questions.

To join the conversation, visit the DNR home page,, and click on the picture to join the chat or click on "ask the experts" in the Popular Links section. You can also join the chat via our Facebook page at and by clicking the “Ask the Experts Chat” link at the top of our page.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fishing report 2-21-15

Looks like there is some warmer weather on deck for this weekend and the early part of next week. That last cold snap really slowed down the fishing, not the bites, just the number of people heading out.

Pike have started moving toward the marshy areas to get ready for the spawn. This is the time to chase your winter trophy.

Focus along the last transition before a shallow flats, especially marshy areas (like the Crane's Nest on Okauchee, the North end of Golden Lake, or the West side of Lower Nehmabin ).

While large shiners will still catch fish, now is the time to set up with dead bait. Running three tip-ups per guy, I like to do two with a live shiner and one with deadbait until I find out what's working.  Suspend your dead bait rig just a bit higher in the column than your live bait rigs.

Typically bigger fish will come during a 2 hour stretch during the day (usually at first light before the fishing pressure sets in), but if you get on a good depth contour you should expect to see the more aggressive, smaller "action" fish bite throughout the day.

Panfish action has been slower (probably because of the weather), but steady. There's still a handful of guys getting some keepers out of shallow weeds,  but the guys looking for and finding suspended fish in deep water are having better success. 12-16 feet over 20+ seems to be the magic combination this year, but deep water adjacent to mid-depth structure is always your best option. You need to be ready to be mobile to find fish.

Madison Fishing Show is next weekend, and the JS Sports show is also coming. Open water is just around the corner.

Good Luck, and be safe.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Fishing Report 2-13-15

Lots of fisheree's on deck this weekend, including the Dick Smith's annual event.

Assuming you're not spending time with your sweetie, you can expect some decent fishing this weekend.

Keep fishing the edges of deeper water near bays and current areas for pike. Bigger bait is now the ticket as we approach the pike spawn. Big fish will be staging and smaller fish will move towards shallow weedy and marshy areas. Kessus, Okauchee (especially Stumpy Bay and the Crane's Nest Area), Fowler, Golden and Moose are all hot right now. If you can make the hike, Garvin has been a solid producer (but shush about that!)

Walleye fishing has been good, Lac Labelle, Pine and Oconomowoc have all been producing fish, especially at night. Look for them as shallow as 5 and and as deep as 30 feet. Spread your gear across multiple depths until you find fish. If you're catching all small eyes, move out deeper. Sand/gravel transitions are the key structure right now, especially as the perch move into those areas in the early morning and late evening hours.

Panfishing has been slow but steady, and the most consistent action has been from crappie fisherman at night. Crappie tend to suspend just below the ice, so if you're seeing marks on your flashers high in the water column, you might be over a school of them. A live minnow, tailed hooked on a small red hook or a teardrop with spikes or waxies should do the trick. Bobber discipline is mandatory. The Genessee lakes, Okauchee, Golden, Nagawicka and Forest have all been productive. The Madison chain is giving up some decent bags, but pressure has been very, very heavy. Bites can be tough to detect on the type of windy and cold days we have ahead, so if you can get out of the wind, you'll improve your chances.

As for conditions, most reports have it solid on the local lakes. As always, caution is never a bad thing. If you're heading to Koshkonong or Winnebago, double check with the locals on the conditions. Be safe... buddy system, PFD and spud bar...always.

Good Luck,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

DNR Spring Hearings

Paul Smith of the Journal-Sentinel has an article up today about some of the issues for the spring hearings. You can read the article here. The DNR Document with the questions is here.

A couple of local issues on the docket:

1.) Changes to some of the local the fish refuge rules:

2.) Walleye Bag and Size Limits

Pewaukee, Nagawicka and Pine would have a 3 fish, 18 in minimum as would Big Cedar and Gilbert Lakes in Washington County.

Lac Labelle size limit on walleye raised to 28 in minimum, with limit of one per day.


3.) Pike Bag and Size Limit Changes

32in minimum, 1 fish limit on Northern Pike for Pewaukee, Lac Labelle, Eagle Spring and Lu Lu Lakes.

4.) It looks like our local area will not have many lakes brought under the new 25/10 or 15/5 panfish provisions, but a couple of nearby lakes will be voted on: