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Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year...2017!

Hello friends,

It has been awhile since I checked in.

There's certainly been some changes to the local fishing scene. The loss, this year, of local fishing institutions Dick Smith and John Laimon (of Smokey's) has certainly changed the dynamic some. In the same way it was when "Musky" Mike passed, I feel like pieces of my youth have been taken away. I hope they are all in a row-boat together somewhere, fishing.

On tap for this coming year:

Take a Vet fishing, some limited guiding, and lots of time in the boat fishing with my kids and my dad.

Look for reports to start up around April 1st.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last Ride For a Bit.

Hey gang,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm wrapping things up for the season. My new job in the real world starts next week, so while I'll still be on the water, it won't be like it normally is.

A couple of things. First off, I still have a couple of charity trips floating around out there. I'd like to get you in this year, but I can't guarantee that's going to happen.  If you have one, I will still honor it next year.

Second, I may have some late season availability (Especially in late September and Early October) but if there's a date you want, you need to call right away.

Third-The fish are making fall transitions already. Despite the heat, it is time to go fishing.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a smile. I hope this one, of my daughter Maren from her first outing, will suffice.

I'll be in and out, so check in when you can. It has been fun doing these reports, and I hope to continue to do them as time allows.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Checking In...Fishing Report 8-8-16

Hey gang, sorry I'm been short with reports, but when I haven't been on the water, I've been making my transition to my new teaching digs at the University of Minnesota. Learn more about my transition from UWM to UMN here

The end run of summer begins this week. Time to get on the water. As we move into mid 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 photocycle and the length of day will be evident to the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day. The photocycle starts dominating fish activity this time of year.

Panfish 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. Pine,  Ashippun, Golden, School Section, Okauchee, Garvin, and Lower Nashotah (RED HOT!) .

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On the (hot) 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 as the crayfish move up for the late summer molt. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish. Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle and Moose have all had active bites around rock/gravel areas. Some fish are still being taken off the weedlines and off the weed flats by anglers flipping around heavy cover on Okauchee, Kessus, and Golden.

Smallmouth are starting the early fall pattern of making 3 maybe 5 shallow 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 or 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.  Okauchee, North, Oconomowoc, and Lac Labelle have been producing.

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 12-18 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. North, Oconomowoc, Pike, Fox, Lake Koshkonong and Lac Labelle lake have all been productive.

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. Try Moose, Fox, Pretty, Kessus, Okauchee, Golden, Fowler Garvin, School Section and Ashippun Lakes for pike.

Good Luck and Cheers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fishing Report 7-15-16

Water temps range greatly, and can be in the high 70's to mid 80s.

The other key factor on the water is the low water conditions. While we got some rain later in the week, the majority of local lakes are way down. While you won't notice much a difference on the main lake, areas that are current based, there's not much happening. If you can find some flowing water, it'll have bait and fish in it.

Panfish have moved to mid-summer depths. Look for them suspended off weed lines and main lake points about 18-22 feet down. Structure at those depths will hold fish close to the bottom. Drifting with slip bobbers, tightlining vertically or long-lining split shot rigs tipped with live bait is the best way to target keepers.

Bass fishing has been surprisingly good given the heat. Some fish are on the weedlines 12-18 and 18-22 FOW. Crankbaits, slow-rolled spinner baits, flapper grubs or texas rigs are the best options on the deeper fish. Live bait in the form of larger shiners or small suckers on a slip sinker rig with produce. Look for feeding periods from just before sun-up until about 8:30-9, and then again from about 4pm to just after dark. The fish are actively chasing bait during these periods, and can be caught on grubs, ringworms, flapper grubs, and jigworms. Topwater action can be had, but the bait they are chasing is on the small side, so go with a small pop-r, skitter pop or something similar. After the initial feeding, look for fish to get tight to shallow cover, docks or weed edges, and then chase them down with wacky, tubes, and jig/craw combos. Pay attention to the shadows, and don't be afraid to make multiple skips or pitches to fishy looking spots.  On the bright sunny/hot days we had early in the week, the slop bite was producing, but I'm consistently only catching smaller fish out of the slop right now. Best bite has been on shallow weedflats with scattered cover, where you can visibly see baitfish schooled up and swimming around. This week, with the weather the way is was, I caught fish at essentially every depth between 18 inches and 22 feet.

Smallmouth action has been a little slower by most reports. They are still biting, but like the largemouths there's periods of time during the day for active feeding. The crayfish are not in full molt yet, and when that starts expect the smallie action to go gangbusters for 10 days-2 weeks. Right now you can catch some smallies on the flats and mainlake structure, especially along the drop-off edges, or suspended off the breaks in deep water. Tubes, wacky, grubs and soft jerkbaits are all producing the shallow fish, while suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits are catching the deeper fish. Docks were holding some fish late last week, and during the hot stretch earlier in the week, and I was catching some decent numbers and sized fish using a downsized presentation...after the fronts went through, the bite dropped off .

The walleye were biting solid, especially just before dawn and around sunset, but after the weather shifted the bite got tough. The fish I was catching (some nice ones) were in the deep weed edges in 14-18 FOW, but I know some guys fishing at night were getting some as shallow as 6 FOW just after dark.

Northern Pike fishing has slowed down with the heat. Deeper pike are biting good, especially those patrolling deep sand flats. Crankbaits, live bait or spinner baits will produce.

Musky fishing has been very slow, but a few people are trolling for them. Look for them to be suspended around schools of cisco over the deepest water. Please be careful with caught muskies this time of year, the heat is very hard on them. Give them plenty of time when reviving them, and don't keep them out of the water any longer than necessary.

Good Luck,

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fishing Report 7-7-16

Hey gang,

The unstable weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day, but the action is steady. If you get on a decent bite, you'll be able to work it...but working into a solid and stable pattern has been harder than is typical for this time of year.

Water is high 70's-low 80's. Weeds are a full summer bloom, and there's been a couple of baitfish hatches. It still seems like schools of baitfish have been harder to come by this year, but there's some decent bait out on the deeper structure and around the inside and outside weed edges. If asked, I would have to say fishing is about average for mid July.

Panfish have started to make the summer transition. There's still a few stragglers in the shallows (mostly green sunfish or warmouth) but the best fishing for keepers has been to find suspended fish. This week it seemed like the fish were 12-15' down over deeper water, but close to points or sharp tuns in the weedline. Vertical fishing while drifting or slip bobbers with leeches, helgramites or plastics tipped with wax or butterworms are your best approach for these fish, and my standard tip applies: if you're catching smaller fish out deep, get your bait down deeper. Looking for action fish with the kids...docks/swim platforms and overhanging trees are holding lots of potato chip sized fish right now. A small bobber, a #10 or #12 size hook (red of course) and live bait will catch as many as you can shake a stick at.

Bass are working traditional summer patterns, but the weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day.  Docks, rockbars, slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines have all been producing. The most consistent bite for largemouth has been the inside and outside weed edges in 6-14 feet of water. If you can find a defined edge in 12-14 FOW---stop and fish it.  The slop bite is on.. especially onmany of the smaller lakes. The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8a. Pop-R's with an orange or red belly have been producing some nice schooling fish and Redfins and jointed rapalas are catching some nice smallies. During my time on the water this week, I had to move with the fish...they were active and roaming early, then as the sun came up, they pulled tight to the docks and weededges. My tip, so much as it is a tip, is fish fast early, then slow down and get methodical around 8:30am. I'm still catching a ton of fish with downsized wacky rigs, ned rigs, and flapper grubs. My skirted craw bite, usually on fire right now, just isn't consistent yet...but it is putting some better fish in the boat. I'm staying with natural greens and pumpkin for colors for the most part, but black with just a little blue, or smoke with purple have also been pretty good.

If the bite is super tough...bust out the slip sinker rig with some leeches, chubs or small suckers and work the outside'll put some fish in the boat.

Musky fishing continues to be very inconsistent. Some days have been very good, some have been absolutely void of fish, with very little, or any pattern to the days.  The most active fish have come on deep divers, gliders and large tubes fished along the deepest weedlines you can find. 20 FOW seems to be magic this year, but the trollers working at night have been having the best luck. It just hasn't been consistent out there....but of course it is the middle of July.

Walleye action has been picking up, especially at either end of the day. The fish are coming a little deeper this year...sometimes out to 35'. Leeches under slip bobbers are catching fish in 12-15 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 15-22 feet of water. Oconomowoc has been giving up some keepers in the evening, especially off the graded sand.

Pike action was a little slower this week. Best bet: Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are producing for the action seekers. Reapers, inline spinners and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish, but the action has still been slow. I'd look for them around shallow, isolated clumps of weeds in shallow, or on weededges along points that stick into deep basin water.

Good Luck,

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Holiday Weekend Fishing Report 6-30-16

A long holiday weekend ahead! We're half way through summer...and fishing has been been consistent on our area lakes. Most water temps are in the mid 70's. Weed growth and baitfish populations are at about average for this time of year.

Obviously the lakes will be busy with the long day holiday weekend, so plan on fishing early and late, but if you can stand the boat traffic, fishing has been steady all day all the last three weeks.

If you're a newbie or casual fisherman....keep it simple. Get some leeches or small suckers and fish them on a slip sinker or lindy rig. Just keep the line tight and put your boat around the deep edges of some visible weeds. You will catch fish if you can stay in contact with the outside weed edge in 12-15 FOW while keeping your speed down under 1mph. If you're looking to cast some lures...try a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait or buzzbait.  Just cast it at any weeds you see, and reel it in as fast as you can.

Panfish Looking for action with the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait (I recommend wax worms or leaf worms on a small red #10 sized (Most swim rafts will have fish nearby).  Looking for keepers? -- The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water (12-18 FOW) by anglers drifting and fishing vertically.

Tip: If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Crappie are suspending over deep water, and along weed edges.

 Largemouth bass continue to run traditional summer patterns.  Look for them in inside weed edges in 4-6 FOW  and the outside edges in 8-15 FOW. These fish can be caught on a variety of tackle, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, texas rigged wacky worms, jigworms, jig and chunks, skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are starting to hold fish and the slop has bite has been picking up. Topwater bite has been good until about 8:15am and then it has been picking up in the evening around 6:30-7pm

If you just want to catch fish, keep it simple...leeches on lindy or slip sinker rigs on the deep weed edge is an easy way to put some fish in the boat on just about any area lake. Follow the weeds out until they stop (usually in 12-15 FOW) and set up to fish. Remember to keep contact with your presentation.

Smallmouth bass fishing was fairly inconsistent this past week. Fish are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day. Most fish are holding on the deep side of breaks or suspending off mainlake structure, coming in briefly to forage. Skirted grubs, twister tails, tubes, wacky worms, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working for the people backtrolling deep sand/rock in 18-25 feet.

Tip: Flapper grubs and Ned rigs are still producing...using a lighter mushroom head with a natural brown or green pattern worm. Downsizing my wacky rigs to smaller Senkos or French Fry's has put some fish in my boat during slower stretches the last couple of weeks. The baitfish the fish are eating are on the smaller side this it seems that downsized presentations are a solid plan.

Walleye fishing has been very slow daytime, but better during the beginning and end of the day. (Typical summer condition.) Anglers putting in time are catching a few fish. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Slip bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Fishing over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala minnows is grabbing a few as well, especially early and late in the day. Most fish are being caught along weededges in 12-18 FOW, but I've been catching them as deep as 25-32 FOW'

Pike fishing has been on fire with lots of smaller pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including last week's big hatch of juvenile panfish. Fish with inline spinners, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike were hard to come by according to most reports, but if you want to chase them, try the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig.

Tip: A lipless crankbait, inline spinner or buzzbait fished around isolated shallow weed clumps will help you catch some action fish...a great option for kids right now.

Musky fishing remains slow for the most part. On the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. Trolling at night has been producing a few fish during down moon cycles, but topwater fishing from 4-6am has been the most consistent way to catch a casting fish. I heard a few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits, but only one person I talked with seemed to be talking that up the last week. Anglers continue to report lots and lots of lazy follows, so keep a sucker out. 12-15 FOW seems to be the magic depth over the past couple of weeks for sucker fish. (Essentially active fish patrolling the weedlines!)

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-12 feet. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish, but look for keepers suspended over deeper water and on the deep ends of the mainlake points.

Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers. Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Musky are still using the treeline break and suspending off the south drop. Bass are using the shallow flat on the south end. Pike are on the deep weedlines on the northwest and north east corners, and suspending over the deeper water.

Forest: Panfish and pike have been biting. Live bait over the deep holes on slip bobbers for panfish, inline spinners for the pike.

Oconomowoc:  Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points. Northern pike and walleye fishing has been best for anglers using small suckers catching the majority of the fish, pike was better than walleye during the day.  Musky fishing was slow, but lots of fish are still doing lazy follows, and lots of people are reporting that they are seeing fish in shallow water chasing juvenile gills.

Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines. No word on musky.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are holding fish as are drop-offs in 10-18 FOW. Musky have moved out to suspend over deep water in the main basin. White bass have been stealing lots of bait from walleye and panfisherman.  Remember the new 28" size limit this season.

Moose:  Bass and pike continue to bite. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Pre-rigged worms have been catching some bass by covering water around sctattered shallow wee clumps. Backtrolling with small suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep water has been a hot tactic, especially in low light conditions.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action has been steady this year. Best bet on Ashipunn is to concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Slip sinker rigs with leeches fished tight to the weed edge worked for me with one of my kids last week, but we caught more fish on plastics than live bait.

Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending over the deep part of the basin, but holding close to weed edges adjacent to deeper water. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but the deeper weedline bite has been picking up. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished over the submerged weeds.

Silver:  Bass can be caught using plastics around the weed clumps in 4-15 feet or around piers and boat lifts. Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW and suspending out over the deep basin between the mainlake points.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. No word on trout on Lower, (fairly fished out at this point would be my guess)  Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leafworms or big reds has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle, especially along the deep points and drop offs. (In other is July!)

Pine: Walleye, Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth are being caught off the rocks early in the day, and off the weedlines in the mid-day and evenings. Slip sinkers with live bait will produce, but don't overlook crankbaits or slow rolled spinnerbaits for suspending fish. Fish have been coming very deep all day.

School Section: Bass and pike are biting, but most of the fish have been small. Look for the deep spots, and work them hard with plastics or live bait.

If you've got specific questions or if you're looking to get out while in town for the holiday: Feel free to email me.   I have some openings early next week and I can put you (and those kids) on some fish.

Good Luck, and Stay Safe This Weekend.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In town for the holiday?


I have openings late this week, over the holiday weekend and next week for guided trips.

 I'm kid friendly (I have five of my own) and I can put you and the family on some fish.

Email me for more information.