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Friday, August 28, 2015

Fishing Report 8-28-15

Hey gang,

I was out several days this week. The cooler weather really changed the on the water conditions. Water temps are in the high 60's to low 70s. Fishing has been great, but not too many people have been heading out with the high winds/unstable weather we have had. More unstable weather on tap for this weekend, but it will be replaced with some hot/sunny weather next week as we head towards the holiday weekend.

Panfish has been the hot bite the last couple of weeks. Crappie and bluegill continue to bite along weedlines or suspended out over deep water. Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce, but you may have to put in a little time to find the keeping size fish. Evenings have been better, as is typical for this time of year, but fish can be caught all day if you stay mobile to stay with the schools of suspended fish.

Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. On the hot days next week, look for them around docks or slop, or out deep. (Docks should be an awesome shallow pattern in the heat next week) On the cooler cloudy days, look for active fish in sand/rock or rock/weed transitions in 4-8 feet. The topwater bite will be good, especially early in the morning, but rocks will hold fish all day. Live bait: It is time to go big or go home with your minnows-large shiners or small suckers on slip sinkers or slip bobbers, but the usual mix of soft plastics - wacky, jigworms and skirted grubs up shallow, jig and chunks, grubs, texas or mojo rigs out deep.

Smallmouth fishing has been spotty, more or less all season.  Look for them around the edges of the shallow structure like rock bars or sand/rock transition areas. Tip: Fish will be deeper than you think they should be in most cases. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits and small white crankbaits can be dynamite, but drop shotting in 25-32 FOW will be a hot pattern this coming week. A great week to bust out the wading gear and look for fish in the isolated sections of the Bark or Oconomowoc rivers.

Pike fishing has been slow. A fair number of undersized fish are being caught in the shallow and mid-depth areas. Spinners, buzzbaits or jerkbaits will produce, but I'd consider moving out deeper and using live bait on a slip sinker rig, trying to connect with larger active fish in 18-22 or 22-25 feet of water.

Musky should be moving during the full moon cycle this weekend, but the the best is yet to come. As the water begins to cool, the action will pick up considerably over the next couple of weeks.

Good Luck,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Outings

The water temperature is now below 70 degrees. Time to start thinking about fall fishing trips.

I'll be on the water as long as weather permits this year, but my schedule is a bit tighter than the last couple of years. If you're thinking of getting out, please Email me to discuss your date.

Only gets better from here on out....

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fishing Report 8-20-15

Water is in the mid 70's, still low. There's been another late baitfish hatch and there's lots of pin minnows about.

The big news of the week was the weather. We've had period of rather stable weather, but that run was broken up with a couple of days with rain and much cooler temperatures. Typically when things cool off quickly like that, fish will continue to bite, but they'll have a much smaller strike zone. This means you need to slow down and be more methodical with your presentations. Fish tight to cover, and take a deep breath to slow down.

Remember my rule of slowing down: If you think you're fishing slow enough, you're still fishing twice as fast as you should be.

Panfish bite has been very good, and some quality bags are coming in. Generically the fish are moving to weed-edges and shallow weed clumps at the end of points. Classic late summer behavior. The best fishing is in the deeper weeds along the bottom/drop off of main lake structure/points. Slip bobbers will work, but vertically fishing for the deeper fish can really produce. Don't be afraid to use big bait, including panfish leeches if you can find them. If they're not on the ends of structure, move out to the adjacent deep water and look for them suspended at the depth of the nearby structure. (So if the point ends in 15 FOW, move out deeper, but look for the fish to be down 15')

Bass are starting to school up and chase bait. Look for active fish to be chasing late hatching baitfish on shallow flats. Topwaters, jigworms, grubs and wacky worms can really catch some quality bags right now, especially if you're close to active fish. Docks and slop have been pretty hot with the warmer weather, but after the front went through flipping or working a texas rig or jig worm through isolated weed edges and clumps produced some quality bites for me the last couple of days.

Walleye are using weed edges and patrolling the flats for bait. Jigging in the weeds can be dynamite, especially early and late, but don't be afraid to work edges/drops in 12-18 FOW, or to throw minnowbaits around grass patches. Controlled drifting or back trolling with lindy rigs has been working on the windy days where jigging has been tough. Don't fish an area without visible baitfish right now, and be ready for whitebass to steal lots of bait.

Pike are making an early fall move, and I saw several quality pike patrolling the shallow water in search of food when I was out yesterday. Buzzbaits, spinners and small lipless crankbaits will all produce right now, but the real ticket is a slip sinker rig with heavy floro and a small sucker dragged ever so slowly through weeds in 18-25 FOW.

Musky fishing was pretty slow this past week. My regular sources all reported a tough week with the changing conditions and high winds.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fishing Report 8-13-15

Hey gang,

Been a tougher than average week out there. Water levels are down, and the wind has been up. Fish can be caught, but you'll need to adapt (sometimes on the fly) to conditions throughout the day.

Water temps are in the mid to high 70's around the area, and there were a couple of late season baitfish hatches this week which have some hefty schools of minnows swimming around. Gamefish continue to be spread out, and can be caught shallow or deep...sometimes both at the same time.

Patterning fish remains challenging, and there's a fair amount of spot fishing occurring right now.

Panfish are suspending along the edges of deep structure, but can be anywhere from just under the surface to 18 Feet down over deep water. The usual deep water approaches (split shot rigs tightlined, or slip bobbers will work) but here's a hot tip. A small popper or fly tipped with live bait will generate some quality bites when fished near vertical drop offs. I've seen this approach work before, but to be frank, I have never seen it so consistent as I did in the later part of this week. I had a batch of quality bluegills two days this week. I assumed the first time was a fluke, but it worked again this morning. Topwater fishing for bluegills with a ultralight is one heck of a fun time by the way.

Largemouth Bass continue summer patterns. With the clear skies and sunny days, docks and slop have really turned on in the shallows, and there's another batch of fish that you can chase down in 12-18 FOW with texas or carolina rigs. Topwater is working until about 8-8:30, then the fish are hunkering down. You can fish actively early, but you'll need to slow way down and be precise to keep getting bites.

Smalllmouth have been hit or miss this week. An observation (and nothing more) when current is flowing in our local lakes/rivers, the smallmouth seemed to bite better this week...but when there was little to no flow (like today) I caught far more largemouths. I was curious about this observation, and while I only have my own (extensive fishing) logs to go by, it does seem to be a factor, especially in the Oconomowoc and Bark River lakes in the area. That said, targeting smallmouth can be accomplished by fishing the weed/rock transitions, as well as the shallow weeds adjacent to deeper water (like those along a depth contour transition or at the ends of shallow structure/points) Topwaters, including spooks and smaller size poppers are producing, but don't overlook floating minnow baits. By mid morning the bite has been shifting out a bit, where grubs and tubes will continue to produce. Did some dropshotting out in the way deep today, but only caught a couple of smaller fish...the bite was much better in 6-12 FOW. If you find some fish cruising a shallow bar, wacky, tubes, skirted grubs or small crawfish colored crankbaits will produce.

Walleye fishing was about average, with some whitebass mixed in. Fish were shallow and deep, but really holding tight to weeds in both areas. Jigging and rigging with live bait was productive, but some anglers are starting to fish the weedtops with minnowbaits in the evening, and that has been a decent (but not great) bite this past week. Leeches are getting harder to come by, but use them if you can find them, otherwise a crawler or small sucker or chub are your best options.

Pike fishing was pretty standard this week. Buzzbaits, spoons, spinners and lipless crankbaits were catching fish, as were heavy line slip sinker rigs with circle hooked suckers. The weedlines in 14-22FOW had the best fish, but there are still some nice fish cruising the shallow rockbars.

Musky: I didn't hear anything solid this week, but check back next week.

Good Luck,

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fishing Report 8-7-15

Water temps are in the high 70's. Some fish are still chasing baitfish, but the best action for the next spell will be to target rocks and sand where gamefish are rooting for softshell craws. 

In general terms : The cooler mornings are a key time to target active fish in shallow to mid-depth water. Look for them in the usual 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 seem them get active.

Panfish are still running late summer patterns. You can find quality fish suspended over deeper water, or in middepth weeds. Live bait rigs are you best bet, but plastics tipped with waxies or spikes and fished on slip bobbers can be crazy good at times. Night fishing has been very good for bluegills, as it typically is this time of year.

With the molt occurring, Largemouth bass are in the shallow water around the rock/sand/weed transition areas. Skirted grubs, small crawfish imitating crankbaits, tubes and wacky rigs. Docks and slop are holding fish during the sunny days, and fish are chasing bait early and late on the mid-depth (6-12 FOW) flats. Topwater, minnowbaits, grubs, flappers and jigworms are catching these schooling fish. Flipping into holes on the outside edge of the weedline, or on inside turns has been slow, but productive.

Smallmouth have been more active the last week, starting to wolfpackthe shallow rocks and gravel areas. When you are able to contact 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, 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.

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 has 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 connecting with them has been difficult to do with the higher winds. Live bait rigs are still catching fish in the 15-22 FOW range, and buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, spoons and lipless cranks are still moving fish out of isolated clumps of weeds in flat areas.

Musky fishing has been slow. Very few reports of legal (40+inch fish) coming in. Smaller fish are chasing bait Mid-morning and round dusk. The topwater bite dropped off, but I'm hearing about lots of follows on gliders and smaller jerkbaits.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fishing Report 8-1-15

Things were kind of hit or miss this week. Fish are active, but in spurts. Three days this week, a wind shift shut down a hot bite for a couple of hours.

Water temps are in the high 70's. Most fish are still chasing baitfish, but it is obvious a few are starting to probe rocks and sand for craws. I expect the August molt to start in the next 10 days.

Bass fishing was on and off this past week. Fish were biting all week, but the wind made presentations tough on a couple of days. Up shallow, the docks and slop have really turned on, as have isolated weed clumps. Wacky, tubes and grubs around the docks, but don't be afraid to fish a larger plastic worm texas rigged with little or no weight around the weed clumps. (Don't be afraid to cast right at the weeds) Sand/gravel or rock/weed transitions were holding fish, but I had to slow my presentation and down size substantially for pattern level success. My most consistent approach has been a light slip sinker rig with a shorter leader (24") and live bait. I turn to this rig when the wind makes for some challenging presentations of soft plastics, and it paid off. Fish the weed edges or transitions in 12-18 FOW, making sure to keep contact with the bait.

Smallmouth fishing was tough this week. I never really got on a solid pattern. I'd concentrate on flats or gravel in deeper water (12-20FOW) and drop shot, or throw tubes or skirted grubs. I caught a couple of nice fish, but there was no pattern to the process what so ever.

Musky fishing was picking up with the stable weather and fish continue to be very active. Points and drops with weeds on the end or edges was still the primary approach. Topwater is producing early and late, but remember to wait to feel the fish before you set the hook. Other than topwater, action was on smaller bucktails, jerkbaits and gliders...with white being the hot color. (Typical for sunny days)

Walleye fishing moved primarily to the late hours with the full moon cycle, but the approach didn't change much. Slip bobbers, with live bait, jigs with plastics or lindy rigs, fished near the weeds are producing. At night, back troll with suckers on lindy/slip sinker rigs in 18-22 fow, targeting areas with healthy sandgrass or fish floating rapalas/minnowbaits around weedclumps after dark. Remember the water is pretty warm, and you may need to get out deep for sustained success.

Bluegills are doing their summer thing. Look for them to suspend along the weedlines or out over deeper water. 12-18 feet deep over much deeper water is a great starting point. Drifting along the deep edges with bait suspended vertically is a solid presentation option.


Okauchee: Public launch remains closed. Bass are on the piers, in pads and slop and on the weed edges in deeper water/along mainlake structure. Panfish are suspending deep, but adjacent to the points. Musky was slow, but pike are very, very active.

Garvin: Bluegills suspending over deep cover on east shoreline points. Bass biting awesome on live bait fished on deep weed edges or by flipping/texas rigging the laydowns.

Oconomowoc:  Panfish are on the deep weedlines (use a split shot or light lindy rig and a panfish leech, cricket or hellgramite). Musky fishing continues to be hot, with lots of fish moving over/around the tops of weeds at the end of points. Bass were slow, but steady.

Fowler: Panfish are suspending over the deep basin, lots of bass in the river and in the slop. Pike were biting, but primarily on live bait rigs.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing was good early and late. Fish are still in the shallow weeds (tight to them) but with the water temps be ready to move out deep o 25+. Jigs and rigs with live bait, best action has been 6-8am and again just before dark. Bass fishing was steady, especially when live bait or plastics were fished tight to deep weed edges. Lots of LM around the deeper docks or in the river.

Moose:  Bass feeding shallow early, then moving out deep. Look for baitfish, and work small areas hard. Pike fishing was slow for bigger fish, but steady for hammer handles.(Throw a lipless crankbait and hang on)
Ashipunn: Bass and pike were steady and active. Concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Piers holding some quality fish, but way underneath. Panfish are suspending in the deep part of the basin, about 18-22 foot down. Live bait is catching a nice mix of large pannies and bass but fished on deep weed edges (18-22 FOW)

Golden: Bluegills in deep water, holding close to weed edges. Bass has been much better early and late...mid day fishing has been very slow. Topwaters, wacky, drop shot or texas rigged plastics and cranks are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits or buzzbaits fished over the weedy flats early in the morning.

Silver:  Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 18-25 FOW or suspending between the mainlake points. Bass fishing remains a little slow (by Silver Lake standards anyway), and the larger fish have been non existent this past week.