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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.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Fishing Report 7-7-17

Hey gang,

Been a busy week with everyone in town for the holiday. As such I was on the water (on several lakes) the past 10 days.

Overall conditions haven't changed much. The water is extremely high on many area lakes. Water temps are mid to high 70's but go up and down with the rains. Weeds are about summer average, but the story there is the explosive growth of the milfoil this season. Lots of fish are using the beds of milfoil that have taken root in areas that didn't traditionally have weeds.

Panfish are done spawning. You may find a straggler or two, but the bulk of the fish are set-up for the remainder of summer. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are you best bets, but shady banks with sandy or gravel bottoms can hold some as well. Caught some decent ones under a tree this week when out with my kids one afternoon.

Looking for keepers? Crappie are on the deep weededges and suspending over cribs or humps in deeper water. Areas where a weed edge touches a drop off to much deeper water are especially good places to start. Sounded like the cooler temps brought them a little higher in the column than the last couple of weeks, but that may have been schools of baitfish as well. Bluegills are suspending over 35-45 FOW about 12-18' down. Slipbbobbers or tight-lining with live bait or plastics has been working, but drifting through the schools was the key element to success this past week.

Bass fishing has remained steady but you may have to work them a little for consistent success. There's an early bite happening on most lakes up until about 9am. Then fish are moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can also be targeted around overhanging cover or weededges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, (green and rootbeer have been a hot colors) tubes, skirted grubs, ned rigs and shaky head worms. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged plastics or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Crankbaiting deep weed points really took off this week as well. Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 22 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike continue to bite despite the inconsistent weather. 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. Trolling deep-diving crankbaits in natural or reflective patterns like Norman D22's, hot n tots, or wiggle warts around the weed edges has also been producing some fish. 18-22 FOW seems to be the hot zone for pike right now, but don't be surprised to find them out deeper.

Walleye fishing has picked back up. The wind during this last stretch has really pushed the walleye back into shallower water. If you're going to look for them, I'd start by trolling small minnow baits around the ends of deep points and midlake bars trying to find some suspended fish, or back troll (slowly) around deep weed edges in 18-22 fow with live bait. Once you have them located, set up and jig for them vertically. I caught walleyes in as shallow as 6 and as deep as 22 FOW this week.

Catfishing on the Rock and Fox has been decent, but most of the fish that are being caught are a little smaller. You want a meal...its a great option, if you're looking to do battle with a monster, you might want to wait a bit. Cutbait has been outproducing stink bait or nightcrawlers, just know the water is very high, very dirty and very fast....you'll need to be precise with a presentation, and use a very heavy rig to keep contact with it.

Musky fishing has picked up a bit, especially early and late when people have been putting in the time. Most of the fish are being caught while trolling deep edges and over deep flat structure in 22-45 fow, but a few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them suspended around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points.

Good Luck.

Cheers,
CT

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

200,000+ Page Views

This site recently passed 200,00 page views.

 Not bad for a little tiny fishing report blog that covers a handful of lakes in SE Wisconsin.

Thanks for checking in. I hope the posts help you while you're on the water.

Cheers,
CT

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fishing Report 6-29-17 (Holiday Weekend)


Long weekend ahead. Expect lots of people on the water, assuming the rains don't keep them away. Our last 10 days has seen some crazy late June weather  Around the area...water temps are in the low to mid 70's after the cooler nights and several days of heavy rain. Water levels are very high around the area. Weed growth is about average for this time of year. Lots of baitfish are swimming around, with hatches on pin minnows and panfish over the last 10 days.

Importantly: Remember that the photo cycle is starting to shrink, but that the sun is at its most direct over the next couple of weeks. You can really increase your success by fishing early mornings, evenings and if you can stand the bugs, at night. (It also helps with the boat traffic.)

Panfish Looking for action for the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms.  I recommend a size 10 red hook and wax worms.

A few fish are still spawning, but I saw hatched bluegill fry swimming around (and being fed on) on Golden Lake when out there today. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically.

Look for gills to be suspending about 10-12 feet down over 18-25 FOW or 12-18 over 30-45 FOW. 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, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools.

Largemouth bass are catchable in a variety of ways. 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 rigs, wacky worms, shakey heads, skirted grubs and tubes.  Looking for some real fun? Topwaters are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 8am.

Smallmouth bass fishing was below average 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, shakey heads, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working in the deep sand in 18-25 feet.

Walleye fishing has been slow. Anglers putting in time are catching a fish, although keepers have been hard to come by. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass/milfoil patches. 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 or twister tail grubs is grabbing a few as well, especially during low light conditions.

Pike fishing picked up substantially with the unstable weather. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish. Fish with willow leaf spinnerbaits, 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 or troll with deep diving crankbaits as close to the weedline as you can.

Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so consider keeping a smaller sucker out.

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-15 FOW. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish as the spawn is largely over, but look for them to be schooled up at the end of points over deeper water. Water is very high, and areas with current are productive. Tip: (Imagine what the lake looked like before it was flooded.)

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 areas. Pike are on the deep weedlines and suspending over the deeper water. Tip: (The channel is deeper than average with the high water, but watch the sides of the channel entrance, there's lots of rebar sticking out.)

Oconomowoc: Smallmouth fishing has slowed way down this season, but Largemouth fishing has been fantastic.. 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.  Tip: (Keep moving deeper until you find fish)

Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines. There's still a few stocked trout swimming around the edges of the deep water.


Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are still holding fish as are drop-offs in 18-25 FOW. Bass are on the rocks, rip rap and around the docks. Tip: Look for current.

Moose:  Bass and pike have been a little slow, especially for keepers. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Backtrolling with small suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep water. Mornings have been better.  Plenty of easy to catch, albeit small, panfish in the shallows for the kids to have some fun. Entire lake is under a slow no-wake limitation, so its a great place for smaller boats or kayaks.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is close to average for this time of 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. Flipping tubes, lizards or long straight tailed worms to visible weed pockets is producing numbers. Panfish are mostly off the beds and are suspending right off the deep weed edge. They were very high in the water column when I was out there on Monday.

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. Crappie are in huge schools suspending off the points and weed edges. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up, especially in the afternoon.. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished through the weedy areas.

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. Some anglers are targeting larger panfish in 25-30 FOW.

Nagawicka: Largemouths are average, and in summer patterns so look to catch them off boat docks, in the slop and along the shallow weed edges. One report has the gills still spawning, but only in the deeper sand. Pike have been average, especially on crankbaits or buzzbaits fished over weed edges at either end of the lake.

Kessus: Bass have been good, and are on the gravel, under docks/pontoons and on the points. Pike are actively feeding on young of the year bluegills.

Pewaukee:Bass have been very good, Musky anglers are seeing, but not catching, many fish.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leeches or leafworms  has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle.


In town for the holiday? Want to get out? I have some openings next week. Call (262-893-2183) or Email Me for more information

Good luck, and stay safe on the water this holiday weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fishing Report 6-23-17

Hey gang,

I was "professoring" a good chunk of this past week, so I wasn't out as much as I have been...so grain of salt on this report which is assembled from my usual sources, but lacks some my usual contributions/observations. When assembling this information, I just like to be up front about what you're seeing.

It sounds like dishing has been hit or miss the last week as fish have been feeding during blocks of time each day. If you're on them when they feed, the fishing has been good, but this run of unstable weather has made them very hard to pattern. A glance through my fishing logs suggests that this (unstable weather fishing pattern) is actually pretty common for late June.

Right now most lakes are in the mid to high 70s, but the rains this week have made it a crapshoot. Areas where there's drainage into the lakes (springs, creeks, river channels) may be on the cooler side. Weed growth varies from lake to lake, but is about average for this point in the year. (It really caught up during that sunny/hot weather spree we had about 10-12 days ago.)

A few of the lakes with muddy/silted areas are starting to see a significant algae bloom. Check out this Blogpost from UW-Madison on the blue-green algae bloom on Mendota.

Bass: Fish are setting up on summer patterns, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days when its not raining cats and dogs, topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially on isolated weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. On sunny days, especially those with lots of wind, fish are tighter to cover or using shallow rock bars in 3-8 feet of water.  When there's steady wind, drifting and casting grubs/jigworms on the flats can really produce. When the wind lies down, texas rigs or jig/chunk combos fished along the transitions of points will put fish in the boat. The action lakes are all rolling right now (Ashippun,  Beaver, Silver, Moose, School Section) and the lakes with better fish (Okauchee, Pewaukee, Nag, North and Oconomowoc) have been steady. Don't be afraid to slow down and really fish an area through to find a little better success. Note: Everything I heard this week was largemouth...nothing on the smallies, at all.

Pike fishing has been steady, with a fair number of quality fish coming in during the unstable weather. (Again, something the log shows over the years) The number one way to catch bigger pike right now is a small sucker or medium to large shiner (biggest ones you can find, but keep them cool) on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of weeds and you'll find some fish. Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, jerkbaits and spinner baits are also producing, especially in the shallow water, with prop-baits producing before first light or after dark.

Musky fishing continues to be slower than average for this time of year. My guess is that the fish are starting to set up out deep and that people just haven't gotten on them.  Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but converting fish has been difficult. Topwater produced a few fish when the moon was down during low light conditions, but the largest fish I heard a personal report on this week was 38".

Walleye fishing has much better on the windy days or after dark. Fish  are still using shallow weeds and weed edges. If you can find fish on a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, work it, multiple ways. Jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive, but in low light conditions, minnow baits in the weed tops has produced. Casting with grubs and ringworms put some fish in the boat for a few folks this week, but mainly in areas with sand adjacent to current.

Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action, a few areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but if you want some bigger fish, move out to 9-15 feet of water and look for beds in gravel and sandy areas. Vertical fishing with a split shot and live bait rig works great, as does pulling a 1/8 ounce lindy rig with a short leader through likely areas. (Try panfish leaches or leafworms). A few fish are starting to school up in deeper water, and you can find them off mainlake points, suspended 12-18 feet down over much deeper (30-50 FOW)

Trout- I was surprised to get a report on stocked trout from one of my contacts, as the bulk of the fish are usually fished out by this point in the season. The information, which came in ahead of the storms on Thursday suggested there still lots of fish in a couple of the local lakes, and that with the recent bug hatches, those fish were really active along the depth transitions.


Good Luck,
CT