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Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Preview

Take the time to thank a vet this weekend. Consider participating or supporting a great organization in Take a Vet Fishing who has their annual event scheduled for Madison June 12th. You can read about my time on the water with Airforce Vet Dan Juday from a couple years ago here.

Conditions: Right now most lakes are in the low to mid 70's. Weed growth is way behind. Water remains high on most lakes, but is crazy clear for this time of year.

Bluegills have started to move on their beds with the increasing temperatures over the past week. Shallow spawners were digging nests right in front of me today. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will hold the most fish. Smaller gills spawn up shallow, but if you're looking for nice gills, try 8-12 feet of water. Regardless of depth, focus on sand/gravel areas for the best success. Leeches on a split shot rig are the best way to chase larger pannies, but Waxworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish. (Try Stumpy and Icehouse Bays on Okauchee, Small lake on Oconomowoc, sandy section of the Oconomowoc river above the Fowler inlet, Garvin, Golden, Forest, Middle Genessee, Ashipunn, Pretty and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers have been hard to produce. A few crappies are being caught over deeper water near mainlake structure, and you may still find a few spawning crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Moose, Kessus, Upper Gen, Golden and Pine.)

Largemouth Bass  are in the full-on post spawn period. A few fish are still spawning, but not many. Topwaters (Pop R, Redfins and #11 Floating Rapalas) and crankbaits (Norman Baby N's, wiggle warts and rattletraps) are catching fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. Fish have been hard to pattern though, and you should be ready to be flexible. Lots of fish are schooled up, but with weeds in limited supply, and baitfish schools hard to pin down this season, you might have to actually cover some water to find fish consistently. If the topwater/crankbait bite is off (and it came it went this week) downsize your plastics presentations. I caught a bunch of fish switching from a Senko style bait to a Centipede or French Fry this week. Ed rig (jig worm with a short senko) also produced, but covering water with a grub or small ringworm filled in some gaps. The fish are active, but in all stages of the spawn so it can be hard to pin them down, but one surefire pattern to work this weekend for LM is to fish for bass around spawning bluegills. Flapper grubs can provide you a knockout punch in these situations, and I caught fish on six casts in a row at one point today. Fish can be mighty spooky under these conditions, so be ready to make long casts. Plastics: Texas rigged lizards, tubes, skirted grubs, and wacky worms are all catching fish, but as always, if the bite is tough, try a jigworm. Browns and pumpkins have been outproducing greens and watermelons for me. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching a few fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas, but try to keep your leader a bit longer to keep you bait higher in the water column. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin Lower Nashotah, Pine, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still slow as fish finish their post-spawn pattern. Minnowbaits, like size 11 or 13 floating rapalas are actually a great way to catch these fish. Keep it simple, black and silver or chartruese and white are the best. Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with tubes, skirted grubs or twister tail grubs. Did great with a 3" Chompers grub this week in a green pumpkin, (Try: Oconomowoc, North, Pine, Lac Labelle (On Fire), Pewaukee, Beaver or the Bark and Oconomowoc Rivers.)

Walleye fishing has been tough. With limited weeds, fish are hard to pin down. Slip Bobbers, jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs have been productive, especially when using small suckers or leeches for bait. In the evening, a few anglers are still catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over any isolated weed clumps on mainlake points and humps they can find, but this bite also dropped off after the moon phase. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle,, North, Pine and Fox)

Northern Pike fishing was slow, but steady. The best way to catch pike is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of the weeds you can find in 12-18 feet Up shallow- Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are still producing. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Pine, Moose, Kessus, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)

Musky fishing has been pretty slow with the sunny days. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are an absolute necessity, and having a sucker out on a quick strike rig is always a good idea. Topwater and jerkbaits are still catching some fish, but with weeds hard to come by, plan on covering some water. (Try: Okauchee, North, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle)

Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be a great way to catch some keepers. The local ponds, Lower Genessee, Fowler Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish. Full list of stocked trout waters is here.
Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water. Email me here

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fishing Report: 5-20-16

Hey gang,

As many of you have probably heard, I'm moving from my teaching position at UWM to a research position at the University of Minnesota this fall. Read about it here.  If you've wanted to spend some time with me in the boat on a local lake....this summer might be your last chance to do so.

I've got several openings in the next couple of weeks. Contact Me if you're interested in getting out. 

As for the fishing...I've been on the water most of the week. I've had to make adjustments on the fly, but I had a solid week of fishing. The best action has been mid morning to early afternoon.
A couple of things about conditions. First, the water is still cool, with temps in the high fifties to low 60's, but the bays are approaching spawning temps. Weed growth is very limited, and water clarity is above average. All in all, this can make for some tough fishing.

With the moon cycle and warmer temperatures on tap for this weekend, love will be water for the weekend. Finesse fishing in shallow water will be key for bass and crappie as they head in for the ritual. Pike and Musky are sure to be shallow and active.

Panfish will  move into shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially in the mid afternoon. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore, but don't overlook the first break into deeper water. In areas with current, look for schools of fish in deeper  hholes and outside turns, even if these areas are very small. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try getting your bait a little deeper. Bluegills will bite on a variety of live bait but for active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and as a bonus, plastic presentations will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line. For crappies, look for them closer to the wood now as they turn color for the spawn. Use tail hooked minnows, skirted grubs, or road runners. Remember that spikes or waxworms on an ice-fishing jig or small red hook can be the ticket for spooky shallow fish. (Try: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Silver, Golden, School Section but Middle and Upper Gen are both on fire for pannies right now.)

Both LM and SM Bass are in all three stages of the spawn, and many fish are patrolling the shallow areas, foraging. They seem fairly active, but very spooky in the clear water. Slow fishing is key.  Smaller fish are up on the beds, but look for the big fish to move in this weekend. Focus on the warmest water in the protected bays. LM will relate to wood or docks, smallies on gravel/rock shorelines. Jig/chunk, wacky worms, texas rigs, and floating stickbaits (the old three hook size 11 rapala in black and silver!) are all great choices. Try (Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler, Moose, Ashippun, School Section, Pine, North, Middle Genessee, Nehmabin and Labelle.)

Northern Pike are using the few shallow weeds that have popped up, and are feeding on small baitfish, especially juvenile bluegills. I saw some nice fishing sunning themselves on shallow flats when I was out this morning. Cranks, lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits or spinnerbaits are all catching fish. Live bait options include suckers or large shiners. Moose, Kessus, Golden and Nag.

Musky have been active, and anglers are reporting steadty action, including a 51" fish from Okauchee. Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Fowler and Okauchee have all been consistent producers. Jerks, sliders, slammers and bucktails are all producing. A few fish, including the big one, have come on sucker rigs. Look for fish near shallow green weeds or along the breaks in 12-18 feet of water. Rocks my have fish sunning themselves at various parts of the day.

Walleye have been a tough bite to track consistently. Look for baitfish near obvious breaklines and fish hard. The lack of weeds has the fish on the move and hard to pin down. With the warmer weather/moon this week, look for walleye action in shallow water during low light hours. Walleyes are fairly spooky in the clear water, so keep your distance, and fish with split shot or light lindy rigs. Casting with size 7 or 9 rapalas or husky jerks might be the ticket you're looking for, especially in the evening. Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, North and Pine are your best bets.

Whitebass are still coming in to anglers who put in the time along the Rock River. The best action is between Fort Atkinson and the Jefferson Dam.

Good Luck

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fishing Report 5-13-16

Hey gang,

Was a solid week after the opener last weekend. Conditions are still a bit on the early side, water temps are still low overall, and weed growth is way behind average. That said, there's plenty happening.

Fishing was slow, but steady all week, even with the changing conditions. As I write this, it looks like we have a patch of stable weather ahead, and that will certainly get things going. If you have to choose...hit the water on the sunny afternoons, and in any case, focus your attention on protected areas with dark bottoms (in other words, the warmest water).

Okauchee has a bass tournament on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There's a charity musky tournament on Pewaukee next weekend (Info Here)

Panfish will continue to move to shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially in the mid afternoon on sunny days. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore. In areas with current, look for schools of fish in deeper holes and outside turns, even if these areas are very small. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try getting your bait a little deeper. Bluegills will hit on a variety of live bait, including redworms, dillys, waxworms, spikes, or butterworms. For active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line. For crappies, tail hooked minnows, skirted grubs, road runners, or waxworms on an ice-fishing jig will really produce. Don't be afraid to look for crappies a little deeper especially if there's wood or green weeds. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Ashippun, Silver, Golden, School Section or Middle Genessee)

Largemouth are in pre-spawn feeding mode. Look for them in shallow areas with rock, sand or muck. Protected bays with wood laydowns or weeds will really concentrate fish, but most of the fish being caught right now are early males, making some nests around docks and other shoreline cover. Larger female fish have not come in yet in significant numbers, so look for them deeper where they will likely be actively feeding on rockbars and around scattered  (green )weeds. You can use a variety of presentations to chase these fish. Jig and chunks will catch less fish, but are a great way to catch a bigger fish. Slower presentations like wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or tubes are all great for probing areas, but spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, and crawfish imitating shallow diving crankbaits will all catch fish right now. Using live bait? Leeches, nightcrawlers or large shiners are your best option. (Try Okauchee, Moose, Kessus, Golden, Silver, Fowler, Pine, and Pewaukee)

Smallmouth bass are starting to run rocky areas, foraging, but they haven't really schooled up yet. Look for them in the usual early season spots, but don't be afraid to look for them as deep as 25 feet, where they will be feeding on schools of yellow perch. Spinnerbaits are a great way to cover water, tubes are a great way to look for fish around the dropoffs and on the shallow rockbars. Lindy rigging with large shiners can really produce some amazing fish this time of year. (Try Lac Labelle, Beaver, North, Lower Nashotah, Pine, Pewaukee, and Oconomowoc)

Walleye are sbeing caught in smaller numbers. Look for walleyes in shallow water, around rocks or sand, especially early in the morning, and later in the evening. In the daylight hours, schools of fish will be cruising the sand flats in 8-15 feet of water. Live bait rigging, (Lindy rigs with small suckers or big shiners!) jig and minnow or jig and leech combos, or trolling with shad or minnow imitators are your best approaches. (Try Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Fowler North or Pine)

Northern pike were a little slower than I would have expected this week, but with multiple tournaments this weekend on Okauchee, I think many anglers were targeting bass rather than pike. Action pike are in shallow water, especially near marshy areas, and will aggressively bite spinners, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or live bait suspended around shallow weeds.(Try: Moose, Kessus, Okauchee, Fowler, School Section, Lake Emily and Pretty)

Musky fishing was slow but steady for the opener. Most fish are in 5-12 feet of water, and are biting on swimbaits, gliders, jerkbaits and bucktails. A handful of decent fish were taken on suckers as well. Remember to do your figure eights on every cast right now, as lots of anglers were reporting lazy follows this past weekend. Personally, I like to use smaller baits in a black and blue, or black and orange combination at this point in the year. (Try Okauchee, Oconomowoc Garvin, Lac Labelle and Pewaukee for Musky)

Catfish were starting to bite more aggressively on the Rock River. Look for them around wood on the bottom, or in the channel turns. Stink bait, cutbait or nightcrawlers were all producing.

Trout fishing was fast and furious on the stocked lakes and ponds around area. Full data on lakes and ponds that have stocked trout is here.  (Lower Nashotah, Lower Genessee and Fowler all had trout stocked this season)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Back from my scouting run...


Things are as advertised in my earlier post (here)  for the opener tomorrow. Water in Low to Mid 50's, weed growth a little behind average for this time of year.

If you're heading out this year the shallow dark bottom bays will be where most of the action is on Saturday. Live bait will be a key presentation. Targeting Musky, Pike and Walleye will be more productive than chasing bass in the morning.

Sunday's weather looks a little better, and if the sun comes out, the later afternoon bite could really pick up.


Crappies and Bluegills remain in shallow water, and the bite has been steady in the afternoons. Primarily the schools are relating to weed clumps in shallow water. Newer, green weeds, reeds or small wood laydowns are attracting the most fish right now. For crappies try small fuzzy jigs tipped with waxworms, small fatheads or rosie reds. Bluegills have been biting on plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, as well as redworms, leafworms or pieces of nightcrawler.

Best Lakes For Panfish: Ashippun, Silver, Kessus Buelah, Golden, the Genessee lakes, Lake Five, Okauchee (Bay Five, the Channel, Icehouse and Stumpy Bay), Garvin and the Nehmabins.


Largemouth are in an early prespawn pattern. Small schools of them are chasing baitfish in the shallow water.  For the best action look for LM to be along the first drop offs or at the edges of shallow bays. Later in the day they may move to the backs of spawning coves. Lindy or split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or suspending large shiners under slip bobbers are your best live bait options. Texas rigged plastic lizards, wacky worms and jigs with a chunk trailer will be good options if fished very slowly. Slow rolling spinnerbaits or ripping rattletraps around weedy cover could produce some reaction strikes.

Best lakes for largemouth: Okauchee, Silver, Nagawicka, Golden, Pine, Pewaukee, Moose, Kessus, Pretty and School Section.

Note: If you're looking to fish Okauchee for bass, get out early this week as there's a Tuesday Night League Tourney, A Wednesday Club Outing, and two large tournaments next weekend. Fishing pressure, especially on spawners will be intense.

Smallmouth remain in deeper water for the most part, although a few have been seen making foraging runs into rocky areas during the middle part of the day. Look for them to be suspended in the water column in deep water near points and other rocky structure. Suspending Jerkbaits, swimbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits or twister tail grubs are good options for chasing suspended smallmouths. If you can find some fish on the rocks, lindy rigging with leeches or nightcrawlers should do the trick.

Best lakes for smallmouth:North, Lower Nehmabin, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac La Belle.

Walleye: Panfish anglers have been reporting seeing walleyes  roaming shallow flats chasing baitfish. This indicates typical post-spawn behavior patterns, which matches the water temperatures on local lakes. Bottom bouncers with spinner harnesses, lindy rigs and jigs will all catch these fish. I'd consider using a mix of live bait in the form of nightcrawlers, leeches and small suckers. Look for walleyes to relate the edges of shallow water, but especially at the junctions of rock/sand transitions. I'd run live bait rigs to find fish, then fish an active area hard with crankbaits like a shad rap or floating rapalas.

Best lakes for walleye: Lac La Belle, Pewaukee, Pine and Oconomowoc. A few fish are still being caught on the Rock and Crawfish Rivers.

Note New Regulations for Waukesha County Walleyes This Season:

Nagawicka, Pine and Pewaukee - Now have the same limit as Oconomowoc- 3 Walleye at least 18" while the size limit on
LaBelle  is now 1 Walleye at least 28"

Northern: Pike are past their post spawn blues and should be feeding aggressively. Typically with these conditions small pike will be all over shallow water and you can expect the big pike to be relating to the first break. This is prime time to chase pike with live bait. Use big bobbers and suspend large shiners and suckers around weed edges or near areas with visible panfish. Casting with lipless crankbaits or spinner baits, especially around shallow weeds on the flat areas can be dynamite.
Best lakes for pike: Forest, Emily, Moose, Golden, Nagawicka, Fowler, Lower Gennessee, Okauchee.

New Regulations For Pike This Season:
Pewaukee/Lac Labelle -1 Northern 32" Minimum Size

Musky: Lots of fish have been seen recovering from the spawn, but the fish that seem to be chasing active baitfish are relating to green weed growth in mid-depth water. You never lose out by floating a sucker or the biggest shiner you can find while casting. I'd stick to jerkbaits, gliders or smaller bucktails for the opener this year, and concentrate your efforts on any scattered weed clumps you can find. I'd plan on being methodical and be ready to make lots of casts to an area to get neutral fish to bite.

Best lakes for musky:Pewaukee, Lac La Belle, Fowler, Okauchee, Garvin (Should Be Awesome) and Oconomowoc.

Good Luck out there!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Opening Weekend Preview


Here is my annual pre-opening weekend post. Look for an final update Friday, May 6th with weather and water conditions from around the area.

For now, here's what to expect when you hit the water for the opener.

1.) Water temps in the high 40's to low fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 55 degrees, but only if the wind stays down, and the afternoons stay warm next week. Nighttime temperatures will dictate most of what happens next weekend.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and not too many piers are in.

3.) I'd skip the morning run on Saturday, and focus my efforts in the warmer parts of the day. You may need to make some adjustments throughout the weekend as conditions change.

4.) Live bait, fished slowly is going to be a great way to kick off the season. I'd fish for pike or walleye and wait until the weather stabilizes a bit if you want to target bass. (Again more than a week out, I'm guessing a bit, but patterns are patterns for a reason.)

5.) Local lakes are open, but the rivers are still active.

Fish Stocking- Trout: Full List Here
Local Trout Stocking:

Fowler and Lower Genessee were each stocked with 1600 Brown and 1418 Rainbows this season.

Lower Nashotah received 2134 Browns  and 1418 Rainbows.

Panfish: Staging on weed flats and in marshy areas. Look for the warmest shallow water in the afternoons. Plastics tipped with waxworms, or small tail hooked minnows are catching fish, but they are running small. Strike zone is small, so make sure to make accurate casts if fishing for shallow, visible fish. (Best Local Options: Okauchee, Pine, Kessus, Nag, Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Middle Geneessee, Moose, Garvin and Golden)

Bass: Pre-Pre spawn. Look for small groups of fish to be cruising in the shallow water in the afternoons. Some of the early warming bays and channels may have some early bucks up in the shallow water, but I'd expect to see more schooling activity. Grubs, tubes and wacky are your best bets, but a jigworm might be the key approach. (Okauchee, Silver, Golden, Nag, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Kessus, Pewaukee, Beaver)

Action will come in spurts, but look for warmer water and any green weeds you can find. If the sun is out, rocks can pull in fish later in the day as they absorb heat. Large fish can be caught on suspending jerkbaits or slow rolled spinnerbait on the deep edges of points near spawning coves. If you're seeing bigger fish in the shallows, jig and pig in a black/blue, black/red or rootbeer pattern will produce. If you can find some fish out deep, a texas rigged lizard can land you the biggest bass of the season.

Northern: Lots of fish on the flats. Live bait, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits will produce the most fish. Probably your best option for early fishing this weekend if you're looking for steady action. Big fish will be one breakline deeper than where the active, smaller fish are. Chrome or reflective lipless crankbaits will get your line stretched for sure as will a slip sinker rig with a jumbo shiner or small sucker.(Moose, Kessus, Nag, Emily, Okauchee, Pretty, Golden)

Walleye: Lots of fish on the 6-12 foot deep flat areas. Especially around, but out of the current, and in any shallow standing weeds you can find. Jigging the channel edges or points, lindy rigging and drifting or slow death trolling are good options. #11 or #13 floating rapalas will pull up any bigger fish you come across. (Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Fox, Nag and North)

Musky: Live baiting with suckers, small bucktails and jerkbaits are your best options for the opener.  (Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler and North)

Getting ready: Need bait, equipment, or a fishing license? Do yourself a favor and buy from one of the locals.

Musky Mikes (Okauchee)

Dick Smith's (Delafield)

Smokey's  (Pewaukee)
Taking a Kid Fishing this weekend? The DNR Suggests these spots:

Ashippun Lake Park
Location: In Oconomowoc, WI. Take Capitol Drive west to State Highway 16, go west on 16 to County Highway P, then take P north to County Highway K, go west on K to McMahon Road. Watch for "public access" sign.
Notes: Run by Waukesha County Parks. Park has picnic area, restrooms and shorefishing.

Denoon Lake

Location: Located on Crowbar Drive, south of Kelsey Drive. Go west from Highway Y.
Notes: Public park with ballfields, restrooms, picnic area and boat launch. Not much shorefishing, due to marshy area near shore.

Lac La Belle

Location: At the Fowler Lake Dam, on Highway 67, one-quarter mile north of State Highway 16 in the Oconomowoc, WI. Located just northeast of the beach and park on Lac La Belle. The beach and park are on Highway 16, just west of Highway 67.
Notes: Disabled accessible public fishing pier.

Little Muskego Lake
Location: Access from Idle Isle Park in Muskego, WI on the northeast side of Little Muskego Lake. Take Martin Drive to Hardtke Drive to the park.
Note: Idle Isle Park has a beach, picnic area, restrooms, accessible public fishing pier and boat launch.

Lower Phantom Lake

Location: In Phantom Glen Park in Mukwonago, WI. Take County Highway ES (Main Street) to Andrews Street, then go west into the park.
Notes: Public park with picnic area, restrooms, disabled accessible public fishing pier and boat ramp.

McKeaun Springs

Location: Trout pond located on the west side of Highway 67, between Piper Road and Road X. About 3 miles north of Eagle, WI.
Notes: No facilities, but there is a picnic area with restrooms just a short distance to the south. DNR manages as a children's trout fishing pond. Although it is officially category 3 (3 bag and 9 inch length), there is a voluntary regulation for adults to catch and release, and kids are allowed to keep one trout of any size. Designed to encourage adults to take kids out and teach them to trout fish.

Nagawicka Lake

Location: In Nagawaukee County Park. Take County Highway C, three-quarters of a mile north of Interstate 94 in Delafield, WI.
Notes: Public beach, picnic area, restrooms and concessions, camping, shorefishing and boat launch.

Nemahbin Lakes, Upper and Lower
Location: Southeast of Oconomowoc, WI, off of County Highway DR.
Notes: County owned access on frontage road between the two lakes, Highway DR. shorefishing on Upper Nemahbin from the road right-of-way. DNR owned carry-in site on Lower Nemahbin off Sugar Island Road.

Pewaukee Lake

Location: Village park in downtown Pewaukee, WI.
Notes: Public park with beach and public fishing pier. Can also access Pewaukee River just below the dam. On Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Pewaukee. Boat launch and shorefishing from county park and boat ramp at the west end, on Highway E.

Local Shore Fishing Locations

Moose Lake: Shore and pier fishing is available at the Moose Lake Public Launch area. This launch has a nice park like area available to shore fisherman. The Launch area is just off Highway C, across from Cedar Bay road.

Lac La Belle: Public Fishing Pier Located in Memorial Park in downtown Oconomowoc.

Nashotah Park: Just off of the corner of HWY C and HWY R in Nashotah there is a park and ride. Across HWY R, there is a low fence that marks access to the Forest Lake area of Nashotah Park. Anglers have to hike down the hill, but the entire shoreline of the small lake is available for shore-fishing.

Fowler Lake: There is space for shore fishing by the Labelle/Fowler Dam, at the boat landing and in the Riverside Park. The lake is just off HWY 16 in Downtown Oconomowoc. The boat landing is behind city hall.

Nagawicka Lake: Two areas allow public shore fishing access. There is some space at the public launch in the County Park off of HWY 83 near Delafield. A second option allows you to access St John's Bay and a section of the Bark River. Take HWY C to where the Military Academy is. There is a small park just south of downtown Delafield on the east side of the road.

Pewaukee Lake: Located in Nagawaukee County Park on the west side of the lake. From I-94, north on State Highway 83 for 1/8 mile, east on County Highway DR 1 1/2 miles, north on County Highway E to park entrance. Park fee is charged. There is also a public fishing pier along the city strip near the beach on the east end.

Ottawa Lake: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From State Highway 67, west on County Highway ZZ for 1/3 mile to park entrance. State Park sticker required for entry.

Upper Genessee: Carry in boats and shore fishing are available. Parking is in a small gravel lot, just south of I-94, on the east side of HWY 67.

Paradise Springs: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From downtown Eagle, west 1 mile on State Highway 59 to County Highway N, north on N for about 1/2 mile to site. State Park sticker required for entry. Artificial lures only.

Lower Phantom Lake: Located in Phantom Glen Park. From County Highway ES, west on Andrews Street to park entrance.

Other Useful Links

Local Fishing Reports from

Becky Smith's handy list of shorefishing locations, boat ramps and boat rentals is online at at

The DNR maintains a database of printable lake maps online.

There's also a easy to use reference to find boat launches at the DNR Website.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fishing Report 4-21-16

Ok Gang, we're back at it.

Warmer weather has really gotten things happening. Last weekend really helped, and relatively stable conditions has made a difference this week.

Crappies and Bluegills are active in the usual early spots. Look for them in shallow, protected areas with a north bank. Dark bottom areas with green weeds are especially good right now, but sandy areas near reeds will also produce. Small minnows, tail hooked, and suspended under a bobber is the best way to catch crappies, but if the bite is tough, don't overlook waxworms on an icefishing jig as an option or both species. Bay 5, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays, The Crane's Nest and the Channel on Okauchee are always great areas, as are Garvin (North end) Kessus, Golden, Pine (Both Ends) Moose, Fowler, Lac Labelle and the boat channels on Nagawicka.

Walleyes continue to bite on the Rock River in Jefferson. The walleye spawning runs are done for the most part, but fish are still being taken from shellbeds, rockpiles and in the channel swings. Jig and minnow, or jig and plastics (including ringworms) have been the best baits this year. While the walleyes have done their ritual, whitebass fishing is really picking up as large schools move into the river and make their run. You'll have better action fishing for white bass, but catfish are starting to turn on as well.

I'll be posting my usual pre opening day reference material between now and next weekend. Keep checking back for more details.

It is great to be back.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fishing Report 4-8-2016

Greetings again.

If you have a window that allows you to see outside, you may have noticed that our local weather conditions haven't been fishing friendly.

That said, early spring conditions continue on the local lakes. Early warming, protected bays with dark sand or rock bottoms, or areas with current continue to give up some fish, especially in the late afternoons during the warmer parts of the day. Windy conditions have limited the days and areas people are fishing...but if you can brave it North, Okauchee, Garvin Oconomowoc, Lower and Middle Gen, Golden, Ashippun, School Section, Nag, Lower Nashotah and Moose are giving up decent bags of keeper panfish.

River fishing is in a weird spot. Walleyes would appear to be in all three stages of the spawn, but fishing for them has been steadily inconsistent. The Rock River is high, dirty and fast with the recent weather, and while people are still catching fish, lots of undersize fish are still being reported. White bass are starting to make a move, but catches have been limited.

Around the state, the Dells have been spotty like the rock, Depere is giving up some quality fish, but in limited numbers by traditional standards. The runs on the Fox and Wolf Rivers are likewise in a weird half-completed status.

Get ready for things to start happening as soon as the weather gets stable and spring actually sticks around for a