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Friday, June 24, 2016

Fishing Report 6-24-16

A tale of two weeks this week. Monday and was very tough, and I had to work hard to junk fish/scratch fish together. Wednesday was one of my best days in awhile and Thursday I was out with my Daughter and caught a solid batch of fish.

I heard similar reports from other anglers this week as well.

On a personal note...I still have some days available for guiding between now and the 4th of July, and I'd really like to fill those dates. This is very likely my last summer guiding in the local area (Professor Terry is heading to Minnesota) so if you've followed the blog or have wanted to see how I approach the local waters, Now is the time to email me about a guided trip.
Around the area, right now most lakes are in the mid to high 70s. Weed growth varies from lake to lake, but is about average for this point in the year. There were some major baitfish hatches, and wolf packs of gamefish are on the hunt.

Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action, areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but they've been heavily picked over. 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 if you can find them, plastics tipped with waxworms or leafworms.)

Bass are into an early summer pattern, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days  topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially weed patches (look for milfoil beds especially) 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 sand and rock bars in 3-8 feet of water. Plastics, flipped, skipped, pitched, wacky or texas rigged are great ways to target these fish. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching some nice fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas. Fish were in both deep and crazy shallow water this week. Ned rigs continue to put fish in my boat, but with the weeds up now, curl-tail grubs, pre-rigged worms, texas rigs, jig and chunks and even skirted grubs are producing. It seemed like the active fish were feeding higher in the column than is typical for this time of year so horizontal presentations or slow falling vertical were the best. (For me anyway!)

Pike fishing was fairly steady this week. Fish are feeding early and late, and the best way to find them is to find concentrations of baitfish, and then fish through those areas with a purpose. Active fish can come shallow, so look for shallow flats or weedy areas with easy access to deep water. The usual casting techniques will catch pike--spinners, lipless cranks, buzzbaits, spoons...but don't overlook a Husky Jerk, Shadow Rap, Floating Rapala or similar 3 hook jerkbait.

Walleye fishing has been slow and steady but much better on the windy days. Fish on Lac Labelle, Oconomowoc, North and Fox Lake are using shallow weed edges but with the brighter sun days ahead, if you can find a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, sit on it. Jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive Trolling with Shad Raps/Flicker Shads is picking up, as is typical for this time of year....slower speeds over the deeper part of the basins appears to be the trick. I didn't hear anything one way or the other on walleyes on either Nag or Pewaukee this take my recommendation with that in mind.

Musky fishing continues to be about mid summer average. The larger fish have started to move out to the breaks, but there's still a solid number of fish patrolling the shallow water, feeding on schooled up panfish. Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but converting fish has been difficult. A few people are starting to troll the deeper basins, but I had less positive reports this week than last week. Big tip: On the water observation this week clearly demonstrated a relationship to moon phase on musky activity. If you can, fish when the moon is down (ie set)...moon phase is certainly changing fish activity levels right now. I personally saw multiple active fish in the shallows chasing yellow perch and hatched out shiners even during mid-day this week.

Good Luck Out There!

Monday, June 20, 2016


Didn't get find a taker for today's last minute opening, so I called a buddy and hit the water.

Tough day yesterday turned into the best day of the season today. With the radar showing the potential for some nasty mid day storms, hit the water early with the intent of bailing around 10am before the weather got bad. 

I love Golden for half days runs like this, and after struggling on Oconomowoc yesterday, was looking for some action fishing on my surprise day off.

Turned into a perfect day on the water. Steady, but light breeze kept it cool, and as the storm went south, even had enough sunshine peak through the clouds to warrant some sunscreen. Temperature about 65-72 all day.

Got on the fish right after we hit the water around 5:30. Steady action all day. I stuck to my staples...finesse plastics and texas rigs but my partner was digging in the tackle box some...throwing some topwater, swimbaits and a variety of plastics.

Lost count of the fish we caught but had to have been around 50 LM and a couple of pike including a 31" on a topwater prop bait. The bass were the usual range of fish on Golden...but Highlight fish of the day.... this tank. We had more than 10 better than 17" as well.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fishing Report 6-17-16

Well gang, we have some serious fishing going on right now. The bite is very good, and the water conditions have stabilized, even if the weather hasn't. If you've been waiting to get on the water, you're missing some solid fishing right now. You can even make good use of my Father's Day Special. Information Here

The bluegills are almost done spawning. Better panfish are being caught out of the deeper sand and suspended over deeper water. You'll still find some fish up in the shallow to mid depth on the nests, but the bulk of the fish are starting to set up for summer. If you're looking for decent keepers, you need to look for those fish in 12-15 FOW. They are hard to find with the naked eye, so you'll need to do some moving around with your electronics. A good starting point is the deeper water adjacent to areas where you see beds in the shallow water. (Best bets: Middle Genessee, Lower Nehmabin, Nagawicka, Okauchee, Garvin, Keesus, School Section)

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 best bite for largemouth has been weed edges in 6-12 feet of water. Slop bite is picking up steam on many of the smaller lakes. The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8am on sunny mornings. 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. When on the feed, fish are patrolling shallow flat areas, and covering water on the larger flats can really run up your numbers right now.  As the sun gets high, look for fish around (but not necessarily under) docks and in the mid depth water adjacent to longer points. Wacky, Jigworms, Jig/chunk, Skirted grubs, Pre-rigged worms, Texas rigs and Sliders will all catch fish. (Keesus, Okauchee, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Golden, Forest, Silver, Ashippun.)

Musky fishing continues to be good but the pattern has been evening or night fishing.  Day time patterns have been inconsistent. The most active fish have come on deep divers, gliders and large tubes fished along the deepest weedlines you can find. A few are being caught on topwaters, especially on Okauchee, Fowler and Lac Labelle, but the trolling crowd put some quality fish in the boat this past week including at least one 51" on Okauchee.

Walleye action has picked back up. 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. Lake Koshkonong has a hot bite going on in the main basin in 4-6 feet. Pulling harnesses or cranks has been giving up a mixed bag of walleyes, pike and whitebass. Most walleye action is coming at less than 2mph when trolling with meat.

Pike action was red hot this week, with lots of people fishing for bass catching bonus pike. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are really producing for the action seekers. Reapers, inline spinners and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish. Northern pike fishing with live bait is a great way to fish right now. Look for major structure in the early mornings and late evenings and drift with lindy rigged suckers catching the majority of the fish.

Final Thought: I was out several times in the last week, and on most days I fished more than one lake. The fishing has been unreal the last 10-12 days. Drop that golf club, grab your kids and get on the water.

If you've got specific questions: Feel free to email me.


Happy Father's Day


I'd like to once again offer a special on guided trips in honor of Father's Day. Book a trip for an open date in June or July and I'll knock $50 off my standard rate.

Time is limited, and I'd like to fill out my remaining dates. Email me for more information

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Waubesa-Take a Vet Fishing 2016

It was another great year for Take a Vet Fishing on Waubesa.

I guided for two vets again this year, my fourth year of guiding for the event. Dan, who has been with me the last couple years was joined by Jerry.

We were out early, and on the fish right away, landing 4 bass in the first 40 minutes or so. Tried working a 4-6 FOW contour, but the fish we had caught were shallow, and we had to stay in on them to get bit. I though the fish would be tight to cover with the massive cold front, so we spent some time fishing weeds, but in the end, we started working some shallow water, and we stayed ridiculously shallow the rest of the day.

Final Score 24 LM (12-18") and 3 smaller pike. The nasty weather that went though missed us, and the bite was slow, but steady.

 Not a bad morning.

Ned Rig and Jigworm when the wind was blowing, and wacky when it laid down. Caught one fish on a frog near some slop and Dan was throwing a small paddletail swimbait you can see in the first picture.

Friday, June 10, 2016


I have Wednesday the 15th and Thursday the 16th available. I'll cut you a special rate to book on one of these two days next week. I'd really like to fill these two dates if possible, and the continuing reminder, if you follow my weekly reports, and you've wanted to fish with me time is short to do so.

Email me for more information on this special.

Update: Thursday has been spoken for, but Wednesday remains available.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fishing Report 6-9-16

Fishing really picked up this week, even with the unstable weather. I'm averaging close to 35 bass on the action lakes (4 hours) and 10-15 on other lakes. I had one morning outing where I put 11 fish in the boat between 4:30-8:30am, but my smallest fish was 17" and I had 4 over 20"

It is time to fish, even with the changing weather conditions.

Radio Legend Mitch Morgan was in the boat.

Looks like hot weather on tap for Friday and Saturday, then a batch of unstable weather the rest of the week.  Otherwise conditions are pretty steady: Weeds are coming around, but still reasonably sparse for the second week in June. One exception: Lakes with the milfoil are seeing crazy growth right now. Things should be back to normal by the end of next week. Water temps were a bit variable this week, especially with the crazy cold front that went through early in the week but most lakes are still in the low to mid 70's.

Bluegills are done spawning for the most part, and although small gills can still be found in the shallows, better panfish are starting to appear on the deeper weedlines or suspended over deep water.  There's a few stragglers up on the beds, but if you're looking for keepers..sand in 8-12 or 15-22 FOW is the ticket. Drifting with live bait on a light slip sinker or splitshot rig will put fish in the boat. Slip bobbers are also a great option for finding schools of fish around summer structure. (Try Silver,  Fowler, Kessus, Golden, Ashipunn, Upper Genessee, Garvin and Lower Nashotah.)

Bass are moving into summer patterns. In the morning fish are schooling up into small wolfpacks and patrolling the shallows. I caught fish as shallow as 18" this week, but the early bite burns off as the sun comes up and the fish move out to the first shallow/deep transition area. Sand and gravel was holding more fish than rock this week, but I caught fish off both. Topwater Poppers and Wake Baits are catching fish until about 7:30-8am, then you'll need to switch it up a bit. After the morning bite dies down most area lakes should most have active fish on inside or outside weed edges in 6-12 feet of water. Try drifting while working jigworms to find fish, but if things are tough on the flats and points, there's also batch of fish by, but not necessarily under, the docks. I've been using a mixture of wacky, texas rigs, jig worms, flapper grubs and Ned rigs to catch fish each day. Smaller baits were the certainly the ticket this past week, even for bigger fish. Watermelon red and green pumpkin were good, but the hot color this week (for me) was a green pumpkin with a little purple flake in it. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Lower Nashotah, Pine, North, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Walleye action has been slow, but with the mayfly hatch behind us, summer patterns should start to stabilize a bit. Spinner harnesses with leeches, back trolled on lindy rigs or bottom bouncers with slow death rigs with a nightcrawler are a good way to find fish to set up on, and then rig and jig. Slip bobbers with large leeches might pull some fish off the rocks if you can find fish in 6-12 FOW, otherwise weededges and sand grass are the areas to key in on, especially in 18-22 FOW. Night fishing traditionally picks up about now, and floating rapala minnow baits fished over weeds on the ends of long points can really produce. Lac Labelle for action, Fox, North or Oconomowoc for keepers.

Pike action has slow and steady. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits for action fish, or move out to 12-18 FOW with live bait or large crankbaits for larger fish. Try Moose, Ashippun, Golden, Okauchee,  School Section, Kessus, Emily, Fox or Oconomowoc.

Muskies have been very inconsistent. Some anglers have begun trolling for them in deeper water, but other anglers have reported raising fish along the deepest weedlines where there was actually weeds. Personally I'd target them early and late with either topwaters or blades, and stay shallow, looking for baitfish schools on the flats or shallow rock bars. I've heard from anglers fishing Labelle, Okauchee, Oconomowoc and Pewaukee all with mixed success in the last week.

I'm heading to Madison on Sunday for the annual Take a Vet Fishing event, and I'll post a report when I get back.

 Good Luck,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fishing Report 6-2-16

Going to hit this a day early this week, I'm sure you won't mind.

Around the area, conditions have not changed radically. Weeds are starting to catch up, but are still way behind. Baitfish are starting to appear, but numbers appear to be down a bit this season. Gills are spawning, bass running a post spawn pattern...and water temps are in the mid to high 70's on most area lakes. Lots of anglers out targeting gills the last 10-12 days.

Personally I was on six local lakes this past week. The fishing was steady, but getting better as the week has gone on.

Note: Mayflies are hatching out right might want to skip the walleye fishing for about a week. The hatch was so thick when I was out this morning, you could literally scoop handfuls of them out of the air. If you're out very early, you'll see them.

Bluegills moved onto their nests this past week in force. Amazing numbers of fish can be caught with simple rigs cast into shallow water near sand or gravel bottoms. Want action or heading out with the kids, fish can be caught in 1-4 FOW on most area lakes. If you're looking for keepers, you'll need to move out deeper and look for spawners in 8-15 FOW...again looking for the best action in sand or sand/gravel bottoms. For the shallow fish, a small jig, plastics or small (#10-#12 size hook) with live bait 12-18" under a bobber will catch as many as you can shake a stick at. If you want keepers, use a light slip sinker or split shot rig and drift over areas where gills are in the deeper water. (Try Silver, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays on Okauchee, small lake on Oconomowoc, Garvin, Golden, Forest, Lower, (on fire) Middle and Upper Gen, Ashipunn, School Section and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers were still hard to come by. (typical post spawn as crappies move out to suspend in deeper water) I'd say stay focused on the gills for the next week to 10 days, but the usual approaches will work if you can find some fish. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Moose, Kessus,  Golden and Pine.)

Largemouth Bass  The post spawn blues are gone and bass fishing was crazy good this past week. Fish are still holding around spawning gills, but fish are schooled up and chasing bait. Fish are still shallow, but some of the bigger fish are starting to make a move to summer pattern. Plenty of action fish can be caught in 3-8 FOW on finesse plastics...the kid of stuff I preach...grubs, wacky, jigworms or small tubes, but slow down...the fish are active, but moving slower than I normally would put some extra fish in my boat this week. Topwater poppers or wake baits have been producing at either end of the day, but the morning bite has been winding up quick as the sun has gotten up. You may have to cover some water, but if you get one, there's usually more in the same spot. Fish will stack up on the flats during the day now, and you can scratch a few together by working that sort of pattern. You'll also find some fish near current areas and around (but not necessarily under) docks. I haven't seen a solid deep pattern yet, but things are sure to stabilize over the next 10 days or so. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Ashippun,  Lower Nashotah, Pine, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still slow overall. Some fish on topwaters, some on finesse plastics, but nothing consistent. They do tend to gorge themselves on mayflies, so that maybe part of the story. Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with smaller poppers, minnow baits or soft jerkbaits. After the sun is up go with subsurface lures: tubes, skirted grubs or twister tail grubs.  (Try: Oconomowoc, North (Best Action this week), Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Beaver or the Oconomowoc River.)

Walleye fishing has been very tough. see my note above about the mayflies. You may want to target other species this week and I'll have an update next week.

Northern Pike and Musky reports were limited this week. I'm sure the fish are still biting, but with so many people out targeting gills, I just didn't get any solid information this week, and bass have been getting the lion's share of my attention personally.

Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water or if you want to chat about getting out.  Email me here