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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day 2015 Weekend Preview

Make sure to thank a vet this weekend. (and every weekend for that matter.)

Today is Thursday 5-21:I've been out every day for the last week.

Friday: Musky Fishing...moved two high 30 inch fish, but came up empty handed except for some pike. Saturday and Sunday: Out with the kids catching panfish and bass. Monday: Okauchee With Paul Smith in the morning, and out for some bonus time in the afternoon. Bite was tough, but consistent. Tuesday, was more of the same and fish were more active than I would have guessed with the cold front, and the same was true yesterday. I'll be out this afternoon, and again tomorrow and Saturday.

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email me or call me (262-893-2183). Shameless self promotion---I do have some openings for half days over the weekend and late next week.

Onto Business:

Overall, water temps are back in the low 60's in Main Lake areas, while some bays are in the High 60's to Low 70's. Weedgrowth is very behind for this time of the season, and Mayflies are starting to  hatch on a couple of area lakes.

Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water. A few nests are starting to appear in the traditional sandy and gravel areas.Look for them in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will have fish nearby. Waxworms, panfish leeches, redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin ( red hot!), Golden, Forest , Upper and Middle Genessee, School Section, Ashipunn, Pretty, Phantom and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been slow, but can be great on any given day. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Some fish are still spawning (you can tell by how black the fish turn this time of year). Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. With the temperature set to warm back up for the holiday weekend, expect crappies to be very active on area lakes. (Try: Okauchee (especially the North Flat, Bay Five and the Crane's Nest), Garvin (North End and Wood Laydowns), Kessus, Nagawicka (Channels), Golden and Silver.

Largemouth bass are still spawning on many area lakes. Anglers are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, but a few fish are still being caught off the open areas on flats especially in spots that have standing weeds. It might be hard to consistently find bigger fish, but on warm afternoons, the action should be good. Shallow water presentations like jig and chunk or craw, wacky, texas rigged lizards, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits will all catch fish right now, but don't overlook smaller topwater presentations. Live bait, nightcrawlers, leeches or small suckers are your best bet. (Try: Okauchee, Lake Five, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Kessus, Silver, Eagle Springs, School Section, Golden, Fox or Emily)

Note: I caught a large number of LM and SM bass this week by downsizing my presentations. Smaller grubs were red hot, and I dropped down to a 4" lizard on my texas rigs. I even dropped my wacky rig down in size, using a finesee worm or french fry, while fishing with lighter rod with just 4lb test. It made a difference on a couple of the tougher days, and I was still catching some decent 15-18" LM's as recently as yesterday.

Smallmouth bass have been active, and a few anglers are reporting nests on many area lakes. Rock structure, scattered weeds on sand and major points are all holding fish. Expect them to be a little spooky, especially in the shallow water on sunny days. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Pewaukee, Lower Nashotah and the Nemahbin Lakes.)

Walleye have been active, but keepers have been inconsistent. I've heard som scattered chatter about some keepers being caught in 8-12 feet of water. Slip bobbers, Jig and minnow, jig and leech, and split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or small suckers have been the best way to target eyes. In the evening, a few anglers are catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over weed clumps. This weekend should be red hot for walleyes, especially in the evenings. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, North and Fox)

Northern Pike fishing has picked up with the warmer weather. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, or suspending jerkbaits (like Husky Jerks or Rouges) are catching fish around shallow weed clumps, or at the edges of coves and marshy areas. If chasing pike with live bait, look for them in 6-12 or 12-18 feet, using small suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)

Musky Fishing has been slow and steady. There are lots of fish in the shallow water chasing, and a few are even being caught on topwaters, but the most consistent action has been coming in 12-18 feet around mainlake structure. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so having a sucker out on a quickstrike rig is a great idea, and figure eights are required on every cast. Gold blade/balck skirt seems to be the color of the season, but white/copper combos have also been catching a few. (Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle) 

Around the area: Fishing on the Rock River has picked up again, and anglers are still catching a few whitebass south of Ft Atkinson, and catfish between the Jefferson Dam and the mouth. The action has been good when its on, awful when its not.

Trout fishing
in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be good.  Lower Genessee, Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish.

Have a great holiday weekend. Again, thank a vet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Okauchee -Angler's Choice Tournament

Forgot to put this up...but the results for the second weekend bass tournament on Okauchee are posted.

18.33 for five fish wins it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fishing Report 5-15-15

Hey gang,

The last week has presented some challenges as weeks with unstable weather tend to do. The cold nights and on again-off again rain didn't make things any easier to contend with.

Warmer days, or days with sunshine at least...had very active fish moving in the shallow water. Days like yesterday (Thursdsay), where it was nice in the morning and lousy in the afternoon have the fish feeding actively in a limited window of time.

Water temps are all over the place. Protected bays are in the mid to high 60's while open water areas might be as low as the high 50's, but the larger issues I've seen on the water the last two weeks have been:

1.) Lack of weeds. Weed growth is way behind for this time of year.


2.) Lack of baitfish. Finding areas with baitfish consistently has been a challenge.

This means if you can find an area with good, green weeds AND visible baitfish, there will be lots of fish nearby. Finding these spots, however, is like chasing unicorns and rainbows right now.

That said, fishing has been slow, but steady. Just a bit more work than you would expect for this time of year.

Panfish are on the move into shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially if you can find some fish in the mid afternoon to early evening. Start you search in 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 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 but 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. (Try: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Silver, Golden, School Section, Middle Geneesee.

Largemouth are in various stages of the spawn. The heavy pressure early in the season and the unstable weather messed with them some, and delayed some of the second and third wave spawners. Lots of fish are still cruising the flats, especially on the nice days,  while some males are still up on the nests, especially in areas where the water is warmest.  Because weeds are hard to come by, look for LM in shallow areas with rock, sand or muck. Protected bays with wood laydowns or weeds will really concentrate fish. Flapper grubs are a great option to find fish, before slowing down to make tighter presentations. Jig and chunks/ jig and craws/ jig and eels will catch less fish, but are a great way to catch a bigger fish, especially when fished tight to cover. 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. Tip: if the bite is really tough....a buzzbait fished tight (and I mean tight) to cover will trigger strikes.

Using live bait? Leeches, nightcrawlers or large shiners are your best option. (Try Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pewaukeem Moose, Kessus, Golden, Silver, Fowler, Pine, and Lower Nashotah)

Smallmouth bass are starting to appear in rocky areas, cruising and foraging. 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, North and Oconomowoc)

Walleye:  Look for walleyes in shallow water, around rocks or sand, or at the end of longer points 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!) jig and minnow or jig and leech combos, or trolling with shad or minnow imitators are your best approaches. (Try Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Fowler)

Northern pike were chasing bait fish around shallow weeds, 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, Pretty and Nagawicka)

Musky fishing has been slow but steady for the guys putting in the time. Most fish are in 5-12 feet of water, and are biting on swimbaits, gliders, jerkbaits and bucktails. 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, Garvin, Lac Labelle, Fowler and Pewaukee for Musky)

Whitebass and 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 for cats, spinners flies and jig/livebait combos for the whitebass.

Trout fishing was consistent on the stocked lakes and ponds around the area, but the schools are starting to get a bit if you're hankering for trout, put a day on your calender for next week.

Good luck out there.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Want to get out?

I have some openings between now and June 15th that I would like to fill...if you've been thinking about doing a guided trip for fishing...this is a great time of year to do so.

Email me or call 262-893-2183 for more information.

Don't end your fishing day wearing a skunk hat like this guy...

...take a trip with me, learn some new water and get some coaching on your technique.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Okauchee WABTA (May 9th, 2015)

Results are in for the first local bass tournament...May 9th, Okauchee

19.83 wins it, with a 6+lb fish brought to the scale by the second place team.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Okauchee Public Launch Closing May 26th.

The Okauchee Piblic Boat Launch will be closing May 26th to all activity, including shore fishing:

DNR plans renovations at Okauchee Lake public boat access site

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources will begin major renovations of the Okauchee Lake public boat access site located in the Village of Oconomowoc in Waukesha County later this month. The boat launch will remain open through Memorial Day weekend. Beginning May 26, the site will be closed to all use including boat launching and shore fishing. It is likely that the site will remain closed for construction throughout this coming summer.

Work at the site will involve reconfiguring traffic flow through the site, reconstruction of parking areas, storm water control measures and removal of the vault toilet.

This project is funded using Sports Fish Restoration grant funding. The engineering plans were prepared by SEH, formerly Yaggy Colby Assoc., of Delafield for the DNR. 


The formal press release is here: From the DNR

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pine Lake

The DNR has a press release out about the fish kill. Read It Here.

Fishing Report for 5-8-15


Here's what's happening around the area:

There's a WABTA Tournament on Okauchee this weekend. Okauchee fishing pressure has been very very heavy the past week. Fish are still biting, but you may need to downsize, or get away from the crowds. Additionally, we should have some news from the DNR on the status of the public launch very soon.

Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the low 60's) and protected bays (in the mid to high 60's) on most area lakes.Weed growth is way behind normal, which means if you find some good weeds, fish them!

Musky have been fairly active on our local lakes since the opener, especially on the windy days. A solid shallow pattern has been working for anglers who put in the time. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weedclumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish are also using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water where new green weeds have started. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits have all been consistent producers. I moved two decent fish yesterday throwing a bucktail.

Best bets: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, and Fowler.

Northern Pike have been using the areas where there is new weedgrowth. Anglers targeting bass have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Some of the larger pike are using the deep weedlines in 12-18 feet. Spinnerbaits,small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating rapalas and buzzbaits will all catch fish in the shallow water when fished around submergent green weeds. Large shiners or small to medium sized suckers suspended underneath a float, longlined on a split shot rig, or fished deep on a slip-sinker setup are your best options for live bait.

Best Bets: Nagawicka, Golden, Okauchee, Fowler, Moose.

Walleye have been active in cycles that match our current weather patterns. On warmer, windy days they have been biting fairly well. On cooler days, especially those with a North or east wind, they have been fairly lethargic. Some fish are patrolling the shallows in the morning and evening hours, but the bulk of the fish are holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Crankbaits like rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait has been the best approach. Slow and steady have been the operative words. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup have been the most consistent producers. A few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations.

Best Bets: Pine, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Lac Labelle, the Nehmabins and Fox Lake.

Largemouth Bass  First wave spawning areas have fish on nests, and post spawn females nearby. Other areas still have schooling fish. Fishing for bass has been spotty (mostly due to heavy, heavy pressure since the opener), and some days are much better than others. With the sunny, still days we had, the bite has dropped off a bit, but with some cooler weather and clouds, it's sure to pick up. Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding the most fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. . Nightcralwers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few nice fish.

Best Bets: Okauchee, Golden, Keesus, Pine, Nagawicka, Buelah, Moose Eagle Springs.

Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny days. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish who are foraging for craws. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern have all caught fish.

Best Bets: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Nagawicka, Lower Nehmabin, Beaver.

Crappie Look for them around shallow cover in 2-8 feet of water. Tight-lining over deeper wood or weeds in 8-12 feet has also been effective on some lakes. Tail-hooked fatheads, plastics or hair jigs tipped with a waxworm and rosie reds are your best live bait options for crappies. Strike zones have been relatively small, so try to make accurate casts when setting up your presentations.

Best Bets: Pine, Okauchee, Kessus, Golden, Garvin, Ashippun, Lake Five.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but the better sized fish have still been coming from anglers targeting them in a little deeper water. Shallow fish will be near sandy bottom areas with scattered weed growth, but if you just want the kids to catch a few fish, try fishing around any piers that are in the water adjacent to deeper water (6-10 feet). If you want to target eating size gills, tightline vertically while drifting along weedlines in deeper water (as deep as 22 feet) or look for them on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water. Panfish plumpers, plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.

Best Bets: Golden, Silver, Garvin, Lower Nashotah, Forest, Upper and Lower Phantom, Ashippun, Upper Geneessee and Lake Five.

Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cutbait, stinkbait and nightcrawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some keepers. The area between Watertown and the Jefferson Dam has been red hot the last few weeks.

Trout stocking was a sucess this year on out local waters, with rainbows and brook trout still available. Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Lower Geneessee and Paradise Springs-Look for these fish in the deeper water basin or deeper pools on the creeks. In the area lakes, they can be anywhere from just below the surface to 25 feet down over deeper water. Tightlining with minnows or redworms  will catch fish when you find them.

Good Luck Out There.
Chris Terry