Here's what's happening around the area:
Thewater temperatures are in the mid to high 60's on most area lakes. Most of the Gamefish have spawned, and the panfish are starting to move up.
Musky have been fairly active on our local lakes the past few weeks, and quite a number of quality fish have been caught, 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 green weeds have started. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits have all been consistent producers.
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 as is controlled drifting with live bait. 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 Fishing for bass has been spotty, 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, shakey heads, swimbaits, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Natural colors have been better than flash this season. 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.
Smallmouth Bass Fish are patrolling the shallow bars 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 within the last ten days.
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.
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 all recieved fish, as did several of the county park ponds. A complete list of stocked waters is available from the Wisconsin DNR website. 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, redworms or panfish plumpers will catch fish when you find them.
Good Luck Out There.