Well gang, its fall. And while many people are populating their treestands or chasing ducks, some of the better fishing of the year is starting to happen.
The late season warmer weather has kept water temperatures between the high 50's to low 60's on most lakes. On Saturday, mainlake areas on Okauchee were reading as high as 66 in the late afternoon.
Musky and pike are using the outside weed edges. Spinners, bucktails, jerkbaits, gliders and crankbaits are catching fish. The sucker bite has been on and off with the weather, but sucker fishing on Okauchee and Pewaukee has been more consistent than on Oconomowoc, Fowler or Lac Labelle. For now, focus your attention on the deepest weeds you can find, especially smaller points and humps adjacent to deep water. 12-18 feet seems to be magic right now, (ie the deep weed edges) but a few fish are coming out of 6-8 feet of water, especially around rock/weed transition areas. Remember to do your figure eights...and on every cast.
Bass fishing was on fire during this spell of warmer weather. Crankbaits and live bait produced the most consistently, but anglers targeting largemouth in shallow water found a very good bite in 4-10 feet of water around rocks and sand. A few larger fish were caught by anglers flipping heavy cover on the smaller lakes with standing reeds. (Watch out for duck hunters!)
Smallmouth are using rock bars and points in 4-8 feet of water, or are in weeds in 8-12 feet. Live bait, especially smaller suckers, dragged slowly on a slip sinker or split shot rig can be very very productive. Labelle, Pine, Nag, Oconomowoc and North Lake have all been hot for smallies.
Panfish have moved into a fall pattern. They are stacking up around main-lake points in 10-18 feet of water, or hanging tight to weed clumps in 8-12 feet of water. Vertical fishing is the best for the deeper fish, especially drifting through areas. Slip bobbers are a better option for the weed fish.
River fishing has been slow with the high water, but conditions are stabilizing. Expect the whitebass and walleye fishing to pick up later this week.