Well gang, the transition to a fall fishing pattern is just around the corner, and fishing is set to get really good. You've probably noticed the days getting shorter, and even on days with a bluebird sky, the fishing is picking up. My clients and I landed 50 Bass and more than 30 bluegills in a trip this morning.
Fishing usually gets pretty good this time of year. The chief obstacle is often the weather. As Fall approaches, unstable weather can set in quick. As for right now, things have been fairly stable, and during stretches of stable weather, the fish will start to make predictable feeding movements a few times a day.
LM and SM Bass have begun moving into staging positions. Lots of fish are being taken off the edges of deep weeds and off the ends of longer points. Some fish have also been coming from the mid depth flats and shallow rocks. Start with topwater baits in the morning, then move to wacky worms, tubes and jigworms as the bite dies down. If you're fishing deeper, stick with live bait on a split shot and/or slip-sinker rigs or texas rigged plastics. If the bite is extra tough, try a shallow diving shad (white) colored crank around the rock/ weed transition areas.
Walleye have been active in 18-25 feet of water. Look for sandgrass with baitfish holding nearby and you'll be in them pretty quick on Lac Labelle, Pine or Oconomowoc. If you want to make the trip, the bite on the Koshkonong is just starting to really pick-up. Pulling bouncers with spinner harnesses, back trolling lindy rigs, working crankbaits over deep weeds or slip bobbering with live bait has been productive.
Northern Pike fishing continues to provide good action to anglers putting in the time. As fall sets in, the deeper fish will move to the weedlines. This is a great time to target them with spoons, small bucktails, or crankbaits. It may be a little early yet, but don't be afraid to start trying these techniques over the next 20 days or so. In the meantime you can still target smaller pike in the shallows with spinner or buzzbaits and larger fish with suckers, chubs or shiners along the deep edges of weedy points.
Panfish are still being caught deep, but look for them to move into mid-depth water over the next few weeks. For now, tightline vertically with splitshot or slip bobber them off deep weeds and sand with live baitin 15-22 feet of water. Transition areas from heavy to light weeds along a drop off is a key area.
Musky fishing is picking up after the late summer lull. Reports indicate that topwaters and bucktails are still catching a few fish early and late, but the majority of fish are being caught off the deepest weed edges on natural or perch pattern crankbaits, soft plastics and jerkbaits.