Got a bunch of reports in by email last night, seems like opening weekend was pretty good for most folks. If this weather stabilizes, the fishing is sure to pick up.
Panfish will quickly move to shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially in the mid afternoon. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore. 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, including redworms, dillys, waxworms, spikes, or butterworms. For active bluegills, 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, Pine, Lac Labelle, Ashippun, Silver, Golden, School Section or Nagawicka)
Largemouth are in active pre-spawn feeding mode. Look for them in shallow areas with rock, sand or muck. Protected bays with wood laydowns or weeds will really concentrate fish. As the temperature warms up this week, look for the males to start making some nests around docks and other shoreline cover. Larger female fish will be actively feeding on rockbars and around scattered weeds. You can use a variety of presentations to chase these fish. Jig and chunks will catch less fish, but are a great way to catch a bigger fish. 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. Using live bait? Leeches, nightcrawlers or large shiners are your best option. (Try Okauchee, Moose, Kessus, Golden, Silver, Fowler, Pine, and Nagawicka)
Smallmouth bass are running rocky areas, foraging. Look for them in the usual early season spots, but don't be afraid to look for them as deep as 25feet, 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, Pine, Nagawicka, and Oconomowoc)
Walleye are still being caught in smaller numbers by anglers fishing the Rock River in Jefferson, as well as the Wolf, Wisconsin and Fox Rivers around the state. Locally reports were mixed, lots of people were catching fish, but the action was about average. Expect that to change this week as fish really start the feeding cycle. Look for walleyes in shallow water, around rocks or sand, 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, Fowler, Nagawicka or Pine)
Northern pike were a little slower over the weekend than I would have expected, I think anglers were targeting bass and walleyes rather than pike. Pike are all over shallow water, 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, Lake Emily and Nagawicka)
Musky fishing was steady for the opener. Most fish are in 5-12 feet of water, and are biting on swimbaits, gliders, jerkbaits and bucktails. A handful of decent fish were taken on suckers as well. 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 and Pewaukee for Musky)
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.
Trout fishing was fast and furious on the stocked lakes and ponds around area.
The next two weeks will represent some great fishing.....get out and get to it.