Well...its gotten hard to pattern fish around our area. Maybe in June consistent weather will return.
Overall, water temps are back in the Mid 50's in Main Lake areas, while some bays are in the Low to Mid 60's. Weedgrowth is far behind normal for this time of the season, and Mayflies are finishing the hatch on a couple of area lakes.
Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water. A few nests were starting to appear before the cold snap, but not in any significant number. 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, butterworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin (hot!), Nagawicka, Upper and Middle Genessee, School Section, Ashipunn, Pretty, Phantom and Lower Nashotah)
Crappie fishing, typically an early spring in our area, continues to be one of the best bites. 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, Silver, and Pine.
Largemouth bass are in the middle of trying to spawn, the rapid weather changes has delayed this process this season. Anglers are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, but a few fish are still being caught off mainlake points and transition areas (prespawn structure). This is time to catch and release bigger fish, but on warm afternoons, the action could 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. Live bait, nightcrawlers, leeches or small suckers are your best bet. (Try: Okauchee, Lake Five, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Kessu Nagawicka, Silver, School Section, Golden, Fox or Emily)
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, and please catch and release smallmouths so they can finish the spawning ritual. (Try: Oconomwoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Pewaukee, Lower Nashotah and the Nemahbin Lakes.)
Walleye has been the hot bite of the season with the cooler temperatures, with some very nice eyes 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, Pine and Fox)
Northern Pike fishing has picked up with the unstable 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 feet, using small suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Pine, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)
Musky Fishing has been slow and steady. A few fish are still paired up finishing the spawning ritual. There are lots of fish in the shallow water, 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 seems to be the color of the season, but white has also been catching a few. (Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle)
Around the area: Fishing on the Rock River has slowed down, but anglers are still catching a few whitebass south of Ft Atkinson, and catfish between the Jefferson Dam in and the mouth. The action has been slow, and water conditions have been high. Trolling for Walleyes on Koshkonong has been consistent, pulling crankbaits between 2-3.5mph over flats.
Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be good. The weather has slowed down the pressure on these fish this season, and Lower Genessee, Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish.
If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email or call me.
Have a great holiday weekend.