The water on most area lakes remains cooler than average. Right now most lakes are in the low to mid 60's with a few of the bays in the mid to high 60's. Weed growth is way behind. Water is also high on most lakes, and with cooler temps on the way, you can likely expect these conditions to continue. Be sure to double check boards at the launch for possible slow-no-wake restrictions, especially on the smaller lakes.
Bluegills are still making the move into shallower water. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will hold the most fish, but lots of panfish continue to suspend over deeper water. Waxworms, butterworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin, Golden Nagawicka, Upper and Middle Genessee, School Section, Ashipunn, Pretty and Lower Nashotah)
Crappie fishing has been hit or miss, with little in-between. While a few crappies are being caught over deeper water near mainlake structure, some of the early spawning crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. . (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Moose, Kessus, Nagawicka, Golden, Silver, and Pine.)
Largemouth Bass Fishing remains steady, with the warmer days producing some quality bags of fish. A few fish are still spawning, but a few fish are starting to move into an early summer pattern, with lots of different areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days, topwater and crankbaits are catching fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. On sunny days, especially those with lots of wind, fish are tighter to cover or using shallow rock bars in 3-8 feet of water. Plastics: flipped, skipped, pitched, wacky or texas rigged are great ways to target these fish. Don't over look twister tail or skirted grubs, and if the bite is tough, try a jigworm. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching a few fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas. (Try: Okauchee -has WABTA Bass tournament on Sunday), Pine, Kessus, Nagawicka, Moose, Silver, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)
Smallmouth Bass fishing dropped off this past week as many fish moved into a post-spawn pattern. Many anglers reported seeing small schools of fish moving in the shallow water, but couldn't get them to bite. In my experience that's classic post-spawn smallie activity for our area lakes. Minnowbaits, like size 11 or 13 floating rapalas are actually a great way to catch these fish. Keep it simple, black and silver or chartruese and white are the best options. If we get a couple of cloudy, cooler days this week, look for fish to be cruising the edges of Rockbars and points, and target them with tubes, skirted grubs or twister tails. (Try: Oconomwoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Beaver or the Bark and Oconomwoc Rivers.)
Walleye fishing is picking back up. Fish are still using shallow weeds and weed edges in 6-12 feet. Slip Bobbers, jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive. Fish have been most active in the early morning. In the evening, a few anglers are still catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over isolated weed clumps on mainlake points and humps. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, North, Pine, Druid and Fox)
Northern Pike fishing picked up a little bit last week. It has been slow and steady, but the pike seem to be a little deeper this year. The number one way to catch pike right now is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of the weeds you can find in 6-12 feet and you'll find some fish. Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are also producing. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Pine, Moose, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)
Musky fishing was slow last week. The larger fish have started to move out to the breaks, but there's still a solid number of fish patrolling the shallow water, feeding on schooled up panfish. The holiday boat traffic has been keeping some people off Pewaukee the last week, but anglers who have ventured out have reported mixed success. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are an absolute necessity, and having a sucker out on a quick strike rig is a good idea. (Try: Okauchee, North, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle)
Around the area: Fishing on the Rock River, anglers are still catching some whitebass, walleyes and catfish between the Jefferson Dam in and the mouth at the Indianford Dam.
Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be a great way to catch some keepers. The local ponds, Lower Genessee, Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish.
As always, if you'd like to talk about some specific tips or want an up to date report, just email me.