The holiday weekend and the hot weather has slowed fishing down substantially the last week to 10 days. As temperatures cool off, expect the activity from both anglers and fish to pick up. Remember, the photo cycle is shrinking, but that the sun is at its most direct over the next couple of weeks. You can really increase your success by fishing early mornings, evenings and if you can stand the bugs, at night.
Panfish Looking for action? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically. Look for gills to be suspending about 10-12 feet down over 18-25 FOW or 12-18 over 30-45 FOW. If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Crappie are suspending over deep water, and along weed edges, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools.
Largemouth bass continue to run traditional summer patterns. Look for them in inside weed edges in 4-6 FOW and the outside edges in 8-15 FOW. These fish can be caught on a variety of tackle, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, texas rigged wacky Worms, Shakey heads, skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are holding more fish with the hot sunny days, and the slop has been pretty good. Looking for some real fun? Topwaters are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 8am.
Smallmouth bass fishing was pretty average this past week. Fish are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day. Most fish are holding on the deep side of breaks or suspending off mainlake structure, coming in briefly to forage. Skirted grubs, twister tails, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working for the people backtrolling deep sand in 18-25 feet.
Walleye fishing has been very slow with the heat. Anglers putting in time are catching a few fish. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Slip bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Fishing over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala minnows is grabbing a few as well.
Pike fishing has been a little below average with lots of smaller pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish. Fish with willow leaf spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike were hard to come by according to most reports, but if you want to chase them, try the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or troll with deep diving crankbaits as close to the weedline as you can without getting hung up.
Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so keep a sucker out.
Lake By Lake:
Okauchee: Boats, Boats and more boats was the major report this week. Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-12 feet. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish, but look for them over deeper water.
Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers. Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Musky are still using the treeline break and suspending off the south drop. Based on my advice, a 47 incher was caught last week. Bass are using the shallow flat on the south end. Pike are on the deep weedlines on the northwest and north east corners, and suspending over the deeper water.
Forest: Panfish and pike have been biting. Live bait over the deep holes on slip bobbers for panfish, inline spinners for the pike. Lots of pressure as anglers moved to non-motorized waters for the holiday.
Oconomowoc: Fishing has slowed down with the bright sun and heat. Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points. Northern pike and walleye fishing has been best for anglers using small suckers catching the majority of the fish, pike was better than walleye during the day. Musky fishing was slow, but lots of fish are still doing lazy follows, and lots of people are reporting that they are seeing fish in shallow water chasing juvenile gills.
Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines. No report on Musky.
Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are holding fish as are drop-offs in 10-18 FOW. Musky have moved out to suspend over deep water in the main basin. White bass have been stealing lots of bait from walleye and panfisherman. Expect traffic to be heavy the next couple weeks as John Gillespie's TV show was on the lake this past week.
Moose: Bass and pike continue to bite, and action has been unbelievable by most reports. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Backtrolling with small suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep water has been a hot tactic, especially in low light conditions. Mornings have been better according to my source.
Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is close to average for this time of year. Best bet on Ashipunn is to concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics.
Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending over the deep part of the basin, but holding close to weed edges adjacent to deeper water. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished through the weedy areas.
Silver: Bass can be caught using plastics around the weed clumps in 4-15 feet or around piers and boat lifts. Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW.
Nagawicka: Largemouths are average, and in summer patterns so look to catch them off boat docks, in the slop and along the shallow weed edges. One report has the gills still spawning, but in the deeper sand. Pike have been average, especially on crankbaits or buzzbaits fished over weed edges at either end of the lake. No report on walleyes.
Pewaukee: Boats, Boats Boats and surface weeds. Not much fishing news due to the holiday. Give in a week or two.
Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially dillys or leafworms has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle.
Rock River: the Catfish bite has been slow at night. Trollers on Lake Koshkonong are catching walleyes and pike pulling harnesses or shad raps around 1.6-2.2 mph. Whites are biting in the main lake, but on trollers going much faster. Perch are in the deepest part of the basin, and some nice ones are being caught.
If you've got specific questions: Feel free to email me.
Good Luck, and stay safe this weekend.