Well gang, if you've looked out your window, you may have noticed that conditions are rapidly changing. The warm days and cooler nights are forcing fall conditions into play. This makes giving you up to date information on fishing conditions a little tougher than normal.
Ahead of the cold front, water temps were in the mid 70's, this morning, some of the shallow water was in the high 60's and giving off heat. And while the days will be sunny and warm, the nighttime conditions are going to be increasingly cooler.
Look for fish to move into shallow areas a couple time per day to feed. Unless chasing walleyes on deeper structure, or suspended crappies, I'd move into the 12-15 foot depth, and work my way shallower from there. Typically, rock/sand transition areas are where I do the best this time of year. I'd also consider moving from plastics to live bait or crankbaits. I'll still use plastics this time of year, but I move away from smaller finessee jig or wackyworms, to big jig/chunk combos, skirted grubs and flukes. Moving around to find active fish is always key this time of year, your best clue that you're in the right spot will be the presence of visible schools of baitfish.
For now, look for panfish to move out of the deeper water and up to the ends of points. Bluegills will be around the end of shallow points that border much deep water. Drops that go rapidly from 6-8 to 12-15 FOW can really concentrate active fish. Crappie continue to suspend along weedlines, but they will move in tighter to shallow weed clumps as fall continues. Lakes like Pine, Lac Labelle and Oconomowoc with fishable perch populations will see that bite turn on over the next for weeks.
Bass will start feeding heavily over the next few weeks. Traditional techniques like wacky and jig worms will catch fish, but consider moving toward faster presentations like spinner and crankbaits. Wide wobbling shallow runners, or shad rap style, white, shad or baby bass colored crankbaits are fantastic options this time of year. Look at shallow weed/rock or weed/sand transition areas first, then move up onto the rockbars and fish them hard. Larger minnows or small suckers will outproduce nightcrawlers this time of year.
Walleye: The bite maybe tough, but slow trolling with live bait rigs is the superior daytime option for local lakes right now. Split shot or lindy rigs pulled around the edge of shallow structure, or drifted across sand flats will produce, but expect the bite to be a little spotty at times.
Musky: As the water temps cool, activity will pick up. For now, casting over the weed edges is probably the best option, but don't over look isolated pieces of shallow rock structure where active fish will come into forage, especially in the later afternoons. Now is certainly the time to drag a sucker while casting, and remember to do a figure 8 on EVERY cast.
Check back in this week, I'll post something after the cold front goes through.