Here is my annual pre-opening weekend post. Look for an final update Friday, May 3rd with weather and water conditions from around the area.
Need bait, equipment, or a fishing license? Do yourself a favor and buy from one of the locals.
Musky Mikes (Okauchee)
Dick Smith's (Delafield)
Taking a Kid Fishing this weekend? The DNR Suggests these spots:
Ashippun Lake Park
In Oconomowoc, WI. Take Capitol Drive west to State Highway 16, go
west on 16 to County Highway P, then take P north to County Highway K,
go west on K to McMahon Road. Watch for "public access" sign.
Notes: Run by Waukesha County Parks. Park has picnic area, restrooms and shorefishing.
Location: Located on Crowbar Drive, south of Kelsey Drive. Go west from Highway Y.
Public park with ballfields, restrooms, picnic area and boat launch.
Not much shorefishing, due to marshy area near shore.
Lac La Belle
Location: At the Fowler Lake Dam, on Highway
67, one-quarter mile north of State Highway 16 in the Oconomowoc, WI.
Located just northeast of the beach and park on Lac La Belle. The beach
and park are on Highway 16, just west of Highway 67.
Notes: Disabled accessible public fishing pier.
Little Muskego Lake
Access from Idle Isle Park in Muskego, WI on the northeast side of
Little Muskego Lake. Take Martin Drive to Hardtke Drive to the park.
Note: Idle Isle Park has a beach, picnic area, restrooms, accessible public fishing pier and boat launch.
Lower Phantom Lake
Location: In Phantom Glen Park in
Mukwonago, WI. Take County Highway ES (Main Street) to Andrews Street,
then go west into the park.
Notes: Public park with picnic area, restrooms, disabled accessible public fishing pier and boat ramp.
Location: Trout pond located on the west side of Highway 67, between Piper Road and Road X. About 3 miles north of Eagle, WI.
No facilities, but there is a picnic area with restrooms just a short
distance to the south. DNR manages as a children's trout fishing pond.
Although it is officially category 3 (3 bag and 9 inch length), there
is a voluntary regulation for adults to catch and release, and kids are
allowed to keep one trout of any size. Designed to encourage adults to
take kids out and teach them to trout fish.
Location: In Nagawaukee County Park. Take County Highway C, three-quarters of a mile north of Interstate 94 in Delafield, WI.
Notes: Public beach, picnic area, restrooms and concessions, camping, shorefishing and boat launch.
Nemahbin Lakes, Upper and Lower
Location: Southeast of Oconomowoc, WI, off of County Highway DR.
County owned access on frontage road between the two lakes, Highway
DR. shorefishing on Upper Nemahbin from the road right-of-way. DNR
owned carry-in site on Lower Nemahbin off Sugar Island Road.
Location: Village park in downtown Pewaukee, WI.
Public park with beach and public fishing pier. Can also access
Pewaukee River just below the dam. On Wisconsin Avenue in downtown
Pewaukee. Boat launch and shorefishing from county park and boat ramp at
the west end, on Highway E.
Local Shore Fishing Locations
Shore fishing is available at the public boat landing. Take HWY 16 to
the Sawyer Road exit. Turn left at the T-intersection, and drive
through the town of Okauchee. At the clock tower, veer left and then go
about a ¼ mile to Road T, which is a right hand turn. Free parking for
cars is available.
Moose Lake: Shore and
pier fishing is available at the Moose Lake Public Launch area. This
launch has a nice park-like
area available to shore fisherman. The launch area is just off
Highway C, across from Cedar Bay Road.
Lac La Belle: Public Fishing Pier Located in Memorial Park in downtown Oconomowoc.
Just off of the corner of HWY C and HWY R in Nashotah there is a park
and ride. Across HWY R, there is a low fence that marks access to the
Forest Lake area of Nashotah Park. Anglers have to hike down the hill,
but the entire shoreline of the small lake is available for
Fowler Lake: There is space for
shore fishing by the Labelle/Fowler Dam, at the boat landing and in
the Riverside Park. The lake is just off HWY 16 in Downtown Oconomowoc.
The boat landing is behind city hall.
Two areas allow public shore fishing access. There is some space at
the public launch in the County Park off of HWY 83 near Delafield. A
second option allows you to access St John's Bay and a section of the
Bark River. Take HWY C to where the Military Academy is. There is a
small park just south of downtown Delafield on the east side of the
Pewaukee Lake: Located in Nagawaukee
County Park on the west side of the lake. From I-94, north on State
Highway 83 for 1/8 mile, east on County Highway DR 1 1/2 miles, north
on County Highway E to park entrance. Park fee is charged. There is
also a public fishing pier along the city strip near the beach on the
Ottawa Lake: Located in the Southern
Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From State Highway 67, west
on County Highway ZZ for 1/3 mile to park entrance. State Park sticker
required for entry.
Upper Genessee: Carry in
boats and shore fishing are available. Parking is in a small gravel lot,
just south of I-94, on the east side of HWY 67.
Paradise Springs: Located
in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From downtown
Eagle, west 1 mile on State Highway 59 to County Highway N, north on N
for about 1/2 mile to site. State Park sticker required for entry.
Artificial lures only.
Lower Phantom Lake: Located in Phantom Glen Park. From County Highway ES, west on Andrews Street to park entrance.
Other Useful Links
Local Fishing Reports from Lake-Link.com
Becky Smith's list of local shorefishing locations, boat ramps and boat rentals is online at at www.Dicksmithslivebait.com
The DNR maintains a database of printable lake maps online. Although some are fairly old, they can still be very useful.
There's also a easy to use reference to find boat launches at the DNR Website.
There's a new format, focusing on lakes by species, rather than a regional approach. Check out the DNR's 2013 Spring Fishing Forecast here.
The DNR's online license purchases avoid the wait opening morning.
----Note, this is the best idea ever for opening weekend.
Information on Stocked Trout is available from the DNR.
Around our Area:
Best Lakes For
Panfish: Ashippun, Silver, Kessus Buelah, Golden, the Geneessee lakes,
Lake Five, Okauchee (Bay Five, the Channel, Icehouse and Stumpy Bay),
Garvin and the Nehmabins. The water is still very cold. Look for panfish in shallow bays, channels or marshy areas with dark bottoms.
or split shot rigs with
nightcrawlers or suspending large shiners under slip bobbers are your
best live bait options. Texas rigged plastic lizards, wacky worms and
jigs with a chunk trailer will be good options if fished very slowly.
Slow rolling spinnerbaits or ripping rattletraps around weedy cover
could produce some reaction strikes. Smaller fish will be patrolling the
shallows, but don't expect to see many fish on beds. Larger fish will
be deeper than normal for the opener. Look for them around the ends of
points that are near spawning areas. If its warm and sunny, a buzzbait fished over wood cover can produce some violent reaction strikes when the water is still cold.
Best lakes for largemouth: Okauchee, Silver, Nagawicka, Golden, Pine, Moose, Kessus, Pretty and School Section.
Smallmouth will be in deeper water. . Look for them to be suspended in the water column in deep
water near points and other rocky structure. Suspending Jerkbaits,
swimbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits or twister tail grubs are good
options for chasing suspended smallmouths. If you can find some fish on
the rocks in the afernoon, lindy rigging with leeches or nightcrawlers should do the
Best lakes for smallmouth: Nagawicka, Lower Nehmabin, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac La Belle.
Bottom bouncers with spinner
harnesses, lindy rigs and jigs will all catch walleyes. I'd consider
using a mix of live bait in the form of nightcrawlers, leeches and small
suckers. Look for walleyes to relate the edges of shallow water in areas with plenty of current. I'd
run live bait rigs to find fish, then fish an active area hard with
crankbaits like a shad rap or floating rapalas. You might even do better this opener fishing jigs on structure adjacent to areas with current.
lakes for walleye: Lac La Belle, Pewaukee, Pine and Oconomowoc.
This is prime time to
chase pike with live bait. Use big bobbers and suspend large shiners
and suckers around weed edges or near areas with visible panfish.
Casting with lipless crankbaits or spinner baits, especially around
shallow weeds on the flat areas can be dynamite.
Best lakes for pike: Forest, Emily, Moose, Golden, Nagawicka, Fowler, Lower Gennessee, Okauchee.
You never lose out by floating a sucker on a
quick strike rig while casting. I'd stick to
small bucktails for the opener this year, and concentrate your efforts
on any scattered weed clumps you can find. I'd plan on being methodical
and be ready to make lots of casts to an area to get neutral fish to
Best lakes for musky: Pewaukee, Lac La Belle, Fowler, Okauchee, Garvin and Oconomowoc.
Good Luck out there!