There hasn't been much change on the water since I last checked in, but the weather man tells me that things will start to be a bit more seasonal later this week.
This, is as they say, is what we have been waiting for.
Water is in the high 50's to low 60's on most lakes. The warmer, sunny afternoons are bringing cooler surface temps back up each afternoon.
Fish will be doing one thing above all, chasing bait. Visible baitfish=gamefish. If you're going along and see baitfish (either visibly or on your electronics) slow down and fish the area methodically.
I'd keep your presentations on the smaller side until the cooler weather sets in for the duration, but if you're fishing live bait, you can get a little bigger. Smallmouth, largemouth, walleyes and pike will go nuts on live bait rigs with larger shiners.
LM are still patrolling and ambushing along clumps of weeds on
the shallow weed flats. Others are still hanging along the deeper weed
edges. Smallmouth are relating to weed clumps near or adjacent to rocky
and sandy areas with a drop off. The deeper fish will bite best when
they make a move into the nearby shallow water. They tend to do this a
couple times a day this time of year. A large number of fish will use rocky areas in
the early afternoons. Wacky worms and
skirted grubs are great around the rocks. Jigworms, texas rigs and
ji/trailers are great around the scattered weeds. Lipless crankbaits are
great in both areas. Browns, greens, orange or blacks have been the
best colors for plastics (pretty much as they are all year) but white or
silver crankbaits are really starting to turn on as a pattern.
Live minnows or nightcrawlers are the key unless fishing at night when
minnowbaits can outpace. Look for walleyes to be in the sandgrass or in
breaks in the weeds in 10-15 feet. Some fish will be deeper or shallower
on our local lakes, but the best approach is a slip-sinker or lindy rig
with a big minnow. Nightcrawlers will still produce as well, especially
when trolled very slowly on spinner harnesses along the first weedline
Northern: Most northern caught this time
of year are caught while targeting other species, especially bass and
musky. But they can still be caught and in good numbers. . Deep diving crankbaits in bluegill, perch or white/shad color
patterns can work wonders right now: Hot N Tots and Wiggle Warts are my
favorites for trolling, while Norman D-22's, Spinnerbaits or Rattletraps
are better options for casting. Drifting with medium suckers on a slip
sinker rig, like you might consider doing while walleye fishing right now, should also be productive.
Musky: What can I say? It is time,
pure and simple. The next
six weeks will be prime-time. For now, focus your attention in 12-18
feet of water. Casting bucktails, gliders, swimbaits or especially
jerkbaits can work, but don't forget to keep a sucker or two out on a
quick-strike rig. Many fish that follow in lazily on a casting approach
will turn on for the sucker hanging nearby. By reports I got from around the area, North, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler and Lac Labelle all gave up fish this weekend, and the Madison lakes are really turning on. Fish are still running on the smaller side, but a handful of high 40's came in over the last ten days. I haven't seen or heard of a 50+ yet this season (from an area lake), but it is still very early for that class of fish.