Well, here we go again.
Conditions have been tough the last week with the heavy rains and the cold snap. People are catching fish, but they are working for them. The cold nights are keeping us in a holding pattern.
Water temps are in the mid to high 50's, with a few early warming spots creeping into the low 60's. Weed growth is still far behind for this time of year.
Panfish are still in a pre-spawn mode. There's fish in the shallows, but the better fish have not moved in yet. Look for fish around scattered weeds in 4-8 FOW or suspended off mainlake structure about 10-15 feet down.
Bass are still largely in a prespawn mode. A few fish had started moving in, but the cold nights have pushed them back out. You'll find them in 4-8 FOW and again in 12-15 FOW, but especially in shallow-dark bottom areas with weeds. Live bait has been working especially leeches and golden shiners, but fishing slow with plastics or jigs has also been productive.
Walleye has been a tough bite with the conditions this week. The rain and wind kept alot of people off the water in the early part of the week, and the cooler temps have shut-down what was a fairly active bite. With weeds hard to come by, look for walleyes on the deep edges of flat areas, and on the rocks. Backtrolling with lindy rigs has been productive for me the last week.
Pike are biting, but the action has been primarily from smaller fish on the flats. Lots of bass anglers working shallow areas have been connecting with pike on cranks and spinners. Live bait is catching some better pike, espeically off deeper rocks. No mystery...slip sinker rigs with small suckers has been dynamite.
Musky are in the middle of the spawn. Some fish are done, but there's still paired up fish in protected areas. Areas with current or protected areas with springs seem to be the most productive right now. Bucktails are hot, as are smaller jerkbaits. Any weeds you can find in 6-10 FOW will likely have some fish nearby.
Temperatures are set to start rising early next week, so look for things to really pick up by mid week.
Final note: I was in the boat this week with Paul Smith from the Journal-Sentinel. Look for an article on the tough conditions we faced in this weekend's outdoors section. (And yes, we still caught fish)