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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fishing Report 5-22-14 (Memorial Day Weekend)


The fishing has picked up some this past week. The relatively stable weather has started to push the fish towards some patterns. Catching fish hasn't been an issue, patterning them has been the problem.

Condition wise: Weed growth is way ahead of itself this year, and water temps are ranging from the low to high 60's.

Panfish are starting to move into shallow cover. Wood laydowns, reeds and any standing shallow water weed clumps are good bets. Crappie can still be seen congregating in the shallows around wood, while schools of bluegills and some yellow perch are starting to pop up around other types of shallow cover, especially sand. If you're catching smaller panfish, move out just a little deeper and you'll probably find what you are looking for. Use live bait to find fish, then plastics once you are on some better sized fish.

Largemouth bass fishing has gotten more interesting. Lots of small male fish moved up onto nests in shallow water, but there are lots of quality pre-spawn fish are still on the feed. If the weather stays stable over the next couple of days, spawning activity will pick up.

Two pieces of advice: 1.)...beating the banks may find you a quality fish or two, but out over the flats with scattered cover will be more consistent. 2.) ...look for visible baitfish where you are fishing. If you're not seeing schools of shiners or juvenile panfish in the weeds or wood you are fishing're not going to catch as many fish. I'm catching a fair number of fish, but I'm scratching them together doing a couple of different things. One thing that has been consistent though...areas with current have been producing, but you must slow way down with a presentation to get a consistent bite.

Smallmouth fishing has varied lake to lake...primarily on the water temperature differences between our local bodies of water. Keep it simple, play the water temperature game. Look for active fish in shallow rocks or sand. Patrolling fish will feed, fish holding tight to cover or the bottom are less likely to do so. This is a great time to use skirted grubs on a football head jig for shallow smallmouth and larger curl-tail grubs in deeper water. Chubs, Roaches or Shiners on a split shot or light lindy rig will also produce...especially if you find some fish in 12-18 FOW around some of the shallow structure.

Walleye fishing: Not much to report. Anglers who are chasing walleyes right now report finding them in 6-8 FOW. Finesse live bait rigs or small jigs tipped with leeches seem to be doing the job. Lac Labelle is always a solid bet for action-but there's very few weeds up out there just yet. Oconomwoc, North and Pine have been better options for keepers.

Northern pike have been active on most area lakes. Smaller fish are being caught in the shallow weeds using spinners, buzzbaits lipless crankbaits, and minnowbaits-nd if you're out for action, this bite has been the most consistent. Bigger pike have been a little harder to come by, but dragging live bait-small suckers, chubs or large/jumbo shiners with a slip sinker rig off the first deep break is still finding a few quality fish.

Musky fishing has been a bit on the slow side, but some decent fish are still being caught in shallow areas close to where bass and panfish spawn, but a few have started to make their way out to deeper ledges and drops. I've heard smaller gliders are pulling up some follows, but I had two fish to the boat on Tuesday morning throwing a bucktail.

Stocked trout are still being caught out of the area lakes and ponds...but if you want in on the action, best to get to it soon.

A handful of Whitebass are still being caught in FT Atkinson and near the Jefferson Dam on the Rock River. The Catfish bite has also been picking up a little bit as the water temperatures move up.

Should be a great weekend both weather and fishing. Be safe.



Unknown said...

Thank you for the tips, i love your blog and just started reading recently. Im hopin to find a first 40"+ musky this weekend. I saw you mentioned they may be leaving the shallows.. what lures/speed/depth would you suggest to target the big ones?

Chris said...


Sorry I didn't respond sooner.

There's still a few fish patrolling the shallow flats, but the bulk of the fish have made the move into 12-18 FOW.