Half way through summer...and things are happening on our area lakes. Most water temps are in the mid 70's. Weed growth and baitfish populations are at about average for this time of year.
Fishing has been very good, despite the unstable weather. Obviously the lakes will be busy with a three day holiday weekend, so plan on fishing early and late, but if you can stand the boat traffic, fishing has been steady all day all the last three weeks.
If you're a newbie or casual fisherman....keep it simple this weekend. Get some leeches or small suckers and fish them on a slip sinker or lindy rig. Just keep the line tight and put your boat around the deep edges of some visible weeds. You will catch fish.
If you're looking to cast some lures...try a lipless crankbait. Just cast it at any weeds you see, and reel it in as fast as you can.
Panfish Looking for action? Small panfish can be caught in
shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially
around docks or swim platforms. The better sized fish are being caught
out of the deeper water (12-18 FOW) by anglers drifting and fishing vertically. If you're on a deep school, but not catching
keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Crappie are suspending over
deep water, and along weed edges, and the activity has been steady by
anglers who find the schools.
Largemouth bass continue to run traditional summer patterns.
Look for them in inside weed edges in 4-6 FOW and the outside edges in
8-15 FOW. These fish can be caught on a variety of tackle,
spinnerbaits, crankbaits, texas rigged wacky worms, jigworms, jig and chunks,
skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are holding fish and the slop has been pretty good. If you just want to catch fish, keep it simple...leeches on lindy or slip sinker rigs on the deep weed edge is an easy way to put some fish in the boat on just about any area lake.
Smallmouth bass fishing was fairly inconsistent this past week. Fish
are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day.
Most fish are holding on the deep side of breaks or suspending off
mainlake structure, coming in briefly to forage. Skirted grubs,
twister tails, tubes, wacky worms, lipless crankbaits,
jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live
bait like leeches and small suckers has been working for the people
backtrolling deep sand in 18-25 feet.
Walleye fishing has been very slow with the unstable weather. Anglers
putting in time are catching a few fish. Fish continue to be caught
along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Slip
bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on
lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Fishing
over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala
minnows is grabbing a few as well, especially early and late in the day. Most fish are being caught along weededges in 12-18 FOW, but I've been catching them as deep as 25'
Pike fishing has been a little below average with lots of smaller
pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to
feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish.
Fish with inline spinners, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails
or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike
were hard to come by according to most reports, but if you want to chase
them, try the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers
or large shiners on a slip sinker rig.
Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days,
target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits,
gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on
larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots and lots of lazy follows, so
keep a sucker out. 12-15 FOW seems to be the magic depth over the past couple of weeks.
Lake By Lake:
Okauchee: Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-12
feet. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving
out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish, but look
for keepers suspended over deeper water and on the deep ends of the mainlake points.
Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers.
Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Musky are still using the
treeline break and suspending off the south drop. Bass are using the shallow flat on the
south end. Pike are on the deep weedlines on the northwest and north
east corners, and suspending over the deeper water.
Forest: Panfish and pike have been biting. Live bait over the
deep holes on slip bobbers for panfish, inline spinners for the pike.
Oconomowoc: Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious
structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake
points. Northern pike and walleye fishing has been best for anglers
using small suckers catching the majority of the fish, pike was
better than walleye during the day. Musky fishing was slow, but lots of
fish are still doing lazy follows, and lots of people are reporting
that they are seeing fish in shallow water chasing juvenile gills.
Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the
river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines. No word on musky.
Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical
summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are holding fish as
are drop-offs in 10-18 FOW. Musky have moved out to suspend over deep
water in the main basin. White bass have been stealing lots of bait
from walleye and panfisherman.
Moose: Bass and pike continue to bite. Target the breaks and weed clumps in
shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Backtrolling with small
suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep
water has been a hot tactic, especially in low light conditions.
Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is
close to average for this time of year. Best bet on Ashipunn is to
concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a
variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Slip sinker rigs with leeches fished tight to the weed edge worked for me with one of my kids today.
Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending
over the deep part of the basin, but holding close to weed edges
adjacent to deeper water. Bass have been biting best in the morning,
but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up. Topwaters, plastics
and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on
small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits
fished over the submerged weeds.
Silver: Bass can be caught using plastics around the weed
clumps in 4-15 feet or around piers and boat lifts. Crappies have been
suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in
the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW.
Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water
with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid
depth weeds. No word on trout on Lower, but news of the trout fishing has been fairly limited. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leafworms or big reds has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing
is really picking up on Middle, especially along the deep points and drop offs.
Pine: Walleye, Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth are being caught off the rocks early in the day, and off the weedlines in the mid-day and evenings. Slip sinkers with live bait will produce, but don't overlook crankbaits or slow rolled spinnerbaits for suspending fish.
School Section: Bass and pike are biting, but most of the fish have been small. Look for the deep spots, and work them hard with plastics or live bait.
If you've got specific questions: Feel free to email me.
Good Luck, and stay safe this weekend.