Big Holiday Weekend Ahead, with lots of boats on the water. Be
careful out there. Water temperatures are in the mid to high 70's. Weed growth is just behind average for the midpoint of the summer.
Panfish are largely done with the ritual, but there are a few fish still spawning on some area
lakes. Out with the kids? - Action with bluegills can be found in shallow water areas where there is sand
or gravel, but bigger gills can be caught out of spawning areas in as deep
as 18 feet of water down 12-18' over much deeper water. Meanwhile, crappies are relating to weed edges
between 8-12 feet or suspending over deeper water. For gills: hellgramites, panfish leeches, waxies or redworms are all good options, while crappie
will be taken more frequently on small or large fatheads, plastics tipped with waxies or spikes or on small hair
jigs. Best Bets: Upper Gennessee , Silver, Ashippun Upper and Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Garvin, Okauchee, Nagawicka, Forest.
Largemouth bass have been shallow, and making two feeding runs a day, so fishing has been both good and tough on the same day. Be ready to adapt to changes on the water. As for a strategy: Say it with me: Rocks and Rocks. Skipping
piers is producing a few fish, but less than would be typical for the middle of summer. Slop has been decent, but only on the sunny and still days, and only around pads or slop where visible baitfish are present. Fish are feeding, but their strike zone has been tighter than I would normally expect...so I recommend a finesse approach: Wacky Worms, Shakey heads, flapper grubs and
tubes in shallow water, with dropshot, jigworms, skirted grubs on a football head and Slider rigs catching the deeper fish (12-18 FOW). Don't be afraid to downsize if the bite is tough, or during the middle part of the day. If you're an early riser, topwater poppers,
spooks and buzzbaits are catching some nice fish off the weedflats in
5-12 feet right now, but only consistently at first light, the topwater bite has been wrapping up around 8am. Best Bets: Pewaukee, Fox, Emily, Okauchee, Moose, Golden, Nagawicka, School Section and Kessus.
Smallmouth bass fishing has also been good,
but most anglers are catching mixed bags of smallies and largies in the same areas. Do the same things for both species, but look for smallies suspending around the ends of rocky points and bars both early and
later in the day. Grubs, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads are catching some consistent bags of fish. Lindy rigging areas of deep sand with small suckers, large shiners or leeches can be the ticket for a tough bite, but my tip for this week: if you see lots
of baitfish that are pin or shiner minnows around rock or rock weed transitions, use a suspending jerkbait (like a Rouge) or floating Rapala. (That Shadow Rap they are hawking is good enough I'll give it a thumbs up without anyone even paying me to do so.) Best Bets: Nagawicka, North, Okauchee, the Oconomowoc River, Lac Labelle and Oconomowoc.
fishing has been very good. You'll need to be ready to move around. Fish are coming shallow (5-9
FOW) but are also in the deeper weeds (12-18FOW) but have also been in
the sandgrass in 22-30+ FOW. Fish are being caught
along shallow inside and outside weed edges or off deeper flats with
sandgrass. Vertically jigging with live bait or plastics has been better during the
day, while throwing cranks and minnow baits has been producing early
and late. Suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been
producing the larger fish Best Bets: Lac Labelle for action, Oconomowoc or North for keepers.
Pike fishing has been red hot lately. Lots of smaller pike are using the
shallow weedflats to feed on small gills and juvenile perch. Spinners
baits, small bucktails or buzzbaits will produce when fished tight to
weedclumps. Looking for something bigger? Move out to the weedline in
12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip
sinker rig with a heavy flourocarbon leader. Moose, Kessus, Golden, Nagawicka, Garvin, Okauchee and School Section are your best pike lakes right now.
Musky fishing has slow, but steady. Look for them to be suspended around schools of cisco or bluegills over the
deep water, along the deepest weed edges or adjacent to deep water structure,
especially the deep end of long points. Most of the fish are being caught along the weed edges but a
few are still coming on topwater around mid-depth rocks (8-12 FOW) during low light periods. Please be careful with caught muskies this time of year. Give them plenty of time when reviving
them, and don't keep them out of the water any longer than necessary.
Good Luck, and stay safe.