I was out several days this week. The cooler weather really changed the on the water conditions. Water temps are in the high 60's to low 70s. Fishing has been great, but not too many people have been heading out with the high winds/unstable weather we have had. More unstable weather on tap for this weekend, but it will be replaced with some hot/sunny weather next week as we head towards the holiday weekend.
Panfish has been the hot bite the last couple of weeks. Crappie and
bluegill continue to bite along weedlines or suspended out over deep
water. Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms
fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce, but you may have
to put in a little time to find the keeping size fish. Evenings have
been better, as is typical for this time of year, but fish can be caught all day if you stay mobile to stay with the schools of suspended fish.
Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. On the hot days next week,
look for them around docks or slop, or out deep. (Docks should be an awesome shallow pattern in the heat next week) On the cooler cloudy
days, look for active fish in sand/rock or rock/weed transitions in 4-8
feet. The topwater bite will be good, especially early in the morning, but rocks will hold fish all day. Live bait: It is time to go big or go home with your minnows-large shiners or small suckers on slip sinkers or slip bobbers, but the usual mix of soft plastics - wacky, jigworms and skirted grubs up shallow, jig and chunks, grubs, texas or mojo rigs out deep.
Smallmouth fishing has been spotty, more or less all season.
Look for them around the edges of the shallow structure like rock bars
or sand/rock transition areas. Tip: Fish will be deeper than you think
they should be in most cases. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits and small
white crankbaits can be dynamite, but drop shotting in 25-32 FOW will be a hot pattern this coming week. A great week to bust out the wading gear and look for fish in the isolated sections of the Bark or Oconomowoc rivers.
Pike fishing has been slow. A fair number of undersized fish are
being caught in the shallow and mid-depth areas. Spinners, buzzbaits or jerkbaits will produce, but I'd consider moving out
deeper and using live bait on a slip sinker rig, trying to connect with larger
active fish in 18-22 or 22-25 feet of water.
Musky should be moving during the full moon cycle this weekend, but the the best is yet to come. As the
water begins to cool, the action will pick up considerably over the next couple of weeks.