Going to hit this a day early this week, I'm sure you won't mind.
Around the area, conditions have not changed radically. Weeds are starting to catch up, but are still way behind. Baitfish are starting to appear, but numbers appear to be down a bit this season. Gills are spawning, bass running a post spawn pattern...and water temps are in the mid to high 70's on most area lakes. Lots of anglers out targeting gills the last 10-12 days.
Personally I was on six local lakes this past week. The fishing was steady, but getting better as the week has gone on.
Note: Mayflies are hatching out right now...you might want to skip the walleye fishing for about a week. The hatch was so thick when I was out this morning, you could literally scoop handfuls of them out of the air. If you're out very early, you'll see them.
Bluegills moved onto their nests this past week in force. Amazing numbers of fish can be caught with simple rigs cast into shallow water near sand or gravel bottoms. Want action or heading out with the kids, fish can be caught in 1-4 FOW on most area lakes. If you're looking for keepers, you'll need to move out deeper and look for spawners in 8-15 FOW...again looking for the best action in sand or sand/gravel bottoms. For the shallow fish, a small jig, plastics or small (#10-#12 size hook) with live bait 12-18" under a bobber will catch as many as you can shake a stick at. If you want keepers, use a light slip sinker or split shot rig and drift over areas where gills are in the deeper water. (Try Silver, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays on Okauchee, small lake on Oconomowoc, Garvin,
Golden, Forest, Lower, (on fire) Middle and Upper
Gen, Ashipunn, School Section and Lower Nashotah)
Crappie People are catching some
nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers were still hard to come by. (typical post spawn as crappies move out to suspend in deeper water) I'd say stay focused on the gills for the next week to 10 days, but the usual approaches will work if you can find some fish. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10),
waxworms and plastics. (Try: Okauchee,
Garvin, Moose, Kessus, Golden and Pine.)
Largemouth Bass The post spawn blues are gone and bass fishing was crazy good this past week. Fish are still holding around spawning gills, but fish are schooled up and chasing bait. Fish are still shallow, but some of the bigger fish are starting to make a move to summer pattern. Plenty of action fish can be caught in 3-8 FOW on finesse plastics...the kid of stuff I preach...grubs, wacky, jigworms or small tubes, but slow down...the fish are active, but moving slower than I normally would put some extra fish in my boat this week. Topwater poppers or wake baits have been producing at either end of the day, but the morning bite has been winding up quick as the sun has gotten up. You may have to cover some water, but if you get one, there's usually more in the same spot. Fish will stack up on the flats during the day now, and you can scratch a few together by working that sort of pattern. You'll also find some fish near current areas and around (but not necessarily under) docks. I haven't seen a solid deep pattern yet, but things are sure to stabilize over the next 10 days or so. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Ashippun,
Lower Nashotah, Pine, Kessus, Pewaukee,
Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)
Smallmouth Bass fishing was still slow overall. Some fish on topwaters, some on finesse plastics, but nothing consistent. They do tend to gorge themselves on mayflies, so that maybe part of the story. Look for them early and late on
sand/rock transition areas
and target them with smaller poppers, minnow baits or soft jerkbaits. After the sun is up go with subsurface lures: tubes, skirted grubs or twister tail grubs. (Try:
Oconomowoc, North (Best Action this week), Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Beaver or the Oconomowoc River.)
Walleye fishing has been very tough. see my note above about the mayflies. You may want to target other species this week and I'll have an update next week.
Northern Pike and Musky reports were limited this week. I'm sure the fish are still biting, but with so many people out targeting gills, I just didn't get any solid information this week, and bass have been getting the lion's share of my attention personally.
Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water or if you want to chat about getting out. Email me here