A tale of two weeks this week. Monday and Tuesday...fishing was very tough, and I had to work hard to junk fish/scratch fish together. Wednesday was one of my best days in awhile and Thursday I was out with my Daughter and caught a solid batch of fish.
I heard similar reports from other anglers this week as well.
On a personal note...I still have some days available for guiding between now and the 4th of July, and I'd really like to fill those dates. This is very likely my last summer guiding in the local area (Professor Terry is heading to Minnesota) so if you've followed the blog or have wanted to see how I approach the local waters, Now is the time to email me about a guided trip.
Around the area, right now most
lakes are in the mid to high 70s. Weed growth varies from lake to lake,
but is about average for this point in the year.
There were some major baitfish hatches, and wolf packs of gamefish are on the hunt.
Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action,
areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but they've been heavily picked over. If you want some bigger
fish, move out to 9-15 feet of water and look for beds in gravel and
sandy areas. Vertical fishing with a split shot and live bait rig works
great, as does pulling a 1/8 ounce lindy rig with a short leader through
likely areas. (Try panfish leaches if you can find them, plastics tipped with waxworms or leafworms.)
Bass are into an early summer
pattern, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days
topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas,
especially weed patches (look for milfoil beds especially) on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water.
On sunny days, especially those with lots of wind, fish are tighter to
cover or using shallow sand and rock bars in 3-8 feet of water. Plastics,
flipped, skipped, pitched, wacky or texas rigged are great ways to
target these fish. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching some nice
fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas. Fish were in both deep and crazy shallow water this week. Ned rigs continue to put fish in my boat, but with the weeds up now, curl-tail grubs, pre-rigged worms, texas rigs, jig and chunks and even skirted grubs are producing. It seemed like the active fish were feeding higher in the column than is typical for this time of year so horizontal presentations or slow falling vertical were the best. (For me anyway!)
Pike fishing was fairly steady this week. Fish are feeding early and late, and the best way to find them is to find concentrations of baitfish, and then fish through those areas with a purpose. Active fish can come shallow, so look for shallow flats or weedy areas with easy access to deep water. The usual casting techniques will catch pike--spinners, lipless cranks, buzzbaits, spoons...but don't overlook a Husky Jerk, Shadow Rap, Floating Rapala or similar 3 hook jerkbait.
Walleye fishing has been slow and steady but much better on the windy days. Fish on Lac Labelle, Oconomowoc, North and Fox Lake are using shallow weed edges but with the brighter sun days ahead, if you
can find a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, sit on it. Jigging
with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been
productive Trolling with Shad Raps/Flicker Shads is picking up, as is typical for this
time of year....slower speeds over the deeper part of the basins
to be the trick. I didn't hear anything one way or the other on walleyes on either Nag or Pewaukee this week...so take my recommendation with that in mind.
Musky fishing continues to be about mid summer average. The larger fish have
started to move out to the breaks, but there's still a solid number of
fish patrolling the shallow water, feeding on schooled up panfish.
Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but
converting fish has been difficult. A few people are starting to troll
the deeper basins, but I had less positive reports this week than last week. Big tip: On the water observation this week clearly demonstrated a relationship to moon phase on musky activity. If you can, fish when the moon is down (ie set)...moon phase is certainly changing fish activity levels right now. I personally saw multiple active fish in the shallows chasing yellow perch and hatched out shiners even during mid-day this week.
Good Luck Out There!