The unstable weather is
making patterning fish difficult from day to day, but the action is steady. If you get on a decent bite, you'll be able to work it...but working into a solid and stable pattern has been harder than is typical for this time of year.
Water is high 70's-low 80's. Weeds are a full summer bloom, and there's been a couple of baitfish hatches. It still seems like schools of baitfish have been harder to come by this year, but there's some decent bait out on the deeper structure and around the inside and outside weed edges. If asked, I would have to say fishing is about average for mid July.
Panfish have started to make the summer transition. There's still a few stragglers in the shallows (mostly green sunfish or warmouth) but the best fishing for keepers has been to find suspended fish. This week it seemed like the fish were 12-15' down over deeper water, but close to points or sharp tuns in the weedline. Vertical fishing while drifting or slip bobbers with leeches, helgramites or plastics tipped with wax or butterworms are your best approach for these fish, and my standard tip applies: if you're catching smaller fish out deep, get your bait down deeper. Looking for action fish with the kids...docks/swim platforms and overhanging trees are holding lots of potato chip sized fish right now. A small bobber, a #10 or #12 size hook (red of course) and live bait will catch as many as you can shake a stick at.
Bass are working traditional summer patterns, but the weather is
making patterning fish difficult from day to day. Docks, rockbars,
slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines have all been
producing. The most consistent bite for largemouth has been the inside and outside weed edges in 6-14
feet of water. If you can find a defined edge in 12-14 FOW---stop and fish it. The slop bite is on.. especially onmany of the smaller
lakes. The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are
being caught before 8a. Pop-R's with an orange or
red belly have been producing some nice schooling fish and Redfins and
jointed rapalas are catching some nice smallies. During my time on the water this week, I had to move with the fish...they were active and roaming early, then as the sun came up, they pulled tight to the docks and weededges. My tip, so much as it is a tip, is fish fast early, then slow down and get methodical around 8:30am. I'm still catching a ton of fish with downsized wacky rigs, ned rigs, and flapper grubs. My skirted craw bite, usually on fire right now, just isn't consistent yet...but it is putting some better fish in the boat. I'm staying with natural greens and pumpkin for colors for the most part, but black with just a little blue, or smoke with purple have also been pretty good.
If the bite is super tough...bust out the slip sinker rig with some leeches, chubs or small suckers and work the outside weededge...you'll put some fish in the boat.
Musky fishing continues to be very inconsistent. Some days have been
very good, some have been absolutely void of fish, with very little, or
any pattern to the days. The most active fish have come on deep divers,
gliders and large tubes fished along the deepest weedlines you can
find. 20 FOW seems to be magic this year, but the trollers working at night have been having the best luck. It just hasn't been consistent out there....but of course it is the middle of July.
Walleye action has been picking up, especially at either end of the day. The fish
are coming a little deeper this year...sometimes out to 35'. Leeches under slip bobbers
are catching fish in 12-15 feet, especially around weed/rock transition
areas. Suckers fished on a split shot rig have been taking some
better fish, especially in the late evenings. Weededges and sand
grass are the areas to key on, especially in 15-22 feet of water. Oconomowoc has been giving up some keepers in the evening, especially off the graded sand.
Pike action was a little slower this week. Best bet: Fish the weed flats and outside
edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits,
buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are producing for the action
seekers. Reapers, inline spinners and large jerkbaits are catching some
better fish, but the action has still been slow. I'd look for them around shallow, isolated clumps of weeds in shallow, or on weededges along points that stick into deep basin water.