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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fishing Report 7-20-17

Hey gang,

High water, see our earlier post, and unstable weather continue to dominate local fishing conditions. You need to check the launches at each lake each day to understand whether or not the lake is under a slow no wake provision. In many places, like Moose lake, the prohibition is long term, but in others the restriction is day to day.

Water temps are in the mid to high 70's on most lakes, but a few of the darker bottom lakes can creep in the low to mid 80's. Lots of the lakes have some dirty water from the current and on/off again rains we've had.

All of that said, fishing is about average for late July. Notable is that with the higher water (and faster current in many areas) there's a large quantity of active fish in relatively shallow water this season. That's been the quirk this year, and I'm sure it has alot to do with the conditions we've had since late May. As we move towards August you can continue to look for fish in the obvious usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photocycle become part of the fishing equation over the next month...and you can expect to see fish activity levels peak and ebb during each day.

Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for them to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend over deeper sandgrass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Action fish for the kids can still be found around swim platforms and many docks. Live bait rigs are great options as are small plastics tipped with live bait. As always, if you're on some fish but you keep coming up small, try to make your presentation deeper (ie lower) into the water column.

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On sunny days, you can find them around shallow docks, wood laydowns, slop and scattered weed clumps.  As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic. Deeper fish will continue to use weededges and points in 12-18 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish. Some fish are still being taken off the weedlines and off the weed flats by anglers flipping around heavy cover.

Smallmouth are starting the early fall pattern of making 3-5 active foraging moves each day and then suspending when not schooled up. When you are contacting active fish in shallow water, the bite can be incredible. Topwaters, including size 9 or 11 rapalas or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to plastics (wacky, jigworms, Ned rigs, grubs or tubes) when things are slower. After chasing them up shallow early, look for SM to be just off the first major break in deeper water. Some people are dropshotting out to 25FOW for SM, but most of the ones in my boat came in 6-12 FOW this week.

Walleyes will continue to hold in shallower weedy areas as the baitfish move in for their last spawns of the summer. For now jigging or backtrolling with live bait around weededges or drop-offs in either 6-9 or 12-18 feet of water is a good place to start. A few fish are appearing on mid-lake structure but many are staging off main-lake points, especially where there is bottom transitions from rock to sand or from sand to muck. Trolling with bottom bouncers and spinner harnesses or drifting with live bait rigs are great ways to target these fish.

Northern pike activity has been slow and steady all summer, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.

Musky reports have been slow, but a few fish are being caught early and late. For the next run, look for them to over weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water making for some great topwater or large bucktail action, or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite. Action will pick up considerably in the weeks ahead.

Good Luck and Cheers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fishing Report 7-15-17

Hey gang, sorry for the late report...I was up north fishing in the Eagle River area the last couple of days. The professor in me might make a point about how bad internet speed and access can be up there...but you're here for the fishing report.

High water remains the story. (Check out our previous post for more details) 

Around the area bass fishing has remained fairly steady. There's an topwater/shallow water early bite happening on most lakes up until about 8:30am. The fish are then moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can be targeted around overhanging cover or weed edges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is slow mid day, but picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, tubes, skirted grubs and shakey head worms. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged worms or tubes or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 25 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike fishing has been spotty. As is typical for this point in the season, shallow fish are still being caught on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits around shallow weed clumps on the flats in 5-10 FOW. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. 15-18 FOW seems to be the best for pike right now.

Walleye fishing has been steady as the rains have kept the current flowing and the water temps down. Walleye are using current areas as well as shallow weeds. Rigs, jigs and slip bobbers are catching fish, sometimes as shallow as 3 FOW, but look for a solid bite on weed edges or points in 8-12 FOW. Labelle has been very active the last 10-12 days if you're looking for some action...Oconomowoc has been giving up some keepers early and late.

Musky was still slow. Lots of lazy follows this season, especially on Okauchee or Pewaukee. A few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points where the weedlines touch the edges of the drop offs.

Good Luck.


High Water and Lake Access

Our local lakes continue to be very high.

Dick Smith's Live Bait and Tackle ( is circulating the follow status list.

As always, check at the launch or with the local enforcement arm.
Nagawicka- OPEN
Pine- OPEN
Okauchee- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Moose- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Golden- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Silver- OPEN
Beulah- OPEN, Slow No Wake
School Section- OPEN
Eagle Spring- OPEN
Rock Lake - OPEN
The Madison Chain OPEN
Big Muskego- OPEN
Little Muskego- OPEN
Denoon- OPEN 
Pike- OPEN
Oconomowoc- OPEN
Nemahbin- OPEN, Slow No Wake
Lower & Upper Nashotah - Slow No Wake
Ashippun- OPEN
Keesus- OPEN, Slow No Wake
LacLaBelle- OPEN
Fowler- OPEN
L. & M. Genesee - OPEN, Slow No Wake
Pewaukee- OPEN, Slow No Wake

Thursday, July 13, 2017

High Water and Slow No Wake Orders.

The recent rain and overall high water conditions have imposed emergency Slow No Wake Orders on many area lakes.

I am trying to confirm orders and post links but the fishing information grapevine has been active. Here's what I've heard so far:


I have to assume Oconomowoc and Lac Labelle have limits, but I have not yet heard or been able to confirm that.

As conditions change (or continue to maintain these water levels) you should check at the launch for a posting about speed/usage restrictions.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fishing Report 7-7-17

Hey gang,

Been a busy week with everyone in town for the holiday. As such I was on the water (on several lakes) the past 10 days.

Overall conditions haven't changed much. The water is extremely high on many area lakes. Water temps are mid to high 70's but go up and down with the rains. Weeds are about summer average, but the story there is the explosive growth of the milfoil this season. Lots of fish are using the beds of milfoil that have taken root in areas that didn't traditionally have weeds.

Panfish are done spawning. You may find a straggler or two, but the bulk of the fish are set-up for the remainder of summer. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are you best bets, but shady banks with sandy or gravel bottoms can hold some as well. Caught some decent ones under a tree this week when out with my kids one afternoon.

Looking for keepers? Crappie are on the deep weededges and suspending over cribs or humps in deeper water. Areas where a weed edge touches a drop off to much deeper water are especially good places to start. Sounded like the cooler temps brought them a little higher in the column than the last couple of weeks, but that may have been schools of baitfish as well. Bluegills are suspending over 35-45 FOW about 12-18' down. Slipbbobbers or tight-lining with live bait or plastics has been working, but drifting through the schools was the key element to success this past week.

Bass fishing has remained steady but you may have to work them a little for consistent success. There's an early bite happening on most lakes up until about 9am. Then fish are moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can also be targeted around overhanging cover or weededges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, (green and rootbeer have been a hot colors) tubes, skirted grubs, ned rigs and shaky head worms. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged plastics or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Crankbaiting deep weed points really took off this week as well. Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 22 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike continue to bite despite the inconsistent weather. As is typical for this point in the season, shallow fish are still being caught on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits around shallow weed clumps on the flats in 5-10 FOW. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. Trolling deep-diving crankbaits in natural or reflective patterns like Norman D22's, hot n tots, or wiggle warts around the weed edges has also been producing some fish. 18-22 FOW seems to be the hot zone for pike right now, but don't be surprised to find them out deeper.

Walleye fishing has picked back up. The wind during this last stretch has really pushed the walleye back into shallower water. If you're going to look for them, I'd start by trolling small minnow baits around the ends of deep points and midlake bars trying to find some suspended fish, or back troll (slowly) around deep weed edges in 18-22 fow with live bait. Once you have them located, set up and jig for them vertically. I caught walleyes in as shallow as 6 and as deep as 22 FOW this week.

Catfishing on the Rock and Fox has been decent, but most of the fish that are being caught are a little smaller. You want a meal...its a great option, if you're looking to do battle with a monster, you might want to wait a bit. Cutbait has been outproducing stink bait or nightcrawlers, just know the water is very high, very dirty and very'll need to be precise with a presentation, and use a very heavy rig to keep contact with it.

Musky fishing has picked up a bit, especially early and late when people have been putting in the time. Most of the fish are being caught while trolling deep edges and over deep flat structure in 22-45 fow, but a few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them suspended around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points.

Good Luck.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

200,000+ Page Views

This site recently passed 200,00 page views.

 Not bad for a little tiny fishing report blog that covers a handful of lakes in SE Wisconsin.

Thanks for checking in. I hope the posts help you while you're on the water.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fishing Report 6-29-17 (Holiday Weekend)

Long weekend ahead. Expect lots of people on the water, assuming the rains don't keep them away. Our last 10 days has seen some crazy late June weather  Around the area...water temps are in the low to mid 70's after the cooler nights and several days of heavy rain. Water levels are very high around the area. Weed growth is about average for this time of year. Lots of baitfish are swimming around, with hatches on pin minnows and panfish over the last 10 days.

Importantly: Remember that the photo cycle is starting to shrink, but that the sun is at its most direct over the next couple of weeks. You can really increase your success by fishing early mornings, evenings and if you can stand the bugs, at night. (It also helps with the boat traffic.)

Panfish Looking for action for the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms.  I recommend a size 10 red hook and wax worms.

A few fish are still spawning, but I saw hatched bluegill fry swimming around (and being fed on) on Golden Lake when out there today. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically.

Look for gills to be suspending about 10-12 feet down over 18-25 FOW or 12-18 over 30-45 FOW. If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Crappie are suspending over deep water, and along weed edges, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools.

Largemouth bass are catchable in a variety of ways. Look for them in inside weed edges in 4-6 FOW and the outside edges in 8-15 FOW. These fish can be caught on a variety of tackle: spinnerbaits, crankbaits, texas rigs, wacky worms, shakey heads, skirted grubs and tubes.  Looking for some real fun? Topwaters are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 8am.

Smallmouth bass fishing was below average this past week. Fish are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day. Most fish are holding on the deep side of breaks or suspending off mainlake structure, coming in briefly to forage. Skirted grubs, twister tails, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working in the deep sand in 18-25 feet.

Walleye fishing has been slow. Anglers putting in time are catching a fish, although keepers have been hard to come by. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass/milfoil patches. Slip bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker  rig has been producing the larger fish. Fishing over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala minnows or twister tail grubs is grabbing a few as well, especially during low light conditions.

Pike fishing picked up substantially with the unstable weather. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish. Fish with willow leaf spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike were hard to come by according to most reports, but if you want to chase them, try the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or troll with deep diving crankbaits as close to the weedline as you can.

Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so consider keeping a smaller sucker out.

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-15 FOW. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish as the spawn is largely over, but look for them to be schooled up at the end of points over deeper water. Water is very high, and areas with current are productive. Tip: (Imagine what the lake looked like before it was flooded.)

Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers. Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Musky are still using the treeline break and suspending off the south drop. Bass are using the shallow flat areas. Pike are on the deep weedlines and suspending over the deeper water. Tip: (The channel is deeper than average with the high water, but watch the sides of the channel entrance, there's lots of rebar sticking out.)

Oconomowoc: Smallmouth fishing has slowed way down this season, but Largemouth fishing has been fantastic.. Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points. Northern pike and walleye fishing has been best for anglers using small suckers catching the majority of the fish.  Tip: (Keep moving deeper until you find fish)

Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines. There's still a few stocked trout swimming around the edges of the deep water.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are still holding fish as are drop-offs in 18-25 FOW. Bass are on the rocks, rip rap and around the docks. Tip: Look for current.

Moose:  Bass and pike have been a little slow, especially for keepers. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Backtrolling with small suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep water. Mornings have been better.  Plenty of easy to catch, albeit small, panfish in the shallows for the kids to have some fun. Entire lake is under a slow no-wake limitation, so its a great place for smaller boats or kayaks.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is close to average for this time of year. Best bet on Ashipunn is to concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Flipping tubes, lizards or long straight tailed worms to visible weed pockets is producing numbers. Panfish are mostly off the beds and are suspending right off the deep weed edge. They were very high in the water column when I was out there on Monday.

Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending over the deep part of the basin, but holding close to weed edges adjacent to deeper water. Crappie are in huge schools suspending off the points and weed edges. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up, especially in the afternoon.. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished through the weedy areas.

Silver:  Bass can be caught using plastics around the weed clumps in 4-15 feet or around piers and boat lifts. Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW. Some anglers are targeting larger panfish in 25-30 FOW.

Nagawicka: Largemouths are average, and in summer patterns so look to catch them off boat docks, in the slop and along the shallow weed edges. One report has the gills still spawning, but only in the deeper sand. Pike have been average, especially on crankbaits or buzzbaits fished over weed edges at either end of the lake.

Kessus: Bass have been good, and are on the gravel, under docks/pontoons and on the points. Pike are actively feeding on young of the year bluegills.

Pewaukee:Bass have been very good, Musky anglers are seeing, but not catching, many fish.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leeches or leafworms  has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle.

In town for the holiday? Want to get out? I have some openings next week. Call (262-893-2183) or Email Me for more information

Good luck, and stay safe on the water this holiday weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fishing Report 6-23-17

Hey gang,

I was "professoring" a good chunk of this past week, so I wasn't out as much as I have grain of salt on this report which is assembled from my usual sources, but lacks some my usual contributions/observations. When assembling this information, I just like to be up front about what you're seeing.

It sounds like dishing has been hit or miss the last week as fish have been feeding during blocks of time each day. If you're on them when they feed, the fishing has been good, but this run of unstable weather has made them very hard to pattern. A glance through my fishing logs suggests that this (unstable weather fishing pattern) is actually pretty common for late June.

Right now most lakes are in the mid to high 70s, but the rains this week have made it a crapshoot. Areas where there's drainage into the lakes (springs, creeks, river channels) may be on the cooler side. Weed growth varies from lake to lake, but is about average for this point in the year. (It really caught up during that sunny/hot weather spree we had about 10-12 days ago.)

A few of the lakes with muddy/silted areas are starting to see a significant algae bloom. Check out this Blogpost from UW-Madison on the blue-green algae bloom on Mendota.

Bass: Fish are setting up on summer patterns, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days when its not raining cats and dogs, topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially on isolated weed patches 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 rock bars in 3-8 feet of water.  When there's steady wind, drifting and casting grubs/jigworms on the flats can really produce. When the wind lies down, texas rigs or jig/chunk combos fished along the transitions of points will put fish in the boat. The action lakes are all rolling right now (Ashippun,  Beaver, Silver, Moose, School Section) and the lakes with better fish (Okauchee, Pewaukee, Nag, North and Oconomowoc) have been steady. Don't be afraid to slow down and really fish an area through to find a little better success. Note: Everything I heard this week was largemouth...nothing on the smallies, at all.

Pike fishing has been steady, with a fair number of quality fish coming in during the unstable weather. (Again, something the log shows over the years) The number one way to catch bigger pike right now is a small sucker or medium to large shiner (biggest ones you can find, but keep them cool) on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of weeds and you'll find some fish. Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, jerkbaits and spinner baits are also producing, especially in the shallow water, with prop-baits producing before first light or after dark.

Musky fishing continues to be slower than average for this time of year. My guess is that the fish are starting to set up out deep and that people just haven't gotten on them.  Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but converting fish has been difficult. Topwater produced a few fish when the moon was down during low light conditions, but the largest fish I heard a personal report on this week was 38".

Walleye fishing has much better on the windy days or after dark. Fish  are still using shallow weeds and weed edges. If you can find fish on a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, work it, multiple ways. Jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive, but in low light conditions, minnow baits in the weed tops has produced. Casting with grubs and ringworms put some fish in the boat for a few folks this week, but mainly in areas with sand adjacent to current.

Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action, a few areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but 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 or leafworms). A few fish are starting to school up in deeper water, and you can find them off mainlake points, suspended 12-18 feet down over much deeper (30-50 FOW)

Trout- I was surprised to get a report on stocked trout from one of my contacts, as the bulk of the fish are usually fished out by this point in the season. The information, which came in ahead of the storms on Thursday suggested there still lots of fish in a couple of the local lakes, and that with the recent bug hatches, those fish were really active along the depth transitions.

Good Luck,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fishing Report 6-19-17

Hey gang,

I'm on my way to the Twin Cities to do some professor-ing things this week, but I'll be back on the water by Friday. Around the area conditions are starting to stabilize into summer patterns. Water temps are in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes. Water is still very high, and areas with current can have some fast moving water in them.

Panfish are close to done spawning on most of the lakes. You may find some stragglers here and there, but the bulk of the nesting activity is over and there's lots of freshy hatched fry swimming around. The next week will be transition time and you should start looking for (keeper) panfish suspending off the ends of points or along the deep weedlines. 12 feet down over 15-22 FOW is a good starting point. I like to fish vertically for these fish, although slip bobbers can really produce. If you're on fish, but they're running small, try getting you bait a foot-18 inches deeper...the bigger fish are traditionally at the bottom of the school.

Largemouth Bass fishing has been about average. The shallow fish are moving into traditional spots: slop, docks and shallow rockbars and the larger fish are recovered from the spawn. On bright sunny days, fish tight to cover...flipping into weed pockets, or texas rigs on deep weed edges can really produce. Isolated patches of weeds along depth transtions are still holding lots of fish. On the windy days, try crankbaits or spinner baits on edges or transition areas in 8-12 or 12-15 FOW. Downsizing is still a solid bet as are natural colors (browns, pumpkins and greens) for your plastics.

Smallmouth are biting, but the bite seems a little inconsistent by most reports. Some days you can knock them dead, some days they have been a little scarce. Stick to the plan...look for them on top of mainlake structure and points early and late, and look for them in deeper water during the main part of the day. Grubs, jigworms and tubes...but don't overlook dropshotting along the edges of sand/rock transitions in 8-12 FOW.

Northern Pike continue to bite. Shallow fish are actively chasing buzzbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, especially on the shallow-flat areas with scattered weeds. Out deep, slip-sinker rigs with small suckers or the biggest shiners have been red hot for larger fish.  If you want action, look for scattered weed clumps on flat areas in the shallows...out deep you'll need to find some baitfish near a weed edge or hump to have consistent success.

Walleye fishing has slowed down as the fish have starting moving out deeper. If you've been catching eyes at one depth, look for them in the same areas but at the next major depth contour. Deep weeds seem to be key, but a few people have been catching them off of deeper sand. On the cloudy, cooler days, rip-jigging, lindy/split shot rigs or slip bobbers can catch some out of weeds in 8-12 FOW.

Musky fishing has been pretty good. Bucktails are catching/raising some decent fish along mid-depth weed breaks while crankbaits/jerkbaits are raising some fish off the first deep break. Topwater is turning on, especially during low light periods and when the moon is down. Look for fish around shallow rocks that have an solid inside weed transition immediately adjacent to it.

Talk to you next weekend. Be safe and catch some fish this week!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fishing Report 6-14-2017

First off, some administrative things.

I will post an updated report on Monday, then another later in the week, but the report later in the week will be based on the reports I collect each week rather than my on the water observations.

Disclaimer: I have been fishing North Lake all week. I have been out everyday, but my personal observations this week are based on one lake plus my usual assimilation of reports from the other folks I communicate with.  North is similar to many of our area lakes, but it does have some significant grain of salt and all.

Panfish: Crappie have moved out and are in the tops/adjacent to weeds in 8-15 FOW. Everything I heard this week suggests that the fish are relatively high in the water column. Meanwhile, bluegills are still spawning on most lakes but there's been lots of reports of people struggling to find larger fish. I'd propose that most people are fishing way too shallow for the keepers. Look for keepers in deeper sand in 12-18 FOW. Slip bobbers are a great way to target these deeper fish, but don't over look a heavy split shot rig or a 1/8 oz lindy rig with a #10 red hook and a panfish leech. I like to drag this setup.

Bass: Largemouths starting to move out deep, but are also starting to use docks, pontoons and slop. Early mornings the topwater bite was a little tough this week, but the mid morning bite (6-8am) was been steady. Wacky, jig and chunk, flapper grubs and skirted grubs up shallow....jigworms, dropshot and cranks are working out deep.

Lots of fish are using mid depth patches of milfoil, especially after the sun comes up. You can work grubs, jig and chunks or ned rigs through this sparse grass with a little effort. It has been the most consistent pattern for me this week.The fish seem to be up and chasing some smaller baitfish, ambushing bait that swims over them.

Smallmouth bite was steady, but fish have been mixed in with the largemouths, so it was hard to pattern them separately. Morning has been best as fish come up onto shallow areas to feed, but you can get at them in deeper water with texas or carolina rigs and with a dropshot or tube bait. If you don't see baitfish in an area, move to another. Best bet is just to fish "for bass" and catch the mixed bags.

Walleye have been moving in and out of the shallow weeds. Slow trolling/drifting with lindy rigs or  jigging with large/jumbo leeches has been productive, but early and late grubs, swimbaits, ringworms or floating minnowbaits fished along weed edges/in the tops of weeds has been producing. Shallow fish have been tight to weeds, but on both the inside and outside edges.

Pike fishing has been slow but steady. Typical action for this time of year...shallow weeds holding smaller fish that can be taken by casting lipless crankbaits, buzz baits or spinner baits. Looking for something bigger? Head out deep, (12-18 FOW) and use live bait (small suckers or large/jumbo shiners) on a slip sinker rig.

Musky I heard several reports that musky fishing picked up this week, with some better high 30" to low 40" fish being caught. I was surprised to hear this with the heat followed by unstable conditions, but there was something in the air this week apparently. Topwater seemed to be productive, but also heard that 3 quality fish were taken on shallow running jointed baits (ie Shallow Raiders). Note: all of this info is second or even third hand this week, but there was some chatter.

See you Monday,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fishing Report 6-8-2017

Hey gang,

I've been out a bunch again this week. Conditions are starting to stabilize on our local lakes. Water temps are in the low to mid 70's. There's been significant weed growth over the last 10 days. Water is still very high, especially on the smaller lakes. A couple have speed restrictions in place, so make sure to check the signs at the launch before you head out.

Bluegills are spawning on most area lakes. There's lots of nests in the shallows, but the better panfish are being caught out of the deeper sand. Look for them shallow, but if you want some better sized keepers, find sand/gravel areas in 8-15 feet, and fish for them vertically with light lindy or split shot rigs baited with panfish leeches.

Crappie are moving out to weedlines. You can find them suspended in the tops of standing green weeds (especially milfoil patches) or along any weedlines you can find.

Bass are starting to settle into their summer patterns, anglers are catching fish both out of both shallow (2-6 FOW) and deep water (10-15 FOW). Docks, rockbars, slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines all have (some) active fish. Largemouth have been active around isolated weed clumps in 6-12 feet of water.The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8am over flat areas adjacent to deep water, especially areas with small patches of weeds. Pop-R's have been producing some nice schooling fish, and grubs, jigworms, jig/chunk combos and wacky worms are all producing shallow...texas rigs and drop shots are turning on deep.

Musky fishing has been very inconsistent. Struggling to find them in shallow water, active fish have come been caught on topwaters around mainlake points and on deep divers and tubes fished along the deepest weed edges you can find.

Walleye action has been about average with the bite fluctuating day to day with the weather shifts.  There was a significant hatch of mayflies this past week, and that always slows the bite some. Jigging and rigging along the 8-12 FOW weedges has been working when the fish are active. Leeches under slip bobbers are catching fish in 8-15 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 10-15 feet of water. If you're fishing after dark, floating rapalas and smaller swimbaits are catch fish out of shallow areas with current.

Pike action has been slow and steady. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are really producing for the action seekers. Reapers and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish, but the action has been very slow.

Good luck and be safe out there.


Friday, June 2, 2017

This weekend (Free Fishing Weekend)

Looking for the current fishing report? Click Here.

Looking for a rundown of local Free Fishing Weekend activities? Click Here


Thursday, June 1, 2017

What's happening!

1.) June 3-4th is the annual Free Fishing Weekend

Waukesha County Events:

2.) American Legion Post 166 is having its 4th annual multispecies fishing derby this Saturday:

3.) Tournaments!

Okauchee has a pair of tournaments scheduled for Saturday: WABTA (Bass) and Quad-graphics (Multispecies) (Details)

Pewaukee has a Multispecies tournament on Saturday (Details)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guiding Opportunties

Hey gang,

A couple things for your attention.

1.) I'm running my usual special (20% off) on pre-paid trips as a present for Father's Day. Need a gift for dad?...Why not give him the gift of time (on the water)? Spend some time with Dad/Grandpa (and Me) fishing a local lake!!!  Email me for the details.

2.) I have 3 openings the week of June 12th for half day (6 hour) trips on "Lake X." Lake X is a local lake with extremely limited access. As a result, the fishing on Lake X is usually much better than average, and I've had some of my best days out there right at this time of year. This might be your last opportunity to fish the lake before the public don't want to miss out.

I don't want to say too much here, but if you're interested in learning more about this special opportunity, email me right away...there's only three half days available.

Fishing Report 5-31-17

I have been on the water quite a bit since the last report. Inconsistent is my new favorite word.

Yesterday and today were great examples. Yesterday (5-30) out on Okauchee and could do no wrong. 6am-2pm. Worked some shallow rocks and drifted some flats. Moved around to hit more spots, but caught fish everywhere we fished. Didn't keep a good count, but easily 25+ LM plus some rockbass. Some decent fish, but nothing north of 17.5. Some solid keepers in there...they are definitely on the feed. Action was steady throughout the day. No complaining about how the day went, but just couldn't find any of the larger fish today.  Nothing fancy: Wacky (including my new slingshot rig), Ned Rigs and Chompers Skirted Grubs on the rocks plus jigworms on the flats.

Today (5-31): spent some time this morning upgrading my electronics then headed over to Moose mid morning. Caught some fish...but it was slow and we had to grind to get them to bite. Not sure what was wrong, but couldn't get anything steady working out there. I know its the post spawn for the bass, but even the pike were a little sketchy today.

Everyone has good days and bad days...but I'll tell you, when its been on, it has been great...on the other days, I'm putting fish in the boat, but I'm grinding for them. The better part of consistent fishing is patterning fish....and it has been difficult to do it day to day.

Water temps are in the low to mid 60's in mainlake areas, mid to upper 60's in the protected bays/ dark bottom areas. Weed are starting to show up, but we're just a couple weeks out from the photocycle shift, and there's not much to talk about. Notably, I'm not catching solid numbers working weed patterns right now. Water is still very high, and some of the lakes have speed restrictions....make sure to check the sign before you head out.

Panfish bluegills are staging for the spawning process. Crappies are at the end of the run, (saw some dark ones near some brush the last couple of days) but the bluegills are just getting started. I'm starting to see some beds in the shallow water, especially in areas of sand or small gravel, but these tend to be the smaller fish. If you're looking for decent keepers, you need to look for those fish in 12-15 FOW. They are hard to find with the eye but a good starting point is the deeper water adjacent to areas where you see beds in the shallow water. Rock Bass have been biting like crazy everywhere, and could be a solid option if you're heading out with the kids.(Best bets: Middle Genessee, Lower Nehmabin, Nagawicka, Okauchee, Garvin, Keesus, School Section)

Largemouth are at the end of the spawn. You may still find a few fish on nests, but many are defending fry or starting to feed on juvenile bluegills. Most fish are patrolling shallow flat areas or are feeding hard around rockpiles and roadbeds. Look for them around scattered weeds or near where bluegills are starting to spawn. This is topwater season, and poppers, jointed floating minnows and smaller walk the dog baits (spooks) can really produce. As the sun gets high, look for fish around docks and in first deep water adjacent to longer points. Wacky, Jigworms, Jig/chunk, Skirted grubs, pre-rigged worms, Texas rigs and Sliders will all catch fish. (North, Keesus, Okauchee, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Golden, Forest, Silver, Ashippun.)

Smallmouth are also approaching the end of the spawning process. Lots of fish are in small wolfpack schools, patrolling shallow bars, points and drops with rock/weed transitions. Tubes, grubs, soft jerkbaits, topwater and live leeches or small suckers on lindy rigs are producing. (Pine, Oconomwoc, Lac Labelle, Nag, Upper and Lower Nehmabin, Beaver and North)

Northern pike are making move out to the deeper weed edges. Look for them in 10-15 or 12-18 FOW. Live bait on slip sinker rigs is always the most consistent approach for larger pike. If you're looking for faster action...square bill or lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, spoons, oversized grubs, Husky Jerks or spinners fished around shallow weeds, especially in flat areas will all produce. (Pretty, Golden, Kessus, Fowler, Okauchee)

Walleye are using mid-depth weeds in 8-15 FOW. Pitching jigs tipped with live bait into the holes on the weed edges or ends of weedlines has been very productive. Back trolling lindy rigs or pulling spinner harnesses along th 12-18 FOW transition is producing some keepers. (Pine, Nagawicka, Oconomowoc, North, Fowler, Lac Labelle).

Trout Stocked Trout fishing has still been good on many of the local lakes that got fish. The cooler weather and rain has pushed many of the fish deeper than they have been.

Musky fishing has been fairly slow. Reports suggest Pewaukee has been slow, and Okauchee is giving up a few smaller fish. Oconomowoc has been the most consistent. Gliders and bucktails have been the most productive daytime, with topwater giving up a few fish at dawn or just after the sun sets.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend (2017) Fishing Report

Thank a vet this weekend. (Hell, thank one every weekend).

The story of the weekend will be unstable weather:'s local forecast for the holiday weekend:

That's some nicer weather mixed in with some unstable conditions. That could make fish hard to pattern, and you should be ready to adapt on the fly while out for the next couple of days. Overall, water temps are in the high 50's to low 60's in mainlake areas and to low to mid 60's in the shallower protected areas. Current areas are still flowing very fast and strong, weedgrowth is far behind normal for this time of the season. A few Mayfly hatches have started.

Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water, but there's still plenty of keepers schooled up along the first deep break.. A few nests are starting to appear in the traditional sandy and gravel areas. Look for fish around woods or docks in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up this weekend. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will have fish, as will isolated patches of weeds in 8-12 FOW. Waxworms,  redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin ( red hot!), Golden, Nag, Upper and Middle Genessee, School Section, Ashipunn, Pretty, Phantom and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been slow. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Some fish have spawned, but a few are still hanging around shallow wood and reeds in the usual areas. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. Lots of fish are in small areas, so move until you find fish, and then set-up on them. (Try: Okauchee (especially the North Flat, Bay Five and the Crane's Nest), Garvin (North End), Kessus, Nagawicka (Channels), Golden, Silver, and Pine.

Largemouth bass are post spawn (for the most part) and fishing was inconsistent this past week. The weather kept lots of people off the water. Depending on who you talk with, people are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, but a few fish are still being caught off the open areas on flats with scattered weeds. It might be hard to consistently find bigger fish, but on warm afternoons, especially just ahead of the fronts that are set to come through this weekend, the action could be good in short spurts. Rocks will hold fish throughout the day, but you might need to move around and let fish reset on them. Drifiting/casting shallow flats will produce a mixed bag of fish that are done spawning and areas that having spawning gills in the shallows will also have LM nearby. What to throw: Shallow water presentations like jig and chunk or craw, wacky, texas rigged lizards, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits will all catch fish right now, but don't overlook smaller topwater presentations. Live bait, nightcrawlers, leeches, large shiners or small suckers are your best bet. (Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Lake Five, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Kessus Nagawicka, Silver, Golden, Fox or Emily)

Smallmouth bass have been active, but are in the process of finishing the spawn. Rock structure, scattered weeds on sand and major points are all holding fish. Expect them to be a little spooky, especially in the shallow water on sunny days. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. (Try: Oconomwoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Nags, Pewaukee, North!, Lower Nashotah and the Nemahbin Lakes.)

Walleye have been active, with some keepers being caught in 8-12 feet of water. Slip bobbers, Jig and minnow, jig and leech, and split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or small suckers have been the best way to target eyes. In the evening, a few anglers are catching fish by working minnow baits (floating rapalas or rouges) over isolated weed clumps. This weekend should be red hot for walleyes, especially in the evenings, assuming the weather cooperates. (Try: Oconomowoc, Nags, North, Pine, (For Keepers), Lac Labelle, Pewaukee and Fox (for action))

Northern Pike fishing has picked up some and pike might be your best option for some steady action this holiday weekend with the unstable weather. Spinnerbaits, spoons, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, or suspending jerkbaits (like size 11 Husky Jerks or Rouges) are catching fish around shallow weed clumps, or at the edges of coves and marshy areas. If chasing pike with live bait, look for them in 6-12 feet, using small suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or the largest shiner's you can find on a balloon rig around the deeper reeds in a marshy area. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Pine, Fowler (On Fire), Golden, School Section, Emily)

Musky Fishing has been slow, but steady. There are lots of fish in the shallow water chasing, and a few are even being caught on topwaters, but the most consistent action has been coming in 8-15 FOW around the transition areas of mainlake structure. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are required on every cast. Gold blade or orange blades with black skirt seems to be the color of the season, but chartruese/copper combos have also been catching some. (Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle)

Around the area: Fishing on the Rock River has picked up again, and anglers are still catching a few whitebass south of Ft Atkinson, and catfish between the Jefferson Dam and the mouth. The action has been good when its on, awful when its not. Note that the water below Jefferson Dam is very high and very fast.

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email or call me.

Have a great (and safe) holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fishing Report 5-18-17

Hey gang,

I was on the water Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week (writing this Thursday evening.) Spent some time on 6 lakes (Okauchee, Lower Gen, Oconomowoc, Moose, Ashippun and Lac Labelle) during this week.

I'd say conditions are mixed. Water temps have creeped into the mid 60's, but the cold snap that's about to set in might have something to say about that. Weeds are WAY behind this season. Baitfish concentrations are smaller than average for this time of year.

For was a challenging, but not impossible, week on the water. I put plenty of fish in the boat, but there was some scratching and junk fishing to make it happen. Had my Dad with me for part of a couple of days, and so I was able to do some out of the box things to get on some fish. Bottom line...I worked for fish I caught this week. I heard similar reports from some of the other folks I talked to this week.

Here's what's happening:

Panfish-   Bluegills are staging to come in to spawn. This means you can find them scattered at multiple depths. You'll certainly find some starting to move shallow, but the better fish will be a few feet down over deeper water off the first break. Saw some solid bars of them on my graph while on Moose and Ashippun right where the drop off into 15 FOW was. Smaller is better for fishing jigs, DS panfish Grubs or #10 or #12 red hooks tipped with live bait.

Crappies have moved off the shallow wood and reeds and are starting to school up over deeper brushpiles or cribs. You may find some stragglers around the shallow wood, but the bulk of the fish have moved out. Look for fish to suspend 5-8' down over deeper water, or near the bottom in areas with current and green weeds. Tail-hooked minnows under slip bobbers is a solid presentation option, but if you can get over a school tight-lining with a small skirted or tube jig can really produce.

Bass-  You'll find fish in all stages of the spawn this weekend. There's lots of smaller males on nests along the banks, but if you're looking for bigger fish, you're probably going to be fishing for post-spawners. Look for them in the deeper water around shallow points, or in areas with rock or current. Bonus points for an area with all three. Mainlake rock bars or roadbeds will hold some active fish, but you'll also be able to connect with some schooled up fish on the flats. Start in the open with smaller topwaters (Pop-R's or #11 Floating Rapalas) or squarebilled or lipless crankbaits, then as the sun gets up, switch to skirted grubs, jig and chunks, wacky, sliders or ned rigs and polish those rocks. You'll have to fish slow and deliberately until the warmer weather returns. Fish will shrink tight to cover over the weekend, then get active. Should be good by Monday and stay great for a week to 10 days.

Pike- I struggled for consistency this week, with patterns hard to come by, but one thing that was working was pike. Pike (including bigger ones) are shallow, and actively feeding. The lack of weed growth has pushed them into marshy areas, and you can target them with the usual lipless crankbait, inline spinnerbait and buzzbait trio. If you find some larger fish up shallow, a larger Husky Jerk or floating minnowbait can really draw some solid strikes. Live bait options: Smaller suckers or large shiners on a ballon rig pitched into areas where reeds are growing will produce.

Walleye- I didn't hear much from other people this week, but what I did hear reflected what we saw on the water earlier today. The eyes are up shallow and feeding aggressively. We caught the bulk of our fish in 6-10 FOW. Jigging shallow rocks or rock weed transitions can really produce, but drifting with live bait/slip sinker rigs is a solid approach. If you hit a fish, slow down and work the immediate area through as there's likely more fish in the same spot.

Musky- I've got nothing specific for you this week. Heading out: My advice is to pay attention to the moon phases, and don't be afraid to work those first deep breaks. Topwater bite should be turning on, and as the days get longer....don't overlook that evening bucktail bite.

Trout- The stocked trout bite continued to be good this week. Lakes that got trout are still giving up solid bags of them, and this is a great option for 1.)Kids and 2.)The dinner table. Look for them in deeper water, but just a few feet under the surface. Slipbobbers with small minnows, corn or waxworms will catch them. I saw one guy fly-fishing in waders this week...he looked like he was having a grand time.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Okauchee WABTA

Update: I posted the 2016 Results: Here's the link to the results from Sunday

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fishing Report 5-11-17

Hey gang,

I was out multiple times this week. Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the 50's to low 60's) and protected bays (in the mid 60's) on area lakes. Water is high pretty much everywhere in the local area, so there's lots of current in areas with moving water. The big news is that weed growth is way behind average, which means if you find can some good weeds, fish them!

Musky fishing has been slow by most reports. Lots of anglers are working a shallow pattern. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weedclumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish may be using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water in areas where some new green weeds have started. Most positive reports I heard back this week were with people using downsized baits, but heard reports of plenty of lazy follows--so watch those figure eights closely.

Best bets: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, and Fowler.

Northern Pike have been using the shallow flats where there is new weeds. Anglers targeting bass have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Some of the larger pike are using the deep weedlines in 12-18 feet. Spinnerbaits,small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating rapalas and buzzbaits will all catch fish in the shallow water when fished around submergent green weeds. Large shiners or small to medium sized suckers suspended underneath a float, longlined on a split shot rig, or fished deep on a slip-sinker setup are your best options for live bait.

Best Bets: Nagawicka, Golden, Okauchee, Fowler, Moose.

Walleye have been active. Some fish are patrolling the shallows in the morning and evening hours, but the bulk of the fish are holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Crankbaits like rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait has been the best approach. Slow and steady have been the operative words. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup have been the most consistent producers. A few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations. Should be a great weekend for fishing in the evenings with floating minnow bait around any mid-depth structure or weeds.

Best Bets: Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Lac Labelle, North, the Nehmabins and Fox Lake.

Largemouth Bass  First wave spawning areas have fish on nests but patterning the larger females was inconsistent. Shallow flats outside of the spawning coves still have lots of smaller but schooling fish and remember in areas with consistent depth, not all of the nests will be on the bank. Saw lots of people beating banks when there were active fish on the flats nearby. Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding the most fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Nightcralwers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few nice fish. Pro-Tip: Downsizing put some quality fish in the boat for me this week.

Best Bets: Okauchee, Golden, Keesus, Pine, Nagawicka, Buelah, Moose, Eagle Springs.

Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny days. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish who are foraging for craws. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern have all caught fish.

Best Bets: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Nagawicka, Lower Nehmabin, Beaver.

Crappie Look for them around shallow cover in 2-8 feet of water. Tight-lining over deeper wood or weeds in 8-12 feet has also been effective on some lakes. Tail-hooked fatheads, plastics or hair jigs tipped with a waxworm and rosie reds are your best live bait options for crappies. Strike zones have been relatively small, so try to make accurate casts when setting up your presentations.

Best Bets: Pine, Okauchee, Kessus, Golden, Garvin, Ashippun, Lake Five.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but the better sized fish have still been coming from anglers targeting them in a little deeper water. Shallow fish will be near sandy bottom areas with scattered weed growth, but if you just want the kids to catch a few fish, try fishing around any piers that are in the water adjacent to deeper water (6-10 feet). If you want to target eating size gills, tightline vertically while drifting along weedlines in deeper water (as deep as 22 feet), look for schools on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water on in shallow areas with current. Plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.

Best Bets: Golden, Silver, Garvin, Lower Nashotah, Forest, Upper and Lower Phantom, Ashippun, Upper Geneessee and Lake Five.

Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cutbait, stinkbait and nightcrawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some better sized keepers. The area between Watertown and the Jefferson Dam has been giving up fish the last few weeks, but if you're heading out, note that the water is still pretty high and fast on the river.

Trout:  The local lakes stocked with trout were solid producers during the first week. Opening weekend was busy, but pressure dropped way off during the weekedays. There's lots of small schools of trout swimming around, but the fish that were biting (for me) were running the drop offs. Gold ice fishing jigs tipped with live bait was the best option when I was on the water, but the fish were still a little spooky, and we did better tightlining than with bobbers.

Good Luck Out There.
Chris Terry

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 Gamefish Season Preview

Here's what to expect when you hit the water for the opener.

1.) Water temps in the low to mid 50's. Nighttime temperatures will dictate most of what happens next weekend.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and very few piers are in. Water is high in many areas.

3.) Live bait, fished slowly is going to be a great way to kick off the season. I'd fish for pike or walleye and wait until the weather stabilizes a bit if you want to target bass.

Shallow dark bottom bays will be where most of the action is on Saturday. Live bait will be a key presentation option. Targeting Musky, Pike and Walleye will be more productive than chasing bass in the morning. Sunday's weather looks a little better, and if the sun comes out, the later afternoon bite could really pick up.

My post on local highlights of the 2017 DNR fishing preview is here. There's information on several local lakes and includes picks for panfish, bass, walleye and musky fishing opportunities this year.

Panfish: Crappies and Bluegills have transitioned into shallow water, and the bite has been steady on the sunny or warmer afternoons. Primary pattern working for keepers is to find the schools that are relating to weed clumps in shallow water.

Newer, green weeds, reeds or small wood laydowns are attracting the most fish right now. For crappies try small fuzzy jigs tipped with waxworms, small fatheads or rosie reds. Bluegills have been biting on plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, as well as redworms, leafworms or pieces of nightcrawler. If the bite is tough, downsize your presentation to an ice fishing jig or #10 or #12 red hook, and keep the bait above the fish (this is key for a tough bite!)

Hot tip: Sunken trees and cribs in deeper water that is close to a shallow drop will holder better size fish right now.

Best Lakes For Panfish: Ashippun, Silver, Kessus Buelah, Golden, the Genessee lakes, Lake Five, Okauchee (Bay Five, the Channel, Icehouse and Stumpy Bay), Garvin and the Nehmabins.

Trout: Stocked trout fishing is always very popular for opening weekend. Here's a an earlier post on the stocking of our local lakes and the complete DNR list is available here.

Stocked trout are easy to catch before too much pressure gets put on them. Watch for them swimming in groups just below the surface and cast ahead of them. They'll hit a variety of tackle/bait options but the use of gold really will help. I typically use a gold ice fishing jig with live bait under a small balsa bobber.

Bass: Largemouth are in an early prespawn pattern. Small schools of them are chasing baitfish in the shallow water.  For the best action look for LM to be along the first drop offs or at the edges of shallow bays. Later in the day they may move to the backs of spawning coves. Lindy or split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or suspending large shiners under slip bobbers are your best live bait options. Texas rigged plastic lizards, wacky worms and jigs with a chunk trailer will be good options if fished very slowly. Slow rolling spinnerbaits or ripping rattletraps around weedy cover could produce some reaction strikes.

Best lakes for largemouth: Okauchee, Silver, Nagawicka, Golden, Pine, Pewaukee, Moose, Kessus, Pretty and School Section.

Smallmouth remain in deeper water for the most part, although a few have been seen making foraging runs into rocky areas during the middle part of the day. Look for them to be suspended in the water column in deep water near points and other rocky structure. Suspending Jerkbaits, swimbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits or twister tail grubs in natural pattern are good options for chasing suspended smallmouths. If you can find some fish on the rocks, lindy rigging with leeches or nightcrawlers should do the trick.

Best lakes for smallmouth: North, Lower Nehmabin, Oconomowoc, Nagawicka. Pine, Lac La Belle.

Walleyes are  roaming shallow flats chasing baitfish. This indicates typical post-spawn behavior patterns, which matches the water temperatures on our local lakes. Bottom bouncers with spinner harnesses, lindy rigs and jigs will all catch these fish. I'd consider using a mix of live bait in the form of nightcrawlers, leeches and small suckers. Look for walleyes to relate the edges of shallow water, but especially at the junctions of rock/sand transitions. I'd run live bait rigs to find fish, then fish an active area hard with crankbaits like a Shad Raps or Frenzies, husky jerks or floating rapalas.

Best lakes for walleye: Lac La Belle, Pewaukee, Pine and Oconomowoc. A few fish are still being caught on the Rock and Crawfish Rivers. Note: Each lake in our area has different regulations for walleye size/bag limits...make sure you know what's what for where you are fishing.

Northern: Pike are past their post spawn blues and are feeding aggressively. Typically with these conditions small pike will be all over shallow water and you can expect the big pike to be relating to the first break. This is prime time to chase pike with live bait. Use slip bobbers and suspend large shiners and suckers around weed edges or near areas with visible panfish. Casting with lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, spooms or spinner baits, especially around shallow weeds on he edge of the sandy flat areas can be dynamite. Remember the best color for pike is red/white.

Best lakes for pike: Forest, Emily, Kessus, Moose, Golden, Nagawicka, Fowler, Lower Gennessee, Okauchee.

Musky: The fish that seem to be chasing active baitfish are relating to green weed growth in mid-depth water. You never lose out by floating a sucker or the largest shiners you can buy. I'd downsize my presentation, stick to jerkbaits, gliders or smaller bucktails for the opener this year, and concentrate your efforts on any scattered weed clumps you can find. Advice from me: Slow down, be methodical when working an area and be ready to make lots of casts to get neutral fish to bite.

Best lakes for musky: Pewaukee, Lac La Belle, Fowler, Okauchee, Garvin and Oconomowoc.

Don't forget about the new DNR Catch and Release Record Program

I have openings for guide trips or fishing lessons during May. Email me for more information.

Be safe out there. I'll see you on the water.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Tournament Schedule

Here's a running list of tournaments on our local area lakes for this season. I'll update this as I get more information but it is current as of 4-30-17.

Local Weeklies:

Okauchee: Tuesdays (Musky Mikes Big Bass League) and
Thursdays (Foolery's Big Bass)

Tuesday Nights: TNT Trail (Pewaukee or Nagawicka)
Info/Dates: Here.

Thursday Night Opens: Rotate between Pewaukee, Nagawicka and Okauchee
Info at Dick Smith's Shop Page

Thursdays: MCW Musky League (Must be a club member)

High Five (Looks like a kid's tournament)
May 6th Pewaukee (DNR Info here)

Angler's Choice (SE Wisconsin Division)

May 21 -Pewaukee
June 11 -Okauchee
July 30 -Rock Lake
August 20 -Nagawicka
September 17 Okauchee
October 8 Pewaukee

Kayak Bass League Green Event

July 9 - Oconomowoc

Great Lakes Kayak Series Bass
August 5 - Pewaukee

Lunker's Unlimited
August 5 - Pewaukee

South East Wisconsin Open

June 17 -Pewaukee

West Suburban Bass Anglers

August 12 - Oconomowoc


May 13 - Okauchee Lake

June 3 - Okauchee Lake (Note: Also a Quad-graphics tournament the same day.)

June 10 - Pewaukee Lake 

July 8 - Nagawicka Lake

August 6 - Pewaukee Lake

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fishing Report 4-28-17

Water temps are in the low to mid 50's. Rain, rain and rain with a side of rain has been on the menu special this past run. The days, especially the afternoons, have stayed cool and cloudy, and as a result, the water is not warming up quickly.

To rate it: fishing is at least average for this time of year, but not a drop more.

Crappies are active in the usual early spots. Look for them in shallow, protected areas with a north bank. Dark bottom areas with green weeds are especially good right now, but sandy areas near reeds will also produce. Small minnows, tail hooked, and suspended under a bobber is the best way to catch crappies, but if the bite is tough, don't overlook waxworms on an icefishing jig or a small #10 or #12 red hook.

Bluegills are starting to move in. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore. In areas with current, look for schools of fish in deeper holes and outside turns, even if these areas are very small. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try getting your bait a little deeper. Bluegills will hit on a variety of live bait, including redworms, waxworms and spikes. For active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line.

Walleyes and some cats continue to bite on the Rock River in Jefferson. Fish are still being taken from shellbeds, rockpiles and in the channel swings. Three way rigs with live bait on a fly or casting with heavy jigs and plastics have both been producing, but spinners and small rattletraps are really working in some of the flooded creek inlets. White bass are in their spring run. Look for them at the mouths of feeder creeks or up the Crawfish and Bark Rivers. If you're on the main river, you may find some schools holding over shelves in slack water. The fish should be getting ready to make the transition out to the lake soon, so this is likely your last chance to head down there for some river action. Note: the water in the river is high, fast and dirty...keep that in mind.

Gamefish opener is right around the corner, but the cooler weather has slowed the fishing down. Check back later this week for my annual gamefish opener post. You can sign up for my fishing reports and have them delivered via email, as well as follow this blog. The links are in the column to the right.

I have some openings in May, if you're interested in getting out...just email me

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fishing Report 4-21-17

Hey gang,

Water temps are solid in the low to mid 50's on our area lakes. Warm water is where it is at for panfishing right now.

Panfish are starting to make a move into the traditional shallow water areas on area lakes.  Sunny afternoons with a south or southwest wind will provide the best action until main lake areas catch up. Remember: North facing areas will be warmer, and fish tend to congregate in these areas early on. Current, in the form of a creek channel, or river area will help as well.

For now, focus on the green weeds in shallow protected bays with a northern bank. Concentrate your efforts on the patches of weeds, using live bait suspended under a bobber. Keep your bait just above the weeds, and any visible fish that you see. I like to use waxworms or spikes on a small red hook, or small/crappie sized fatheads-hooked in the tail, underneath a pencil bobber with just a split shot or two to keep the bait down. Be ready to start using plastics, especially for active fish, but for now, I'd start with the live bait and move to plastics later in the day.

Be ready to sort through smaller fish to get keepers, but understand that there's some quality keepers to be had very shallow right now. Current, green weeds or reeds and shallow submerged wood are great places to start.

Here's Quinn with one we got before we stocked muskies yesterday.

Also, since the blog started back up, I've had a few requests for Lake Michigan information to be included. Probably bears mention that I only rarely fish the big pond, but the DNR Lake Michigan Report is here if you're looking for information.

Check out our post on the MCW musky stocking on Okauchee. I'll be back next week with an update for the week, and watch for my annual pre-opening day post with lots of resources and up to date scouting on conditions.

Great to be back. Looking forward to another season with you.


Okauchee Musky Stocking by MCW

Yesterday I participated in a musky stocking event on Okauchee Lake supported by Muskellunge Club of Wisconsin. (Club's website is here)

MCW has been increasingly involved in stocking efforts, and has even partnered with other clubs to raise funding for stocking efforts in our area. Efforts have centered on Pewaukee and Okauchee in previous years, but notably, fish stocked in Okauchee have the opportunity to spread from North and Cornell lakes, throughout Okauchee and Garvin, into Oconomowoc, Fowler and Lac Labelle. 

Volunteers and Club Members met at the Okauchee Public Launch, where a pen was built on one of the ramps. Fish were moved from the hatchery truck into the pen, given a chance to acclimate to the lake water, then distributed in small batches to waiting boats to be distributed throughout the Okauchee Lake Basin.

Notably this stocking effort was for extended growth, yearling fish, which have a higher survival rate than fingerlings. We measured a few of the ones we released from my boat and we had fish ranging from 10-16 inches long.

Here was a batch of the 32 fish we put into my livewell that we took out and released from my boat.

My son Shannon helps me to put fish out yesterday. I wonder if someday he might catch this fish as an adult.
 Efforts like these help to provide a future for our local lakes. Proud to be a part of the future of fishing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DNR Story on Trout Stocking This Year

I already put out the numbers for local trout stocking in this post.

But here's a piece from the DNR on the stocking I thought you might find interesting: Link Here

MADISON -- Anglers of all ages will soon have many more reasons to get excited about the upcoming inland fishing season opener on May 6 thanks to efforts by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to stock "catchable" trout in locally accessible lakes, ponds and streams.
For 2017, more than 650,000 trout including adult broodstock, yearlings and large fingerlings are being stocked in more than 300 inland waters statewide. In all, some 240,000 rainbow trout, 221,000 brook trout and 198,000 brown trout will be delivered before the inland season opener on the first Saturday in May.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fishing Report 4-15-17

 Got out for a bit this afternoon with my daughters. Wanted to get a report up based on the time on the water plus the reports I am getting in.

Locally water temps range from the mid 40's to mid 50's. On several lakes the water is hovering in the low 50's in the early warming bays.

Some panfish have moved shallow, but most of the shallow fish are early stagers (smaller). We found better fish off the first break. Now here was the little secret of the didn't matter what depth that break was at, the fish were just suspended right at the edge of the first break. This is very typical of early season panfish before they move into the shallows.

Look for edges for bigger fish. Warm afternoons will really move fish into protected, dark bottom areas....shallow bays, boat channels, north facing shorelines. If you're having trouble, downsize your presentation. A small hook and a wax worm or spike can really produce when nothing else will.

The river runs are also doing good. The Rock River still has active walleyes and saugers, and some whitebass are starting to come in. Depere is close to peak, and fish are moving in the Dells, at Winneconne and Eureka.

Talk to you next week.


New Catch and Release Program from the DNR

From the press release.
MADISON -- Dedicated catch and release anglers know there's little that equals the joy of releasing a healthy musky, northern pike or even a walleye with the hope that it will spawn again and perhaps provide excitement for another angler.
But what if the fish is really big - possibly one for the record books?
A new live release record fish program being rolled out by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources aims to end the dilemma and provide anglers with the win-win satisfaction of achieving a state record and a successful live release. The new program is part of a larger effort to promote quality fishing and encourage the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. Similar efforts have found success in other states and among some national record-keeping organizations.
"As anglers, part of what we enjoy is the thrill of the unknown - the thought that the fish on the end of our lines could be a trophy catch or even a new record," said Justine Hasz, DNR fisheries bureau director. "What we've seen with musky populations in areas where there is a strong catch and release ethic is that the fish are reaching larger sizes and providing more anglers with the experience of a lifetime. Since it can take 10 years or more for walleye to reach trophy size and 15 years or more for musky, our new catch and release record option means Wisconsin's legendary fish will create even more memories."
Hasz said the program also is expected to increase public awareness and encourage protection of fisheries habitat. Efforts to market the new program are expected to draw more non-resident anglers into the state and improve retention among anglers who participate only sporadically.
It's also hoped that the new format will attract younger anglers, who may be quick on the draw with cell phone cameras and able to quickly land, measure and photograph their fish, said Karl Scheidegger, DNR fisheries biologist and state record fish coordinator. When it's officially rolled out on May 6, here's how the program will work:
  • After landing the fish, take clear, color, side view photographs. Take several photos from different angles.
  • One photo must clearly show the fish lying on its side with a ruler or other measuring device placed beside the fish with the length number clearly visible. Get close enough so that the image fills the frame. Another photo must show the angler with the fish.
  • DNR fisheries biologists will identify the species from the photographs submitted with the application. If the biologists are unable to make a conclusive identification from the photographs, the record claim will not be considered.
  • While it's desirable to have witnesses to the capture of live release fish entries, the program is honor-based and witnesses are not mandatory. Fish survival is the highest priority.
  • Fish must be caught by legal angling methods and released in good condition back into the same water.
  • Anglers are encouraged to keep the fish in the water as much as possible prior to the release. Do not hang the fish on a stringer. Gently place it back in the water and revive it by holding it upright in the water and moving it back and forth to forcing water through its gills.
  • Applications will be available in time for the Wisconsin fishing opener on May 5 by visiting and searching "Live Release."
  • The forms for live release record certification must be either completed online or submitted to: Live Release Record Fish, Bureau of Fisheries Management, 101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 within 30 days of catch.
  • Live release records will be recognized by length only. Fish records will be determined by total length measured to the nearest 1/4 inch and to be certified, new live release records must exceed the existing record by at least 1/4 inch.

2017 Trout Stockings

The list is out for this year: Read the entire list here.

In our area:




The place to be for shore fishing though: