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!