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 me...it 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 presentations...ice 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.