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.