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 fast....you'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.