Hey gang, there's some crazy and unstable weather ahead, and you'll need to be ready to adapt to conditions.
Over the last week, fishing has been very inconsistent in our area. It hasn't been bad per se, lots of people are catching some fish, but they are scratching them together, consistent patterning has been tough. Some days have been gangbusters good, other days no so much. I suspect most of this has to do with the transition to a traditional mid summer bite.
Day to day, you should play the conditions. Large fish will feed on days when fronts are about to move through, but plan on action fishing for smaller fish on the back sides of fronts (Not true for musky, but bass and walleye certainly).
Conditions are around average for this time of the year...weed growth is catching up, and surface water temps are in the low to mid 70's. There's been some huge hatches of baitfish and the bluegills finishing their spawn and pike and musky starting to move out to deeper areas, things will probably get going.
Panfishing: most spawners have moved off the shallow nests and out to deeper water. You may still find some batches finishing the spawn, especially in the sand or small gravel along Southern or Eastern banks of a lake, but the bulk of the fish are starting to congregate around deeper docks, swim platforms (always an overlooked option) or along the first deep break in the weedline.
Largemouth fishing has been steady, but reflective of conditions. Some fish are still working shallow areas, but we're starting to see some fish stack up in the usual deep water spots. Lots of approaches are working, but you'll need to be ready to adapt on the water. In shallow, docks, rocks and slop are holding fish, but it seems like you can only really catch fish out of either where there are visible baitfish nearby. Docks are usually a solid, consistent pattern at this point in the year, but there certainly seems to be less fish on the docks than "normal." Mid depth 5-8 weed flats seem to be holding the most fish, but again, those fish seem to be post-spawn schoolers chasing bait. Bigger fish were coming from areas near spawning bluegills, but they seem to be making a move out to the weedlines and deepwater points. Topwater (poppers, floating minnowbaits and walk the dog style) is working in the mornings, but only until abut 7:30-8am. After the sun is up, fish are schooling along weed/ sand and weed/rock transition lines or on flats with sctatterd weeds. These fish are chasing bait, and can be caught with a variety of soft plastics including, wacky, jigworms, grubs, and small swim baits. Flipping any dense weed edges will tubes or jigs/chunk combos can turn some bigger fish, but in any case be ready to cover water...small crankbaits, rattle traps or squarebills are good search baits. If it gets hot this week, expect to see some fish move quickly to the docks and slop, and that bite will be great.
Smallmouth fishing is very similar to largemouth fishing right now...day to day. Look for them along the shallow breaks in 4-8FOW, especially along sand/gravel transitions or rock/weed transitions. Some fish are spending part of each day feeding along the deep, downwind side of mainlake points, but secondary points are where the better action has been. Areas with steeper drops seem to have been the best the last 10 days. Soft jerkbaits, ned rigs and grubs are catching fish out the scattered weeds along the breaks, tubes and skirted grubs off the rocks. Topwater has been pretty good morning and evenings, but you had to fish crazy slow and with a downsized bait to get bit this week.
Walleye fishing has been better than average, but fish are running undersized. Note that I have not personally been out for walleyes since last week. I'd go conventional...tight to weeds with light jigs and leeches or plastics or lindy rigging with live bait out deeper. Cranks, especially floating/suspending minnows are catching some out of the weeds early and later in the day.
Pike fishing has started to move towards summer. Smaller, action fish can be caught on the shallow weedflats fishing spinners, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or oversized squarebills. Better fish are coming on the weedlines with slip sinker rigs tipped with larger livebait (small suckers or big shiners). Use a heavy florocarbon leader and a circle hook for better success. Look for the deeper fish in the sandgrass or any standing weeds you can find in 15-22 FOW.
Musky fishing has been below average. Fish are making a transition from shallow spring to their deeper summer areas, and anglers haven't really gotten back onto the new pattern. For now, I'd recommend topwaters around shallow rocks, especially early and late in the day, and spinners bucktails cowgirls along the deepest visible weed-edges you can find. Gliders on the flats can produce, but really only in areas where there are schools of visible baitfish swimming.
Good Luck Out There.