The unstable weather this week made for some challenging fishing. But as things stabilize this week, expect there to be a solid run of quality fishing ahead.
Panfish are largely done with the ritual, but there are a few fish still spawning on some area
lakes. Out with the kids? - Action with bluegills can be found in shallow water areas where there is sand
or gravel, but bigger gills can be caught out of spawning areas in as deep
as 18 feet of water down 12-18' over much deeper water. Meanwhile, crappies are relating to weed edges
between 8-12 feet or suspending over structure and cribs in deeper water. For gills: hellgramites, panfish leeches, waxies or redworms are all good options, while crappie will be taken more frequently on small or large fatheads, plastics tipped with waxies or spikes or on small hair jigs.
Largemouth bass were tough(er) to come by (in relative terms). You can catch fish, but getting on a solid pattern for extended success might take some work if e don't get a couple of days of consistent weather. Many fish have been shallow, but there's a steady deep bite as well. Be ready to adapt to changes on the water. As for a strategy: Skipping piers is producing a few fish, but less than would be typical for the middle of summer. Slop has been decent, but only on the sunny days, and only around pads or slop where visible baitfish are present. Fish are feeding, but their strike zone has been tighter than I would normally expect...so I recommend a finesse approach: Wacky, Ned or Neko rigs, Shakey heads, flapper grubs and tubes in shallow water, with dropshot, jigworms, skirted grubs on a football head and Slider rigs catching the deeper fish (12-18 FOW). Don't be afraid to downsize if the bite is tough, or during the middle part of the day. If you're an early riser, topwater poppers, spooks and buzzbaits are catching some nice fish off the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently at first light, the topwater bite has been wrapping up around 8am.
Smallmouth bass fishing has also been slow, but most anglers are catching mixed bags of smallies and largies in the same areas. Do the same things for both species, but look for smallies suspending around the ends of rocky points and bars both early and later in the day. Grubs, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads are catching some consistent bags of fish. Lindy rigging areas of deep sand with small suckers, large shiners or leeches can be the ticket for a tough bite, but my tip for this week: if you see lots of baitfish that are pin or shiner minnows around rock or rock weed transitions, use a suspending jerkbait (like a Rouge) or floating Rapala.
Walleye fishing was great in the rain, the high water generated some current and that really turned the fish on. Fish are coming shallow (5-9 FOW) but have also been in the sandgrass in 22-30+ FOW. Fish are being caught along shallow inside and outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Vertically jigging with live bait or plastics has been better during the day, while throwing cranks and minnow baits has been producing early and late. Suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Leeches over nightcrawlers the last week.
Pike fishing has been red hot. Lots of smaller pike are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small gills and juvenile perch. Spinners baits, small bucktails or buzzbaits will produce when fished tight to weedclumps. Looking for something bigger? Move out to the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig with a heavy flourocarbon leader. Heard from a couple people that were pulling/trolling spoons that had some decent success in 15-18FOW early this past week.
Musky fishing: I just didn't hear much this week frankly. A couple of my usual information sources took the week off with the weather. I'd look for them to be suspended around schools of cisco or bluegills over the deep water, along the deepest weed edges or adjacent to deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points. I'd start with topwater around mid-depth rocks (8-12 FOW) concentrating on scattered clumps of weeds, then I'd throw a jointed bait (shallow raider or creekie chub) deep to shallow along the transition lines.
Good luck, and stay safe.