Well gang, we're almost half way through summer...and things really picked up in the last stretch. The bite has finally stabilized and it is time to fish Around the area most water temps are in the mid to high 70's. Weed growth and baitfish populations are at about average for this time of year.
If you're a newbie or casual fisherman....keep it simple. Get some leeches or small suckers and fish them on a slip sinker or lindy rig. Just keep the line tight and put your boat around the deep edges of some visible weeds. You will catch fish.
If you're looking to cast some lures...try a lipless crankbait. Just cast it at any weeds you see, and reel it in as fast as you can.
Panfish Looking for action? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water (12-18 or 20-32 FOW) by anglers drifting and fishing vertically. If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Electronics are your friend when targeting suspended panfish, but nothing helps more than a steady breeze for a natural drift. I've been consistently finding good panfish action about 12-15 foot down over deeper water or on weed edges/sand grass at its deepest on long mainlake points.
Largemouth bass have moved into more traditional summer patterns. 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 rigged plastics, wacky worms, jigworms, jig and chunks, skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are holding fish and the slop has been pretty good, especially in the mid-day and late afternoons. If you just want to catch fish, keep it simple...leeches, chubs or small suckers on a lindy or slip sinker rig along a deep weed edge is an easy way to put some fish in the boat on just about any area lake.
Smallmouth bass fishing was fairly good this past week. Fish are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day. Watch for current, it pulls them in to feed, but most of the 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, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working for the people doing slow controlled trolling in the deep sandgrass in 18-25 feet.
Walleye fishing has been red hot the last week or so. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Slip bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing, but the pre-dawn and post-dusk hour has been delivering the larger fish. Fishing over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala minnows or rip jigging has been producing as well, especially early and late in the day. Most fish are being caught along weededges in 12-18 FOW, but I've been catching them as shallow a 7' and as deep as 25'.
Pike fishing has been about average with lots of smaller pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on th huge schools pf small baitfish, including the recent bloom of juvenile panfish. Fish with inline spinners, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike were harder 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 rip some deep grass with a jig and reaper, spoon or jerkbait.
Musky: 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 and lots of lazy follows this season. 12-15 FOW seems to be the magic depth and weeds on the end of points have been the hotspots for action over the past 8-10 days.
If you've got specific questions: Feel free to email me.
Good Luck, and stay safe and healthy.