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Friday, April 9, 2021

Fishing Reports: 4-9-21

 And we're back in action.

Water temps are in the mid to high 40's on our area lakes. Warm water is where it is at for panfishing right now. If you can find those rare spots where water temps are in the low 50's, you'll find consistent action.

Panfish are starting to make a move into the traditional shallow water areas on area lakes.  Sunny afternoons with a south or southwest wind will provide the best action until main lake areas catch up. Remember: North facing areas will be warmer, and fish tend to congregate in these areas early on. Current, in the form of a creek channel, or river area will help as well. Boat Channels, Sand Bars and isolated bays are great starting points.

For now, focus on the green weeds in shallow protected bays with a northern bank. Concentrate your efforts on the patches of weeds, using live bait suspended under a bobber. Keep your bait just above the weeds, and any visible fish that you see. I like to use waxworms or spikes on a small red hook, or small/crappie sized fatheads-hooked in the tail, underneath a pencil bobber with just a split shot or two to keep the bait down. Be ready to start using plastics, especially for active fish, but for now, I'd start with the live bait and move to plastics later in the day.

Be ready to sort through smaller fish to get keepers, but understand that there's some quality keepers to be had very shallow right now. Current, green weeds or reeds and shallow submerged wood are great places to start. Fish be concentrated in small, specific areas for the next week.

Making use of our catch and release bass season that was new last year? Then you want to have three baits tied on when you hit the water this weekend.

1.) Jerkbait...the old size 11/3 hook floating Rapala really shines in cold water, but I caught some (smaller fish) this week on a perch colored 110 fished around the ends of points outside of spawning areas. The bait had to be sitting dead still to get a bite, but it did produce for a couple of hours ahead of the rain.

2.) Flapper grub...continuing with the old school theme...the slow fall/gliding action of the flabber grub is a sure winner in early season cold water. Flapper grubs are a lost technique...they're not flashy or fancy, but the cobra head style body on a light jighead looks just like the juvenile panfish that are starting to get active. It takes patience to fish one, but it will produce...especially along shallow weed/rock transitions where there are visible panfish holding. Although a Kalins or Zoom grub will work, the irregular fall and shape of the flapper is far superior in under 55 degree water. I usually use a 1/16th ounce unpainted ball head jig with a larger (size 1) hook for fishing them, but it was windy out when I was out this week so I used a 3/32 mushroom head and it worked just fine.

3.) Rattletrap (lipless crankbait)....the old saying still applies...there is only one color of rattletrap that matters: silver sides/blue back...unless its spring, then a red one is a solid choice. 

Saftey note: Pike are recovering from the spawn and will viciously attack a chrome rattletrap right now. You have been warned.

Around the area: The Rock River remains fairly low, and while there's some current, the bite there has been very inconsistent. Walleye are mostly done, there's been no significant whitebass movement, and a few cats and sheephead are being caught on the edges of the deeper holes.

As of this week there were still a bunch of walleyes and muskys below the Oconomowoc Dam if you want to dream a little dream about the season ahead.

Feel free to email me ( if you want to chat/swap information or just to talk about fishing.

See ya out there.



Monday, April 5, 2021

Musky Stocking with MCW today

 Hey everyone,

My son and I helped put some musky out today along with members of the Musky Club of Wisconsin.

 The club has been doing active stocking of extended growth fish in our area lakes for several years.

We met at the Okauchee launch, and five boats each took 20 or so fish out and placed them around the lake.

There will be a story in the Oconomowoc Enterprise about the stocking on Thursday. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Time to blow off the rust

 The weather isn't making things any easier, but there's fish to be caught.

Major river areas (Dells, Depere, Winneconne) are all seeing action and giving up lots of fish. Close to home there's two games to play.

The Rock River walleye fishing has been a tough, but steady bite. I've been out a few times and I've been in touch with other folks that are regularly out in the spring. People are catching fish, but legals have been hard to come by...the bulk of the fish are just starting the move in, and the new size/bag limits have been keeping some fish out of the frying pan this year.

Jigging the holes and breaks with controlled drifts can produce. Using your electronics to find fish in the wood or in out of the current areas can also produce. I've put fish in the boat jigging, casting with plastics and pulling flies in the last week. The full moon is Monday evening, so I expect the bite and action to pick up dramatically over the next week, especially if the weather and temperature stabilizes.

Starting to hear some scattered whitebass in the river and down by Blackhawk, and I did catch a small one yesterday. The most consistent bite has been catfish.

On the area lakes, it is still very early but a few panfish are starting to make a spring transition. If the weather stabilizes and we get some warm afternoon sunshine, things will pick up dramatically. For now, look for crappies and bluegills to suspend around structure or wood in areas just outside of the traditional spring shallow bays and boat channels. A couple days where it stays sunny and a bit warmer and things will start happening quick. For now, keep your presentations small, and above the fish by 6-10 inches. Areas with current and some green weeds are a solid spot to start, and a small tail hooked minnow or a waxworm on a #10 or #12 red hook can ready do some early season damage.

I hope to be out some over the next two weeks, and I'll post as I am able. Once a week reports will start/return in mid April.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Nature takes care of itself

Hey gang,

I was out with my old roommate on the Rock River yesterday. We fished the area from the dam in Jefferson down past the Ditch and the S turn. We didn't have any notable success, but it was one heck of a day to be outside.

The water was just barely 42 degrees when we pulled out, which is usually about when things start to happen. (The wind was the real impediment yesterday)

But with the Full Moon on the 29th and the weather trend for the next 10 is time to get out. Warm spring rain on the way, with three high pressure days during the Full Moon Cycle is about optimal conditions for any spring river walleye fishing.

After that, the area lakes, which are about 90% open, will be ready to start giving up some spring panfish (and if you're so inclined some catch and release pre-spawn bass fishing).

Here's my 2021 version of the annual Rock River Resources post.

For those of you who have asked, regular reports will start in mid-April as my online teaching semester starts to wind down and I can be on the water on a regular basis.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Water level and current on the rise on the Rock River


With warm spring rain in the forecast for today, I thought I'd pop over and check the gauges.  It is very noticeable downstream from the Jefferson dam, but closer to the dam, conditions are still in the "very early stage".

Very soon my friends. If you're heading out, take a moment and check the new parking regulations at Blackhawk Island and remember the river now has an 18" minimum size limit, with a 3 fish per day limit.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Open Water Approaches/Rock River Spring Resources


Spring has (partially) sprung, and there's glimpses of open water on the horizon.

Images on the Jefferson Dam Lake-Link Thread show the channel opening up on the Rock River below the Jefferson Dam. While it is still very, very early (and not yet ready for boats or shore fishing) the signs are that the spring runs are just around the corner.

Here's some links to get you in the mood and to keep you in touch as things develop.

Water Resources Links:

Public Boat Launches:

Links to some older JSOnline Articles about Fishing the Rock River in Springtime:

St Patricks Day in 2009 (As the flood was setting in)

Link to the fish passage camera:

At the Jefferson Dam (Was offline when I just checked it)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fishing Report 9-22-2020

Around the area water is hovering around the mid to low 60's, but even with the stable warm weather on the way, expect the shorter nights to start dropping water temps. 

Weeds are still thick, and water levels are around average for this time of year. Baitfish are still very plentiful since many of them hatched late.

Panfish have begun to transition to fall patterns. Look for keepers at the ends of long weedy points, or suspended around shallow grass in current areas. Plastics tipped with small live bait are usually solid options this time of year, but don't overlook the use of larger live bait for keepers.

LM Bass fishing has settled into a traditional early fall pattern. Fish will bite periodically through out the day, but usually in short feeding spurts, and the afternoons and evenings are the best times of day. Topwater, especially buzzbaits and poppers will pull up active fish. Fish tight to cover early with slower, vertical presentations, but get more active with your presentations around 9-10am. Be ready to move around to find active fish, but concentrate on areas with rock/weed transitions, and when you find fish in an area, work it hard as many fish will be schooled up, chasing bait.

SM Bass is time to break out the live bait. Fish will relate to break lines, moving up to shallow water to feed, but then out to deep water between feeding runs. Deeper breaks off of points or shallow rocky areas are the best place to start. Leeches work great if you can still find them, but "walleye sized suckers", the biggest shiners you can find or chubs are worth it if you're chasing the fish of the year. Don't be shy about the size live bait or floating minnow baits (like a #11 rapala) but a deep diving crankbait in white or crawfish patterns can save a day this time of year.

Walleye fishing has been on the slow side for the last stretch of days. I expect the fishing to get better as the weather stabilizes. A few anglers have been heading to the rivers to get a jump on the fall runs, and some anglers on the Rock are reporting some whitebass are mixed in with the walleyes and cats they are getting, although it seems a bit off and on. 

Musky fishing has been a little slower than I would have expected, but is definitely starting to pick up as the water cools and the boat traffic dies down. Still a bit early for the pounders, but gliders, dawgs, bucktails and  jerkbaits are solid options, but it is the start of sucker season, so make sure to keep one out while targeting muskies.

Good Luck Out There,