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Friday, June 18, 2021

Fishing report 6-18-21 (Father's Day Weekend)

 Hey gang,

Sorry about last week, I ended up fishing in the Wautoma area for several days and just forgot to make the post. Funny how many people silently read this weekly scribe and have things to say (not all of them nice either) when I miss a week.

 Anyway, it looks like the heat has finally broken and around the area conditions are starting to stabilize into summer patterns. Water temps are in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes. Water is still low overall, and areas that usually have current, may be down to a slow trickle with limited flow. It has been a number of years since I saw many of the area lakes this low.

Panfish are close to done spawning on most of the lakes. You may find some stragglers here and there, but the bulk of the nesting activity is over and there's lots of freshly hatched fry swimming around. The next week will be transition time and you should start looking for (keeper) panfish suspending off the ends of points or along the deep weedlines. 12 feet down over 15-22 FOW is a good starting point. I like to fish vertically for these fish, although slip bobbers can really produce. If you're on fish, but they're running small, try getting your bait a foot-18 inches deeper...the bigger fish are traditionally at the bottom of the school.

Largemouth Bass fishing has been about average the last two weeks. The shallow fish are moving into traditional spots: slop, docks and shallow rockbars and the larger fish are recovered from the spawn. On bright sunny days, fish tight to cover...flipping into weed pockets, or texas rigs on deep weed edges can really produce. Isolated patches of weeds along depth transitions are still holding lots of fish. On the windy days, try crankbaits or spinner baits on edges or transition areas in 8-12 or 12-15 FOW. Downsizing is still a solid bet as are natural colors (browns, pumpkins and greens) for your plastics. Its texas rig and drop shot season out deep, but if the bite is on, go swimbait or swimjig on those outside edges.

Smallmouth are biting, but the bite seems a little inconsistent afte about 9am. Some days you can knock them dead, some days they have been a little scarce. Stick to the plan...look for them on top of mainlake structure and points early and late, and look for them in deeper water during the main part of the day. Grubs, jigworms and tubes...but don't overlook dropshotting along the edges of sand/rock transitions in 8-12 FOW. Weed/rock transitions have been holding a few fish, although smaller ones, who are foraging on some small crawfish.

Northern Pike continue to bite. Shallow fish are actively chasing (early and late especially) buzzbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, especially on the shallow-flat areas with scattered weeds. If you want action, look for scattered weed clumps on flat areas in the shallows...out deep you'll need to find some baitfish near a weed edge or hump to have consistent success.

Walleye fishing has slowed down as the fish have starting moving out deeper after that heatwave. If you've been catching eyes at one depth, look for them in the same areas but at the next major depth contour. Deep weeds seem to be key, but a few people have been catching them off of deeper sand. On the cloudy, cooler days, rip-jigging, lindy/split shot rigs or slip bobbers can catch some out of weeds in 8-12 FOW if there's wind blowing in.


Talk to you next weekend. Be safe and take Dad and the kids out to catch some fish this week!

Cheers,
CT

Friday, June 4, 2021

Fishing Report 6-4-21 (Free Fishing Weekend)

 It is the annual Free Fishing Weekend, around the state. Here's an update on the last week.

Fishing has been slow but steady. Catching lots of smaller gamefish, but starting to see some quality fish come in.

Water temps are still in the mid to high 60's on most area lakes, and water levels are pretty low. Bluegills are on nests, especially in sandy or pea gravel areas, baitfish are still hard to come by consistently. Most gamefish are coming shallow to feed.

Panfish: Suprisingly, Crappie were the real story of the last week as second stage spawners moved into the wood and reeds and did there business. Typically when bluegills are on the beds, people abandon crappie fishing for about two weeks, but anglers were really on some nice bags of keepers the last ten days. For crappie, look for them in wood that hangs over, or reaches into deeper water, and fish in the branches with slip bobbers and small jigs tipped with live bait. For bluegills, there's plenty of action fish that can be caught in the shallows right now, but if you're looking for better fish, split shot or lindy rigs with panfish leeches in 12-15 FOW will produce. 

Largemouth: Spawn is mostly over, but you may still find some males protecting fry. The bite has been slow, but steady during all periods of the day. You're likely to see lots of active smaller fish, but if you're catching fish consistently, stick with it and the bigger fish will come. Weeds (if you can find them) and docks are holding fish, but the bulk of the fish are in the areas where bluegills are spawning. There isn't much slop out there yet, but if you can find some it'll likely have some fish Wacky or Ned rigs, texas rigged worms, skirted grubs, jig and craw, lipless crankbaits and topwater are all producing right now.  Flapper grubs around scattered weed clumps is a solid pattern right now.

Smallmouth: You can catch them, but patterning fish has been difficult. Look for them to be foraging on rock bars and in sand/gravel or sand/rock transitions in 4-8 and 12-15 FOW. Grubs, Skirted Grubs, Spinnerbaits, tubes and jerkbaits are solid bets, but until conditions stabilize a bit, expect some hit or miss fishing. If you can find some fish deep, jog and leech or lindy rigs with small suckers or chubs might be the answer to what has been a relatively a tough bite. 

Walleye fishing has been absolutely hit or miss the last ten days. Fish have been caught as shallow as 3 FOW, but the bulk of the fish seem to be holding in the transitions or drop offs in 12-15 FOW. I have caught fish as deep as 32 FOW in the past week. Live bait rigs or jigs during the day, casting with jig/grub or jig/ringworm combos has been working early and late. 

Pike fishing has been an interesting mix. They have been reasonably difficult to catch when targeted, but anglers chasing bass, walleye or musky have been catching lots of them. Most of the fish have been running small, but a few mid 30's fish were caught this week. Look for weeds that have baitfish in them and then cast with lipless crankbaits, spinners or buzzbaits. Live bait, suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig with a floro leader is your best bet. Action: 4-8 FOW, Size 12-18 FOW..Find the best looking weeds you can find and go to town. 

Musky has been very slow. Anglers are seeing lots of fish, but lazy follows have been the consistent report from most of the people I have talked to. Stay with it, and  Consider downsizing your bait some as well. 

Good luck out there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Report and Preview: 2021 Edition

 Hey gang, 


As we approach the holiday weekend and the traditional kick-off for summer boating season, you should be ready to adapt on the fly while out for the next couple of days. Overall, water temps are in the low 70's in mainlake areas and to low to mid 70's in the shallower protected areas. Current is at a minimum and after a stretch of sunny weather weed growth is about normal for this time of the season. A few Mayfly hatches have started.

Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water, but there's still plenty of keepers schooled up along the first deep break.. A few nests are starting to appear in the traditional sandy and gravel areas. Look for fish around woods or docks in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up this weekend. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will have fish, as will isolated patches of weeds in 8-12 FOW. Waxworms,  redworms, small leeches and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number unless you're fishing deep.

Crappie fishing has been fairly slow. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Mostfish have spawned, but a few are still hanging around shallow wood and reeds in the usual areas. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. Lots of fish are in small areas, so move until you find fish, and then set-up on them. Don't be afraid to look for schools along weed lines that are in deeper water.

Largemouth bass are post spawn (for the most part) and fishing was inconsistent this past week.  People are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, especially early and late, but a few fish are still being caught off the open areas on flats with scattered weeds. It might be hard to consistently find bigger fish, but the action could be good in short spurts. Rocks will hold fish throughout the day, but you might need to move around and let fish reset on them. Drifiting/casting shallow flats will produce a mixed bag of fish that are done spawning and areas that having spawning gills in the shallows will also have LM nearby. What to throw: Shallow water presentations like jig and chunk or craw, wacky, texas rigged lizards, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits will all catch fish right now, but don't overlook smaller topwater presentations. Live bait, nightcrawlers, leeches, large shiners or small suckers are your best bet. 

Smallmouth   Rock structure, scattered weeds on sand and major points are all holding fish. Expect them to be a little spooky, especially in the shallow water on sunny days...as is typical for post spawn fish. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. 

Walleye have been active, with some decent fish being caught in 8-12 feet of water. Slip bobbers, Jig and minnow, jig and leech, and split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or small suckers have been the best way to target eyes. In the evening, a few anglers are catching fish by working minnow baits (floating rapalas or rouges) over isolated weed clumps. This weekend should be red hot for walleyes, especially in the evenings, assuming the weather cooperates. 

Northern Pike fishing has picked up some and pike might be your best option for some steady action this holiday weekend with the unstable weather. Spinnerbaits, spoons, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, or suspending jerkbaits (like size 11 Husky Jerks or Rouges) are catching fish around shallow weed clumps, or at the edges of coves and marshy areas. If chasing pike with live bait, look for them in 6-12 feet, using small suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or the largest shiner's you can find on a balloon rig around the deeper reeds in a marshy area. 

Musky Fishing has been slow, but steady. There are lots of fish in the shallow water chasing, and a few are even being caught on topwaters, but the most consistent action has been coming in 8-15 FOW around the transition areas of mainlake structure. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are required on every cast. 

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email or call me. Got friends or family in town for the holiday and want to get them out fishing? Reach out...I have a couple of open slots next week.

Have a great (and safe) holiday weekend.
CT

Friday, May 21, 2021

Fishing Report 5-21-21

 Conditions: Right now most lakes are in the low to mid 60's...but you may find some areas where the water is substantially warmer. Weed growth is still behind, but is starting to catch up. Water remains low on most lakes, and even after the rain we had this week, current flows are way down.

Bluegills Current areas (if you can find them) and dark bottom bays (with sand or gravel areas) will hold the most fish. Smaller gills are moving up into shallow water, but if you're looking for nice gills, try 8-12 feet of water. Regardless of depth, focus on sand/gravel areas for the best success. Leeches on a split shot rig are the best way to chase larger pannies, but Waxworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish. 

Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers have been hard to produce. A few crappies are being caught over deeper water near mainlake structure, and you may still find a few spawning crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. 

Largemouth Bass  A few fish are still spawning, but not as many as last week. Topwaters (Pop R, small propbaits and #11 Floating Rapalas) and crankbaits (Norman Baby N's and Rattletraps) are catching schooling fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. Fish have been hard to pattern though, and you should be ready to be flexible. Lots of fish are schooled up, but with weeds in limited supply, and baitfish schools hard to pin down this season, you might have to actually cover some water to find fish consistently. Grubs like a Kalins or Zoom Fat Albert can provide you a knockout punch in these situations, and I caught plenty of fish this week just working a grub on some mid-depth flats. Texas rigged lizards, tubes, skirted grubs, and wacky worms are all catching fish, especially off the shallow rocks, but as always, if the bite is tough, try a jigworm. Browns and pumpkins have been outproducing greens and watermelons for me. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching a few fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas, but try to keep your leader a bit longer to keep you bait higher in the water column. 

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still a bit inconsistent other than in the early mornings. Minnowbaits, like size 11 or 13 floating rapalas are a solid starting point, but smaller tubes or grubs paid bills this week.  Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with  a 3" grub this week in a green pumpkin.

Walleye fishing has been tough. With limited weeds, fish are hard to pin down. Slip Bobbers, jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs have been productive, especially when using small suckers or leeches for bait. In the evening, a few anglers are still catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over any isolated weed clumps on mainlake points and humps they can find. 12-15 FOW seemed to be the best before the weather shifted.

Northern Pike fishing was slow, but steady. The best way to catch pike is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of the weeds you can find in 12-18 feet Up shallow- Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are still producing. 

Musky fishing has been pretty slow. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so quality figure eights are an absolute necessity. Topwater and jerkbaits are still catching some fish, but with weeds hard to come by, plan on covering some water. 

Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be a great way to catch some keepers. The fish have moved into the deeper water, so tightlining or slip bobbers are the way to go. Watch for them on your electronics and then set up just above them. 

Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water. Email me here

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fishing Report 5-14-21

Hey gang,

The weather is finally stabilizing, and things are starting to happen. Should be a great week to 10 days on the water, but as things settle in, be ready to adapt on the fly. Fishing will be consistent day to day, but you may need to adapt to changing conditions by altering your presentations.

Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the mid 50's) and protected bays (in the low to mid 60's) on most area lakes.Weed growth is way behind normal again this year, which means if you find some good weeds, fish them, especially if they are near a rock or sand transition...or on the end of mainlake points.

Musky activity has picked up on our local lakes since the opener, especially on the windy days. A solid shallow pattern has been working for anglers who put in the time. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weedclumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish are also using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water where new green weeds have started. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits have all been consistent producers.  When in doubt--go shallower.

Northern Pike have been using the areas where there is new weed growth, especially on shallow flats or around the ends of points where panfish are staging. People targeting bass have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Spinnerbaits,small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating or suspending rapalas and buzzbaits will all catch fish in the shallow water when fished around submergent green weeds. Large shiners or small to medium sized suckers suspended underneath a float, longlined on a split shot rig, or fished deep on a slip-sinker setup are your best options for live bait. When in doubt- silver is better than gold.

Walleye have been active in cycles that match our current weather patterns. Some fish are patrolling the shallows in the morning and evening hours, but the bulk of the fish are holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Crankbaits like rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait has been the best approach. Slow and steady have been the operative words...keep that drift under control and under .8 mph when possible. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup have been the most consistent producers. A few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations. When in doubt, slow down.

Largemouth Bass Fishing for bass has been spotty with the inconsistent weather and some days are much better than others. A few fish are up shallow to spawn, but the bulk of the fish haven't moved in yet...although as we get some warmer afternoons the next week, that will change quickly. Flats adajacent to spawning areas still have lots of (smaller) schooling fish.  Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding the big fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Nightcrawlers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few fish. When in doubt: slow down and fish the edges of any shallow green weeds.

Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny afternoons. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure or along the sharper breaklines. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish who are foraging for craws, especially in the morning. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern have all caught fish. When in doubt...throw a grub.

Crappie Look for them around shallow cover in 2-8 feet of water. Tight-lining over deeper wood or weeds in 8-12 feet has also been effective on some lakes. Tail-hooked fatheads, plastics or hair jigs tipped with a waxworm are your best live bait options for crappies. Strike zones have been relatively small, so try to make accurate casts when setting up your presentations. When in doubt-Pink head/white body.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but the better sized fish have still been coming from anglers targeting them in a little deeper water. Shallow fish will be near sandy bottom areas with scattered weed growth, but if you just want the kids to catch a few fish, try fishing around any piers that are in the water adjacent to deeper water (6-10 feet). If you want to target eating size gills, tightline vertically while drifting along weedlines in deeper water (as deep as 22 feet) or look for them on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water. Small plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.

Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cutbait, stinkbait and nightcrawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some keepers. The area between Watertown and the Jefferson Dam has been red hot the last few weeks.

Trout stocking was a sucess this year on out local waters, with plenty of catch and keep trout still available. Look for these fish in the deeper water basin or deeper pools on the creeks. In the area lakes, they can be anywhere from just below the surface to 25 feet down over deeper water. Tightlining or slip bobbering with small minnows or redworms will catch fish when you find them.


Good Luck Out There.
Chris Terry

Friday, May 7, 2021

Fishing Report: 5-7-11

 Hey gang,


Despite the lousy weather, I was out multiple times this week. Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the 50's to low 60's) and protected bays (in the low to mid 60's) on most area lakes. 

Hot tip: if you find can some good weeds, fish them!

Musky fishing has been pretty slow by most reports, but there's not been many people out either. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weed clumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish may be using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water in areas where some new green weeds have started. Most positive reports I heard back this week were with people using downsized baits, but heard reports of plenty of lazy follows--so watch those figure eights closely...gliders, small bucktails and swimbaits all generated some action, but white with gold blades seemed to be the hot (est) ticket.

Northern Pike  are still scattered on shallow flats where there is new weeds. Anglers targeting bass or musky have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Some of the larger pike are using the deep weedlines in 12-18 feet, but the bite has been hit or miss. Keep it simple: spinnerbaits, small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating rapalas and buzzbaits will all catch fish in the shallow water when fished around submergent green weeds. Large shiners or small to medium sized suckers suspended underneath a float, longlined on a split shot rig, or fished deep on a slip-sinker setup are your best options for live bait.

Walleye have been biting, but I haven't been chasing them...so take this info with a grain of salt. The bulk of the fish seem to be holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Crankbaits like Rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait is usually a great approach, epecially on windy days. Slow and steady have been the operative words. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup would be the first thing I'd throw right now. I heard of a few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations. Could be a great weekend for fishing in the late afternoons and evenings with floating minnow bait around any mid-depth structure or weeds.

Largemouth Bass  Lots of schooled up prespawners, but spawning activity is limited. Functionally still early. Shallow flats outside of the spawning coves still have lots of smaller but schooling fish and remember in areas with consistent depth, not all of the nests will be on the bank. This week I saw plenty of people beating banks with plastics and spinnerbaits when there were active fish on the flats nearby. Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Nightcrawlers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few nice fish.

Pro-Tip: Some serious downsizing of my presentations put some quality fish in the boat for me this week.


Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny days. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish who are foraging for craws. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, grubs, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern.

Crappie are still spawning. Look for them around shallow cover in 2-8 feet of water. Tight-lining over deeper wood or weeds in 8-12 feet has also been effective on some lakes. Tail-hooked fatheads, plastics or hair jigs tipped with a waxworm and rosie reds are your best live bait options for crappies. Strike zones have been relatively small, so try to make accurate casts when setting up your presentations. The bite got hot for a couple hours, but was pretty cold otherwise.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but the better sized fish have still been coming from anglers targeting them in a little deeper water. Shallow fish will be near sandy bottom areas with scattered weed growth, but if you just want the kids to catch a few fish, try fishing around any piers that are in the water adjacent to deeper water (6-10 feet). If you want to target eating size gills, tightline vertically while drifting along weedlines in deeper water (as deep as 22 feet), look for schools on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water on in shallow areas with current. Plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.


Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cut-bait, stink-bait and night-crawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some better sized keepers. T

Trout:  Stocked lakes were solid producers during the first week. Opening weekend was busy, but pressure dropped way off during the weekdays with the piss-poor weather this week. Gold ice fishing jigs tipped with live bait was the best option when I was on the water, but the fish were still a little spooky, and we did better tightlining than with bobbers.


Good Luck Out There. Give Mom some love--->take her fishing on Sunday.
Chris Terry

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Tuesday Night Big Bass League on Okauchee

 Hey gang,

Musky Mikes announced this week they are no longer running the Tuesday Night Big Bass League, originally started by Musky Mike himself. The Tuesday Night tournament will continue, but will no longer be a league run by the baitshop. It's a big bass-jackpot format. It'll be run out of the Hideaway, and sign up/check ins will be at the dock.

Details below from the group's Facebook Site:

Tournament site . Hideaway Bar And Grill

Tournament time: 6pm - 9pm* (Tournament will end at 8:30pm later in the season due to low light conditions. )

Tournament entry.  Entries will be accepted the night of each tournament at the tournament site. 5pm till take off. Permit cap is 90 anglers.

First Tournament will be May 4th.

$20.00 entry fee per angler.

Top 3 big bass paid each regular season Tournament. 

Payout 

1st = 50% 2nd = 30% 3rd = 20%

Example Payout based on 50 entries. 

1st = $375.00 2nd = $225.00 3rd = $150.00

$5.00 per entry will be set aside for permit fees, end of season championship and top 3 big bass payout at the end of the regular season. (Permit fee is $25.00 per regular season tournament $50.00 for the end of the season championship. )

End of the season big bass payout. 

You can fish one Tournament or every one to win . You will however need to fish 3 tournaments to take all 3 spots.  End of season championship. September 11th. Time to be determined. 

Payout to be determined by participation throughout the season. 

You must fish at least 8 tournaments to qualify. Each qualifying angler will have the same amount of money invested. Angler investment will be based on 15 tournaments $75.00 total. 

Entry example.

10 tournaments fished= $50.00 invested

5 tournaments missed = $ 25.00 short. 

You would have to pay $25.00 to be eligible to fish. 

Rules

Local lake and all DNR rules apply. 

Any violation will result in disqualification. 

No passing in the channel after take off.

Weigh in your own fish. 

Have fun.