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Friday, September 3, 2021

Labor Day Weekend

 Hey gang,

Water levels are higher than they have been most of the summer, and water temps are in the mid to high 70's.

Panfish continues to be the hot bite in the area. Crappie and bluegill continue to bite along weedlines or suspended out over deep water, as well as in mid-depth weeds. 10-12 FOW along the weeds and 12-18 Feet Down over 25-45 FOW. Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce, although panfish leeches (if you can find them) will put the best fish in the boat. Early evenings until just after sunset have been best, as is typical for this time of year.

Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. On the hot sunny days, look for them around docks or slop, or out deep in 12-15 FOW. On the cooler cloudy days, look for active fish in sand/rock or rock/weed transitions in 4-8 feet. Topwater bite will be good, especially early in the morning, but grubs, jig worms and texas rigs can keep you on a steady bit all day. Schooling fish roaming the flats are for numbers, but if you're looking for something larger, find those weed edges along the drops on the points. You'll have to work for them out there, but they are there.

Smallmouth fishing has picked up the last ten days as fish are starting to put on the fall feedbag. Look for them around the edges of the shallow structure like rock bars or sand/rock transition areas. The fish will be deeper than you think they should be in most cases, but almost always on the edges/transition lines. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits and small white crankbaits can be dynamite. If you find fish up shallower (say 5-8 FOW) I've been catching a bunch on smaller flukes rigged like a banjo minnow or on the Berkley Max Scent Minnows fished like a Ned rig on a mushroom head jig.

Pike fishing has been slow, but steady. Lots of undersized fish are being caught in the shallow and mid-depth areas. I'd consider moving out deeper and using live bait on a slip sinker rig, trying to connect with active fish in 18-22 or 22-25 feet of water. Spinners, both R Bend or inline, as well as rattletraps or buzzbaits can catch the shallow fish, but small (walleye suckers or the biggest shiners you can get) for the deeper fish.

Walleye fishing has been entirely inconsistent lately. On windy days, they bit great much less so on days with limited or North or East winds. People still fishing at night are reporting some success off the deeper sand flat areas, but a few decent fish are being caught out of the shallow weeds very early in the morning using rapalas or similar minnow baits.

Musky are getting more active, but anglers are still reporting lots of lazy follows. That will change as the cooler nights start bringing down the water temps. For now, keep your presentation on the smaller side. Gliders, bulldogs and cow-girls have all produced limited action in the past week.

Final note: I have enjoyed sharing these reports with you the last several years.

Good Luck Out There,

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Closing our doors.


I just wanted to thank you for following this blog for the many years it has been up. 

I'm no longer guiding professionally, and my real life as a professor keeps me busy enough that I don't have time or remember to post reports in a timely fashion.

As such, I'm going to be closing down the site very soon. If you want, grab the content for the last several years. There's mountains of information buried in these reports...lots of seasonal trends and approaches that could help you down the road.

The Blog will remain active through the Labor Day Weekend, when I'll publish my final fishing report...and then we're moving on to other fishing holes.

I appreciated the support you provided, was amused at how often I'd hear from people who we're looking for a report that I hadn't put up, and have enjoyed the knowledge and tips we've shared together.

Thanks again.


Chris Terry

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Fishing Report 8-7-21

Hey gang, 

I think the unstable weather, low water and the intense fishing pressure has the fish in a bit of a funk right now. You can still catch them, but you're going to have to slow down, get precise with your presentations, and recognize that it is the middle of August.

Panfish are still schooled up in deeper water, and have been the most consistent bite for the last couple of weeks. Crappies are tight to the weedlines in 12-15 and 18-20 FOW, but are suspending off the edge. Bluegills are still in tight schools in the deep part of the basins. Look for them 18-22 feet down over 30-50 FOW. If you're out with the kids, and want action (and smaller fish) docks and swim platforms near current (if you can find some) are holding tons of potato chip sized fish right now.

Bass fishing seems to have slowed down a bit since it was on fire a few weeks ago. This is a fairly typical thing for this run in August. The fish will make a transition to shallow water rock-weed transition areas to forage for craws over the next 10-12 days. Fishing tight to cover, punching slop or skipping tight to docks/pontoons will produce if you're having trouble finding fish deep. Expect the fish to have small strike zones...and be ready to make multiple casts to targets. Drop-shotting the deeper edges in 12-18 FOW seems to be producing a few fish, and the morning top-water bite has been good, but only until about 8:30. I caught fish this past week on a jig and craw, a skirted grub, a jig worm,  wacky rig and texas rig. 

I don't have any new news on walleyes this week, but the fish had been biting at night along weed edges and sand flats with sandgrass in 12-18 or 25-28 FOW. As we get on towards fall, look for walleyes on shallow areas along deep water/mainlake points. Jigging and rigging with live bait works the best on our local lakes, but if you're out at night....don't forget the number 11 floating rapalas in natural/ silver-black patterns. Fish that over weed patches, trying to make slight contact with the weeds. Tip: Keep the net handy.

Pike bite has been slow and steady all season. Spinners, cranks and buzzbaits will take fish, as will wide wobbling crankbaits. Small pike are still on the shallow weed flats...bigger pike are in 15-22FOW on the weed edge. Chase these fish with a small sucker or big shiner on a slip sinker rig.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Fishing Report 7-30-21


First off: Reminder, The Okauchee Tie up is this weekend. You might want to find another location for fishing this weekend.

Second: Apologies for being slow around here...I simply haven't been fishing (around the area) as much as normal. Between the heat and teaching summer school, it has been a busy month. My fishing time has been primarily with my kids for panfish or up north.

Experience tells me as we move into August to look for fish in the usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photocycle and the length of day will become evident to the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day. If the hot, muggy weather is finally behind us, things are set to get great. Hopefully water levels will stabilize and we can get back to business.

I can say, with some direct knowledge that Bluegills are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for them to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend over deeper sand-grass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Water levels are way down around the area, and some of the better spots for shallow panfish are dry or close to it. If you're looking for some action panfish for the kids, swim platforms or docks that have deeper water under them are your best bets. 

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On sunny days, you can find them around shallow docks, wood laydowns, slop and scattered weed clumps.  As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic until mid morning. Deeper fish will continue to use weed edges and points in 12-15 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water. Tube baits and grubs are a great way to target these fish. Wacky rigging and flipping are great for shallow fish. Out deep...texas rig, swim jig or swim baits are your best options outside of live bait on a slip sinker rig.

Smallmouth are starting to move toward the early fall pattern of making 3-5 foraging moves each day. When you are contacting active fish in shallow water, the bite can be incredible. Topwaters, including size 9 or 11 rapalas, rattletraps/lipless cranks or poppers in natural patterns can get you started, but be ready to switch to tubes, wacky, skirted grubs or twister tails as the day progresses. When things are slower, look for them to be just off the first major break in deeper water. Crankbaits in white or chartreuse, spinners or live bait are better for the deeper fish.

Northern pike activity has been slow and steady all summer, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Spinners, buzzbaits, spoons, jerkbaits or lipless crankbaist are solid choices for action. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or slowly backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water. Note that the edge that's usually in 15-18 FOW is closer to 12' on many lakes this season.

Musky reports have slowed down over the past couple of weeks, but I suspect that has as much to do with the weather as anything. For the next run, start to look for them along visible weed breaks as well as over sumberged weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water. This is the early run, and you should look for some  topwater or large bucktail action, or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite. Action will pick up considerably in the weeks ahead.

Good Luck and Cheers.

Friday, July 2, 2021

July 2nd 2021 Fishing Report (Holiday Weekend Edition)

 Hey gang,

Its sure to be a busy weekend on the water, so plan on fishing early and late and enjoy the shows at the boat launches.

Water temps are low to mid 70's but go up and down with the rains. Weeds are about summer average. There's a fair amount of current flowing, but the lakes are still a bit low overall.

Panfish are done spawning. You may find a straggler or two, but the bulk of the fish are set-up for the remainder of summer. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are your best bets for smaller, action style fishing, but shady banks with sandy or gravel bottoms can hold some as well. Caught some decent ones under a tree this week when out with my kids one afternoon. Keep it simple: Rocket Bobber, 18-24" above a small 1/32 or 1/64 ounce jig with a plastic body and a waxworm.

Looking for keeper'll need to put in the time. Crappie are on the deep weed edges and suspending over cribs or humps in deeper water. Areas where a weed edge touches a drop off to much deeper water are especially good places to start. Sounded like the cooler temps brought them a little higher in the column than the last couple of weeks, but that may have been schools of baitfish as well. Bluegills are suspending over 35-45 FOW about 12-18' down. Slipbbobbers or tight-lining with live bait or plastics has been working, but drifting through the schools was the key element to success the last couple times I was out.

Bass fishing has remained steady but you may have to work them a little for consistent success. There's an early bite happening on most lakes up until about 8:30am. Then fish are moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can also be targeted around overhanging cover or weededges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, ned rigs and neko setups.  Dragging tubes, skirted grubs, and shaky head worms are catching some decent, but not huge fish off the rock/weed transitions. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged plastics or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Crankbaiting deep weed points really took off this week, with suspending cranks in natural patterns being the ticket, Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 22 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike continue to bite despite the inconsistent weather. As is typical for this point in the season, shallow fish are still being caught on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits around shallow weed clumps on the flats in 5-10 FOW, especially at first and last light. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. Trolling with spinner harnesses or deep-diving crankbaits in natural or reflective patterns around the weed edges has also been producing some fish. 18-22 FOW seems to be the hot zone for pike right now, but don't be surprised to find them out deeper.

Walleye fishing has picked back up as the weather cooled and the rains brought back some flowing water. If you're going to look for them, I'd start by trolling small minnow baits around the ends of deep points and midlake bars trying to find some suspended fish, or back troll (slowly) around deep weed edges in 18-22 fow with live bait. Once you have them located, set up and jig for them vertically.

Musky fishing has picked up a bit as the water got back into the range of temperatures for fishing. Most of the fish are being caught while trolling deep edges and over deep flat structure  but a few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them suspended around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points.

Good Luck. Be safe and I'll talk to you next week.


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!


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.