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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fishing Report 5-31-12

First off: It's the annual free fishing weekend this weekend. You don't need a license to fish this weekend.

Second: Okauchee has at least one tournament this weekend. A WABTA bass tournament on Sunday, but posts on Lake-Link suggest there's also a tournament on Saturday.

Onto business:

As you might imagine, the drastically cooler weather has reduced fishing activity greatly. I assemble my weekly report from my own on the water experience, but also from a network of people who I maintain contact with about local conditions. Since the major cool-off this week, I've had less than half of my usual talks with people. So take what I have with a little grain of salt.

Panfish, especially bluegills were getting ready to spawn on many local lakes. Some fish were starting to make nests in the shallow sand, but I'd expect that activity to slow down substantially. Look for active fish along the inside edges of weedlines at the end of points, a key staging area for panfish before the spawn. Crappies have been hit or miss locally all season, but with the low overnight temps and dropping water temperature....I'd expect the bite to drop off even more. Some crappies can be caught off deeper fish attractors/brushpiles...but fishing vertically, tightlining tail hooked crappies minnows is probably your best approach. I heard some decent crappies were coming from Ashippun and Pine...but reports about panfish have been limited this last week.

Largemouth bass are more or less done with their spawning activity. Lots of fish are still schooled up and chasing bait on the shallow to mid depth weed flats with scattered cover. Baitfish remains the key factor on fish location by every report I have gotten. The cooler weather will slow bass activity, but if you can find some fish...presentations made slow and very tight to cover (like flipping or texas rigs for example) will still catch fish. If the wind is laying down, one of my better tricks for these conditions is to twitch a size 11 floating rapala minnow, pop-r or pop-x around shallow structure/cover. This is also prime time for live bait presentations, especially larger shiners or small suckers on a slip sinker rig.

Smallmouth were finishing up the spawning ritual. Could be a tough bite until conditions stabilize a little, but when the bite is tough sometimes your best approach for brown bass is to get unconventional. I'd throw spinnerbaits and crankbaits for smallmouth, especially around the deep edges of transition areas. Crawfish pattern crankbaits bounced through the sand and rocks in 8-15 FOW might just be the ticket to stick a big fish this weekend.

Northern Pike are less effected by the weather than most other gamefish species. If the bite is tough, throw spinnerbaits, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits around shallow patches of weeds for some action. Bigger fish can be taken on slip sinker rigs tipped with larger bait.

Musky/Walleye: I wish I had more to report. I haven't heard anything this week from my usual sources, and I've been chasing largemouth when out.

Around the area: Whitebass are still biting below the Jefferson Dam, but the bite is starting to slow down. Trout are still coming, although in limited numbers, from the stocked lakes and ponds.

Good Luck...stay warm and dry...better weather will mean better fishing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fishin' Spots....Lake Country Reporter

Not sure I buy everything in this article, but at least it is a decent reference point for the upcoming Free Fishing Weekend.

Check it out here.