It is the dog days of summer....
Fishing has slowed down substantially from its mid-June peak. The last 10 days have been very tough, but you can catch fish if you're prepared to work for them.
Key Tip: look for current. Creeks and River areas, or areas with flowing springs are holding lots of baitfish right now.
Panfish are using mid depth weeds in 8-15 FOW, or are suspended out over deeper water. Yesterday I saw schools of panfish about 18-20 feet down over 65 feet of water. Slip bobbers or tightline vertical presentations while drifting is a great way to target deeper panfish, as is fishing at night. Panfish leeches, plastics tipped with waxies or spikes, or leafworms are solid bets. (Try Okauchee, Pine, Nag, Middle Geneessee, Forest, Pretty or School Section for the best action.)
Bass are doing the mid summer thing: holding tight to cover, and feeding aggressively during short windows of time during the day. Mixed bags of largemouth and smallmouth have been common on many area lakes. Shallow fish are using docks/pontoons, inside weed edges in rock/weed transition areas, and the slop. Go big early, then downsize your presentations: Wacky, jig/chunk, skirtted grubs small shallow running cranks (Like the Norman Crappie N), soft jerkbaits or tubes are catching fish shallow. There's been a topwater bite just before/at first light. Deeper fish are holding on weededges or in the sandgrass out to 30 FOW. Deep diving crankbaits, jig worms, big worms on texas rigs, drop shot and slow rolled spinner baits are your best bet for deep fish. (Nag has been on fire, as has Pewaukee and Fowler. Also consider Ashippun, School Section, Silver, Okauchee, Lower Nashotah and Golden.)
Northern Pike fishing has been hit or miss. The hot weather has been hard on the pike this year, but some fish are still being taken along deep weededges or of weedflats. Morning bites on buzzbaits continue to be good and consistent overall. Live bait, or a slip sinker rig along the weedlines has also been productive. (Golden, Moose, Nag, Forest and Okauchee have been the best)
Walleye are biting, but the fishing has been the best at night. Deep weeds are holding the majority of the fish right now. Leeches or nightcrawlers on lindy rigs, or suckers on slip sinker rigs are catching fish. Slip bobbers fished around mid-lake structural changes have been productive in the daytime.
Musky fishing has been almost non-existent the last couple of weeks, but during my time on the water this past week, I saw several fish actively chasing bait for the first time in awhile. Most of the fish are out deep, but you might find in shady areas with some current, or along weedlines adjacent to a very steep drop into deeper water.
Stuck on shore? The rain has managed to get some of the rivers flowing again. Catfishing along the banks and at the dams on the Rock River has started to pick up. Local fishing ponds are very hot, and some are even seeing small fish kills as the heat continues. Try to focus your efforts early and late, or look for shade. Shorefishing reports from Fowler, Forest and Ottawa lakes have all been positive.
Last thing: The Okauchee Lake Tie-up is this weekend, so you might want to try to find another lake to fish on Saturday.