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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Checking In

Sorry things have been slow around these parts, but it has been a crazy busy fall for me. I wish I would have been out a bit more, but the reality is that I haven't been out very much.

I'll be bouncing in and out as is typical for the winter months. If you don't want to stop by to see if the blog has been updated, sign up on the right and you can get updates via email when I post them.

Over the winter I'll be posting and linking to lots of different instructional content, and I'll be back full time for week reports in early March.

Thanks for reading these reports.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fishing Report 11-16-13

Just a quickie today. Stop reading this, get your boat and get out on the water. Highs temps are going to be close to 60 degrees today and Sunday before seasonal temperatures set back in on Monday.

Musky fishing has been slow and steady. Water temps are in the right range for the biggest fish to start feeding aggressively, but reports of high 40-low 50 inch class fish have been hard to come by. Expect that to start to change as the season starts to wind down. Covering water pulling suckers on quickstrike rigs is your best option most days, but the warmer weather can give you a window for some casting success. Gliders, Jerkbaits or Bulldawgs are classic fall baits, but a spinner shouldn't be overlooked, especially around any green weeds you can still find.

River fishing for walleyes has been slow on the Rock River between Jefferson and Blackhawk Island. A few fish are being caught jigging deeper holes, but the water levels are very low.

Smallmouth are still biting in deep water on live bait. On warmer or sunny afternoons some wolf packs of fish are moving up onto structure for a quick feeding run. Big shiners on slip sinker rigs over 25-32 FOW can produce as can casting deep diving cranks, suspending jerkbaits or grubs and jigworms.

Good Luck,

Friday, November 8, 2013

Requirements For Vehicles- Madison Lake Ice Fishing

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

On Lakes Mendota, Monona and Wingra, vehicles weighing over 850 pounds require a special permit, while vehicles weighing less than 850 pounds require flotation and a permit.

On all other Dane County lakes, vehicles over 850 pounds require a special use permit, vehicles between 750 and 850 pounds require flotation and a permit and vehicles under 750 pounds have no restrictions.

2013-14 inspections: For more information, go to
  • Thursday night, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26, and Jan. 2, 9, 16 and 30.
  • Saturday morning, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28, and Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 15.

Hey gang-News and such 11-8-13

Things have been busy, and I haven't been checking in regularly.

For that I apologize.

Water temps are in the low 40's on most of the area lakes. Musky fishing has been slow but steady around the area. By the number of reports I am seeing, it seems that there's not many people on the water in comparison to many years.

Now is the time to target the big girls. Ironman this weekend on Pewaukee.

I'll be back for regularly scheduled reports next week.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Fishing Report 10-14-13

There hasn't been much change on the water since I last checked in, but the weather man tells me that things will start to be a bit more seasonal later this week.

This, is as they say, is what we have been waiting for.

Water is in the high 50's to low 60's on most lakes. The warmer, sunny afternoons are bringing cooler surface temps back up each afternoon.

Fish will be doing one thing above all, chasing bait. Visible baitfish=gamefish. If you're going along and see baitfish (either visibly or on your electronics) slow down and fish the area methodically.

I'd keep your presentations on the smaller side until the cooler weather sets in for the duration, but if you're fishing live bait, you can get a little bigger. Smallmouth, largemouth, walleyes and pike will go nuts on live bait rigs with larger shiners.

LM are still patrolling and ambushing along clumps of weeds on the shallow weed flats. Others are still hanging along the deeper weed edges. Smallmouth are relating to weed clumps near or adjacent to rocky and sandy areas with a drop off. The deeper fish will bite best when they make a move into the nearby shallow water. They tend to do this a couple times a day this time of year. A large number of fish will use rocky areas in the early afternoons. Wacky worms and skirted grubs are great around the rocks. Jigworms, texas rigs and ji/trailers are great around the scattered weeds. Lipless crankbaits are great in both areas. Browns, greens, orange or blacks have been the best colors for plastics (pretty much as they are all year) but white or silver crankbaits are really starting to turn on as a pattern.

Walleye: Live minnows or nightcrawlers are the key unless fishing at night when minnowbaits can outpace. Look for walleyes to be in the sandgrass or in breaks in the weeds in 10-15 feet. Some fish will be deeper or shallower on our local lakes, but the best approach is a slip-sinker or lindy rig with a big minnow. Nightcrawlers will still produce as well, especially when trolled very slowly on spinner harnesses along the first weedline breaks.

Northern: Most northern caught this time of year are caught while targeting other species, especially bass and musky. But they can still be caught and in good numbers. . Deep diving crankbaits in bluegill, perch or white/shad color patterns can work wonders right now: Hot N Tots and Wiggle Warts  are my favorites for trolling, while Norman D-22's, Spinnerbaits or Rattletraps are better options for casting. Drifting with medium suckers on a slip sinker rig, like you might consider doing while walleye fishing right now, should also be productive.

Musky: What can I say? It is time, pure and simple. The next six weeks will be prime-time. For now, focus your attention in 12-18 feet of water. Casting bucktails, gliders, swimbaits or especially jerkbaits can work, but don't forget to keep a sucker or two out on a quick-strike rig. Many fish that follow in lazily on a casting approach will turn on for the sucker hanging nearby.  By reports I got from around the area, North, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler and Lac Labelle all gave up fish this weekend, and the Madison lakes are really turning on. Fish are still running on the smaller side, but a handful of high 40's came in over the last ten days. I haven't seen or heard of a 50+ yet this season (from an area lake), but it is still very early for that class of fish.

Good Luck,

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fishing report 9-28-13

Fall patterns are starting to catch on. Water was in the mid to high 60's on most area lakes. Weeds are still up, and fish schooling up on bait is becoming more and more common.

Bass are holding deep, but making foraging runs onto shallow breaks with baitfish. Fish are feeding hard mid morning and again in the later afternoon. Cover water, and be ready to catch a mixed bag of fish out of spots. Hit areas with visible baitfish hard, and don't overlook fish suspended off the first deep break over weeds.

Reports have the walleye bite as active. The fish I have been catching have been on the smaller side, but I heard some reports over the last couple days of some bigger fish being caught. The Rock River is very low, but Pine, Nagawicka, Oconomowoc North and Lac Labelle are giving up some fish. Vertically jigging weed edges adjacent to the drops has been producing, as have rapala stickbaits worked over submerged weeds, especially in the evenings.

Pike have been active, but quality fish have been harder to come by than would be typical for this time of year. Spinners, lipless cranks, spoons and buzzbaits are producing, especially on the flats with scatttered weeds. A few people are catching some bigger fish drifting deeper water with live bait on a slip sinker rig.

Musky fishing is really picking up. Fish are still on the deeper edges, but a few are coming in shallow to chase juvenile perch. Bucktails were the hot bait this week, with a handful of fish over 40 inches being reported. Sucker rigs caught some decent fish, especially on suckers fished in 18-25 FOW. Pewaukee has been very active, but Okauchee and Oconomowoc are giving up the larger fish. No word of Lac Labelle or Fowler for ski's this week.

Good Luck...stay safe,


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fishing Report 9-21-13 certainly is fall now.

Fall things are happening which means if you don't need to be in your tree stand, you might consider hitting the water.

Water was still in the high 60's to low 70's and the end of the week, but the cooler temps, especially at night will start to drive that down quickly.

The hot bite has been bass. Typically early fall the pike action picks up substantially, but the bass have been the ones on the bite. Later in the day has been better, but there's really only one key to finding active fish: bait. Look for schools of baitfish along weededges, near isolated clumps of weeds on the flat areas, or moving around in the shallow off shore areas. If there's visible baitfish, or you can see pods of bait on your that area hard. I have been out a bunch, and all of the traditional approaches will work. I'm catching a solid batch of fish on flapper grubs, jigworms, wacky and texas rigs.

The fish are schooled up and feeding, but don't fret if you're just catching smaller fish...just keep working the pattern you are working and the bigger ones will start to show up.

Best bite has been from about 8-11 and again from about 3-6....typical for this time of year.

In terms of other things happening around the area....there's the musky. The cooler temps, and the rain have started to get some fish moving. A steady, if slow, stream of positive reports is starting to come in.

Pewaukee has had the most action (but is also getting fished the hardest)...with a fair number of mid 30 to low 40 inch class fish being caught. Bucktails, smaller bulldogs, cowgirls, jerks and gliders have all been producing. If you're going to put a sucker out (never a bad idea) try to stay with one in the 6-8 inch range for now. The cooler weather this weekend and the early part of the week is supposed to give way to another batch of weather in the mid 70's. In other's not quite time to break out sucker-zilla just yet.

As for where to fish...weed edges seem to be producing the most follows right now.  Weed wedges on a point with schools of panfish suspending off of them are key...but don't overlook shallow rock or gravel areas on the sunny afternoons. The juvenile perch will move up onto the rocks on sunny days, and the musky will follow them in. Once the water is about 60 degrees and dropping, things will get interesting.

See you soon.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fishing report 9-15-13

Well, the weather today kept most of you on the couch for the Packer game. There's no shame in it, it was a nasty day.

When I was a kid, the old guy down the road used to call September rains like we had last night and today..."the trigger." He always believed that the first cold rain was the start of the fall season. I can't say I have empirically tested it, but it seems to hold true.

That means much of what people have been doing to catch fish is about to change. Good news...the biggest fish will start to become very active over the next couple of weeks. I love this time of year, and I'm always amazed how many people have called it a season by now.

Panfish will suspend off of mainlake points. They'll move in a couple times a day to feed, then move back out to suspend. Points that have 6-10 FOW on top, but 20-40 FOW around them are dynamite this time of year. Vertical tight-lines, fished just above the bottom is the best way to get keepers, but slip bobbers and drifting with split shot rigs can also produce.

Bass will be coming into the shallow water to feed. You can catch them in the places you have been, but the key factor will not be cover now, but bait. As the fish start to get aggressive for fall, I try to only fish areas where I can either visually spot or mark with my electronics schools of baitfish. These can be minnows or juvenile panfish....but no bait=no fish.

Pike fishing has been picking up the last ten days, but it will get super good over the next couple of weeks. I really like to use lipless cranks in a metalic or silver pattern around weeds on the edges of flat areas. It can be amazing how many you can catch using this approach.

Musky fishing will also pick up some as the temps cool. I'd still downsize your casting presentations a bit as I've seen some massive hardware getting thrown. Having a sucker out, and doing a figure eight on every cast is critical for success. Weed edges will hold fish, but I'll be spending some quality time around points that have schools of panfish on/near them.

Good Luck,

Monday, September 9, 2013

North Lake Article

I received more than a few emails over the past couple of days about the trip to North Lake. Many people had questions about the fishing out there.
Picture from JSOnline.

I can only say this...we didn't fish very hard, or very long, but we caught a mess of bass there along some shallow drops and near some scattered weed clumps. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience to be with John and Paul that day, and I for one am very interested in getting out on the lake again soon.

Here's a link to JSOnline's Outdoors Page where you can read about the trip and John's incredible knowledge of the lake and its structure.

Fishing Report 9-9-13

Well gang,

We look to be in for some mixed weather this week so consider getting out this week. The lakes won't be too busy as many guys are thinking about their treestands and less about their trolling motors.

Water temps are in the mid to high 70's, but the cooler nights will start to bring that number down quick. Weeds are still very heavy, and at their end of summer peak. Baitfish populations are very high right now with a couple of big hatches in the last ten days.

Panfish are schooled up along the deep weed edges at the end of points, and in the deep sandgrass. A few are still suspending.

Bass are moving into their fall patterns, feeding heavily for a couple of short periods of time each day. They'll follow the baitfish into rocky areas and the inside weedlines, so keep your eyes open for schools of minnows. In the mornings and early evenings look for them to be roaming on the shallow flats and rockbars in search of food.  Floating Rapalas, wacky worms, jigworms, skirted grubs, lipless crankbaits, jig/chunk combos and texas rigged lizards are all delivering right now. If you find some fish on a weedline, a small squarebill crankbait, drop shot or crawling a big plastic worm will get you some action.

Northern Pike have finally turned on. You can still target them with live bait along the deep weedlines, but lipless crankbaits in a silver and blue pattern can really produce. Spinner baits and small bucktails or Mepps will also catch fish.

Walleye should be moving into shallow water, especially early and late, although I haven't heard or seen it happening just yet. For now trolling slowly with spinner rigs along the breaks between 10-15 or 18-22 feet of water is your best bet. The Rock River is very low, but Pine, North, Oconomowoc and Lac Labelle have all been giving up some decent numbers.

Musky fishing is just on the edge of getting started...I'd say it will get going in about two weeks. I saw lots of people throwing some big hardware over the last few days, and I'd recommend a downsized approach...smaller bucktails, jerkbaits and gliders. Most of the baitfish that are being targeted by larger species are still fairly small. Until the water cools a bit more, the realk fall feeding won't begin. Many fish have moved out of deeper water and are holding around the deep weed edges. A few are even roaming the shallow flats and a handful have moved onto the shallow rocks in search of juvenile perch. Most fish are being taken around weed edges by casters, but a few are still being caught while trolling crankbaits. Concentrate your efforts in areas with visible baitfish for the best chance at success.

Good Luck,

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Fishing Report - 2013

Fishing is going strong overall, but patterning fish remains inconsistent from day to day. Once you're on a solid bite, stick with it.

Conditions around the area are typical for the end of August. After this batch of hot weather, weed growth is at summer peak and water temps are hovering around 80 degrees.

Panfish have really slowed down over the last ten days with the heat. Crappie and bluegill continue to bite along weedlines or suspended out over deep water. Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce, but you may have to put in a little time to find the keeping size fish. Evenings, especially both sides of dusk, have been better, as is typical for this time of year. If you're out with the kids and just need to catch some for "action" purposes, visually look for schools around the docks and fish for them with bobbers and small live bait.

Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. On the hot sunny days, look for them around docks or slop, or out deep on the weed edges. Topwater bite has been excellent, especially early in the morning. There's a batch of fish using weed clumps in mid-depth (6-12 FOW) water that will bite all day, but you have to fish very tight to cover, and very, very slow. This has been the best pattern in terms of consistency over the last couple of weeks, and it is working great for people who put in the time. I'm catching most of the fish I am catching on a jig and crawler pitched or flipped into the weed clumps, and crawling it back to the boat.

Smallmouth fishing has been spotty like it has been most of the season. I'm not saying you can't catch fish, but you'll need to be ready to make some changes on the fly to stay on an active bite. If you can find some active fish, you can do well, but making that connection can be a tough nut to crack. Look for them around the edges of the  rock bars or sand/rock transition areas early, but by mid-morning the fish will be deeper than you think they should be. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits, tubes (watermelon especially) and small white crankbaits can be dynamite.

Walleye fishing dropped off dramatically in the heat. Some fish are coming out of 18-25 FOW, but finding some fish in the weeds early and late in the day is your best bet. I'd jig tight to weed edges with the biggest leaches you can find, or lindy rig with small suckers. If you're out close to dark, you may be able to trigger some fish casting minnowbaits like rapalas, rouges or thundersticks over weed clumps adjacent to deeper water.

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. There has been a little action early in the day on buzzbaits fished over shallow flats, and throwing reapers at deeper patches of weeds in the evenings (very common late summer patterns)...but the catch rates I'm seeing and hearing have not impressed me. I think the water temperatures need to come down (and stay down) before the pike fishing really picks up.

Musky: Still Early. Most anglers are reporting some lazy follows and undersized fish for the most part. Gliders, bulldogs and cow-girls have all produced in the past week, but most of the fish are mid-30's to low 40 inch fish. Unless this is your last weekend to get out, I wouldn't bother.

Good Luck, Be Safe and Enjoy the Holiday.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fishing this week.

It looks to be an interesting couple of days ahead this week. Hot weather, high temps and random thunderstorms....

Suggestion: Top water fishing could be on fire early and late. This is true for everything from spider flies for panfish, to poppers for bass, to buzzbaits for pike to top raiders orwalk the dog baits for musky.

Look for fish to be schooled up and chasing bait close to weed clumps on flats areas, weedlines on the end of points or near rock-weed transitions in shallow water. Slop fishing should be fantastic this week.

Give it a go. Then drop me a line (Click here) to let me know how it went.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Fishing Report 8-23-13

Wow, summer is coming to a close and you can bet that the fish know it.

This has been a good fishing season, but patterning fish has been challenging at times. I expect to see that change over the next five weeks. I have been out each of the last six days for several hours. The fish are transitioning to fall patterns.

Panfish are moving to weed-edges and shallow weed clumps at the end of points. Classic fall behavior. The best fishing is in the deeper weeds along the bottom/drop off of main lake structure/points. Slip bobbers will work, but vertically fishing for the deeper fish can really produce. Don't be afraid to use big bait, inlcuding panfish leeches if you can find them.

Bass are starting to school up and chase bait. Look for active fish to be chasing late hatching baitfish on shallow flats. Topwaters, jigworms, grubs and wacky worms can really catch some quality bags right now, especially if you're close to active fish.

Walleye are using weed edges and patrolling the flats for bait. Jigging in the weeds can be dynamite, especially early and late.

Pike are making an early fall move, and I saw several quality pike patrolling the shallow water in search of food when I was out yesterday and today. Buzzbaits, spinners and small lipless crankbaits will all produce right now.

Musky fishing is picking up as anglers start breaking out the big gear. A few fish are being caught, but I think it needs a week or two to really get started.

Updated fishing report: 8-23-13

I'm heading out right now, but the updated report will be posted later today.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hey gang,

Sorry the Friday report didn't post. I did it from my mobile and I didn't check to see if it was up.

Fishing has been fairly slow. It is steady, but with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, I would really expect things to be much better than they have been.

I've been on the water a ton, and I have fished lots of our local lakes, the last two weeks. Fishing tight to cover seems to be the best way to get a bite....and it really doesn't matter what you are fishing for when I say that.

Panfish are tight to the weed-edges, and in the deeper sandgrass. I am catching better sized fish out of 12-18 FOW in the weeds, than out suspended. Tight-line vertical fishing is a great way to target these fish. Still catching a bunch using plastics, but bigger red-worms and leaf worms seem to be the hot ticket right now.

The bass bite has been tough. Not impossible, just tough. You really have to work for consistent fishing. Tight to cover, especially weed breaks or rocks in 8-12FOW is really holding fish, but you have to tick the weed-edge to get bit. Slop fishing is still producing, but I'm catching more fish out of the small patches of slop around docks than the bigger areas.

Pike Fishing has been slow and steady. Spinners, buzzbaits and lipless cranks are working over flat areas with patches of scattered weeds, and dep-diving cranks and swim baits have been catching some fish along the deeper weed edges. Golden Lake has been on fire by most accounts.

Walleye have been biting like the bass...slow and steady. Presentation seems to be the key. Jigging in the weeds, or drifting/trolling lindy rigs along the deeper weed edges has been producing. Some guys are starting to catch some fish around dusk throwing rapalas over the tops of weed clumps in 6-12 FOW.

Musky fishing has been slow, but a few fish are still being caught on jerkbaits, bulldogs and gliders fished over the top of deep weed edges/sharp breaks.

Good Luck

PS...Here's a selection of photos from the last couple of weeks.

NAG 3+ Lbs

Lac Labelle...Walleye #602 This Season and Still No Legals.

One of more than 30 during a morning trip to Silver.

Tough Day On Okauchee was made better by this 4+lb Largemouth.

I Like to Teach Kids to Fish...Out for bluegills with my son and his friends.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fishing Report 8-2-13

Fishing has slowed a bit over the past week. Fish are still biting, but the bite has been slow, and often tough to trigger.

Panfish are suspending in deeper water, or holding tight to the bottom in areas where the weedline in adjacent to a steep drop off. A few keepers are in the mid depth clumps in current areas. Tightlining vertically, slip bobbers or light lindy rigs are your best options for chasing keepers. Drifting or moving as slow as possible with your electric motor until you find pods of active fish is the best approach. Look for suspended fish in 25-40 FOW, about 12-18 feet down.

The bass bite dropped off substantially this week. Fish are still biting, but the catch rate and size of the fish being caught is down a bunch from just ten days ago. Largemouth are making a slow move into transition areas, but it has been hard to pattern fish day to day. Docks and slop are holding fish during the sunny days, and fish are chasing bait early and late on the mid-depth (6-12 FOW) flats. Topwater, minnowbaits, grubs, flappers and jigworms are catching these schooling fish. Flipping into holes on the outside edge of the weedline, or on inside turns has been slow, but productive.

Smallmouth have been more active, starting to wolfpack mid depth transition areas. The crayfish molt is imminent and there will be a quick move onto the shallow rocks and gravel areas when that occurs, but for now, drop shotting edges, humps and current breaks, wacky, small cranks and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish.

Walleye bite has been hit or miss. The fish are tight to weed edges or in the deeper sandgrass. Lots of guys are reporting some short bites, and I certainly saw this when I was on the water this week. I didn't do any night fishing this week, but I'd guess the fish have been active after dark.  Slow death and back trolling lindy rigs with live bait has been producing, but like most of the fishing during the last week, some days have been far better than others.

Pike fishing has been steady for action, but inconsistent day to day. The fish are doing what they should be doing (chasing baitfish in open water along the weedlines) but connecting with them has been difficult to do. Live bait rigs are still catching fish in the 15-22 FOW range, and buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless cranks are still moving fish out of isolated clumps of weeds in flat areas.

Musky fishing has been slow. Very few reports of legal (40+inch fish) coming in. Smaller fish are chasing bait Mid-morning and round dusk. The topwater bite dropped off, but I'm hearing about lots of follows on gliders and smaller jerkbaits.

Good Luck,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fishing Report 7-29-13

Summer is flying by...

Water is in the low to mid 70's on most area lakes, with heavy algae blooms.

The cooler weather usually makes for tough conditions this time of year, but we've had a batch of relatively stable weather and that has made for some good, but mixed fishing.

Panfish are still suspending in deeper water, but the cooler weather has pulled them tighter to the weed edge or the ends of points. 15-18 feet down over 25-25 feet of water is still holding schools, but weedy points with sharp drop offs have been really productive. Remember to get your bait down, as the smaller fish in the schools will be towards the top. Slip bobbers, tight lining vertically or light lindy rigs thrown shallow and dragged off the edge of steep structure and allowed to sink have been really producing.

Bass are doing there usual late summer things. There's still fish on the docks and in the slop, as well as out on the weed edge, but more than a few are starting to school up baitfish on the flats with scattered cover. Topwater can be really productive, but I'm catching lots of fish on a flapper grub and jigworms. Pitching holes in the slop or weed edges with a jig/craw or tube has been working when the bite has been a little tough, and texas rigging the outside edge has been a solid bite all season.

Smallmouth are active, but the bite has been very inconsistent. Some Some days...nothing. Hard to predict, but this is very common this time of year as deeper fish start to transition to shallow rocks for the crayfish molt which is imminent. Check back next week.

Walleyes are still biting. The bite during the day is slow, but steady. Early and lake have been gangbusters all season. We've had a mild summer, and I don't think the fish really ever left the areas they use in the late spring.Weed edges in 12-18 FOW are holding lots of baitfish and the walleyes are there with the bait, but don't overlook the other batch of fish in the deeper sandgrass (where the perch like to hide this time of year.) Trolling cranks really turned on the last two weeks.

Pike fishing is steady and relatively consistent. Fish have moved to the weed edge, are suspending over 30-50' FOW or are roaming the shallow flats. Casting spinners, buzzbaits, lipless cranks, or wide bodies square bills will generate decent action, but the better fish are coming on small suckers on a slip-sinker rig.

Good Luck,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fishing Report 7-18-13

Boy is it hot. But the weatherman promises a cool off this weekend for some relief.

Fishing has been good the past week, but at either end of the day. You can catch fish during the hot parts of the day, but you have to work for them.

Water temps have creeped into the low to mid 80's on many area lakes and weed growth is at summer peak.

Panfish are moving into cover and suspending out over deeper water. Looking for quick action? Fish around docks that are close to drop offs or that hang out over deeper water. Looking for keepers? Move out to deeper water and fish for the schools of suspended pannies that are just off the weedlines or long, mainlake points. The best keepers are coming 18-22 feet down over 35-60 FOW.

Bass are feeding heavy early. From just before sun-up to about 8:30am, fish are moving in on shallow breaks. Although I'm sure they are eating a variety of things right now, bigger fish seemed to be keyed in on juvenile panfish, schooling them up and chowing down. The bite has been good until the sun comes up, but as soon as it has gotten hot, fish have pulled back out to 12+ FOW, moved under the docks or into the slop. I'm catching lots of fish pitching flapper grubs around isolated weed patches or stands of ribbon tail. Once the fish are on the docks, wacky, tubes and jig/chunks are catching them. Fishing the slop is producing, but I'm catching more fish flipping the holes with a beaver or jig than on a rat or frog. The pattern repeats itself again in the afternoon. Fish start moving in as banks start to get shade on them, usually around 4pm and the bite is solid until just after dark.

Pike fishing has slowed down substantially in the heat. Deeper weed edges fished with crankbaits, spinners and large plastics has been productive. Live bait in the form of small sucker or the biggest shiners you can get your hands on, on a slip sinker rig will produce...especially if you can find some weeds in 18-22 FOW. Don't overlook the sandgrass flats. A good patch of coontail on a deeper flat can/will hold multiple fish.

Walleye bite has really slowed down during the day, but is still solid early and later in the day. Weed edges fished with jigs or lindy rigs are still producing, but the fish have moved out to the secondary break in 15-18 FOW. In the evening, fish are moving into the shallow weeds and can be caught throwing minnowbaits over the top of submergent weeds in 6-15 FOW. You need to tick the weeds to get a bite.

In terms of Musky fishing...the only positive reports I heard in the past week were for topwater action very early, but especially just after dark. A couple of decent fish were caught in the last two weeks just after twilight over weedflats in 6-12 FOW.

Good Luck,

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fishing Report 7-12-13


Bass fishing has remained fairly consistent. There's an early bite happening on most lakes up until about 9:30am. The fish are then moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can 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, (white, green and rootbeer have been a hot colors) tubes, skirted grubs and shakey head worms. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged plastics or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 25 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike continue to bite. 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 5-10FOW. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. Trolling deep-diving crankbaits in natural or metalic (ie shiny) patterns like the rapala DT, hot n tots, or wiggle warts around the weed edges has also been producing some fish. 18-22 FOW seems to be the hot zone for pike right now, but if its sunny this week, don't be surprised to find them out deeper.

Walleye fishing has dropped off substantially, but expect the bite to pick back up as the sun gives way to some clouds, and more importantly, some wind. The  lack of wind during this last stretch has really pushed the walleye to low light activity cycles, and people's catch rates have dropped off. 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.

Catfishing on the Rock and Fox has been decent, but most of the fish that are being caught are a little smaller. You want a meal...its a great option, if you're looking to do battle with a monster, you might want to wait a bit. Cutbait has been outproducing stink bait or nightcrawlers.

Musky fishing has picked up a bit, especially early and late when people have been putting in the time. Most of the fish are being caught while trolling deep edges and over deep flat structure in 22-45 fow, 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.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Holiday Fishing Report -7-3-13

Happy Independence Day Weekend.

The holiday weekend looks to have temperatures cool off to September levels, so you can expect the activity from both anglers and fish to pick up. Remember, the photo cycle is shrinking, but that the sun is at its most direct over the next couple of weeks. You can really increase your success by fishing early mornings, evenings and if you can stand the bugs, at night.

Around the area...water temps are in the mid to high 70's. Weed growth is about average for this time of year. Lots of baitfish are swimming around, with hatches on pin minnows and panfish over the last two weeks.

Panfish Looking for action? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms. A few fish are still spawning, but I saw hatched bluegill fry swimming around (and being fed on) on Golden Lake. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically. Look for gills to be suspending about 10-12 feet down over 18-25 FOW or 12-18 over 30-45 FOW. If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Crappie are suspending over deep water, and along weed edges, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools.

Largemouth bass are moving traditional summer patterns.  Look for them in inside weed edges in 4-6 FOW  and the outside edges in 8-15 FOW. These fish can be caught on a variety of tackle, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, texas rigged wacky Worms, Shakey heads, skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are holding more fish with the hot sunny days, and the slop has been pretty good. Looking for some real fun? Topwaters are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 8am. 

Smallmouth bass fishing was below average this past week, but with the clouds and cooler temps, the fish will come back into the shallows to feed. Fish are using rocky points and bars especially early and later in the day. Most fish are holding on the deep side of breaks or suspending off mainlake structure, coming in briefly to forage. Skirted grubs, twister tails, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but live bait like leeches and small suckers has been working for the people backtrolling deep sand in 18-25 feet.

Walleye fishing has been steady. Anglers putting in time are catching a fish, although keepers have been hard to come by. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Slip bobbers or split shot rigs with live bait or suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Fishing over the tops of weed clumps near breaklines with floating rapala minnows is grabbing a few as well, especially during low light conditions.

Pike fishing has been a little below average with tons of smaller pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish. Fish with willow leaf spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, small bucktails or buzzbaits tight to scattered weedclumps in 4-8 FOW. Larger pike were hard to come by according to most reports, but if you want to chase them, try the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or troll with deep diving crankbaits as close to the weedline as you can without getting hung up. I caught a couple of nice fish yesterday working an outside edge with a large plastic bait on a texas rig.

Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so consider keeping a smaller sucker out.

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-15 FOW. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish as the spawn is largely over, but look for them to be schooled up at the end of points over deeper water.

Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers. Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Musky are still using the treeline break and suspending off the south drop. Bass are using the shallow flat areas. Pike are on the deep weedlines on the northwest and north east corners, and suspending over the deeper water.

Forest: Panfish and pike have been biting. Live bait over the deep holes on slip bobbers for panfish, inline spinners for the pike.

Oconomowoc: Fishing has slowed down, but pressure has been very slim this season. Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points. Northern pike and walleye fishing has been best for anglers using small suckers catching the majority of the fish, pike was better than walleye during the day.  Musky fishing was slow, but lots of fish are still doing lazy follows, and lots of people are reporting that they are seeing fish in shallow water chasing juvenile gills.

Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are still holding fish as are drop-offs in 18-25 FOW. Musky have moved out to suspend over deep water in the main basin. White bass have been stealing lots of bait from walleye and panfisherman.

Moose:  Bass and pike continue to bite, and action has been steady. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Backtrolling with small suckers on a slip sinker rigs around the first major drop to deep water has been a hot tactic, especially in low light conditions. Mornings have been better, but gamefish are biting all day. Plenty of easy to catch, albeit small, panfish in the shallows for the kids to have some fun.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is close to average for this time of year. Best bet on Ashipunn is to concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Flipping tubes, lizards or long straight tailed worms to visible weed pockets is producing numbers, bigger fish are coming on jigs or skirted grubs that hit isolated patches of weeds in deeper water.

Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending over the deep part of the basin, but holding close to weed edges adjacent to deeper water. Crappie are in huge schools suspending off the points and weed edges. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up, especially in the afternoon.. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished through the weedy areas.

Silver:  Bass can be caught using plastics around the weed clumps in 4-15 feet or around piers and boat lifts. Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW.

Nagawicka: Largemouths are average, and in summer patterns so look to catch them off boat docks, in the slop and along the shallow weed edges. One report has the gills still spawning, but only in the deeper sand. Pike have been average, especially on crankbaits or buzzbaits fished over weed edges at either end of the lake.

Kessus: Bass have been good, and are on the gravel, under docks/pontoons and on the points. Pike are actively feeding on you of the year bluegills.

Pewaukee:Bass have been good, Musky anglers are seeing, but not catching, many fish.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leeches or leafworms  has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle.

Rock River: the Catfish bite has been slow at night.

If you've got specific questions: Feel free to email me.

Good Luck, and stay safe this holiday weekend.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fishing Report 6-28-13

Fishing has been hit or miss the last week as fish have been feeding during blocks of time each day. If you're on them when they feed, the fishing has been good, but this run of unstable weather has made them very hard to pattern.

Right now most lakes are in the mid to high 70s. Weed growth varies from lake to lake, but is about average for this point in the year.

Bass Fishing has been steady, producing some quality bags of fish. Fish are starting to move into an early summer pattern, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days when its not raining cats and dogs, topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. On sunny days, especially those with lots of wind, fish are tighter to cover or using shallow rock bars in 3-8 feet of water. Plastics, flipped, skipped, pitched, wacky or texas rigged are great ways to target these fish. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching some nice fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas.

Pike fishing has been slow but steady, with a fair number of quality fish coming in. The number one way to catch pike right now is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of weeds and you'll find some fish. Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are also producing, especially in the shallow water, with topwater baits producing before first light or after dark.

Musky fishing continues to be slower than average. The larger fish have started to move out to the breaks, but there's still a solid number of fish patrolling the shallow water, feeding on schooled up panfish. Gliders and bucktails seem to be producing the most follows, but converting fish has been difficult. A few people are starting to troll the deeper basins, but I haven't heard about much in the way of success.

Walleye fishing has been pretty good, but much better on the windy days of after dark. Fish on Lac Labelle, Oconomowoc, Pine and Fox Lake are still using shallow weeds and weed edges. If you can find a weed edge in 15-18 FOW, sit on it. Jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs/ spinner harnesses has been productive Trolling with Shad Raps is picking up, as is typical for this time of year....slower speeds over the deeper part of the basins appears to be the trick.

Bluegills are almost done spawning on most area lakes. If you're looking for action, areas of beds can still be found in the shallows, but if you want some bigger fish, move out to 9-15 feet of water and look for beds in gravel and sandy areas. Vertical fishing with a split shot and live bait rig works great, as does pulling a 1/8 ounce lindy rig with a short leader through likely areas. (Try panfish leaches or leafworms) It's not the bobber approach which works great in the shallows, but it can really produce some quality keepers.

Good Luck,

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fishing Report 6-21-13/Labelle Wrap Up.

Hey gang,

I had the pleasure of fishing Lac Labelle every day for the last two weeks. Each day was a little different, but we caught fish consistently.

We caught lots of walleyes caught between 14 and 19.5 inches. We never got a legal 20"+ fish, despite catching several hundred over the twelve days we fished. In addition to the walleyes we caught a solid bag of smallmouth, largemouth, whitebass and even some crappies.

It is a great fishery, for catch and release fishing.

But I digress,

Panfish are still spawning on many area lakes. The crappie are done for the most part, but the bluegills continue to be in spawning areas in both shallow (2-6) and deep (10-18) FOW. The shallow fish are much easier to catch, but targeting the deeper fish will produce better size and numbers of keeper size fish. Try panfish leeches on split shot, light line -lindy rigs, or slip bobbers for the deeper fish.

Largemouth Bass are feeding heavily on juvenile panfish and pin minnows. They are really moving into summer patterns and can be found on docks, in the slop or in weed clumps in the shallow water, or on rocks or weedlines in the deeper water. Skirted grubs, wacky, texas rigs, jig/chunk, small crankbaits, or minnow baits are all productive. Smaller lakes are really hot right now, especially in areas where bluegills are still spawning.

Smallmouth are roaming flats, and running rock bars most days. The sunny days has them coming in early and late, suspending during the rest of the day, but they have been very active on the cloudy rainy days. Don't be afraid to look for them on rocks as deep as 25 FOW. Tubes, grubs, jigworms and small crankbaits are taking fish.

Walleye: My reports are biased a bit from fishing Lac Labelle, but the weedlines and deeper sandgrass is holding fish. Catching more drifting with lindy rigs than jigging, and I know some people are getting fish trolling cranks, or fishing minnowbaits over the top of submergent vegetation. We've been catching fish as shallow as 6 FOW and as deep as 30 FOW.

Pike: Pike are biting better on the cloudy days. Still plenty of action fish to be had in the shallow weeds on spinners, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or live bait. Bigger pike have moved to the deeper basins are are feeding on the deepest weeds.

Musky fishing has been slow the past week. A few fish were taken on bucktails or gliders in 12-18 FOW near deep weed edges.

FYI: There's a WABTA tournament on Nagawicka on Sunday.

Good luck!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fishing Report 6-13-2013

Conditions have varied greatly over the last week. The bite has been good or awful, with not much in between. Weed growth is about average for mid-June, with milfoil really taking off in many places. Water moved into the low 70's on many area lakes this week.

Panfish are spawning, but the numbers of beds you will see shallow is down significantly this year. There are some decent fish spawning in the 10-18 FOW range. Waxworm tipped plastics fished vertically on tight lines are catching these bigger gills, but a light lindy rig with a panfish leech can really produce, especially in the deeper water areas. Sand or gravel are key areas.

Largemouth fishing has been spotty. Its not that you can't catch fish, it is the patterning of fish that is difficult. Some fish are still defending fry, but many are in a post spawn mood. You can target LM by fishing for bass around the outsides of areas where gills are spawning. Wacky, popper-topwaters, minnow baits, soft jerkbaits or bright colored floating worms can really produce when the fish are on. If the bite is tough, tubes, jig and chunks, spinners or buzzbaits fished around scattered weed clumps (and tight to them at that) can trigger some less agressive fish to bite.

Pike fishing has been on-fire, with lots of guys who are fishing for bass or musky reporting solid catches of pike. Keepers are coming in 6-12 and 18-25 FOW.

Walleye are biting great, although the best bite has been mid-day. Shallow weed edges adjacent to deeper water are holding fish which can be jigged/rigged for, or fished by casting grubs or minnow baits.

Not much to report on the musky front. Reports seem to indicate lots of lazy follows from smaller 30 inch class fish.

There's a tournament on Okauchee on Saturday...WABTA.

Good Luck,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lac Labelle Day 2

Fished a little more today, primarily in the afternoon.

Took my older son Shannon out for just some father-son time. Shannon likes to fish, but he has a time limit for how long it is interesting to him. I knew today would be no different.

Headed right out to one of the waypoints I set yesterday. Dropped the lindy rig over the side, let out some line and handed him the rod. We made it about 75 feet before he asked me if he had a fish, saying there was something pulling.

Here was the first of the two walleyes he caught. I was proud of him as he did it all by himself.

First one was 15 after we caught a 16.5 he had "beaten" the longest fish that Quinn had caught yesterday, so he was ready to go in. I dropped him off at the pier and headed back out.

The wind was picking up, so I killed the motor and had two rods out drifting. I caught six walleyes 14-18" on one long drift, and headed in for dinner. Pops and I went back out after the kids went to bed, and we caught a mixed bag of crappies and whitebass before we called it a night.

Fish were shallower early, deeper later. Weed edges, especially those adjacent to a drop off have been key.

Going to hit it in the early AM tomorrow, looking for smallies.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Lac Labelle-Day 1

My parents are staying at a place on Labelle for a couple weeks. We are looking forward to spending some time with the kids at the lake before they get busy with summer activities. I don't fish Labelle often, but I always enjoy it.

Made it out for a couple hours mid-day today. I wanted to show my Dad how to fish the weedlines for walleyes.

Found weeds out to 13 FOW, but the real weedlines are in about 10 FOW right now. Kept it simple, lindy rigs with leeches. Caught 4 and missed a couple more in about 90 minutes of fishing. Hit the first fish in 19 FOW, but the next three were right on the weed edge in 9-10 FOW. Fish were 14, 15, 15, and 16.5.

Will be at it several times over the next couple of weeks. Going to focus on primarily walleyes, but I'm looking forward to doing some smallmouth fishing in the early mornings, and some topwater for musky after dark.

Here's my daughter Quinn and her "Pop" with one of the ones we caught today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Take a Vet Fishing

I had an absolute blast at the Take a Vet Fishing event on Lake Waubesa Today. I signed up to take a vet out for the event and I'm absolutely glad I did.

I'd never fished Waubesa before, but tried to keep it simple. Long drifts over a mainlake point with a mix of sand, rock and weeds. We were casting jigworms, and Steve had a rod out with live bait on a split shot rig. Like I said, simple.

We hit some active fish early and caught a mixed bag of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. After a bit, we also started picking up some walleyes and even grabbed a nice pike. Fished 7-11:30am, ended with more than a dozen mixed.

It was a fantastic event, well organized and well executed. Boats were launched/taken out quickly and in orderly fashion. I'm really looking forward to next year.

Here's Steve with a nice smallie from today.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fishing Report 6-7-13

June...nothing says June like Mid 60's degree water and air temps, but that's what you've got.

Weedgrowth is picking up, and weedlines are forming in deeper water. Lilly pads are really taking off, and some areas have some patches of emergent vegetation.

Panfish are in the spawning process. Crappies are at the end of the run, but bluegills are just getting started. There's plenty of beds in the shallow water, especially in areas of sand or small gravel, but these tend to be the smaller fish. If you're looking for decent keepers, you need to look for those fish in 12-15 FOW. They are hard to find with the eye, you'll need to do some moving around with your electronics. A good starting point is the deeper water adjacent to areas where you see beds in the shallow water. (Best bets: Middle Genessee, Lower Nehmabin, Nagawicka, Okauchee, Garvin, Keesus, School Section)

Largemouth are at the end of the spawn. You may still find a few fish on nests, but many are defending fry or starting to feed on juvenile bluegills. Most fish are patrolling shallow flat areas. Look for them around scattered weeds or near where bluegills are starting to spawn. This is topwater season, and poppers, jointed floating minnows and smaller walk the dog baits (spooks) can really produce. As the sun gets high, look for fish around docks and in the deeper water adjacent to longer points. Wacky, Jigworms, Jig/chunk, Skirted grubs, pre-rigged worms, Texas rigs and sliders will all catch fish. (Keesus, Okauchee, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Golden, Forest, Silver, Ashippun.)

Smallmouth are also approaching the end of the spawning process. Lots of fish are in small wolfpack schools, patrolling shallow bars, points and drops with rock/weed transitions. Tubes, grubs, soft jerkbaits, topwater and live leeches or small suckers on lindy rigs are producing. (Pine, Oconomwoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Upper Nehmabin, Beaver and North)

Northern pike have moved out to the deeper weedlines that are forming. Look for them in 12-18 FOW. Live bait on slip sinker rigs is always the most consistent approach for larger pike. If you're looking for faster action...square bill or lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits or spinners fished around shallow weeds, especially in flat areas will all produce. (Pretty, Golden, Kessus, Fowler, Moose, Okauchee)

Walleye are using mid-depth weeds in 8-15 FOW. Pitching jigs tipped with live bait into the holes on the weed edges or ends of weedlines has been very productive. Back trolling lindy rigs or pulling spinner harnesses along the 12-18 FOW transition is producing some keepers. (Pine, Nagawicka, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Keesus).

Musky fishing has been fairly slow. Reports suggest Pewaukee has been largely a dead sea, and Okauchee is giving up a few smaller fish with Oconomowoc being the most consistent. Gliders and bucktails have been the most productive daytime, with topwater giving up a few fish at dawn and dusk or just after the sun sets.

Whitebass are running at Jefferson, but the bite has been hit or miss. Streamers, twister tails and 3 ways have been catching fish up river from Ft Atkinson. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DNR at Waukesha County Launches This Weekend.

"Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens will be at Waukesha County’s boat landings, and bait, sport and dive shops this Saturday as part of a collaborative group effort to protect Wisconsin’s waters from destructive aquatic invasive species.

The DNR’s decontamination unit also will be stationed at the Pewaukee Boat Landing, ready for any boat owner looking to have their vessel power cleaned for free."

 Full Press Release is here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tonight- Speaking at the OFC Meeting

Just a reminder...I'll be speaking tonight at the Okauchee Fishing Club at the Knights of Columbus hall located at 1800 S. 92nd street in West Allis.

Guests are always welcome for a $5.00 fee.
The meeting starts at 7pm. My presentation will probably start around 7:45.

I'll be talking about a couple of things Bass related, including 4 area lakes I think people overlook for bass fishing opportunities.

The Club's Website is here.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fishing Report May 31st, 2013.

A quickie report for today, more after I have a chance to compile the information which came in this week.

Fishing was a little slower the last week as the post-spawn blues set in on many lakes for bass fishing. That, coupled with the crazy unstable weather we've had this season, has made it hard to consistently pattern fish. Although polar opposites in terms of the actual weather compared to last year's drought, the premise is the need to be able to adapt.

The best action is coming from panfish and pike. Panfish, especially bluegills are getting ready to move in and spawn, and can be found in the shallow areas around scattered weed clumps, sand, rock, or wood laydowns. The rain and the cooler weather ahead in the short term might slow down the process, but the fishing has been very good. Go small with your presentations, and be ready to mix it up some. I had much better success early last week by trying a mix of plastics and different live bait options. Waxworms outfished redworms 15-1 one day last week....and then plastics were better the next day.

Meanwhile, pike fishing has been very good, with some quality fish coming in. The larger pike are starting to move back out to deeper breaks, but there's decent action to be had casting around isolated cover with spinners, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits....or working the flats with suspending jerks or spoons. If you can find some decent weeds standing in 8-15 FOW, smaller suckers on a slip sinker rig can really produce some nice fish.

The last thing I have for right now is that there's a fair number of reports on Lake-Link and otherwise that the whitebass are running between the Jefferson Dam and the mouth of the river. I just got back to town this morning, so I have not personally verified this, but my usual sources have been talking it up some.

Check back over the weekend for a more complete report.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Northern Bag Limits For Walleyes Increased.

From JSOnline: information here.

Note the picture Paul Smith posted with the article:

That's a Rock River walleye in my hand in that photo.

Information on the new bag limits is: in this DNR press release  or available with lake specific information at this link.

Walleye Stocking Increase

From time to time, I have been critical of the DNR's stocking efforts but this looks promising: a focus on stocking more of the 6-8" fingerling walleyes which have a much better survival rate.

From Jsonline.

Hoping to spur fishing-related tourism and end the days of severely restricted bag limits in northern Wisconsin, state officials Wednesday announced a proposal to ramp up production of walleyes for stocking in state waters.

Called the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, the program would "dramatically increase" the number of walleyes in Wisconsin by expanding production at state, private and tribal fish hatcheries, according to a statement released by state officials.

Update: Here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Report-2013

Make sure to thank a vet this weekend.

Overall, water temps are back in the Mid to high 6o's. Weedgrowth is behind normal for this time of the season, and Mayflies are in the middle of the hatch on a couple of area lakes.

Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water. A few nests are starting to appear in the traditional sandy and gravel areas.Look for them in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will have fish, as will isolated patches of weeds in 6-10 FOW. Waxworms, butterworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin ( red hot!), Golden Nagawicka, Upper and Middle Genessee, School Section, Ashipunn, Pretty, Phantom and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been slow. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Some fish have spawned. 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. (Try: Okauchee (especially the North Flat, Bay Five and the Crane's Nest), Garvin (North End and Wood Laydowns), Kessus, Nagawicka (Channels), Golden, Silver, and Pine.

Largemouth bass are post spawn and fishing has gotten much tougher this past week. Anglers are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, 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 on warm afternoons, the action could be good. 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 or small suckers are your best bet. (Try: Okauchee, Lake Five, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Kessus Nagawicka, Silver, School Section, Golden, Fox or Emily)

Smallmouth bass have been active, but are in the process of finishing the spawn. 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. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. (Try: Oconomwoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, Pewaukee, Lower Nashotah and the Nemahbin Lakes.)

Walleye have been active, with some keepers 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 rapala minnow baits over isolated weed clumps. This weekend should be red hot for walleyes, especially in the evenings. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Nagawicka, North, Pine and Fox)

Northern Pike fishing has picked up some and as the bass move into the post-spawn cycle, pike might be your best option for some action this holiday weekend. I personally caught multiple 30+ inch class pike this week. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, or suspending jerkbaits (like 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. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Pine, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)

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 mainlake structure. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so having a sucker out on a quickstrike rig is a great idea, and figure eights are required on every cast. Gold blade/balck skirt seems to be the color of the season, but white/copper combos have also been catching a few. (Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle) 

Around the area: Fishing on the Rock River has picked up again, and anglers are still catching a few whitebass south of Ft Atkinson, and catfish between the Jefferson Dam and the mouth. The action has been good when its on, awful when its not.

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email or call me.

Have a great holiday weekend. Again, thank a vet.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

JSOnline Outdoors Article

Paul Smith's article on our Okauchee outing for Prespawn Bass is now posted.

 You can read it here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fishing Report 5-17-2013

Well, there's not much I can say about the weather. Fish are biting, but biting better on the warmer/stable weather days. You can still catch fish on the other days, but the bite can be very tough.

Water is in the low to mid 60's on most area lakes. Weed growth varies, with lakes with large quantities of Milfoil already with explosive growth.

Panfish have been hit or miss. Schools of fish are holding tight to shallow weeds in 6-8 feet of water, or around docks adjacent to deeper water. The primary point of note is to make sure your presentation gets to the bottom of the school where the bigger fish reside. Stay small with presentations, waxies or spikes on a small hook or plastic for gills or yellow perch, tail hooked minnows for crappies. Be ready for light bites.

Bass fishing has been on fire the last 10 days as the prespawn period wraps up. Lots of fish moved to their beds during the later part of the week, and if you're heading out, be ready to fish for fish in each of the three stages..prespawn, spawning and post spawn. Jerkbaits, especially soft jerkbaits can be dynamite, but don't overlook jig and craw/chunk, texas rigged plastics, skirted grubs and shallow running crankbaits for bigger fish. Lots of guys are drop-shotting around bedding fish, or flipping around docks right now. Don't be afraid to pull back from the shallow water and look for active fish in 6-10 FOW.

Pike fishing has been pretty good, but with the prespawn bass activity keeping people busy, not many anglers are targeting pike. Buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, spinner baits and spoons are catching fish, especially in shallow areas where weeds are coming up. Bigger pike have returned to deeper water, and a few people fishing deeper for musky have been reporting some active fish in the 10-15 FOW range.

Musky fishing has been spotty, with the fish exhibiting classic post spawn behavior. My only shallower than you'd think. I stuck a great fish early this week in 2-3 FOW while bass fishing, and I saw another fish in the same area later in the week.

There's tournaments on Okauchee on both Saturday (Bass) and Sunday (Musky). Pewaukee has a Musky tournament on Saturday. Whitewater has a Bass tournament on Sunday.

Look for an article in Sunday's Journal-Sentinel Outdoors section about the half day I spent with Paul Smith early this week.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

I get interesting emails sometimes....

Like this one:

Hi Chris

I'm a Casting Associate with Top Hooker, which is a new competition show from the producers of Top Shot, Dirty Jobs, and The Ultimate Fighter. We are currently casting for the second season, and are looking for skilled and adventurous fishermen/women to be on the show. I wanted to reach out to you to see if this might interest you, your colleagues, clients, or friends.

And here's some additional information:
NOW CASTING Dynamic Fishermen for Season 2 of Animal Planet’s Highly-Anticipated Fishing Competition Show !!!

The producers of Top Shot, Dirty Jobs and The Ultimate Fighter are seeking America's best and boldest men and women to take on the new season of Animal Planet's extreme fishing competition, Top Hooker.

On this hotly-anticipated new TV show, you and a handful of daring fishing enthusiasts will tackle exciting and intense challenges on America's rivers, lakes, streams and even the open ocean.

We are looking for COMPETITIVE, OUTGOING and SKILLED anglers, spear fishermen, game fishermen, fly fishermen, trawlers and trappers from all walks of life. It doesn't matter if your experience is commercial, sport or recreational. As long as you're skilled, adaptable and confident enough to take on anything we throw at you, you could win A BIG GRAND PRIZE and the title of Animal Planet's next Top Hooker.

This is TV's wildest fishing competition. APPLY TODAY!!! DEADLINE TO APPLY IS TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013!

Send an email to with your name, age, phone number, location, a recent photo (without hat and sunglasses please!) and a brief explanation of why you are
America's next Top Hooker.

A link with the rules and such is here:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Take a Vet fishing event in Madison on June 9th.

The 2nd annual Take a Vet fishing event is happening on Lake Waubesa on June 9th.

Event website with video and sign-up details is

Information from the website on the event:

 A Day of Giving Back

Sunday, June 9th 2013
Lake Waubesa on the Madison Chain of Lakes

All boats will launch from Babcock Park starting at 6:30am

Babcock Park

2909 US 51
McFarland, WI. 53558

Fishing time is from 7:30am – 11:30am

Veterans Memorial Party will start at 12:00 noon at McDaniel Park

McDaniel Park

4904 McDaniel Lane
McFarland, WI. 53558

Festivities will begin at 12:30pm with a flag ceremony honoring all of our active and retired US Military Veterans

Food will be served starting at 1:00pm. All families of participating military personnel are welcome to join the Veterans Memorial Party starting at 12:00 noon.

A Veteran Recognition Tribute will immediately follow lunch at 2:00pm. EACH VETERAN who participates in the event will be recognized with gifts, give a ways, and raffle prizes – all donated by our sponsors.

Space is limited! All entries will be on a first-come first-served basis!

Please contact Jay Garstecki at (847) 921-0760 or with any questions

WMT/ Pro-Mac Events This Weekend.

I've gotten a couple of emails about the musky tournaments on Okauchee and Pewaukee this weekend.

I sent an email to the tournament organizers this morning to see if there's still room. I'll post the reply as soon as I get it, but if you wanted to pursue it yourself, the contact information for the WMT trail is available here.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Okauchee 5-13-13

Out today 9:30-2:30 with Paul Smith from the Journal-Sentinel.

Had a couple of quick bursts of action, but was tough bite overall. All bass except for one shorty were 15-18.5 inches. Big fish was a unspawned female. Had one other female that wasn't spawned out, the rest were males.

Fished the usual early season spots, looking for warmer water and baitfish. There were fish in each area we fished, but getting bites was tough. Hooked a decent musky up in Tierney, but it got me wrapped up on a dock post. Tried to feed it line, and it ended up jumping a couple of times before breaking me off. Looked to be low/mid 40's.

Water dropped into the low to mid 50's during the cold snap. Was mid 60's when I was out on Thursday. Weeds are getting green, and have started growing big time. Water is high, and current is flowing through.

Fish were moving up, but there weren't many nests being guarded yet. I expect the warm up will put them on the nests pretty quick, and if you're fishing WABTA this weekend, you can probably plan on fishing for bedded fish.

Should be a busy week with the tournaments and such, but the fishing should also be pretty good as the warmer weather moves back in and stabilizes.

Good Luck,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fishing Report 5-9-13

Was out today on Okauchee chasing bass. Started with a jig and pig up front and a wacky rig in the back. Had to make an adjustment but dialed in the fish about 90-minutes in, and then knocked them out. Had several over 3 pounds, with a 20 incher in the batch. I would have liked to keep fishing, but the rain chased us.

Water was 60+ everywhere, but I didn't see many bedding bass...which was very surprising. The fish we were catching were shallow, but off the bank....classic pre-spawn feeding pattern for the larger female fish we were dialed into today.

This cold front that's about to hit is going to slow things down  a bit, but I expect the fishing to stay very, very good for the next ten days-two weeks before we hit that slow down in the post spawn.

Here's one picture from the cellphone...apology for the distortion in depth perception.

One of the better ones from today.

Onto business...

It's spring. You should fish spring patterns.

Water is in the low to mid 60's on most lakes, although this cold snap will drop the temps some before next week.

Panfish are moving into the shallows in groups. There's still plenty of fish hanging off the breaks suspended, especially the larger crappies, but you can get onto some decent sized fish in the 4-8 FOW range.  Areas with green weeds will hold the most panfish, but look for them around laydowns and docks that reach deeper water. Lots of nice gills are schooled up around deeper docks right now.  Keep it simple, small bobbers and small bait. Minnows for the crappies, but otherwise plastics tipped with waxies or spikes. Remember the biggest panfish are on the bottom of the school, so get that bait down to them. (Okauchee, Kessus, Ashippun, Lower Nehmabin, Fowler, Nagawicka, Pine, Golden, Middle Genessee and Forest (for shore fishing)

Largemouth bass fishing was on fire this week. I have put some huge fish in the boat since the opener. Each day requires a little adjustment, and this cold snap will push that theory to its limits this weekend, but the fishing should be fantastic for at least the next ten days. A few fish are up on the beds, but most are still chasing bait and craws at the last major structural elements outside of the spawning areas. Jig and pig, wacky, floating worms, soft jerkbaits, grubs, drop shot minnows and lipless crankbaits are all producing depending on the day. Lindy rigs with leeches fished around shallow weed clumps will catch fish, as will split shotting nightcrawlers along shallow rock to weed transitions. Now is the time to catch your biggest bass of the year. (Okauchee, Silver, Golden, Kessus, Moose, Oconomowoc, Pine, North, Nagawicka, School Section or Pretty.)

Pike fishing has been steady, with most fish being caught by musky or bass anglers. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits fished over/around shallow weeds or in marshy areas can really produce this time of year.

Musky are still shallow and seem to be chasing spinners, gliders and jerkbaits. Consistently hearing about lots of lazy follows on Pewaukee, Okauchee and Oconomowoc, which usually means people are fishing tackle that's too big. Try downsizing and throwing baits in natural patterns, especially if you are fishing the Muskie's Inc tournament on Saturday.

Trout are still being caught in decent numbers from the stocked ponds and lakes. Lower Genessee is still giving up some decent numbers.

Best of luck this week.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Bass Species Identified

Think of all the tournament rulebooks that will have to be updated!

More information on the discovery is here.

Openings next week....

I have a couple of days open the weeks of the 13th and 20th, and I'd really like to fill them. To that end, I'll knock $50 of the going rate for a half day trip, or $75 off a full day trip. We can do a multispecies trip on an agreed upon local lake.

Email me or call for more information....

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Rig Test/Moose Lake 5-6-13

Got out for a couple of hours today to put the Princecraft through a test run. Its a very stable platform, and even the higher sides didn't bother me much. The tiller will still take some getting used to.

Fished 11:30-1:30 with Kathy from Musky Mikes on Moose Lake. The Okauchee Launch was full, but it ended up working out just fine for a water test for the new boat.

Nothing fancy...Pitching a Jig and Craw around the obvious shallow stuff. Was more interested in getting a feel for the new boat than fishing.

Anyway, the fish are starting to move up, but it is still "early." Water was 61 degrees at the launch when we pulled out.

Caught three keepers including this one:


Local Tournaments-Update

Building on my earlier post here, I have information on two more tournaments.

First, there's a weekly Monday night tournament on Nehmabin. I believe it is held out of the Channel Inn by the public boat launch. I've never fished it, but Becky Smith told me about it.

I also have the schedule for Thursday Nights that are sponsored by Dick Smith's.

May 9 Nagawicka (Public Launch)
May 16 Pewaukee (Kim's Lakeside)
May 23rd Nagawicka
May 30th Pewaukee
June 6th Nag
June 13th Pewaukee
June 20th Nag
June 27th Pewaukee
July 4 Nagawicka
July 11th Pewaukee
July18 Nagawicka
July 25th Pewaukee
August 1 Nag
August 8th Pewaukee
August 15th Nagawicka
August 22nd Pewaukee
August 29th Nagawicka
September 5th Pewaukee
September 12 Nagawicka

Saturday :September 15 Classic-On Nagawicka

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mixed reports for the opener....

Heard a wide variety of reports from around the area about the fishing this weekend for the opener. Overall, I heard about some nice size fish being caught, but it seemed that the fishing was fairly inconsistent and on the slow side. Some decent pre-spawn bass, and several nice pike among the reports that filtered in this afternoon/evening.

I took the opener off this year. I was prepping my "new" boat. After a little mishap with my beloved Starcraft two weeks ago, I upgraded a little. I'm now running a tiller Princecraft 169. I wanted a boat that was a little more kid friendly and a had a much bigger livewell for musky tournament fishing. I found a quality used model (actually my dad came across it.) I picked it up this weekend, and spent the day today mounting my electronics and other gear on the boat.

It's a much wider platform and will fish 3 much more comfortably than my older boat. Looking forward to doing some serious precision trolling for walleyes this season on Lac Labelle and Oconomowoc with slow death rigs, and the new boat is perfect for this job.

Looking forward to getting out. My open guiding dates start this week, so if you want to go out and hunt for some trophy bass...shoot me an email.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

2013 Opener Preview

Here's what to expect when you hit the water this weekend.

1.) Water temps in the low to mid fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 60 degrees, but only if the wind stays down, and the afternoons are sunny.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds. New green growth is just beginning, and any that you are able to find will likley hold fish.

3.)Higher than average water.  Pay attention to the conditions, and don't overlook areas with current. Active fish will use current areas in the spring.

4.) I'd skip the morning run on Saturday, and focus my efforts in the warmer parts of the day. You may need to make some adjustments throughout the weekend as conditions change.

Panfish: Starting to stage on weed flats and in marshy areas. Look for the warmest shallow water in the afternoons. Plastics tipped with waxworms, or small tail hooked minnows are catching fish, but they are running small. Strike zone is small, make sure to make accurate casts if fishing for shallow, visible fish. (Best Local Options: Okauchee, Pine, Kessus, Nag, Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Middle Geneessee, Moose, Garvin and Golden)

Bass: Pre-Pre spawn. Look for small groups of fish to be cruising in the shallow water in the afternoons. Some of the early warming bays and channels may have some early bucks up in the shallow water, but I'd expect to see more schooling activity. Grubs, tubes and wacky are your best bets, but a jigworm might be the key approach. (Okauchee, Silver, Golden, Nag, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Kessus, Pewaukee, Beaver)

Action will come in spurts, but look for warmer water and green weeds. If the sun is out, rocks can pull in fish later in the day as they absorb heat. Large fish can be caught on a jerbait or slow rolled spinnerbait on the deep edges of points near spawning coves. If you're seeing bigger fish in the shallows, jig and pig in a black/blue, black/red or rootbeer pattern will produce. If you find fish out deep, a texas rigged lizard can land you the biggest bass of the season over the next ten days.

Northern: Lots of fish on the flats, live bait, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits will produce the most fish. Probably your best option for early fishing this weekend if you're looking for steady action. Big fish will be one breakline deeper than where the active, smaller fish are. (Moose, Kessus, Nag, Emily, Okauchee, Pretty, Golden)

Walleye: Lots of fish on the 6-12 foot deep flat areas. Especially around, but out of the current, and in any shallow standing weeds. Lindy rigging and drifting or slow death trolling are good options. (Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Nag and North)

Musky: Live baiting with suckers, small bucktails and jerkbaits are your best options for the opener. Reports of spawning pairs have been circulating on Okauchee, Garvin and Pewaukee for a few days. (Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc and North)

Good Luck.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rock River Update

Shoreline fishing and boat launching ban in Fort Atkinson is lifted today-May 1st.

Water is still high, dirty and fast...but if you're looking for a place to get away from the crowds on the inland lakes this weekend, there's sure to be whitebass and catfish to catch.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tournament Schedule for Local Lakes 2013 Season

Building on the last's a list of the tournaments I have (so far) for our local lakes.

Note....These are just the ones for the lakes I cover. Full Schedules for each of the circuits are available at the website links for each of the associations.

I'll update the list as I get more information, but here's what I have as of today, April 29th.

Tuesday Nights: Musky Mike's Big Bass League on Okauchee

C-N-R...(The Thursday Night) tournaments don't have a schedule up yet.

$125 Division
Okauchee May 18
Nagawicka June 23
Pewaukee July 20

$300 Division
Okauchee, June 15
August 3

Anglers Choice Registration Information/Link is Here
May 19, Whitewater
June 1, Nagawicka Lake
June 30 - Pewaukee Lake
August 10 - Pewaukee Lake
September 8 - Whitewater Lake
September 29 - Okauchee Lake
October 5 - Nagawicka Lake

Ironman Musky
April 20th Fox Chain North
June 8th Lake Waubesa
June 9th Take a Vet Fishing Lake Waubesa
Oct 19th Pewaukee Lake
Nov 2nd Lake Monona
Nov 3rd Lake Waubesa
Nov 9th Pewaukee Lake

No Professional Musky Trail (PMT) events in 2013 other than a Madison date in September.

World Muskie Tournaments-Musky Country Tournament Circuit (info here)

May 18-Pewaukee
May 19-Okauchee