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Saturday, May 2, 2015

CBS 58 Story on Today's Opener

Had CBS 58's Lane Kimble in the boat for a short bit me catch a 12 inch bass on camera and talk about the opener.

 CBS 58

Friday, May 1, 2015

Opening Weekend Care Package...

Just received a small order from Muskie Metal and just in time for opening day.

I can't wait to try these custom color combos. Orange and Black is, and has been, an Okauchee special color for a long time, and this order has a pair including a Model 1 and a Model 3.

There's also a model one with one of my favorite bucktail blade combos: silver and chartreuse with a chartreuse flash skirt.

The prize of the box is my custom request for the single bladed Model 5 with a gold blade and "lemonade" skirt (seen in the lower photograph above). You can take it to the bank, that will be the bucktail I will have tied on for opening weekend. I like double bladed models, but I also like a little more subtle approach early in the season. The Model 5, with a larger blade (#12), is a balance between going big or going home, and I can't wait until I get some casts in with it. See you out there with my bucktail rod in my hand.

The 2015 Opener and Fishing Report for 5-1-15

There's under 12 hours until the's my last minute post.

Check out my Scouting Report from yesterday, my annual preview post here or the local highlights of the 2015 fishing report from the DNR.

Water is in the low to mid 50 on most lakes. Mainlake areas can be sub 50 degrees, with shallow, dark bottom bays pushing 60 degrees, especially before the rain moves through Sunday.

 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. Batches 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)

Bass fishing will be on fire this weekend, but will come in flurries of action as you make contact with schooled up fish on the forage run. The fishing should be fantastic for at least the next 10 days/two weeks. Very 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 will produce 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 should start steady. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits fished over/around shallow weeds or in marshy areas can really produce this time of year. If you're catching small pike, move out to a deeper depth contour in the same area.

Musky will be shallow.Try downsizing and throwing baits in natural patterns, or bucktails with a black skirt and some flash (Like These from Muskie Metal)

Walleye fishing should be hot for the opener, especially on the inland lakes. Look for active fish on the ends of the points (with sand) in 6-12FOW. Backtrolling or drfiting with slip sinker or split shot rigs and live bait.

Best of luck this week.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Scouting Run 4-30-15

Was out today for a scouting run on Okauchee today.

New weeds are limited. Water in the shallow bays is 52-56, but the mainlake has sub 50 degree water in several areas. Water levels are normal.

Saw lots of schooling male bass around staging areas, and even one buck up on a nest...but didn't see any bigger fish up shallow, nor any musky.

Panfish have moved very tight to shallow cover. Current is steady.

Good luck this weekend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Okauchee Launch-Update

The Okauchee public launch will be open for the opener.

From our friends at Dick Smith's:

An email we just received from the DNR: Hi Mike, just giving you an update on the Okauchee Launch construction project.

The contractor has been given a notice to proceed. Before he can begin work he is required to have a meeting with DNR and DOA. This meeting will most likely not take place until May 8th.

In the meantime, the boat launch will remain open and will be open over the weekend fishing opener.

Once we meet with the contractor and have definitive closure dates we will be issuing a press release so that everyone is on the same page.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.
John M. Olson, P.E. State Boat Access Engineer – Bureau of Facilities and Lands Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Monday, April 27, 2015

Musky Mikes Tuesday Night Big Bass League

Will operate out of the Hideaway and not from Foolery's this season. Kathy just called me to let me know about the change. There's apparently some confusion about the takeoff point.

More information on the change is here at Musky Mike's blog or call the shop 262-560-1189.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Opener Preview


Here is my annual pre-opening weekend post. Look for an final update Friday, May 1st with weather and water conditions from around the area.

For now, here's what to expect when you hit the water for the opener.

1.) Water temps in the mid fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 60 degrees, but only if the wind stays down, and the afternoons stay warm. Nighttime temperatures this week will dictate most of what happens next weekend.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds and very few old ones. The winter was reasonably tough on the weeds. You may need to focus on wood and rocks. Not too many docks have been put in.

3.) 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. Early forecast for Sunday calls for some plan accordingly.

4.) Live bait, fished slowly is going to be a great way to kick off the season. I'd fish for pike or walleye and wait until the weather stabilizes a bit for bass.

5.) Local lakes are open, but the rivers are still active. Conditions vary greatly up north.

Fish Stocking- Trout: Full Report is Here




Panfish: Staging 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, so 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 any green weeds you can find. If the sun is out, rocks can pull in fish later in the day as they absorb heat. Large fish can be caught on suspending jerkbaits 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 can find some fish out deep, a texas rigged lizard can land you the biggest bass of the season.

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. Chrome or reflective lipless crankbaits will get your line stretched for sure as will a slip sinker rig with a jumbo shiner or small sucker.(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 you can find. Jigging the channel edges or points, lindy rigging and drifting or slow death trolling are good options. #11 or #13 floating rapalas will pull up any bigger fish you come across. (Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Fox, Nag and North)

Musky: Live baiting with suckers, small bucktails and jerkbaits are your best options for the opener.  (Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler and North)

Getting ready: Need bait, equipment, or a fishing license? Do yourself a favor and buy from one of the locals.

Musky Mikes (Okauchee)

Dick Smith's (Delafield)

Smokey's  (Pewaukee)
Taking a Kid Fishing this weekend? The DNR Suggests these spots:

Ashippun Lake Park
Location: In Oconomowoc, WI. Take Capitol Drive west to State Highway 16, go west on 16 to County Highway P, then take P north to County Highway K, go west on K to McMahon Road. Watch for "public access" sign.
Notes: Run by Waukesha County Parks. Park has picnic area, restrooms and shorefishing.

Denoon Lake

Location: Located on Crowbar Drive, south of Kelsey Drive. Go west from Highway Y.
Notes: Public park with ballfields, restrooms, picnic area and boat launch. Not much shorefishing, due to marshy area near shore.

Lac La Belle

Location: At the Fowler Lake Dam, on Highway 67, one-quarter mile north of State Highway 16 in the Oconomowoc, WI. Located just northeast of the beach and park on Lac La Belle. The beach and park are on Highway 16, just west of Highway 67.
Notes: Disabled accessible public fishing pier.

Little Muskego Lake
Location: Access from Idle Isle Park in Muskego, WI on the northeast side of Little Muskego Lake. Take Martin Drive to Hardtke Drive to the park.
Note: Idle Isle Park has a beach, picnic area, restrooms, accessible public fishing pier and boat launch.

Lower Phantom Lake

Location: In Phantom Glen Park in Mukwonago, WI. Take County Highway ES (Main Street) to Andrews Street, then go west into the park.
Notes: Public park with picnic area, restrooms, disabled accessible public fishing pier and boat ramp.

McKeaun Springs

Location: Trout pond located on the west side of Highway 67, between Piper Road and Road X. About 3 miles north of Eagle, WI.
Notes: No facilities, but there is a picnic area with restrooms just a short distance to the south. DNR manages as a children's trout fishing pond. Although it is officially category 3 (3 bag and 9 inch length), there is a voluntary regulation for adults to catch and release, and kids are allowed to keep one trout of any size. Designed to encourage adults to take kids out and teach them to trout fish.

Nagawicka Lake

Location: In Nagawaukee County Park. Take County Highway C, three-quarters of a mile north of Interstate 94 in Delafield, WI.
Notes: Public beach, picnic area, restrooms and concessions, camping, shorefishing and boat launch.

Nemahbin Lakes, Upper and Lower
Location: Southeast of Oconomowoc, WI, off of County Highway DR.
Notes: County owned access on frontage road between the two lakes, Highway DR. shorefishing on Upper Nemahbin from the road right-of-way. DNR owned carry-in site on Lower Nemahbin off Sugar Island Road.

Pewaukee Lake

Location: Village park in downtown Pewaukee, WI.
Notes: Public park with beach and public fishing pier. Can also access Pewaukee River just below the dam. On Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Pewaukee. Boat launch and shorefishing from county park and boat ramp at the west end, on Highway E.

Local Shore Fishing Locations

Moose Lake: Shore and pier fishing is available at the Moose Lake Public Launch area. This launch has a nice park like area available to shore fisherman. The Launch area is just off Highway C, across from Cedar Bay road.

Lac La Belle: Public Fishing Pier Located in Memorial Park in downtown Oconomowoc.

Nashotah Park: Just off of the corner of HWY C and HWY R in Nashotah there is a park and ride. Across HWY R, there is a low fence that marks access to the Forest Lake area of Nashotah Park. Anglers have to hike down the hill, but the entire shoreline of the small lake is available for shore-fishing.

Fowler Lake: There is space for shore fishing by the Labelle/Fowler Dam, at the boat landing and in the Riverside Park. The lake is just off HWY 16 in Downtown Oconomowoc. The boat landing is behind city hall.

Nagawicka Lake: Two areas allow public shore fishing access. There is some space at the public launch in the County Park off of HWY 83 near Delafield. A second option allows you to access St John's Bay and a section of the Bark River. Take HWY C to where the Military Academy is. There is a small park just south of downtown Delafield on the east side of the road.

Pewaukee Lake: Located in Nagawaukee County Park on the west side of the lake. From I-94, north on State Highway 83 for 1/8 mile, east on County Highway DR 1 1/2 miles, north on County Highway E to park entrance. Park fee is charged. There is also a public fishing pier along the city strip near the beach on the east end.

Ottawa Lake: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From State Highway 67, west on County Highway ZZ for 1/3 mile to park entrance. State Park sticker required for entry.

Upper Genessee: Carry in boats and shore fishing are available. Parking is in a small gravel lot, just south of I-94, on the east side of HWY 67.

Paradise Springs: Located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. From downtown Eagle, west 1 mile on State Highway 59 to County Highway N, north on N for about 1/2 mile to site. State Park sticker required for entry. Artificial lures only.

Lower Phantom Lake: Located in Phantom Glen Park. From County Highway ES, west on Andrews Street to park entrance.

Other Useful Links

Local Fishing Reports from

Becky Smith's handy list of shorefishing locations, boat ramps and boat rentals is online at at

The DNR maintains a database of printable lake maps online.

There's also a easy to use reference to find boat launches at the DNR Website.

The DNR's online license purchases avoid the wait opening morning.