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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Last Ride For a Bit.

Hey gang,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm wrapping things up for the season. My new job in the real world starts next week, so while I'll still be on the water, it won't be like it normally is.

A couple of things. First off, I still have a couple of charity trips floating around out there. I'd like to get you in this year, but I can't guarantee that's going to happen.  If you have one, I will still honor it next year.

Second, I may have some late season availability (Especially in late September and Early October) but if there's a date you want, you need to call right away.

Third-The fish are making fall transitions already. Despite the heat, it is time to go fishing.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a smile. I hope this one, of my daughter Maren from her first outing, will suffice.

I'll be in and out, so check in when you can. It has been fun doing these reports, and I hope to continue to do them as time allows.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Checking In...Fishing Report 8-8-16

Hey gang, sorry I'm been short with reports, but when I haven't been on the water, I've been making my transition to my new teaching digs at the University of Minnesota. Learn more about my transition from UWM to UMN here

The end run of summer begins this week. Time to get on the water. As we move into mid August look for fish in the usual summer places, but watch for them to have periods of time where they feed actively. The changes in the photocycle and the length of day will be evident to the fish, and you can expect to see activity levels peak and ebb during each day. The photocycle starts dominating fish activity this time of year.

Panfish are still holding in deeper water, and will continue to do so for a couple of weeks. Look for them to suspend along weedlines in 12-22 feet of water, or to suspend over deeper sandgrass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water. Pine,  Ashippun, Golden, School Section, Okauchee, Garvin, and Lower Nashotah (RED HOT!) .

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On the (hot) sunny days, you can find them around shallow docks, wood laydowns, slop and scattered weed clumps.  As the sun gets up, look for them to move tighter to overhead cover, but here will be periods of time during the day where their activity level will increase for a short spell. Be ready to switch tactics as they switch on and off, especially around transition areas and over flats where the topwater bite can really be fantastic. Deeper fish will continue to use weededges and points in 12-18 feet of water, or be suspended over deep water about 6-12 feet below the surface. Some fish are relating to rockbars in 5-12 feet of water as the crayfish move up for the late summer molt. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish. Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle and Moose have all had active bites around rock/gravel areas. Some fish are still being taken off the weedlines and off the weed flats by anglers flipping around heavy cover on Okauchee, Kessus, and Golden.

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

Walleyes will continue to hold in their summer patterns for another couple of weeks, but they will quickly make a move to shallower weedy areas as the baitfish move in for their fall spawning run. For now jigging or backtrolling with live bait around weededges or drop-offs in 12-18 feet of water is a good place to start, and be ready to adjust to deeper water on sunny days or shallower on cloudy or windy days.  A few fish are appearing on mid-lake structure but many are staging off main-lake points, especially where there is bottom transitions from rock to sand or from sand to muck. Trolling with bottom bouncers and spinner harnesses or drifting with live bait rigs are great ways to target these fish. North, Oconomowoc, Pike, Fox, Lake Koshkonong and Lac Labelle lake have all been productive.

Northern pike activity has been slow and steady all summer, and I wouldn't expect that to change. Smaller pike can almost always be found in shallow water around weed clumps and inside weededges adjacent to rock bars/shorelines. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water. Try Moose, Fox, Pretty, Kessus, Okauchee, Golden, Fowler Garvin, School Section and Ashippun Lakes for pike.

Good Luck and Cheers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fishing Report 7-15-16

Water temps range greatly, and can be in the high 70's to mid 80s.

The other key factor on the water is the low water conditions. While we got some rain later in the week, the majority of local lakes are way down. While you won't notice much a difference on the main lake, areas that are current based, there's not much happening. If you can find some flowing water, it'll have bait and fish in it.

Panfish have moved to mid-summer depths. Look for them suspended off weed lines and main lake points about 18-22 feet down. Structure at those depths will hold fish close to the bottom. Drifting with slip bobbers, tightlining vertically or long-lining split shot rigs tipped with live bait is the best way to target keepers.

Bass fishing has been surprisingly good given the heat. Some fish are on the weedlines 12-18 and 18-22 FOW. Crankbaits, slow-rolled spinner baits, flapper grubs or texas rigs are the best options on the deeper fish. Live bait in the form of larger shiners or small suckers on a slip sinker rig with produce. Look for feeding periods from just before sun-up until about 8:30-9, and then again from about 4pm to just after dark. The fish are actively chasing bait during these periods, and can be caught on grubs, ringworms, flapper grubs, and jigworms. Topwater action can be had, but the bait they are chasing is on the small side, so go with a small pop-r, skitter pop or something similar. After the initial feeding, look for fish to get tight to shallow cover, docks or weed edges, and then chase them down with wacky, tubes, and jig/craw combos. Pay attention to the shadows, and don't be afraid to make multiple skips or pitches to fishy looking spots.  On the bright sunny/hot days we had early in the week, the slop bite was producing, but I'm consistently only catching smaller fish out of the slop right now. Best bite has been on shallow weedflats with scattered cover, where you can visibly see baitfish schooled up and swimming around. This week, with the weather the way is was, I caught fish at essentially every depth between 18 inches and 22 feet.

Smallmouth action has been a little slower by most reports. They are still biting, but like the largemouths there's periods of time during the day for active feeding. The crayfish are not in full molt yet, and when that starts expect the smallie action to go gangbusters for 10 days-2 weeks. Right now you can catch some smallies on the flats and mainlake structure, especially along the drop-off edges, or suspended off the breaks in deep water. Tubes, wacky, grubs and soft jerkbaits are all producing the shallow fish, while suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits are catching the deeper fish. Docks were holding some fish late last week, and during the hot stretch earlier in the week, and I was catching some decent numbers and sized fish using a downsized presentation...after the fronts went through, the bite dropped off .

The walleye were biting solid, especially just before dawn and around sunset, but after the weather shifted the bite got tough. The fish I was catching (some nice ones) were in the deep weed edges in 14-18 FOW, but I know some guys fishing at night were getting some as shallow as 6 FOW just after dark.

Northern Pike fishing has slowed down with the heat. Deeper pike are biting good, especially those patrolling deep sand flats. Crankbaits, live bait or spinner baits will produce.

Musky fishing has been very slow, but a few people are trolling for them. Look for them to be suspended around schools of cisco over the deepest water. Please be careful with caught muskies this time of year, the heat is very hard on them. Give them plenty of time when reviving them, and don't keep them out of the water any longer than necessary.

Good Luck,

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fishing Report 7-7-16

Hey gang,

The unstable weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day, but the action is steady. If you get on a decent bite, you'll be able to work it...but working into a solid and stable pattern has been harder than is typical for this time of year.

Water is high 70's-low 80's. Weeds are a full summer bloom, and there's been a couple of baitfish hatches. It still seems like schools of baitfish have been harder to come by this year, but there's some decent bait out on the deeper structure and around the inside and outside weed edges. If asked, I would have to say fishing is about average for mid July.

Panfish have started to make the summer transition. There's still a few stragglers in the shallows (mostly green sunfish or warmouth) but the best fishing for keepers has been to find suspended fish. This week it seemed like the fish were 12-15' down over deeper water, but close to points or sharp tuns in the weedline. Vertical fishing while drifting or slip bobbers with leeches, helgramites or plastics tipped with wax or butterworms are your best approach for these fish, and my standard tip applies: if you're catching smaller fish out deep, get your bait down deeper. Looking for action fish with the kids...docks/swim platforms and overhanging trees are holding lots of potato chip sized fish right now. A small bobber, a #10 or #12 size hook (red of course) and live bait will catch as many as you can shake a stick at.

Bass are working traditional summer patterns, but the weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day.  Docks, rockbars, slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines have all been producing. The most consistent bite for largemouth has been the inside and outside weed edges in 6-14 feet of water. If you can find a defined edge in 12-14 FOW---stop and fish it.  The slop bite is on.. especially onmany of the smaller lakes. The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8a. Pop-R's with an orange or red belly have been producing some nice schooling fish and Redfins and jointed rapalas are catching some nice smallies. During my time on the water this week, I had to move with the fish...they were active and roaming early, then as the sun came up, they pulled tight to the docks and weededges. My tip, so much as it is a tip, is fish fast early, then slow down and get methodical around 8:30am. I'm still catching a ton of fish with downsized wacky rigs, ned rigs, and flapper grubs. My skirted craw bite, usually on fire right now, just isn't consistent yet...but it is putting some better fish in the boat. I'm staying with natural greens and pumpkin for colors for the most part, but black with just a little blue, or smoke with purple have also been pretty good.

If the bite is super tough...bust out the slip sinker rig with some leeches, chubs or small suckers and work the outside'll put some fish in the boat.

Musky fishing continues to be very inconsistent. Some days have been very good, some have been absolutely void of fish, with very little, or any pattern to the days.  The most active fish have come on deep divers, gliders and large tubes fished along the deepest weedlines you can find. 20 FOW seems to be magic this year, but the trollers working at night have been having the best luck. It just hasn't been consistent out there....but of course it is the middle of July.

Walleye action has been picking up, especially at either end of the day. The fish are coming a little deeper this year...sometimes out to 35'. Leeches under slip bobbers are catching fish in 12-15 feet, especially around weed/rock transition areas. Suckers fished on a split shot rig have been taking some better fish, especially in the late evenings. Weededges and sand grass are the areas to key on, especially in 15-22 feet of water. Oconomowoc has been giving up some keepers in the evening, especially off the graded sand.

Pike action was a little slower this week. Best bet: Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are producing for the action seekers. Reapers, inline spinners and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish, but the action has still been slow. I'd look for them around shallow, isolated clumps of weeds in shallow, or on weededges along points that stick into deep basin water.

Good Luck,

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Holiday Weekend Fishing Report 6-30-16

A long holiday weekend ahead! We're half way through summer...and fishing has been been consistent on our area lakes. Most water temps are in the mid 70's. Weed growth and baitfish populations are at about average for this time of year.

Obviously the lakes will be busy with the long day holiday weekend, so plan on fishing early and late, but if you can stand the boat traffic, fishing has been steady all day all the last three weeks.

If you're a newbie or casual fisherman....keep it simple. Get some leeches or small suckers and fish them on a slip sinker or lindy rig. Just keep the line tight and put your boat around the deep edges of some visible weeds. You will catch fish if you can stay in contact with the outside weed edge in 12-15 FOW while keeping your speed down under 1mph. If you're looking to cast some lures...try a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait or buzzbait.  Just cast it at any weeds you see, and reel it in as fast as you can.

Panfish Looking for action with the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait (I recommend wax worms or leaf worms on a small red #10 sized (Most swim rafts will have fish nearby).  Looking for keepers? -- The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water (12-18 FOW) by anglers drifting and fishing vertically.

Tip: 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.

 Largemouth bass continue to run 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, jigworms, jig and chunks, skirted grubs and tubes. Piers are starting to hold fish and the slop has bite has been picking up. Topwater bite has been good until about 8:15am and then it has been picking up in the evening around 6:30-7pm

If you just want to catch fish, keep it simple...leeches on lindy or slip sinker rigs on the deep weed edge is an easy way to put some fish in the boat on just about any area lake. Follow the weeds out until they stop (usually in 12-15 FOW) and set up to fish. Remember to keep contact with your presentation.

Smallmouth bass fishing was fairly inconsistent this past week. 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, 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/rock in 18-25 feet.

Tip: Flapper grubs and Ned rigs are still producing...using a lighter mushroom head with a natural brown or green pattern worm. Downsizing my wacky rigs to smaller Senkos or French Fry's has put some fish in my boat during slower stretches the last couple of weeks. The baitfish the fish are eating are on the smaller side this it seems that downsized presentations are a solid plan.

Walleye fishing has been very slow daytime, but better during the beginning and end of the day. (Typical summer condition.) Anglers putting in time are catching a few fish. 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 early and late in the day. Most fish are being caught along weededges in 12-18 FOW, but I've been catching them as deep as 25-32 FOW'

Pike fishing has been on fire with lots of smaller pike being reported. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including last week's big hatch of juvenile panfish. Fish with inline spinners, 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.

Tip: A lipless crankbait, inline spinner or buzzbait fished around isolated shallow weed clumps will help you catch some action fish...a great option for kids right now.

Musky fishing remains slow for the most part. On the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. Trolling at night has been producing a few fish during down moon cycles, but topwater fishing from 4-6am has been the most consistent way to catch a casting fish. I heard a few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits, but only one person I talked with seemed to be talking that up the last week. Anglers continue to report lots and lots of lazy follows, so keep a sucker out. 12-15 FOW seems to be the magic depth over the past couple of weeks for sucker fish. (Essentially active fish patrolling the weedlines!)

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-12 feet. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish, but look for keepers suspended over deeper water and on the deep ends of the mainlake points.

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 on the south end. 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:  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. No word on musky.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are holding fish as are drop-offs in 10-18 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.  Remember the new 28" size limit this season.

Moose:  Bass and pike continue to bite. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. Pre-rigged worms have been catching some bass by covering water around sctattered shallow wee clumps. 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.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action has been steady this 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. Slip sinker rigs with leeches fished tight to the weed edge worked for me with one of my kids last week, but we caught more fish on plastics than live bait.

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. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but the deeper weedline bite has been picking up. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished over the submerged weeds.

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 and suspending out over the deep basin between the mainlake points.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. No word on trout on Lower, (fairly fished out at this point would be my guess)  Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leafworms or big reds has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle, especially along the deep points and drop offs. (In other is July!)

Pine: Walleye, Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth are being caught off the rocks early in the day, and off the weedlines in the mid-day and evenings. Slip sinkers with live bait will produce, but don't overlook crankbaits or slow rolled spinnerbaits for suspending fish. Fish have been coming very deep all day.

School Section: Bass and pike are biting, but most of the fish have been small. Look for the deep spots, and work them hard with plastics or live bait.

If you've got specific questions or if you're looking to get out while in town for the holiday: Feel free to email me.   I have some openings early next week and I can put you (and those kids) on some fish.

Good Luck, and Stay Safe This Weekend.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In town for the holiday?


I have openings late this week, over the holiday weekend and next week for guided trips.

 I'm kid friendly (I have five of my own) and I can put you and the family on some fish.

Email me for more information.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fishing Report 6-24-16

A tale of two weeks this week. Monday and was very tough, and I had to work hard to junk fish/scratch fish together. Wednesday was one of my best days in awhile and Thursday I was out with my Daughter and caught a solid batch of fish.

I heard similar reports from other anglers this week as well.

On a personal note...I still have some days available for guiding between now and the 4th of July, and I'd really like to fill those dates. This is very likely my last summer guiding in the local area (Professor Terry is heading to Minnesota) so if you've followed the blog or have wanted to see how I approach the local waters, Now is the time to email me about a guided trip.
Around the area, 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. There were some major baitfish hatches, and wolf packs of gamefish are on the hunt.

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 they've been heavily picked over. 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 if you can find them, plastics tipped with waxworms or leafworms.)

Bass are into an early summer pattern, with lots of areas and techniques producing. On cloudy days  topwater and crankbaits are catching lots of fish over open water areas, especially weed patches (look for milfoil beds especially) 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 sand and 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. Fish were in both deep and crazy shallow water this week. Ned rigs continue to put fish in my boat, but with the weeds up now, curl-tail grubs, pre-rigged worms, texas rigs, jig and chunks and even skirted grubs are producing. It seemed like the active fish were feeding higher in the column than is typical for this time of year so horizontal presentations or slow falling vertical were the best. (For me anyway!)

Pike fishing was fairly steady this week. Fish are feeding early and late, and the best way to find them is to find concentrations of baitfish, and then fish through those areas with a purpose. Active fish can come shallow, so look for shallow flats or weedy areas with easy access to deep water. The usual casting techniques will catch pike--spinners, lipless cranks, buzzbaits, spoons...but don't overlook a Husky Jerk, Shadow Rap, Floating Rapala or similar 3 hook jerkbait.

Walleye fishing has been slow and steady but much better on the windy days. Fish on Lac Labelle, Oconomowoc, North and Fox Lake are using shallow weed edges but with the brighter sun days ahead, 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/Flicker Shads 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. I didn't hear anything one way or the other on walleyes on either Nag or Pewaukee this take my recommendation with that in mind.

Musky fishing continues to be about mid summer 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 had less positive reports this week than last week. Big tip: On the water observation this week clearly demonstrated a relationship to moon phase on musky activity. If you can, fish when the moon is down (ie set)...moon phase is certainly changing fish activity levels right now. I personally saw multiple active fish in the shallows chasing yellow perch and hatched out shiners even during mid-day this week.

Good Luck Out There!

Monday, June 20, 2016


Didn't get find a taker for today's last minute opening, so I called a buddy and hit the water.

Tough day yesterday turned into the best day of the season today. With the radar showing the potential for some nasty mid day storms, hit the water early with the intent of bailing around 10am before the weather got bad. 

I love Golden for half days runs like this, and after struggling on Oconomowoc yesterday, was looking for some action fishing on my surprise day off.

Turned into a perfect day on the water. Steady, but light breeze kept it cool, and as the storm went south, even had enough sunshine peak through the clouds to warrant some sunscreen. Temperature about 65-72 all day.

Got on the fish right after we hit the water around 5:30. Steady action all day. I stuck to my staples...finesse plastics and texas rigs but my partner was digging in the tackle box some...throwing some topwater, swimbaits and a variety of plastics.

Lost count of the fish we caught but had to have been around 50 LM and a couple of pike including a 31" on a topwater prop bait. The bass were the usual range of fish on Golden...but Highlight fish of the day.... this tank. We had more than 10 better than 17" as well.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fishing Report 6-17-16

Well gang, we have some serious fishing going on right now. The bite is very good, and the water conditions have stabilized, even if the weather hasn't. If you've been waiting to get on the water, you're missing some solid fishing right now. You can even make good use of my Father's Day Special. Information Here

The bluegills are almost done spawning. Better panfish are being caught out of the deeper sand and suspended over deeper water. You'll still find some fish up in the shallow to mid depth on the nests, but the bulk of the fish are starting to set up for summer. 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 naked eye, so 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)

Bass are working traditional summer patterns, but the weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day.  Docks, rockbars, slop, scattered weeds on flats and the deep weedlines have all been producing. The best bite for largemouth has been weed edges in 6-12 feet of water. Slop bite is picking up steam on many of the smaller lakes. The topwater bite has been steady, but most topwater fish are being caught before 8am on sunny mornings. Pop-R's with an orange or red belly have been producing some nice schooling fish and Redfins and jointed rapalas are catching some nice smallies. When on the feed, fish are patrolling shallow flat areas, and covering water on the larger flats can really run up your numbers right now.  As the sun gets high, look for fish around (but not necessarily under) docks and in the mid depth 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.)

Musky fishing continues to be good but the pattern has been evening or night fishing.  Day time patterns have been inconsistent. The most active fish have come on deep divers, gliders and large tubes fished along the deepest weedlines you can find. A few are being caught on topwaters, especially on Okauchee, Fowler and Lac Labelle, but the trolling crowd put some quality fish in the boat this past week including at least one 51" on Okauchee.

Walleye action has picked back up. Leeches under slip bobbers are catching fish in 12-15 feet, especially around weed/rock transition areas. Suckers fished on a split shot rig have been taking some better fish, especially in the late evenings. Weededges and sand grass are the areas to key on, especially in 15-22 feet of water. Lake Koshkonong has a hot bite going on in the main basin in 4-6 feet. Pulling harnesses or cranks has been giving up a mixed bag of walleyes, pike and whitebass. Most walleye action is coming at less than 2mph when trolling with meat.

Pike action was red hot this week, with lots of people fishing for bass catching bonus pike. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits are really producing for the action seekers. Reapers, inline spinners and large jerkbaits are catching some better fish. Northern pike fishing with live bait is a great way to fish right now. Look for major structure in the early mornings and late evenings and drift with lindy rigged suckers catching the majority of the fish.

Final Thought: I was out several times in the last week, and on most days I fished more than one lake. The fishing has been unreal the last 10-12 days. Drop that golf club, grab your kids and get on the water.

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


Happy Father's Day


I'd like to once again offer a special on guided trips in honor of Father's Day. Book a trip for an open date in June or July and I'll knock $50 off my standard rate.

Time is limited, and I'd like to fill out my remaining dates. Email me for more information

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Waubesa-Take a Vet Fishing 2016

It was another great year for Take a Vet Fishing on Waubesa.

I guided for two vets again this year, my fourth year of guiding for the event. Dan, who has been with me the last couple years was joined by Jerry.

We were out early, and on the fish right away, landing 4 bass in the first 40 minutes or so. Tried working a 4-6 FOW contour, but the fish we had caught were shallow, and we had to stay in on them to get bit. I though the fish would be tight to cover with the massive cold front, so we spent some time fishing weeds, but in the end, we started working some shallow water, and we stayed ridiculously shallow the rest of the day.

Final Score 24 LM (12-18") and 3 smaller pike. The nasty weather that went though missed us, and the bite was slow, but steady.

 Not a bad morning.

Ned Rig and Jigworm when the wind was blowing, and wacky when it laid down. Caught one fish on a frog near some slop and Dan was throwing a small paddletail swimbait you can see in the first picture.

Friday, June 10, 2016


I have Wednesday the 15th and Thursday the 16th available. I'll cut you a special rate to book on one of these two days next week. I'd really like to fill these two dates if possible, and the continuing reminder, if you follow my weekly reports, and you've wanted to fish with me time is short to do so.

Email me for more information on this special.

Update: Thursday has been spoken for, but Wednesday remains available.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fishing Report 6-9-16

Fishing really picked up this week, even with the unstable weather. I'm averaging close to 35 bass on the action lakes (4 hours) and 10-15 on other lakes. I had one morning outing where I put 11 fish in the boat between 4:30-8:30am, but my smallest fish was 17" and I had 4 over 20"

It is time to fish, even with the changing weather conditions.

Radio Legend Mitch Morgan was in the boat.

Looks like hot weather on tap for Friday and Saturday, then a batch of unstable weather the rest of the week.  Otherwise conditions are pretty steady: Weeds are coming around, but still reasonably sparse for the second week in June. One exception: Lakes with the milfoil are seeing crazy growth right now. Things should be back to normal by the end of next week. Water temps were a bit variable this week, especially with the crazy cold front that went through early in the week but most lakes are still in the low to mid 70's.

Bluegills are done spawning for the most part, and although small gills can still be found in the shallows, better panfish are starting to appear on the deeper weedlines or suspended over deep water.  There's a few stragglers up on the beds, but if you're looking for keepers..sand in 8-12 or 15-22 FOW is the ticket. Drifting with live bait on a light slip sinker or splitshot rig will put fish in the boat. Slip bobbers are also a great option for finding schools of fish around summer structure. (Try Silver,  Fowler, Kessus, Golden, Ashipunn, Upper Genessee, Garvin and Lower Nashotah.)

Bass are moving into summer patterns. In the morning fish are schooling up into small wolfpacks and patrolling the shallows. I caught fish as shallow as 18" this week, but the early bite burns off as the sun comes up and the fish move out to the first shallow/deep transition area. Sand and gravel was holding more fish than rock this week, but I caught fish off both. Topwater Poppers and Wake Baits are catching fish until about 7:30-8am, then you'll need to switch it up a bit. After the morning bite dies down most area lakes should most have active fish on inside or outside weed edges in 6-12 feet of water. Try drifting while working jigworms to find fish, but if things are tough on the flats and points, there's also batch of fish by, but not necessarily under, the docks. I've been using a mixture of wacky, texas rigs, jig worms, flapper grubs and Ned rigs to catch fish each day. Smaller baits were the certainly the ticket this past week, even for bigger fish. Watermelon red and green pumpkin were good, but the hot color this week (for me) was a green pumpkin with a little purple flake in it. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Lower Nashotah, Pine, North, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Walleye action has been slow, but with the mayfly hatch behind us, summer patterns should start to stabilize a bit. Spinner harnesses with leeches, back trolled on lindy rigs or bottom bouncers with slow death rigs with a nightcrawler are a good way to find fish to set up on, and then rig and jig. Slip bobbers with large leeches might pull some fish off the rocks if you can find fish in 6-12 FOW, otherwise weededges and sand grass are the areas to key in on, especially in 18-22 FOW. Night fishing traditionally picks up about now, and floating rapala minnow baits fished over weeds on the ends of long points can really produce. Lac Labelle for action, Fox, North or Oconomowoc for keepers.

Pike action has slow and steady. Fish the weed flats and outside edges with spinners or live bait. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits for action fish, or move out to 12-18 FOW with live bait or large crankbaits for larger fish. Try Moose, Ashippun, Golden, Okauchee,  School Section, Kessus, Emily, Fox or Oconomowoc.

Muskies have been very inconsistent. Some anglers have begun trolling for them in deeper water, but other anglers have reported raising fish along the deepest weedlines where there was actually weeds. Personally I'd target them early and late with either topwaters or blades, and stay shallow, looking for baitfish schools on the flats or shallow rock bars. I've heard from anglers fishing Labelle, Okauchee, Oconomowoc and Pewaukee all with mixed success in the last week.

I'm heading to Madison on Sunday for the annual Take a Vet Fishing event, and I'll post a report when I get back.

 Good Luck,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fishing Report 6-2-16

Going to hit this a day early this week, I'm sure you won't mind.

Around the area, conditions have not changed radically. Weeds are starting to catch up, but are still way behind. Baitfish are starting to appear, but numbers appear to be down a bit this season. Gills are spawning, bass running a post spawn pattern...and water temps are in the mid to high 70's on most area lakes. Lots of anglers out targeting gills the last 10-12 days.

Personally I was on six local lakes this past week. The fishing was steady, but getting better as the week has gone on.

Note: Mayflies are hatching out right might want to skip the walleye fishing for about a week. The hatch was so thick when I was out this morning, you could literally scoop handfuls of them out of the air. If you're out very early, you'll see them.

Bluegills moved onto their nests this past week in force. Amazing numbers of fish can be caught with simple rigs cast into shallow water near sand or gravel bottoms. Want action or heading out with the kids, fish can be caught in 1-4 FOW on most area lakes. If you're looking for keepers, you'll need to move out deeper and look for spawners in 8-15 FOW...again looking for the best action in sand or sand/gravel bottoms. For the shallow fish, a small jig, plastics or small (#10-#12 size hook) with live bait 12-18" under a bobber will catch as many as you can shake a stick at. If you want keepers, use a light slip sinker or split shot rig and drift over areas where gills are in the deeper water. (Try Silver, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays on Okauchee, small lake on Oconomowoc, Garvin, Golden, Forest, Lower, (on fire) Middle and Upper Gen, Ashipunn, School Section and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers were still hard to come by. (typical post spawn as crappies move out to suspend in deeper water) I'd say stay focused on the gills for the next week to 10 days, but the usual approaches will work if you can find some fish. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Moose, Kessus,  Golden and Pine.)

Largemouth Bass  The post spawn blues are gone and bass fishing was crazy good this past week. Fish are still holding around spawning gills, but fish are schooled up and chasing bait. Fish are still shallow, but some of the bigger fish are starting to make a move to summer pattern. Plenty of action fish can be caught in 3-8 FOW on finesse plastics...the kid of stuff I preach...grubs, wacky, jigworms or small tubes, but slow down...the fish are active, but moving slower than I normally would put some extra fish in my boat this week. Topwater poppers or wake baits have been producing at either end of the day, but the morning bite has been winding up quick as the sun has gotten up. You may have to cover some water, but if you get one, there's usually more in the same spot. Fish will stack up on the flats during the day now, and you can scratch a few together by working that sort of pattern. You'll also find some fish near current areas and around (but not necessarily under) docks. I haven't seen a solid deep pattern yet, but things are sure to stabilize over the next 10 days or so. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Ashippun,  Lower Nashotah, Pine, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still slow overall. Some fish on topwaters, some on finesse plastics, but nothing consistent. They do tend to gorge themselves on mayflies, so that maybe part of the story. Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with smaller poppers, minnow baits or soft jerkbaits. After the sun is up go with subsurface lures: tubes, skirted grubs or twister tail grubs.  (Try: Oconomowoc, North (Best Action this week), Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Beaver or the Oconomowoc River.)

Walleye fishing has been very tough. see my note above about the mayflies. You may want to target other species this week and I'll have an update next week.

Northern Pike and Musky reports were limited this week. I'm sure the fish are still biting, but with so many people out targeting gills, I just didn't get any solid information this week, and bass have been getting the lion's share of my attention personally.

Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water or if you want to chat about getting out.  Email me here

Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Preview

Take the time to thank a vet this weekend. Consider participating or supporting a great organization in Take a Vet Fishing who has their annual event scheduled for Madison June 12th. You can read about my time on the water with Airforce Vet Dan Juday from a couple years ago here.

Conditions: Right now most lakes are in the low to mid 70's. Weed growth is way behind. Water remains high on most lakes, but is crazy clear for this time of year.

Bluegills have started to move on their beds with the increasing temperatures over the past week. Shallow spawners were digging nests right in front of me today. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will hold the most fish. Smaller gills spawn up shallow, but if you're looking for nice gills, try 8-12 feet of water. Regardless of depth, focus on sand/gravel areas for the best success. Leeches on a split shot rig are the best way to chase larger pannies, but Waxworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish. (Try Stumpy and Icehouse Bays on Okauchee, Small lake on Oconomowoc, sandy section of the Oconomowoc river above the Fowler inlet, Garvin, Golden, Forest, Middle Genessee, Ashipunn, Pretty and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers have been hard to produce. A few crappies are being caught over deeper water near mainlake structure, and you may still find a few spawning crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Moose, Kessus, Upper Gen, Golden and Pine.)

Largemouth Bass  are in the full-on post spawn period. A few fish are still spawning, but not many. Topwaters (Pop R, Redfins and #11 Floating Rapalas) and crankbaits (Norman Baby N's, wiggle warts and rattletraps) are catching fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. Fish have been hard to pattern though, and you should be ready to be flexible. Lots of fish are schooled up, but with weeds in limited supply, and baitfish schools hard to pin down this season, you might have to actually cover some water to find fish consistently. If the topwater/crankbait bite is off (and it came it went this week) downsize your plastics presentations. I caught a bunch of fish switching from a Senko style bait to a Centipede or French Fry this week. Ed rig (jig worm with a short senko) also produced, but covering water with a grub or small ringworm filled in some gaps. The fish are active, but in all stages of the spawn so it can be hard to pin them down, but one surefire pattern to work this weekend for LM is to fish for bass around spawning bluegills. Flapper grubs can provide you a knockout punch in these situations, and I caught fish on six casts in a row at one point today. Fish can be mighty spooky under these conditions, so be ready to make long casts. Plastics: Texas rigged lizards, tubes, skirted grubs, and wacky worms are all catching fish, but as always, if the bite is tough, try a jigworm. Browns and pumpkins have been outproducing greens and watermelons for me. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching a few fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas, but try to keep your leader a bit longer to keep you bait higher in the water column. (Try: Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin Lower Nashotah, Pine, Kessus, Pewaukee, Moose, School Section, Pretty, Golden or Emily)

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still slow as fish finish their post-spawn pattern. Minnowbaits, like size 11 or 13 floating rapalas are actually a great way to catch these fish. Keep it simple, black and silver or chartruese and white are the best. Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with tubes, skirted grubs or twister tail grubs. Did great with a 3" Chompers grub this week in a green pumpkin, (Try: Oconomowoc, North, Pine, Lac Labelle (On Fire), Pewaukee, Beaver or the Bark and Oconomowoc Rivers.)

Walleye fishing has been tough. With limited weeds, fish are hard to pin down. Slip Bobbers, jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs have been productive, especially when using small suckers or leeches for bait. In the evening, a few anglers are still catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over any isolated weed clumps on mainlake points and humps they can find, but this bite also dropped off after the moon phase. (Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle,, North, Pine and Fox)

Northern Pike fishing was slow, but steady. The best way to catch pike is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of the weeds you can find in 12-18 feet Up shallow- Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are still producing. (Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Pine, Moose, Kessus, Fowler, Golden, School Section, Emily)

Musky fishing has been pretty slow with the sunny days. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are an absolute necessity, and having a sucker out on a quick strike rig is always a good idea. Topwater and jerkbaits are still catching some fish, but with weeds hard to come by, plan on covering some water. (Try: Okauchee, North, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle)

Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be a great way to catch some keepers. The local ponds, Lower Genessee, Fowler Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish. Full list of stocked trout waters is here.
Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water. Email me here

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fishing Report: 5-20-16

Hey gang,

As many of you have probably heard, I'm moving from my teaching position at UWM to a research position at the University of Minnesota this fall. Read about it here.  If you've wanted to spend some time with me in the boat on a local lake....this summer might be your last chance to do so.

I've got several openings in the next couple of weeks. Contact Me if you're interested in getting out. 

As for the fishing...I've been on the water most of the week. I've had to make adjustments on the fly, but I had a solid week of fishing. The best action has been mid morning to early afternoon.
A couple of things about conditions. First, the water is still cool, with temps in the high fifties to low 60's, but the bays are approaching spawning temps. Weed growth is very limited, and water clarity is above average. All in all, this can make for some tough fishing.

With the moon cycle and warmer temperatures on tap for this weekend, love will be water for the weekend. Finesse fishing in shallow water will be key for bass and crappie as they head in for the ritual. Pike and Musky are sure to be shallow and active.

Panfish will  move into shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially in the mid afternoon. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore, but don't overlook the first break into deeper water. In areas with current, look for schools of fish in deeper  hholes and outside turns, even if these areas are very small. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try getting your bait a little deeper. Bluegills will bite on a variety of live bait but for active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and as a bonus, plastic presentations will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line. For crappies, look for them closer to the wood now as they turn color for the spawn. Use tail hooked minnows, skirted grubs, or road runners. Remember that spikes or waxworms on an ice-fishing jig or small red hook can be the ticket for spooky shallow fish. (Try: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Silver, Golden, School Section but Middle and Upper Gen are both on fire for pannies right now.)

Both LM and SM Bass are in all three stages of the spawn, and many fish are patrolling the shallow areas, foraging. They seem fairly active, but very spooky in the clear water. Slow fishing is key.  Smaller fish are up on the beds, but look for the big fish to move in this weekend. Focus on the warmest water in the protected bays. LM will relate to wood or docks, smallies on gravel/rock shorelines. Jig/chunk, wacky worms, texas rigs, and floating stickbaits (the old three hook size 11 rapala in black and silver!) are all great choices. Try (Okauchee bays, Oconomowoc, Garvin, Fowler, Moose, Ashippun, School Section, Pine, North, Middle Genessee, Nehmabin and Labelle.)

Northern Pike are using the few shallow weeds that have popped up, and are feeding on small baitfish, especially juvenile bluegills. I saw some nice fishing sunning themselves on shallow flats when I was out this morning. Cranks, lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits or spinnerbaits are all catching fish. Live bait options include suckers or large shiners. Moose, Kessus, Golden and Nag.

Musky have been active, and anglers are reporting steadty action, including a 51" fish from Okauchee. Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Fowler and Okauchee have all been consistent producers. Jerks, sliders, slammers and bucktails are all producing. A few fish, including the big one, have come on sucker rigs. Look for fish near shallow green weeds or along the breaks in 12-18 feet of water. Rocks my have fish sunning themselves at various parts of the day.

Walleye have been a tough bite to track consistently. Look for baitfish near obvious breaklines and fish hard. The lack of weeds has the fish on the move and hard to pin down. With the warmer weather/moon this week, look for walleye action in shallow water during low light hours. Walleyes are fairly spooky in the clear water, so keep your distance, and fish with split shot or light lindy rigs. Casting with size 7 or 9 rapalas or husky jerks might be the ticket you're looking for, especially in the evening. Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, North and Pine are your best bets.

Whitebass are still coming in to anglers who put in the time along the Rock River. The best action is between Fort Atkinson and the Jefferson Dam.

Good Luck

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fishing Report 5-13-16

Hey gang,

Was a solid week after the opener last weekend. Conditions are still a bit on the early side, water temps are still low overall, and weed growth is way behind average. That said, there's plenty happening.

Fishing was slow, but steady all week, even with the changing conditions. As I write this, it looks like we have a patch of stable weather ahead, and that will certainly get things going. If you have to choose...hit the water on the sunny afternoons, and in any case, focus your attention on protected areas with dark bottoms (in other words, the warmest water).

Okauchee has a bass tournament on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There's a charity musky tournament on Pewaukee next weekend (Info Here)

Panfish will continue to move to shallow areas, especially on warm, sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially in the mid afternoon on sunny days. Look for shallow, dark bottom bays with scattered weeds, woods or reeds. The fish may be very tight to shore. In areas with current, look for schools of fish in deeper holes and outside turns, even if these areas are very small. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try getting your bait a little deeper. Bluegills will hit on a variety of live bait, including redworms, dillys, waxworms, spikes, or butterworms. For active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line. For crappies, tail hooked minnows, skirted grubs, road runners, or waxworms on an ice-fishing jig will really produce. Don't be afraid to look for crappies a little deeper especially if there's wood or green weeds. (Try: Okauchee, Garvin, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac Labelle, Ashippun, Silver, Golden, School Section or Middle Genessee)

Largemouth are in pre-spawn feeding mode. Look for them in shallow areas with rock, sand or muck. Protected bays with wood laydowns or weeds will really concentrate fish, but most of the fish being caught right now are early males, making some nests around docks and other shoreline cover. Larger female fish have not come in yet in significant numbers, so look for them deeper where they will likely be actively feeding on rockbars and around scattered  (green )weeds. You can use a variety of presentations to chase these fish. Jig and chunks will catch less fish, but are a great way to catch a bigger fish. Slower presentations like wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or tubes are all great for probing areas, but spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, and crawfish imitating shallow diving crankbaits will all catch fish right now. Using live bait? Leeches, nightcrawlers or large shiners are your best option. (Try Okauchee, Moose, Kessus, Golden, Silver, Fowler, Pine, and Pewaukee)

Smallmouth bass are starting to run rocky areas, foraging, but they haven't really schooled up yet. Look for them in the usual early season spots, but don't be afraid to look for them as deep as 25 feet, where they will be feeding on schools of yellow perch. Spinnerbaits are a great way to cover water, tubes are a great way to look for fish around the dropoffs and on the shallow rockbars. Lindy rigging with large shiners can really produce some amazing fish this time of year. (Try Lac Labelle, Beaver, North, Lower Nashotah, Pine, Pewaukee, and Oconomowoc)

Walleye are sbeing caught in smaller numbers. Look for walleyes in shallow water, around rocks or sand, especially early in the morning, and later in the evening. In the daylight hours, schools of fish will be cruising the sand flats in 8-15 feet of water. Live bait rigging, (Lindy rigs with small suckers or big shiners!) jig and minnow or jig and leech combos, or trolling with shad or minnow imitators are your best approaches. (Try Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Fowler North or Pine)

Northern pike were a little slower than I would have expected this week, but with multiple tournaments this weekend on Okauchee, I think many anglers were targeting bass rather than pike. Action pike are in shallow water, especially near marshy areas, and will aggressively bite spinners, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or live bait suspended around shallow weeds.(Try: Moose, Kessus, Okauchee, Fowler, School Section, Lake Emily and Pretty)

Musky fishing was slow but steady for the opener. Most fish are in 5-12 feet of water, and are biting on swimbaits, gliders, jerkbaits and bucktails. A handful of decent fish were taken on suckers as well. Remember to do your figure eights on every cast right now, as lots of anglers were reporting lazy follows this past weekend. Personally, I like to use smaller baits in a black and blue, or black and orange combination at this point in the year. (Try Okauchee, Oconomowoc Garvin, Lac Labelle and Pewaukee for Musky)

Catfish were starting to bite more aggressively on the Rock River. Look for them around wood on the bottom, or in the channel turns. Stink bait, cutbait or nightcrawlers were all producing.

Trout fishing was fast and furious on the stocked lakes and ponds around area. Full data on lakes and ponds that have stocked trout is here.  (Lower Nashotah, Lower Genessee and Fowler all had trout stocked this season)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Back from my scouting run...


Things are as advertised in my earlier post (here)  for the opener tomorrow. Water in Low to Mid 50's, weed growth a little behind average for this time of year.

If you're heading out this year the shallow dark bottom bays will be where most of the action is on Saturday. Live bait will be a key presentation. Targeting Musky, Pike and Walleye will be more productive than chasing bass in the morning.

Sunday's weather looks a little better, and if the sun comes out, the later afternoon bite could really pick up.


Crappies and Bluegills remain in shallow water, and the bite has been steady in the afternoons. Primarily the schools are relating to weed clumps in shallow water. Newer, green weeds, reeds or small wood laydowns are attracting the most fish right now. For crappies try small fuzzy jigs tipped with waxworms, small fatheads or rosie reds. Bluegills have been biting on plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, as well as redworms, leafworms or pieces of nightcrawler.

Best Lakes For Panfish: Ashippun, Silver, Kessus Buelah, Golden, the Genessee lakes, Lake Five, Okauchee (Bay Five, the Channel, Icehouse and Stumpy Bay), Garvin and the Nehmabins.


Largemouth are in an early prespawn pattern. Small schools of them are chasing baitfish in the shallow water.  For the best action look for LM to be along the first drop offs or at the edges of shallow bays. Later in the day they may move to the backs of spawning coves. Lindy or split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or suspending large shiners under slip bobbers are your best live bait options. Texas rigged plastic lizards, wacky worms and jigs with a chunk trailer will be good options if fished very slowly. Slow rolling spinnerbaits or ripping rattletraps around weedy cover could produce some reaction strikes.

Best lakes for largemouth: Okauchee, Silver, Nagawicka, Golden, Pine, Pewaukee, Moose, Kessus, Pretty and School Section.

Note: If you're looking to fish Okauchee for bass, get out early this week as there's a Tuesday Night League Tourney, A Wednesday Club Outing, and two large tournaments next weekend. Fishing pressure, especially on spawners will be intense.

Smallmouth remain in deeper water for the most part, although a few have been seen making foraging runs into rocky areas during the middle part of the day. Look for them to be suspended in the water column in deep water near points and other rocky structure. Suspending Jerkbaits, swimbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits or twister tail grubs are good options for chasing suspended smallmouths. If you can find some fish on the rocks, lindy rigging with leeches or nightcrawlers should do the trick.

Best lakes for smallmouth:North, Lower Nehmabin, Oconomowoc, Pine, Lac La Belle.

Walleye: Panfish anglers have been reporting seeing walleyes  roaming shallow flats chasing baitfish. This indicates typical post-spawn behavior patterns, which matches the water temperatures on local lakes. Bottom bouncers with spinner harnesses, lindy rigs and jigs will all catch these fish. I'd consider using a mix of live bait in the form of nightcrawlers, leeches and small suckers. Look for walleyes to relate the edges of shallow water, but especially at the junctions of rock/sand transitions. I'd run live bait rigs to find fish, then fish an active area hard with crankbaits like a shad rap or floating rapalas.

Best lakes for walleye: Lac La Belle, Pewaukee, Pine and Oconomowoc. A few fish are still being caught on the Rock and Crawfish Rivers.

Note New Regulations for Waukesha County Walleyes This Season:

Nagawicka, Pine and Pewaukee - Now have the same limit as Oconomowoc- 3 Walleye at least 18" while the size limit on
LaBelle  is now 1 Walleye at least 28"

Northern: Pike are past their post spawn blues and should be feeding aggressively. Typically with these conditions small pike will be all over shallow water and you can expect the big pike to be relating to the first break. This is prime time to chase pike with live bait. Use big bobbers and suspend large shiners and suckers around weed edges or near areas with visible panfish. Casting with lipless crankbaits or spinner baits, especially around shallow weeds on the flat areas can be dynamite.
Best lakes for pike: Forest, Emily, Moose, Golden, Nagawicka, Fowler, Lower Gennessee, Okauchee.

New Regulations For Pike This Season:
Pewaukee/Lac Labelle -1 Northern 32" Minimum Size

Musky: Lots of fish have been seen recovering from the spawn, but the fish that seem to be chasing active baitfish are relating to green weed growth in mid-depth water. You never lose out by floating a sucker or the biggest shiner you can find while casting. I'd stick to jerkbaits, gliders or smaller bucktails for the opener this year, and concentrate your efforts on any scattered weed clumps you can find. I'd plan on being methodical and be ready to make lots of casts to an area to get neutral fish to bite.

Best lakes for musky:Pewaukee, Lac La Belle, Fowler, Okauchee, Garvin (Should Be Awesome) and Oconomowoc.

Good Luck out there!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Opening Weekend Preview


Here is my annual pre-opening weekend post. Look for an final update Friday, May 6th 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 high 40's to low fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 55 degrees, but only if the wind stays down, and the afternoons stay warm next week. Nighttime temperatures will dictate most of what happens next weekend.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and not too many piers are 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.

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 if you want to target bass. (Again more than a week out, I'm guessing a bit, but patterns are patterns for a reason.)

5.) Local lakes are open, but the rivers are still active.

Fish Stocking- Trout: Full List Here
Local Trout Stocking:

Fowler and Lower Genessee were each stocked with 1600 Brown and 1418 Rainbows this season.

Lower Nashotah received 2134 Browns  and 1418 Rainbows.

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fishing Report 4-21-16

Ok Gang, we're back at it.

Warmer weather has really gotten things happening. Last weekend really helped, and relatively stable conditions has made a difference this week.

Crappies and Bluegills are active in the usual early spots. Look for them in shallow, protected areas with a north bank. Dark bottom areas with green weeds are especially good right now, but sandy areas near reeds will also produce. Small minnows, tail hooked, and suspended under a bobber is the best way to catch crappies, but if the bite is tough, don't overlook waxworms on an icefishing jig as an option or both species. Bay 5, Stumpy and Icehouse Bays, The Crane's Nest and the Channel on Okauchee are always great areas, as are Garvin (North end) Kessus, Golden, Pine (Both Ends) Moose, Fowler, Lac Labelle and the boat channels on Nagawicka.

Walleyes continue to bite on the Rock River in Jefferson. The walleye spawning runs are done for the most part, but fish are still being taken from shellbeds, rockpiles and in the channel swings. Jig and minnow, or jig and plastics (including ringworms) have been the best baits this year. While the walleyes have done their ritual, whitebass fishing is really picking up as large schools move into the river and make their run. You'll have better action fishing for white bass, but catfish are starting to turn on as well.

I'll be posting my usual pre opening day reference material between now and next weekend. Keep checking back for more details.

It is great to be back.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fishing Report 4-8-2016

Greetings again.

If you have a window that allows you to see outside, you may have noticed that our local weather conditions haven't been fishing friendly.

That said, early spring conditions continue on the local lakes. Early warming, protected bays with dark sand or rock bottoms, or areas with current continue to give up some fish, especially in the late afternoons during the warmer parts of the day. Windy conditions have limited the days and areas people are fishing...but if you can brave it North, Okauchee, Garvin Oconomowoc, Lower and Middle Gen, Golden, Ashippun, School Section, Nag, Lower Nashotah and Moose are giving up decent bags of keeper panfish.

River fishing is in a weird spot. Walleyes would appear to be in all three stages of the spawn, but fishing for them has been steadily inconsistent. The Rock River is high, dirty and fast with the recent weather, and while people are still catching fish, lots of undersize fish are still being reported. White bass are starting to make a move, but catches have been limited.

Around the state, the Dells have been spotty like the rock, Depere is giving up some quality fish, but in limited numbers by traditional standards. The runs on the Fox and Wolf Rivers are likewise in a weird half-completed status.

Get ready for things to start happening as soon as the weather gets stable and spring actually sticks around for a