Gamefishing is closed on inland waters, but there's still plenty going on around our area.
Crappie fishing is still a bit early, but picked up substantially over the last week. Look for the warmest water you can find. Typically this will be along a north facing bank of a shallow, dark bottom protected cut, but areas with springs or current will also hold fish.
Look for the fish very tight to weeds or off shore laydowns. If you find them, there will be a bunch in a small area. With the water as cool as it is, sometimes the trick is to downsize your presentation. Small plastics or a tiny red hook tipped with a spike or waxworms can actually outproduce minnows for early crappies.
I like to use an ice fishing bobber with just a small piece of split shot above the hook for the early part of the season. This stealthy approach can really make the difference for spooky early crappies.
Bluegills are starting to move into boat channels and protected areas with dark bottoms or green weeds. This can be an awesome time to chase keeper gills in shallow water. I like a finesse rig, but casting a tight line bimbo skink is an awesome way to fill a cooler if you have some schools of fish spotted in the shallows. Water is still a little cool to work the current pattern which develops best in early April.
Hot spots for Crappies: Garvin, Oconomowoc, Pine, North Lakes, Stumpy, Whitigers and the Crane's Nest Junk Piles on Okauchee.
Hot spots for gills: Nag, School Section, Lower Genessee Ashippun, and Golden Lakes.
Want something to stretch your line a bit? The Rock River spring run is already happening, with big schools of early spawners using the holes and outside runs between Jefferson and Blackhawk. Fish are running small overall, but action has been pretty solid. Water has come up a bit with the rain, and that should really get things going. Control that drifting with your electric motor, hovering over current breaks whenever possible.
Reports from around the state have action in Oshkosh, Winneconne, Fremont, Depere and the Dells as steady.
Good luck out there.
Friday, March 18, 2016
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