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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