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Friday, July 28, 2017

Fishing Report 7-28-17

Summer is flying by...  

Water is in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes, with heavy algae blooms, and there has been several baitfish hatches over the last week to ten days. It was a mixed bag of fishing for me this past week. Had a couple of slow days, had a couple (including this morning) which were pretty solid.

Overall, game fish are setting up shallow, but there's a solid batch on the first break or in areas where bait has stacked up. You may have to work the wind a bit, but your best bet is to look for baitfish (either with your naked eye or your electronics) and then set up on an area where you find them. I'm not saying you can't catch fish deep, but there is a solid batch of fish in 4-8FOW, especially where there's patchy or sparse weeds. Docks and slop really turned on with the bright sun as well.

One big note: The Okauchee Tie up is Saturday the 29th. (tomorrow as I write this).

Panfish: Crappies are suspending along outside weed edges, but with the baitfish hatches, they've been higher in the water column than the last couple weeks.  Bluegills are still suspending in deeper water, but the unstable weather has pulled them tighter to the weed edge or the ends of points. 15-18 feet down over 25-40 feet of water is still holding schools, but weedy points with sharp drop offs adjacent to deeper water have been really productive. Remember to get your bait down, as the smaller fish in the schools will be towards the top. Slip bobbers, tight lining vertically or light lindy rigs thrown shallow and dragged off the edge of steep structure and allowed to sink have been producing. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are your best bets, especially on the smaller lakes.

Largemouth Bass are catchable in a variety of traditional summer patterns, but the weather is making patterning fish difficult from day to day.  Docks, rockbars, slop, and scattered weeds on shallow to mid depth flats have all been producing at different points in the day, but after the sun gets up, the docks have been a solid pattern on the sunny days. The best fishing has been early in the morning...just before first light until about 8:15-8:30am. You'll need to move tighter to cover or shadows after the sun gets up. My tip, so much as it is a tip, is fish topwater early, then slow down and get methodical around 8:30am. I'm consistently catching  fish with wacky, ned rigs, and grubs. I'm staying with watermelon seed or watermelon red  for colors for the most part, but green pumpkin or smoke with some purple or red flake have also been pretty good. My skirted craw bite just isn't consistent yet, but the August molt is right around the corner.

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

Walleyes are still biting. On Lac Labelle the bite during the day is steady, but only in the shallow weeds. Early and lake have been gangbusters all season. We've had a mild summer, and I don't think the fish really ever left the areas they use in the late spring.Weed edges in 7-10 FOW are holding lots of baitfish and the walleyes are there with the bait, but don't overlook the other batch of fish in the deeper sandgrass (where the perch like to hide this time of year.) Jigging, rigging or backtrolling with leeches, night crawlers, chubs or small suckers as produced. Heading Out: Labelle for action, Oconomowoc or Nag for keepers, North for trophies.

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

Good Luck,