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Thursday, August 9, 2018

End Run: The Return of School is Imminent

Hey gang,

Schools right around the corner, and I'll have to hang the "gone working" sign up on this sight for a bit, but there's still time to get out.

I was out today with my two oldest kids ahead of the front, and we sliced them up fishing inside edges with grubs and flick shake rigs. I can't stress enough how much I have come to love the flick shake rig as a set-up for the kids. I can bass fish, and they can fish that around me with a simple lift, drop, count and catch their own fish. It works deep or shallow, and they can safely throw it around docks, swim platforms or pontoons. It has been awesome for teaching my kids how to line watch and keep contact with the bait.

I'm using a simple set up. A 1/16 wacky head and a 4 or 6" Zoom trick worm in either Green Pumpkin or Watermelon Red. I've got them rigged on 6' St Croix Medium Light spinning rods with Cadence CS5 and 6lb co-polymer line. My daughter (age 9) caught an 18" LM today on this setup. It works and its easy enough for somebody without real skills to use.

Full report tomorrow, but get on the water...things are happening now.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fishing Report 7-27-18

Hey gang, it was a mighty tough bite this week. Fish were still biting, but activity levels and strike zone size was limited. Water temps have come down a bit, but fish activity has not quite caught up yet.

As we move into 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. If the hot, muggy weather is behind us, things are set to get great.

Bluegills 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 sand-grass about 14-18 feet down over 40-50 feet of water.

Largemouth will continue to come in using two primary patterns in the short term. On 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. Tube baits and skirted grubs are a great way to target these fish.

Smallmouth are starting to move toward the early fall pattern of making 3-5 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, rattletraps/lipless cranks 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.

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 weed edges or drop-offs in 8-12 or 15-19 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. Drifting with live bait rigs or jigs are great ways to target these fish.

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. Spinners, buzzbaits, spoons, jerkbaits or lipless crankbaist are solid choices for action. Larger pike can be taken trolling cranbkaits or slowly backtrolling live bait along deeper weed edges, especially in 12-20 feet of water.

Musky reports have slowed down over the past couple of weeks, but I suspect that has as much to do with the weather as anything. For the next run, start to look for them along visible weed breaks as well as over sumberged weedy flats in 8-12 feet of water. This is the early run, and you should look for some  topwater or large bucktail action, or in deeper water suspended around baitfish which is perfect for a trolling bite. Action will pick up considerably in the weeks ahead.

Good Luck and Cheers.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Fishing Report 7-20-18

Hey Gang,

I was out a bunch this week, but apparently I was about the only one. I didn't get my usual batch of reports in from my other "people" this week, so just a quickie update.

Water temps are solidly in the low to 80's around the area now. If the weather cools, expect it to drop back into the low 70's, but as long as it stays sunny and hot, you'll need to play the conditions. As always this time of year, you'll do better early and late in the day, but if you adapt your tactics during the day, you can catch fish essentially any time of day. Algae blooms are occurring on many area lakes, so expect dirtier than normal water as you head out.

Baitfish have been fairly plentiful, but concentrated to smaller areas than is common...find the food and you'll quickly find fish.

Bass fishing was a bit off in the early part of this week with the bright skies and high pressure, but fishing was slow and steady. I caught most of my fish this week out of areas I would expect to catch them, but I had to dig into the bag of tricks a couple of times to put fish in the boat consistently.

Primary pattern: weeds along transition areas or at the ends of points. This is where the active fish are/were. Working these areas with a topwater produced early, and I could go back to productive areas later on and catch fish by finessing them out of the weeds. Docks and slop were better mid-day, especially shady docks adjacent to deeper water. Between these things you'll need to cover water, and I caught some quality fish on both grubs (watermelon or green pumpkin) as well as smaller squarebill Norman crankbaits. Up shallow, nothing fancy...wacky, ned rigs, tubes or skirted grubs/jig and craw trailers. I will say this...I threw some different options this week to limited success. I ended up going back to the staples...jigworms and a light carolina-style rig each day to catch fish.

Panfish: About what you should expect for summer. There's "fun" fish around docks and swim platforms if you're heading out with the kids...a simple small bobber and ice fishing jig or #10 or #12 sized hook tipped with a waxworm or spike will produce. If you're looking for keepers...I have two suggestions: fish off the deep weed edges for suspended fish, or look for them in areas with the most current you can find. We caught a nice batch of keepers with the kids one afternoon this week in a very small spot by getting the bait through the smaller gills at the top of the school. I used a small, but reaasonably heavy tungsten jig to get the presentation to sink fast enough it passed the fish at the top of the school.

Pike: Nothing consistent to report. Caught some throwing lip less cranks as well as when I was throwing topwaters for bass. Had a couple nice ones in the boat on Monday morning on a buzzbait thrown over submergent vegetation where we saw some small bluegills in the tops of the weeds.

Musky: Been tough with the heat but if you play your solar lunar table and hit your windows, you can have some solid topwater or glider action, in some surprisingly shallow water. That's all I am going to say on this.

I didn't hear anything new on walleyes or crappie this week, so you can look back at my report from Monday (here) for the last bit of information I had.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Fishing Report 7-16-18

Hey gang,

The hot weather has really slowed things down. Water temperatures are in the low to mid 80's, and fishing has hit that mid-summer period.

You'll do best fishing early and late. Morning bit has been good, but not great between about 4:30-8:30. Things start to really slow down by 10. They start picking back up around 4, and you can get some solid evening action going 6pm-dusk.

Weed edges along drop offs were the best overall pattern this week. With the heat, some docks and slop are holding fish, but the lack of rain has cut into the current through our local lakes in a pretty substantial way.

Overall, Bass fishing slowed way down this run, both in terms of people our fishing and catches. I've put fish in the boat every day I have been out, but there's been some days I was deep into my bag of tricks. Deep weedlines out to 18 FOW, piers or slop have been workable areas. Early, the smallmouth are making a forging run along shallow bars near deep water but getting them to bite consistently has been challenging day to day. Ned rigs, "Chris rigs" jigworms, grubs, tubes, wacky, small Kitech swimbaits and drop shot has put fish in the boat. Fishing very slow has produced a bunch of bites for me the last couple of days, but downsizing a bit has really been the ticket.

Texas rigs, Carolina Rigs and  live bait rigs with leeches, large shiners, chubs or suckers for the deep fish. Open water top water fishing has been good on mainlake and secondary points, but only until mid morning, but a smaller square bill or lipless crank has been a good follow up especially in areas where you see schools of pin minnows or juvenile yellow perch.

Walleye fishing has remained slow but productive. Fishing either end of the day certainly helps. Slip bobbers, with live bait, jigs with plastics or lindy rigs, fished near the weeds are producing, but expect the bite to slow down in the heavy heat this weekekend. At night, back troll with suckers on lindy/slip sinker rigs in 18-22 fow, targeting areas with healthy sandgrass or fish floating rapalas/minnowbaits around weedclumps after dark.

Bluegills are doing their summer thing. Look for them to suspend along the weedlines or out over deeper water. 12-18 feet deep over much deeper water is a great starting point. Drifting along the deep edges with bait suspended vertically is a solid presentation option.

Crappies have been suspending over sunken boats, fish cribs or other structure in 18-25 FOW. Heard several solid reports about bags of keepers coming in by guys fishing vertically with plastics or hair jigs tipped with waxies or spikes.


Okauchee: Bass are on the piers, in pads and slop and on the weed edges in deeper water/along mainlake structure.  Pike have been active, especially in deep areas with quick access to shallow weeds. Panfish are suspending deep, but adjacent to the points.

Garvin: Bluegills suspending over deep cover on east shoreline points.

Oconomowoc:  Bass are suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points, coming in for limited periods of high activity. Tight to visible weed clumps will produce some bass, panfish are on the deep weedlines (use a split shot or light lindy rig and a panfish leech). Walleye and musky have both been slow.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing was slow, but steady. Target weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks and drop-offs in 10-18 FOW, but be ready to move around. Jigs and rigs with live bait, best action has been 6-8am and again just before dark.  Bass fishing has been very good, with lots of hungry smallmouths coming over the gravel and deep rock.

Moose:  Bass and pike both slow. Crappie and Bluegills are suspending deep and around swim platforms. Bass feeding early, then moving out deep. Look for baitfish, and work small areas hard. It has been a tough bite out there.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike were more active than most other lakes, but also deeper. Concentrate on the visible weed patches, and work them from a variety of angles with spinners or plastics. Piers holding some smaller fish. Panfish are suspending in the deep part of the basin, about 18-22 foot down.

Golden: Bluegills in deep water, holding close to weed edges. Bass have been biting along inside weedlines but docks and the slop are still holding some fish. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits or buzzbaits fished through the weedy areas.

Silver:  Crappies have been suspending over the east cribs, and keeper bluegills are holding in the deep sandgrass in 12-18 FOW. Bass fishing was slower than normal, but still pretty consistent,

Finally today: Apparently this blog is one of the 60 best in Wisconsin. I made this list at #48 From Feedspot. I don't know exactly what to think...and it doesn't look like there's much of a prize or anything...but thanks to those of you who have followed these reports over the years.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Fishing Report 6-28-18 (Holiday Week Preview)

Hey gang,

The mid summer holiday is right around the corner. If you're in town (or have those pesky relatives who are) I have some openings for 3 hour and half day trips. Just email me and I'll put you on some fish.

PS...I'm super kid friendly (as I have five of my own.)

Around the area, the main story is the unstable weather patterns. We've got a couple of hot days on deck leading into the weekend, and then the hot and humid conditions will lead to some days with Thunderstorms, which of course lead to the post frontal days. None of this means you can't catch fish on any given day, but you'll need to play the conditions to have solid outings.

On the hot days, fish in the early morning or in the evening. During the middays focus on the shade. Docks, shady banks, tied up pontoons.  On days when a front is about to go through, look for the biggest fish in the hour or two before the front moves through (but be careful not to be too far from safety). On the days after the fronts, focus your attention on catching more (but smaller overall) gamefish when they turn back on first.

Around the area...water temps are in the mid 70's. Weed growth is a bit less than average for this time of year. There's plenty of baitfish after a couple of big hatches mid-month. Water is high on most of our area lakes.

Panfish Looking for action with the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait or plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, especially around docks or swim platforms. The keepers are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically. Look for gills to be suspending about 10-12 feet down over 18-25 FOW or 12-18 over 30-45 FOW. If you're on a deep school, but not catching keepers, get your bait down a little deeper. Hot tip: Skip the Nightcrawlers--get some panfish leeches. crcikets or can thank me later.

Crappie are suspending over structure in deep water, and along weed edges, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools.

Largemouth bass are moving into what would be considered their 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, shakey heads, skirted grubs and tubes. Casting a grub or jigworm over the weed flats with a slow retrieve put some very nice fish in my boat this week.  Natural colors have been pumpkin and watermelon red have been the most productive for me this week.

Piers are holding more fish on hot sunny days, and the slop has been pretty good especially mid-day. Looking for some real fun? Topwaters (especially Pop R's or two hook floating rapalas) are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-12 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 8am. 

Smallmouth bass fishing was red hot 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. Areas with steady current have also been holding some decent batches of fish. Skirted grubs, drop-shot, twister tail grubs, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads, 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 fishing the edges of structure in 18-25 feet.

Walleye fishing has been steady. Anglers putting in time are catching a fish, although keepers have been hard to come by consistently. 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 during low light conditions. Wind has been a key factor on fish location....and drifting with live bait  (leeches, leave the fatheads at home) is the best way to find the active fish on the flats and weed edges.

Pike fishing has been a little below average, but lots of people are catching undersize pike when targeting bass or panfish. Active fish are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small baitfish, including a massive bloom in juvenile panfish. Fish with willow leaf spinnerbaits, 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 or troll with deep diving crankbaits as close to the weedline as you can without getting hung up.

Musky fishing remains slow overall, on the bright sunny days, target suspended fish out over deeper on smaller lipless crankbaits, gliders and bucktails. A few fish have been caught off the weedline on larger swimbaits. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so consider keeping a smaller sucker out.

Lake By Lake:

Okauchee:  Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-15 FOW. Musky are feeding in the shallows in the morning, and then moving out to 18-22 feet. Nothing substantial to report on panfish as the spawn is largely over, but look for them to be schooled up at the end of points over deeper water.

Garvin: Great spot for panfish lately with some nice keepers. Look for the sunken wood in 10-15 feet. Bass are using the shallow flat areas. 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: Fishing has slowed down. 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.

Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deep slop. Pike are on the weedlines.

Lac Labelle: Walleye fishing is moving toward its typical summer pace. Weed edges along the 8-12 foot breaks are still holding fish as are drop-offs in 18-25 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. Bass has been average for both LM and SM.

Moose:  Bass and pike continue to bite, and action has been steady. Target the breaks and weed clumps in shallow water with crankbaits or spinners. 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. Mornings have been better, but gamefish are biting all day. Plenty of easy to catch, albeit small, panfish in the shallows for the kids to have some fun. Note: the lake is still no-wake.

Ashipunn: Bass and pike have been biting, and the action is close to average for this time of 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. Flipping tubes, lizards or long straight tailed worms to visible weed pockets is producing numbers. Panfish are suspending along the deep weed edges and along the sand/muck transitions.

Golden: Bluegills are moving out to deeper water, suspending over the deep part of the basin, holding close to weed edges. Crappie are in huge schools suspending off the points and weed edges. Bass have been biting best in the morning, but a deeper weedline bite has been picking up, especially in the afternoon.. Topwaters, plastics and spinners are all producing. Pike have been biting, especially on small suckers fished along the deep weedlines and on spinnerbaits fished through the weedy areas.

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.

Nagawicka: Largemouths are average, and in summer patterns so look to catch them off boat docks, in the slop and along the shallow weed edges. Pike have been average, especially on crankbaits or buzzbaits fished over weed edges at either end of the lake.

Kessus: Bass have been good, and are on the gravel, under docks/pontoons and on the points. Pike are actively feeding on you of the year bluegills.

Lower and Middle Genessee: Panfish have moved to the deeper water with sandgrass, and largemouths are being caught around shallow to mid depth weeds. Lindy rigging with live bait, especially leeches or leafworms  has been very good for both bass and panfish. Night fishing is really picking up on Middle.

Rock River: the Catfish bite has been slow, but steady at night. Water is flowing.

Good luck, be safe and enjoy the next little run.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fishing Report 6-22-18

Hey gang, 

The unstable weather this week made for some challenging fishing. But as things stabilize this week, expect there to be a solid run of quality fishing ahead.

Panfish are largely done with the ritual, but there are a few fish still spawning on some area 
lakes. Out with the kids? - Action with bluegills can be found in shallow water areas where there is sand
or gravel, but bigger gills can be caught out of spawning areas in as deep 
as 18 feet of water down 12-18' over much deeper water. Meanwhile, crappies are relating to weed edges 
between 8-12 feet or suspending over structure and cribs in deeper water. For gills: hellgramites, panfish leeches, waxies or redworms are all good options, while crappie will be taken more frequently on small or large fatheads, plastics tipped with waxies or spikes or on small hair jigs.

Largemouth bass were tough(er) to come by (in relative terms). You can catch fish, but getting on a solid pattern for extended success might take some work if e don't get a couple of days of consistent weather.  Many fish have been shallow, but there's a steady deep bite as well. Be ready to adapt to changes on the water. As for a strategy: Skipping  piers is producing a few fish, but less than would be typical for the middle of summer. Slop has been decent, but only on the sunny days, and only around pads or slop where visible baitfish are present. Fish are feeding, but their strike zone has been tighter than I would normally I recommend a finesse approach: Wacky, Ned or Neko rigs, Shakey heads, flapper grubs and  tubes in shallow water, with dropshot, jigworms, skirted grubs on a football head and Slider rigs catching the deeper fish (12-18 FOW). Don't be afraid to downsize if the bite is tough, or during the middle part of the day. If you're an early riser, topwater poppers,  spooks and buzzbaits are catching some nice fish off the weedflats in  5-12 feet right now, but only consistently at first light, the topwater bite has been wrapping up around 8am. 

Smallmouth bass fishing has also been slow, but most anglers are catching mixed bags of smallies and largies in the same areas. Do the same things for both species, but look for smallies suspending around the ends of rocky points and bars both early and  later in the day. Grubs, tubes, wacky worms, shakey heads are catching some consistent bags of fish. Lindy rigging areas of deep sand with small suckers, large shiners or leeches can be the ticket for a tough bite, but my tip for this week: if you see lots of baitfish that are pin or shiner minnows around rock or rock weed transitions, use a suspending  jerkbait (like a Rouge) or floating Rapala. 

Walleye fishing was great in the rain, the high water generated some current and that really turned the fish on. Fish are coming shallow (5-9  FOW) but have also been in the sandgrass in 22-30+ FOW. Fish are being caught  along shallow inside and outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass. Vertically jigging with live bait or plastics has been better during the day, while throwing cranks and minnow baits has been producing early  and late. Suckers, backtrolled on lindy or a slip-sinker rig has been producing the larger fish. Leeches over nightcrawlers the last week.

Pike fishing has been red hot. Lots of smaller pike are using the shallow weedflats to feed on small gills and juvenile perch. Spinners  baits, small bucktails or buzzbaits will produce when fished tight to  weedclumps. Looking for something bigger? Move out to the weedline in 12-18 feet of water and fish with suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig with a heavy flourocarbon leader. Heard from a couple people that were pulling/trolling spoons that had some decent success in 15-18FOW early this past week.

Musky fishing: I just didn't hear much this week frankly. A couple of my usual information sources took the week off with the weather. I'd look for them to be suspended around schools of cisco or bluegills over the deep water, along the deepest weed edges or adjacent to deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points. I'd start with topwater around mid-depth rocks (8-12 FOW) concentrating on scattered clumps of weeds, then I'd throw a jointed bait (shallow raider or creekie chub) deep to shallow along the transition lines.

Good luck, and stay safe.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Fishing Report 6-15-18

Hey gang, there's some crazy and unstable weather ahead, and you'll need to be ready to adapt to conditions.

Over the last week, fishing has been very inconsistent in our area. It hasn't been bad per se, lots of people are catching some fish, but they are scratching them together, consistent patterning has been tough. Some days have been gangbusters good, other days no so much. I suspect most of this has to do with the transition to a traditional mid summer bite.

Day to day, you should play the conditions. Large fish will feed on days when fronts are about to move through, but plan on action fishing for smaller fish on the back sides of fronts (Not true for musky, but bass and walleye certainly).

Conditions are around average for this time of the year...weed growth is catching up, and surface water temps are in the low to mid 70's. There's been some huge hatches of baitfish and the bluegills finishing their spawn and pike and musky starting to move out to deeper areas, things will probably get going.

Panfishing: most spawners have moved off the shallow nests and out to deeper water. You may still find some batches finishing the spawn, especially in the sand or small gravel along Southern or Eastern banks of a lake, but the bulk of the fish are starting to congregate around deeper docks, swim platforms (always an overlooked option) or along the first deep break in the weedline.

Largemouth fishing has been steady, but reflective of conditions. Some fish are still working shallow areas, but we're starting to see some fish stack up in the usual deep water spots. Lots of approaches are working, but you'll need to be ready to adapt on the water. In shallow, docks, rocks and slop are holding fish, but it seems like you can only really catch fish out of either where there are visible baitfish nearby. Docks are usually a solid, consistent pattern at this point in the year, but there certainly seems to be less fish on the docks than "normal." Mid depth 5-8 weed flats seem to be holding the most fish, but again, those fish seem to be post-spawn schoolers chasing bait. Bigger fish were coming from areas near spawning bluegills, but they seem to be making a move out to the weedlines and deepwater points. Topwater (poppers, floating minnowbaits and walk the dog style) is working in the mornings, but only until abut 7:30-8am. After the sun is up, fish are schooling along weed/ sand and weed/rock transition lines or on flats with sctatterd weeds. These fish are chasing bait, and can be caught with a variety of soft plastics including, wacky, jigworms, grubs, and small swim baits. Flipping any dense weed edges will tubes or jigs/chunk combos can turn some bigger fish, but in any case be ready to cover water...small crankbaits, rattle traps or squarebills are good search baits. If it gets hot this week, expect to see some fish move quickly to the docks and slop, and that bite will be great.

Smallmouth fishing is very similar to largemouth fishing right to day. Look for them along the shallow breaks in 4-8FOW, especially along sand/gravel transitions or rock/weed transitions. Some fish are spending part of each day feeding along the deep, downwind side of mainlake points, but secondary points are where the better action has been. Areas with steeper drops seem to have been the best the last 10 days. Soft jerkbaits, ned rigs and grubs are catching fish out the scattered weeds along the breaks, tubes and skirted grubs off the rocks. Topwater has been pretty good morning and evenings, but you had to fish crazy slow and with a downsized bait to get bit this week.

Walleye fishing has been better than average, but fish are running undersized. Note that I have not personally been out for walleyes since last week.  I'd go conventional...tight to weeds with light jigs and leeches or plastics or lindy rigging with live bait out deeper. Cranks, especially floating/suspending minnows are catching some out of the weeds early and  later in the day.

Pike fishing has started to move towards summer. Smaller, action fish can be caught on the shallow weedflats fishing spinners, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or oversized squarebills. Better fish are coming on the weedlines with slip sinker rigs tipped with larger livebait (small suckers or big shiners). Use a heavy florocarbon leader and a circle hook for better success. Look for the deeper fish in the sandgrass or any standing weeds you can find in 15-22 FOW.

Musky fishing has been below average. Fish are making a transition from shallow spring to their deeper summer areas, and anglers haven't really gotten back onto the new pattern. For now, I'd recommend topwaters around shallow rocks, especially early and late in the day, and spinners bucktails cowgirls along the deepest visible weed-edges you can find. Gliders on the flats can produce, but really only in areas where there are schools of visible baitfish swimming.

Good Luck Out There.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bassmaster Elites in La Crosse

The next stop on the Bassmasters tour is right here in Wisconsin, June 21-24th.

More information here: At

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fishing Report 6-7-18

Hey Gang,

This past week was challenging, but the effort was worth it. Each day had its own thing happening, but with some work, I got on some solid numbers and put some quality fish in the boat this week.

Water is in the low to mid 70's. Water clarity is better than its been, but weeds are still behind. Panfish are spawning, but close to done, on most of the lakes. There are still batches of gills and rockbass up on the nests, especially the ones deeper than you can see with naked eye, but we are close to the time to start looking for panfish suspending off the ends of points or along developing deep weedlines.

Largemouth Bass fishing has been steady, especially early in the morning and later in the day. Most of the bigger fish are still hanging around areas where gills are spawning, but some are starting to setup on the first deep transitions. There's some significant schooling activity occurring on the shallow flats, and you can target these fish with topwater or minnow baits. Topwater bite is good until about 8:30, then you'll have to change gears. After the sun gets up, look for patchy weeds in  3-8 feet of water, or fish around docks, laydowns or other visible shady cover. Swimjigs and square bills will catch fish along rock/weed transitions in shallow water, but the usual plastics (jigworms, grubs, tubes or wacky worms) have been consistent producers. Jig and chunks or skirted grubs are catching fish, but it seems like the fish are chasing baitfish more than craws.  I caught a few fish late in the day dragging a light carolina rig in areas between 6-8 FOW  that normally have weeds, but where they haven't come up yet.

Smallmouth are biting, but the bite seems a little inconsistent. Saw several mixed in with the LM this week. My advice, stick to the usual plan...look for them on top of mainlake structure and points early and late, and look for them in deeper water during the main part of the day. White and gold crankbaits have been hot, as have smaller (3") tubes and I wouldn't overlook a traditional approaches: dropshots, flukes or size 9 or 11 floating rapalas in a natural color pattern.

Northern Pike continue to bite. They are actively chasing/ambushing bait throughout the day, and I heard about some decent fish being caught this week.  Shallow fish are actively chasing buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, spoons and smaller lipless crankbaits, especially on the shallow-flat areas with scattered weeds. On the break lines with weeds, or areas where you see yellow perch swimming around, slip-sinker rigs with small suckers or the biggest shiners has been working. I'd cast early, then setup with live bait.

Musky fishing has been decent, but you need to put in some extra time. Fish are coming up to feed around spawning gills a couple times a day Play your solar-lunar tables to hit the key windows.  The bait they seem to be chasing is on the smaller size, but don't be afraid to hit areas with walk-the dog topwaters or natural pattern gliders. Smaller buck-tails or spinnerbaits around any patches of standing weeds. Fish should be getting set to move out deeper, but there's still plenty shallow for now. Tip: I heard that Fowler has seen some especially active fish this past week.

Good luck,

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fishing Report 5-31-18

This weekend is Free Fishing license is necessary Details here.

Okauchee has a WABTA tournament this weekend, Pewaukee has a pair of Angler's Choice tournaments and there's a Kayak tourney on Nag this Sunday.

Around the area--Water temps are still in the mid 70's on most area lakes. Weed growth is still behind but is catching up. Bluegills are on nests, especially in sandy or pea gravel areas, baitfish are starting to pop out, and are approaching average for this time of year. The Oconomowoc River lakes are still fairly dirty by most reports.

Panfish: Crappie were the secret story of the last week as second stage spawners moved into the wood and reeds and did their ritual. Typically when bluegills are on the beds, people abandon crappie fishing for about two weeks, but anglers were really on some nice bags of keepers. For crappie, look for them in wood that hangs over, or reaches into deeper water, and fish in the branches with slip bobbers and small jigs tipped with live bait.

For bluegills, there's plenty of action fish that can be caught in the shallows right now, but if you're looking for better fish, split shot or lindy rigs with panfish leeches in 12-15 FOW will produce some nice keepers, especially in deep sand. There's some awesome bags being brought in right now.

Largemouth: Spawn is over, but you may still find a few males protecting fry. You're going to see lots of active smaller fish, but larger fish can be hard to pattern. If you're catching fish consistently, stick with what's working and the bigger fish will come. Weeds (if you can find them) and docks are holding fish,  If you're catching fish out of a certain area, try to duplicate what works in similar areas on the lake. Topwater is working until about 9am, then keep it simple. wacky rigs, (especially with a jig head), neko rigs, ned rigs, texas rigged worms, skirted grubs, jig and craw, lipless crankbaits are all producing right now. As the slop gets up, a frog bite will get going, but the bulk of the fish are still in the areas where bluegills are spawning. Don't forget to keep a size 11 floating rapala minnow tied on to throw at fish you see cruising.

Smallmouth:  Look for them to be foraging on rock bars and in sand/gravel or sand/rock transitions in 4-8 and 12-15 FOW. Drop shot, wacky, grubs, skirted grubs, spinnerbaits, tubes and jerkbaits are solid bets,. Topwater fish are going from sunup to about 8am, and then for an hour before dusk, but downsized POP-R's will work all day. If you can find some fish deep, jig and leech or lindy rigs with small suckers or chubs might be the answer if you find yourself with a tough bite.

Walleye fishing has been absolutely on fire. Fish have been caught as shallow as 3 FOW, but the bulk of the fish seem to be holding in the transitions or drop offs in 12-15 FOW. Live bait rigs or jigs during the day, casting with jig/grub or jig/ringworm combos has been working early and late. Shad raps or minnow baits worked around visible weed cover can trigger fish that seem reluctant to bite.

Pike fishing has been very consistent. Most of the fish have been running small, but I heard from a couple of folks who found some better fish. Look for weeds that have baitfish in them and then cast with lipless crankbaits, spinners or buzzbaits. Live bait, suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig with a floro leader is your best bet. Action: Look for them in 4-8 FOW, Looking for some Size 12-18 FOW where weeds are coming up.

Musky has been very slow. Anglers are seeing lots of fish, but lazy follows have been the consistent report. Stay with it, and watch your solar lunar tables for activity windows. Consider downsizing your bait some as well.

Good luck out there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fishing Report 5-22-18

Hey gang,

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email me or call me (262-893-2183). Shameless self promotion---I do have some openings for half days over the holiday weekend and late next week.

Weedgrowth is very behind for this time of the season, and Mayflies are hatching on some of the area lakes. Baitfish are still hard to find consistently. If you find fish, there's likely to be a wad of them in the same area. Slow down, work an area and make solid presentations. Fish can be caught but you might have to put in the time.

Bluegills are slowly starting to congregate in shallower water. Look for them in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up. Current areas and traditional spawning areas (like sandy flats or gravel areas) will have fish. Waxworms, panfish leeches, redworms and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number. (Try Okauchee, Garvin, Golden, Forest, Middle Genessee, , Ashipunn, Pretty, Phantom and Lower Nashotah)

Crappie fishing has been slow and steady, but can be great on any given day. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. A handful of fish are still spawning. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics like a tube jigs or reaver have all been taking fish. With the temperature set to warm back up for the holiday weekend, expect crappies to be very active on area lakes. Try the Crane's Nest and Bay Five on Okauchee, Garvin, Kessus, Nagawicka (Deeper Channels), Golden (North End) Pine and Silver.

Largemouth bass are still spawning on many area lakes. Anglers are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, but a few fish are still being caught off the open areas on flats especially in spots that have standing weeds. It might be hard to consistently find bigger fish, but on warm afternoons, the action can be awesome.  If you're out and its a tough bite: downsizing your presentations. Smaller grubs, 4" lizards or a downsized wacky rig using a finesee worm or french fry on lighter line can unlock some fish. Seeing fish cruising? Bust out a tired and true option: a Number 11 floating rapala or a smaller rattletrap. Try: Pewaukee, Okauchee, Lake Five, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Kessus, Silver, Eagle Springs, Lake Five, North, Golden, Fox or Emily

Smallmouth bass have been active despite the crummy weather recently. Rock structure, scattered weeds on sand and major points are all holding fish. Expect them to be a little spooky, especially in the shallow water on sunny days. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. Try: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, North, Nagawicka, Pewaukee, Lower Nashotah and the Nemahbin Lakes.

Walleye are in a full post spawn bite mode right now. Look for them around edges of current areas on the local lakes. The weather has a bit of a funk on them, but with a good presentation you can get on them. Weeds are hard to come by right now, so focus on gravel and sand transition areas. A split-shot or light slip sinker rig can get you bit when jigs will not. Leeches, large shiners and chubs are better than nightcrawlers right now, but working edges with crankbaits (like shad-raps or frenzies) or backtrolling can put fish in the boat when you find an area where they are holding. North, Fox, Oconomowoc, Pine and Lac Labelle are your best bets, but Pewaukee has also been giving up a few.

Northern Pike fishing has been the most consistent gamefish action in town. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, weedless spoons or suspending jerkbaits are catching fish around shallow weed clumps, or at the edges of coves and marshy areas. Try: Okauchee, Kessus, Garvin, Nagawicka, Fowler, Golden, Pretty, Emily.

Musky Fishing has been slow and steady. There are lots of smaller fish in the shallow water chasing baitfish. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so having a sucker out on a quickstrike rig is a great idea, and figure eights are mandatory on every cast.  Try: Okauchee, Pewaukee, Fowler and Lac Labelle

Around the area: The high water has  seen Fishing on the Rock River picked up again, and anglers are still catching a few whitebass south of Ft Atkinson, and catfish between the Jefferson Dam and the mouth. The action has been good when its on, awful when its not.

Trout fishing
 in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be good.  Lower Genessee, Ottawa and Lower Nashotah continue to give up fish.

Have a great holiday weekend. Again, thank a vet.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fishing Report 5-17-18


The last week has presented some challenges as weeks with unstable weather tend to do. The cold nights and on again-off again rain didn't make things any easier to contend with. It does look to be a bit cooler, but with stable conditions around the corner, fishing should be between great and incredible over the next 10 days to two weeks.

Warmer days, or days with sunshine at least...had very active fish moving in the shallow water. Days like yesterday (Thursdsay), where it was nice in the morning and lousy in the afternoon have the fish feeding actively in a limited window of time.

Water temps are all over the place. Protected bays are in the mid to high 60's while open water areas might be as low as the high 50's, but the larger issues I've seen on the water the last two weeks have been:

1.) Lack of weeds. Weed growth is way behind for this time of year.


2.) Lack of baitfish. Finding areas with baitfish consistently has been a challenge.

This means if you can find an area with good, green weeds AND visible baitfish, there will likely be lots of (quality) fish in that area.  That said, fishing has steady, but as with any cooler early season, day to day you might just have to put in a bit more work than you would expect. Patterning fish is key. There's rarely a situation where multiple fish can't be caught our of the same area, and that areas similar to the ones you are finding fish, well that's the place to look for more. I get it, guys are anxious, but turn the trolling motor down a couple of notches, put your head down and go with high percentage presentations. Once you find fish, you'll be able to duplicate the pattern in other areas.

Panfish are on the move, and starting to stack into shallow areas, especially on warmer or sunny afternoons. The bite can be really good, especially if you can find some fish in the mid afternoon to early evening. Start you search in 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 or areas with current. Remember the largest panfish will always be in the bottom of the school, so if you're catching fish, but they are small, try presenting your bait a little deeper.

Bluegills will hit on a variety of live bait but plastics will outperform live bait, and will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line.

For crappies, the spawn is "mostly over", but fish are still relating to the shallow cover. Tail hooked minnows, tube jigs, road runners, or waxworms on an ice-fishing jig can really produce. (Try: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, North, Garvin, Lac Labelle, Silver, Golden, School Section, Middle Geneesee.

Largemouth are in various stages of the spawn, and there are lots of larger prespawn fish being caught right now. There are schools that are still cruising the flats, especially on the nice days, while some males are still up on the nests, especially in areas where the water is warmest.  Because weeds are hard to come by, look for LM in shallow areas with rock, sand or muck, and remember that rock will almost always have fish either on or adjacent to it this time of year. Protected bays with wood laydowns or weeds can concentrate fish. Squarebill cranks or smaller spinners are good for rapidly testing an area, but once you're on fish, slow down and make tighter presentations. Jig and chunks/ jig and craws/ jig and reapers will catch less fish, but are a great way to catch a bigger fish, especially when fished tight to cover. Slower presentations like wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or tubes are all great for probing areas, but a lead-head jig tipped with a small jig worm or swim-tail can really produce right now. Tip: if the bite is really tough....a buzzbait fished tight (and I mean tight) to cover will trigger strikes.

Using live bait? Leeches, nightcrawlers or largest shiners you can find are your best options. (Try Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pewaukeem Moose, North, Nag Kessus, Golden, Silver, Fowler, Pine, and Lower Nashotah)

Smallmouth bass are in rocky or gravel areas, cruising and foraging. Look for them in the usual early season spots, but don't be afraid to look for them as deep as 22 feet, where they will be feeding on schools of yellow perch. Dropshot or tubes are a great way to look for fish around the dropoffs. Skirted grubs or wacky rigs on the shallow rockbars, and even topwater can really produce some amazing fish this time of year. (Try Lac Labelle, Pine, North and Oconomowoc)

Walleye:  Look for walleyes in shallow water, around rocks or sand, or at the end of longer points 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!) jig and minnow or jig and leech combos, or trolling with shad or minnow imitators are your best approaches. (Try Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, Fowler)

Northern pike were chasing bait fish around shallow weeds, 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, Pretty and Nagawicka)

Musky: Most fish are in 5-12 feet of water, and are biting on swimbaits, gliders, jerkbaits and bucktails. 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, Garvin, Lac Labelle, Fowler and Pewaukee for Musky)
Trout fishing was consistent on the stocked lakes and ponds around the area, but the schools are starting to get a bit if you're hankering for trout, put a day on your calender for next week.

Good luck out there.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fishing Report 5-10-18

Remember, its always fun to fish on a Sunday, but consider taking Mom with you this week.

There is a pair of Musky Tournaments on Pewaukee and both a Musky and WABTA Tournament on Okauchee this weekend. (Our Tournament Schedule Post is here)

And Okauchee fishing pressure has been very heavy the past week between opening weekend, Musky Mikes League and guys pre-fishing..I am hearing similar reports from Pewaukee. Fish are still biting, but you may need to downsize, or get away from the crowds and the usual spots.

Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the low 60's) and protected bays (in the mid to high 60's) on most area lakes.Weed growth is way behind normal, which means if you find some good (ie green) weeds, it is worth the effort to fish them!

Musky fishing has been a bit below average for this time of year, but a solid shallow pattern has been working for anglers who put in the time and are making an effort to deliberately work structural elements. Look for fish on the shallow flats in 6-10 feet of water, or shallow areas with rock/sand transitions. A few fish are also using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits have all been consistent producers.

Best bets: Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pewaukee, and Fowler.

Northern Pike have been using the areas where there is new weedgrowth. Anglers targeting bass have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Some of the larger pike are using the deep weedlines in 12-18 feet. Spinnerbaits,small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating rapalas and buzzbaits will all catch fish in the shallow water when fished around submergent green weeds. Large shiners or small to medium sized suckers suspended underneath a float, longlined on a split shot rig, or fished deep on a slip-sinker setup are your best options for live bait.

Best Bets: Nagawicka, Golden, Okauchee, Fowler, Moose.

Walleye have been active in cycles that match our current weather patterns. On warmer, windy days they have been biting fairly well. Some fish are patrolling the shallows in the morning and evening hours, but the bulk of the fish are holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. With the cold front set to hit this weekend, the bite could be tough, and you'll need to go finessee to get bites consistently. Crankbaits like rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait has been the best approach. Slow and steady will be the operative words.

Best Bets: Pine, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Lac Labelle, the Nehmabins and Fox Lake.

Largemouth Bass  First wave spawning areas have fish on nests, and post spawn females nearby. Other areas still have schooling fish. Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding the most fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing.

Best Bets: Okauchee, Golden, Keesus, Pine, Nagawicka, Buelah, Moose, Eagle Springs.

Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schools a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny days. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish that are foraging for craws. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern have all caught fish.

Best Bets: Oconomowoc, Lac Labelle, Pine, Nagawicka, Lower Nehmabin, Beaver.

Crappie Look for them around shallow cover in 2-8 feet of water. Tight-lining over deeper wood or weeds in 8-12 feet has also been effective on some lakes. Tail-hooked fatheads, plastics or hair jigs tipped with a waxworm and rosie reds are your best live bait options for crappies. Strike zones have been relatively small, so try to make accurate casts when setting up your presentations.

Best Bets: Pine, Okauchee, Kessus, Golden, Garvin, Ashippun, Lake Five.

Bluegills the better sized fish have still been coming from anglers targeting them in a little deeper water. Shallow fish will be near sandy bottom areas with scattered weed growth, but if you just want the kids to catch a few fish, try fishing around any piers that are in the water adjacent to deeper water (6-10 feet). If you want to target eating size gills, tightline vertically while drifting along weedlines in deeper water (as deep as 22 feet) or look for them on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water. Plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.

Best Bets: Golden, Silver, Garvin, Lower Nashotah, Forest, Upper and Lower Phantom, Ashippun, Upper Geneessee and Lake Five.

Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cutbait, stinkbait and nightcrawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some keepers. The area between Watertown and the Jefferson Dam has been red hot the last few weeks.

Trout  Lower Nashotah, Fowler, Lower Geneessee and Paradise Springs-Look for these fish in the deeper water basin or deeper pools on the creeks. In the area lakes, they can be anywhere from just below the surface to 25 feet down over deeper water. Tightlining with minnows or redworms  will catch fish when you find them.

Good Luck Out There.
Feel free to email me if you have questions.

Chris Terry

Monday, May 7, 2018

Fishing Report (5-7-18) (Quickie Update)

Hearing some mixed reports about success on the opener. Overall, sounded fairly average for opening weekend.

I was out for a bit today chasing trout and met with a functional, but still pretty tough bite, but the bass and pike were feeding actively. If I'd have stuck it out, I could have putting something more solid together, but had a few mechanical issues, so I called it a day.

Water temps range greatly, shallow bays and dark bottom areas are in the low to mid 60's, but open water, main lake areas can be in the low to mid 50's.Weeds are non existent.

Panfish are suspending/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 there's not many of those around right now, so look for panfish around laydowns and docks that reach deeper water. Batches of nice gills are starting to school 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.

Bass fishing will be on fire through thus weekend, but expect it to 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. Some fish are up on the beds, but most of the larger fish 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. I caught a couple on my new shaky head rig today when I couldn't get the trout to cooperate.

I'll check back later this week. Get out there, there's fish to be caught.

Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Fishing Opener Resources

Hey Gang,

We're just days away from the 2018 Gamefish Opener.

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

1.) Water temps in the low to mid fifties. Some isolated bays may be approaching 60 degrees if the weather cooperates this week.

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and you'll find that very few piers are in.

3.) I'd 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. Patterns are patterns for a reason.

Here's a preview from Fisheries at the DNR

The 2018 Fishing Report is here. Some Local Highlights:

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.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Local Tournament Schedule 2018

Tournaments on Our Local Waters: (Updated -5-10-18)

May 12th Musky
May 12th Musky (Yes there's two different ones the same day)
June 2nd Bass (Anglers Choice)
June 3rd Bass (Anglers Choice)
June 9th Bass (WABTA)
August 4th Multi-species (Lunkers Unlimited)
August 18th Bass (West Suburban Bass Anglers)
August 19th Bass (Anglers Choice)
October 14th Bass (Blackhawk Masters)
October 20th Musky (3 Charlies)

May 12th Musky
June 23rd Bass (Anglers Unlimited)
June 24th Bas (Anglers Unlimited)
September 8th Bass (West Suburban Bass Anglers)
October 20th Multi-species (Lunkers Unlimited)

May 5th: Bass (Whiskey Waters)
May 12th Musky
May 12th Bass (WABTA)
May 19th Bass (Anglers Choice)
June 2nd Bass (WABTA)
June 8th Bass (Whiskey Waters)
July 21st  Bass (Whiskey Waters)
August 3rd  bass (Whiskey Waters)
September 8th Bass (West Suburban Bass Anglers)
September 9th Bass (Anglers Choice)
October 6th Multi-species (Lunkers Unlimited)

June 3rd Bass (Kayak Bass League)
June 16th (WABTA)

Little Muskego:
May 20th Bass (Anglers Choice)
September 8th Bass (West Suburban Bass Anglers)

Tuesdays: Musky Mikes Tuesday Big Bass League (Okauchee) Shop site
Thursdays: Dick Smith's (Rotates between Nagawicka, Pewaukee and Okauchee)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Fishing Report 4-27-18 (Back in Action)


This sudden burst of warm weather really had my email filled up with questions, so I guess its time to get our weekly reports back up. After all, I got the boat prepped yesterday.

Water temps are in the high 40's to low 50's. With the cooler nights, the water is not warming up quickly, but if we get some of the stable warm weather they are predicting, expect things to happen quicklu.

To rate it: fishing is a little below average for this time of year, but is set to get good very, very quickly.

Crappies are startting to get active in the usual early spots. Look for them in shallow, protected areas with a north bank, boat channels, near areas with reeds or wood laydowns or adjacent to current.  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 or a small #10 or #12 red hook or ice fishing jig. I've heard from folks having mixed success on Okauchee, Oconomowoc, North, Pine, Garvin, Moose, Nag and Golden.

Bluegills are starting to move in, but it is still very early. 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, waxworms and spikes. For active bluegills, plastics will outperform live bait, and will usually help keep some of the smaller fish off your line.

Walleyes, a few whitebass and some cats continue to bite on the Rock River in Jefferson. Fish are still being taken from shellbeds, rockpiles and in the channel swings. Three way rigs with live bait on a fly or casting with heavy jigs and plastics have both been producing. Look for whit bass at the mouths of feeder creeks or up the Crawfish and Bark Rivers. If you're on the main river, you may find some schools holding over shelves in slack water.

Gamefish opener is next weekend, and we'll have our usual preview post.

Note that: you can sign up for my fishing reports and have them delivered via email, as well as follow this blog. The links are in the column to the right. I'm going to try to do some new kinds of content this season, including some how to videos and maybe even some maps.

Finally, I have some openings in May, if you're interested in getting out...just email me.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Checking in: April 22, 2018

Hey gang,

The semester's almost over, and its time to start thinking about fishing.

Around the area, fishing continues, but a little behind schedule for most years. It looks like the weather is about to stabilize, so expect things to get going pretty quickly.

Area lakes are starting to see panfish moving into the traditional spots. Most reports have them still a bit spooky, but especially on warm, sunny afternoons, you can expect to get on them. Look for dark bottom bays or protected areas with a north facing shoreline. Areas with current or boat channels can also be productive. Go small with your presentations until you find some active fish.

River fishing has dropped off a bit in recent weeks. Water is still fairly cold for late April, but flows have been inconsistent and that has limited fishing. Close to home the Rock River is still giving up mixed bags of Walleyes and Cats, but the whitebass run hasn't really gotten started yet.

We're just two weeks out from the opener, which looks to be a bit on the chilly side this year. If you're starting to prep, my suggestion....think about fishing for post-spawn pike or very early pre-spawn bass on the local lakes. This year will be a fair bit different condition wise than the last couple of opening weekends, and you should plan accordingly.

Can't wait to be back and to hit the water.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2018 Spring Hearings

The annual Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings just occurred, and the results of the vote on the advisory questions is now available.

You can read about the process in an easy to understand flowchart that is available here, but the important part of a resolution is that it can start a revision in a specified regulation.

Some items of local note.

Item #1 was supported. Item 1 is a proposal to change the traditional season for bass fishing. The season would still prevent catch and keep between early March and early May, but would implement a catch and release season during the traditionally closed period.

Item #2 was also supported. Item 2 would establish alternate size and bag limits for permitted, catch-and-release bass fishing tournaments.

Items #6 and #7 were passed and are also of local note. Item 6 proposes an increase in minimum length for walleye, sauger and hybrids on Koshkonong Lake and the Rock River, and item 7 would close the spring season in the same waters: "Season closure for walleye, sauger and hybrids during standard closed season on Koshkonong Lake and the Rock River."

Item 28 passed and is also of interest: "Establish a statewide 12-inch size limit and a three-fish bag limit per day on largemouth bass."

Item 30, a proposal to increase bag limits for channel catfish on Beaver Dam Lake in Dodge County was also passed. "Increase daily bag from 10 to 25 on channel catfish on Beaver Dam Lake, Dodge County."

 Stay tuned. Changes to size and bag limits for LM Bass, as well as new structures for tournament fishing appear to be on the way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Trout Stocking 2018

You might not know it by the weather or the conditions on the lakes, but we are getting closer to opening day.

The WDNR has started the annual process of stocking lakes with trout. Locally the usual lakes are getting fish:


Lots of other ponds and creeks in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Dodge Counties are getting fish again this year. You can check out the press release here or go directly to the complete list of stocking here.

Its getting closer.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Local Fishing Report 3-27-18

Hey gang,

River runs are still in full gear, although the fishing can vary day to day depending on conditions. Early reports on whitebass are starting to trickle in.

Many local lakes are open. There's still some floating ice about, but you can start to target panfish along North facing shorelines, in protected areas with dark bottoms, boat channels, or areas with current.

Keep your presentation subtle, and if the bite is tough, downsize. You'll catch as many crappies with waxworms or spikes on a small red hook (#10 or #12) as minnows some days.

On warm afternoons, look for fish around reeds or laydowns, They'll be spooky, but catchable.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, March 12, 2018

River Runs are....running

Lots of people were out this weekend, and it sounds like things are really happening on the rivers.

Rock River: Fish were being caught from the mouth at Blackhawk up to the dam at Jefferson. Sounds like there were some solid bags of keepers in the batch this weekend. Expect it to stay good as fish move in and head up to spawn.

Controlled drifts with jigs or 3 way rigs are always solid approaches on the Rock for the spring. You really want to concentrate on hard bottom spots, or areas where the main channel turns or changes direction. Deeper isn't always better (fish can be out of the channel) but a transition forms a pocket where fish will stack up.

My favorite stretches are in the S-Turn ditch, just down stream of the Jefferson Dam Launch,by the Star Pole and just downstream of the Fort Bridges, but there's no limit on areas that will hold fish. Just remember the water is still cold, and often a bite doesn't feel like much of anything other than just a little additional weight.

Good Luck.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lunkers Garage Sale

Always a great event...the Lunker's Garage Sale is just around the corner. I won't be able to attend this year, but don't let that stop you.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Back in action: 2018 Season


Time to get back at it. Fish are starting to be caught in the Dells and a few people checked in asking about the Rock River in Jefferson and Ft Atkinson.

In terms of the Rock River--Lake Link posts have the river open downstream of the dam, but still with some large ice flows. It won't be long now until things start to happen. Stable weather will really get things going

Water levels:

Fort can be tracked here.
Jefferson's graph is here.

Current and flow graphs are here.

Talk to you soon.


PS An old Journal Sentinel piece on Spring Walleye Fishing on The Rock is Here.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Free Fishing Weekend

This weekend (Jan 20-21st) is the annual winter DNR Free Fishing Weekend:

Information here:

Lunker's Fisheree and Meat Raffle is this weekend as well (a great event): Flyer is available here

There's also events for kids in the local area including this one in Dousman on School Section Lake:

Enjoy the weekend.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

MCW Meeting Tonight!

Sorry for the short notice but: Musky Club of Wisconsin has a meeting tonight:

A reminder that the next MCW club meeting is tomorrow, January 10 at 7:30 PM, at Thunder Bay Grille.  This is the annual business meeting.  We will discuss the financials, have our club election and go over the events for 2018.  If you have club questions, changes or something for the club to discuss, this is the meeting to attend.

We will need members to sign up for the two upcoming muskie expos.

Also, bring your renewal for club dues.  Form can be found on the club website -

MCW is making some greats efforts on stocking in our local lakes.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy New Year

Lunkers Unlimited is holding it's 42nd Annual Fishoree and MEAT Raffles
Saturday January 20th at Curly's Waterfront bar on Pewaukee Lake.
Check in at 7:00 AM. No entrance fee! Cash prizes for all species.
Meat raffles start at 10:00 AM also Enter to win a ice shanty and our exclusive MEAT freezer. 
Check out our web site for more info.