Long week/ weekend ahead with the holiday, fireworks and so expect to see lots of people on the water, assuming the rains don't keep them away.
Our last 10 days has seen some crazy unstable weather. Around the area...water temps are mid 70's after the cooler nights and several days of heavy rain. Water levels are very high around the area, several lakes are slow no wake, so make sure you check at the launch.
Weed growth is about average for this time of year, there's finally schools of baitfish swimming around, with big (but very late) hatches of pin minnows and panfish over the last 10 days.
Importantly: Remember that the sun is at its most direct over the next couple of weeks. You can really increase your success by fishing early mornings, evenings and if you can stand the bugs, at night. (It also helps with the afternoon boat traffic and those pesky jetskis.)
Panfish Looking for action for the kids? Small panfish can be caught in shallow water using a small hook, bobber and live bait, especially around docks or swim platforms. I recommend a size 10 red hook, a small split shot and wax worms for live bait. Keep it close to docks, visible weed clumps in shallow water or swim platforms. You'll catch them fast and furious.
Looking for keepers? A few fish are still spawning, but I saw hatched bluegill fry swimming around (and being fed on) today (Tuesday 7-2) when I was out. The better sized fish are being caught out of the deeper water by anglers drifting and fishing vertically or with slip sinker rigs. Look for better sized gills to be in 10-15 FOW. 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, and the activity has been steady by anglers who find the schools. Tight-lining with small plastics or a tail hooked minnow works great. I'd start your search around the deeper edges of weedy points, but look for crappies to be 8-12 feet down.
Largemouth bass are catchable in a variety of ways. 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 rigs, wacky worms, ned rigs, shakey heads, grubs and tubes. Looking for some real fun? Topwaters are still catching fish over the weedflats in 5-8 feet right now, but only consistently before and at first light, and the topwater bite drops off substantially by 9am.
Tip: Not a regular angler, but want to catch some bass while you're in town this week? Get some leeches, and fish them around the edges of visible weeds in 10-12 FOW on a slip sinker rig with a 1/4 oz egg sinker. (You can send me an email to thank me later.)
Smallmouth bass fishing was average the last 10 days. Fish are using rocky points and bars with current on them 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, shakey heads, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits or floating rapalas are your best tackle options, but small suckers has been working in the deep sand in 18-25 feet.
Tip: Get up early or stay up late.
Walleye fishing has been slow since it got hot out. Anglers putting in time are catching a fish, although keepers have been hard to come by. Fish continue to be caught along outside weed edges or off deeper flats with sandgrass/milfoil patches. 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, flukes, small reapers, jigworms or twister tail grubs is grabbing a few as well, especially during low light conditions.
Tip: Fish for action, not for food.
Pike fishing picked up substantially. 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: 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.
Musky fishing remains slow overall. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, and that was certainly the case when I was out Sunday. If you want to target musky, follow your charts, and fish the windows. When I was out over the weekend, we moved several fish during the peak window and I've heard similar reports from other people who have been checking in.
Tip: Downsize that presentation, because Damn! Some guys are throwing some awful big stuff out there right now.
Around the area:
Okauchee: Bass are on the piers, in the slop and on the weed edges in 8-15 FOW. Lots of action from smaller pike in the shallow weed flats. Musky are feeding during the major periods, but are otherwise holding in 18-22 fow. 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. Water is very high, and areas with current are productive.
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 areas. Pike are on the deep weedlines and suspending over the deeper water.
Oconomowoc: Smallmouth fishing has slowed way down this season, but Largemouth fishing has been fantastic.. Mornings and evenings have been best. Bass are holding on the obvious structural breaks and suspending off the deep ends of the mainlake points. Guys are catching some nice panfish out there this year, but the walleye fishing really dropped off this week.
Fowler: Small panfish are biting, a few LM were caught in the river and out of the deeper areas with some surface slop or lilly pads. Pike are on the weedlines, as usual. Note with the flow in the Oconomowoc River right now, you may need to work the current seams for continuing success.
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. Bass are on the rocks, rip rap and around the docks. White and yellow bass have been schooling up in the early evenings over open water areas.
Moose: Bass and pike have been a little slow, especially for keepers. 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. Mornings have been better. Plenty of easy to catch, albeit small, panfish in the shallows for the kids to have some fun, but the water is very, very hight right now.
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 mostly off the beds and are suspending right off the deep weed edge.
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. 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 4-10 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. Some anglers are targeting larger panfish in 15-22 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.
Pewaukee: Bass have been very active, but a bit on the smaller side. Musky anglers are seeing, but not catching, many fish. Walleye fishing has been better in the evenings, and awful slow during the day.
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.
Good luck, and stay safe on the water this holiday weekend.