Fishing has been fairly inconsistent the last couple of weeks. Everything seems a little "off" for this time of year. Going back in the logs doesn't really have anything comparable (In June, anyway), and my logs go back a fair amount of time, covering a range of conditions. I've been out for at least a few hours most days this week, and I've had successful trips, but without fail I'm catching the bulk of my fish before 9am. I was surprised that the stable weather didn't make fishing very consistent, but that really hasn't been my experience.
That's not to say you can't catch fish, you should just plan on working a little harder for them. Fishing is always a game of averages, and right now. it isbest to play the percentages in your favor. Fish in lower light time periods, focus on protected or shady areas during the middle part of the day.
Water temps are in the Mid 70's. Weeds are quickly starting to come in. Fish were biting light, but beyond that it was hard to pattern them.
Reminder: Golden Lake's Launch will close on Monday. They will repairing the parking lot, and as I understand it, there will be no parking available at the launch for at least a week.
Around the area...Panfish, especially bluegills are finishing the spawn on many local lakes. Look for active fish along the inside edges of weedlines at the end of sand or gravel points. Most of the nests in the shallow areas have been cleaned off with so many people out on the lakes, but if you look for bedding fish in the 8-12 or 15-17 FOW range, you'll catch the bigger ones, and you'll still find fish on the beds. Crappies were a hot bite this week while weather was stable especially over the deeper attractors/brushpiles. Fish them vertical with plastics or tail hooked minnows.
Largemouth bass are still schooled up and chasing bait on the weedy flats with scattered cover, so expect to catch lots of smaller fish in groups with some dead time between little flurries of action. Weeds=fish right now, and with the limited number of weeds around, you can find schools of fish in or near the weeds you find. If you find some fish, work them hard. That's how you'll likely to find the best success. The old maxim: Don't leave fish to find fish is very true right now.
The unstable weather on the way will likely jump start then crush bass activity for a few days, but if you can find some fish...presentations made slow and very tight to cover (like flipping or texas rigged plastics for example) will still catch fish. I've been trying to downsize to account for the tougher bite, it hasn't always worked, but it has given me the opportunity to find some fish.
If the wind is laying down, one of my better guiding tricks for these conditions has always been to twitch a size 9 or 11 floating rapala minnow, pop-r or pop-x around shallow structure/cover. After the weekend, if we get some sunny days look for some quality fish around rock bars or points where wacky, skirted grubs or tubes will really shine. Consider getting off the bank and look for fish on mid depth flat areas. That said, don't ignore the slop and docks during the middle parts of the day, especially the mid-afternoon bite from about 2-4pm.
Smallmouth could be a tough bite until conditions stabilize mid next week. You'll be doing some hunting, so I'd throw spinnerbaits and grubs for smallmouth but a crawfish pattern crankbait bounced through the sand and rock transition areas in 8-15 FOW might just be what "Dr Chris" ordered. (Yes, I'm actually a Doctor.) Don't over look a finesse wacky rig or even live bait, especially if you can find some fish out deep.
Northern Pike are less effected by the weather than most other gamefish species. If the bite is tough, throw spinnerbaits, buzzbaits or lipless crankbaits around shallow patches of weeds for some action. Bigger fish can be taken on slip sinker rigs tipped with larger bait. Buzzbaits will trigger some action fish, or consider a jerkbait like a rouge or husky jerk. Pulling steel spinner harnesses along the outside weed edges is sure to turn on soon, but I haven't spent any time doing it yet.
Walleye: Biting on live bait and smaller plastics, but the bite has been very tough and patterning fish nearly impossible. Rip jig weeds in 8-12 FOW if you can find them, or sandgrass flats in 18-22 FOW. Live bait options: leeches, shiners or nightcrawlers are probably better on a slip sinker/lindy rig, otherwise I'd stay finesse with slip bobbers or small jigs for the weekend and the early part of the week, but if things pick up...it is primetime for floating or countdown minnow baits. Let the fish have the bait for an extra second right now before you crack them.
Musky has been the story of lazy follows. Fish are active, but catching them has been tougher. Look for musky fishing to really pick up after this next front goes through. Most of the fish I have been hearing about have been sub 40" fish.
Friday, June 19, 2020
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