Water levels are a bit higher than they have been, and water temps are in the low to mid 70's. Weeds are a bit more sparse than usual for this time of year, the crayfish molt is wrapping up and the baitfish are on the move. The next three weeks are setting up for some great action.Panfish continues to be the hot bite in the area, but the action can come in spurts rather than being a consistent all day bite. Crappie and bluegill continue to hold along weedlines or suspended out over deep water. You'll have to look around, but there's some decent bags of keepers in mid-depth weeds (8-12FOW). Plastics tipped with live bait, tail hooked minnows and leafworms fished vertically or with slip bobbers will produce. Evenings have been better, as is typical for this time of year, but look for the best bite to start to shift to early afternoon as the photocycle starts to rapidly shrink.
Largemouth continue to run late summer patterns. On the hot sunny days, look for them around docks or slop, or schooled up chasing bait out deep in 12-15 FOW. On the cooler cloudy days, look for active fish in sand/rock or rock/weed transitions in 4-8 feet, but be ready to fish slow and tight, making ontact with cover to get a bite. Topwater bite will be good, especially early in the morning from sunrise until about 8am. After 8am, grubs, jigworms and small cranks or minnow baits can really produce.
Smallmouth fishing has picked up as fish are starting to put on the early fall feedbag. Look for them around the edges of the shallow structure like rock bars or sand/rock transition areas. The fish will be deeper than you think they should be in most cases. Jigworms, grubs, minnowbaits and small white or crawfish colored crankbaits can be dynamite.
Pike fishing has been slow, but steady. Lots of undersized fish are being caught in the shallow and mid-depth areas. I'd consider moving out deeper and using live bait on a slip sinker rig, trying to connect with active fish in 18-22 or 22-25 feet of water.
Walleye fishing: The best word is inconsistent. People still fishing at night are reporting some success off the deeper sand flat areas, but a few decent fish are being caught out of the shallow weeds very early in the morning using rapalas or similar minnow baits. Wind will help, but having a variety of live bait to try some different things can make a difference. If you find some active fish, hit that area hard from a couple of angles with at least two or three presentations. There's more fish there, but with the quantity of baitfish in the water right now, they can afford to be a little choosy.
Musky are getting more active, but anglers are still reporting lots of lazy follows. Gliders, smaller bulldogs and cow-girls have all produced limited action in the past week, but most of the fish are mid-30's to low 40 inch fish. As the water begins to cool, the action will pick up considerably. For now, it is probably best to leave the pounders at home and stick with a smaller presentation. When the water gets into the high 60's then you bust out the armbusting tackle. Don't forget to go slow and steady with those topwaters.
See ya out there.