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Friday, July 2, 2021

July 2nd 2021 Fishing Report (Holiday Weekend Edition)

 Hey gang,

Its sure to be a busy weekend on the water, so plan on fishing early and late and enjoy the shows at the boat launches.

Water temps are low to mid 70's but go up and down with the rains. Weeds are about summer average. There's a fair amount of current flowing, but the lakes are still a bit low overall.

Panfish are done spawning. You may find a straggler or two, but the bulk of the fish are set-up for the remainder of summer. Just need some to reel in with the kids? Docks and swim platforms are your best bets for smaller, action style fishing, but shady banks with sandy or gravel bottoms can hold some as well. Caught some decent ones under a tree this week when out with my kids one afternoon. Keep it simple: Rocket Bobber, 18-24" above a small 1/32 or 1/64 ounce jig with a plastic body and a waxworm.

Looking for keeper panfish...you'll need to put in the time. Crappie are on the deep weed edges and suspending over cribs or humps in deeper water. Areas where a weed edge touches a drop off to much deeper water are especially good places to start. Sounded like the cooler temps brought them a little higher in the column than the last couple of weeks, but that may have been schools of baitfish as well. Bluegills are suspending over 35-45 FOW about 12-18' down. Slipbbobbers or tight-lining with live bait or plastics has been working, but drifting through the schools was the key element to success the last couple times I was out.

Bass fishing has remained steady but you may have to work them a little for consistent success. There's an early bite happening on most lakes up until about 8:30am. Then fish are moving into the weeds, under piers or into the slop. They can also be targeted around overhanging cover or weededges adjacent to deeper water. The bite is picking up again around 3:30 and remains fairly consistent until dark. Fish are being taken in shallow water on wacky worms, ned rigs and neko setups.  Dragging tubes, skirted grubs, and shaky head worms are catching some decent, but not huge fish off the rock/weed transitions. Deeper fish are coming on jigworms, texas rigged plastics or jigs with a craw or chunk trailer. Crankbaiting deep weed points really took off this week, with suspending cranks in natural patterns being the ticket, Live bait, chubs, leeches or crawlers on a slip sinker or lindy rig have also been catching some fish as deep as 22 FOW on the clear water lakes.

Northern pike continue to bite despite the inconsistent weather. As is typical for this point in the season, shallow fish are still being caught on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and lipless crankbaits around shallow weed clumps on the flats in 5-10 FOW, especially at first and last light. Deeper fish are being taken using live bait, chubs and/or shiners, long lined on slip-sinker rigs. Trolling with spinner harnesses or deep-diving crankbaits in natural or reflective patterns around the weed edges has also been producing some fish. 18-22 FOW seems to be the hot zone for pike right now, but don't be surprised to find them out deeper.

Walleye fishing has picked back up as the weather cooled and the rains brought back some flowing water. If you're going to look for them, I'd start by trolling small minnow baits around the ends of deep points and midlake bars trying to find some suspended fish, or back troll (slowly) around deep weed edges in 18-22 fow with live bait. Once you have them located, set up and jig for them vertically.

Musky fishing has picked up a bit as the water got back into the range of temperatures for fishing. Most of the fish are being caught while trolling deep edges and over deep flat structure  but a few are still coming on topwater during low light periods, especially very early in the morning. Look for them suspended around deep water structure, especially the deep end of long points.

Good Luck. Be safe and I'll talk to you next week.

Cheers,
CT

Friday, June 18, 2021

Fishing report 6-18-21 (Father's Day Weekend)

 Hey gang,

Sorry about last week, I ended up fishing in the Wautoma area for several days and just forgot to make the post. Funny how many people silently read this weekly scribe and have things to say (not all of them nice either) when I miss a week.

 Anyway, it looks like the heat has finally broken and around the area conditions are starting to stabilize into summer patterns. Water temps are in the mid 70's to low 80's on most area lakes. Water is still low overall, and areas that usually have current, may be down to a slow trickle with limited flow. It has been a number of years since I saw many of the area lakes this low.

Panfish are close to done spawning on most of the lakes. You may find some stragglers here and there, but the bulk of the nesting activity is over and there's lots of freshly hatched fry swimming around. The next week will be transition time and you should start looking for (keeper) panfish suspending off the ends of points or along the deep weedlines. 12 feet down over 15-22 FOW is a good starting point. I like to fish vertically for these fish, although slip bobbers can really produce. If you're on fish, but they're running small, try getting your bait a foot-18 inches deeper...the bigger fish are traditionally at the bottom of the school.

Largemouth Bass fishing has been about average the last two weeks. The shallow fish are moving into traditional spots: slop, docks and shallow rockbars and the larger fish are recovered from the spawn. On bright sunny days, fish tight to cover...flipping into weed pockets, or texas rigs on deep weed edges can really produce. Isolated patches of weeds along depth transitions are still holding lots of fish. On the windy days, try crankbaits or spinner baits on edges or transition areas in 8-12 or 12-15 FOW. Downsizing is still a solid bet as are natural colors (browns, pumpkins and greens) for your plastics. Its texas rig and drop shot season out deep, but if the bite is on, go swimbait or swimjig on those outside edges.

Smallmouth are biting, but the bite seems a little inconsistent afte about 9am. Some days you can knock them dead, some days they have been a little scarce. Stick to the 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. Grubs, jigworms and tubes...but don't overlook dropshotting along the edges of sand/rock transitions in 8-12 FOW. Weed/rock transitions have been holding a few fish, although smaller ones, who are foraging on some small crawfish.

Northern Pike continue to bite. Shallow fish are actively chasing (early and late especially) buzzbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits, especially on the shallow-flat areas with scattered weeds. If you want action, look for scattered weed clumps on flat areas in the shallows...out deep you'll need to find some baitfish near a weed edge or hump to have consistent success.

Walleye fishing has slowed down as the fish have starting moving out deeper after that heatwave. If you've been catching eyes at one depth, look for them in the same areas but at the next major depth contour. Deep weeds seem to be key, but a few people have been catching them off of deeper sand. On the cloudy, cooler days, rip-jigging, lindy/split shot rigs or slip bobbers can catch some out of weeds in 8-12 FOW if there's wind blowing in.


Talk to you next weekend. Be safe and take Dad and the kids out to catch some fish this week!

Cheers,
CT

Friday, June 4, 2021

Fishing Report 6-4-21 (Free Fishing Weekend)

 It is the annual Free Fishing Weekend, around the state. Here's an update on the last week.

Fishing has been slow but steady. Catching lots of smaller gamefish, but starting to see some quality fish come in.

Water temps are still in the mid to high 60's on most area lakes, and water levels are pretty low. Bluegills are on nests, especially in sandy or pea gravel areas, baitfish are still hard to come by consistently. Most gamefish are coming shallow to feed.

Panfish: Suprisingly, Crappie were the real story of the last week as second stage spawners moved into the wood and reeds and did there business. 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 the last ten days. 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. 

Largemouth: Spawn is mostly over, but you may still find some males protecting fry. The bite has been slow, but steady during all periods of the day. You're likely to see lots of active smaller fish, but if you're catching fish consistently, stick with it and the bigger fish will come. Weeds (if you can find them) and docks are holding fish, but the bulk of the fish are in the areas where bluegills are spawning. There isn't much slop out there yet, but if you can find some it'll likely have some fish Wacky or Ned rigs, texas rigged worms, skirted grubs, jig and craw, lipless crankbaits and topwater are all producing right now.  Flapper grubs around scattered weed clumps is a solid pattern right now.

Smallmouth: You can catch them, but patterning fish has been difficult. Look for them to be foraging on rock bars and in sand/gravel or sand/rock transitions in 4-8 and 12-15 FOW. Grubs, Skirted Grubs, Spinnerbaits, tubes and jerkbaits are solid bets, but until conditions stabilize a bit, expect some hit or miss fishing. If you can find some fish deep, jog and leech or lindy rigs with small suckers or chubs might be the answer to what has been a relatively a tough bite. 

Walleye fishing has been absolutely hit or miss the last ten days. 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. I have caught fish as deep as 32 FOW in the past week. Live bait rigs or jigs during the day, casting with jig/grub or jig/ringworm combos has been working early and late. 

Pike fishing has been an interesting mix. They have been reasonably difficult to catch when targeted, but anglers chasing bass, walleye or musky have been catching lots of them. Most of the fish have been running small, but a few mid 30's fish were caught this week. 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: 4-8 FOW, Size 12-18 FOW..Find the best looking weeds you can find and go to town. 

Musky has been very slow. Anglers are seeing lots of fish, but lazy follows have been the consistent report from most of the people I have talked to. Stay with it, and  Consider downsizing your bait some as well. 

Good luck out there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Memorial Day Weekend Fishing Report and Preview: 2021 Edition

 Hey gang, 


As we approach the holiday weekend and the traditional kick-off for summer boating season, you should be ready to adapt on the fly while out for the next couple of days. Overall, water temps are in the low 70's in mainlake areas and to low to mid 70's in the shallower protected areas. Current is at a minimum and after a stretch of sunny weather weed growth is about normal for this time of the season. A few Mayfly hatches have started.

Bluegills are starting to congregate in shallower water, but there's still plenty of keepers schooled up along the first deep break.. A few nests are starting to appear in the traditional sandy and gravel areas. Look for fish around woods or docks in 4-10 feet of water, and be ready to move shallower as the temperatures warm up this weekend. Current areas and spawning areas (like sandy or gravel areas) will have fish, as will isolated patches of weeds in 8-12 FOW. Waxworms,  redworms, small leeches and plastics are taking fish, but bigger gills have been hard to come by in any significant number unless you're fishing deep.

Crappie fishing has been fairly slow. Most crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Mostfish have spawned, but a few are still hanging around shallow wood and reeds in the usual areas. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. Lots of fish are in small areas, so move until you find fish, and then set-up on them. Don't be afraid to look for schools along weed lines that are in deeper water.

Largemouth bass are post spawn (for the most part) and fishing was inconsistent this past week.  People are catching fish targeting them in shallow water, especially early and late, but a few fish are still being caught off the open areas on flats with scattered weeds. It might be hard to consistently find bigger fish, but the action could be good in short spurts. Rocks will hold fish throughout the day, but you might need to move around and let fish reset on them. Drifiting/casting shallow flats will produce a mixed bag of fish that are done spawning and areas that having spawning gills in the shallows will also have LM nearby. What to throw: Shallow water presentations like jig and chunk or craw, wacky, texas rigged lizards, spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits will all catch fish right now, but don't overlook smaller topwater presentations. Live bait, nightcrawlers, leeches, large shiners or small suckers are your best bet. 

Smallmouth   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...as is typical for post spawn fish. Skirted grubs, jigworms, jig and craws, tubes, and soft jerkbaits are all catching fish. Go natural with your color choices this weekend. 

Walleye have been active, with some decent fish being caught in 8-12 feet of water. Slip bobbers, Jig and minnow, jig and leech, and split shot rigs with nightcrawlers or small suckers have been the best way to target eyes. In the evening, a few anglers are catching fish by working minnow baits (floating rapalas or rouges) over isolated weed clumps. This weekend should be red hot for walleyes, especially in the evenings, assuming the weather cooperates. 

Northern Pike fishing has picked up some and pike might be your best option for some steady action this holiday weekend with the unstable weather. Spinnerbaits, spoons, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, or suspending jerkbaits (like size 11 Husky Jerks or Rouges) are catching fish around shallow weed clumps, or at the edges of coves and marshy areas. If chasing pike with live bait, look for them in 6-12 feet, using small suckers or large shiners on a slip sinker rig or the largest shiner's you can find on a balloon rig around the deeper reeds in a marshy area. 

Musky Fishing has been slow, but steady. There are lots of fish in the shallow water chasing, and a few are even being caught on topwaters, but the most consistent action has been coming in 8-15 FOW around the transition areas of mainlake structure. Gliders, jerkbaits, swimbaits and bucktails have been productive, but many anglers continue to describe lots of lazy follows, so figure eights are required on every cast. 

If you're in town for the holiday and want to talk some more specific tips, email or call me. Got friends or family in town for the holiday and want to get them out fishing? Reach out...I have a couple of open slots next week.

Have a great (and safe) holiday weekend.
CT

Friday, May 21, 2021

Fishing Report 5-21-21

 Conditions: Right now most lakes are in the low to mid 60's...but you may find some areas where the water is substantially warmer. Weed growth is still behind, but is starting to catch up. Water remains low on most lakes, and even after the rain we had this week, current flows are way down.

Bluegills Current areas (if you can find them) and dark bottom bays (with sand or gravel areas) will hold the most fish. Smaller gills are moving up into shallow water, but if you're looking for nice gills, try 8-12 feet of water. Regardless of depth, focus on sand/gravel areas for the best success. Leeches on a split shot rig are the best way to chase larger pannies, but Waxworms, redworms and plastics are taking fish. 

Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. People are catching some nice crappies, but consistent numbers of keepers have been hard to produce. A few crappies are being caught over deeper water near mainlake structure, and you may still find a few spawning crappies are in shallow bays near weeds, wood laydowns or reeds. Minnows, hooked through the tail on a small hook (#8 or #10), waxworms and plastics have all been taking fish. 

Largemouth Bass  A few fish are still spawning, but not as many as last week. Topwaters (Pop R, small propbaits and #11 Floating Rapalas) and crankbaits (Norman Baby N's and Rattletraps) are catching schooling fish over open water areas, especially weed patches on the mid-depth flats in 6-12 feet of water. Fish have been hard to pattern though, and you should be ready to be flexible. Lots of fish are schooled up, but with weeds in limited supply, and baitfish schools hard to pin down this season, you might have to actually cover some water to find fish consistently. Grubs like a Kalins or Zoom Fat Albert can provide you a knockout punch in these situations, and I caught plenty of fish this week just working a grub on some mid-depth flats. Texas rigged lizards, tubes, skirted grubs, and wacky worms are all catching fish, especially off the shallow rocks, but as always, if the bite is tough, try a jigworm. Browns and pumpkins have been outproducing greens and watermelons for me. Live bait on slip sinker rigs are catching a few fish for anglers making solid drifts over productive areas, but try to keep your leader a bit longer to keep you bait higher in the water column. 

Smallmouth Bass fishing was still a bit inconsistent other than in the early mornings. Minnowbaits, like size 11 or 13 floating rapalas are a solid starting point, but smaller tubes or grubs paid bills this week.  Look for them early and late on sand/rock transition areas and  target them with  a 3" grub this week in a green pumpkin.

Walleye fishing has been tough. With limited weeds, fish are hard to pin down. Slip Bobbers, jigging with live bait or drifting with lindy rigs have been productive, especially when using small suckers or leeches for bait. In the evening, a few anglers are still catching fish by working rapala minnow baits over any isolated weed clumps on mainlake points and humps they can find. 12-15 FOW seemed to be the best before the weather shifted.

Northern Pike fishing was slow, but steady. The best way to catch pike is a small sucker or medium to large shiner on a slip sinker rig with a flourocarbon leader. Drift along the deeper edges of the weeds you can find in 12-18 feet Up shallow- Lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits and spinner baits are still producing. 

Musky fishing has been pretty slow. Anglers continue to report lots of lazy follows, so quality figure eights are an absolute necessity. Topwater and jerkbaits are still catching some fish, but with weeds hard to come by, plan on covering some water. 

Trout fishing in the stocked lakes and ponds continues to be a great way to catch some keepers. The fish have moved into the deeper water, so tightlining or slip bobbers are the way to go. Watch for them on your electronics and then set up just above them. 

Good Luck Out There. Drop me a line if you need some help before you hit the water. Email me here

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fishing Report 5-14-21

Hey gang,

The weather is finally stabilizing, and things are starting to happen. Should be a great week to 10 days on the water, but as things settle in, be ready to adapt on the fly. Fishing will be consistent day to day, but you may need to adapt to changing conditions by altering your presentations.

Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the mid 50's) and protected bays (in the low to mid 60's) on most area lakes.Weed growth is way behind normal again this year, which means if you find some good weeds, fish them, especially if they are near a rock or sand transition...or on the end of mainlake points.

Musky activity has picked up on our local lakes since the opener, especially on the windy days. A solid shallow pattern has been working for anglers who put in the time. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weedclumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish are also using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water where new green weeds have started. Gliders, swimbaits, bucktails and jerkbaits have all been consistent producers.  When in doubt--go shallower.

Northern Pike have been using the areas where there is new weed growth, especially on shallow flats or around the ends of points where panfish are staging. People targeting bass have been catching a number of pike ranging from smaller snakes to quality 30+" fish. Spinnerbaits,small bucktails, lipless crankbaits, floating or suspending 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. When in doubt- silver is better than gold.

Walleye have been active in cycles that match our current weather patterns. 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. Crankbaits like rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait has been the best approach. Slow and steady have been the operative words...keep that drift under control and under .8 mph when possible. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup have been the most consistent producers. A few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations. When in doubt, slow down.

Largemouth Bass Fishing for bass has been spotty with the inconsistent weather and some days are much better than others. A few fish are up shallow to spawn, but the bulk of the fish haven't moved in yet...although as we get some warmer afternoons the next week, that will change quickly. Flats adajacent to spawning areas still have lots of (smaller) schooling fish.  Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding the big fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Nightcrawlers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few fish. When in doubt: slow down and fish the edges of any shallow green weeds.

Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola a few times a day, especially on the warmer sunny afternoons. Lots of fish are suspending in deeper water just off of shallow structure or along the sharper breaklines. Rocky/sand transition areas have been holding some fish who are foraging for craws, especially in the morning. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern have all caught fish. When in doubt...throw a grub.

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 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. When in doubt-Pink head/white body.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but 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. Small plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.

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 stocking was a sucess this year on out local waters, with plenty of catch and keep trout still available. 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 or slip bobbering with small minnows or redworms will catch fish when you find them.


Good Luck Out There.
Chris Terry

Friday, May 7, 2021

Fishing Report: 5-7-11

 Hey gang,


Despite the lousy weather, I was out multiple times this week. Water temperatures vary greatly between main lake areas (in the 50's to low 60's) and protected bays (in the low to mid 60's) on most area lakes. 

Hot tip: if you find can some good weeds, fish them!

Musky fishing has been pretty slow by most reports, but there's not been many people out either. Look for fish on the shallow weed flats in 6-10 feet of water. Scattered weed clumps with visible baitfish or panfish are high percentage areas right now. A few fish may be using the first deep break in 12-18 feet of water in areas where some new green weeds have started. Most positive reports I heard back this week were with people using downsized baits, but heard reports of plenty of lazy follows--so watch those figure eights closely...gliders, small bucktails and swimbaits all generated some action, but white with gold blades seemed to be the hot (est) ticket.

Northern Pike  are still scattered on shallow flats where there is new weeds. Anglers targeting bass or musky 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, but the bite has been hit or miss. Keep it simple: 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.

Walleye have been biting, but I haven't been chasing them...so take this info with a grain of salt. The bulk of the fish seem to be holding around rocky points and mid-depth weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Crankbaits like Rapala shad raps are catching fish, but controlled drifting with live bait is usually a great approach, epecially on windy days. Slow and steady have been the operative words. A nightcrawler, leech or small sucker on a lindy rig or long lined split shot setup would be the first thing I'd throw right now. I heard of a few fish are being caught around weeds using jig and plastic or jig and minnow combinations. Could be a great weekend for fishing in the late afternoons and evenings with floating minnow bait around any mid-depth structure or weeds.

Largemouth Bass  Lots of schooled up prespawners, but spawning activity is limited. Functionally still early. Shallow flats outside of the spawning coves still have lots of smaller but schooling fish and remember in areas with consistent depth, not all of the nests will be on the bank. This week I saw plenty of people beating banks with plastics and spinnerbaits when there were active fish on the flats nearby. Look for bass around shallow weeds, wood laydowns or docks. Rocky areas, especially points adjacent to deep water have been holding fish. Wacky worms, texas rigged lizards or stickbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs with a chunk or craw trailer have all been producing. Nightcrawlers or large leeches on a lindy or split shot rig or large shiners under floats fished around piers or along rockbars have been catching a few nice fish.

Pro-Tip: Some serious downsizing of my presentations put some quality fish in the boat for me this week.


Smallmouth Bass  Fish are patrolling the shallow bars in small schoola 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 who are foraging for craws. Suspending jerkbaits, tubes, grubs, wacky worms, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits in a crawfish pattern.

Crappie are still spawning. 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. The bite got hot for a couple hours, but was pretty cold otherwise.

Bluegills are beginning to move into the shallow water on many area lakes, but 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), look for schools on the end of sandy/gravel points in 12-15 feet of water on in shallow areas with current. Plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, panfish leeches or redworms are your best live bait options.


Catfish are being caught on the Rock River. Cut-bait, stink-bait and night-crawlers fished around the heads of the deeper holes has been producing some better sized keepers. T

Trout:  Stocked lakes were solid producers during the first week. Opening weekend was busy, but pressure dropped way off during the weekdays with the piss-poor weather this week. Gold ice fishing jigs tipped with live bait was the best option when I was on the water, but the fish were still a little spooky, and we did better tightlining than with bobbers.


Good Luck Out There. Give Mom some love--->take her fishing on Sunday.
Chris Terry

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Tuesday Night Big Bass League on Okauchee

 Hey gang,

Musky Mikes announced this week they are no longer running the Tuesday Night Big Bass League, originally started by Musky Mike himself. The Tuesday Night tournament will continue, but will no longer be a league run by the baitshop. It's a big bass-jackpot format. It'll be run out of the Hideaway, and sign up/check ins will be at the dock.

Details below from the group's Facebook Site:

Tournament site . Hideaway Bar And Grill

Tournament time: 6pm - 9pm* (Tournament will end at 8:30pm later in the season due to low light conditions. )

Tournament entry.  Entries will be accepted the night of each tournament at the tournament site. 5pm till take off. Permit cap is 90 anglers.

First Tournament will be May 4th.

$20.00 entry fee per angler.

Top 3 big bass paid each regular season Tournament. 

Payout 

1st = 50% 2nd = 30% 3rd = 20%

Example Payout based on 50 entries. 

1st = $375.00 2nd = $225.00 3rd = $150.00

$5.00 per entry will be set aside for permit fees, end of season championship and top 3 big bass payout at the end of the regular season. (Permit fee is $25.00 per regular season tournament $50.00 for the end of the season championship. )

End of the season big bass payout. 

You can fish one Tournament or every one to win . You will however need to fish 3 tournaments to take all 3 spots.  End of season championship. September 11th. Time to be determined. 

Payout to be determined by participation throughout the season. 

You must fish at least 8 tournaments to qualify. Each qualifying angler will have the same amount of money invested. Angler investment will be based on 15 tournaments $75.00 total. 

Entry example.

10 tournaments fished= $50.00 invested

5 tournaments missed = $ 25.00 short. 

You would have to pay $25.00 to be eligible to fish. 

Rules

Local lake and all DNR rules apply. 

Any violation will result in disqualification. 

No passing in the channel after take off.

Weigh in your own fish. 

Have fun.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Unstable, warm and windy weather on tap for the opener.


Buckle up, Buckaroos. Going to be a bit windy this weekend.


In other opener news: There was a great talk on the D&S Facebook Live Site last night on tips for the Madison Chain. Check it out Here 

D&S primary website is here: DSBait.com 

Closer to home, the friendly folks at Dick Smiths, in the happy barn have their opener report up:here

Don't forget your fishing regs: https://widnr.widen.net/s/xvldvfnblh/fishregselectronic2122




Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Fishing Opener: 2021 Preview

Hey gang,

 Here's what to expect when you hit the water for the opener.


1.) Water temps in the mainlake areas in the mid to high 50's to low to mid 60's in protected areas. 

2.) Limited new growth of weeds, and a few less than average piers are in. 

Shallow dark bottom bays will be where most of the action is this weekend. 

The DNR's Places to fish page is here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/anglereducation/wheretofish and the shore fishing map is here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/Fishing/AnglerEd_AccessibleShoreFishingSites.pdf

Accessible fishing pier list for Waukesha County:


DNR Boat Landing Resource is here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/lands/boataccess.html

There's information on several local lakes and includes picks for panfish, bass, walleye and musky fishing opportunities this year.

Panfish: Crappies and Bluegills have transitioned into shallow water, and the bite has been steady on the sunny or warmer afternoons. Primary pattern working for keepers is to find the schools that are relating to weed clumps in shallow water, but talking to folks on the water, the bite has been inconsistent, and with fishing pressure very high these days, you might need to get away from the crowds.

Newer, green weeds, reeds or small wood laydowns are attracting the most fish right now. For crappies try small fuzzy jigs tipped with waxworms, small fatheads or rosie reds. Bluegills have been biting on plastics tipped with waxworms or spikes, as well as redworms, leafworms or pieces of nightcrawler. If the bite is tough, downsize your presentation to an ice fishing jig or #10 or #12 red hook, and keep the bait above the fish (this is key for a tough bite!)

Hot tip: Sunken trees and cribs in deeper water that is close to a shallow drop are holding better size fish right now.



Trout: Stocked trout fishing is always very popular for opening weekend. Here's a an earlier post on the stocking of our local lakes and the complete DNR list is available here.

Stocked trout are easy to catch before too much pressure gets put on them. Watch for them swimming in groups just below the surface and cast ahead of them. They'll hit a variety of tackle/bait options but the use of gold really will help. I typically use a gold ice fishing jig with live bait under a small balsa bobber.

LM Bass: Largemouth are in an early prespawn pattern. Small schools of them are chasing baitfish in the shallow water.  For larger fish look for LM to be along the first drop offs, major points or at the edges of shallow bays. Later in the day they may move to the backs of spawning coves.  Texas rigged plastics, wacky worms and jigs with a chunk trailer will be good options if fished very slowly. Slow rolling spinnerbaits, jerkbaits or ripping rattletraps around weedy cover could produce some reaction strikes.

I've been making good use of the new catch and release season, and although you have to grind for them, the fish are where they are supposed to be.

Hot tip: Flapper grubs on a 1/8ounce jig head cast and slow counted around weed clumps on shallow flats near spawning areas....I'll just say, you can thank me later.

SM Bass: Smallmouth remain in deeper water for the most part, although a few have been seen making foraging runs into rocky areas during the middle part of the day. Look for them to be suspended in the water column in deep water near points and other rocky structure. Suspending Jerkbaits, swimbaits, slow rolled spinnerbaits or twister tail grubs in natural pattern are good options for chasing suspended smallmouths. If you can find some fish on the rocks, Bitsy Bugs with a small plastic trailer, ned rigs or soft jerkbaits can get interesting pretty darn quick.

Walleyes are  roaming shallow flats chasing baitfish. This indicates typical post-spawn behavior patterns, which matches the water temperatures on our local lakes. Bottom bouncers with spinner harnesses, lindy rigs and jigs will all catch these fish.  Look for walleyes to relate the edges of shallow water, but especially at the junctions of rock/sand transitions. I'd run live bait rigs to find fish, then fish an active area hard with crankbaits like a Shad Raps or Frenzies, husky jerks or floating rapalas.

Best lakes for walleye: Lac La Belle, Pewaukee, Pine and Oconomowoc. A few fish are still being caught on the Rock and Crawfish Rivers. Note: Each lake in our area has different regulations for walleye size/bag limits...make sure you know what's what for where you are fishing.

Northern: Pike are past their post spawn blues and are feeding aggressively. Typically with these conditions small pike will be all over shallow water and you can expect the big pike to be relating to the first break. We've been picking up some incidental pike was bass fishing the last couple of weeks.

This is prime time to chase pike with live bait. Use slip bobbers and suspend large shiners and suckers around weed edges or near areas with visible panfish. Casting with lipless crankbaits, buzzbaits, spoons or spinner baits, especially around shallow weeds on the edge of the sandy flat areas can be dynamite. 

Musky: The fish that seem to be chasing active baitfish are relating to green weed growth in mid-depth water. You never lose out by floating a sucker or the largest shiners you can buy. I'd downsize my presentation, stick to jerkbaits, gliders or smaller bucktails for the opener this year, and concentrate your efforts on any scattered weed clumps you can find. 

Advice from me: Slow down, be methodical when working an area and be ready to make lots of casts to get neutral fish to bite.

Trout: The DNR did stock trout in the usual area lakes: Note that some lakes got different species of trout this year. (Like Lower Gen)

New to the area or just moved to an area lake? Want to learn some simple tactics to increase success when fishing? -> I have openings for guide trips or fishing lessons during May and June. Email me for more information.

Good Luck. Be safe out there and I'll see you on the water.

Cheers,
CT



Friday, April 9, 2021

Fishing Reports: 4-9-21

 And we're back in action.

Water temps are in the mid to high 40's on our area lakes. Warm water is where it is at for panfishing right now. If you can find those rare spots where water temps are in the low 50's, you'll find consistent action.

Panfish are starting to make a move into the traditional shallow water areas on area lakes.  Sunny afternoons with a south or southwest wind will provide the best action until main lake areas catch up. Remember: North facing areas will be warmer, and fish tend to congregate in these areas early on. Current, in the form of a creek channel, or river area will help as well. Boat Channels, Sand Bars and isolated bays are great starting points.

For now, focus on the green weeds in shallow protected bays with a northern bank. Concentrate your efforts on the patches of weeds, using live bait suspended under a bobber. Keep your bait just above the weeds, and any visible fish that you see. I like to use waxworms or spikes on a small red hook, or small/crappie sized fatheads-hooked in the tail, underneath a pencil bobber with just a split shot or two to keep the bait down. Be ready to start using plastics, especially for active fish, but for now, I'd start with the live bait and move to plastics later in the day.

Be ready to sort through smaller fish to get keepers, but understand that there's some quality keepers to be had very shallow right now. Current, green weeds or reeds and shallow submerged wood are great places to start. Fish be concentrated in small, specific areas for the next week.


Making use of our catch and release bass season that was new last year? Then you want to have three baits tied on when you hit the water this weekend.

1.) Jerkbait...the old size 11/3 hook floating Rapala really shines in cold water, but I caught some (smaller fish) this week on a perch colored 110 fished around the ends of points outside of spawning areas. The bait had to be sitting dead still to get a bite, but it did produce for a couple of hours ahead of the rain.

2.) Flapper grub...continuing with the old school theme...the slow fall/gliding action of the flabber grub is a sure winner in early season cold water. Flapper grubs are a lost technique...they're not flashy or fancy, but the cobra head style body on a light jighead looks just like the juvenile panfish that are starting to get active. It takes patience to fish one, but it will produce...especially along shallow weed/rock transitions where there are visible panfish holding. Although a Kalins or Zoom grub will work, the irregular fall and shape of the flapper is far superior in under 55 degree water. I usually use a 1/16th ounce unpainted ball head jig with a larger (size 1) hook for fishing them, but it was windy out when I was out this week so I used a 3/32 mushroom head and it worked just fine.

3.) Rattletrap (lipless crankbait)....the old saying still applies...there is only one color of rattletrap that matters: silver sides/blue back...unless its spring, then a red one is a solid choice. 

Saftey note: Pike are recovering from the spawn and will viciously attack a chrome rattletrap right now. You have been warned.


Around the area: The Rock River remains fairly low, and while there's some current, the bite there has been very inconsistent. Walleye are mostly done, there's been no significant whitebass movement, and a few cats and sheephead are being caught on the edges of the deeper holes.

As of this week there were still a bunch of walleyes and muskys below the Oconomowoc Dam if you want to dream a little dream about the season ahead.

Feel free to email me (catchfishwithchris@hotmail.com) if you want to chat/swap information or just to talk about fishing.

See ya out there.

CT



 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Musky Stocking with MCW today

 Hey everyone,

My son and I helped put some musky out today along with members of the Musky Club of Wisconsin.

 The club has been doing active stocking of extended growth fish in our area lakes for several years.

We met at the Okauchee launch, and five boats each took 20 or so fish out and placed them around the lake.










There will be a story in the Oconomowoc Enterprise about the stocking on Thursday. 



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Time to blow off the rust

 The weather isn't making things any easier, but there's fish to be caught.

Major river areas (Dells, Depere, Winneconne) are all seeing action and giving up lots of fish. Close to home there's two games to play.

The Rock River walleye fishing has been a tough, but steady bite. I've been out a few times and I've been in touch with other folks that are regularly out in the spring. People are catching fish, but legals have been hard to come by...the bulk of the fish are just starting the move in, and the new size/bag limits have been keeping some fish out of the frying pan this year.

Jigging the holes and breaks with controlled drifts can produce. Using your electronics to find fish in the wood or in out of the current areas can also produce. I've put fish in the boat jigging, casting with plastics and pulling flies in the last week. The full moon is Monday evening, so I expect the bite and action to pick up dramatically over the next week, especially if the weather and temperature stabilizes.

Starting to hear some scattered whitebass in the river and down by Blackhawk, and I did catch a small one yesterday. The most consistent bite has been catfish.

On the area lakes, it is still very early but a few panfish are starting to make a spring transition. If the weather stabilizes and we get some warm afternoon sunshine, things will pick up dramatically. For now, look for crappies and bluegills to suspend around structure or wood in areas just outside of the traditional spring shallow bays and boat channels. A couple days where it stays sunny and a bit warmer and things will start happening quick. For now, keep your presentations small, and above the fish by 6-10 inches. Areas with current and some green weeds are a solid spot to start, and a small tail hooked minnow or a waxworm on a #10 or #12 red hook can ready do some early season damage.

I hope to be out some over the next two weeks, and I'll post as I am able. Once a week reports will start/return in mid April.



Monday, March 22, 2021

Nature takes care of itself

Hey gang,

I was out with my old roommate on the Rock River yesterday. We fished the area from the dam in Jefferson down past the Ditch and the S turn. We didn't have any notable success, but it was one heck of a day to be outside.

The water was just barely 42 degrees when we pulled out, which is usually about when things start to happen. (The wind was the real impediment yesterday)

But with the Full Moon on the 29th and the weather trend for the next 10 days....it is time to get out. Warm spring rain on the way, with three high pressure days during the Full Moon Cycle is about optimal conditions for any spring river walleye fishing.



After that, the area lakes, which are about 90% open, will be ready to start giving up some spring panfish (and if you're so inclined some catch and release pre-spawn bass fishing).

Here's my 2021 version of the annual Rock River Resources post.

For those of you who have asked, regular reports will start in mid-April as my online teaching semester starts to wind down and I can be on the water on a regular basis.

Cheers,

CT



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Water level and current on the rise on the Rock River

 


With warm spring rain in the forecast for today, I thought I'd pop over and check the gauges.  It is very noticeable downstream from the Jefferson dam, but closer to the dam, conditions are still in the "very early stage".



Very soon my friends. If you're heading out, take a moment and check the new parking regulations at Blackhawk Island and remember the river now has an 18" minimum size limit, with a 3 fish per day limit.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Open Water Approaches/Rock River Spring Resources

 Everyone,

Spring has (partially) sprung, and there's glimpses of open water on the horizon.

Images on the Jefferson Dam Lake-Link Thread show the channel opening up on the Rock River below the Jefferson Dam. While it is still very, very early (and not yet ready for boats or shore fishing) the signs are that the spring runs are just around the corner.

Here's some links to get you in the mood and to keep you in touch as things develop.

Water Resources Links:
 


Public Boat Launches:



Links to some older JSOnline Articles about Fishing the Rock River in Springtime:

St Patricks Day in 2009 (As the flood was setting in)


Link to the fish passage camera:

At the Jefferson Dam (Was offline when I just checked it)