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.
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.