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.