Cool opening day should still be busy on the lakes

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Dave Duwe | April 29, 2014

Outlook for opening day

The opening day of the inland fishing season is like Christmas for most outdoor enthusiasts.  After a long winter it's time to catch some game fish. Opening day for game fish on most inland waters is the first Saturday in May.

Walworth County in Southeastern Wisconsin is blessed with many great fishing waters.  The county has one of the deepest lakes in the state in Geneva Lake along with a bunch of shallow fast warming bodies of water such as Lake Como and Whitewater Lake.

In early May, Geneva Lake has some disadvantages being so deep and big. The water tends to be really cold and the fish aren't usually that active. Most of the smallmouth bass are being caught suspended, not associating with any structure. They can also be very active chasing bait fish pods near their spawning flats. I work the suspended fish in 12-15 feet of water.  My preferred presentations are Kalin Grubs in Avocado color fished on a darter head or Arkie Jigs Shinee Hinnee (a small crappie hair jig that resembles a shiner).  The spawning flats I focus on are the near the South Shore Club (formerly the Military Academy), Elgin Club or near Knollwood.

Largemouth bass will be the most active in the shallows, in such places as Trinkes, Abbey Harbor or in Geneva Bay.  I like using baits such as a Yum Dingers or a Texas rigged plastic worm.  Green pumpkin or watermelon are always my best colors.

The larger bluegills will be in the warmer shallow waters around the emerging weeds and shallow structure. The best presentation is Thill slip bobbers with Lindy's Toad ice jigs. I prefer using wax worms or leaf worms. My favorite bluegill spots are Abbey Harbor, Geneva Bay near the library or by the South Shore Club.

Statewide, Delavan Lake is known as one of the best fishing lakes.  Since it is so well known as an awesome fishery, it will also be one of the busiest lakes on opening day. The crappie fishing has already been pretty good for the first few weeks of April. The best depth is in the 8- to 12-foot depth range. I like mini-mites or small plastics in purple or yellow. For live bait fishermen, Thill slip bobber rigs tipped with small fat head minnows also produces a lot of fish. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the island on the west end of the lake.

Walleyes in early May are shallow. Delavan is very clear this time of year and that can make the walleyes a bit skittish. The fish are in the emerging weeds in 5 to 10 feet of water. Night or low light conditions produce the most fish. Trolling shallow diving crankbaits typically produces the most fish.

Largemouth bass will be cruising the shallows in pre-spawn. The best approach is Yum Dingers fished Texas rigged in 3-5 feet of water near the outlet and by Lake Lawn Resort.

While Delavan and Geneva are both great for fishing, personally I prefer some of Walworth County's shallower lakes for opening day. The lakes tend to have a much higher water temperature and that helps keep the fish more active. The smaller lakes also receive a lot less fishing pressure and can be very productive.  My favorite lake choices are Whitewater, Como and Tripp lakes.  Work the shallow emerging weeds in three to five feet of water for largemouth bass. My lure choices are a Booyah white spinnerbait in ¼ oz or a Texas rigged Yum Dinger in Green pumpkin. Being such shallow lakes, the weed growth can be tremendous, so early May can be the best fishing of the year on these bodies of water.

Shore anglers can have good action as well on opening day throughout Walworth County.  Turtle Creek has a decent smallmouth and pan fish bite along with the requisite suckers and carp. Shore anglers are welcome to fish in the Town of Delavan's community park for a small fee. The Kettle Moraine State Forest also has some great shore opportunities on and near Whitewater Lake.

The opportunities are abundant here in Walworth County. Come and enjoy opening day. For guide parties contact Dave Duwe of Dave Duwe's Guide Service at (262) 728-8063.

Geneva  Lake Report 4/27 through 5/4

Lake Geneva water temperature remains very cold. There isn't much fishing going on as the municipal piers have still not been put in the water. I'm sure they will be put in by opening day of game fishing which is Saturday May 3. The water is so cold, the walleyes that the “Walleyes for Tomorrow” organization catch to harvest eggs haven't yielded results since the walleyes eggs have not yet matured to a point where they would be viable.

The best fishing has been lake trout off the main lake points. Two methods have been working.  One is a white tube jigs and the other is a shiner fished beneath a slip bobber. The best water depth is 8 to 10 feet.  Good locations are Conference point, Black Point and Rainbow Point.

For pan fish, the most action is coming out of Abbey Harbor or Trinkes Harbor.  For bluegills use red worms or leaf worms and for the crappies use small crappie fatheads both fished beneath a slip bobber. 

Some yellow perch are being caught in the main lake by Knollwood and Belvidere Park.  The best depth is six to eight feet and the best bait is a small fathead minnow.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at (608) 883-2050.

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 4/27 through 5/4

Opening day for game fish is the first Saturday in May, which is May 3. In the past week, we've only had one nice seasonal day, so the water temperature remains very cold. This will likely make opening day a bit on the slow side. The warmest water temperature I have found is 49 degrees. The two best spots for catching pan fish this past week have been by the outlet dam and in Lake Lawn Harbor. Both locations have crappies and bluegills in them.

For bluegill fishing, the best baits are red worms or wax worms. For crappies there are two methods that are producing fish. The first is a Thill slip bobber with a minnow fished beneath it. The second method is a 1/32-oz. jig with a piece of chartreuse or smoke-colored plastic on it. With the very clear water color, long casts are imperative so you don't spook the fish.

Other locations for pan fish are in the Viewcrest and Highlands Channel or in the boat launch channel. 

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at (608)883-2050.

Daily Reports:

4-26: Lauderdale Lake, sunny, NW wind 10 mph, 55 degrees, water temp 55 degrees.  Fished by the Lauderdale Landing in three feet of water caught 50- 60 bluegills; kept about 20.  Bobbers and red worms produced most of the fish. Some crappies were around but would not bite.  Orange ice jig was the best bait.

4-25: Delavan Lake, cloudy, SE wind 15, 65 degrees, water temp. 49 degrees. Fished by the outlet dam in two feet of water, caught some bluegills on wax worms and red worms. Also used Ice Jig and a bobber.

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