Lakes Area Fishing Report August 22, 2012
First things first…….I apologize for taking a while to post to my blog. I have had a busy summer guiding and taking care of family, so thank you for your patience in advance!
With our cool nights in the past week it has certainly felt like early fall. Fish have been moving into late-summer, early fall patterns for some time and very quickly.
Many schools of bluegills and crappies are showing up below the boat like suspended hot air balloons on my electronics.
The schools have been very tight some days and scattered others.
Many of the schools have been holding 10-20 feet down in 30-40 feet of water. Watching closely, I could pick out game fish slightly below the schools swimming through.
I get excited every year when I see the fish transitioning into these movements; it means the best fishing of the year is yet to come. If you are a trophy fisherman, fall is certainly a gem.
As the days get shorter and the nights get colder the water temperatures will quickly cool triggering the fish to put the “feedbag on” to build energy and put on body weight to get through the cold winter months to come.
When guiding, I tend to use many live bait rigs during the summer months transitioning more to artificial baits such as crank baits, swim baits and vertical jigging baits in the fall.
I will use many types of bait triggering a “reaction strike”, giving the fish little time to study the bait. Using this presentation will catch the most aggressive fish, at times the larger fish in an area. In the past few weeks fishing finesse plastics aggressively has put the most fish in the boat.
Colder nights recently have pushed the fish into a sucker bite resulting in a mixed bag of bass, northern pike and walleye.
In the fall, feeding periods can be quite short, but are very fast and aggressive. The first or last few hours of the day will be the optimum time for action.
Like many things in life, in fishing there is always an exception to the rule; I have had great action all times of the day, catching many quality fish at high noon.
Many fish will be holding deep this time of year into fall, sunlight will not negatively impact fishing particularly on overcast days.
Windy overcast days will be a golden opportunity to get into some great fishing.
Light winds or dead calm days can be the “kiss of death” resulting in skittish fish with a bad case of lockjaw. Fishing quiet and paying attention to your sonar will help capitalize on active fish.
Watching my electronics paying attention to where the fish are in the water column help me decide on how to present the bait. Fishing vertically or casting out to the schools has produced consistently.
What I call the “Delavan Curse”, cold fronts, flat water and midge (lake fly) hatches can be tough on the bite.
During or just before the hatch, the bite can be phenomenal. After the hatch, in my experience is tough to impossible.
Essentially you are trying to get fish that are full to eat. It may take a few hours to a day for the bite to improve after a hatch.
In the past week or two we have had many of these days. Days so calm the only thing moving the boat are traffic waves trying to coax fish digesting to eat.
Quiet days with little traffic has been best, but if it is a busy day plan on fishing deep or in the weeds.
Keep in mind when motoring to a location you want to fish, kill the motor and use your trolling motor to position the boat to fish. I think of fishing calm days as if I am bow hunting; be stealth and quiet.
Many anglers, I have observed recently, have been using their gas engines to position or move around during flat, calm water days. Doing so radiates an immense amount of noise quickly spooking fish and killing the bite. I cannot stress enough how important being stealthy on calm days is, resulting in a great day fishing or getting slapped by the ol' “skunk tail”.
Fishing alone has its value when it comes to calm days. Many times in the past week I have pulled the net out to land fish; in no time there are 5-10 neighbors fishing next to us. Quickly fishing shut-off resulting in us making a move to catch more fish.
Little things matter the most at times when it comes to fishing. A couple examples: slip your anchor in quietly versus plummeting it in with a shot-put toss and making long accurate casts working your bait slowly back to the boat through the schools of fish.
Fishing Report August 22, 2012
Delavan Lake surface temps dropped considerably cooling to the mid to high 70's at the surface.
Fish have been found at all depths from 3 feet under the surface to on the bottom in 35 feet of water.
Many fish have been caught suspended 10-20 feet down early mornings and in the evening. Lots of casting and covering water has been vital in hooking up.
Delavan is notorious for requiring several game plans as what worked yesterday may not work today.
Large mouth and large bluegills are still the best consistent bite right now. Northern pike have been very scattered and have started to bite more with many medium sized fish being landed.
Fishing the deep weed line in 14-20 feet of water has been a good pattern at times, but many larger bass have started to follow suspended schools of small pan fish. Casting until your arms fall off comes into play trying to land your presentation at the right place at the right time.
Casting slow falling baits, jerk baits or suspending cranks will produce. Casting dense plastics such as Berkley Heavy Weight Thumpin’ Worm, Sinking Worm or YUM Dingers present that slow fall. Jerk baits such as Berkley’s Hollow Belly or Jerk Shad can present both the slow fall and a fleeing baitfish motion. Suspended cranks in a shad style running 4-10 feet down worked slowly through schools can pull out the most aggressive fish.
Drop-shotting worked very well through July into early August but has fizzled due to every other angler casting the rig. Using rigs which fish have not seen is vital especially on Delavan with 100+ anglers during the week and three to four times that many over the weekend.
On calm days most fish will remain deep, although the early morning bite has been very good. Fishing while the sun is low we have caught fish shallow and suspended over deep water.
We continue to do well fishing crawlers and the largest leeches you can find catching a mixed bag of pan fish and game fish.
As I mentioned drop-shotting 6-7” Finesse worms and weightless stick baits such as 7” YUM Dingers will all take fish. I have been also catching bass swimming or dragging football head jigs in deep water tipped with a Berkley Power Bait Chigger Chunk trailer.
The bite has been very light so watch your line and wait for the “tick” on your rod. Again fishing near the main points and mid-lake structure on the lake along with deep weed beds paid off.
Fish areas where deep rock and weeds meet such as Browns Channel, Willow Point, the Island and the Oriental Boathouse. Concentrate on fishing between 12 and 18 feet of water, but do not overlook that deep suspended fish bite in 25 to 35 feet of water.
The walleye bite has been improving day to day. Many fish are residing in deep water in 22-30 feet feeding on deep pan fish and blood worms.
On the shallower side walleyes are holding on inside the weeds during the daylight hours and a few fish on the outer weed line out to 18 feet of water.
The night bite will continue to be more consistent until the water begins to cool more rapidly.
Lindy rigging or drifting split-shot rigged leeches, suckers and crawlers have produced consistently. Crawlers or leeches rigged on harnesses have continued to produce also.
Troll crawler harnesses on keel trolling weights or snap-weights for suspended fish or running bottom bouncers for fish holding near the bottom. Contour trolling along with the deep flats will produce fish in the 17-30 foot range. Purples, silvers and perch patterns all worked using Colorado blades sticking with natural colors running speeds at 0.7 to 1.2 m.p.h.
Lake Lawn Resort, along the lake side of the Rock Wall, west of the Yacht Club, the Island, the stretch by the Gray Condos and Browns Channel has been great producers. Look for inside bends and points along the deep weed lines to locate fish.
Northern pike continue to hold in 24-45 feet of water being the magic depth landing fish on Lindy rigs and clicker reel set-ups.
Please take care in targeting pike and other fish in deep water as fish are very sensitive to the pressure change while reeling the fish in and pulling the fish through warm water to the surface; many of the fish will perish being caught out of the abyss.
The best areas being west of the Yacht Club on the inside bend east of the Orange Marina, the stretch by the Gray Condos, Brown’s Channel and East of Brown’s Channel.
Putting time in and covering water has been the pattern in the past few weeks. With our cooling surface temps and cool nights the bite has improved.
Big Bluegill are holding in 30-40 feet of water with many suspending over deep water out to 45-50 feet of water have been mixed in size requiring a lot of sorting.
Bluegills have been holding in 20-23 feet of water some days, although I have caught many large gills in 12-15 feet of water right in the weeds. Fishing vertically jigging Hali spoons or small jigs or casting split-shot rigs tipped with crawler pieces or leaf worms has produced.
Best baits have been crawler pieces and hellgrammites. Fish the large flat weed beds near Willow Point, Yacht Club and Del Mar and Assembly Park.
Perch continue to bite along Assembly Park, Community Beach and the Island in 25-35 feet of water. Hellgrammites are the go to bait of choice.
Crappies are at times suspended 5-20 feet down in 35-45 feet of water, others the fish are holding tight to the bottom. I have also landed many nice crappies in the 10-12” range drifting with small jigs in 10-12 feet over weeds on windy days. Plastics have been working in pink, purple and bubble gum.
Geneva Lake has continued to produce some nice largemouth and small mouth in the last couple weeks.
Fishing the deep weed edge along breaks has produced drop-shotting live bait and using finesse plastics in natural colors.
Fishing 12-15 feet of water has been the key depth for large mouth with many fish remaining shallow under the docks and piers. With our cool nights many small mouth have migrated to off-shore structure biting early in the morning and mid afternoon. Fishing finesse plastics and jerk baits have all produced.
When fishing, target areas such as Fontana Bay, Abbey Springs, Cisco Bay, Crawford’s Bar, the Military Academy, Elgin Club and Trinkes to the Country Club.
Northern pike are still hitting chubs and suckers. Chubs certainly getting the nod having a hard time keeping suckers lively fishing so deep.
Pike are still residing in 25-32 feet of water being a productive range Lindy rigging your offering. Small perch Lindy rigged has also produce nice pike and small mouth bass. Just a reminder, remember to count the perch as part of your bag limit and it is legal to use for bait if it was caught on the same lake you are fishing.
Small mouth have been caught in 22-33 feet of water. As I mentioned, early morning many fish have been feeding in shallower water, but quickly move to deeper water as the sun rises.
Smallmouth are still hitting suckers and chubs while fishing pike, but dragging crawlers or drop-shotting has been producing best.
Drop-shotting wacky rigged or nose-hooked finesse worms such as YUM Mightee Worms or Berkley’s Finesse Worm worked along deep breaks has produced fish.
Using shaky head rigs tipped with YUM Shakilicious Worms or Berkley Havoc Bottom Hoppers will take bottom hugging fish exceptionally well.
Look for fish near Black Point, the Military Academy, Cedar Point, Aurora University, and Linn Pier or outside the bay areas with Fontana and Geneva Bay being best.
Large blue gills and pumpkinseeds still remain in deeper water in 20-35 feet out to 45 feet of water, as the perch have remained shallow in 12-18 feet of water. Fishing vertically drifting spoons such as Hali or Swedish Pimples or drifting crawlers or leeches on split-shot rigs have produced fish.
A few crappies are still being caught near Conference and Cedar Point suspended over 90-110 feet of water fishing 10-20 feet down using white or clear plastics. Windy days have been best.
The lake trout bite has been very good fishing early morning as the sun comes up. Many of the fish have been running smaller in the 5-10 pound range. Trolling dodger/fly rigs along with Great Lakes style spoons in 110-125 feet of water running down riggers at 75-95 feet of water.
Areas such as Yerkes, between Conference and Cedar Points and near Black Point have all produced.
Rock River/Lake Koshkonong
Water levels have improved and seemed to be holding well.
Fishing in the river has still remained a little inconsistent, but has been producing more fish fishing near Blackhawk Island and upriver from the 106 bridge.
Slipping the current with leeches or crawlers has produced best. Reports of fishing the springs on Koshkonong have produced a nice mix of pike, white bass, perch and walleyes.
The water level on the lake still remains a little low, so take care navigating safely.
Catfish have been hitting chicken livers, dough bait or while fishing walleyes on jigs.
Many fish have been caught in deeper water fishing slack water behind an eddy or deadfall timber.
I am excited for the king salmon to make their annual run this fall.
Many fish remain out in 100-180 feet of water off shore. Many of the charter captains are reporting hot/cold catches recently.
The fish may be on the move to the inshore areas with the rapid cooling nights.
With west winds in the future the kings will begin to stage near shore presenting an awesome light tackle bite.
Fishing Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha will find some great fishing moving into late-summer/early fall.
As the bite starts to improve close to shore I will be running trips on the big pond and will report on fishing action for trout and salmon.
Good Luck and Great Fishing!