Bluegill anglers had their best luck fishing deeper structure in 18-30 feet, near the bottom. A No.8 hook with a giant redworm, leafworm, waxworm, small leech or a piece of nightcrawler worked best for live bait. A drop-shot rig or a slip-bobber rig is the best way to present these baits in deep-water situations. Vertical jigging a small jigging spoon or a 1/32-ounce jig dressed with live bait or a plastic tail also produced.
Perch were active along weed lines in 10-20 feet, near the bottom. Vertical jigging a 1/32-ounce jig or jigging spoon baited with a waxworm, spike or giant redworm produced.
Crappies were found suspended along outside weed lines or over deep water. Drifting or casting using a 1/32-ounce jig dressed with a small fathead minnow, waxworm or 2-inch plastic tail worked well.
Largemouth bass fishing was great on the area lakes. For shallow-water locations such as piers, overhanging trees and inside weed lines, use wacky worms, tubes or pre-rigged worms. Plastic frogs have taken fish from the slop. Mid-depth weeds can be fished using swim jigs, jig-and-craw chunk combos, spinner baits, square-bill crank baits or top-water baits. Anglers fishing deep weed lines had their best luck using Texas-rigged plastics, jig worms, skirted grubs, tube jigs or deep-diving crank baits. A medium golden shiner, nightcrawler or leech fished on a live-bait rig or a slip-bobber rig works best for live bait.
Smallmouth bass action was best near breaks or rocks in 15-25 feet. Dragging a tube jig, drop-shot rig, football jig-and-skirted grub or a Lindy rig with a leech or small sucker will work best. Popper-style top-water baits or flukes have produced during morning and evening.
Northern pike were found near structure and baitfish in 18-25 feet. A small sucker on a slip-sinker rig with a circle hook and fluorocarbon leader will work best. Vertical jigging a 3/8-ounce hair jig with a large golden shiner also works excellent. Many smaller pike can be caught casting spinner baits, chatter baits, Mepps spinners, buzz baits or lipless crank baits over weed flats.
Walleye fishing was spotty, especially during the hot sunny days with no wind. Low light conditions will be your best times to target walleyes. Try fishing the weed edges using a weedless jig baited with half a nightcrawler or leech. Trolling with live bait on spinner rigs with bottom bouncers or minnow-style crank baits has produced.
Muskies were most active along deep weedlines or structure in 18-45 feet. Trolling deep-diving crank baits will be your best option. Rock bars adjacent to weeds will also hold fish this time of year. Target them using bucktails, spinner baits or weedless spoons. Top-water baits have produced during night and early morning.
Catfish have been caught from the Rock, Fox and Crawfish rivers, along with lakes Mendota and Koshkonong. Nightcrawlers, cut-up suckers and stink bait worked best.
LAKE MICHIGAN, MILWAUKEE
This week continues with more of the same as we have experienced for the past three weeks: slow action and scattered fish from top to bottom.
Trollers continue to catch a few fish with little or no pattern. Most of the activity is on the north shore from depths of 80 feet out to more than 200 feet. It's a very mixed bag of king salmon, coho, steelhead and a few lake trout. Spoons are attracting the bigger kings, but overall, dodgers and flies are catching a larger variety of fish. Full lead cores and dipseys are covering the 30-50-foot depths with down-riggers working the 50-80-foot depths. Almost all of the catches have come from pre-dawn till just after sunrise or the last hour of daylight in the evening
Shore fishing has been very slow. The only action has been very early in the morning where an occasional brown trout has been taken. The McKinley break wall or any of the deeper harbor areas are about the only possibilities for trout right now. One of the biggest problems is that we seem to have lost our bait fish population temporarily. Till the alewives return, things will be slow. The river under the Hoan Bridge is about the only area with alewives, but the water temperature in the river is too warm for trout right now. Shore anglers need some west winds for things to improve.
With the warmer water temps, the perch action has picked up just a little. There are a few being caught at McKinley, the river under the Hoan, Russell Ave. and the South Shore pier. For boaters, the boils off South Milwaukee are also good. Small minnows, jigging spoons, jigs tipped with small Gulp minnows or a piece of crawfish tail are the best bets. Use light lines and fish early or late in the day.
Smallmouths are also a possibility in the harbor. They have been found along the base of seawalls or along any of the rock and rubble shoreline. Most of them are caught by accident while perch fishing so small minnows are good for the bass as well. Jigging spoons are great for checking out vertical seawall. Rocky shorelines are best fished with goby-imitating jigs or a slip float and leech. These bass are finicky and early mornings and evenings are the best for the bass as well.