Great Spring conditions engulfed the Lake Winnebago region, resulting in an excellent bite. Winds were the only negative over the course of the week, but this added to the first significant walleye activity on the main lake. A mud line still exists near the river in Oshkosh, so water clarity is variable across the lake. The North shore had clear visibility (over 10 feet), while Oshkosh had just a few inches. Water temperatures have spiked into the mid 60’s and the first weed growths are being observed.
The windy weather turned the walleyes “on” in a big way this week. Huge schools of feeding eyes can be found in the main lake currently. The majority of these fish are males, which have returned from the upper lakes and rivers. Make no mistake about it, ‘bago is on fire right now for midsized walleyes.
Walleyes can be found shallow, in the mid ranges, and a few in the mud (deep water). On windy days, the reefs have turned on, but these areas remain slightly inconsistent currently.
One of the key elements is lake flies. These schools of walleyes are aggressively feeding on the flies and larvae in the water. The fish are constantly on the move seeking this food source. Several walleyes we recently caught had flies still in their mouths when they consumed our presentation. On Sunday, we found approximately 55 walleyes over 15” in less than 8 feet of water all feeding on lake flies.
There have been no standout locations on the lake, as all areas are producing well. The entire region from the mouth of the Fox River down to Wendt’s is loaded with walleyes in the 15-19” range. Many of these fish are in 3-9 feet of water and can be targeted with trolling techniques– especially size 4 floating Salmo hornets. Best colors were Hollywood (Reel Shot custom color) Dalmatian, and blue chrome. Crawler harnesses were also working well, especially with the Tommy Harris blades in red colors.
The east shore had an excellent bite all week, until the muddy water arrived the bite slowed greatly. Bigger walleyes can be found from Brothertown down to Deadwood Point. This area will heat back up once the water clears in the near future.
The North shore has some good fish working, but the numbers are greatly reduced. The same scenario exists on the South end. The mud bite is starting to develop (middle of the lake), but is not recommended just yet with the solid shallow water bite.
Do not over look the River in Oshkosh. There are still good numbers of walleyes moving out of the upper lakes. The tournament guys who did focus on the river this week were not disappointed with some larger females. Pumping flies and jigging were the most common method here.
Lake Poygan still is holding a lot of fish, including some decent females. Both major walleye tournaments were won in Lake Poygan this weekend. As a matter of fact, most of the top finishers came from the Upper Lakes in the Boat Doc Walleye Series tournament and the Babbling Brooks Event. Check the canes if the carp are rolling. Walleyes love carp spawn. Lake Butte des Mortes is full of sheephead.
Solid sized crappies are being produced along any shallow water rocks. Some of these fish have impressive size. There also has been some movement out to deeper water, so be sure to check those areas also if you are seeking the papermouths. Lakeside Park (FDL) continues to pump out medium sized Crappies.
Just a note. Many of my favorite colors of Salmo hornets are sold out for the season at the US distributor due to high demand. I placed an order this week and they told me next year. If you have a few favorite colors, I suggest picking them up now, as they may not be available later this year.
From Cabela’s on The NABC Bass tournament this weekend: Casey Gallagher and Ty Cornell sacked an impressive 17.59-pound, 5-fish limit to win the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s 2012 season opener against more than 80 of the Midwest’s best bass anglers on Wisconsin’s mighty Lake Winnebago chain. The winning program hinged on dragging green pumpkin-colored jigs and soft baits in three to four feet of water in a channel off Lake Winnebago, where hefty female largemouths were moving up toward the spawning beds.
Tournaments: This week’s tourneys include the Terry’s Bar walleye (Oshkosh) on Saturday and The MWS out of Miller’s Bay on Sunday. There also is a Bow Fishing event on both days. Looks like it will be a busy weekend. Good Luck on the water.