A hot and windy week greeted the fisherman of Lake Winnebago this week. The first algae bloom of the year is occurring, as water temperatures have spiked to the 70 degree range. Water clarity has been reduced due to the bloom, but overall, clarity has improved since last week. Aquatic weeds are growing quickly.
Many fish species are in transition right now. The sheep head have been spawning, and many of the reefs are overrun with these fish. The largemouths are starting to move to their spawning beds, and have been very aggressive this week. The white bass are returning to the lakes, after being in the rivers for the last several weeks. As a result, walleyes are being pushed out of their most recent homes.
Many of the walleyes have been moving to deeper water. Fish which were staged in 3-7 feet of water just 10 days ago, seemingly have headed out to the mud (15—20 feet of water). There are still plenty of walleyes shallow, but just not as many as several weeks ago.
The good news is that walleyes can be found on all parts of the system right now, with an average size fish coming in around 18-20 inches. If you are running crank baits, try upsizing your presentation for larger fish in the mud. The forage base has shifted from flies and larva in the shallow water to 3-5 inch shad in deeper water.
Walleyes by region:
South end: The south end has some walleyes shallow yet especially along Deadwood Point on the east shore and Blanck’s Supper Club on the west shore. To date, the mud bite has not developed.
Central West Shore: Plenty of walleyes can be found from Wendt’s to Horseshoe Reef. These fish are transitioning from 3-10 feet to 13-17 feet. Crawler Harness, crank baits and other standard tactics are producing well. Most reefs are over run with sheephead, and are not producing eyes currently. Firetiger has been an excellent color here.
Central East Shore: Walleyes are also plentiful here. Cranks were working better than harnesses. The bite has been inconsistent–Some days the walleyes are feeding full throttle, and the next day have lock jaw. Key colors here are orange and purple.
North End: Garlic Island was hot early in the week in 15-17 feet of water. That bite has subsided. Many of the reefs remain active, but are also holding many sheephead. The mud bite has been equally successful with either cranks or harnesses. Firetiger is the strongest color here also.
Bass-the largemouth are actively moving to their spawning beds and are protecting them. Crank baits in shallow water can produce some excellent sized fish currently.
Crappies: The crappies for the most part have moved out to deeper water and are now post spawn.
Bluegill: The gills are now just starting to spawn, or are staging at their spawning locations. The first 70 degree water temperatures should spark a full out spawn. Unfortunately, this may become fragmented (like the white bass run earlier this season), based on current weather projections.
Pike: Check emerging weed beds for some great pike action.
Tournament News: We fished the Beer Run Walleye Tournament in Pipe and finished 13th place. Winning weights were just over 16 pound on five fish. The Top 12 were separated by less than 15 ozs. The Houges Walleye Tourney (Oshkosh) had a 20 pound winning weight on 4 fish. That’s a 5 pound average per fish!
Tournaments this week:
Fisherman’s Road Club Walleye in Pipe (Saturday)
Van Dyne Lions Walleye Tournament (Saturday)
Boat Doc Walleye Tournament in Oshkosh (Sunday)
Stockbridge Walleye Tournament (Saturday)
Mercury Employee Tournament in Fond du Lac (Saturday)
Please feel free to forward your fishing reports to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are at the height of tournament season, so my incoming reports dwindle down considerably. Good Luck on the water, and remember to be courteous to your fellow anglers!