Sweltering summer temperatures, at times exceeding over 100 degrees, have tightened its grip on drought stricken Eastern Wisconsin. Lake Winnebago has seen water temperatures spiking as high as 90 degrees, with average temperature ranging from 80-85 degrees. Algae growths remain an issue system wide, along with plenty of weed debris floating on the surface from recreational boat traffic.
Many of the dedicated walleye trollers have put away their Off Shore Planner Boards in favor of the dead sticks and slip bobbers. Their attention has shifted to the excellent perch fishing now occurring on the lake.
The perch have really turned on, especially along the east shore. Fisherman’s Road has had some huge successes over the past week, and just about everyone knows about it. Launches in this area were packed full prior to 6:15 am this past weekend. The key timeframe of the area tends to be early in the morning. The reason for this is twofold- One: Many anglers are limiting out fairly quickly, and are off the water prior to noon. Two: With the oppressive heat, fishermen are trying to get off the water before the heat becomes unreasonable. With that said, the fish are fairly active during any daylight hour. The perch have generally been staged in the 10-13 foot ranges, but I found my largest fish on the 6-7 foot tops.
The Fond du Lac area is also featuring a strong perch bite. Just outside of the Fond du Lac Harbor there have been plenty of large perch roaming. In addition, north of the Third Reef has had excellent numbers in the transition zone (rock to mud). Along the western shore, the area near the Chaparral and Hounsil’s Garden Center is also producing strong numbers of perch and a few bluegills.
Walleyes have been hit-n-miss in the mud this week from the reports I have been receiving. Heavy numbers of sheep head are being reported everywhere on the system, along with numerous white bass. The best mud trolling bite remains outside of Oshkosh, straight out of the mouth of the river.
For those anglers targeting walleyes, weed fishing has been a key. The weeds are allowing for shade protection from the sun, and offer easy meals for feeding fish due to strong populations of baitfish. In addition, the increased oxygen provided by the weeds helps reduce heat stresses.
To target the weed walleyes (and Bass) a light jig with either a crawler or leech is a solid choice. My suggestion is to invest into some Uncle Josh leeches (carried at local Fleet Farms). These are new to the market, and are made of pork rhine which gives them a unique swimming action in the water from other plastics. No more roasted leeches in the heat! Remember, while in the weeds–a stealthy approach is required.
I found walleyes staged along the 10-13 foot contours this week while trolling. Assumingly, these fish are on the flats feeding just outside the main weed lines. “Wonder bread” colored lures (Flicker Shads and Salmos) have been dominate for the walleyes. I did pick some fish up on the new size 9 Fire tiger Flicker Shads, now available at local retailers. The area just south of Long Point Island (near Wendt’s) has been productive for walleyes especially on crawler harnesses run above the weeds.
Small mouth bass were very active on deeper water rock reefs, especially in 10 plus feet of water. I struck out on the large mouth this week, so I have no information to pass on.
There have been some reports of large northern pike floating dead on the system. Unfortunately, these are heat stress fish causalities. The same is partial true with the carp carcasses floating.
Have a great week, and keep the reports coming to email@example.com. We really could use some north shore reports! Thanks for the support of our site!