A break from the unseasonably hot weather occurred during the past week. Temperatures made the break from the 90 degree barrier, and returned to normal trends. Water temperatures on Lake Winnebago dropped over 10 degrees, and have stabilized near 78 degrees recently. Those are expected to spike again with the upcoming heat wave. The winds picked up over the week which mixed much of the top water algae back into the water, creating slightly better water clarity. A large fly hatch has occurred again this week.
There has been a significant fish die off on the system; assumingly, all heat stress related. The photos I saw had a mix of northern pike, carp, walleyes, sheephead and many shad type fish included in the kill.
The return to near normal temperatures had the effect of a massive cold front on the system. The twenty plus degree variance resulted in an overall slowing of fishing conditions. Match that with the fly hatch, and many anglers struggled over the past week.
Perch continue to be the most commonly targeted fish on the system. The majority of the action continues to occur south of the Fox River in Oshkosh. The entire southern half of the lake continues to produce decent sized perch with either slip bobbers or dead stick tactics. Hellgrammites were in higher demand as the fish seem to be focused on a bug bite. Many anglers are doing fine on red worms and crawler pieces. Most perch are in the 6-9” ranges with periodic fish in the 10-12 inch category. The bite is solid from sunrise until noon, and then falls offs.
Top areas include the Deadwood Point area along the east shore, North of the Third Reef, and a stretch from the south shoreline to the Island near Wendt’s (West Shore). Abrahams, Kalibus, Garlic, Stevens and Long Point reefs have been reported as “slow” for perch and walleyes. Plenty of sheephead are on those reefs.
Walleyes have been fairly tough to find. Many anglers have abandoned trolling techniques, but there are still walleyes available by this method. The mid-lake mud out of Oshkosh and the northern basin are the best area to attempt these tactics. Walleyes limits are rare currently in the mud. Crawler harness, with a Tommy Harris Blade, would be an excellent choice. I tried the 13 foot ranges this week, and picked up a couple of small walleyes on crank baits. This was not the best use of my time, based on conditions.
The walleye weed bite is the best action on the lake for these fish. Look for matted weed beds in 4-9 feet of water. Work the pockets with light jigs and a half of crawlers for the best results.
On Sunday, my electronics showed some big schools of fish in front of the wayside in North Fond du Lac. After trying several trolling pass through the schools with no luck, I transitioned over to dead sticks, assuming the schools were perch. To my surprise, these were large schools of average sized bluegills and sunfish. What a riot.
EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) is in town this week with an estimated 500,000 visitors this week. The area near the Jesuit will be off limits (By the Coast Guard) for boats, as this will be used for a float plane landing area.
Get on the water! Catch Fish, get harassed by a vintage fighter plane, while the Goodyear blimp flies hovers just over head. Just another average July day on Lake Winnebago! Reports are appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org.