A long and stable weather pattern moved through the east central Wisconsin region, creating excellent weather conditions. Near normal temperatures have added predictability back into the Winnebago system for fishing; something which has been absent almost the entire year. Water clarity remains stained, with limited visibility on the system. Weed debris continues to plague the windblown side of the lake.
Fisherman have been dwindling on the system as the weeks go by, with the exception perch fishermen on the southern half of Lake Winnebago, which show up in big numbers on the weekend mornings.
The system continues to experience slowing, which is typical to the seasonal pattern. Large schools of minnows and the young of the year can now be seen on the system creating ample feed for all predator fish. This year’s bait fish class looks to be at least average, and may be trending to the large size by my estimations.
White bass have been very active near the large schools of minnows. To locate the minnow schools, look for the diving seagulls and pelicans which are feeding on this food source also. At times the water will bubble with the schools. The white bass are in and alongside these schools, scooping up easy meals. Try throwing small spinner baits (like a Mepps) into the schools to locate the white bass.
Perch fishing is still solid. The key right now is….less is more. Small pieces of worm have been working much better than ¼ crawler piece. Waxies have been a solid bait choice also. Attractant beads are nearly a must, especially while dead sticking. Key time to fish is from sunrise to about noon.
The perch continue to be on the move. Each day is an seek and find mission to determine depths and locations. Look for packs of boats and duplicate their depth ranges (away from the crowd) to be most successful. These fish have been under constant pressure, so look for less populated locations.
The best location this week for perch has been near buoy D, just outside of Fond du Lac Harbor. There remains a school of good sized perch and a lot of solid sized bluegills. In addition, Gladstone Beach has been excellent at times, but can fizzle quickly. The same is true of the Abrahams/Gene’s reef region.
Walleyes have disappeared. Even the perch fishermen are reporting few accidental walleyes being caught. The system is full of feed, so they have no need to chase a meal currently. It won’t be long, and the walleyes will start staging in Oshkosh for the minor migration into the upper lakes and rivers for the winter.
The Wolf River has had some action for large mouth on top water lures. Crappies are still being caught next to wood cover on small minnows. A few fall walleyes have already arrived to the south end of the river.
Reminders: Sturgeon spearing licenses are available now for the Feb. 2013 season. Hook and line sturgeon season starts September 1.
The next report will be posted as conditions change. Just a couple more weeks and we will have the lakes all to ourselves again! In the mean time, go get some pan fish! firstname.lastname@example.org is my email. Reports are always welcome!