Madison, WI Fishing Report
The weed cutters have already started their routes along the weed beds of the Madison lakes. With water temps already in the 70’s, weeds will continue to grow. More important to note however is that with the unusually long period of clear water we have had, deep weed growth should be very good this year. Look for fish to start utilizing weed beds in greater than 10 to 15 feet of water.
Right now Bluegills are providing a ton of fun action in the shallows as they are bedding and spawning. Look for circular bed areas in 1-4 feet of water around the lakes. Throw slip bobber rigs tipped with worms or minnows, or try small jigs and tubes for artificial baits. A small hook typically provides better hook ups. Try using small octopus (size 8) or circle hooks to reduce the number of gut hooked fish (this is a great fishing secret for the kids and beginners). If you want to mix it up and enjoy a great fight, try fishing a 2 or 3 weight fly rod paired with a small ant or bug pattern in black or other dark color.
Crappies are pretty much done spawning and starting to move out to deeper water. You can still find a few nice crappies hanging just off the shallow structure actively hunting schools of bait fish.
Carp are starting to spawn. They are loud and aggressively rolling around in the shallows. If you enjoy bow fishing, now is the time to get out for some easy shallow targets. Otherwise, get your fly rod out and throw small crustacean fly patterns in brown, orange, and red. Also black, olive, brown woolly buggers will also produce fish. If you are looking for an alternative, try using chartreuse egg fly patterns in both yellow and orange. The best fly rod weight for carp is an 8 weight. However depending on the size of the fish you are targeting it may be appropriate to deviate above or below an 8 weight rod.
Bass are getting towards the end of their spawn. However you can currently find some fish actively spawning, males still on beds, and post spawn fish. Determine which technique you want to use and choose your target water. Spawning bass will still be up on shallow flats in 1-4 feet of water around the lake. Look for circular lighter shapes on the bottom. To target the post spawn fish, look for adjacent deeper water (4-15 feet) with weed edges or other structures. With water temps already climbing into the 70s, you will find bass on deeper weed edges, rock piles, and humps through out the lake. To target these fish, almost anything is working. Throw soft plastic baits rigged weedless along weed edges and into pockets in weed beds. You can pitch jigs, and drop shot deeper structure. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits will produce fish, but your rate limiting factor will be the amount of weeds you feel like clearing from the lake. Topwater baits are also starting to produce fish. Try frogs, prop baits, and buzz baits over weed beds and shallow flats.
Pike and Muskie are setting up and relating to baitfish and weed beds around Madison. Usually the most productive areas are the edges of these weed beds. However they will also cruise the weed beds searching for prey and could be directly on structure or closely relating to it. Pick an area and meticulously work through it with a variety of baits. Don’t be afraid to search out new areas as more people get out and increase the amount of lures these fish are seeing.
Throw bucktails, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs over weed beds to produce reaction strikes. Also experiment with some top water lures for fantastic shark like fins following your bait and hopefully leading to an explosive top water attack!
Walleye have also started to move out to their summer patterns. They were previously relating to current under bridges, and weed edges in 5-7 feet of water. Main basin trolling is producing fish in 25-30 feet of water. As the water temps continue to climb, try trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses through in percentage areas such as rock piles, weed edges, and steep drop offs.
As always try to have fun! Take out friends and family to enjoy the great opportunities Madison, WI fishing has to offer. Also don’t forget to like us on Facebook and twitter to get updates and future fishing reports!